PREGNANT WOMEN CAN EAT WHAT THEY WANT BUT IN SMALL PORTIONS

ASSOC. PROF. DR. GÜRKAN ARIKAN RECOMMENDS A NUTRITION PLAN THAT INCLUDES RED MEAT INTO MEDITERRANEAN DIET FOR PREGNANT WOMEN. HE HAS ONE WARNING: “YOUR RISK OF FOOD POISONING IS HIGH, DO NOT EAT OUTSIDE!”

THE MENU OF THE MONTH
Mozzarella Salad
Shrimp with Garlic and Salmon Cubes
Sultan’s Delight
Austrian Style Apple Strudel

Getting the right and healthy nutrition during the pregnancy period is very important for both the mother and the future of the baby. When expecting mothers consider getting the right nutrition for the sake of safe and sound birth of their babies, on the other hand they also calculate about the weight that they are going to be gaining during their pregnancy and how to lose the excess weight once the baby is born.

The motto that suggests ‘you have two lives now, you need to eat for two’ doesn’t certainly make things easier on expecting women in our society. According to Obstetrics and Gynecology Specialist Assoc. Prof. Dr. Gürkan Arıkan, the idea about a pregnant woman having two lives is correct but the part that suggests eating for two is wrong. Arıkan who has spent 20 years in Austria during his specialty process in this proficiency emphasizes that the women in both Turkey and Europe struggle with nutrition during their pregnancy. However, he highlights that arranging a healthy diet would be enough for pregnant women.

He mentions that as long as the mother gets the right nutrition during her pregnancy, her baby also gets the right nutrition and becomes strong and healthy just as the mother does. We visited Assoc. Prof. Dr. Arıkan and food stylist İnci Bak in their food workshop named eat.drink.shoot and they prepared a menu consists of different nutrients to show that pregnant women can eat anything they want. Arıkan who cooks practical shared some important details about nutrition during pregnancy and gave us the recipes of his dishes that he presented in a way a professional cook would do.

Why did you think cooking international dishes?
The menu is for pregnant women and what they need the most is Omega 3, iron, protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. I was also careful about the calorie count. To show that they have a large variety of options I wanted to give light and different examples from the world cuisine. I have prepared a menu that consists of mozzarella salad from Italy, salmon and shrimp from the Mediterranean cuisine, the famous Ottoman dish named Hünkârbeğendi (Sultan’s Delight) and finally Austrian Style Apple Strudel. I did’t use a cream sauce thinking that it might be too much for pregnant women. We recommend many nutrients for expecting mothers; therefore, they can eat anything they want in each food group. However, the portion size is very important. They are going to eat less… The formula is that simple.

So, you don’t want them to cut down on some food groups not to gain weight…
There is no such thing as pregnancy diet or cancer diet. What we recommend for pregnant women is the same thing that we recommend to a normal person. They are not supposed to consume over 1500 calories. They should consume these calories in three main meals and in three snacks between the meals. The thought of ‘You have two lives now, you need to eat for two’ is wrong. If the mother gets healthy nutrition, her baby gets healthy nutrition and this is enough. The diet should include carbohydrates, protein, and small amount of olive oil. The Mediterranean diet is highly suitable for pregnant women. While they are expecting their baby, they are also going to be following an anti-aging diet. Their cells are going to be renewed. Fish is heavily consumed in the Mediterranean diet. Pregnant women should include also red meat into this diet.

The menu includes both seafood and red meat. I think expecting mothers should prefer them both.
Fish and meat takes an important part in nutrition of pregnant women. It is fine if they don’t consume them every day. However, they should consume seafood and meat at least two times of each in a week. Especially, the nutrients that contain Omega 3 should be included in their nutrition plan. However, the portions are supposed to be small. In addition, when they are preparing meals they should reduce the use of fat, sugar, and flour. Certainly, a balanced nutrition is a must. We recommend them not to eat everything in the same meal. For example, they can eat one thing at lunch and another at dinner. The largest amount of the calories is supposed to be taken at breakfast, then less at lunch and then the least at dinner. We usually recommend to people not to eat after 6 or 7 pm, but this is not valid for pregnant women. They can have some butter, homemade jam, honey, cheese, olives, and eggs for breakfast.

What about bread?
They should prefer whole grains that are not going to increase their blood sugar rapidly. Cutting down on bread is not right. Blood sugar is important, because it has to be well balanced during the whole pregnancy. Sodas, and sweetened fruit juices are unfavorable. They cause glycemic load. They should avoid fatty foods.

Most women work and they have to eat out. How do prepared foods affect pregnancy?
We find eating out risky. Unfortunately, we see too many cases of food poisoning. Food may not be fresh and cause trouble. Everyone is supposed to be careful about this, but especially pregnant women should be more careful, because they carry two lives. They are actually more sensitive, so even electrolyte imbalance affects them. Especially seafood, green salads, cakes, and foods that contain eggs carry high risk of not being fresh. Either they should eat at restaurants that they can trust or they should bring something from home. So, get a lunchbox…

MOZZARELLA SALAD
100 gr. fresh basil, a few stalks of parsley and mint, 2 tomatoes, 2 tbsp olive oil, salt, 2 tbsp of balsamic sauce, 1 tbsp of grape vine vinegar, 1 baguette
Directions: Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella in cubes and arrange them onto a plate. Sprinkle them with basil, parsley, and mint. Add the oil, vinegar, and balsamic sauce and serve with the sliced baguette.

SHRIMP WITH GARLIC AND SALMON CUBES
4 jumbo shrimps, 1 piece fillet of salmon, 2 dessert spoon of butter, 6 cloves of garlic, one stalk of parsley, 1 tsp of tomato paste, red pepper flakes, salt
Directions: Sauté first the shrimps, and then salmon that you sliced in cubes with one and a half dessert spoon of the butter. Add the parsley and stir. Make space in the middle of the wok to sauté garlic and tomato paste with the rest of the butter. Then, add the pepper flakes and salt. Mix all of the ingredients and serve.

SULTAN’S DELIGHT
500 gr. lamb meat sliced in cubes, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 medium onions, 5 medium eggplants, 150 gr. grated parmesan cheese, 2 tbsp of each butter and flour, 1 cup of milk, juice of half lemon, salt and pepper
Directions:
Meat: Finely slice the onion and sauté with oil. Add the meat, and salt and pepper to taste. Add hot water until the meat and the water at the same level. Cook over medium heat until the meat is tender.
Delight: Barbecue the eggplants after pricking them a few times with a knife. Peel and soak them in water with lemon juice for 10 minutes. Sauté the flour in a pot with 2 tbsp of butter. Drain the eggplants and slice them thinly. Then add them into the pot. After stirring a while, add the milk slowly. Cook until the sauce becomes thick. Add salt and grated cheese; stir one last time, then turn off the heat. Place the delight onto a plate and add the meat on top. Serve hot.

AUSTRIAN STYLE APPLE STRUDEL
2 sheets of puff pastry, 4 apples, 1 small jar of apricot marmalade, 1 cup of flour, powdered sugar, one pinch of cinnamon, handful of walnut pieces.
Directions: Place the marmalade onto the puff pastry sheet; add apples sliced in cubes, walnut pieces, and cinnamon on top. Make a thick roll. Place it onto the wax paper. Repeat steps with the other piece of puff pastry. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and bake 5 more minutes. Wait for it to cool down for a while before slicing to serve.