I have been dying and wanting to put this together here for such a long time now. I am finally getting around to doing it, now that I am pregnant myself. Healthy eating habits and daily diet changes to benefit fertility and help increase chances of becoming pregnant. I am a strong firm believer in evidence based science as well as believing “Food is thy medicine” (Socrates). Our ancestors knew this to be true all along. We all have to eat food to survive and hopefully we all can enjoy food at the same time! As I was in an area of life where the choices we make [food related] can have drastic effects on our chances to conceive I consulted the help of many books from my college courses and researched scholarly articles regarding a “fertility diet”.
I wish it was as simple and fun as practicing the baby making process but in an era where time is limited and we simply do not always have the option to create homemade meals all the time it can be difficult. Along with living in a society today where food choices can be influenced by marketing, prices, trends. One trend I am not all happy about when it comes to trying to conceive is a ketogenic diet. The ketogenic or “keto diet” is NOT a trend diet, it is a medically advanced and created diet to treat epilepsy, not lose weight. The affects it can have on women and specifically their hormones is so mind blowing. It is a lot to take in and I will simply say, this is not a fertility friendly diet.
To help I want to try to lay out in simple terms and maybe share a recipe (I hope to put together & post tomorrow) that can help ease the pain of a lifestyle change, which can sound daunting but you may actually already enjoy the food that can help. Lets stick to the basics:
- Mother Earth: This is my favorite because it becomes so simple. If you can grow it, eat it. 😉 We are given such a wonderful opportunity when we consume foods our ancestor’s lived and survived from. By all means I am not saying only eat a plant based diet, but consuming more fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains it can help regulate your body’s natural cycle. Improving fertility chances, helping create the perfect fit environment for that fertilization process.
Examples: Fruits, vegetables: especially dark leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains: Pumpkin, spinach, tomato, beets, brown whole grain rice, peas, black beans, walnuts, sunflower seeds.
- Healthy Fats: This can be a confused topic, fats. Back in the 70s everything became “fat-free” due to “studies” coming out and blaming fat in our foods for numerous diseases. While a part of this is true, however the “fat-free” labels can typically come attached to more sugar! To avoid this stick to again “Mother Nature” fats. With this my heed warning is too much good fat can be too much, so keep in mind portion control when using fats. When I cook I use and keep measuring spoons near-by to avoid that “Cooking Show heavy pour of fats in my food” urge I have when cooking at home. It is never a bad idea or shameful to measuring certain foods, in this case Fats. When we use healthy fats in cooking and for consumption we actually are helping our bodies build insulation,
- Examples: Olive Oil, olives, avocado oil, avocadoes, coconut oil, sardines, walnuts, other low-mercury fish sources and almond butter (watch for the added sugars).
- Quality products: I get asked often the difference besides price on organic foods, free-range meats and grass-fed products. The difference is in the practice of growing, raising, chemicals in the products, and by-products in the food used to feed the animals. I want to encourage you to seek out meats, if you choose to eat meat, which are high in quality. Removing added fillers that can eventually be harmful to our health whether trying to conceive or not. Invest in your health whether it is taking the little time to do some research or putting money towards the quality. Researching for those qualities in your meat will reduce the chemicals, pesticides, etc in the final product. You’ll notice a difference in taste as well, and that is a win in itself!
- Examples: go organic with the produce that doesn’t have a protectant layer, like peaches, lettuce, and berries: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc. because we eat the skin on the berries; those are exposed to harmful chemicals/pesticides if used in the growing practice. Always wash your produce as well, including herbs. For meats research the companies and go with ones your trust, unfortunately there is not an FDA or USDA regulation on using the label “free-range” or “grass-fed” on meats. Research companies will be your best maneuver to assure you are getting quality meat. Sometimes it is as easy as a phone call to the company. This is where a lot of farmers, and local economy supports will stress local is best because you can talk to the farmer yourself. Check your local Farmer’s Markets for meat vendors and farms. You can use the USDA website to find registered farmer’s markets in your area. https://www.ams.usda.gov/local-food-directories/farmersmarkets
- Get Moving: Working on a workout routine you enjoy and helps get you moving 45-1 hour everyday can have VAST improvements on your overall health, including improving fertility. I used Toneitup.com for the longest time, Sweat by Kayla, and all the free YouTube videos I could find. Keeping exercise fresh, and fun is keep to helping relieve stress and creating a desirable environment you will want to return too. I created a small space using a two compartment organizer to have a small at home gym on a budget and got outdoors as much as I could to soak up healthy sunshine. Remember to drink plenty of water as well, but you knew that already.
From what I have discovered comparing many resources and my education if you choose to stick to the guidelines I have listed you will be following majority of the recommendations from Harvard and many other nutrition and fertility professionals. Eat your fiber, get your antioxidants in, drink water, eat a variety of colors, eat lean meat, avoid trans-fats, and reach a “healthy weight” are all great recommendations you get from Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake, choosing meats & plant fats high in quality, and get that exercise in daily! You’ll be a step ahead to reaching prime fertility status. Here is to all those trying to conceive, looking forward to a TTC journey, or wanting to eat healthier. Baby dust to you all from this preggo to all the future preggos. I really hope you can find these tips to be simple and I am available to chat any time if you have questions you can reach me through my email: DreaEatsWell@gmail.com I am happy to share more tips, recipes, and even chat about my TTC journey if you need some support and reassurance.