The road to wellness isn't straight, clear, or predictable. It's a path you forge yourself.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Losing weight the baby-friendly way

Okay, so I weighed myself this weekend and I'm back up to 181.5.  Boooo!   At least I'm not back up to my weight of 195, but I don't like the direction I'm going.  (I had gotten down to 165.)  I had been doing so well, but for the past 2 months I've been doing fertility treatments after a year's hiatus from the last time.  Those hormones really mess you up!  I'm positive they had something to do with the weight gain.  :-/

Anyway, the new diet starts tomorrow.  I was going to do the whole low carb thing that worked so well before, but eating a lot of meat is not good for fertility.  SO, here's what I'm going to do:

Eating - 
1.  Eat lots of salads with a lot of mixed veggies.  (Like grape tomatoes, arugula, spinach, radishes, broccoli slaw, etc.)  and dress it with lemon juice and Canola oil.  (Canola oil has omega 3's in it, which olive oil doesn't.)

2.  Put a half cup of beans on the salad for protein.  Beans are supposed to increase fertility and it helps to limit meat.

3.  Only one serving of fruit per day.  (To reduce sugar.)  I will start the morning with my rice-protein powder shake and include blueberries in it.

4.  NO sugar, honey, artificial sweetners, etc.  (Sweets are my big weakness.  It's so much easier to keep the calories down if I just give them up altogether.)

5.  Eat one serving of full-fat dairy per day.  (Amazingly enough, this has been proven to increase fertility.)  I will make my yogurt with whole milk this week.  This way, I won't go for the ice-cream with all the sugar in it.

Work-out - 
1.  Two afternoons per week:  Curves gym (interval training) - 30 minutes

2.  One night per week:  Zumba! - 1 hour - (Gonna check it out for the first time tomorrow.)

3.  One night per week:  Indian Dance - 1.5 hours - (my latest passion!)

I have been bad about working out lately.  It's so hard to feel like working out when the fertility hormones make you feel horrible and bloaty.  My boobs are insanely sore and I feel like a stuffed sausage.  I've decided I don't have PMS, I have PMMS (Permanent Mexican Meal Syndrome).  You feel as if you have eaten a big disgusting Mexican meal.....all the time!  Even when you first wake up and haven't eaten anything.  I'm sick of it!  I'm going to take a break from it for the next few months and try to get my weight and health under control before I undertake IVF.  

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The 6 Fertility Robbers. Beware!

In the book, "Getting Pregnant:  The New Fertility Diet Guide" by Niels H. Lauerson, M.D., Ph.D & Colette Bouchez, they list some foods to avoid if you're trying to get pregnant.  I'm going to list them for you here. 

The Six Fertility Robbers:

1.  Alcohol - (Although I thought alcohol HELPED a lot of women get pregnant.  Not so!)  In a British study, even one glass of beer or wine per day decreased the chances for conception by 50%.

2.  Caffeine - In a Yale study, those who drank more than 3 cups of coffee a day had a 176% rise in infertility in just one year.  Even as little as 1 cup of coffee per day had a 55% higher infertility rate.  (Exception:  green tea.  The caffeine content is lower than coffee and it has other compounds which aid in fertility.)

3.  Peas! - Who knew there is a natural chemical found in peas called m-xylohydroquinone that reduces sperm production by 50% and pregnancy rates by 60%.  They are actually testing this as a potential natural contraceptive!  I hate peas anyway so this is a good reason for me to avoid them.  Hooray!

4.  Diet Soda and Artificial Sweeteners - Is this a surprise?  They're just bad for you.

5.  Sugar & High Fructose Corn Syrup - also not surprising!

6.  Food Preservatives - The two mentioned were MSG and BHA.  MSG also goes by other names like hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), autolyzed plant protein (APP), autolyzed yeast, sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate.  BHA is found in a lot of baked goods and snack foods.  Read labels and avoid these!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Six Foods that Boost Fertility

I'm currently reading two books about how you can improve your chances of conceiving by changing your diet.  One of these books is called "Getting Pregnant:  The New Fertility Diet Guide" by Niels H. Lauerson, M.D., Ph.D & Colette Bouchez.  (Click here for their website.)  In this book they list foods that can help increase your fertility.  I'm listing them here for you.

The Six Super Fertility Food Boosters:

1.  Wild Organic Blueberries - half a cup per day can help fertility, plus lower cholesteral, fight high blood pressure, and help protect you from cancer.  Remember, what's good for your body is also good for fertility!

2.  Cruciferous Vegetables - broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, bok choy, etc.  Also good for men's fertility!

3.  Onions and Garlic - also leeks, scallions, chives, etc.  Can help to repair damaged DNA and lowers inflammation.  Can help particularly those women diagnosed with endometriosis or PCOS.

4.  Green Tea - This is another paradox because caffeine is said to decrease fertility.  However, the compound known as EGCG which is found in green tea helps increase the number of eggs available for fertilization.  Effective when combined with IVF.  The book says not to drink more than 7 cups per week though.  (Probably b/c of the caffeine thing.)

5. Nuts!  Almonds, cashews, walnuts, and more - The good fats and antioxidants contained in nuts are why these are good for fertility.   Exception:  Peanuts!  They are BAD for fertility because of the plant estrogens which can affect hormone levels in women and slow down sperm production and motility in men.

6.  Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin seeds, and Wheat Germ - I'm gluten-intolerant so I'm going to avoid the wheat germ but I eat pumpkin and sunflower seeds regularly.  Apparently, it's the good fats, vitamin E, zinc, and B6 which make these fertility super foods.

Do any of you know about the fertility diet?  I'm just getting started reading about it.  Eat up and good luck to all!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Fertility Sundae

I am currently reading two books on "The Fertility Diet".  Apparently, there are foods that can help (or prevent) you from becoming pregnant.  Who knows if it actually will make any difference, but I'm willing to try.  (At this point, if someone told me that my fertility would improve if I stood outside and recited the alphabet backwards whilst standing  on one leg by the light of the full moon, I'd totally do it!)  At least it makes me feel like I have control over SOMETHING to do with the whole process.

Most of the information I've come across so far isn't surprising.  Eat more veggies and fruit, stay away from refined carbs and sugars, eat good fats, etc.  BUT - I did come across something that was pleasantly surprising.   The ice-cream paradox! 
Even though saturated fat in general can negatively affect fertility, eating full fat ice-cream increases fertility in women!  It has to be full fat though.  Low fat ice-cream was shown to  be detrimental to fertility.  Both books I have say the same thing so it must be true, right?  Apparently, there was a Nurses Health Study at the Harvard School of Public Health that confirms this.  The following was discovered:
  • The more low-fat dairy products in a woman's diet, the more likely she was to have had trouble getting pregnant.
  • The more full-fat dairy products in a woman's diet, the less likely she was to have had problems getting pregnant.
Crazy, right? Currently, I'm not eating any dairy at all because I feel better when I avoid it.  However, if the potential life of my future baby depends on it.....well, I guess I'll have to make the sacrifice and eat some ice-cream!  I mean, who am I to argue with Science, right?

My book says that only about a half pint of ice-cream per week is advisable.  You don't want to just eat as much ice-cream as you want because that will cause to gain weight and excess weight is BAD for fertility.  SO - once a week, only on the weekends, I'm adding this "Fertility Sundae" to my diet:

1/2 pint of ice-cream (I used vanilla this week)
2 T Chocolate sauce (the polyphenols in chocolate boost fertility)
walnuts (the omega 3 content and fiber make them good for fertility as well)

Yay!  This the best news I've heard all week.  Yum!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Stupid 'ol hormones and falling off the wagon

So, I did really well on my grain-free, sugar-free diet last week and lost 2 pounds.  This week, I was terrible and totally fell off the wagon.  (I don't know what I weigh now, but I'm afraid to get on the scales.)  Not to make excuses or anything but this past week I found out that my last IUI didn't work and I've now started a new cycle.  (Fertility stuff for those of you who are fortunate enough to not know what an IUI is.)  I have to inject hormones into my belly every day for 14 days or so of each cycle.  I also am craving carbs like CRAZY.  I don't think this is a coincidence!

I asked my doctor if the fertility hormones cause weight gain and he said, "No.  But they can make you want to eat more and THAT can make you gain weight". it just me or doesn't that mean the hormones make you gain weight?

You know what else?  These stupid 'ol hormones give you nausea and morning sickness.  (Not to mention hot flashes!)  What a mean trick!  It seems like you should have morning sickness and be pregnant OR not have morning sickness and not be pregnant.  To have morning sickness and NOT be pregnant is just plain mean.  I feel like God is laughing at me sometimes.

I think going through fertility is rough because it forces you to face the issue every day.  When I wasn't giving myself a shot everyday and going in to have an ultrasound and my blood tested every 4 days, it was easy to focus on other things and forget about it.  These IUI cycles just kind of shove it in your face and make it hard to ignore.  

Anyway, sorry to be tiresome and to keep harping on about this but it's hard not to.  This is the biggest thing going on in my life.  It's the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about before I go to sleep....and all the times in between.  If you're wondering what I'm thinking about when I'm stopped at a red light, it's this!  My hope is that someone else going through infertility might feel better knowing that someone knows what they're going through.  I also hope that this might help those who have never had fertility issues understand those who do. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Cleaning the bathroom the healthy way

I don't know about you, but conventional cleaning products make me sick.  (Especially mold-killer bathroom sprays.)  I used to always get an insane headache and have to go lie down after cleaning the bathroom.   No more!  I have found a healthy way to do it with natural cleaners.  Yay!

The book "Clean Home Green Home" by Kim Delaney has really helped me.  It tells you how to make your own cleaning products, not just for the bathroom, but for the whole house!  Today, I'll be sharing with you my new bathroom cleaning method that I learned from this book.

Shower, bath, and sink:
1.  Mix some baking soda with some regular dish soap to make a paste.  (Start with about a handful of baking soda, then add a little dish soap at time while stirring.)  Only make as much as you need because it does not store well.  (It just dries up.) Note: the book says to use "castille soap", which is vegetable-based soap, but I haven't been able to find any.  Dish soap is mild so I use that instead.

2.  Using a microfiber cleaning cloth (like the kind you get at Bed, Bath, and Beyond or Target), rub the paste all over the tub, tiles, shower head, faucets, etc.  Use an old toothbrush to get at the hard-to-reach places.  (The baking soda paste will scrub off grime, but is mild enough not to scratch any surfaces.)

3.  Turn on the shower and rinse.  Then, wipe with a another wet microfiber cloth.

4.  In order to shine metal faucets, rub with a dry microfiber cloth.

Note:  I know this sounds like a lot of microfiber cloths, but I only own 3 and I use them every week.  Then, I just chuck 'em in the wash with the towels.  It's better to use washable cloths than endless paper towels.  (...and cheaper in the long run!)

5.  In order to prevent clogs in the drains, boil a kettle-full of water and pour it down the drain.  (Once every 2 weeks or so.)  The boiling water will loosen any fatty soap deposits and help it slide down the drain.  If you already have a clog, don't get drano!  Pour some baking soda and vinegar down the drain.  It will fizz up.  Put a cloth over the drain and let it fizz for 5 minutes or so; then pour the boiling water.  I was amazed at how well this worked!  The best part is that there's no harmful chemicals going down and it won't eat your pipes. 

Natural Mold Killers:
1.  Plain old vinegar.  Just put it in a spray bottle and spray on the area where you want to kill/prevent mold.  It smells a bit funny, but once it dries the smell is totally gone.  Warning:  Do NOT use vinegar on tile grout, marble, or any porous surface!  It will eat into it.

2.  Tea tree oil spray:  Mix 2 cups of water with 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil (available at Whole Foods or most health food stores).  This is safe to use on tile grout and pretty much any surface.  I spray this mixture all over my shower and tub when I'm done cleaning it.  Then, you just leave it there.  It will kill and prevent mold.  Plus - it smells great!

Shower Curtain:
After each use, draw it across the shower rod.  (close it)  This way, it dries out better and mold won't grow as easily.  Once a week, I spray it down with tea tree oil spray. 

 Okay so this is the only area where I cheat and use a conventional cleaner.  Soft Scrub just works really well and I haven't found a natural product to match it.  I figure, using a little of it once a week isn't so bad.  Plus, it doesn't seem to give me headaches like other cleaners do.
If any of you out there have any natural cleaning tips, I'm all ears.  Happy (and healthy) cleaning!