Saturday, October 31, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
From doctor’s visits to weight gain, everything in Italy is completely different than the U.S. pregnancy. So in preparation for this post, I spoke to the Italian ladies who I teach as well as a teacher at my school (who is an American) to get the Italian version. I also posted some questions to Facebook for my American friends so that I could compare the two. The results were actually quite fascinating.
First let’s start with weight. According to ALL of the books I’ve read so far, as well as the American College of OB/GYN, the average woman should gain about 25-35 pounds (11-16 kilograms). Of course, that will vary if the woman is overweight, obese, or underweight. So, depending on you and your doctor, your target weight could be anywhere from 10-40 pounds (4.5-18 kilograms).
This news is quite shocking to the Italian mind! My doctor and I discussed my target weight at my last appointment. We talked about my pre-baby weight loss and the fact that my body was used to carrying 20 lbs more than what I am. Therefore as long as I don’t go over 20 lbs I was ok but my goal is 15 lbs (almost 7 kilograms).
With the responses I received from the Americans, 70% of my friends were within the 25-35 lbs guidelines ad 30% went over. For their 2nd pregnancy, 60% weighed less than their 1st & 40% gained more and for the 3rd pregnancy 70% weighed less than the 1st & 2nd pregnancies and 30% weighed more than the 2nd but less than the 1st. While processing this information, I couldn’t help but think of the Italian ladies who were shocked at these numbers. They really couldn’t believe that someone would gain 60lbs (27 kilograms) for 1 child. [more than 1 person gave this answer to one of my questions] Both sides, were the same when it came to the 1st trimester. Some only gained a few pounds while other lost weight. When they questioned why someone would gain so much weight for 1 baby, my only response was, “Because they are eating for two.”
In my opinion, most Americans see pregnancy as a way to finally eat anything they desire, where as Italians (maybe most Europeans) see food as energy. My mother-in-law always tells me that I’m “eating for two” when she give me more food after I say “stop, that’s enough”. I keep telling her, “I’m eating for me, the 2nd person is only the size of (insert appropriate size)” Of course, I need my energy so, I will eat what I need to, but I don’t want to overdo it and add more weight than needed. (that’s the Italian way of thinking) My doctor has told me that I really should only gain the baby weight meaning, Baby, placenta & amniotic fluid...... and that’s it!
I spoke to the American girl who teaches English at the school I work at. She is expecting her first child in December. She has only gained 12 kilos (25lbs) and her doctor told her that she has gained too much! Her mother-in-law even told her she was “huge”. I assure you, Jenny is not huge! She’s all belly and that’s it! To me, she looks small. As for the other Italians, they all gained 10 kilograms (22lbs) or less. One lady I talked to gained 16 kilograms (35lbs)... but she was had TWINS!
When it comes to cravings, Americans give in to everything their hearts desire. One of my questions to my friends was “What did you crave and did you give in?” Everyone answered that, “YES!” they gave in all of the time to their cravings. Everything from watermelon, pickles, apples, crackers, salad, Mexican & Italian foods. If they wanted it, they ate it. I asked this same question to the Italians and their response...... “I didn’t crave anything.” As I asked this question again, I got the same answer. I wondered how that was possible and I still haven’t quite figured it out.
I have come to this conclusion, as Americans, we feel obligated to give in because we’re expecting and therefore we have the right to indulge in our desires.(all of these books tell you it’s ok “as long as you don’t overdo it”) Italians feel obligated to continue to their lifestyle of eating regardless of their status. Americans eat a lot of processed foods. Canned, frozen, ready made & fast foods... it’s a staple of the American way, filled with added salt, fat and other ingredients you can’t pronounce. Italians eat fresh foods grown by local farmers, use fresh ingredients while making that homemade tomato sauce for their pasta. So, they are able to eat that gelato for desert if they want. Not to mention, Americans rely on their cars to get them where they need to go. Italians rely on their legs,feet and public transportation. So, they get that added exercise to help balance out the food intake and weight gain.
I’ll say this again, I’m in my 4th month..... and I haven’t gained any weight yet. You might think that I’m still too early in my pregnancy to add that much weight, but let me show & tell you what I’ve been eating... (especially this past weekend).
I’ve been craving American/Tex-Mex foods: Ranch & Blue Cheese dressing, Quesadillas, Eggs & Potatoes, Eggs & Sausage, Biscuits & Sausage Gravy, Cornbread & Chili, Ham sandwiches, and finally.... Cheeseburgers. I can honestly tell you that I’ve eaten all of the above except for the Blue Cheese dressing. In addition, I’ve also had pizza, gelato, focaccia, more gelato and endless cups of Hot Chocolate made with Nutella.
2 weeks ago, we had a cold front, so I made Biscuits & Sausage Gravy
this past Friday, it was still a little chilly, so I made Cornbread & Chili for lunch
Then on Friday night, we had dinner at Mamma Adelasia's. The first course was Minestra
and the second course was Arrosto with mashed potatoes, & roasted bell peppers
(arrosto is turkey breast, egg & creamed spinach rolled up and roasted in the oven)
Saturday, I was treated to breakfast in bed!
Peach juice, water, butter cookies, a croissant filled with Nutella and another filled with Apricot jam
I happily ate the breakfast my husband prepared for me and enjoyed the view from my bed
For lunch, I ate more Cornbread & Chili.
For dinner, we met my new friend (and blog reader) Jill and her boyfriend Florent for pizza
By Sunday, we toned down the food by eating pasta for lunch and gelato for dinner. Then I got hungry again so, I had a slice of Focaccia before going back home.
So, dear blog reader, there you have it! We shall wait and see what the next few weeks will look like and how much weight I will gain by the 5th month.
1 kilogram = 2.2 lbs
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
It has helped a bit. I can understand a lot of what is being said but I still have a hard time. One thing that Carlo has teased me about is my "YouTube Make up lesson". You see one day, I was on You Tube and I kept clicking on a lot of different videos. I came across one that I thought was kinda fun. It was a makeup tutorial in Italian. I sat there and watched it and I didn't understand a single word. I watched some of the other videos and didn't understand anything. So, the next day, I sat in front of my computer with a dictionary and kept trying to find these words that I didn't know. Slowly, I started to understand a few words and started spending money... on Makeup! I love to wear makeup but was never really sure of how to wear certain things.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Next, add your hamburger meat
then, eggs, parsley, salt, & flour
then add grated parmesan cheese- amount.... as much as you want! (maybe about 1/3 cup)
Mix all ingredients together (with clean hands of course) making sure the bread is well incorporated and there are no big chunks of bread left.
On a plate- (or paper bag like i did) spread flour. Roll each meatball to size and then roll in flour, then lightly patting each one.
(you don't want to coat the meatball in too much flour but just lightly)
For the sauce: saute onions in oil on a low flame. (just enough oil to cover bottom of pot)
Add tomato sauce into pot and big to slow boil and stirring constantly. Once it is at a slow boil, transfer to a big pot or large skillet and put back on low flame and cover with lid.
In a separate skillet, heat olive oil on low flame. (not too much to completely cover the meatballs but a little more than just the bottom of the skillet) Once you oil is hot, add polpette.
Constantly turn the polpette so they are cooking evenly and not getting burned. Once they are starting to turn golden brown (on all sides), transfer the meatballs into the skillet with the sauce and cover with lid.
Continue until all of the meatballs are cooked in the skillet with sauce. **If you can't fit all of the meatballs in the skillet with the sauce, then continue to fry until done. DO NOT over crowd the skillet so that you can stir the meatballs and sauce to prevent burning** Let meatballs simmer on low flame for about 20-30 minutes.
Using the same skillet (after washing it) I added my Olive oil and set the flame to medium-medium low. Then proceeded to fry!
Each time I put a new batch in the bowl, I made sure to salt them immediately.
Here's Carlo's plate. As we waited for the french fries, we ate most of the fried meatballs that did not fit in the skillet but left some so that I could take a picture!
So there you go! I loved it when my mother-in-law made them and now.... I can make them whenever I want!! (thanks to Carlo of course, for asking his mom to show me how to make them)
Sunday, October 11, 2009
With my agenda and this blog, I've learned a whole new way to keep a journal. It doesn't mean you must write down everything single detail in a book but something simple as what you did on June 26, 2009.. which was my mom's Colonoscopy with Dr. Franko at PDC, then shopping at NorthPark, and a stop at Bank of America. (I also included things like where we ate too!)
Now that I am expecting, I hope to be better at Journal writing and adding things like how I feel on each day or what I look like in the mirror. So far, I've written about my positive pregnancy test (which was Thursday, August 27) and appointments but hopefully I'll remember to add more emotional entries in my Moleskine.
Oh.. and speaking of pregnancy stuff....
thanks to the not-so-tech-savy people at Ospedale Martini, here's a fuzzy picture of our little meatball. It's not the best quality, but at least it's something.
Monday, October 5, 2009
So now, here's what my side of the wardrobe looks like (keep in mind I haven't washed anything yet)