My Pregnancy Cravings Are Out of Control!

Jenny Benjamin

banana puddingSomething has happened to me, something that I probably should have seen coming for months. I think maybe I assumed I was impervious, that my body could withstand all temptation and rise above. But no, oh no. In my third trimester, here I am weak, no match for my urges, unable to see clearly through my fog of desire. Yes, after seven months without one single pregnancy craving for ice cream, pickles, or a blood-red steak, suddenly, savagely, my body has been taken over by ravenous little suckers (otherwise known as my sweet little unborn babies) and, as far as they're concerned, it's chow-time ... all the time.

I've always been a big eater -- I feel no shame in that. But, since the beginning of my pregnancy, I made a conscious effort to eat right and exercise, and have spent months mentally high-fiving myself for my generally good eating habits and self-control. People would ask if I'd been having any cravings, to which I'd smugly respond, "Nah, pistachios and Greek yogurt have become my new favorite snacks, but it's not really a craving." And, of course, I was sooooooo righteous, talking (and blogging) about how women shouldn't see pregnancy as an excuse to eat their faces off. Ohhhhh, I had this coming. I totally had this coming.

I feel that the best way to truly illustrate what's been happening to me in the last two weeks is to recount an embarrassing true story that my husband and I have called, "The Banana Pudding Incident." Now, let me preface all of this by saying that The Food Network is sort of like porn to a hungry pregnant lady -- hours and hours of French toast casseroles and double stuffed potatoes -- I dare you to look away! And then, of course, there's Man v. Food on The Travel Channel. Does any other woman in her right mind watch this as much as I do? I mean, they run it every single freaking day, right before dinner, and lots of reruns too, which, FYI, are as good the third and fourth time around. Once upon a time, it was just the shock-and-awe of watching one man consume copious amounts of food. Now, I watch and go, "OMG, those seven pounds of chili cheese fries look so so so good."

Anyway, a week or two ago, right before dinner, I'm watching Man v. Food -- already a brilliant plan. The host is, as usual, tackling some eat-your-face-off challenge, but all I can seem to focus on is the very large banana pudding in front of him, complete with whipped cream and chunks of yellow cake. And for the rest of the night, all I could think about was banana pudding. I thought maybe the feeling would pass -- my husband and I would eat dinner, maybe I'd have a piece of fruit, and the pudding would drift off in my memory.

No, that's not what happened. Two hours later, after a filling, well-balanced dinner, followed by a Weight Watchers ice cream bar, I still couldn't stop thinking about the banana pudding. I felt like I was teenager in love, wondering what Banana Pudding was doing right now, was Banana Pudding thinking about me like I was thinking about it, would I get to see Banana Pudding tonight. And, of course, I just couldn't stop talking about Banana Pudding either, to the point that my husband finally had to say, "What's with you and banana pudding?" Clearly, he felt threatened.

Finally, I realized I couldn't ignore my need any longer. So, I started trying to map out a plan with my husband. It went something like this, with me doing all the talking and my husband looking at me like I might be crazy: "Do you think it's worth it for me to drive to West Hollywood for that banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery? Do you think there's anywhere close by that has banana pudding? Would Yelp be able to direct me to a local place that might have banana pudding? What if nowhere is open? Am I better off making it? I guess I could always make Jell-O banana pudding, but it's really not the same and then I'd have to make a yellow cake too, or I could buy a yellow cake. No, I really want the real deal banana pudding. You know what, I'm going to go to the store and buy stuff to make banana pudding. Where are my keys?"

At that point, my husband stopped me and asked if, at 9 o'clock on a Wednesday night, I was really planning on driving to the store to buy all the ingredients and then make banana pudding. "Yes, of course I'm serious, it's not even that late. Why are you looking at me like that?" Wisely, he suggested that perhaps I should look up the recipe online, see what it really entailed, and then, if I still felt like I needed to stay up making banana pudding, so be it.

If any of you are bakers, you know how this tale ends. I'd like to say it had a happy ending -- that I made my banana pudding and curled up on the couch watching The Real Housewives until the wee hours, eating every last bite of my delicious homemade treat. But, alas, my recipe search yielded some disappointing news: banana pudding from scratch needs to refrigerate overnight! Overnight?! My heart sank, my will deflated. Even my husband's suggestion to go get ice cream or pick up some brownie mix couldn't lift my sad spirits. I eventually shuffled off into the kitchen and made some cookies from dough we had in the freezer. It wasn't banana pudding, but it at least scratched the itch.

And, of course, as I'm learning these things go, by the next morning, I was totally over it, couldn't even remember what I thought was so great about banana pudding to begin with. Just a day or two later, I watched the host of Man v. Food consume a ten-pound burrito, and once again, was struck by a sudden, intense, must-have-you-now craving for nachos, a taco combo platter, something cheesy and spicy and full of beans. I turned to my husband, with that desperate, crazy-eyed look on my face, and he just knew. "How about we get Mexican food for dinner?" I'm telling you, chips and guac never tasted so good!

What were your crazy pregnancy cravings?

Image via arnold inuyaki/Flickr  

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