Thursday, 12 March 2015

Seeking the True Root Cause of my Infertility - My problem of Mainstream Dietary Advice


It seems only women and men, who are overweight, smoke, abuse drugs or alcohol, are told to make a change to their diet (which by now you know I think this is absolutely ridiculous). And most of us have not obtained the knowledge about true impact of nutrition on our fertility (and overall health), so we have no clue to even think about making a change, let alone know how to do it. 
Going down that major rabbit hole of nutrition is daunting and frustrating when you see so many unhealthy women getting pregnant so easily - (It's called Epigenetics people!! Two great podcast to learn more about epigenetics: Modern Day Missus - Help! I’m not falling pregnant! What can I do? & Dr. Cate Shanahan - Bone Broth & Epigenetics)


I have a big problem with mainstream dietary advice for those who are dealing with infertility and many of the top fertility/pregnancy/baby sites don't help us out either. Here's what Baby Centre says about a Fertility Diet for Women (I'll break down why this is such poor information as we go):

A healthy diet simply means eating a balanced variety of foods 
(ummm, NO! There’s no easy simple one type balanced diet for us all out there. We’re all so different and you need to find out what works for you!). 

Try to include the following: 

At least five portions a day of fruit and vegetables, whether fresh (good), frozen (okay), canned (only if the world is coming to an end and it's the only thing you have to eator dried (I’m guessing they’re talking about fruit here-this is like eating candy, and should not be counted as your 5 a day). 
Me personally- I eat vegetables for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so I'm probably eating more like 7-10 portions a day. I stay away from high sugar fruits and all juices, because YES- Sugar is Sugar people; doesn't matter if it's natura!! So I may eat about 1-3 pieces of fruit a week! Fruits and vegetables are dramatically different and should not be lumped together!! 

Plenty of starchy foods, such as bread (no or very limited), pasta, (no or very limited) cereals (no or very limited),protein (why are we talking about protein in the starchy food section?) and rice (some people can, some people can't). Try to have one portion with each meal (If you're having any of these starchy foods, try and leave them for dinner- These foods (starchy/carbs) trigger serotonin release, which makes us feel content and induce sleep). If you can, choose wholegrain (don't be fooled by the wholegrain BSvarieties, which contain more fibre. I've personally have cut out all starchy food which have gluten in them (you don't have to Celiac Disease to have an issue with gluten), but I still eat white rice and starchy vegetables. This works great for me, right now. It may change in the future, who knows!

Some (I don't understand the word some here) protein, such as lean meat (wait, what about fatty meats, oh they're down in the iron category) and poultry (yes, please),  fish (yes, please),  eggs (yes, please) and pulses (I don't, but you can). Aim for two portions a day, or three if you are vegetarian. You need to find out what and how much protein is good for you- but remember not all protein is created equal! Protein you get from non meat sources are not the same as animal protein and YES, when you eat any meat, grass fed is best!

Fish should make up about two portions a week. One of these should be oily, but try to have no more than two portions of oily fish a week. Two portions of oils fish a week seems to be the recommended amount, even the Medical News Today says so. Obviously, when eating fish you need to be aware of mercury levels and once again, get it from nature- line caught fish is the best! Also it's high in Health Fats- more on that later! 

Some low-fat dairy foods, which contain calcium. Aim for three portions a day, one portion being a yoghurt or a glass of semi-skimmed milk. Ahhhhh, such weird advice! Why does it have to be low fat? If you're eating a balanced diet, you shouldn't need to be on a low fat diet! Anyways, most low fat dairy products out there, replace the fat with sugar, which is just as bad or worse for you! Fat doesn't make you FAT people! Also, that balanced diet you're eating should be tallying up the calcium point’s nice- Right? 

Some (again, what's with the some?) iron-rich foods, such as red meat (yes, please), pulses (I don't, but you can), dried fruit (Seriously, WTF!!), bread (no or very limited), green vegetables (Here's a listand fortified breakfast cereals (REALLY, again WTF? Use high quality supplements if needed!).

And what about Health Fats?!? Not even some health fats (I think the fish part, might have been their ill attempt at health fats)!?! Healthy fats have had a bad reputation for the past 5 decades or so, but it's time to get over that and embrace the fats! Healthy fats are essential for you, your fertility journey (ANY journey for that matter) and your baby!!

Get them in your life now:
Omega-3 Fats - Fatty fish, including sardines, mackerel, herring, wild salmon or Fish Oils
Monounsaturated Fat -Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Avocados, Almonds
Saturated Fat - Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Butter, Lard (animal fat), Ghee, organic grass fed WHOLE milk and cheeses (cow and goat), Dark Chocolate, Nuts and Seeds, Eggs.

So now you see why this is such poor information and it’s all over the internet, doctor’s offices and even fertility clinics. I love the staff at the clinic we go to and to be honest that’s the main reason why we stay- when you got your legs up in the air and your calla lily is on full display, you should not be cracking jokes. That’s exactly what happens at my clinic and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
But when I talk alternative health with them, they roll their eyes and think I’ve been smoking the special sauce!
Who would of thought these little beautiful tomatoes would do some much damage to my health!?!

The reason NONE of this advice worked for me, was because it was to general and not specific enough to tackle the root cause of what was going on inside my body! To sum it up all my (MANY) hours of hanging out with Dr. Google were a massive waste of time. Until I connected with someone who knew what they were talking about, I was flapping around like a fish out of water!! When I changed my diet and lifestyle, this is what happened to my fertility:

Ovarian Cyst: I used to get these every other month and they sucked! I’ve not had one scene I started eating cleanly.
Low Embryo Quality: Between IVF 1 (13 eggs, six started to divided; four kept going with loads of fragmentation, none of them made it to blasts) and IVF 2 (12 eggs, six made it to blasts; five were healthy enough to freeze), I cut out gluten, sugar and processed food and started doing meditation, but only a little at this point.
Hormonal Issues: Not sure if I’ve concurred this one yet, but my PMS systems (moodiness, sore boobies, anxiety, tiredness and irritability) went down by 90% after I started to eat clean and worked on my stress levels.
Over Active Immune System: I still have it. Drugs help to suppress it on our first frozen round and I did get pregnant, but didn’t make it past 7 weeks. After this I had more personal testing done and changed my diet accordingly and now stick to an Autoimmune Protocol – We’ll see what happens on the next round. I will be using drugs, but I will be working really hard on the nutrition and lifestyle part of it too!


So that’s it. It’s a lot to taken in, but I hope it helps out, on whatever health journey you’re on! If you'd like any support in your own journey or have any questions, please  feel free to get in contact.  And because you're here- Here's my best advice to everyone looking to fix their health issues (big or small):

*Find out what's going on- seek out a Functional Medicine Practitioner, FDNer or Doctor who shares these core values and views! They should help, test and give you advice to find the root cause. The money you will have to pay, is worth it! It will save you time and effort and hopefully for some of you, you won’t have to go down the path of drugs and invasive procedures! 

*Find out what foods work and don't work for you! The cheep (but long) route is an elimination diet or your Functional Medicine Practitioner, FDNer or Doctor can run food sensitive tests for you! 
Go organic (grass fed) and non-GMO with as much of your food as you can afford. This makes such a difference- not only to your body, but to the environment! 

*Make or buy grass fed animal (chicken, beef or lamb) bone broth and eat the organs- Totally gross, but a MUST for optimal health. 

*Go non-toxic with in your home (cleaning, bath and beauty products). Toxins are all around us, some you just have no control over. But the ones you use in your house, you do! Just by limiting your toxic exposure at home, you can improve your health greatly. 

*SLEEP - it's got to be done. Find how many hours work for you and remember ever hour before midnight is worth two hours. 

*Meditate daily. Five minutes or an hour- Just do it- It will change your life and it's FREE (the only thing that is, in this process)!! Think meditation is for hippies? Read 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works: A True Story

*Be grateful in each and every moment and keep faith in your body! If you give it the right support, it will know what to do with its self!! 

*And last, but definitely not lest- Read, Listen and Study. Find out all you can about the different options of nutrition and lifestyle out there- ones you agree with and ones you don't, they all have valid opinions. There is no one true way and you need to find your own path- listen to your body!! Use science where possible and question and challenge everyone and everything. Fight for your health, fight for knowledge.

Other great post about my journey -
If you'd like any support in your own journey or have any questions Let's Talk
 Please remember that this is simply my story and what I have gone through. These are my opinions, that I have formed over the years, through trial and error, study, reading, listening and observing. I am open to change, challenges and new scientific developments. What works for me, may not work for you. I am not a doctor and all medical advice, should be gotten from a qualified professional. If you feel like your doctor isn't reading from the same nutrition and lifestyle book as you are (or want to be), go find one that is!

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