Chinese medicine uses food for healing.
We eat food at least three times per day, so think of it as taking a dose of medicine, or poison each time you sit to eat.
Which dose will you choose?
List of Foods to Eat for Optimal Fertility
- Cooked foods and room temperature beverages. The reason Chinese medicine does not advise eating most raw foods and juices is because they are classified as cold and damp. It is said in Chinese Medicine that “The Spleen hates cold, the Spleen hates dampness.” Cold and damp foods harm the Spleen qi. The Spleen is viewed as the vital organ for the digestion and assimilation of food. It’s job is to transform and transport food. It transforms the food into qi and transports the qi to other organs. When the other organs receive qi, they can properly perform their functions in preserving physiological balance and harmony. When organ systems do not receive enough qi it causes disharmony which can lead to disease.
- Dark, leafy greens (cooked, steamed, sauteed, boiled, but not raw).
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds including quinoa
- Grass fed beef, organic poultry
- Organic, whole milk products. If you are eating dairy I suggest that you it eat in moderation only a few times per week, and that you chose whole milk products (not greek yogurt, fat free or reduced fat).
- Dark berries are warm in thermal nature according to Chinese medicine and they influence the production of blood which is important for fertility.
- Black beans (not from a can unless it is BPA free)
- All varieties of squash
- Eat organic meat, poultry and vegetables as often as possible to avoid consuming pesticides and antibiotics. Check out the EWGs list of the most and least pesticide ridden produce HERE.
- Beef Bone Broth. There is a stove top, slow cook recipe HERE, and a pressure cooker recipe HERE. I recommend the InstantPot Counter Top Pressure Cooker. P.S. I also make my black beans in my InstantPot pressure cooker in 30 minutes without even soaking them overnight!
List of Foods to Avoid
Of course you can have some of the foods on the avoid list every so often, like once per week. This way you won’t wind up feeling deprived of some yummy cake or fried chicken wings.
I recommend that you carve out one special day to eat whatever you’d like and focus on healthy, whole nutrient dense foods for the rest of the week.
If it is your birthday, or another major holiday, eat the celebration food with mindful awareness and enjoyment rather than feeling like it is an indulgent guilt. After all, I hope to help you bring joy on your path toward pregnancy.
- Processed, prepackaged foods like most frozen meals, meals from a box such a mac-n-cheese.
- White flour. Anything made with white flour, even if it is gluten free is to be avoided. This type of flour is overly processed and usually leads to a huge sugar load in the body. Too much sugar leads to inflammation and fatigue, neither of which is helpful for fertility.
- Sweeteners. If you are going to use some sugar in your coffee, try to use no more than two teaspoons or raw sugar per cup. Avoid white sugar, brown sugar (unless it is raw otherwise brown sugar is just white sugar colored brown with molasses), agave syrup, brown rice, syrup, Splenda, Equal, HCFA, corn syrup and there are plenty more to list but if we did we’d be writing a chapter book.
- Avoid artificial flavors and colorings.
- Avoid foods and beverages cooked in or stored in plastic. That includes water! BPA and other hormone disrupting chemicals can easily leach into the food you eat.
- Avoid raw and cold foods and beverages. The reason Chinese medicine does not advise eating raw foods and juices and dairy products is because they are classified as cold and damp. It is said in Chinese Medicine that “The Spleen hates cold, the Spleen hates dampness.” Cold and damp foods harm the Spleen qi. The Spleen is viewed as the vital organ for the digestion and assimilation of food. It’s job is to transform and transport food. It transforms the food into qi and transports the qi to other organs. When the other organs receive qi, they can properly perform their functions in preserving physiological balance and harmony. When organ systems do not receive enough qi it causes disharmony which can lead to disease.
Bonus Tip: Don’t skip breakfast. Many of patients skip breakfast and wait until late in the day to eat lunch or even miss it, blaming a busy day at work. Then when they finally eat they gorge on whatever is fastest.
But what happens physiologically when we regularly deprive our bodies of food then finally binge? Our system is overwhelmed by the food and we feel fatigued. Also, our body goes into a state of emergency and thinks that it has to store the calories we ate for future use.
So it stores these calories as fat, an efficient fuel because it is hard to burn. When we eat breakfast, we balance the blood sugar in our body and start the day with energy it needs in order to go to work and make the qi/energy, blood and body fluids we need to achieve a healthy pregnancy.
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Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned For The Modern World – Sally Fallon