“…So sleek, so fair! What a joy to meet! We only wish to catch a fish, So juicy-sweet!” This is part of a song sung by the semi-loveable Gollum from Lord of the Rings as he tries to catch fish for a nice raw meal. His excitement and hunger for that raw fish meat- oh I know it all so well now! Week 14 of pregnancy has come and the Baby Lagarto in me is making me turn into Gollum! I’ve been asked if I have had any weird cravings, and the only craving thus far has been peanut butter. But now, the “Gollum” inside has awaken and I am craving every day raw salmon! Yep, not cooked salmon, but RAW salmon!!!! My mouth waters at the thought of eating some raw salmon sushi or smoked salmon.
I know here in the United States eating sushi or raw fish is a no-no because of possible bacteria or parasites you may contract (I understand, I am a parasitologist after all and probably one of the few that LOVE and will eat sushi without batting an eye). Interestingly, Japanese women regularly eat sushi during pregnancy and it is considered a good source of neonatal nutrition. There has been no medical complications associated with eating sushi in Japan, and considering their culture is more concerned and zealous about public health and hygiene than the US, guarantee if there was any REAL correlation of eating sushi and harming your unborn child, the government would have intervened by now (Shaw-New York Times, 2007. Interesting article!). In my opinion, eating sushi being pregnant is just as dangerous as not being
pregnant. And given I already have a plethora of parasites I’ve collected from all around the world (I haven’t dewormed myself since 2008, and likely have Toxoplasma gondii floating around in my system which is a badass parasite- look it up! Since 2008, I have eaten bugs, street food, balut, etc from all sorts of “food sources”, raw, cooked, you name it!), if Baby Lagarto is getting along and surviving so far, I think she’ll be fine with Mama eating a bit of sushi, particularly salmon, ever so often. And although this following statement may sound harsh, given my travels around the world, and having a variety of friends internationally, I’ve
come to realize how over-bearing doctors and mothers can be in the United States. A lot of the “no-no’s” are really culturally and opinion based, more-so than based on scientific research or evidence. So given my scientific background, if the science (along with some medical doctors and researchers telling me it’s ok) say it is not bad to eat sushi while pregnant, I’m eating sushi/raw salmon.
So the Gollum within me was very satisfied this past week- lots of salmon, raw and cooked. I’m likely craving the salmon for those Omega-3’s which are sooo good for the baby’s brain development. Given this past week with my work, my own brain was working overtime: identifying turtle and alligator parasites; reading for hours a day on parasites, mangrove ecology, and crocodilian biology; and getting creative on how to create a mesocosm experiment for my postdoctoral research in Belize in a couple of months. Not to mention prepping for my meetings at UCSB next week and dealing with IUCN/CSG stuff. So, although I’m not craving anchovies and pickles on ice cream, give me my peanut butter and salmon! I think people internationally, no matter religion, culture, ethnicity, can all agree it’s not good to get in the way of a pregnant woman and her cravings 😉