One of the things that continues to blow my mind is how food affects the body. I’m not talking about gaining or losing weight, I’m talking about issues that you don’t necessarily associate with food and often turn immediately to medication for: trouble sleeping, headaches, fatigue, bowel issues, high blood pressure, skin irritations, chronic pain, and for women, having an irregular cycle. These are all external manifestations of something that is off balance in the body and can oftentimes be solved through diet alone.
Fertility is a huge topic and weight is one of the biggest factors affecting it. I’ll touch on these issues quite a bit, but I wanted to share 5 quick ways that you can start getting your body baby ready. It’s never too early to start to rid your body of toxins that have accumulated over time, and even if you aren’t thinking about kids at all - your body will immediately thank you for making these changes.
1) Remove processed foods from your diet
If you only do one thing, this should be it. Frozen dinners, meal replacement bars, cereal, and pretty much anything that comes pre-packaged, can have a scary amount of ingredients including brain altering chemicals, added sugar, salt and other things you can’t pronounce. A good rule of thumb is that if you don’t recognize an ingredient, your body won’t either and will treat it as a toxin, which puts stress on your digestive system and can cause inflammation. Aim for foods that don’t come in any kind of packaging (i.e fruits and vegetables) and pair with organic or hormone free meats and whole grains which will help balance your hormones, keep your internal systems working properly and manage your weight.
2. Pick your protein wisely
I’ll be honest, it took me awhile to get on the “organic” train and I’m still not 100% there, but one area in which I have committed to buying organic is meat, eggs and dairy. Make sure what you’re buying is labeled “organic” or at least “hormone free” to avoid ingesting a significant amount of synthetic hormones, which if you’re a woman, can seriously mess up your monthly cycle (think heavier periods, mood swings and even ovarian cysts).
3. Reconsider dairy
This one is not for everyone, some people can’t live without their milk or yogurt and I get that. However, dairy can be a major contributor to your monthly cyclical imbalance since it’s a mucus causing food (not a pleasant thought) and thereby causes issues with your digestive system. There are plenty of dairy alternatives these days such as almond milk, coconut milk, etc. but experiment and see what you like and what works for you.
4. Eat the rainbow
Not Skittles (unfortunately), but foods rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants play a huge role in all body systems by neutralizing the effects of what are called “free-radicals.” Free-radicals are naturally created in the body as food is digested, but they’re also created from external factors such as environmental pollutants, smoking and alcohol and their goal is to damage healthy cells - including those essential for reproduction and protecting egg and sperm health. Antioxidants are most commonly found in fruits and vegetables and the rule of thumb is the more colorful the food, the more it contains. Berries, oranges, plums, pomegranates, leafy greens, broccoli, beets and red peppers are a few of the most well-known sources so eat up!
5. Get moving
This may seem like a no-brainer and I know you know that you need to partake in some regular form of physical activity to truly be healthy. But the truth is, a lot of people are intimidated by starting an exercise routine and have trouble sticking to one once they have. It’s easy to associate exercise with joining a gym, having to drag yourself there after work when you are tired and a little hangry, and often times not really knowing what to do when you get there. This is something I will dive deeper on in a later post because it’s hugely important, but the one big take-away if you aren’t already active is to just start moving your body more. Even 10 minute increments throughout the day have shown to have enormous benefits. So make a killer playlist or find an addicting podcast and try taking a walk around the block, having a dance party with your girlfriends, or walking to work instead of taking the subway - all of your senses will thank you for that one! Little adjustments can have big results.