The Bump Made Me Eat it

When researching what you should eat while pregnant, most sources would tell you to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, products with less added sugar and/or limited refined grains and starches. 

Though eating healthy can be of great influence to the baby and the mother’s growth, pregnancy hormones and a heightened sense of smell and taste may cause you to experience cravings and food aversions.

Most aversions include but are not limited to, chocolate, spicy food and ice cream. On the other hand, the desires may include a combination of foods that you would have not tried before becoming pregnant.

Ice cream seems hard to resist, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for pregnant women. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

With first-hand experience, Sade James, college student in Queens, New York, majoring in biology, listed numerous food combos that she craved during her pregnancy.

“Ketchup and rice, calabash chalk, and peanut butter with pickles,” she said.

As rice contains high amounts of carbohydrates, Sade would eat this combo to “keep active and energetic when feeling worn out,” but kept an eye out on her habit as rice can raise blood sugar levels and add unwanted weight. 

Sometimes cravings are developed for substances that are not food, such as calabash chalk, laundry starch and other similar substances, a condition known as pica. 

Though calabash chalk is useful for morning sickness, it can be toxic as it contains lead and other heavy metals. To learn more about the adverse effects, see this article by WedMD on calabash chalk and this story from the American Pregnancy Association on pica cravings during pregnancy. James said her desire to eat calabash chalk eventually went away on its own after pregnancy. 

Similarly, Jenay Cruz, a participant of the New Age Training Nursing Program, located in Manhattan, New York, said her main craving combo was “cornstarch and ice.”

Cornstarch and ice also fall into the category of pica cravings. “Signs of Pica are closely related to nutritional deficiency,” Cruz explained. 

Cruz had spoken to a healthcare provider as she experienced compulsion to chew on ice covered in cornstarch during her pregnancy. She was provided with vitamins as an alternative that resulted in an ease of her symptoms. 

Furthermore, pickles seem to also be a common denominator in pregnancies as it’s a part of the salty foods category. But pickles with peanut butter? 

Have you tried pickles and peanut butter? Photo by SuckerPunch Gourmet on Unsplash.

This is a peculiar food combo that combines the vinegar flavor of pickles with the rich and sweetness of peanut butter. “The sweet and sour combo reduced my nausea tremendously,” James said.

However, pickles and peanut butter isn’t just an odd pregnancy craving, the history of this combination goes way back. As this combo started during the Great Depression, people began to question if pickles and peanut butter were meant to live together harmoniously, pregnant women included. 

Food cravings that women experience during pregnancy come as early as five weeks into pregnancy and in all shapes and sizes. Similar to James and Cruz who recently went into labor, they had a healthy and balanced diet, but didn’t ignore the cravings that came with it. 

The sudden urge to eat a certain type of food combination during pregnancy reveals the unpopular food combinations we wouldn’t have considered.

If you know someone who is pregnant, ask them about the unpopular food combos they eat. You never know, you may just find a hidden gem.

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