The power of completely focusing on the task at hand also applies to eating. Eating should be a sacred time, a time to connect with yourself, your body and the very means of your nourishment — your food, so you can get the most out of it for the ultimate benefit of your reproductive health and prospective child.
This might sound way over the top but it actually makes a whole lot of sense. Isn’t it true that when you are not focused on a task and are distracted by your surroundings, no matter how hard you try, you will not complete the task as well as if you are totally focused? Why do you think that when it comes to eating and getting the most benefit from your food this principle would not apply?
Here’s a little revision, and some great tips, to help you digest and assimilate your food more completely and make better building blocks for healthy sex cells, which eventually could create a perfectly well- formed, balanced and healthy little person.
- Avoid distractions while eating – watching TV or reading magazines and newspapers – as you will tend to eat more than you actually need;
- Avoid drinking with your meals because it dilutes stomach acid and digestive enzymes;
- Chew your food really well;
- Eat every 3 hours;
- Never skip breakfast;
- Avoid soy, gluten and dairy;
- Avoid processed, packaged and dead foods;
- Avoid fried foods;
- Finish eating at least three hours before going to sleep;
- Avoid microwaves.
The ‘Non-Negotiables’ of Food When Eating for Fertility
Eating for fertility: fresh organic unprocessed foods are best
Avoid GMO, processed, package and canned foods and you’ll cut out the nasty preservatives that can have a negative impact on your health and fertility.
- Base your meals on organic, fresh, unprocessed vegetables and proteins — nutrient rich foods;
- Eat only fresh, organic fruits that are in season, but do not have more than 2-3 pieces daily;
- Ensure your foods are fresh and as close to their natural state as possible. Do not eat anything that comes out of cans, boxes, wrappers, packages etc. In other words, avoid most branded products. This will eliminate much of the worry about how healthy pre-packaged things really are, whether they contain harmful additives, and so on…
- Avoid genetically modified foods (GMOs) completely! Most processed foods and an increasing number of non-organic foods have some genetic modifications. The negative and damaging impact of these man-made changes not only affects human health and fertility, but also the environment, due to the destruction of fragile ecosystems, soil pollution and more. Organic and biodynamic produce is best on both counts!
- If you must buy any packaged foods, avoid all preservatives, additives, colourings, flavourings and artificial sweeteners (even in lollies and chewing gum, which you are better off not eating anyway). In essence, any long, unrecognisable names or numbers on food labels. These chemicals are extremely damaging to health and fertility and can also cause foetal abnormalities;
How you cook your food is as important as what you select when eating for fertility
There are good ways to cook your foods and then there’s the bad ways to cook food. The best way to cook when eating for fertility are those that preserve all the goodness and nutrients of the food you select.
- Cook your vegetables lightly to preserve their nutrients; vitamins are very sensitive to heat. In addition, only use the following cooking methods: —steaming, grilling, roasting, baking, stir-frying (with a little coconut oil only), shredding, eating raw, or casseroling;
- Do not fry or boil your foods, as this damages all nutrients and can dramatically reduce your fertility;
- Avoid heating all vegetable oils as they become damaged, carcinogenic and negative to fertility. Olive, flaxseed and walnut oils have the best fatty acid profiles, but should only be used in salads. When vegetable oils are heated, they are converted into damaging trans fats. Research shows that each 2% increase in the consumption of trans fats decreases fertility by 73%! So think many times before you let any fried foods enter your body (even if only very, very, very occasionally);
- For heating or cooking purposes, coconut oil or ghee is the best fat to use. They both contain a healthy type of saturated fat, which does not become damaged and carcinogenic in cooking. Scientific research demonstrates many health benefits from these fats, including fertility improvement;
Choosing protein when eating for fertility
Protein is an important part of a healthy diet however if you were a big fan of raw fish foods then it’s important your learn that when eating for fertility, raw fish is way off the menu.
- Ensure any meat you prepare for eating is well cooked and NEVER eat raw fish (or raw meat) as the infections they can carry can mean big problems for your fertility;
- All your meat (especially chicken) and eggs MUST be organic. Many of the growth promoters used in rearing ‘non-organic’ animals are oestrogenic. In addition, pesticides and herbicides in their environment and even the water they drink can also be highly oestrogenic. These compounds contribute to major endocrine disruption, leading to hormonal imbalances, including sperm defects, and oestrogen dominance conditions in women, including endometriosis and fibroids. This is potentially a very big problem for your fertility and the development of the reproductive system and sexual organs of your prospective child;
- Eating fish can be a double-edged sword. The essential fatty acids found in fish are very important to fertility but the mercury and other chemical substances such as PCBs (from industry by-products), which potentially enters the body with each mouthful, has a devastating effect on fertility. The solution involves two steps:
- Avoid large fish such as tuna, swordfish, king mackerel, flake, shark and others listed here as well as all crustaceans, oysters and other seafood (due to high levels of pollution): www.oceansalive.org/eat.cfm?subnav=healthalerts;
- Rely on good-quality fish oil supplementation to obtain the amounts of essential fatty acids your body needs (choose a high DHA:EPA ratio, very important for hormonal production and brain development);
- If eating fish you are best to choose small, deep-ocean fish (but definitely not coastal). Some good options include: wild salmon, trout, sardines, herring, John Dory, halibut, monkfish, and red snapper;
- Avoid all other foods to which you suspect you are allergic.
Harvard University published a study in November 2007, with close to 18,000 participants, which showed that a ‘fertility diet + lifestyle’ improved fertility by 69%! So, following these recommendations may well be all you need to make your dream of a healthy baby come true. Be diligent and stick to it as if your life depended on it. Your optimum fertility does.
Want to start a fertility diet plan?
We offer supported guidance on what fertility foods to eat for conception with a range of food plans available on a paid subscription basis. These plans are designed to help people – especially those trying to conceive or undergoing IVF treatment – to know what foods to eat and how to cook them. They are great to learn more about fertility friendly foods in applied manner. We provide you with a fertility meal plan and recipes each week, as well as shopping lists which help you save time!
The above article is based on an excerpt from Eat Your Way To Parenthood: The Diet Secrets of Highly Fertile Couples Revealed (GoKo Publishing 2008) by Gabriela Rosa.