July 30, 2022
Nutrition is impactful no matter what stage of life you are in and that includes the life stages of your family! We have worked with clients who come to us to find out what they should eat for better fertility as they try to conceive, what to eat during pregnancy, what to eat while breast feeding, and how to feed growing kiddos. In today’s show, we start at the beginning with the fertility phase. Changing your food to increase your fertility is a process and it often takes several months, so tune in for a few tips on where to get started.
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LEAH: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Today, we will share information about how the foods you eat impact fertility. So we'll get right into it that good foods, real foods, support fertility while poor quality toxic food can lead to or certainly contribute to infertility. Foods such as grass-fed meat, a variety of vegetables and natural fats such as butter, olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil support fertility. While on the other hand, things like fast foods that have refined damaged fats or foods that have lots of processed sugar ladened kind of garbage in them, these types of things are affect our hormones and affect our fertility.
So this morning we are going to mostly focus on fertility, which is defined as the ability to conceive children or produce offspring. But as Britni and I were talking this morning, as we were preparing for the show, fertility applies to more than just those couple of years when a couple is actively trying to get pregnant or during pregnancy. We actually have fertile years that span decades long.
So for you listeners who are out there, who maybe aren't either thinking about children, or maybe you've been there done that, please don't turn off the radio just yet. Because the things that we're going to talk about this morning really can apply throughout those fertile years and, and really can, you know, ideally we want to have good fertility throughout most of our adult life.
BRITNI: That's a great point, Leah.
LEAH: Yeah. And Britni, we were talking about this too. How many clients do we talk to once they're in for women, those perimenopause years or into menopause, post menopause, we kind of backtrack a little bit and talk to them about, you know, if we're trying to sift through some of their hormone issues now, we backtrack and, and we ask them questions. What was it like for you when you were in those childbearing years? What were your cycles like? Was, did you have difficulties getting pregnant? So even if you're past those years, sometimes we go back and revisit that stuff.
LEAH: Yeah. So one of the key messages as part of the show today also is you are what you eat. And this is a little saying that I, that I read at one point and I really liked, and I thought it was pertinent for the show this morning: the foods that help you get pregnant are the foods that help you stay pregnant. So again, this ties us back into we are what we eat, which then goes on to affect our fertility level. So perhaps you want to share this podcast show with a friend or a family member or a coworker. So if that's something that you're interested in, just look for, if you go to our website, you can look for the title of the show is “Foods to Improve Fertility”.
Research supports the understanding that whole foods support fertility and poor quality nutrient devoid foods often lead to infertility. Okay, so now we've introduced that topic to our listeners this morning. I'm going to introduce myself. I am Leah Kleinschrodt. I'm a registered and licensed dietitian. And over the past five years, I have worked with many clients who are on that spectrum of their fertile years. Some are readying their body for pregnancy. Some are pregnant. Some are postpartum, and some clients are even experiencing fertility issues.
A lot of these clients come in and they just want to get some ideas or kind of come up with ways to level up or improve their diet that will help improve their experience, or if they're struggling with infertility, help that process out. And so I assure them that, yes, the things that we talk about here at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, the real foods, the good, healthy fats, these things help with fertility. I've seen it many times in the clinic. So I also have a cohost with me. You heard her voice a couple of times now. Her name is Britni Vincent, and she has both professional and personal experience kind of in the fertility world. So, and many of our listeners might have heard this story or heard bits and pieces of it. But Britni, I think it's worth repeating or worth telling for the sake of the show this morning. So why don't you introduce yourself and tell the listeners a little bit more about your experience.
BRITNI: Thanks, Leah. And you just recently returned from maternity leave, right?
LEAH: I did. I did. Yes. So my little girl is five and a half months now.
BRITNI: Can't believe five and a half months already.
BRITNI: So professionally as a registered dietitian for the past 10 years, I've worked with many clients who've come to me to see if nutrition or eating better would make a difference. And they want to know what they should eat for better fertility. And sometimes this is just thinking ahead. Right? They're not necessarily trying to get pregnant currently, but they're, they're thinking ahead. Some people want to know what to eat during pregnancy, what to eat while breastfeeding. You know, food can also affect morning sickness; that dreaded terrible morning sickness.
LEAH: Yes. I had morning sickness with both of my kiddos, and it was not, it was not fun. And I'm glad I knew what I knew to just even put some of those mitigation things in there. It, it helped. It didn't take it away, but it helped.
BRITNI: Yeah. So true. So I might see a woman for several months getting her body ready to conceive and then several months during pregnancy and then talking about breastfeeding. And then sometimes that might even turn into what do you feed the kiddo?
LEAH: Yeah. I, I think a lot of times it's just that natural progression. Like you're focused on feeding yourself, but all of a sudden you have a little baby who's six months or six and a half months like my little girl is going to be here in a little while. And yeah. And then it comes to that question: What do I, what do I feed my kid?
LEAH: Yeah. Yeah. So that's, I mean, so suffice it to say, Britni, you have a lot of experience, definitely professionally with helping women through those years and their lives. But, and I want to share just a couple of statistics out there. So we'll bring in a little bit of that science piece as well. So a couple infertility facts: we'll come back to Britni's personal story here in just a minute. But fact number one: that it is estimated that in 2022, so we're in 2022 now, that at least a third of couples will have trouble conceiving a baby. So that's one in three.
LEAH: Yeah, that's, it's it's a big number. So the estimates out there is about 48 million couples experience infertility globally. And so you break that down. That's about one in seven couples. It may even be anywhere around one in five couples experience infertility. And this was something I thought about as we were preparing for the show. I play on a women's soccer league during the summer, once a week. And most of us are kind of in that age range, twenties, thirties. We are having kids, had kids, things like that. And one of the sideline talks that came up was babies, of course, and out of the eight or nine of us that were there at that point having this conversation, two of them came out and said, you know, we experienced infertility or like difficulties with, you know, getting pregnant and things like that.
So that really translates to, you know, about that one in four, one in five couples really see that. So I got to see that on a kind of like a microcosm level there. And currently we have such a health problem with this that we've set aside the month of June for, to be National Infertility Awareness month. So here's another interesting fact that the general fertility rate among women between the ages of 15 and 44 took a sharp downturn around the year 1959. So just a little while after World War II.
And that trend has continued downward ever since then. So you back that up and you try to think, okay, what could be going on? What could be causing some of these problems with fertility where maybe there wasn't before? So as nutritionists, we put that hat on. One possible reason that we think about, you know, between 1950 and 1959, this is when those refined vegetable oils really started to take hold in the market.
So this is stuff like soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, cotton seed oil. All of these really started to skyrocket as a replacement for those saturated fats; things like butter or like beef tallow or lard or things that contain more of those healthier omega three fatty acids. So then you think about what are those foods that contain more of those refined oils? These are things like your fast food or factory foods like frozen pizzas, a lot of those convenience foods, bakery muffins. These are the things that contain those refined vegetable oils and that consumed day in and day out leads to more of that low grade inflammation and, and can interfere with conception.
BRITNI: Well, and I mean, they're really everywhere. Even salad dressings, hummus, which is an otherwise healthy food. Most of those, if you buy them at the store are going to have these refined oils. So you always, always have to be on the lookout. And you know, I also think since you know, about 1959, we've been eating more sugar. People are more stressed in different ways, not getting as much sleep. I mean, generally speaking, we just aren't eating near as well as we used to.
LEAH: Absolutely. Yes. Lots of contributing factors there.
BRITNI: Yeah. But you know, it is time for our first break. And then when we return, I will share a little bit more about my story.
LEAH: Yes. Great. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition and our topic today is “Food to Improve Fertility”.
BRITNI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. After this show and podcast, if you have questions, you can ask them on our private Dishing Up Nutrition Facebook group. This is a perfect way to get your questions answered. To join, just go to facebook.com/groups/dishingupnutrition.
BRITNI: What a great perk.
LEAH: I know. It's a great perk and I think it's also one way if you are interested or like have topics you want to suggest also.
LEAH: So I mean, maybe that's a little selfish on our part to say like, oh, here just give us all the ideas. But that really means that you have input on the things that we talk about and we want to make sure that we're putting topics out there that people are interested in, right?
BRITNI: Yes. Great point, Leah.
LEAH: Yeah. Yeah. So before we went to break I was just breaking down a little bit of some things to watch out for with things that we're eating and tying in some of those refined vegetable oils, things like the soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil. Those are oftentimes found in more of those things like fast food, the frozen pizzas, the bakery muffins, lots of those convenience factory types of foods.
And so as we think about that, as we think about trying to transition away from some of those foods, and this is what we talk about with our clients a lot, is like, it really becomes necessary to get into the kitchen, to just even get some basic skills or basic recipes down or get some basic ideas on how you can feed yourself and your family real food and quality food and food that they'll enjoy as well.
LEAH: And so one, one like nice little thing that we do offer is every month we offer a cooking class on Zoom with Marianne, who's like our, our in-house chef person. She's wonderful; so much knowledge, so much passion for real food and nutrition. And we have one of those classes coming up this week. So it's August 3rd. So that is Wednesday. I believe it starts at 6:00 PM. Most of them start at around that time around 6:00 PM. And the cost is $25. So the topic for this coming cooking class is “Salads for Balanced Meals”. So Britni, you mentioned salads: great way to meet your vegetable quota.
LEAH: Very fresh, very light in the summertime, but those salad dressings. That's one area where we do have to look for those refined oils. And even if it says made with olive oil on the front of the bottle, you always have to still check that ingredient list.
BRITNI: Yes, you do.
LEAH: Yes. Cause oftentimes like soybean or canola oil will sneak in there first and then olive oil is maybe three or four down the list. So if you're interested in signing up for one of those cooking classes or learning more, you can call us at (651) 699-3438.
And then Britni, we want to hear more about your story, more about your personal story. You kind of teased us there before break.
BRITNI: Yeah. So you know, in my, well, let me back up. Going to school to become a dietitian, some of you listeners might know this way of eating is not what we learned. So my diet was pretty poor; lots of processed carbs, not near enough protein or healthy fat. And I like to say after I graduated my dietetic internship, I finally saw the light.
LEAH: I love that.
BRITNI: Yeah. So I really slowly started making changes and just getting back to real foods. And then in my early twenties, I found out I had really low progesterone. Which meant that I wasn't ovulating, even though I did have a very timely regular cycle. And then amongst other labs and other symptoms, I got diagnosed with PCOS. And this was about the same time that I started working at Nutritional Weight and Wellness.
So good timing because then I was able to apply all, all my new knowledge as well. So I became even more diligent with my diet: gluten free, dairy free at that time. And making more lifestyle changes and learning, since then, I've, I've really learned a lot more about PCOS. I believe I had a type called inflammatory PCOS. So yes, there are different types of PCOS. And I work with a lot of women who've had that diagnosis and it is actually the number one cause of infertility in women.
BRITNI: So if you, if you have that diagnosis, if you wonder if maybe you do have PCOS, we have lots of podcasts and articles on the topic, or you can make an individual appointment, but today we are focusing on general fertility. And, you know, I, I do want to mention too, a lot of women go undiagnosed.
BRITNI: Or they don't get diagnosed until they're actually trying to conceive.
LEAH: Yep. So I'm actually just thinking about a client I talked to maybe about a month ago, same type of like all the symptoms kind of pointed that way. And yet she was just struggling. She wasn't trying to get pregnant at this point, but just struggling with lots of these symptoms, but you start connecting those dots and it's like, you know, I think this might be what's going on.
BRITNI: Yeah. Yeah. I've had a lot of clients, same thing. And you know, that was a huge motivator for me, as I knew I wanted to have kids someday, so I put the time and the effort in, so that, you know, at the time, hopefully I didn't have to worry about that.
LEAH: Yeah. You kind of made your own little experiment, like you had lots of personal experience to draw on and that carried over to learning more as you continued to work with clients.
BRITNI: Yeah. Yeah. And I, so I mentioned I had low progesterone and maybe some of you along the way have been told that, so that can be a sign that you don't ovulate. So I was thinking we could just talk briefly about the role of progesterone in our body. It's a very calming hormone. But when it comes to conception and pregnancy, you know, we progesterone after ovulation. It makes the uterine lining sticky so that the embryo can implant properly. So Leah, you had mentioned earlier getting pregnant, but staying pregnant too.
So all of this also can, can just help to lead to a healthy pregnancy in general, not only conception. And then the progesterone also increases blood supply to, to our uterine lining. So it stays nourished for baby.
LEAH: Yep. Baby requires a lot of nutrients. Especially as they grow.
BRITNI: Yeah. That is for sure.
Healthy food ideas to support fertility
LEAH: Yeah. Yeah. So Britni, why don't you, you know, tell us a little bit more about some of the nutrition changes that you made along the way, or, or even give us an example of what you eat for breakfast, eat for lunch or give the listeners some of these real food ideas while we have about a minute or so before we jump into our next break.
BRITNI: Yeah. So that's just it; getting more real foods into my diet is what I focused on and upping the protein and healthy fat was huge. So typical breakfast: we have a lot of eggs in our family nowadays. And so eggs. I keep frozen vegetables on hand for something quick and easy. So sometimes I throw that in there or whatever else we might have in the veggie drawer. Maybe some fruit on the side and like, I'm just thinking this week for lunch I had a lot of salads.
LEAH: There’s the salads again.
BRITNI: We have Marianne’s cooking demo coming up. And you know, I can share some more ideas, but it is time for our second break already.
LEAH: Yes it is. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition and today we are discussing the role of food and nutrition and how that plays into fertility. We encourage women and men to get to both get their nutrition and health in order months before even trying to conceive. The food and your nutrition has so much to do with your fertility. And we encourage clients to give it, you know, at least a six-month trial, but if people are willing to wait, even before they start turning to specialized fertility treatments. It takes time to change your eating habits and to nourish your cells. And it takes a personalized approach. So if you're ready for that, give us a call at (651) 699-3438 and we'll be right back.
BRITNI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I find it is often a very complicated process to help a client develop optimal fertility. So it really truly does take personalized nutrition counseling. And your very first appointment will be an hour and a half in length and will go through an extensive health history to determine your goals and just start the process of helping you to change your nutrition to support fertility. And it really does need to be personalized because each client has unique needs, unique genetics and, and unique lifestyle too. So we do have appointments available. Please call 651-699-3438.
LEAH: Yep. Perfect. So before we went to that break, Britni, you were giving us lots of delicious ideas or just kind of giving us a snippet into your life about what are, what were some of those changes that you made or like, what does your nutrition look like today. You mentioned eggs for breakfast, you know, I'm just going to throw out another idea also, I also packed some eggs for breakfast this morning to have, you know, as I head into work after the show this morning.
So I packed a couple of hard boiled eggs along and a couple of turkey breakfast sausages from our website that I made, oh, I don't know earlier in the week and some green beans in there and grabbed some mayonnaise, some avocado oil based mayonnaise. I'm going to kind of toss those on the eggs, kind of like a, a shortcut of deviled eggs type of thing.
So, and that's, you know, those eggs can be really helpful or you know, like really nutrient rich in terms of thinking about fertility, conception, pregnancy. They contain things like DHA and choline, which are really important for babies’ developing brain and nervous system and also, and also for moms as well.
BRTINI: Yeah. And the protein.
LEAH: Yep. And the protein piece
BRITNI: Is so important.
LEAH: Yep. Absolutely. Like you said, you know, protein, just upping your protein was one of your strategies and that's, I mean, I feel like we constantly work with our clients on that, cause oftentimes people are not eating enough of that good quality protein. Yeah.
LEAH: And we know, you know, for you, a lot of this stuff, it, it did take time, but it worked for you. You have a household of three kiddos now.
BRITNI: Yes. It worked. I am happy to say when it came time that we wanted to have kids, we didn't have a problem getting pregnant. So, and I, I really think it's just my, all my nutrition changes that I made and, and kept up too over the years. And in our house, we, we really nowadays keep food pretty simple.
LEAH: I'll bet.
BRITNI: Yeah. I think most, most families need to do that with little kids just to, to keep, keep things easy. And so like this week, my husband baked a bunch of chicken breasts and I made like a green salad with it one day. Then I made a mayo based chicken salad another day, which the kids love.
BRITNI: So whatever we make, we also try to have it be something the kids can eat or could be modified for them too so we're not having to cook separate things. I can't imagine having to do that.
LEAH: Yes, absolutely. That is, I mean, that's another thing. Sometimes we'll have clients come in and say, you know, I can't make two or three different meals for the family. Even clients with little kids, like how do I make this work for all of us? And that's where, you know, real food applies throughout the lifespan. Like if we can get them started on real food early, we stand a better chance of keeping them on real food as they go along.
BRITNI: Yeah. Whole other topic, but for sure. Get them started early and it will most definitely affect their taste buds.
LEAH: Mm-Hmm. All right. So we've talked a lot about the women's side of things so far, so let's not forget the other half of the equation, you know, oftentimes unfortunately kind of like that conventional mindset is that infertility tends to be more the women's problem. But we know that we know about 6 million women or so, you know, give or take a little bit, struggle with infertility, but out of the cases of infertility, somewhere around that 50% mark, you know, I've seen numbers of 40, even 60% involve male infertility also.
And this is where often men kind of get passed over as well. Like there's no traditional preconception care for men out there. Oftentimes again, it is focused more on the women's side of the equation. Most male infertility is due to abnormal sperm count or low quality sperm. Some possible reasons for low sperm count or low quality sperm can be again, nutrition wise, a poor diet lacking in fruits and vegetables, obesity, smoking, even excess alcohol usage. You know we went to, a lot of us, went to a conference last year that actually focused a lot on fertility and, and this very topic.
And one thing that was brought up is that actually sperm motility and semen quality can be improved with probiotic intake. So again, like kind of a nice, simple little tweak that you can make to help things along. So really even a man's food choices really makes a difference in the quality of his sperm in just that, that conception time period.
BRITNI: Yeah. Yeah. I really like working with couples in this preconception phase and I've had clients where they come and it's like, oh, I want to get pregnant right now. And we kind of back up a little bit because optimally, you really want to start thinking about these changes at least three months in advance, ideally even six to 12 months. You know, it takes about 90 days for sperm to mature and, and then, you know, this could be a good time or, you know, one, again, little thing that you could do is just start taking a good quality prenatal.
LEAH: Yep. Yeah. Cause most, a lot of those prenatals will… you want to still be eating good food, but it can provide that safety net or in that preconception period help you help replete your body if you are missing out on some of those nutrients.
BRITNI: And what do we want to look for? What are some key things?
LEAH: Yes, that is, I mean, that's a really great question cause there's, there's so many choices out there. What do you look for? You know, some of the things that go through my brain when I'm looking at, you know, even multivitamins in general, but a good quality prenatal; I look at the kind of folate or what they're using for that crucial B vitamin.
The more say kind of lower quality prenatals are going to be using folic acid, which is the synthetic form of folate. Some people's bodies handle that just fine. But there are people out there who do not use that folic acid and turn it into that usable form in the body really well. So unless you get genetic testing or get some testing done, you don't really know if you're that kind of person. So I usually have people just kind of blanket statement, like let's look for a quality prenatal that uses either folate or sometimes you'll see on the label like 5-methylfolate, you know, you'll see that methylfolate term in there. So that's the more active form or the more usable form of folate in the body.
BRITNI: And that, you know, the folate is crucial even the first few weeks of pregnancy for babies' development. And a lot of times women don't even know that they're pregnant at that time.
LEAH: Yep, exactly. Which is why, like you said, it's important, like one simple thing that you can do before actively trying to get pregnant is just get on a good prenatal so that, you know, you kind of have those nutrients available once, once baby is already growing.
LEAH: Yeah. So I look for that. I also look for, I tend to look for some of the forms of nutrients, some other forms of nutrients that are in that prenatal. You know, if I see if there's calcium in there, if I see calcium carbonate, I'm like, eh, let's, let's look for something more like a calcium citrate even, or like just a better form of calcium. Same type of thing with magnesium. If I see magnesium oxide, it's like, well, let's try to find something like with a magnesium glycinate or, or something, or even a magnesium citrate or just something a little better absorbed. I personally also love either prenatals or coupling prenatals with like an omega three fatty acid.
BRITNI: For sure.
LEAH: And especially like that DHA fatty acid. So there are some prenatals out there that automatically include a fish oil or like a DHA type of supplement cause DHA, that omega-3 fatty acid is really helpful and crucial for helping to form that nervous system, that baby's brain like we want to give at that good, those building blocks from, you know, from the ground up.
BRITNI: And then this is also again, not forgetting about the other side. This is also a great time for the male to start taking a multivitamin. Because again, they need proper nutrients for, for optimal sperm quality.
LEAH: Yep. Absolutely. That's a really great point, Britni. And one another thing I'll just point out: oftentimes these prenatals or like a good multivitamin, you're probably going to need to take more than one capsule a day. Because just to try to fit all those nutrients in, it's probably going to be at least two or three, I mean, upwards of even like six capsules or tablets to really get that full spectrum of those nutrients. So if it's like kind of the one and done thing it's convenient, but it might just not be giving you all the quality that you're looking for.
BRITNI: Yeah. Yeah. That's a great point. I mean, when we think about it physically, all of those nutrients just can't fit into one.
LEAH: It can't fit. Yeah, absolutely.
BRITNI: And at this time it's also important, important to avoid certain beverages. It, for some people it might be necessary to really significantly cut back on alcohol or just eliminate it, stop smoking, you know, thinking about other beverages.
LEAH: Right. Yeah. As, and I mentioned that conference that a lot of us went to last year talking about fertility, one thing that they did hammer home quite a bit was the, the sugar sweetened beverages, the things like soda juices or like things that have high fructose corn syrup in them or sweetened with fructose, even artificially sweetened soda. So especially those beverages that contain high amounts of sugar.
That's one thing that the research has shown leads to a decrease in semen volume. So again, like for the male side of things, this is something, again, something that we can kind of pull back on or pull out completely and see if they're willing to start drinking somewhere around that eight to 10 glasses of filtered water. Some people may need to, and this is men and women. Some might need to cut back on the amount of coffee that they're drinking.
I encourage clients. If they're able to like even switch one step you can take a switch to the organic coffees. Cause coffee is one of the most highly sprayed with pesticides out there. So you don't have to completely cut out your coffee, but maybe we need to just get the better quality coffee, especially if it's something that you're doing every single day. The things that you do every single day add up over time. So getting away from the high sugar coffee drinks from the local coffee house, going to black coffee. Maybe you do a little heavy cream, or I like to do a little canned coconut milk in mine, but doing more than just a couple of cups a day starts to actually deplete your body of those nutrients.
BRITNI: And you know, a little more about that alcohol. So I know, especially when you're socializing, it can be difficult to not just get what your friends are getting. So let's talk quickly about some, some alternatives you know, the sparkling waters or if you're out and about, you could get like club soda, and maybe just a splash of cranberry juice. You could ask for it in a nice little drinking glass with a straw.
LEAH: Yeah. As Melanie would say a glass.
BRITNI: Yeah. You, and, and those types of modifications again, that can go a really long way.
LEAH: Yeah. It adds up over time. And again, especially if you're giving your body those couple of months to prepare. So we need to take our last break, our third break. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. And after this show, have you realized that maybe you need just a little more education about this topic or other nutrition topics? I want to suggest taking our Weight and Wellness series. That's our signature series that starts August 18th at our Woodbury location.
This will be six Thursday evenings from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM. And the topics range from blood sugar control to heart health to inflammation. And I love the fact that actually social workers and nurses could even receive continuing education credits. So you can learn for your career, but also learn for your personal wellbeing. So give us a call if you want to learn more at 651-699-3438 and we'll be right back.
BRITNI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Ann Wigmore, a wise author of many books, a naturopath and nutritionist had a lot of great sayings. And here's one that I like: “The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”
LEAH: That's a bold statement.
BRITNI: Yeah, it is. But you know, we really believe real food, grass fed meat, organic vegetables and natural fats are really the safest form of medicine out there.
LEAH: Mm-Hmm. Yeah, really? You can't, you can't go wrong with just helping people level up that nutrition a little bit or make some of these changes, you know, there's very rarely if ever any downsides to just to making some of those little changes. Yeah. Yeah. So before we went to break, Britni, kind of one example of maybe one of those kind of slower poisons; you were talking about alcohol.
And again, socially helps us out. Physically, it typically doesn't do anything really super helpful for our bodies. And so, as we work with clients who are looking to improve their hormone balance or improve their digestion, improve their fertility or kind of improve any health aspect, we start to look at, okay, what are the things that are harming you? And what are the things that are going to heal you? And we try to tip that balance towards the things that heal you more than the things that harm you. So alcohol being one example, you know, not that you have to eliminate it completely, but sometimes we need to cut back and some people do need to eliminate completely.
BRITNI: Yeah. Yeah.
LEAH: Yeah. So another example of some of those things that just might slowly harm you over time are those more processed, refined foods. So we want to try to get those out or eliminate them as much as we possibly can. And this is where we can help as nutritionists and dietitians. This is what we do day in and day out. So if you're struggling or if you're stuck or if you just need some fresh ideas, this is where we can come in, you know, changing your food to increase fertility is a process and it often takes at least several months.
LEAH: Britni, you gave the, the range, like for sure we want to probably start that process at least three months in advance of actively trying to get pregnant. But ideally if we can go more 6, 9, 12 months even better. And that might look like, as we mentioned before, giving up that high sugar coffee house drink that has 25 teaspoons of sugar in it. And just going to regular black coffee with a little heavy cream in it. That's, that's a huge step for a lot of people. Going from alcohol and switching more to just drinking filtered water. That can be another big step for a lot of people. One little tip that I actually, so this ties in coffee and water. One little tip I shared with a corporate class that I that I taught what two weeks ago or so is that if a lot of people get up in the morning and they launch right into the coffee. But you're already dehydrated from, you know, not drinking for maybe eight, 10 hours overnight.
So how can we start help people to start hydrating right away in the morning? One little thing I shared or one kind of habit change is that you can set your coffee mug out in the morning or set it out the night before, excuse me. But fill that coffee mug with water and set it out, like in your coffee pot, whatever. You have to drink that water to get to your coffee. Like you have to drink that down before you could put coffee into that mug. Otherwise you're going to end up with watered down coffee and that's just kind of sad.
BRITNI: Perfect. I love it.
LEAH: So that's one way that you can just kind of create your environment to just foster some of these good habits that we want to establish.
BRITNI: Yeah. Makes it a little easier.
BRITNI: And I, you know, I love that you said process. It's a journey. It's a process. Both making these behavior modifications, but also for your body to actually rebalance. And hormones specifically take a long time. So be patient with yourself. Be patient with your body and you know, through this process, you want to think about how can you give up your favorite junk food? Well, first easy step is just don't buy it.
BRITNI: I'm sure many can relate, but if it's in my house, it just calls my name.
LEAH: Yep. We hear that all the time.
BRITNI: Yeah. If it's not in the house, you don't even think about it. But so first step: get it out of the house. And if you maybe have family members that will still buy it, ask if they could keep it somewhere where you don't know where it is.
LEAH: Out of sight, out of mind type of situation can work for some people.
BRITNI: And then replace it with something else. You know, chips: a lot of people like that crunchiness. I always have some fresh veggies on hand. I tend to buy easy things that don't need a lot of chopping. So mini cucumbers, like mini peppers. I love jicama, especially for that crunch factor. And then keeping on hand some sort of dip: guacamole dip, hummus. Sometimes I'll make like a mayonnaise based dip with some herbs in there for the veggies. And that can be a great substitute for those chips.
LEAH: Yeah. I love all those ideas. I, I love the mini bell peppers too. I've been doing a lot of those lately.
BRITNI: They are yummy.
LEAH: Yeah. Especially if you're, if you are busy, you know, whether or not you have little kids at home or not, but just a lot of us have those busy lifestyles. Just having those veggies that you can just grab and put on a plate or whatever, and not have to chop up or, or do anything else or super fancy with them. I love that.
And we encourage both men and women for better fertility to eat more healthy, natural fats. The reason being is that fats make up a good portion of our hormones. They’re kind of one of the big backbones of our hormones.
So things like avocados are really great. You mentioned guacamole. So mash it up into guacamole or just cut it up, put some slices on a grilled burger. Things like olives and olive oil are both very healthy. Butter, coconut oil, avocado oils: these are all great fats to sauté your vegetables in.
So not only do we need to add those good fats, but then also cut back... We mentioned this a couple of times, but cut back on those processed carbs; the things like the breads, the pastas, crackers, cereals, cookies, and really, we want to try to make sure those good carbs are coming from things like vegetables, a little bit of fruit, you know, some of our starchier root veggies. And this is where we also want to be really reading those labels and looking at damaged fats, refined fats, the soybean oils, the canola oils, the sunflower oils, the corn oils, like those they're so sneaky and they hide in everything.
BRITNI: They are everywhere. And then, you know, I had mentioned during my process, I eliminated gluten. And then I was really strict dairy free for a large chunk of time. And I have found that for some individuals, they also need to do that. And I've had a couple clients that track ovulation, and we've seen the months that they are eating real food, they're gluten free, dairy free, they are more likely to ovulate than the months that they're not necessarily following that way of eating.
LEAH: How interesting is that?
BRITNI: Yeah. And, and like I said, it's been a couple clients that I've seen that. So it's been very interesting and very telling. You know, I'll share one brief success story. I, I had a woman come in who was trying to get pregnant for several months. And she on her own had made a lot of wonderful changes but we actually increased her food intake a little bit.
BRITNI: Really focused on those healthy fats. We added a couple supplements to help rebalance her hormones. And then, you know, I think three, six months later I got an email saying she's pregnant. So that's always a wonderful email to get.
LEAH: Those are the best emails to get. Yeah. Well, and that's, I think that's so interesting that you said one of the first things, or one of the main things you guys had to do was to increase the amount of food that she was eating, you know, especially if we have goals around weight loss, the tendency is to try to eat less or to try to restrict, or to try to eliminate when really with that fertility, the body, I explain this to clients, the body wants to feel safe.
And it wants to feel like there is enough out there, that there's plenty so that if, and when you do get pregnant and once that baby is born, that there will be enough resources out there for for them to continue to grow for you to carry that pregnancy. And then for that basically to kind of carry on that lineage, to carry on those genes.
BRITNI: That's a great way to, of explaining that.
LEAH: Yeah. So, you know, we do work with women on this topic many times, you know, maybe not necessarily every day, but you know, several times a month, at least. And they oftentimes they see their nutrition as their insurance policy to not only conceive, but then to have a healthy pregnancy. So if you're struggling or if you're just wanting to learn a little bit more, again, get in touch with us here at Nutritional Weight and Wellness and see how nutrition can help you. So our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message that eating real food is life changing. Thank you and have a great day.
BRITNI: Thank you.