What to eat when it seems that everything you eat just makes you sick


Nutritionist Miriam Erick has been helping women with severe morning sickness, or hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), figure out what kinds of foods to eat for decades.

Her four books on the subject include "Take Two Crackers and Call Me in the Morning: A Real-Life Guide for Surviving Morning Sickness," and her biggest piece of advice is "Listen to your cravings - if your body is telling you that it wants something, then just eat whatever that is." Her only caveat: no alcohol - but, other than that, the world is your oyster. Or, maybe, oyster cracker.

Here are some other hints from Erick:

- Bland is not necessarily best for everybody, even though the most common advice is to stick to bland foods such as applesauce and mashed potatoes. It's not unusual for women with HG to seek out spicy or sour food, so follow your instincts.

- Fluids can be more difficult to stomach when you're nauseous, so don't fret about liquids and focus on food first. If you think you can manage it, frozen watermelon cubes or grapes can be good alternatives to traditional fluids. If soda sounds good, don't worry about the sugar too much if it means you're getting necessary fluids into your body.

- Forget ginger - if you want to. Ginger tea is commonly recommended to HG patients to help curb nausea, but, anecdotally, many HG patients say it doesn't help. Noting that constant vomiting will naturally cause a raw throat, Erick says ginger may irritate the throat, which could be why it doesn't agree with some women.

- No matter what it is that you want to eat - whether it's raw cauliflower, Key lime pie or jalapeño poppers - find that one item and eat it in small amounts throughout the day. Eventually you may be able to add a few more items that you can keep down, but it doesn't really matter as long as you're getting some nutrients and calories.

- Give salt a try - the mariner's cure. While reading Julia Alvarez's novel "Saving the World," a passage referring to seawater as a cure for seasickness started Erick on a new line of thinking. Try adding salt to a glass of water or just eating salty crackers or chips; the salt might help quell the nausea, or, at least, make you thirsty for fluids.

- Outside stimuli can have a powerful effect, so you may need to retreat to a small, dark space such as a closet when trying to eat. Not only can noise and light stimulate nausea, but smells - from your kitchen or even your spouse - can also make food even less palatable. Sometimes choosing food that doesn't have a strong odor, or sticking to cold items, can also help.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Food

Eat like a food critic: Introducing our new restaurant reviews dining guide
Eat like a food critic: Introducing our new restaurant reviews dining guide

She doesn’t have a pop name, like Alexa or Siri, but she’s a beauty – with knowledge and opinions for days. Want to find a brunch spot in West Palm Beach? Just ask our new friend. We call her Palm Beach Post Eats. She’s our new digital dining data base, a repository of our restaurant reviews, my special recommendations (of non-reviewed...
Where has this treat been all your life? Canada
Where has this treat been all your life? Canada

You could be forgiven if you’ve never eaten a butter tart. There is no flashy frosting or elaborate lattice to entice you. It’s easy to pass by. But Canadians will tell you that these diminutive treats hold an expanse of flavor and textures: flaky pastry, caramelized crust and a bracingly sweet filling. The butter tart is celebrated in...
Indian food: Why is it so incredibly good?
Indian food: Why is it so incredibly good?

Everything you need to know about Indian food can be found in a single phrase in a cookbook by the otherwise reasonable Anupy Singla.   The book “Indian for Everyone” contains a recipe for Chana Aloo, a meal of curried chickpeas and potatoes. Calling the dish comforting and wholesome, she adds that it is — and this is the...
A Berlin restaurant that cooks without compromise
A Berlin restaurant that cooks without compromise

Despite Berlin’s reputation for its uninhibited night life and progressive counterculture, traditionally the city’s fine dining restaurants have fit within the same ho-hum, predictable mold. In the past few years, several small but ambitious restaurants have managed to break free, but none have managed to match Berlin’s cheeky, creative...
Which foods can help you fight the flu?
Which foods can help you fight the flu?

The flu has hit hard this year with a particularly nasty strain of the virus that has slammed into California without mercy. As the Los Angeles Times reports Some are advising that in addition to the usual rules about getting your flu shot, washing your hands more often and getting enough sleep, you should also think about shifting your diet towards...
More Stories