I ate many a crazy thing when pregnant, but I never thought my taste buds would be permanently altered.
For the better, perhaps? But altered all the same.
For example: I never liked eggs. Not since childhood, when I went through a phase of eating the same prepared breakfast entree — scrambled eggs and home fries — before school. My dad, our resident grocery shopper, would frequently ask me if I wanted something else — anything else! — to eat, but I refused . . . until reaching the point of total egg burnout from which I still haven’t fully recovered.
It’s not just eggs, though; it’s breakfast in general. My dislike of this first meal has roots in a middle school sleepover. Though it was a kind gesture, a friend’s mom made breakfast for us after a birthday slumber party — the kind of greasy feast a college kid might enjoy after an evening of debauchery: sausage links, bacon, pancakes, scrambled eggs. The works.
The peer pressure was strong, friends. My friend, a newly-minted teenager, was curious and slightly mocking at the idea that I wouldn’t hop in and load up a plate with everyone else.
“Who doesn’t like breakfast?” she asked.
And my fate was sealed.
I took a sausage link — my first mistake — and bit into the sizzling casing. Gross. Pancakes are totally fine, so I tried to get away with eating just those — but Mrs. T had plenty of food left from the first round, and the eggs and additional sausage eventually made their way to me.
I know I’m being melodramatic (me? Never), but that one meal ruined me on breakfast for quite a while. I had such a stomachache that day — partially mental, no doubt — that I didn’t want to touch anything other than frozen waffles or sliced deli meat for years to come. Though I’m quite sure my parents managed to sneak something heartier onto my plate from time to time, I rarely remember eating more than a granola bar on my way out the door.
Enter pregnancy. When I was expecting Oliver and, later, Hadley, I couldn’t get enough of that morning meal. I usually had two, or even three, breakfasts: cereal and milk at home, followed by those pinwheel sandwiches from Wawa and a Hot Pocket once I got to the paper. (Fun fact: I once got pulled over because I was so distracted at the idea of getting to my pepperoni breakfast Hot Pocket that I was totally speeding, and I got the fine to show for my cheesy daydreaming.)
Know what was never on my menu? Eggs. Not until much later. Post-babies, I find myself interested in foods that I used to disdain. It could be entirely coincidental . . . but because pregnancy basically throws one’s body into utter tumult, I’ve labeled that the source.
My husband and I have been making a concentrated effort to eat better, so I’ve become friendly with scrambled eggs and their good protein once again. Having a cafeteria at my workplace means plenty of delicious options are always available, so I have to plan ahead and focus on choosing foods that aren’t going to blow my daily calorie goals before 9 a.m.
I still can’t say I love scrambled eggs, but I’m closer to liking them than I have been since my home fries days. The texture doesn’t freak me out as much as it used to, and I value their stomach-filling properties . . . even when I would much rather bite into a cinnamon scone.
That will probably always be there: my itch to load up on sweet carbs. I mean, come on: French toast and syrup versus unsalted egg mush? No contest. But I have been successful at changing my mindset and making healthier choices more often than not, so I give myself credit for that shift.
Now, if only I could lighten up my sweet coffee-creamer usage.
Eh, let’s not get crazy.