Gotta not have KD, if I can help it


*Love this old packaging. “The special macaroni and the grated cheese”

A little note: This post is on a topic related to pregnancy; obviously I will continue to write about such things, but please know that my brain and soul are still very much affected by infertility, and there will plenty of other posts to come that reflect this. At the very least, you can rest assured that I won’t be indulging in any annoying pregnancy memes.

I kind of only half-believe in pregnancy cravings. On the one hand, I have a friend who was lactose intolerant and when she got pregnant, she had these intense cravings for cheese — and weirdly, the intolerance suddenly disappeared and she was able to eat dairy again. That seemed legit, for some reason. On the other hand, I see women going mental for pickles and ice cream during their pregnancies, blaming it on the fetus, and I think, “Girl, that is just the same old YOU wanting those things and giving yourself an excuse to actually have them now that you’re knocked up.”

As y’all know, I’ve had zero symptoms throughout this pregnancy, starting from the moment Right On Time Blastocyst was transferred into my ute up until today, when I’m nearing the 10-week mark (we think, we hope, knock on wood, please please please please), and that includes cravings. OK fine, I recently purchased an enormous bag of sour keys, but that’s a one-off thing. Anyway, the closest I’ve come to cravings is with two particular items: Kraft Dinner, and a McDonald’s cheeseburger.

Normally, I could care less about processed cheese. It’s vile, and basically made of plastic and MSG. But a few weeks ago, someone brought a bunch of McDonald’s cheeseburgers to a dinner party (sort of as a joke, but not really) and I decided to eat half of one, just for nostalgia’s sake. My husband glared at me, as if I was effectively poisoning our unborn child and guaranteeing some sort of birth defect or behavioural disorder. I didn’t care, though — it tasted SO effing amazing. It took all of my will power not to go in for a second helping. And now, I probably think about McDonald’s cheeseburgers once every day.

Then, the KD (known in the U.S. as Kraft Macaroni and Cheese) — like most Canadians, this was one of the first “meals” I learned how to cook, and it got me through my university years. Everyone has different (and very strong) opinions on how, exactly, it should be prepared and consumed, and my personal stance is that you need to use half of the pasta in the box but ALL of the cheese. Or rather, “cheese”. By doing so, it’s basically like eating a bowl of hot, gooey Cheetos (win!). Always use both milk AND butter to melt it. And then eat half of it just as it is, then the other half slathered in ketchup. Most importantly, never substitute with white cheddar KD, microwaveable KD or imitation KD.

Anyway, once again, this admittedly disgusting product hadn’t entered my mind for years, but then I started reading all these articles about Michael Moss’s new book, Salt Sugar Fat. He explains how companies like Kraft created processed foods decades ago with semi-decent intentions — usually to cut costs or help women prepare their meals faster, to free up more time for other pursuits (like, you know, careers). But using cheaper ingredients meant the stuff would taste gross unless they added tons of extra salt, sugar or fat. It got out of control, and now North Americans are so addicted to these specific flavours that any attempt to lessen the amount of crap in a product almost always fails.

You’d think I would read about all this and say to myself, “I’m so glad we don’t eat any processed foods now — thank god I gave up on KD years ago!” But instead, all I can think is, “Mmmmm…. Kraft Dinner…..” And, like, I think this thought ALL THE TIME.

Are these two horrible items, of all things, really going to turn into legitimate pregnancy cravings?! You would think that, as someone who consumed two glasses of wine each night with dinner, I might be missing alcohol. Or craving something more mainstream, like chocolate. Nope. It seems the girl who can usually be found baking kale chips or making quinoa salads is no longer. I’m too busy battling with my inner Honey Boo Boo. Or at least my inner 19-year-old. ANYONE HAVE ADVICE? PLEASE?

Footnote: I’m currently searching for someone to make a special pilgrimage with me to Illinois, to witness this holiest of holy structures. Please let me know if you’re that someone.

23 thoughts on “Gotta not have KD, if I can help it

  1. I had NO IDEA that Canadians had a special relationship with Kraft mac & cheese. I also grew up on it. And I’ve also always eaten half plain and half with ketchup squirted on and mixed in. And I honest to god thought I had MADE UP the ketchup thing. Like I was the only person in the world who did it. Like I was the only one whose ketchup from the hot dog accompaniment had EVER accidentally made it’s way onto the mac and cheese side of the plate. I’ve been called a weirdie for this for over 20 years. I am shocked to find I am not alone. Also, I want it. Right now. And don’t feel bad. I indulge in it about once a month. It’s the taste of my childhood. Why would I cut that out of my life completely? I could eat dog poop once a month and probably be fine. A little sugarsaltfat here and there (as long as it’s truly here and there) is nothing.

  2. Yes, sister! I hear you loud and clear on this one!

    I ate really well for the first few weeks after finding out there were two babies in there, and then…something took over. All I wanted was KD, McDonald’s, and fries. I ate a double Filet-O-Fish, for goodness sakes.

    If you’re like me, those cravings will subside. I’m back on carrots and hummus, and salads don’t make me want to ralph anymore.

    Babies like garbage, what can I tell you?

  3. I have to admit I’ve never been a fan of KD. I was always more of a Velveeta and shells kind of girl.

    Anyway, I’m afraid I have no advice for you about the processed food cravings. I’ve mostly been craving crap and I have no idea why. It seems that my tastes have reverted back to my childhood: fish sticks, mac and cheese, cherry Kool-Aid, ketchup chips and, yes, McDonald’s cheeseburgers. (The latter is particularly horrifying for me because I became a vegetarian over a decade ago. That’s kind of gone out the window now.) If you figure out how to break free from these cravings, let me know!

  4. First, I am incredibly jealous of your lack of symptoms. You hit the jackpot, my friend.
    I haven’t had any cravings, just aversions (except I did see a taco bell commercial the other day and I really wanted it even though I hate taco bell). Boxed Mac and cheese is one of the few things I can tolerate. I do love Kraft, but I have been getting organic versions to help myself feel better about it. But they aren’t quite the same and now all this talk of it makes me want good ole’ Kraft. Honestly, I don’t think it would hurt you or the baby to indulge every once in a while.

  5. KD and Ramen got me through the lean years too. Now when I make mac and cheese I use real cheese and control the amount of salt as much as possible. I usually crave veggies more so when I’m pregnant. I have to be careful of the raw veggies with my digestive issues or else I’ll be puking them back quickly.

  6. Those are definitely “cravings” that you’re having, friend. No two ways about it! :) The nostalgia craving seems to be especially prevalent and strong. I had a bag of cheetos and a butterfinger bar for dinner once. And I am also the girl who used to have kale chips and quinoa for dinner. I used to put organic vegetable on my organic vegetables. I had to just accept that I would eat mac and cheese 4 days in a row and try not to beat myself up. The placenta is a wonderful thing and it will always attempt to filter out all the junk you’re putting in your belly, so baby gets the nutrition it needs. Ah, science!

  7. Wait I live in Chicago and I have never seen that KD noodle structure. I googled it and it is a thing- I guess they move it around (in 2010 it was near Wrigley Field). The things you learn….

  8. I didn’t know us Canadians ate even more KD than people from the states! I haven’t eaten it in years either, and I know it is bad for you… but God it tastes good!! If I get pregnant, and I crave KD you better believe I’m making it.

    p.s. you are absolutely right. KD cannot be substitued for any other version :)

  9. I’m going to admit right now that Eric and I eat Kraft Mac N Cheese a few times a month (ok, up to once a week). He LOVES it and I indulge his whims, but for us the key ingredient is tuna fish, which is interestingly the one thing I have been craving nonstop. I also put a generous helping of peas on top. When I was a little kid my mom used to let us pick our favorite meal to have on our birthdays and would serve it on the good china, which is why every May we had Kraft Mac n Cheese with tuna fish and peas (come on, it even rhymes) on china. No lie.

    Three cheers for no symptoms! I’m desperately clinging to the fact that this is normal. But when you started talking about McDonalds cheeseburgers, I started to get very, very hungry…..

  10. I crave McDonalds cheeseburgers ALL THE EFFING TIME. Pregnant or not, I want them! The only way around this is to have one. I had one yesterday for the first time in 2 months… and it was WORTH IT. KD makes me want to vommit – always has, always will (in fact, it did make me vommit as a kid).

    I am with you on the pickles and ice cream thing. I love them both, and know how bad they both are for me, so avoid them most the time. Even while pregnant. I COULD blame my desire for them on pregnancy, but let’s face it – that’s not the case! The only thing I’ve EVER craved while pregnant is oranges, and that may be because I hadn’t had them in so long that when I did finally have them, I became obsessed just because they were GOOD!

    It sounds to me that you’re having a salt craving.. processed food is so salty. Is there something healthier and salty that can help you? My mind goes straight to McDonalds French fries. I’m not much help ;)

  11. I survived on KD and Great Canadian Bagels through university. I clearly had no idea how bad white carbs actually are, and looking back it’s hilarious that I couldn’t understand my inability to lose weight. I had read somewhere that if you substitute a half cup or so of low-fat sour cream for the milk and butter in the KD, it made it “healthy” or low-fat or some such nonsense. It actually didn’t taste too bad, and it was still nice and creamy…but still. Heinous food! My sis survived on Doritos for her first trimester…it was about all she could tolerate. Don’t know what it is about pregnancy and crap food! Why doesn’t anyone ever crave broccoli or apples or broiled fish?

  12. I haven’t had Kraft Mac n’ cheese for years, but I’ve already had it twice since getting pregnant. I cannot help it. Also on my menu, spaghetti for breakfast, buttered noodles, and bagel pizzas. Its absolutely terrible I know, and I usually eat so healthily, but I am just so sick and I need to eat. So that’s that. As my doctor put it, “we’ll worry about vegetables and exercise in the 2nd trimester.”

    • Oooooh, buttered noodles! That’s actually one of my fave hangover foods, which will probably make its way to becoming one of my fave preggo foods — I cover spaghetti in melted butter and then spoon some brown sugar on it. :)

  13. I had awful cravings for KD with my oldest. I was really nauseous, and would eat an entire box for dinner every night for, like, three weeks straight. I am normally a super healthy eater and I was convinced I was doing something horrible by indulging that craving (and also the bizarre Fruity Pebbles cravings, which were more of a visceral demand than a craving), but she’s four years old and right as rain, so, maybe it’s totally fine to keep eating the Kraft.

  14. Just shovel in the junk, friend! From what I’ve heard, babies almost exclusively like crap. I try to eat healthy but that doesn’t always stay down. Only the horrible crap stays in place for longer than thirty minutes.

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