Food Police — The Bump
March 2015 Moms

Food Police

Anyone else dealing with friends commenting / criticizing your food choices? My husband and I are in agreement that we'd prefer to be overly cautious on the suggested foods to avoid during pregnancy (avoiding sushi, lunch meats, soft cheeses, etc.). However, I rarely discuss it with anyone nor do I care if others want to avoid it - I strongly believe each person needs to do what's right with them and what they're comfortable with. 

In the last few weeks we've gone out to dinner and have had two separate friends get on my case about not eating things. Once was in relation to sharing an appetizer (I said I had no problem if they ordered it but wouldn't have any myself only to get grilled on why I wouldn't eat it) and the other I discreetly asked the waiter if it would be possible to omit that ingredient from my meal. Both times I got a lecture on why it's not necessary to not eat those things and millions of pregnant women eat them and are fine. So annoying - I never would lecture to a friend about how they parent or choices they make for their kids. Not sure why people feel the need to comment and judge me on me and my husband's choices for our baby (especially those that clearly have no negative impact!). Anyways - just a vent - curious if others are experiencing the same thing. 
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lacysherman

Re: Food Police

  • Just curious, are these friends second time moms? I find that I'm a lot more lax this time around and I feel like I have that mentality. It's almost like you secretly want everyone to chill out with you. Still not cool to grill you about it though!

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    Chamilton1128
  • I had one coworker that was bothering me about everything, but she quit, and since then, it's been beautiful silence.

    I eat sushi at least once a week, and some of my coworkers said 'are you allowed to do that?' but once I said that my OB said it's okay, they never asked again.
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  • I've had family bug me about laying on my stomach. It's pretty annoying but it's mostly the older women in my family so I just don't do it around them so I don't have to argue.
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  • Honestly, good friends wouldn't harass you and talk down to you if you asked them politely not to discuss the topic.  If they fail to abide by it, then they aren't good friends and there's no reason to eat out with them again.
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  • Both sets of friends who commented are parents of kids who are a bit older (neither currently pregnant). After the one dinner my husband actually commented how aggressive they were in trying to convince me to eat what they had ordered. It was kind of nutty. 

    To your point @lorindriel, the other may have been more of a discussion - though I guess its hard to not feel judged when someone is second guessing you and saying that what you're doing is not necessary. My husband and I both feel that its such a short time relatively that you're pregnant that its a small sacrifice to make to avoid a few foods to reduce risk if possible. That being said, if others disagree that is totally their perogative and I would never question someone who is pregnant that they shouldn't be eating something I personally would avoid. I try to not make a big deal or say anything about it at all (other than to the waiter) so clearly its not something I'm trying to spur conversation on. 
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    lacysherman
  • I get this from friends a lot as I am also very strict about what I don't eat as well. I also got it with my first. I get it mostly from people with a child or two who's only real argument is- well mine turned out fine and I ate xyz. Or the argument of women do it in other countries so it's fine to eat xyz. Super annoying!
    sunset30lacysherman
  • This would annoy the piss out of me honestly. It's your body, your choices, your baby. It would be one thing if you were chugging back liquor left and right but for choosing to abstain from what you stated is ridiculous for them to comment on. Even if they are STM that think those things aren't a big deal, or however they feel about it. It doesn't affect them so why must they open their mouths? This hasn't happened to me but I would just let them know nicely that these are the choices you have made and you would appreciate it if they would support you in this and not bring it up again. I agree with Pele if they keep up, they aren't good friends and aren't worth your time. Good luck!


  • We were having family dinner at my dads and while he was slicing tri-tip my sister said "oh make sure she gets the well done piece dad, she's pregnant and can't eat meat that's not well done" then another time we went to eat burgers and as I bit into my burger she said "Mmmm maybe you should have them cook it more".
    Doesn't really bother me though, I see it as nice that she cares.

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  • No one has told me anything about my food choices, but my boss has given me a hard time about drinking Coke.

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  • I have a friend who always says she ate turkey sandwhiches all the time & other cold cuts & her kids turned out fine. It's like oh ya I don't follow that. Well I just heat my lunch meat first & won't eat at subway cause I think the meat lists sits out & looks gross. It is annoying when people tell you what you can & cannot eat, pretty sure I am the pregnant one & I understand what it's all about!
  • My first trimester I was super cautious: no soft cheeses, sushi, caffeine, alcohol, rare red meat, or lunch meats.  I've gotten a lot more lax about it because hey, kid's almost half baked!  I realize there's still a bit of risk but it's minimal.  C tried to food police me earlier while simultaneously complaining about taking care of the litter box.  I told her the risk of me catching toxoplasmosis is as low as me getting food poisoning from pasteurized soft cheese or flash-frozen sushi so if she'd cool it on my food choices I'd take care of the cat box.  It's a happy arrangement now :) I even enjoy a 2 ounce glass of beer or wine at the end of the day if I want it.  This is where I'm comfortable.

    That being said, if I had a friend who recently got pregnant and chose to restrict her diet for her baby's sake I wouldn't say anything probably.  If she was lamenting about it all the time "Oh, I would give ANYTHING for a bite of sushi!!!!" then I'd probably pipe up and say "Actually..." It's best to be judicious before saying anything to someone about their dietary habits.  If the pregnant woman at hand just prefers to be cautious and doesn't feel like she's missing out on anything, then let it be.  But if she's uninformed of the *actual* risks associated with her favorite foods and she misses them dearly, then it's a good time to say something so she feels reassured and can live her life comfortably while pregnant.

    It sounds like you fall in the former category, OP, unless I misunderstood.  It's perfectly fine to be cautious if that makes you feel more comfortable :) I just knew I would constantly question my actions if I lost the pregnancy early on and wasn't as careful as I thought I should have been (even though I'm aware the vast majority of miscarriages are caused by forces far beyond our control).  If you're happy enough giving up whatever foods you've chosen to eliminate from your diet, tell your friends to buzz off!  It's none of their business anymore than it is for them to tell you "You probably shouldn't be eating that."  I hate when other people try to dictate choices for someone else.  Personally I just ignore it.

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  • luckily I haven't dealt with this much..my SS's BM commented on my eating sushi one night. it was cooked, but she still had a comment to which i ignored.

    a coworker commented once on the seafood alfredo my H made me for my birthday. It was delish and i again ignored it.

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  • lisap0924 said:

    luckily I haven't dealt with this much..my SS's BM commented on my eating sushi one night. it was cooked, but she still had a comment to which i ignored.

    a coworker commented once on the seafood alfredo my H made me for my birthday. It was delish and i again ignored it.

    Wow, people commented on your cooked sushi and seafood alfredo?  Dang!  That's very annoying.
    IUI 08/2013 - natural cycle, BFN
    IUI 10/2013 - Clomid cycle, BFN
    IUI 11/2013 - Clomid cycle, BFN
    IUI 03/2014 - Clomid cycle, BFN
    IUI 05/2014 - Femara + FSH, BFN
    IUI 06/2014 - FSH, BFP! DS born 02/2015

    TTC #2 (and #3)
    W IUI 08/2017 - Femara, BFN
    W IUI 10/2017 - Femara, BFN
    W diagnosed as low AMH
    Me: PCOS
    Myo-Inositol, NAC, prenatals
    IUI 03/2018 - Gonal F - BFN

    INVOcell IVF September 2018 - BFP!!! B/G Twins born 04/2019
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  • The title of this thread continues to irk me. You're not talking about food police, OP. That's when people tell you shouldn't be eating the things that you are.

    You're in the opposite position. Your friends are trying to peer pressure you into eating food that they personally are comfortable eating. If you're not, just shut down the conversation. Maybe they're trying to educate you on the actual risk levels and how certain things really are ok in pregnancy. Or maybe they're just jerks. As long as you're not bitching and moaning about missing sandwiches, then there's not much to talk about, is there?
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  • My first trimester I was super cautious: no soft cheeses, sushi, caffeine, alcohol, rare red meat, or lunch meats.  I've gotten a lot more lax about it because hey, kid's almost half baked!  I realize there's still a bit of risk but it's minimal.  C tried to food police me earlier while simultaneously complaining about taking care of the litter box.  I told her the risk of me catching toxoplasmosis is as low as me getting food poisoning from pasteurized soft cheese or flash-frozen sushi so if she'd cool it on my food choices I'd take care of the cat box.  It's a happy arrangement now :) I even enjoy a 2 ounce glass of beer or wine at the end of the day if I want it.  This is where I'm comfortable.

    That being said, if I had a friend who recently got pregnant and chose to restrict her diet for her baby's sake I wouldn't say anything probably.  If she was lamenting about it all the time "Oh, I would give ANYTHING for a bite of sushi!!!!" then I'd probably pipe up and say "Actually..." It's best to be judicious before saying anything to someone about their dietary habits.  If the pregnant woman at hand just prefers to be cautious and doesn't feel like she's missing out on anything, then let it be.  But if she's uninformed of the *actual* risks associated with her favorite foods and she misses them dearly, then it's a good time to say something so she feels reassured and can live her life comfortably while pregnant.

    It sounds like you fall in the former category, OP, unless I misunderstood.  It's perfectly fine to be cautious if that makes you feel more comfortable :) I just knew I would constantly question my actions if I lost the pregnancy early on and wasn't as careful as I thought I should have been (even though I'm aware the vast majority of miscarriages are caused by forces far beyond our control).  If you're happy enough giving up whatever foods you've chosen to eliminate from your diet, tell your friends to buzz off!  It's none of their business anymore than it is for them to tell you "You probably shouldn't be eating that."  I hate when other people try to dictate choices for someone else.  Personally I just ignore it.

    I totally get what you are saying, but what if this happened: what if your friend was telling you that they had chosen not to eat ANY chicken while pregnant because someone told her that she was supposed to, and she wanted to avoid the risk. Hey, it is slightly inconvenient, but it's not such a problem that she is bitching about it. And anything she can do to keep the baby safe is worth it.

    You KNOW, because you have educated yourself about these things, that the risk from chicken for pregnant women is very, very low. (Undercooked chicken has an increased risk of Salmonella, which can make you sick and miserable, but will not harm the baby, like Listeria will. Salmonella is the same risk for raw fish sushi in the US, actually, and is a much lower risk than undercooked chicken.) 

    In fact, your friend is doing other things that are statistically riskier - like cleaning cat litter or gardening outdoors (risk of toxoplasmosis). Wouldn't you say something to her? She clearly got some bad and/or incomplete advice somewhere.
  • My FIL asked me when I needed to start eating for 2. I later realized he was passive-aggressively commenting on the fact he felt I didn't eat much off my dinner plate. I eat until I'm not hungry, and I never stuff myself to the point of not feeling well. So, fuck off with that noise.

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    JNCPro3130
  • It's only happened to me once. I just responded, "Oh, I eat anything I want. The diet pills will take care of excess junk." That shut her up.

    *And, no, I am not taking diet pills.

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  • I am on the opposite end of the spectrum- bring on the sushi, soft cheeses, lunch meat, etc (all in moderation of course) and guess what? those who are like me get flamed too. I say to each their own.  
    I am finding out very quickly that everyone has 2 cents to put in, and at the end of the day it is what me and DH want that is important. Before I was pregnant, a close friend was pregnant and I constantly saw her being snappy to people on facebook when they would "give advice". In the moment I thought she needed to take a chill pill, but now that I am here, I wish I would be snappy a little more often.
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  • daizedoo said:

    My FIL asked me when I needed to start eating for 2. I later realized he was passive-aggressively commenting on the fact he felt I didn't eat much off my dinner plate. I eat until I'm not hungry, and I never stuff myself to the point of not feeling well. So, fuck off with that noise.

    This is the situation I'm in too. People have asked me at lunch if I'm eating enough because I'm "eating for two now". I explain that I snack on healthy things throughout the day, so I don't eat as much as I used to at lunch. I think people mean well and don't realize they can come across as condescending.

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  • I get so tired of "you need to eat more". Leave me alone. We're visiting my family in the US, and I'm just so done with my mom pressuring me to eat more. I hate it. Also, when I say "no I don't want any more Diet Coke, I've had enough caffeine today", she reminds that she drank tons of Diet Coke throughout her pregnancies. Yeah mom, you also let us sleep on our stomachs. Just because you did it doesn't mean it was the best idea. She's so old fashioned and stuck in her ways, DRIVES ME INSANE. Rant over, sorry.
  • I don't have such annoying friends, lol.  I do have a friend who reminds me I could drink to which I respond, I know I culd have a glass of wine but since DRs dont know exactly how  much alcohol causes fetal alcohol syndrome, I would rather not. 

    The other thing is that I never said/say I dont want something bc of my pregnancy unless its DH.  I just say, "I'm not in the mood/don't feel like it/ it doesn't sound good to me right now/wtc."  Blame it on the food aversions if these are people you can't get away from.

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  • @scarlettc27- Sorry, but I'm not quite sure if I follow what you're saying... If I had a friend who decided to give up chicken entirely for pregnancy I'd ask "Why?"  I've never been told to stay away from chicken (?) unless it's undercooked, sure, but that's common sense for anyone pregnancy or not.

    Rare beef is fine as long as the outside of the meat is cooked well.  That's where the bacteria exist in cow meat.  You can't do that with burgers though since it's ground and bacteria is everywhere (now I DO miss a good medium cooked burger - my brother gave me shit for getting my burger well done.  Yeah, I know, it's not the best but it's still better than nothing).

    As for the risk of toxoplasmosis, it's only there if your cat is indoor/outdoor.  My cat is 100% indoor.  That and most people (75%) who've had cats in the past have probably already been exposed to it anyway so the risk is gone.

    I wouldn't care if my friend gave up chicken or cleaned the litter box.  It's up to her how she wants to handle her life.  I don't say anything unless there's a big red flag (like if she told me she was going to an amusement park while pregnant and told me how excited she was to ride the roller coasters - I'd warn her at that point about the dangers since she may not be aware and danger really *does* exist when you jostle your body around like that).

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  • I am on the opposite end of this where I am much more laid back about what I eat and drink than my pregnant friend. We are both FTMs and she constantly reminds me that she wouldn't eat that, can't believe I took two sips of my husbands wine, is horrorified that I had my hair dyed, etc. When she gets on my case I actually do point to research that shows how relatively safe these things are and remind her that every couple has to decide what is right for them during pregnancy. She also gets on my case about the fact that at 20 weeks I still have ms and constantly reminds me that this is not normal. Drives me insane bc sometimes she implies that it's something I'm doing to cause it. I just go back to the ol' "every pregnancy is different" and my doctors are not concerned.

    I guess this is our first exposure to the mommy wars, right?
  • It does bother me a little when people say "oh I ate lunch meat all the time and my kids are fine." Just because you managed to get through your pregnancy, without eating lunch meat with listeria, doesn't mean that it can't happen to someone else. I actually ate Raw fish, and a ton of lunch meat before I found I was pregnant. Oops! I didn't know. I figured I was fine because tons of women smoke, drink and eat raw foods etc before they find out they're pregnant. I would never intentionally do something that could jeopardize my child's health.

    As a STM the only think I'm a little less strict about is my caffeine. I'm usually good at sticking to one cup of tea, or coffee a day. But sometimes, I really want a coke with dinner. I am such a soda fiend it's not normal. That's been my only vice that I've had trouble cutting. So sometimes I'll have one of those 7oz cokes with dinner if I'm really craving it. And I try not to beat myself up about it.
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  • scarlettc27scarlettc27 member
    edited October 2014

    @scarlettc27- Sorry, but I'm not quite sure if I follow what you're saying... If I had a friend who decided to give up chicken entirely for pregnancy I'd ask "Why?"  I've never been told to stay away from chicken (?) unless it's undercooked, sure, but that's common sense for anyone pregnancy or not.


    I wouldn't care if my friend gave up chicken or cleaned the litter box.  It's up to her how she wants to handle her life.  I don't say anything unless there's a big red flag (like if she told me she was going to an amusement park while pregnant and told me how excited she was to ride the roller coasters - I'd warn her at that point about the dangers since she may not be aware and danger really *does* exist when you jostle your body around like that).

    I just picked chicken as an example; it could have be anything that is perfectly safe for a pregnant woman to eat. On one hand you say, "If I had a friend who restricted her diet for her baby's sake, I wouldn't say anything, probably." You also said, "If  you're happy enough giving up whatever foods you've chosen to eliminate from your diet, tell your friends to buzz off! It's none of their business ... I hate it when other people try to dictate choices for someone else." 

    But if a friend said that she was giving up something totally random and safe like chicken, you said you would say, "why?" Because giving up perfectly safe things doesn't make any sense.

    I'm not defending OP's "friends" for being douche-y and rude, but if a friend tells me they aren't eating pasteurized soft cheeses due to risk to the baby, I would probably ask, "why?" Nicely, of course! It's one thing to warn someone about a danger they may not have heard of (like rollercoasters.) I'm saying a good friend might also feel compelled to warn a friend that some of the dietary restrictions they are putting themselves under are not backed up with data. 

    P.S. Apparently, there is a risk of getting toxoplasmosis from outdoor gardening. Outdoor cats use garden beds as litter boxes. Use gloves if you are a gardener. Interestingly, I've always had cats, some of whom are outdoor/indoor, and I tested negative for exposure to toxoplasmosis. But, as you said, the risk is pretty low.

    Edited to fix quotes, ugh.
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