How pregnancy cravings inspired wild ice cream flavors

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Pregnancy cravings are nothing new. In fact, people have experienced cravings for certain foods since the dawn of human existence.

While we don’t know why pregnancy cravings occur, we do know the typical craving schedule. Women usually crave savory foods in the first trimester, sweet foods in the second, and salty foods in the third. It only makes sense that the infamous combination of pickles and ice cream became the quintessential “pregnancy craving” when these wires crossed.

Recently, a pregnant ice cream shop owner took these cravings to the next level.

Pregnancy craving-inspired ice cream flavors make a splash in Washington D.C.

Victoria Lai is a D.C. resident and owner of the ice cream shop Ice Cream Jubilee. When she became pregnant with her second child, Lai experienced the typical food cravings that one might expect, like burgers and fries. However, they also included some wild alternatives, like chocolate-covered strawberries and potato chips.

While the combination of sweet and salty makes sense, Lai decided to take her cravings up a notch. After reading an article published in the Washington City Paper, Lai was inspired to turn her cravings into specialty ice cream flavors. After all, if other ice cream makers could produce out-of-the-box flavors while pregnant, so could she.

Flash-forward and Lai has officially unveiled three pregnancy-friendly ice cream flavors: chocolate-covered strawberries and potato chips, “no dill pickle” ice cream made with lemon pickle brine, and peanut butter cheddar cracker ice cream.

“I didn’t know how to handle being pregnant as a business owner,” Lai explains. “I wasn’t really talking about it because I was shy of how to meld these two parts of my self, both the public self and what was going on in our family. Now that I’m expecting a little boy in this fall, I’m embracing all the joy and all the excitement that we see coming through our doors.”

An estimated 87% of Americans have ice cream in their fridge at any given time, but most of these lovers of frozen treats won’t have Lai’s unique offerings. Visitors could only have sampled Lai’s flavors in the last weekend of September at her local tasting events. If you were one of the lucky ones, you might have been able to take a pint home. Outside of this event and the few batches that she created, Lai won’t offer any more unique combinations for the time being.

What’s the reason for pregnancy cravings?

Ice cream is a staple when it comes to pregnancy cravings. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of winter or the mother-to-be is experiencing one of the billion colds caught each year, few things can stand between a pregnant woman and her craving for ice cream.

But what are pregnancy cravings? Unfortunately, there’s no way to know for sure. Some studies suggest that pregnant people simply need more calories since they’re eating for two. Other studies think it has to do with hormonal imbalances between serotonin and leptin. In general, eating can cause a dopamine rush. This makes it natural that pregnant women want to rely on the joy of eating ice cream for a boost.

Luckily, we can rest easy knowing that pregnancy cravings don’t mean anything or suggest certain traits about the future child. We used to believe that certain cravings or behaviors could tell us about the characteristics of the baby. For example, a mother craving strawberries might later find a strawberry-shaped birthmark on her child.

On the other hand, mothers who are scared of bears during pregnancy might find that their child is particularly hairy. Still, other wive’s tales suggest that certain cravings might result in other abnormalities like cleft lip or hearing loss. As almost 5% of children entering first grade will have a speech disorder, it makes sense that we used to believe in these tall tales. Now, of course, we can trace conditions like speech disorders to origins that are a bit more medically sound.

So, you can rest easy knowing that your cravings for pickles and ice cream are not abnormal. The next time you have a “strange” craving, feel free to indulge. Or try calling up your local ice cream shop for the collaboration of the century.

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