Wednesday, June 23, 2010

You Are What You Eat

I’m no stranger to diets. In fact, I’ve tried just about every fad diet there is: Atkin’s, South Beach, Cabbage Soup, Hollywood, grapefruit, starvation (college), cigarettes and coffee (college) and Weight Watchers. Last week, Eric and I started a different kind of diet—a fertility diet.

It’s basically like a Daniel Fast with lean meat and full-fat dairy. The first rule is that everything needs to be organic so we don’t corrupt our bodies with any unnecessary chemicals. You can find organic food in most grocery stores, but I prefer Wholefoods. It seems a little expensive at first, but organic food is pretty pricey everywhere and they have the best variety.

Veggies, especially peas, broccoli, kale, red pepper and pumpkin are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, and just all around good for you. Yams are specifically recommended for fertility and some even say eating them increases the chances of having twins. Both fruits and vegetables have free-radical fighting anti-oxidants, especially blueberries and strawberries. The brighter the color, the better! Citrus fruits, like lemon and oranges provide the body with folic acid, which is great for preconception. Also encouraged on the fertility diet are “clean” fats, like olives, flax, nuts, seeds, and avocado. Lean meat is permitted in moderation. This is a blessing to Eric who almost lost his mind when we did the Daniel Fast earlier this year. He is definitely a carnivore!

This diet also advocates full-fat dairy. I am used to drinking soy milk, which isn’t allowed, so I was a little bummed until I remembered that ice cream undoubtedly qualifies as full-fat dairy. Cheese, yogurt, and whole milk make the cut, too. Buttermilk falls into this category, as well, if you are one of the few people who can choke it down. I happen to love it with my grandad's cornbread, but I'm pretty sure the cornbread is off limits, so I'll exchange it for eggplant, which is a popular fertility combination in India. Women there eat eaggplant and drink buttermilk daily when they want to conceive. I couldn't find any details about why this works, so it may be folklore, but I'm willing to try it.

Here’s the bad news—Caffeine constricts the blood vessels, reducing the flow of blood to the uterus, which can prevent eggs from attaching to the uterine wall. That means I have to limit my coffee consumption. I almost cried when I heard this, because I like coffee even more than ice cream (but only because it has fewer calories). No trans fat is permitted, so Eric had to say goodbye to his beloved Krispy Kremes (a tear may have been shed). In addition, no refined carbs, preservatives, alcohol, smoking, or illicit drugs. That, we can handle.

This diet doesn’t guarantee pregnancy; in fact, it’s pretty close to what we usually eat. It does give us peace of mind that if and when we do conceive, our baby will have a healthy start.

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