By the end of week 19, I realize it’s been about a month we arrived in Canada. Cruising speed, weight stable. I’m finding my marks. It’s an exciting adventure to move abroad and do it while pregnant spices it up a little bit more. But so far, so good. It hasn’t been to harsh. Even when it comes to food considering I’m French.
Changing country while pregnant
Planning to move from one country to another during pregnancy comes with tons of questions. It means embracing a new culture and a different approach to prenatal care and recommandations. For what I observed so far – moving from Paris, France to Halifax, Canada – , there is at least one topic that’s recurrent: it’s the importance of healthy eating during pregnancy.
In substance, food guidelines are quite similar in France and in Canada. However, new country means new food culture. And as pregnancy already comes with certain confusion about what’s safe to eat and what’s not, it may seem even more confusing when you arrive in a new country with different food regulations and labels.
That said, from my experience, it’s not such a big deal. But I also cook almost everything that I eat and I didn’t find I had to change my habits so much. So basically, I follow the same food guide I used to do:
No raw meat, fish or eggs
No processed meat
No more then one or two portions of fish per week, preferably low on mercury
Pasteurized cheese only
Fresh fruits & vegetables everyday with precautions: prefering organic & rinsing raw greens with water and vinegar
Low on caffeine
Prefer whole food like whole wheat, pasta and rice
Low on sugar (sometimes this one is harsh)
No kombucha as I’m not 100% sure it’s safe
Being in France or in Canada, doesn’t change that. I may have less choices when it comes to pasteurized cheese (Oh my! I miss my Petit Basque…). But for the rest, it’s not more difficult to follow that diet here.
Food culture in Canada
Now, as a new comer to Canada, people often ask what I think about food here versus France. Well, if I had to name one thing I’m proud about my country of origin, food culture is absolutely top of the list. French gastronomy is undoubtely a big part of the cultural heritage. That doesn’t mean it makes it harder for me to find good products in Canada. Actually, there is a growing community here of people who care for what they eat and farmers for what they grow. So the quality of locally sourced products is rather high and following a positive trend.
However, there is a room for new producers, artisans and chefs to extend the range of Canadian specialty food and dishes and by doing so to develop the Canadian food culture and gastronomy. In fact, it’s an exciting time to be here and take part of it. Finding inspiration both from traditions and from the cultural mix.
Eventually, I confess I had this week one of the best pain au chocolat I had in a long time right here in Halifax, at LF Bakery. Ok the guy is French but this illustrates my point. First, it’s as easy to find good products in Canada as it is in France and second Canadian gastronomy may actually benefit from the great cultural mix that makes the country.