I am so excited to be getting a head start on my garden this year. I’ve started planting my seedlings indoors. Am I the only one who gets extremely excited seeing tiny little leaves poking through the soil?! When I look at the steps I’ve taken to help nurture and grow these seeds into healthy plants, it reminds me of our own fertility.
I wanted to be sure that the seeds had the proper environment to start their growth and thrive by using nutrient rich soil, plenty of sunlight, fresh water, and even little good music. Maybe I am the crazy plant lady after all… But these basic needs do affect how well and healthy these seedlings will grow. So how can we set the stage for our own seeds. Where do we begin?
Nourishing The Soil
In our busy schedules it’s so very easy to neglect our diets. You may find yourself rushing through your day to find it’s already dinner time, you haven’t had a chance to even plan a healthy meal and you turn to a quick option such a take out.
To help avoid us getting caught in this cycle, I recommend starting your Sunday off by making it a family affair. Get your household involved and plan your meals for the week. Bonus points if you can meal prep! This will help take the stress out of what you are making for the week and allow you to choose healthy nutrient-dense meals.
This will help you limit the consumption of refined sugar, carbs, dairy, which all can negatively affect our reproductive systems. Why should we do this? Because it affects how your cells function!
As seen in data collected from the Nurses Health Study II, the following were associated with enhanced fertility:
· Higher intake of dietary sources of non-heme iron (green leafy vegetables and other plant foods relatively high in iron)
· Higher intake of high-fiber, low glycemic carbohydrates.
· Lower intake of animal protein and greater intake of Vegetable Protein
· Lower intake of trans-fatty acids and greater intake of monounsaturated fats
· Higher frequency of multivitamin use
· Not smoking
· Being physically active (30 minutes of more of vigorous activity per day)
· BMI between 20 and 25
· (This wasn’t in the study) but being kind to ourselves, having grace with ourselves. Fertility journeys can be full of ups and downs. We often are so hard on ourselves, but just as you love and nurture others, give the same to your own garden.
So, bring out your old school hard copy calendars and start prepping some healthy fertile foods. If this still feels overwhelming to you, we have an amazing nutritionist on our team, Kathryn Flynn, author of Cooking for Fertility and co-author of The Fertile Secret. She is located in the US, but offers online nutritional consultations and programs for fertility. She applies Eastern food cure principals, which are in alignment with our treatment plan. Here is a link to her website: https://fertilefoods.com.
Not only is it important to make healthy food choices, mealtimes also impact your overall health. In Chinese medicine the peak time for our stomach to digest is 7-9am. This is an important time to try to have your breakfast, to allow our bodies the optimal energy they require for processing our food properly. The same applies with dinnertime, we should be trying to get dinners in earlier than 7-9pm as this is the stomach’s rest period.
These are some lifestyle changes that you do have control over. Oftentimes with fertility, it can feel as though you don’t have control over anything. But you do! So whether you are preparing your body for TTC or have been on your fertility journey, I hope you are able to implement some of these suggestions. It’s good to reflect and ask yourself, have you been fuelling your body and cells with the proper nutrients? Have you been hydrating yourself? Have you taken the time to be present and fill up your own cup?
Ask yourself, what does your garden need today?
Image: Rosegrown.com @rosegrown