Tuesday, March 11, 2008


It turns out that not only are you not suppose to eat laundry detergent, you shouldn't even want to.

I'm not talking about Andrew.

I have noticed lately that my senses are in hyperdrive. I have loved eating ice and loved the feel of scooping out a bit of laundry detergent and pouring it in the washing machine. I originally thought: wow! Look how pregnancy helps me appreciate everyday tasks.

Today I saw my doctor and she mentioned pica. Pica is a condition caused from low iron levels that makes people want to eat non-foods.

She asked me about my vitamin...as in "are you taking them?" And I admitted that I wasn't. My excuses? I have a really hard time swallowing pills and Flintstones chewables taste terrible from the moment you put them in your mouth until about 20 minutes later. So after the 1st trimester I gave up.

She said that she did not take vitamins either for her second pregnancy, but that she developed pica. She craved ice. Wanted to eat it all the time. And then a little bell went off. I have been going through two trays of ice a day. Not really eating it...well not until it was small enough to eat at least. And then I thought about the laundry detergent. And my love for it. And how maybe I shouldn't love it that much.

So on my way home from the doctor's I picked up some gummy vitamins. Maybe that will do the trick. Maybe that will regulate my senses and I can re-develop a healthy relationship with laundry detergent.

Until then, I am off to start another load.


Susan said...

As soon as I read that first sentence I thought, uh-oh, Robyn has pica. That's low iron levels. Your doctor said that, right? So if your vitamins don't have iron they aren't going to help too much (though Vit C will help you absorb iron in your food). That might explain feeling like you were going to faint the other day, too. You know what helped me was liquid chlorophyll. I know that sounds gross but it's natural and doesn't even taste nasty. In fact I got some that was mint flavored. I added a splash to water every day and got mint water--very delicious in pregnancy! You might check a health-food store. Chlorophyll really helped me not faint when I was pregnant with Margaret.

Okay, enough free advice from me, today. Get some iron!

Susan said...

Uh . . sorry, you did mention iron in your post. Reading too fast! Anyway, chlorophyll, dude.

Eric said...

You can also use a cast iron pan ( a favorite of mine)Iron leaches into the food that you cook in it.
Just my $.02 for ways to get iron without the pills.

Holly said...

Eeww! I love this story though, you wrote it very well. And 2 trays of ice! Wow, that's a lot of ice! I craved spaghetti-os once when I was pregnant but definitely nothing like detergent!

thedanceofthegates said...

No wonder you've been tired! And with a lot of vegeterian meals!

When I was in my third trimester all I wanted to eat was red meat. My mom would make me this tater tot casserole, which is actually kind of gross (ground beef, green beans, tator tots, and cream of mushroom soup) and I could eat half the pan.

Susan said...

I've had friends who had to fight the urge to eat the kids' chalk. Yuck.

I read an article a few weeks ago about the trend of ice-chewing. Apparently it's so big that a lot of people get their own ice machines in their kitchens. Crazy. The conclusion of the article was that a whole lot of people are probably iron-deficient.

Loralee said...

Sounds like you got the vitamin thing sorted out... what I want to know is what's in the pans! Looks mighty tasty!

Melissa said...

Pica and ice? I thought it was dirt and stuff? I was OBSESSED with ice during my second pregnancy. If we were out, Chris would always just pass his ice to me after he had a drink without even asking. The thing is...my iron levels were always great?! Can it be a non-pica thing, too?

I HATE those horse pills when I'm pregnant. It helped me some to take them right before bed, but I always told Chris it was good prep for labor, because I had to talk myself through it and just do what I had to do. The more I thought about it and gave myself the option to not take it, the trickier (and gaggier) things got.

Good luck!

P.S. How about substituting blackstrap molasses for sugar in all your yummy treats?

Firefly said...

Hey Robyn,

A friend of mine recently had to get her iron levels way up in preparation for a very serious surgery. They gave her all sorts of supplements and still her iron levels weren't high enough. So I looked it up in Healing With Whole Foods and sent her these tips (which worked so well she passed the iron tests every time after she started using them). Especially successful with oysters...:

"The nutrients most often needed to cure blood deficiencies are iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12. Adequate protein is also essential. Of these nutrients, insufficient iron is the most prevalent cause of anemia, but it is not always cured simply with the addition of iron. In order to absorb iron, one needs adequate copper and B vitamins, as
well as vitamin C.

"Good sources of iron are distributed widely among plant foods, including vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds. Moreover, when a variety of these foods is consumed in their unrefined states, abundant protein, copper, and B vitamins necessary for iron absorption will be available. Sufficient vitamin C is also available from certain of these foods."

"Legumes, most vegetables and whole grains, and the common micro-algae such as spirulina contain significant amounts of iron. Seaweeds, including kelp, dulse, wakame, and hijiki, are exceptional sources of both iron and iodine."

"the richest sources of iron . . . are algae, including both seaweeds and micro-algae such as spirulina."

"Folic acid is found in abundance in micro-algae, sprouts, leafy greens, and chlorophyll-rich foods in general, but it is easily lost in prolonged cooking. Eating raw or lightly steamed greens or sprouts
regularly ensures ample folic acid in the diet."

"When blood deficiency is severe, animal products may be necessary: try royal jelly, gelatin, carp soup, mussels, oysters, the liver of beef, lamb or chicken; also chicken gizzard."

thedanceofthegates said...

That's also very medically sound advice from Healing with Whole Foods (if that matters...).