As promised, yesterday’s vegan potluck post. Unfortunately, I didn’t snap a pic of the incredibly beautiful and delicious plate of food I ended up with – it was colourful and totally drool-inducing. There was a winter squash casserole, lentil salad, cajun-baked tofu, sesame-roasted cauliflower, adzuki beans, and possibly some other things I’m forgetting.
And there was the dish I brought: classic deli macaroni salad.
Not much to look at, but bursting with flavour. If you want to try it for yourself, it’s in Veganomicon (“Brooklyn Deli Macaroni Salad”). I highly recommend it!
In pregnancy I have been craving comfort foods from my childhood, including this macaroni salad. Particularly in the first trimester, often the only food I could stomach eating was something I had consumed lots of growing up: mac and cheese, noodle soup, baked beans, french fries, veggie dogs. I also went through a phase for about two weeks of eating veggie delite sandwiches from Subway almost every day – my favourite fast food from my teenage years.
(I ate the vegan versions of all of these, by the way, which totally hit the spot. I never felt the need to take a craving perfectly literally and I found it very easy to stay vegan. I mean, it was a total non-issue for me.)
My theory is that our clever minds have learned to associate that familiar food with safety, and implicitly recognize that it won’t be toxic to our vulnerable fetuses. In the first trimester especially, many women suffer from nausea and food aversions. I think this probably serves a very important function of making sure that we don’t consume anything toxic when our babies are undergoing their most important development stage – during the first 12 weeks, essentially all of the bodies’ systems are being created from scratch: brains, organs, hearts, you name it. (Later in pregnancy, the primary changes of the fetus are in its growth.)
So wouldn’t it make sense from an evolutionary perspective that our bodies would calm down on the food vigilance when it comes to foods that have proven themselves to be safe over decades?
Bodies are a seriously miraculous, awe-inspiring thing.