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Eating salads at cafes in France

(25 Posts)
Fresh01 Mon 25-Jul-11 21:23:36

Hi, just wondering what others do when eating out on holiday when pregnant? Here I tend to always go for a cooked food option when pregnant, just to be on the safe side. We are going to France soon on holiday and will have a few lunches out, dinners too hard as we have other young kids, and given it will be hot I was thinking about what my options would be for eating without a cooked meal. What have others done?

Beesok Mon 25-Jul-11 21:27:14

Toxoplasmosis is very common in France and i would strongly advise to avoid eating fresh salads and any uncooked vegetables in restaurants, also make sure all your meat is well-cooked. Enjoy your holiday smile

nulgirl Mon 25-Jul-11 21:38:27

My French friends would never eat raw salad in a restaurant or cafe. It's one of the 'forbidden' things there. One of my pregnant friends ranted about the dangers of unwashed salad whilst smoking a cigarette.

HPonEverything Mon 25-Jul-11 21:56:16

Hi I've been to France 5 times this year whilst pregnant and only heard the 'raw salad/toxoplasmosis' advice after the 2nd visit. I'd eaten a fair bit of salad by that point blush but I was fine.

Most lunchtime plat de jours will come with a first course of either salad or pate, which I give to my DH. The second course is usually something hot like lasagne or steak (get it done bien cuit if you can or it will turn up still mooing), then dessert of maybe chocolate mousse, and then a cheeseboard. It doesn't really make for the ideal eating experience for a pregnant woman. I just fill up on water grin

Have a good time though!

icravecheese Tue 26-Jul-11 09:27:01

As per HPonEverything's post, eating out in france when pregnant isnt that easy!! Even when you ask for well cooked meat, it doesnt always turn up well cooked....if you could learn the phrase "...because I'm pregnant" to add at the end of a well cooked request though, that seems to do the trick in my experience.

We visit france many times & my first 2 babies I had NO idea about the no salad rule in french restuarants so ate tons of it (seemed to be the only thing I could eat given everything else was meat / shellfish / pate etc). Both babies fine, and I've still never caught toxo (I ask to be tested each pregnancy).

However this 3rd pregnancy I read about the no salads in restuarants on mumsnet, so have avoided them on our trips this yr. Omlette is a good option when eating out - again, just ask for it to be well cooked because you're pregnant (otherwise eggs might be slightly runny in middle). And don't forget - they serve french bread with absolutely EVERYTHING, so you can always fill up on bread and butter!!! Have a fab hols x

Fresh01 Tue 26-Jul-11 20:35:48

Thank you ladies for confirming my suspicions. Will add salad to the avoid list with lovely french cheeses and wines!

icravecheese, good suggestion learning the phrase but I will be 23 weeks with child no. 4 so think I will just point at my "not so small" tummy and go "bebe", plan for next year is to see if my stomach muscles can be recovered
: )

icravecheese Tue 26-Jul-11 21:03:38

Grin...we visited france a few wks ago when I was 24wks (my 3rd) bump is ridiculously massive yet my darling husband still patiently explained to all waiters that wife is pregnant so needs everything well cooked. I'm v lucky as he's practically fluent french (altho he took the opportunity to check with various french waitresses that you really shouldn't eat salad in restaurants when preg cos he didn't believe me & said french women aren't that neurotic....suffice to say he was proved wrong!!). I'm considering one of those army bootcamps nxt yr to sort out my ravaged post-baby body smile

KateeTheBump Wed 27-Jul-11 09:26:55

At least if you're a meat eater you have some options, I was recently in Paris and being a veggie it's not the easiest place to find food! We generally bought bread and cheese for lunch and had picnics, and then ended up looking for Italian restaurants in the evenings! A lot of restaurants will do fish too, so that's another option of course.

Enjoy your hols smile

KateeTheBump Wed 27-Jul-11 09:27:49

Oh and remember to avoid the chevre - goats cheese - they put it in everything...

Pootles2010 Wed 27-Jul-11 09:30:07

Ooh jealous, enjoy your hol! Not sure if pointing out you're preg will help, their food rules aren't as strict as ours.

I think learning the phrase for 'well done' would help!

Also would point out chocolate mousses often have raw eggs in them, sorry.

HPonEverything Wed 27-Jul-11 10:14:33

Well done is bien cuit but perhaps precede it with tres tres TRES to get the message across and you might JUST get it arriving in a reasonably cooked state

I am pregnant - I usually say Je suis encient, no idea if it's right or not or if I'm pronouncing it correctly (I say it "on see ont") but if I point to my stomach as well they usually get my drift

icravecheese Wed 27-Jul-11 10:30:08

Ahh kateethebump, I can imagine being a veggie in Paris is tricky - from our experiences, French people just want meat, meat & more meat!! I guess hence why toxoplasmosis is much more prevalent in France than the UK, as they eat sooooo much of the stuff (usually undercooked!).

However, contrary to popular belief, the French do seem to have quite a strict hand over what to eat / what not to eat when pregnant (of course this is purely based on talking to our french friends who have been preg & other people we've spoken to in France, so perhaps not the country as a whole), but when my husband explains to waitresses / waiters that I am pregnant so what are the menu options for me, they are very particular about what I should & shouldnt be having, sometimes offering to make up whole new dishes to accomodate the fact I'm pregnant & can't eat specific foods. So I think if you can point out that you're preg (or show large bump!!) they will understand why you're asking for food to be done in a certain way. Enjoy your hols - I pretty much lived off Omlette & chips last time we were there... yummmy, my new preg craving!

Bartimaeus Wed 27-Jul-11 11:29:45

Tell them "Je suis enceinte" (pronounced on-sant) and grin apologetically grin works everytime!

I would avoid salads and raw vegetables and things like strawberries if eating out. They are fine if you eat in and wash them thoroughly.

Don't want to scare anyone but my friends cousin caught toxoplasmos in France and her baby was born blind and with mental health problems sad

Bartimaeus Wed 27-Jul-11 11:31:06

BTW you may see French pregnant women eating the salads. This is because about 60% of French women are immunised against toxomplasmos. I unfortunately am not which is a right pain!

Booboostoo Wed 27-Jul-11 11:32:07

I live in France and recently gave birth. I found the French very well informed on what not to eat, all the waiters knew what I should avoid and pointed out items on the menu, so no problem. Toxo and listeriosis are more prevalent in the south because of the heat so you run a greater risk from unwashed/badly washed salads and anything that may have come into contact with dirt and is uncooked.

Enjoy your holiday!!

gallicgirl Wed 27-Jul-11 11:51:12

the phrase you need is "parce que je suis enceinte"

because I'm pregnant - parse kuh zhuh swee on-cent

oof, that's really hard to think how to write it phonetically!

Steak-frites is served in most places so I'm sure you'll manage but what a pain not being able to enjoy all that yummy food! Hope you have a fabulous holiday all the same.

HPonEverything Wed 27-Jul-11 11:59:47

"my friends cousin caught toxoplasmos in France and her baby was born blind and with mental health problems"

OMG. Do you know if you've got it? What if I have it and don't know it. I've not been immunised!

Bartimaeus Wed 27-Jul-11 13:22:50

Sorry didn't mean to panic you!!

Here we get tested every month. But I'm sure I've seen on mumsnet that if you think you've been in a situation where you might have caught it you can ask your Dr to get you tested.

The risk is a lot less in the UK, but a simple test can tell you.

Like I said, my blood is tested every month and I've never caught it. I eat out in restaurants every lunchtime during the week with work so am often "exposed" although I do avoid salads.

Bartimaeus Wed 27-Jul-11 13:26:26

I also know of another woman who caught it but was treated for it and the baby seems fine

<kicks herself for worrying HPoneverything>

Fresh01 Wed 27-Jul-11 13:39:23

Thank you for the right French phrases, going to write them down and put them in my purse. My french is basic although I can put words together but normally get stuck when I then get a big long French sentence back : ) DH is better than me so I get lazy and leave lots of it up to him : )

HPonEverything Wed 27-Jul-11 13:44:45

They took my blood yesterday to check for anaemia - would it show up if I had toxo or do I need to get a separate test?

Also can it be cured or will the baby have been affected whatever? I could've potentially had it for pretty much my entire pregnancy!

Sorry I know you're not a medic but you know a lot more about this than me blush

Bartimaeus Wed 27-Jul-11 14:23:02

Eeek! I'm not expert! <bites nails>

I think you need a separate test, just because they won't be looking for toxo.

I do know another woman who was treated and like I said, baby is fine.

I don't want to pronounce on things I'm not an expert on (realises the damage is already done) - just speak to your Dr I'm sure you'll be fine.

According to a French medical article, toxo does not always pass from the mother to the baby (less than 20% up until 26 weeks), it's more likely to later on in pregnancy but with fewer risks to the baby.

KateeTheBump Wed 27-Jul-11 16:15:14

HP if you're worried just go and get a blood test (more blood will need to be taken I'm afraid), but at least it will set your mind at rest. I had a brilliant nurse who arranged a blood test for me to see if I was immune to measles before I went on my trip (wasn't immunised as a baby against it and nothing on my notes to say I'd had it as a child) and I was actually immune, so that was a weight off my mind!

WeGotThere Wed 27-Jul-11 16:47:04

Hi ladies,

I was just wondering if anyone has any knowledge/ experience of Being pregnant and eating out in Italy. I am anticipating a bit of a struggle with the waiters trying to order well done meat etc...
Do you know if i should also be avoiding salads?

gallicgirl Wed 27-Jul-11 20:48:33

Avoid spaghetti carbonara.

Sorry can't be more help.

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