Four dietary changes that will increase fertility

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When I was 23 I finally worked up the nerve to ask my doctor how to get more regular periods. He gave me some information about medications, but he never once asked me what I ate on a daily basis. Thank goodness for google and authors, because over the years I’ve been able to figure out how to increase fertility naturally, using dietary changes and a few alternative therapies.

When I do what my body needs I ovulate every four weeks instead of once a year like I used to.

change your diet to increase fertility

Four ways to increase fertility

One of the questions I receive most often is:

“What dietary changes have you made that helped you the most? Or what changes did you make first? It seems so overwhelming to make all of these changes at once, so I’m looking to just focus on the things that will have greatest impact on my health first.”

It’s hard to know exactly what changes made the biggest impact on my health as our diets changed drastically within about 6 months, but there were some definite big ones in the midst of everything that I really think helped the most. And even now, years later, these are the ones that I notice have an impact on my body if I stray too far away from what my nutritional needs are.

1. Cutting out processed foods

In the few months before I really found the ‘traditional’ food movement, I began trying to save money by making more foods from scratch. We had recently built a house and Todd’s hours at work were cut to where he was no longer getting overtime. This meant crunch time on the budget and I began making my own bread and cooking at home as much as I could. Granted – it wasn’t in the same “cook from scratch” method I do now, but it was a huge step in the right direction.

We also stopped eating out as much. (maybe once a month instead of once a week)

2. Making the switch to raw milk

When my son weaned at 16 months old, we found that he – under no circumstances – could tolerate the whole milk I was buying at the store! Constipation, severe diaper rashes, and major gas caused us to take a look at what he was eating and drinking, though it took us a couple of weeks to figure it out. In talking with a good friend, she mentioned that maybe it was the milk so I began to google and read about the possibility of milk intolerance.

We soon tried goat milk from the store and his issues went away within a day or two! But store-bought goat milk available was ultra-pasteurized and I knew we didn’t want to go that route, so raw milk became my new focus of research. Since the switch was going to be for my young son, I spent a few months looking at safety data, nutritional data, and talking to people who consumed raw milk.

It was then that I learned how much better it was for all of us to drink whole/raw milk that the pasteurized skim milk I had bought for Todd and I. In the end, we made the switch and won’t ever go back! I think the biggest reason this had a positive effect on my system was that I was finally getting in such good fats – before we made the switch I had always been on a fairly low-fat diet.

This research on dairy was also the intro to a whole food/traditional foods diet as I finally began to come across information on how food affected fertility.

3. I started to eat fat

I grew up under the impression that to lose or maintain weight, one must be on a low-fat diet and I followed this into my adult life. Fat was the nutritional enemy. When I was diagnosed with high cholesterol at 23 I went on a strict no-fat diet to get it under control. Once I learned how beneficial fats were to my body, I tossed out my fat-free margarine sprays (blech!) low-fat cheese, and fat-free dressings. Instead, I opted to use butter, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil. I soon found that my skin wasn’t near as dry as it normally was!

You can check out a sample fertility diet menu by clicking here.

(my cholesterol dropped even lower on a diet with plenty of good fats!)

4. Cutting out sugar

One of the most difficult changes I made was to cut sugar out of my diet. To this day I’m still not perfect, but my sugar consumption is drastically different from what it was 10 years ago! Instead of finishing off each meal with something sweet and snacking on sweet treats during the day, I find myself more satisfied with the natural sweets I make as an indulgence once every week or two.

Looking back, I was eating so much sugar I now know why my endocrine system couldn’t function. I had no idea that my eating so many sweets was causing such a hormone imbalance…I thought that as long as I wasn’t overweight that eating candy throughout the day (as well as drinking pop and eating foods made with white flour) wasn’t a problem.

Even now, when I find my sugar consumption creeping back up (hello holidays!), I can tell by watching my cycle that it’s causing problems.

While just those four changes may seem like a lot, keep in mind that I made those changes within about 6 months time – it was not an overnight thing!

Ask the community

I also asked our community on the Natural Fertility and Wellness Facebook page what their experience was and here’s what they had to say:

  • Raw milk! Switching to raw milk made a HUGE and very obvious positive change to our health. We never got sick, for one thing!
  • Biggest changes in my health are attributed to what I eat, or really what I DON’T eat. I’ve cut a LOT out, the largest being all processed foods, most restaurants, all sugar (HFCS, even cane sugar), for me cow’s milk, because even organic plays with my hormones, and wheat. The second biggest change would be approaching my health by looking at deficiencies and what diet changes/supplements can fix them.
  • The obvious, trying to cut out refined sugar and eat more fresh fruits and veggies – for me, that especially means fruits and veggies with vitamin b to assist in lengthening my luteal phase. Cutting down caffeine intake as well.
  • Going gluten-free made the biggest impact for me!
  • After 14 years of being a vegetarian and eating soy products, I have stopped. I am now eating chicken, turkey, and fish. My husband and I have been reading books such as ‘Eat Fat, Lose Fat’, ‘Know Your Fats’, ‘Good Calories, Bad Calories’, …’Traditional Foods’, etc. We have started drinking raw milk, eating raw cheese and have cut out carbohydrates. We have been trying to get pregnant for almost 2 years now. 1 1/2 years of that I was on the soy products. I’m praying these changes will help increase our chances of conceiving… God willing. But all in all these changes have been so positive. I feel less aggressive and more feminine and submissive towards my husband. Not to mention just being happier in general.
  • Cutting out fake fats and replacing with good ones- I can’t believe how great I felt with just this change! 🙂 (Health Home Happiness)
  • Consuming more raw fruits and vegetables (organic) makes a huge difference. And raw, organic grass-fed MILK actually makes me feel INCREDIBLE. I also love squeezing fresh lemon juice into my water (rather than having juice or soda which are usually too high in sugar).  More protein, more fiber, and more RAW foods always makes me feel the best. And try raw honey instead of sugar. Sea salt instead of table salt.
  • Not eating out as much and preparing a weekly meal plan
  • cutting caffeine down to 1 cup a day was HUGE. I also drastically reduced sugar, alcohol, and carbs at the same time but I’m fairly certain it was the caffeine. (I have so much more energy now and am sleeping way better.) (The Local Cook)
  • Gluten removal, hands down.
  • I became less moody when I stopped eating sugar (processed sugar, juices, baked goods etc.). Although I’m not perfect at staying away from it, I differently can tell the difference when I do a tiny bit. I think removing Gluten from my diet as well has also helped.
  • avoiding sugar
  • Changing to the use of all natural whole sugars, cooking only with oils like coconut oil, and trying to incorporate as many homemade foods as possible and cutting out processed foods. No processed foods save on the budget too. (Our Peaceful Home)
  • Cutting sugar. Making real food at home. Discovering I have MTHFR C677T Homozygous gene variation…therefore adding a super dose of methylfolate supplement, plus special versions of b6 & b12 –> Discovering energy that I have never had in my entire life once I added those supplements. I haven’t been able to get out of bed since I was 5 years old…suddenly, I barely need any sleep.

Looking for help?

Let’s get you started on a fertility diet!

Leave a comment!

I’d love to hear your thought and success stories. <3

Donielle Baker

Donielle Baker

owner and editor of Natural Fertility and Wellness at Natural Fertility and Wellness
I believe women can learn how to heal their bodies & balance their hormones through natural methods. An advocate for natural health, I have a passion for nourishing/real food nutrition and natural living. My personal background includes both infertility and miscarriage and I started Natural Fertility and Wellness in 2008 in order to share all of the information I found helpful in my journey to heal from PCOS and overcome infertility.
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
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7 Comments

  1. Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship

    Brilliant idea to share the FB conversation here! I especially appreciate the 14-year vegetarian’s story, wow. And Cellulite Investigation reminds me how much I’m dying to get to cut that fluoride out, too!

    But…you don’t finish every meal with a little something sweet? 😉 Not even a piece of dark chocolate? My mouth feels like something’s missing if I don’t…um…is that bad?
    🙂 Katie

    • donielle

      @Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship, Not even a piece of dark chocolate! 🙂 it took a long time to get to being able to just be “done” without dessert. Now I just try and keep it out of the house!

  2. Meg

    OK, I see the theme of cutting out sugar. I don’t eat processed snacks (candy bars, stuff like that) but I love to bake (muffins, cookies, etc). I cook mainly from scratch but yes: sugar goes in. Are there any substitutions, or is it just good-bye baked goods?

    I’m sure you’re all way ahead of me on this, but a huge improvement for me was making breakfast a definite part of my routine. I’m not very hungry in the morning, so I tended to skip breakfast entirely (other than coffee or juice) until about a year and a half ago. Choosing a healthy breakfast (I do Greek yogurt + granola) and saying “I am going to eat this every day” has had a major impact on my digestive system, my energy levels, and how much I do or don’t snack in the middle of the day.

    • donielle

      @Meg, I have quite drastically reduced my baked goods – normally once a month or so. I also try to use fruit when I can in things like muffins so that I can cut back on the sugar content. I also only bake with honey, maple syrup, or whole cane sugar. yes – they are expensive! but that helps me bake that much less too! 🙂

      {and great job doing something to better your health!}

  3. Lizanne

    I started cutting out sugar again this week, after my son got his 3rd bout of oral thrush in 5 months and I realised I’m heading for diabetes again (PCOS with insulin resistance). I feel so much better, and when I has sugar yesterday I realised why its so bad, I felt terrible and was so lethargic! I have also had to cut out/reduce my yeast intake, for thrush and bloating, as well as cows milk – I’m mildly intolerant, and it seems my son is too. So, raw milk is out for us anyway, and even if I could take it, its virtually impossible to get in South Africa, as it is illegal to sell unpasteurized milk for human consumption here. As a rule I try to avoid refined/processed food, its really hard though finding food that is not processed and still fits my budget. But hey, at least I try. My husband however has a major weakness for chocolate and general junk food, the more MSG the better… 🙁 Planning to raise our son a touch differently.

    I wanted to ask, honey/stevia/agave etc, I assume they are the same as sugar when it comes to feeding thrush and such? I’m just trying to find an alternative to sugar, for those cases where I really “need” something sweet. Thanks Donielle for your awesome blog!

    • Donielle

      @Lizanne, As for sugar when you “need” something, pretty much all whole sugars do affect your body when it comes to yeast. Sorry! Whole sugars will always be better.

      Stevia isn’t really sugar so it won’t upset blood sugar, but it is an herb and can have unwanted medicinal effects if taken to often and in large amounts.

      Agave is high in fructose and hard on your liver, so unless used sparingly and in small amounts, I’d stay away from it.

      Hope that helps!

  4. Holly @ Your Gardening Friend

    I love this post.

    A little over a year ago we switched from “regular” milk to organic milk (except for the times I don’t shop at my regular grocery store. I only purchase one particular brand – need to find more than one brand that we like) and cage-free eggs. I hope to make more changes like this, and this post is a great inspiration.

    Thanks!

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