Elettra Wiedemann on Slow/Fast Cooking,

Body Image & What Nobody Tells You

At nearly 8 months pregnant, Impatient Foodie founder and former model Elettra Wiedemann offered to have us over to her gorgeous townhouse in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. We spent the morning touring her neighborhood and playing dress-up while chatting about food (a topic we love), body image & maternity leave–basically I never wanted to leave, as you can imagine. @impatientfoodie www.impatientfoodie.com

Styled by: Lara Backmender // Photo by: Greg Manis

Your current state of mind?

Feeing heavy—fatter & fatter everyday! I’m 33 weeks now and getting close. I’m generally a more anxious A-type person, but since being pregnant I’m very chill and so much happier without any effort. 

Boy or girl?

Boy

In the works?

I have two zines coming out this week: Mamma Cocktails and Impatient Cookies that I self-published, each with about 25-50 recipes—a full cookbook would have about 100 recipes. A zine is a bit lighter in content but laid out like a book, with original content and multiple times tested recipes available. They’d make a perfect stocking stuffer for anyone who loves to make cookies or a pregnant mama 🙂 

Maternity leave as a freelancer:

I launched a cookbook this year, and two booklets this week plus my baby is due in December! There’s a lot on my plate now that I’m trying to position for after my maternity leave—which is basically whenever I decide to go back to work but will likely be about 3 months. I love to work and I don’t see myself taking an extended time-off to stay home and be a human pacifier (but who knows maybe I’ll love it!). I’m fortunately in a position to take a little longer than 3 months off, therefore I’m open to whatever we need without  imposing “have-to’s” or “should-dos” on myself. On the flip side of that, the reality is, if  I don’t do the work it doesn’t get done. We’ll see how it goes!

Nobody tells you that…

You engorge with an extra 2 gallons of blood when you’re pregnant. I’ve always been creeped out by veins and now you can see mine! Apparently the excess blood goes away almost immediately after birth. I’d never read this anywhere or heard of this before now. 

Any cravings?

I haven’t had many cravings but rather aversions. For example, I couldn’t even look at or smell a chicken for awhile and I’m only recently warming back up to itlast night I made a roast chicken and it was delicious. I also love cheese and couldn’t eat or deal with any cheeses for the past 5 months. Throughout my pregnancy, I’ve been eating a ton of salads, raw veggies, noodles & steamed vegetables with asian flavors. Anything that felt overly greasy or fragranced was just too much for me. 

First thing you’re going to have after the baby comes?

Definitely wine and coffeeI really miss a midday matcha or espresso!

Not eating?

For the most part I’ve adhered to the avoid-while-pregnant list, although I messed up a few times without realizing it. I have this really cute lunch place nearby that I was getting roast beef sandwiches from and later found out it’s the same as deli meats—I was really embarrassed.

Exercise?

During my first trimester I felt really gross but I’d force myself to exercise because I always felt better afterwards even if just for a few hours before I felt worse again. 

I was an athlete before I was pregnant, so I’ve more or less kept up my old routine but to a lesser degree—I don’t let my heart rate go above a certain threshold. I was a triathlete for awhile & did some big races but my favorite thing to do is swim—lucky for me I live 3 blocks away from an amazing pool in Brooklyn and swim with a team 3 days a week. 

The other couple days I do a class called Orange Theory Training, it’s interval training with weights for about an hour and a really good workout twice a week—super effective, great music plus I’m in & out in an hour.

Beauty routine?

Before I got pregnant, I went through my beauty cabinet and threw away anything that I couldn’t pronounce the names of the ingredients. Perhaps that was overly cautious but a number of my girlfriends have had trouble getting pregnant and their doctors say it’s potentially linked to makeup, creams & such. As a result, I switched to all natural clean products like almond oil for my body and a sugar scrub for the bath with coconut oils in it to help moisturize my skin. On my face I use Welleda Calendula cream that’s meant for babies, so it’s really pure. I don’t typically wear  much makeup but when I do I keep it really simple with, mascara, BB cream and a red or pink lip.

Wellness routine?

I only take holistic prenatal vitamins and 3rd-party-verified fish oil (which my doctor told me to do) plus I exercise as much as possible.

Impatient Foodie is…

I was a model for 12 years plus I got my masters degree at the London School of Economics in Food Policy & Systems. I came home from Grad-School with a lot high-minded ideals and to-do lists on how I was going to shop and eat, but the second I wasn’t a student anymore and back in NY modeling + traveling all of that fell apart, it wasn’t sustainable. And at the time there were two conversations going on in foodthe early Buzz Feed days of putting potatoes in microwaves for dinner and the Bon Appetite beautiful stews made with 24 expensive & hard to find ingredients & a cook time of 8 hoursneither of which spoke to me and so I kept searching for something that was in the middle. I wanted the thoughtful aspect of slow food but I also wanted to be able to come home after working for 10 hours and throw together a meal. I was also interested in food policy and at the time you could only find this information on Civil Eats, which is a really niche site for food policy nerds. All of this led me to build Impatient Foodie which totally changed my life and had to quit modeling within 3 months of launching to keep up with the amount of work that it was throwing onto my plate (pun!). 

The name?

There was a time when I was ashamed to have all of these ideals about slow food but also felt like it was a drag to go to the farmers market and kind of hated the whole process of making a dish that took forever—like I wanted to be involved but the whole thing just made me really impatient! One day I just started to embrace my dark side as an impatient person. I figured that I wasn’t the only one and perhaps these two ideals don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Body image?

Being a model you develop a weird relationship with your body because at 6’ tall it’s not exactly normal to be a size 2 therefore I was constantly beating up on my body in all of these ways to adhere to a size/standard that’s really difficult to maintain. Since being pregnant I’ve watched my body do all of these crazy things & I thought that I was going to have a really difficult time with body image where as instead I’m in awe of my body as I’m growing a human! It’s been a really peaceful process with myself and a really peace making process with my body as well. You know, as women we can often be so hard on ourselves. I’ve learned through this to have a little more self love and self appreciation. It’s liberating!

Advice:

If you’re pregnant, don’t look on the internet. Google is not a doctor or a professional. I think I got myself really worked up before I was pregnant/when we were trying to get pregnant/in the very early days of being pregnant. I’d google things and get really anxious. Finally decided enough was enough and made the decision to only talk to my doctor and two other people. All other advice is thrown away from my brain.

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