Does What I Eat Impact Your Fertility?

A year and a half ago, I was struggling with digestive health issues.  At that time, my sister-in-law was doing an elimination diet called the Whole30.  The Whole30 helps identify foods that can cause inflammation which can lead to health issues.  I didn’t do a Whole30 at that time but I did learn about how gluten and dairy could be the cause of my digestive problems.  After having an endoscopy and colonoscopy as well as consulting with an allergist, I was found to have gluten and dairy intolerance.

Discovering this information about how dairy & gluten had affected my digestive health led me to want to learn more about how nutrition can affect other areas of my health, especially my fertility.

Does what I eat impact my fertility?

The answer is yes!  What you eat can profoundly affect your fertility.  Even if you are a decent weight and exercising, what you eat can still prevent you from ovulating.

If you have attended one of my Introductory Sessions, you learned that ovulation is a complex process in which multiple hormones need to be in sync with each other in order for a healthy egg to become available for fertilization.  I talk in my follow-ups about how unusual stress, severe illness, some medications, aging and more can affect these hormones.  Hormonal changes can disrupt your cycle and ovulation.  Most women are familiar with the hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone and the important role they play in ovulation.  There is another important hormone that is often overlooked – insulin.  Insulin’s most familiar purpose involves regulating blood sugar.  Insulin is necessary for human life.

How does insulin affect our fertility?

Insulin excess interferes with ovulation.  The maturation of the female egg or follicle is often incomplete with insulin excess, prohibiting ovulation and increasing ovarian cyst formation.  The most severe case of this is PCOD, or Polycystic Ovarian Disease.  The real culprit is insulin excess, not the ovary.

Insulin excess can also lead to hormonal imbalances in the body, wreaking havoc on the menstrual cycle.  Insulin excess leads to insulin resistance in the body, which then can lead to chronic systemic inflammation.  Chronic systemic inflammation is a main risk factor in many lifestyle-related diseases.

Conditions related to fertility that can be caused by chronic inflammation

  • Endometriosis
  • Fibroids
  • Infertility
  • Polycystic Ovarian Disease

How does what I eat cause problems with my health?

High insulin levels that lead to these problems are usually the result of a carbohydrate-dominant diet, especially highly refined carbohydrates.  Basically, the foods I have been turning to for comfort when I am stressed.  You see, I tend to turn to potato chips, cookies, candy and of course TONS of diet coke when I am stressed.  But, I also have been guilty of turning to these foods for convenience when life gets crazy with the family.  I will buy packaged or frozen foods with lots of sugar, salt, fat and chemicals because sometimes it is just easier when I am in a hurry.   The more I read though, the more I have found that my unhealthy way of eating affects not only my overall health but could be contributing to my fertility issues.

I could also have more food intolerances beyond just dairy and gluten.  When I had eliminated dairy and gluten, my cycles started to normalize out.  But, I was also eating a healthy, well-balanced diet at the time.  As I have let stress get the better of me, my healthy eating has fallen by the wayside and I can see a difference not only in how I feel but in my cycles as well.  Food intolerances can also lead to chronic inflammation which in turn can cause health issues.

Dr. Phil Boyle, a prominent NaProTechnology doctor, has found that adding nutritional strategies to his NaProTechnology protocols have helped the women seeking treatment.  He recommends an elimination diet to discover if there are any food intolerances that could be contributing to the woman’s fertility issues.  Other NaProTechnology doctors are also recommending this as well as a more whole foods based diet such as the Paleo Diet for women with fertility issues.

My Plan of Action

As you know, I became fed up with feeling run down and a mess all the time and went to  the NaProTechnology doctor for help.  I also know that my diet has been less than stellar in recent months.  I have been reading a great book called It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig.  It provides great information on how food plays a key role in our health and explains a great elimination diet called the Whole30.  I plan to do the Whole30 elimination diet beginning August 1 to help me identify what foods could be contributing to my health issues and also to restart my healthy eating habits.

Are you feeling run down, low on energy, not feeling like yourself?  Are you struggling with fertility issues or other health issues unrelated to fertility? Do you want things to change?  I know I do! I am sick and tired of feeling sick and tired!

If you would like to join me on this Whole30 adventure, just sign up for the Whole30 newsletter that will have lots of information on how to do a Whole30, great resources and meal plans I have found,  motivation and encouragement to keep you going.  There will also be a Whole30 Facebook page for motivation and support.

Can you commit to just 30 days to do something for you and your health?  You could see amazing changes and feel great!  Will you join me?  It would be great not to have to do this alone!

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