Guest Blog by Sarah Clark, health coach and author of the book Fabulously Fertile – Supercharge your Fertility Naturally.
Did you know that what you eat directly impacts your fertility? If you have PCOS it is important to minimize your sugar and refined carbohydrates (such as those yummy cookies, cakes and holiday goodies). Did you know that if you have endometriosis that sugar and dairy could worsen your symptoms? What about low ovarian reserve? Did you know that inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy and sugar might contribute to this condition? What about unexplained infertility? This can be a baffling diagnosis, with no clear path of where to start. The first place to look is what you are placing on your fork every day. Does this sound too simplistic? Or maybe it sounds way too hard?
Here are some tips to survive the holidays and keep your fertility on track:
- You already know this, but it’s always better to eat some food at home first, so you don’t arrive ravenous. You don’t want to start noshing on the first delectable treat you find, only to find your willpower gone before you started.
- You can also call the host and offer to bring a dish that you can eat. This takes the pressure off the host and you don’t have to worry about finding a healthy option.
- We all know it, when trying to conceive, it’s best to minimize your alcohol. If you absolutely must indulge, try adding sparkling water to your drink or drink only half the amount.
- Enjoy a glass of sparking water with lemon. If you need a sweet treat, pop in a few drops of stevia and some frozen berries.
- It’s always better to start your meal with a salad. Instead of cutting out your favorite foods for good, crowd out the less healthy stuff with more greens. When you are stuffed with healthy veggies, it’s hard to binge on the dessert table!
- Watch out for the salad dressing as it can be loaded with sugar. If you can, opt to bring your own oil and vinegar dressing. It is totally worth it!
- Soups are filling and a great start to any meal, but can be loaded with cream. Opt instead for a broth based soup.
- According to the Harvard Nurses Health Study (Harvard University conducted an 8 years study of more than 18,000 nurses) when you get more of your protein from plants and less from animals you improve your chances of getting pregnant.
- Try the vegetarian option, but make sure it is not loaded with cheese, as dairy can be inflammatory for your body. If you want the animal protein go for the fish, lean turkey or chicken.
- Load up half your plate with veggies, one quarter of your plate with starches (always whole grains) and the remainder with lean protein.
- Is dessert your vice? Does your meal not feel complete unless you have a slice of cake or something sweet? If this sounds familiar, its time to bring awareness to your habits around dessert and sweet treats.
- Make sure you are consuming enough protein. This will help with cravings for the sugary stuff.
- Pile your plate with fruit. Opt for the low glycemic index kind, such as berries, apples or pears. Tropical fruits such as melon and pineapple are too sweet and can spike your blood sugar.
- Offer to bring a dessert that is sweetened with honey, maple syrup or stevia. Stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar and will not spike blood sugar. This is important if you have PCOS.
- Skip the dessert tray. Maybe you are not even hungry. You could be lonely or bored. Have a great conversation with someone you haven’t spoken with all year. Connection has the power to transform your mood!
If some of this seems way too extreme for you, start with small steps. Don’t beat yourself up. If you slip up, don’t give up! Be kind to yourself. Infertility can be overwhelming enough. Remember though, this is one area, where you have control. As you begin fueling your body with healthy nutritious food, it lifts your energy and your mood. Don’t underestimate the small steps you take each day with your diet and the impact it has on your fertility.
When Sarah Clark was 28 years old, she received a diagnosis of premature ovarian failure. She accepted the diagnosis and had both her children through in vitro fertilization. Years later she realized the root cause of her infertility was a food intolerance. As a graduate from McMaster University, a certified life coach with accreditation from the International Coaches Federation and a health coach with training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, she is deeply passionate about helping couples supercharge their fertility naturally. She is the author of the book Fabulously Fertile – Supercharge your Fertility Naturally. She offers the Fabulously Fertile 4-week meal plan to boost your fertility and Fabulously Fertile 3 month coaching program to help prepare your body for conception by learning which foods will boost your fertility and which foods may harm your fertility. When she is not testing gluten-free and dairy-free recipes in her kitchen, she loves spending time with her husband and two children.