Editor’s Note from Neda Smith: Have you been struggling with fertility, having difficulties conceiving? Mary Goyer, who specializes in fertility, has written an article identifying the diet to help heal your body, heal your gut and so much more, so that you can create a beautiful baby of your own. When the body receives the proper nutrients your chances of conception increase dramatically.
Alright ladies, the truth is that a healthy fertility diet is going to look a lot like a healthy gut diet, skin diet, high energy diet or “you fill in the blank” diet. There’s a lot of overlap, because nutrients do good for the whole body. Secondly, the truth is that if your reproductive system is off-kilter in some way, then your body as a whole is. Your body is like an eco-system, and it’s not possible for every little part of you to NOT constantly be affecting every other part.
If you don’t eat well, you’re probably noticing there are other symptoms you’re battling. So if you follow a healthy fertility diet, you’re going to notice that you feel better in general. That’s good news!
What are the worst fertility-sabotaging offenders? Take a look, and see if there are any surprises in there.
Soy – No thank you!
Found In: burgers, fake cheeses, protein powders, soy “milk”
It messes up your hormones… you know the things that most women don’t think about until menopause? If your hormone levels are off, your entire body will be impacted, including your reproductive organs. Soy mimics your estrogen in the body, which really confuses things. Not good.
Alternatives: If you’re using soy as a part of a vegetarian diet, there are plenty of alternatives available if you’re willing to hunt a bit. If you’re not a vegetarian, why in the world are you eating it anyway?
The problem really isn’t that soy is tough to avoid, it’s just that people think soy is a HEALTH food (good marketing, soy industry!) so they go out of their way to add it in to recipes, coffees, and cereal. My recommendation to you? Just don’t. Don’t add it, substitute with it thinking it’ll make your food more healthy, and please don’t feed it to your family!
The only exception is fermented soy, i.e.: miso, tempeh, and soy sauce. All that stuff is A-okay.
Caffeine – Nuh-uh!
You know where caffeine is found: coffee, black tea, soda, chocolate… And you may have had it in the back of your mind for a while that you want to cut down. Because the truth is that caffeine (and, well, everything on this list) is bad for everyone. Don’t justify more caffeine consumption simply because four different coffee-shops have popped up on your block. The fact is, caffeine is another hormone thrower-offer, and impacts regular, healthy ovulation. Caffeine “usage” is also connected to higher chances of miscarriage.
Alternatives: most alternatives (decaf coffee, caffeine-free soda, etc) are problematic in themselves, so it really is best to just plan on taking a caffeine holiday for a while. You won’t regret it.
If you’re addicted to caffeine, which many of you are, do yourself a favor and get some support with quitting if it’s really pretty hard for you. Some people run up against some real difficulties here, which means there’s more to the picture than meets the eye. If that’s you, seek assistance from a health practitioner, so you can simplify the matter in the most efficient way. No reason to spend all your extra energy obsessing about coffee.
Sugar – I have to say no!
The issue: When it comes to sugar, hopefully you understand just how toxic refined sugars are for healthy body parts, clear thinking, energy that lasts through the day, etc. What you may not realize is that it can still throw your body chemistry waaayy off to use a bunch of honey, maple syrup, agave, or a number of other high glucose sugar alternatives. Moderation. If you crave sugar, it means something’s out of balance. Work to rebalance things rather than just switching from sugar to agave to feed that sweet tooth.
Culprits: Soda, sweets, bottled orange or apple juices, alcohol, fat free foods (they add sugar to make them taste okay)
Alternatives: Fruit, foods sweetened without refined sugar or chemicals (you’ll see agave, date paste, etc. on their labels or in the recipe). As for drinks, try fruit flavored teas, mint infused water, and if you really need a sweet treat, stick to fresh fruit juice instead… Do this for a few weeks and watch your sweet cravings dwindle as your body gets back to it’s normal default.
Restaurant Food – I’ll pass!
The reality is that very few restaurants are committed to serving foods without GMOs…especially the chains, which if you know anything about the food industry requires frozen or highly processed recipe starter shipments in order to have standard menus that offer identically tasting foods in all of their locations. Counting calories at a restaurant isn’t sufficient. Even an otherwise healthy salad, if it’s ordered from 98% of restaurants, is full of GMO/non-organic veggies and unclean meat. Which means, it’s not good for your fertility – too many toxins.
Alternatives: Ideally, find the one or two gems in your community that do offer healthy, organic foods, and invest in those higher prices — they’re really worth it when you realize how much it COSTS you to not go organic. If you don’t have those available, it really is best to eat at home, with organic products, as much as possible.
Processed Food – I don’t think so!
This really is important. It takes some effort to eat whole, healthy foods when there are grocery stores full of cheap, quick, frozen, and/or boxed meal options. Just know that your body pays a price for that convenience with every bite. Your fertility suffers when you’re eating that substandard food, and your eggs (their age and quality) will be impacted for three months – minimum. Think about the foods you saw in your grandma’s cupboard growing up… Stick to those. The rule of thumb — if you look at the ingredients on the label and see chemicals you don’t recognize, put that product back on the shelf.
Alternatives: If you’re going to eat cookies, bake them yourself with natural, organic ingredients (unless you’re willing to spend $$$ on them at a natural grocery store), make meals with enough leftovers to provide lots of snacks in your fridge. Take the time to cook at least once/day. It’ll make a huge difference for your fertility.