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.
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!
(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.
- Learning how to avoid fluoride. Finally, no more acne! (The Cellulite Investigation)
- 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.
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I’d love to hear your thought and success stories. <3