Yang Sheng: Nourish Life
Chapter 1: Fertility Diet Research and Recommendations
Chapter 2: The Fertility Food Guide
Chapter 3: Fine Tuning for Special Conditions
Chapter 4: Getting Ready for Change
Chapter 5: Shopping for Fertility Foods
Chapter 6: Let’s Get Cooking
Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food. ~Hippocrates
Fertility is the ability to fully inhabit a moment, to be completely present. That is where life happens—and that is the creative force of the mother. When we can learn how to connect consciously with what is happening in each moment, however painful, allowing and trusting the unfolding of life on life’s terms—rather than controlling and forcing outcomes—we more simply open, to life. ~ Robin Tiberi, DAOM, L.Ac, Clinical Director The Fertile Soul
My colleague Lorne Brown L.Ac. has put a lot of energy into creating the Acubalance Fertile Diet. Its inspiration came from years of counseling couples in his clinic on how to eat to optimize their fertility. The following is his thorough and balanced approach to nutrition for fertility.
While Chinese physicians have been treating infertility with diet for centuries, Western science is just starting to catch up to the significant role that diet plays in the ovulatory causes of infertility. A landmark study published in 2008, based on the Harvard Nurses Study, makes startling connections between diet and conception. As the most comprehensive research to date on diet and fertility, this study associates a slow carb, whole food, mostly plant based diet with a six-fold increase in fertility.
The Acubalance Fertile Diet is an effort to blend the wisdom of Chinese medicine with groundbreaking western research to help women and couples learn what and how to eat to optimize fertility. The diet includes meal plans, recipes, shopping lists, and tips on mindful eating to help you get started.
But before you launch into this diet (or any other), you might want to take a minute to think about the following.
In my clinical practice women ask me daily about what foods to eat and what foods to avoid in order to lose weight and to be fertile. And to my surprise, when I pursue this question further with them, they all seem to already know the answers. So I began to wonder why, when we have tons of information about nutrition and diet, we still eat in ways that we know are not healthy for us? Even Oprah, with her access to the very best nutritional expertise, can’t maintain a healthy weight. What’s going on?
I think Bob Greene (Oprah’s trainer) is onto something when he says “that when someone overeats, they are hungry—but what they really crave isn’t necessarily food.” He goes on to say that “people often turn to food as their drug of choice” when that can’t get what they need in other areas of their life.
I was inspired to reconsider the whole issue of healthy eating and weight loss when I attended a presentation by Paul Pitchford, author of Healing with Whole Foods – Asian Traditions in Modern Nutrition. During his years of experience counseling people on diet, Paul realized that getting someone to change their diet was like getting them to convert to a new religion. And most people don’t have the discipline it takes to make that change.
He found that if he took the focus off diet and instead concentrated on getting his patients to exercise more and take care of their well-being through meditation and walks in nature, they began to feel better emotionally and could then naturally gravitate to eating better.
This was an AHA! moment for me. I was in the process of developing the Acubalance Fertile Diet. But despite providing all the great resources it contains, I knew the trick would be in helping my clients feel motivated to make the change to this new way of eating.
It became clear to me that you don’t first focus on changing eating habits; rather, you start by “feeding” the underlying aspects of body, mind, and spirit that are undernourished. You need to find balance and emotional and spiritual satisfaction in other areas of your life so you won’t be so inclined to use food to fill a void. This led me to come up with three simple steps to feeling better and getting on the path to healthy, joyful, fertile living.
I call my three-step program: Move, Nurture, and Connect.
1. Move your body
Exercise. Move your body. When you exercise, your body rewards you by releasing a cascade of feel-good hormones (endorphins). These endorphins are Mother Nature’s antidepressants, lowering your stress and boosting your sense of well-being.
And to boot, exercise burns calories and helps regulate your insulin levels, reversing some of the metabolic imbalances that are contributing to your weight gain and your fertility issues. Just walking for 30 minutes every day has a positive effect. You can also make an effort to incorporate more activity into your daily routine by parking your car a few blocks from work or your destination, taking stairs instead of an elevator, or hiring a trainer.
You can’t be positive or give to others if your own basket isn’t full and you are feeling depleted. So the first thing to do is put yourself on your agenda. Take time to nurture yourself: read an inspiring book, have a massage, go to the spa, keep a journal, garden, pamper yourself with a