When I was in high school, the morning radio show I listened to had a gimmick where the host, Twisted Sister's Dee Snider, would become a "cannibal" by eating human flesh. OK, technically he was eating a donated placenta. This was back in 2000. Now every other mom in Brooklyn seems to be encapsulating , pureeing, or finding some other way to consume this temporary organ for its purported health benefits. My reaction is the same as it was 17 years ago: "You do you, but no thank you." There are so many things I would rather eat than my placenta.
It's not that I'm grossed out, but I just don't see the appeal. I saw my own after the birth of my daughter — the nurse's description of "a giant raw steak" is pretty accurate, and I don't find steak too appetizing, either. Like, if someone presented me with a beautifully plated serving of placenta I'd try it, but I'm not going to go out of my way for the experience. Kind of like venison or liver: I've tried both a few times, I just don't like them, and if it's up to me I'll not try them again. Still, if I were at someone's house and they made it I wouldn't refuse what I was given.
Furthermore, I've yet to hear a truly compelling argument to eat my placenta. Anecdotally I know a lot of women who have extolled its benefits — better mood, better milk production, effective at warding off postpartum depression — and I believe them. (After all, even if their positive experience was merely a result of the placebo effect, the placebo worked.) But I don't believe we have seen the science to back up such claims as a universal truth. Not yet, anyway.
I also have to laugh at the idea because some of the people I know who have eaten placenta will not try something as innocuous as tapioca pudding or the dark meat of chicken. Why? Because "It just seems gross." Really? Girl, you ate something that came out of your vagina. Not that vaginas are gross, but humans don't typically eat anything that comes out of our bodies, so your squeamishness is looking mighty arbitrary right about now.
Look, if you want to put your placenta in a pill or blend it into a nutrient-packed health drink, be my guest. But there's a long list of items I'd rather consume to get me through postpartum life, including the following:
A Fistful Of Multi-Vitamins
If the whole point of eating placenta is to consume some necessary nutrients and minerals, I'll just pop a couple of Flintstones vitamins, thanks. (Plus, they taste like candy.) According to two 2016 studies of encapsulated placentas, researchers found that the encapsulated placentas they studied had some trace minerals present, but only about a quarter of one's recommended daily iron. Other minerals were detected in levels that would not have had a measurable impact on the body. In short, you'd get more essential nutrients from an ordinary, over-the-counter supplement than you would from noshing on placenta.
Of course, there's ample evidence to suggest that taking vitamins doesn't typically do you too much good, either. So I might just skip both go for a salad.
Another Animal's Organs
Hear me out: I absolutely understand the choice not to eat meat — ethical, nutritional, environmental, whatever — and I respect it. However, for those among us who do eat meat, I'd encourage you to branch out beyond animal flesh and try some organs. For one, it's illogical to be grossed out as a matter of course by one animal part and not another. For another, it's less wasteful. If you have to eat that pig, use all parts of it!
Also? Grilled chicken hearts are delicious!
(Guys, you had to know that an article about eating placenta was going to go in weird places.)
That Magic Gum That Turned Violet Beauregard Into A Blueberry Person
Because, yeah, it turns you into a giant blue ball, but it's not without its benefits. For one, you get the flavors of a three course meal in one stick of gum. That's pretty fabulous. For another, gum is great. Finally, you could definitely earn a lot of money as, "That girl who chewed gum and now she's a blueberry." You could do the talk show circuit, hit a couple of the major news networks, and you could definitely be a YouTube celebrity. All of this sounds ways better than placenta chili.
If I'm going to eat meat I'm going to be a little less picky about it and there are so many environmental, nutritional, and economic benefits to eating bugs over, say, cows. Plus I once saw a Travel Chanel show where they served this really delicious looking grasshopper dish in Thailand and I've wanted to try it ever since. I've never seen a placenta dish that has moved me to eat it.
Even though, according to certain millionaires, an insatiable love of avocado toast is at the root of all our millennial woes, I would rather eat it than placenta. Because avocado toast is delicious and filling and keeps me from snacking. If avocado toast is the reason I can't buy a house, well, #WorthIt.
Only because I don't think there's anything in life I can eat that is more magically or overall beneficial to me than hummus. Hummus makes my life, body, and soul better. Even if all claims about consuming placenta are true, if I had to choose between placenta and hummus, I don't think I would have the power to ever resist the possibility of hummus. It doesn't even have to be flavored hummus. Frankly, I'm a bit of a traditionalist and usually opt for "classic" or "original" hummus, but pesto, chipotle, garlic, roasted red pepper: I'll take any variety I can get.
Having said that, you get motherf***ing gills. You can breath underwater! You can swim crazy fast! Move over mermaid classes, I'm all about that gillyweed! If a placenta could guarantee me superhuman abilities I would hold my nose and swallow it down. But until that day, my friends, I'm afraid I'm going to have to pass.
Food From The Food Fight Scene In 'Hook'
For those of you unfamiliar with Hook, first of all get on it because I don't care what anyone says: it's a good movie and it holds up. Secondly, let me paint you a picture of this scene. Robin William's Peter Pan sits down to eat with his fellow Lost Boys only to discover that the bowls, plates, and cups are all empty. In order to eat, it seems, one must imagine the meal in order to manifest it. It takes our guy a while, but it happens. When the food finally becomes visible to the audience, it's basically various blobs of brightly colored whipped topping (as depicted above). Call me crazy, but it always looked like something really gross that I inexplicably wanted to shove my face in. Because what does it taste like?! It's a mystery, and I want to get to the bottom of it.
Because the chicken marsala at the hospital where I had my son may have been disgusting, but damned if that lemon ice didn't hit the spot every single day.
Also, true story: the food at the hospital where I had my second child was legitimately delicious. Like, if I worked in or even near the hospital, I would have gone to their cafeteria every day. In fact, if they had placenta on the menu and the person in the kitchen was like, "You should really try the placenta because it's delicious," I would. That's how much I trust their skill and judgment.
A Smoothie That I Tell People Has Placenta In It But Doesn't
La dee da. *sip* Oh yes, mmmm! This berry and placenta smoothie is delicious. So full of health benefits. *sip* Oh no, it's totally got the placenta in it. Trust me, you just can't tell because it's blended in! *sip* Mmmmm! Oh yeah, this tastes as good as it's making me feel!
I'm just saying that if you want the street credit of having eaten your placenta, but you don't really want to eat your placenta (maybe you'd like to donate it instead), no one need be the wiser.