Tuesday, 12 May 2015

confessions of a former vegetarian

It feels like everyone I know is either eating vegan - no meat, no dairy or Banting - mostly meat and dairy. Two opposite ends of the diet spectrum. Both have their merits and I have tried elements of each. You see, I used to be a vegetarian. Strictly speaking I was a pescetarian as I only ate seafood and dairy and eggs as animal sources of food. I would have loved to be vegan on principle, but it’s just too time-consuming for the life I lead. And, well, cheese. And sushi and Mom’s carrot cake with cream cheese icing and milkshakes and Pad Thai and… 

I was never on my soap box about being vegetarian. I couldn't say it was because I love animals (which I do) because what about the poor fishies, do only the fluffy animals count? I couldn't say it was because I don’t agree with factory farming because fish are some of the worst factory farmed creatures on Earth. I couldn't say it was because I didn't like the taste because I stopped eating red meat at the age of 10 and chicken when I left home to go to varsity. It wasn't like I hadn't tasted it. A few people accused me of just being fussy; others said I was using it as an excuse to starve myself. Maybe I was. The best way to describe it was that I just didn't need meat. And I was healthy without it so why not?

Then I decided to have a baby. With a carnivorous, chocolate scoffing South African man who had been warning me for more than 5 years – the entire time we had been together – that when I was pregnant I was going to want steak. The man knows me well. Before I decided to have a baby, or try for a baby at least, I knew it would change me. But nothing prepared me for ALL the ways in which it changed me. Number one: my diet. One day after three months of non-stop vomiting and nausea I could finally eat something other than salt and vinegar chips and marmite on toast. It was chicken. Plain chicken on plain brown bread (not the low GI seedy stuff, don’t be silly) was the only thing that didn't send me running to the porcelain throne. I can remember a particular day, not long after the chicken sandwiches had become my staple diet, when all I wanted was a roast. A beef roast. Nic thought I was losing it, he couldn't quite believe that what he had been saying for half a decade was coming true. He thought I wasn't pregnant but undergoing a slow lobotomy, day by day. Where his meat-eating genes were taking me over. Well, that’s exactly what happened. The only thing that kept my tummy full enough to end the cycle of starving, eating something, vomiting it up, starving again and then feeling sick from being starving…was meat. Yes, I'm ashamed to say any principles I may have had about animals and farming and eating cute fluffy things went out of the window. And before you judge me (yes you on your soap box!), try vomiting 25 times in one day. That is more than there are HOURS IN A DAY. You will not have the energy to fight for your principles; you will do anything short of harming your tiny baby to feel better. Believe me. Mini Nicholas was clearly in charge and there was nothing I could do about it.

So ladies you have been warned: before you let a man make you pregnant make sure you like him. And his inherited traits. And his diet. And his eyes. And most things about him. Because they are coming to take over your body. 

// image of delicious smoked salmon omelette with chive creme fraiche from drizzle and dip

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

the biggest news of my life

The Hub and I were in the third, no fourth, airport of that day. Or days, if you count the umpteenth time zones we went through. We were about to get on our fourth Emirates flight in as many weeks. Have you ever noticed how all major airports look the same? Especially international terminals, where the same mix of people seem to exist in equal proportions. This was a year ago next week. How time has flown by and how life has changed. We have a baby son. What an adventure!

On our first trip through Dubai airport at the very beginning of our trip, we met a man we christened Uniball. Darling Uniball was there AGAIN when we went through immigration in Bangkok on the way home. So either there is a country out there where men insist on wearing tight, black, shiny Nike tracksuits with no broeks or undies to protect their dignity, or Uniball was FOLLOWING US. Thank the Lord not to Vietnam. My best was when he leant forward to pick up his hand luggage and showed us a view no person who has just shared an Economy seat for 8 hours with their husband and a very drunk Russian man should ever have to witness. The poor man had clearly had some sort of surgery and due to his lack of undergarments everyone in Terminal 3 of Dubai International could see the clear outline of his misfortune. The Hub and I laughed about Uniball for the remainder of our travels. It's amazing the things you remember from a trip. But I digress. 

On the way back from 2 weeks of pleasant mayhem in Nam (baby) and a week of sloth-like drinking and tanning in Krabi, we were in Dubai again. I can’t tell you if it was morning or night, just that I felt like I’d been swallowed by a whale, basted in breadcrumbs and deep fried on the wings of a Boeing 747. I had a niggling suspicion I might be knocked up already, but told myself it was impossible. It had to be impossible: I drank my body weight in gin on that overnight train to Da Nang…not to mention those free evening cocktails at the Sheraton Club where something called a John Collins was often mixed up in the South African to Thai translation of Tom Collins. Much, MUCH stronger amount of booze. Never mind I had a frighteningly firm massage from a tiny Thai lady on the beach, where she delicately rearranged my internal organs. She would have squashed the baby! Like a Vietnamese pancake! (Flatter than even the normal, Western kind). I was in the horrors.

So I did what any self-respecting jet lagged to hell person would do, I squashed the thought of my pancake baby down and lost myself in Emirates lovely selection of in-flight entertainment, telling the Hub I would take a test once we were safely home and I could buy one in English, from Clicks, with my Clubcard. Nice and familiar like.

After 36 hours of travelling, the Hub and I were shattered and so I nigh on forgot about the possible pancake baby. Until the next morning. It was Tuesday and we had had the foresight to take an extra day of leave to recover from all of the airports. As promised, I made my way to my local Clicks and bought about 5 different kinds of pregnancy tests. All the time thinking of my misbehaviour on holiday and Foetal Alcohol Syndrome. And yes there were the two lines, or the plus sign depending on which brand I used. I was pregnant. And then the waiting began for my first scan at 9 weeks (4 weeks away) to see if our little miracle was indeed a Vietnamese pancake and I had started out being the worst kind of partying, boozing mother.