The more I learn about diet, the more I know for sure that any aliment, sickness, disease, mental and physical issue, and more can be eliminated or dramatically reduced by our diet.  It is so powerful.

We’ve heard about how clean living and eating makes you free like you have more energy, less moody, healthier and possibly reduce body fat. But I’m going to put on my biology teacher hat, and go into the science behind it.  

The quick summary is that clean eating and living reduces the chance that

-certain genes, for cancer or disease, will be switched on

- your cells are not being changed and aging faster than usual

-your hormones will not get altered by the foods that you eat

-and that your organs are not being suffocated by a lack of oxygen and nutrients.

Think of your body as having bad guys. These villains make you grumpy and tired, they give you a stomach ache and take away your patience, beat up your organs, they add to stress and anxiety, they have access to the on and off button the controls cancers and diseases. They affect your hormones which can lead to, among other things, fertility issues.

And the more that these bad guys eat, the bigger they get. They sit right on your organs, so your organs start to get crushed and suffocate. If they get too big, they move to your extremities and produce joint pain, acne, and arthritis. They pollute our bodies so much that nothing can function properly, they cause constant inflammation, and ultimately shorten our lifespan.

Oh, and I forgot the worst thing they do- they make you look older.  

The only way to destroy the villains is to starve them. They survive on processed foods, pesticides, genetically modified foods, preservatives, food additives, pollutants, plastics, toxins from products, and, their favorite, sugar.  So, choose anything else and they cannot survive.

Almost all of the foods that the bad guys love can be categorized into processed foods and hormone disruptors such BPA, found in plastics and some cans, soy, and sugar.

Processed Foods:
First, processed foods.  Almost anything in a box, bag, or can, but there are definitely many healthy exceptions.

Healthy exceptions include food that have  few, organic ingredients that you could figure out how to make if you had to (such as olive oil). I have never made olive oil but I bet if I squeeze an oil really hard some oil will come out?  You get the point.   The cans do not have BPA lining.  There are no chemicals, hydrogenated anythings,  or vague “natural flavorings or preservatives”  When I see those I say “hello poison so nice to see you here.”  

Most processed foods also have Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) that have been linked to infertility, cancer, and other disorders. Plus they are usually made with preservatives, food additives and hidden sugars which nourish the bad guys.

Just search “do processed foods cause illness?” The list of articles are endless.  The titles are:

  • Nutrition 101: How Processed Foods Make Us Fat, Malnourished, and Sick

  • Six Thousand Hidden Dangers of Processed Foods

  • Nine reasons to never eat processed foods again

  • Processed Foods Indisputably Linked to Autoimmune Disease.   

  • Fat, Sick & Dying: What processed foods are doing to your body

Subtle.
Processed foods are also one of the biggest causes for chronic inflammation.  

Let’s do a quick overview of inflammation- currently known as the silent killer. I know, dramatic, right? I’m not making this up- all those Ivy League researchers are.  

It is best described by the people studying it. Here’s an introduction from Inflammation Research Foundation .org: 

"...Inflammation has become one of the hottest areas of medical research. Hardly a week goes by without the publication of yet another study uncovering a new way that chronic inflammation does harm to the body.  

It destabilizes cholesterol deposits in the coronary arteries, leading to heart attacks and potentially even strokes. It chews up nerve cells in the brains of Alzheimer’s victims. It may even foster the proliferation of abnormal cells and facilitate their transformation into cancer. In other words, chronic inflammation may be the engine that drives many of the most feared illnesses of middle and old age.

Inflammation can also greatly affect fertility in both men and women, especially if the woman has endometriosis.  

We can fight inflammation from our diet by eating:

  • Tomatoes

  • olive oil

  • green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards...I will add that all of these need to be cooked for you because you wants easy digestion while going through IVF.

  • nuts like almonds and walnuts

  • fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines

  • fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges

This mimics the mediterranean diet you may have heard about.

And foods that cause inflammation are:

  • refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries

  • French fries and other fried foods

  • soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages

  • red meat (with the exception of  grass-fed) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)

  • margarine, shortening, and lard

The one thing I want you to focus on for getting pregnant is hormone disrupters.

Hormone or Endocrine disruptors are anything that make your hormones imbalanced and interrupt the work they are supposed to do to keep your organ systems, such as the reproductive organs, working correctly. Hormone disruptors are found in a lot of the chemicals that we unknowingly eat when eating processed foods, and pesticides we unknowingly ingest when we are eating fruits and vegetables.  

Here is a list of endocrine disruptors found around the globe:

  • BPA

  • DDT

  • DES

  • Dioxin

  • PCB

  • Phthalates

  • Phytoestrogens

Recently I learned about a hormone disruptor from EWG.org called Atrazine and is one of the most widely used pesticides put on our produce. There are 60 million pounds of this sprayed on American crops each year. This pesticide not only rids our crops of bugs, but, as a hormone disruptor, can change male frogs into female frogs that actually start to make eggs. I don’t even know how to comment on that.  

Also, sugar is known to disrupt one of the most powerful hormones in the body- insulin.  And insulin affects almost all of the other hormones in your body including your sex hormones estrogen and testosterone.  Those hormones are the key to reproductive health and control all of the important functions that allow us to get pregnant. Keeping your hormone levels balanced helps the IVF doctors properly manipulate them during the IVF process. If you disrupt their work, by ingesting hormone disruptors, you could be hindering your success with IVF.

According to SugarScience.org, the recommended amount of sugar is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men per day.  On average, Americans consume 82 grams per day. And emerging research shows that over consumption of sugar might lead to cancers, Alzheimer's, and aging.  

Why are we overdoing it by so much? First sugar is very addictive. Second, we don’t know we’re overdoing it even if we’re actively measuring. Sugar is hidden in 74% of packaged foods,  there are 61 different names for it,  and companies are not required to include added sugar on the product labels. They only have to list the total grams of sugar from naturally occurring ingredients such as fruit or milk.  And sugar is the only ingredient that is not required, by law, to print the % of daily allowance on labels.  Check it out.  It is blank.  That is because, if you follow the recommended daily amount of 25 grams for women, for instance, many single servings of any one packaged food item would show 156% of a daily allowance or more.  Which might cause a drop in sales.  So, how is just the sugar industry the only industry getting away with this?  (Sing) “money, money, money, money….money!”

Soy foods are also hormone disruptors that should be substituted for non-soy alternatives.  Soy has been shown to contain estrogen mimicking properties, plus, it’s almost impossible to find non-GMO soy. It’s best to avoid all soy products and soy beans to keep your sex hormones balanced.  

It’s also almost impossible to avoid the toxins, sugar and GMO products completely unless you’re personally growing your own food, but next are key substitutions to clean your body from the inside out.  Or, starve out the bad guys.    


FU DIET OVERVIEW

Overall, eat clean and eat a lot of good fats which will not make you fat!  

Here is a list of my strategies to boost your fertility, mood, and energy and to dramatically reduce your anxiety.  Plus, the most important benefit is that you will look younger! ;)

1.) If you have PCOS, this diet is especially important.  Please remove sugars and replace with good fat to support your fertility.  

CLICK HERE for a video from Dr. Mark Hyman about 7 Strategies to Reverse Infertility (specifically related to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

CLICK HERE for a video from Dr. Hyman and Dr. Stephanie Daniel on Food, Fat, and Infertility

2.) Stick to stuff that grows and carefully choose meats, fish, and dairy. 

  • Keep the fruits and vegetables organic and non-GMO
    • Make sure to cook any of the cruciferous vegetables though (cauliflower, broccoli, kale, collard greens, cabbage, and brussel sprouts) because they are hard to digest and you want all energy going to making eggs.  
    • If the food comes from a box, bag, can, or jar, Read the labels and make sure you know what everything is and if not, don’t eat it.  For example, your peanut butter should have one ingredient.  
  • Chicken and eggs must be antibiotic free, hormone free, steroid free, and free range whenever possible.
  • Beef and butter must be grass-fed.  
  • Choose your fish based on which have the least contaminants and are the most eco-friendly.  According to EDF.org the best choices for fish right now are Albacore (US and Canada), Pacific Sardines (US and Canada), Black Cod, Salmon (canned) and Wild Alaskan Salmon.  This site also lists the best fish for sushi and the ones to avoid.  
  • Exceptions.  Here is a list of minimally processed foods that are very good for you to include into your diet:
    •  Grass fed butter (or grass fed ghee to get as close to non-dairy, while keeping the creamy taste of butter )
    • olive oil (don't heat)
    • avocado oil (can heat)
    • organic coconut oils and nectar
    • brown or white rice (check arsenic levels of specific brands at EWG.org.  I use Lundberg)
    • fermented foods such as sauerkraut and Kimchi
    • oatmeal (especially steel cut and gluten free)
    • beans, especially lentils (make your own or make sure there are not preserved with MSG’s and the can does not have BPA)
    • dark chocolate
    • And the exceptions that I would stay away from, that do grow, are soy and corn.  Soy contains sex hormones and might cause an  imbalance.  Corn and soy are also hard to find without being genetically modified and full of pesticides, plus, it is usually hard to digest for most.

3.) Eat full fat AND EAT A LOT OF FAT.  Substitute out any fat-free or low-fat anything for full-fat (especially dairy).  

  • Fats are good for you, they make up 60% of your brain so do not deprive your developing baby or yourself of it.  I know I need as much help as I can get.
  • Eating full fat is especially important with dairy.  
    • Research shows that low-fat dairy foods may increase the risk of infertility and high-fat foods may decrease it.  And, without getting into too much science, when you skim off the fat from the dairy, it creates an imbalance of sex hormones and you are left with more male hormones. This might affect ovulation and conception. 
    • Plus, low-fat dairy is very acidic so the body releases it’s only alkaline source to combat that acidity- calcium.  It has been proven that low-fat dairy products can lead to osteoporosis as well.  
  • When something is low fat or fat-free, sugar is used to put the taste back in and we just learned the harmful effects of overuse of sugar.   
  • The best fats are from nuts, avocados, salmon certain oils like olive oil and avocado oil
    • Cooking tip:  Don’t use olive oil to cook or grill with. The heat breaks the oil down into a harmful chemical. So, I switched to cooking or grilling with grass fed butter or avocado oil and leave the olive oil to any cold dishes.

4.) Choose dairy carefully.  Make sure it’s full-fat and free of hormones, steroids, GMOs, and is organic.

  • I would reduce dairy as much as possible as it causes inflammation in most. 
  • Butter should be grass-fed and made from cows that were not injected with hormones. The brand I use is Kerrygold.  This would be the one dairy that I would keep in my day and use for cooking.  Everything taste better with this butter!
  • Check the ingredients and make sure that you know what all of them are- ingredients should be simple and few.  
  • Check the sugar content to make sure your total sugar count for the day is less than 25 grams.  Some of those fruity yogurts have almost 20 grams in just one little serving. 

5.) Remove or dramatically minimize gluten. 

  • Gluten is a protein found in many grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. The scientific reason for eliminating gluten from your diet to help promote fertility is mostly because of undiagnosed Celiac disease.  Several studies have found that women with undiagnosed Celiac disease may have issues with fertility.
  • Also, according to the wheat researcher and author of the “Wheat Belly”, Dr. Williams David, MD; “Two slices of whole wheat bread raise your blood sugar higher than consuming 60 spoons of sugar- which is higher than one Snickers bar.”  And, as we learned, raising your insulin levels so dramatically interferes with hormonal imbalances which can lead to infertility.  
  • My reason for eliminating is as much as possible is because there are very few foods with gluten that aren’t processed and most people have a sensitivity to it which causes inflammation.
  • Instead of gluten-rich grains, stick to gluten-free grains such as brown rice, quinoa, potato, and buckwheat. As long as you are taking Folic Acid or eating foods with it, and therefore getting enough Vitamin B9, and getting enough fiber in your diet from fruits, vegetables, beans, quinoa, brown rice, you won’t be missing any nutrients from gluten-rich foods.  
  • The exception to eating gluten-free is bread. I personally have never found a gluten free bread that was healthier, or better tasting, than Ezekiel bread. So, I highly recommend you pick some up. It has a low glycemic index, is made from sprouted grains and is minimally processed. And yes, it does taste good! 
     

6.) Liquids

  • Flatwater is the main source.  You should drink your body weight in ounces
    • jazz it up with some fruit infused in it.  Go crazy and add lemons, cucumbers, limes, strawberries. 
       
  • Coffee and teas 
    • Buy organic and reduce the amount of caffeine by mixing regular and decaf coffee, until you are all decaf.  
      • Decaffeinated coffees need to be decaffeinated by the "water process" otherwise it is chemically processed.
    • Teas, such as chamomile are delicious and without caffeine.  They must be organic.
  • Alcohol  
    • During your fertility journey, limit your alcohol intake to nothing, or at most, to one drink per night using the measurements they taught us in health class.  
      • Or, if you only drink when you go out, 2 drinks in one night.  Then just switch to seltzer with a splash of cranberry or muddled lemon (if you need something tart).  Any higher amounts interrupt your sleep, adds more toxins to your organ systems, and adds to your anxiety and moodiness.  Plus, there are tons of pesticides in most wines. 
    • Also, stop drinking 2 hours before you go to sleep.  

 

7. Storing your foods and liquids.  To help eliminate hormone disruptors, switch to glass for any container or liquid. Only use BPA-free plastic for dry food storage. If you must use plastic cups or water bottles,  make sure they’re BPA-free and don’t put them in the dishwasher or microwave even if it says you can. If you get take out food, remove the foods from plastic containers that they store the hot food in quickly, and definitely do not reuse those containers for any wet food storage. If you do purchase foods that come in plastic containers, remove the food from the plastic before heating it up. 

8.) Supplements: 

  • Prenatal vitamins with Folic Acid (or, better is 5-MTHF, Calcium, Iron, Vitamin D, C, A, E, Zinc, Iodine, Chelated minerals
  • Probiotic should have 25 billion CFU with a variety of (approximately 5-9 different) Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
  • Omega 3 Fatty acids (EPA and DHA) should be in the triglyceride form.
     
  • Vitamin D use the D3 form.
  • Folic Acid (take 5-MTHF form)

Resources to help you jump start eating clean

  1. Dr. Mark Hyman.  Big promoter of eating a lot of healthy fats to basically cure all disease, mood, and weight issues (sort of exaggerating, but not really).  
  2. EWG.org- Environmental Working Group is my go to for learning how to not poison myself with the things I ingest and put on my body.  It will tell you about which foods to buy organic and ones you do not have to, the best sunscreens to use, how to buy rice without it having arsenic in it.  Really a great resource.  
  3. Rachel Maser (@CleanFoodCrush) provides many easy and delicious recipes on her blog.  She doesn’t use specialty ingredients that you cannot find easily and she creates menus based on what is on sale which is just smart. Sign up for her newsletter and you get 7 days worth of recipes, plus a ton of ideas in her newsletter. But she emails A LOT.
  4. I have Natalie Jill’s cookbook, 7 Day Jump Start,- Unprocess your Diet, which I also use for the recipes. She is also a fitness guru and helps people transform their bodies quickly without a huge time investment. But you can find a lot of her recipes online.
  5. Get educated and motivated at the same time with some good documentaries on the foods we eat. Fed Up (shorted to FU, which I love), and Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead are two good ones to start.   
  6. Also, I found this site at the end of my researching and thought that they did a great job with a Fertility Diet Overview: http://natural-fertility-info.com/fertility-diet.  

Let me know if you have any questions!

xoxo,
Tasha