Now, a year into our official IF diagnosis, I can look back and see a few ways that we have actually benefited from infertility. Would I have chosen infertility as the mode for these benefits? Probably not. But it wasn’t my decision, and I’m trying to make the most of our circumstances.
One of the benefits of infertility for us has been the improvements in our diet. Well, I guess more than that, the improvements in how we think about food. If we ever do receive the blessing of children, I am confident that this knowledge and how we are incorporating that knowledge in our meals will be beneficial for their nutrition as well. And I doubt we would have cared very much about this subject had we not received our infertility diagnosis.
As we dove into research about infertility, a few things kept coming up about the food we were eating. Recognizing that infertility is ultimately a health issue–that we are dealing on some level with an imbalance in hormone levels–we have embarked on a journey to try to improve our health. This includes exercise, going to bed at a reasonable hour, and, of course, eating better. To clarify, we’re not trying to improve our diets in an effort to lose weight (though, I must admit, there is a little extra hanging around my hips that I wouldn’t mind getting rid of).
Lucky for me, DH will eat anything. (Seriously. If he doesn’t like a food but is convinced of its health benefits, he will eat it anyway.) And the foods I don’t particularly like, while bordering on un-American, tend not to be good for me (hot dogs, potato chips, lunch meat). So making adjustments to improve our diets isn’t so much of a problem of not liking nutritious foods as it is not knowing where to start.
As I started researching all things nutrition, I quickly found myself overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information. And it’s not straightforward and scientific: everybody seems to have their own opinion. Cut gluten. Cut dairy. To be healthy, eat more fats. Cut out all the fats. Follow a simple “calories in, calories out” equation. Don’t pay attention to calories, but eat whole, healthy, natural foods. Low carb. Paleo. No refined sugars. No sugars at all (maybe or maybe not including fruit). Take a teaspoon of [enter choice: honey, apple cider vinegar, cod liver oil, grass-fed cows’ butter, all of the above] daily. And on and on and on.
I haven’t figured this out yet. Not even close. But I thought I’d share what we are doing and what I am learning as I keep trying to distill the information I have and, where applicable, share some healthful (or maybe not, depending on your take on the theories alluded to above) recipes or meals we have enjoyed.
We’re considering some more drastic changes going forward. But we also want to be flexible. We’re not extremists, and that extends to our nutrition. If I’m at your house for dinner, I’m not going to be checking ingredients and debating whether to eat what you’re serving. I’m not going to choose not to go out with friends because the restaurant won’t have healthy options (and, sadly, most of the restaurants here in Katy are lacking nutritious food). But we are trying to make healthier decisions when we can.
The overarching theory we’re kind of following–if it can be boiled down to any overarching theory–is that whole, unprocessed foods are likely more healthful and nutritious than their processed counterparts. Of all the nutrition information I’ve read, that makes the most sense to me. I’ll go into more detail on what we are and are not eating in future posts.
If you’re trying to eat better, where did you start?
What advice would you share with someone trying to make improvements?
Is a gradual approach better than nothing, or do you need to go all or nothing to see health benefits?
What theories of nutrition do you absolutely buy into–or absolutely disagree with?
July 31, 2013 at 3:16 pm
I think this is great that youa re doing this! You can see our ‘approach to infertility’ tab on my blog for the foods we eat. I was always a health freak, but just started buying higher quality stuff in January. For me, it was all or nothing, but I know that my husband does not work that way, so I say do what you can in moderation. If the food stuff and making changes is all stressing you out, then I would take a step back 🙂 Happy eating!
July 31, 2013 at 3:25 pm
Thanks! I find your list inspiring, but it is too much for us to jump into and I’m a big researcher. We’re sort of working our way through the things we want to change and figuring it out as we go. But what you guys are doing is a real inspiration to us.
July 31, 2013 at 3:49 pm
My favorite book on the subject is “Real Food for Mother and Baby” by Nina plank. She is balanced and realistic. While I haven’t gotten pregnant, I feel much better having incorporated her approach.
July 31, 2013 at 4:01 pm
Thanks! I will definitely look into that book!
July 31, 2013 at 4:19 pm
I know I know, I don’t really excist in the blogosphere right now, but had to comment and say we are right there with you on this!! Including your conclusion thus far! 🙂 p.s. I plan to update my blog this week, as I’ll have more time on my hands. And also, you are so lucky that in your eating consciousnessly your DH will eat anything! Mine will not ha
July 31, 2013 at 5:23 pm
So lovely to hear from you. Been thinking of you and praying for you guys. And just because you haven’t posted doesn’t mean you don’t exist! Looking forward to your next update, whenever you get to it. 🙂
July 31, 2013 at 4:43 pm
Aha! This is something that I believe really, REALLY helps in all aspects of your life, and with my DH’s situation. As you may know, his azoo was related to the testosterone replacement therapy that he was on, so when he went off of it I didn’t want him to waste any time not producing testosterone and sperm, so I did TONS of research for ways for him to jump-start sperm and testosterone production. Other than eating nutritious, whole food and minimally processed foods (like canned goods, and preserves and stuff) and slowly adjusting our groceries to include mostly organic items, some of the changes we made are: Daily workouts for him, especially weight training for the purpose of building muscle. Muscle mass and testosterone are linked (though I couldn’t tell you the exact science behind it–I’m sure Google will help out with that).
The other thing I did that I really have no idea if it helped or not is that I made a trail mix for him to eat with lots of fruits and nuts. I wrote a blog post about it. The only thing I didn’t include was something that contained selenium (brazil nuts) because that’s supposed to be REALLY good for testosterone and sperm production. It was really yummy and I even ate some too! http://waitingforblissitiswell.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/manly-trail-mix/
I also broke down and got him Count Boost from that website. Again, I’m not sure how much of it helped but I felt comfortable with him taking it because of the multivitamin and maca that was in it. Whew! That was super long. Sorry to have commandeered your blog post!
July 31, 2013 at 5:13 pm
No, thanks for sharing! We have a bunch of supplements from acupuncture and maca powder daily. But I’m excited about the opportunity to improve our lifestyle with fertility in mind, but general health as the focus.
July 31, 2013 at 4:44 pm
Also, of all my bloggers that I follw…you three are my favorites. *hugs*
July 31, 2013 at 5:10 pm
You’re so sweet. Thanks!