Some Things to Think About

She Heals With Food, Part 2

If you didn’t read September Baumgartner’s first post, read it here. It is quite intriguing and you won’t want to miss it. Then you will up to speed…

Why am I not getting pregnant?

(Continued)
By September Baumgartner

In my last post I strongly encouraged reducing/eliminating gluten and sugar from your diet as well as adding in lots of leafy greens. If you’ve started doing those things chances are very good that you are already well on your way to unlocking your fertility. Today, I want to talk about how to speed things up—help your reproductive system kick into gear much faster.

How an unhealthy digestive tract can lead to infertility

First, I want to discuss what gluten does to the body. As the word suggests, gluten is a gluey substance. It causes incredible irritation to your digestive tract which is forced to work overtime to digest it. The irritation leads to inflammation. When the digestive tract is irritated and inflamed a couple of things happen…

1) It becomes permeable, kind of like having tiny little holes. Your digestive tract is your first line of defense against pathogens, and any toxic substances. When it becomes permeable, that means it’s allowing particles to escape into the bloodstream that should be kept safely inside the digestive tract and eliminated from the body. These escaped particles can wreak havoc on every different organ system in the body, including the reproductive system.

2) Inflammation means swelling. Inside your digestive tract you have tiny little hairs called villi. These villi have the responsibility of extracting good nutrients from your food and sending it out into the bloodstream to be utilized, as necessary, by the body. But, when the digestive tract becomes inflamed the villi are “swallowed” up. They’re inaccessible. When a body isn’t able to get nutrients to support it, it’s not going to have the necessary building blocks to create a new life.

How do you heal the digestive tract?

In one study that followed women with celiac disease for 10 years, they found that many of the women who adhered to a strict gluten free diet were able to restore regular menstrual cycles after 6-8 months on the diet. Keep in mind that these are women who had true celiac disease, an extremely severe form of gluten intolerance. That means the average woman who has a much milder form of gluten intolerance will heal her gut, and restore regular menstruation as well as possibly unlock her fertility, much faster by adhering to a gluten free diet (remember from the last post that this means switch to sourdough, NOT gluten free products). Be aware that gluten can lurk in unexpected places, including many prenatal vitamins and even lunchmeats.

Your best line of defense against any inflammation in the body is omega-3 fatty acids. This is an absolutely essential nutrient that most of us are simply not getting anywhere near enough of. Typically when we think of omega-3 fatty acids we think of fish, which is indeed an excellent source. However, the reputation of fish has been tainted due to mercury and other toxins in the ocean. One thing to understand about this is that a nice, tight digestive tract does not allow these toxins to make their way into the bloodstream. There are also several specific nutrients which hold the responsibility of ridding heavy metals from the body. Sadly, most of our modern diets don’t contain enough of these nutrients so we can end up with heavy metal toxicity.

Personally, I take a fish oil supplement everyday but there are also vegan sources of omega-3. Things like walnuts, flax, chia, and even some vegetables such as cabbage are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Keep in mind that vegan sources need to be converted into useable forms of omega-3 and some believe the conversion rate to only be about 10%. This is why I’m not a fan of veganism or vegetarianism. The animals have already converted many fatty nutrients from the unusable to the usable forms. Why make our bodies work harder than they already do?

The omega-3 fatty acids will help to reduce the inflammation in your digestive tract but to “seal up the holes”, I strongly suggest bone broth. Nearly every civilization throughout history has acknowledged the healing power of bone broth. The reason it works so effectively is because it contains very specific amino acids as well as minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc, among others. When all these nutrients work together synergistically they are able to repair damage, reduce inflammation, and close up the little holes that are allowing unwanted particles into the bloodstream. Your digestive tract is your protector but you have to provide it with shields and weapons to be able to defend itself and fight off enemies.

What are some other fertility superfoods?

Now that we’ve talked about eliminating gluten and sugar to prevent further damage to the body and adding in bone broth to speed up the healing process, let’s talk about some other great foods to include in a fertility diet.

  • Figs-great for increasing sperm count
  • Avocados-strengthen the uterus
  • Camu berry-it’s not clear why it’s so effective but it is among the world’s most potent fertility foods (available in powder form)
  • Maca-promotes healthy eggs and sperm, can help increase progesterone if you’re low
  • Royal jelly-the queen bee is the only fertile one in the colony, she is also the only one who consumes royal jelly
  • Spirulina and chlorella- these are super greens
  • Wheatgrass juice and barley grass juice—another super green that oxygenates your cells and brings them back to life. (There is no gluten in these grasses).

The first suggestions of avoiding gluten and sugar and adding in leafy greens, omega-3 fatty acids, and bone broth are much more important than these super foods. Do those things first, get comfortable with the changes, then consider trying some of the super foods.

———–

To learn more about September Baumgartner, visit her website.

 

She Heals With Food

 

I will admit, I know only a few things…

I know that what we eat can make us infertile.

I know that improving diet can increase
the chance of getting pregnant.

I also know that changing diet does not
get every infertile couple pregnant.

 

Believe me…no matter what I do with my diet, I am not growing new fallopian tubes.

With that being said, though, I believe that knowledge is power and can open our minds and our lives to different possibilities. September Baumgartner contacted me not too long ago and shared with me what she does: she heals with food. I have been intrigued with her knowledge and her perspective. Do I think that adopting all that she says will get my body pregnant? No. Do I think it could help another woman’s body pregnant? Yes. Does this information make me want to change my diet no matter what? Yes. Yes it does.

I will share her information in a few posts because there is a lot of information to share. Enjoy…I would love to hear your responses as well as your personal experiences with eating for fertility.

 

Why am I not getting pregnant?

By September Baumgartner

Far too many women today are asking themselves this question month after month. If you are one of these women I want to assure you that there is hope. Your body was designed to reproduce. My goal is to help you make changes that will bring your body back into balance so you can conceive and carry a baby. If you dream of hearing the pitter patter of little feet running across the floor, I invite you to come with me on a journey. A journey for greater health, a greater sense of peace, calm, and wellbeing, and a significantly greater chance of conceiving your baby.

What’s wrong with our diet today?

By far the biggest problem with our modern diet is that we have lost touch with our food. Throughout history people knew their food intimately well. They prepared everything from scratch, they knew every ingredient, they knew how to prepare each individual ingredient in order to reduce any possible anti-nutrients and they knew what needed to be done to extract all the nutrients that specific food had to offer. If health suffered, they knew immediately to look to their food. Were they eating something that wasn’t so good? Were they not eating enough of something that would offer them better health? They constantly asked themselves these questions and they figured out the answers so their people would experience health and fertility. The goal was always to have strong, healthy babies who would carry on the civilization. They ate for this purpose.

Today, we let factories prepare our food. Most of us have no idea what is in there. Some, who consider themselves to be “health conscious” check the numbers on the label to be sure there isn’t too much fat, sugar, or carbs and that there’s enough protein and fiber. Those numbers tell you nothing about the individual ingredients. Nor do they tell you how the ingredients are processed. When people start to pay attention to what’s going on with their food, most are absolutely horrified to learn what’s really being done.

I’m not suggesting that you make everything you eat from scratch. We do live in the modern world, after all. We’re all busy and overly stressed. I am suggesting that you get to know your food, even if it comes in a package. Read ingredient lists. I cannot stress that enough.

What are the biggest dietary culprits when it comes to fertility?

Really, if a food reduces fertility it reduces overall health. If your health is compromised, your reproductive system is often the first thing to shut down.

The number one food I recommend my clients get off of is gluten. As much as 60% of infertility is related to gluten sensitivities. In fact, much of the time this is the reason behind “unexplained infertility”. And don’t be fooled thinking that you’ve been tested for an intolerance and it came back negative. Many experts argue that those tests are nowhere near sensitive enough. I’ve even seen one study that tested cells from individuals with celiac and individuals with no known sensitivity and every single cell reacted to the gluten it was introduced to. The researchers concluded from this study that everyone is gluten intolerant. I believe this to be true because, going back to traditional cultures—the cultures that used gluten grains fermented them, which gets rid of the gluten. In other words, they ate sourdough. I love spelt, which is an ancient strain of wheat that has much less gluten to begin with than modern wheat. We always have some spelt starter going and I use it as a base for my breads, pancakes, pastas, etc. It’s delicious, much easier to start and keep going than most people realize, and switching to it from wheat products can have a profound effect on both overall health and fertility. I don’t recommend switching to gluten free products since most of them contain starches and gums which can clog intestines and are really no better for health than gluten is. You can find spelt sourdough breads and other good products if you don’t want to learn to make it yourself, but always read ingredient lists carefully.

The number two food is sugar. Sugar first came into the scene in 1689. 10 years later the average person was consuming 4 pounds per year. Today, we consume156 pounds each!!! Absolutely insane! Every time you eat sugar your body responds by releasing insulin. Insulin’s job is to open up your cells to allow glucose inside. Glucose is what fuels your cells. The problem here is that after a while your cells stop responding to the insulin, so you put out more to give the cells an extra nudge. Insulin is a hormone that puts your body into storage mode. The more insulin you put out the more your body is being told to store. This is why insulin resistance causes weight gain. To further complicate things—a body that is in storage mode is an acidic body. Now, you have two strikes against your fertility. 1) Insulin resistance goes hand in hand with PCOS, which means your hormones are out of balance. Without a proper balance of hormones conception becomes infinitely more difficult. 2) An acidic body creates a very hostile environment in the uterus for sperm. Meaning, they may not even survive long enough to make it to the egg. This absolutely does not mean you have to give up sweet foods. Humans love sweets for a reason. They satisfy the fun, “life is to be enjoyed” side of us all. It simply means…find an alternative way to sweeten your foods and treats (no, I am NOT referring to artificial sweeteners; don’t get me started on those!) What I mean is things like dates—have you ever just eaten a date? They’re absolutely delicious! Other options include real maple syrup, raw, unfiltered, and unstrained honey, and stevia. Some of these still cause a rapid rise in blood sugar which brings me to chromium. Chromium is a mineral that is sorely lacking in today’s modern diets because it’s destroyed in the processing of foods. So, the more processed food you eat, the less chromium you have. The role that it plays in the body is to help insulin work more effectively. If you have sufficient chromium in your body you will put out less insulin. This brings me to my final point for this post, Good Food!

What foods increase fertility?

The number one food that is lacking in modern diets is leafy greens. Leafy greens are your multi-vitamins, they’re alkalizing, and they’re balancing, and yes, they give you chromium. Green foods help your body perform pretty much every function more effectively. They breathe life into your tired, over insulinized cells. When your cells are breathing, your whole body relaxes. A relaxed body is much more fertile. If you strive to do nothing else with your diet—strive to eat more leafy greens, a lot more!

If you follow the 3 recommendations I’ve given in this post—reduce/eliminate gluten, reduce/eliminate processed sugar, and eat a lot more leafy greens—you will be well on your way to looking into your newborn babies beautiful little eyes. But, I promise it doesn’t end here. In upcoming posts I will discuss ways to speed up the healing process to unlock your fertility faster, super foods that help increase fertility, and ways to support good mood throughout the struggle of infertility.

 

Delivering Hope Blog Tour


Tomorrow is a BIG day for Jennifer Holt!
It is the release date of her brand new LDS novel, Delivering Hope.

As part of celebration, I am participating in her Blog Tour and want to share a few little somethings about this book because it just might be of interest to you.

A description of the book… Olivia Spencer wants to be a mom more than anything else in the whole world, but years of infertility have wounded her soul and placed a strain on her marriage to Michael.  Now, Olivia finds herself wondering if the life she has built will even survive.

Allison Campbell is a recent high school graduate who discovers that a moment of excitement has led to an unplanned pregnancy and an overwhelming heartache.

As the lives of these two women touch, we see that deep love can pave the way for sacrifice, and we all learn the true source of hope and healing.

My Two Cents…

Because I am sure that you wonder what I think about the book, let’s start with the fact that I am not a fan of LDS Fiction. I think that it is often cheesy and predictable. Be prepared for a little of each, but also be prepared for a different perspective and more insight into what to do and where to turn when life doesn’t go as planned.

Since I am up to my eyeballs in infertility, when I started reading this book, I was sure that my favorite element of this book would be the story of the infertile couple. But, nay! It was not. In fact,  I felt that the “infertile part” really needed about 25 more pages to be developed. It was a bit cliché and filled with the cheesy and predictable LDS Fiction stuff that I mentioned earlier.

But, have no fear!! My favorite part of this book ended up being the story of the birthmother, Allison. Perhaps I liked it so much because it opened my eyes to a birthmother’s side of an adoption story. Or, maybe it was because it was fascinating to see the birthmother come to terms with the choices she made and the possibility of repentance and making things right. Or, maybe it was because I loved, loved, loved her intense strength as she went through a most difficult part of life. What a beautiful depiction…it is truly believable and incredible!

Just so you know…
You don’t have to be infertile to read this book.
You don’t have to be a birthmother to read this book.
You don’t have to be interested in adoption to read this book.

Read it. Learn from it. Share it.

Giveaway Jennifer Holt (the author) is giving away copies of her book…do you want one or some other goodies? Enter the contest and you could win, win, win! Here’s what to do…

  1. Become a follower of the author’s blog: www.jenshopefulwriting.blogspot.com and leave a comment letting Jennifer know!
  2. “Like” the Delivering Hope Facebook fan page.
  3. Watch the book trailer and post a comment on the facebook page telling what you liked about it.

Winners will be announced this Saturday by 10:00AM, so go and enter right now!!

And, because it is always helpful to know where to get the book…

  • Available on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com
  • Available at Barnes and Noble, CostCo, Deseret Book, Seagull Book, independent bookstores
 

3 Keys That Will Strengthen Your Marriage

Michael G. Allen, LCSW

Struggles will come to every marriage at one time or another.  These trials could include stress, financial concerns, parenting challenges and fertility issues – just to name a few.  I would like to share three keys and their associated scriptures I have found will help remove wedges that could drive couples apart.

1 – Mark 10: 6-9 “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

When I read this scripture in Mark, one word comes to mind:  loyalty.  It is God’s expectation that men (and women) leave their parents and create a new family with their spouse.  The husband and wife shall “cleave” to each other, meaning (according to the dictionary) they are to link, embrace, hold on, cling and “stick like glue” to each other.  Many who read this scripture believe that it refers to loyalty related to physical intimacy between a man and a woman and, that is true, but I believe it also refers to loyalty related to emotional intimacy.

Many couples struggle because one spouse does not emotionally “leave his (or her) father and mother, and cleave to his (or her) wife (or husband).”  For example, let’s say that a married couple has an argument.  They are angry at each other and both stomp out of the room.  The husband then calls his mother to complain about the unfairness of the situation.  He shares details of the argument and his thoughts on how stubborn his wife is.  He begins to attack his wife’s character in other ways and mentions flaws in her personality.  Is this husband loyal to his wife?  How should he have handled the situation?

Let’s be clear.  I am not advocating cutting off ties from extended family members.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  I believe that when couples are loyal to each other their relationships with extended family members are improved.  In these situations there is a heightened sense of trust and safety.  Neither spouse feels the need to be on-guard and can fully participate in family activities because he/she knows that their marital “dirty laundry” has not and will not be aired.

Key #1 – Be loyal to your spouse.


2 – Jacob 2: 21 “…And the one being is as precious in his sight as the other.”

I believe that this scripture from Jacob refers to families as well as beings.  Families come in many variations and there is no specific size or type of family that is better than any other.  Our Heavenly Father is pleased with any righteous family situation and wants us to be happy and content (and eternal!).  However, as mortals here on earth we tread on dangerous ground when we begin to covet what other people have – and that includes the family situations of others.   Maybe we desire a certain size of family or desire that our spouse act a specific way.

Here’s my advice:  Don’t covet.  Don’t compare.  These are Satan’s tools for making you feel inadequate.  Instead of coveting and comparing, focus on being thankful for the uniqueness of your family.

I recently read of two psychologists, Dr. Michael McCollough, of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and Dr. Robert Emmons, of the University of California at Davis, whose scientific study indicates that gratitude plays a significant role in a person’s sense of well-being.

McCollough and Emmons conducted the Research Project on Gratitude and Thanksgiving, a study which asked several hundred people in three different groups to keep daily diaries. The first group recorded all of the events that occurred during the day, the second group recorded only their unpleasant experiences and the third group made a daily record of things for which they were grateful.

The results of the study demonstrated that keeping a daily record of blessings resulted in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism and energy. Additionally, the group that recorded things for which they were grateful experienced less depression and stress, was more likely to help others, exercised more regularly and made more progress toward personal goals.

Let’s practice being a little more thankful.  Whose marriage wouldn’t be strengthened by more energy, optimism and enthusiasm?  Giving thanks is one of the quickest ways to see beyond our own problems and bask in the abundant blessings we have all been given.

Key #2 – Be thankful for what you have, rather than focusing on what you don’t.

 

3 – 1 Nephi, 17:41 “…and the labor which they had to perform was to look, and because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished.”

This scripture from 1 Nephi reminds me that our Heavenly Father has provided a wonderful and simple plan for us to return home to Him.  It is not difficult or complex.  We are expected to receive certain ordinances and make covenants which prepare us for life with our Father.  But we are not expected to do it alone.  We have the wonderful opportunity to choose a spouse and build a life together while growing toward eternal glory.

The road home may have rough patches, but I would like to suggest a few basic gospel activities that will help us along the way:

  • Personal Prayer
  • Family Prayer
  • Personal Scripture Study
  • Family Scripture Study
  • Family Home Evening
  • Temple Attendance

In my experience as a therapist, I never had someone come in for counseling who was doing all of these basics all of the time.  When they began to do them, their lives became better.

There is something to be said for regularly participating in these basic “Primary answer” kinds of activities.  I believe that as we take care of these fundamentals, other problems – including struggles we may have in our marital relationships – will take care of themselves.  The Lord will help us.

Let’s not get caught up in the “simpleness of the way” and ignore the labors we are to perform.  These basic gospel activities will help set our marital relationships on a sure foundation that nothing can shake.

Key #3 – Stick to the gospel basics.

 

Great marriages take a great deal of work but the Lord has not left you without help.  I believe there are three scripture-based keys that can help strengthen your marriage:  be loyal, be thankful and stick to the gospel basics.

Marriage is hard yet it is also one of the most rewarding experiences in life.   I hope that you find these suggestions helpful as you strive to improve your relationship with your eternal companion.

——————

Michael G. Allen, LCSW, is a husband and father currently living with his family in Colorado Springs, CO.  He has been a licensed therapist for over 16 years.

 

Love and Marriage

Last week, I (along with an amazing committee) hosted an amazing Fall Event…”Living in Infertility’s Reality”. I really should have recorded it so I could share it with the whole world! It was amazing!

We had 3 couples who are experiencing infertility talk. Did you hear…couples? That means both wife AND husband spoke. And, it was incredible. They talked about their experiences with coping, with communicating, and their experiences with redefining life as they have been immersed in the trial of infertility. People were writing furiously as they were trying to soak up tangible ideas. We heard inspiring quotes and we were laughing super hard with Josh Redfern (you may know him from The R House). How refreshing it was to hear about reality and to see that even in reality, life can be wonderful. Andrea and John Timothy, Tiffany and Jon Alleman, and Lindsey and Josh Redfern…thank you! Thank you for showing us that love and commitment (and humor) conquers all. You are all truly exemplary!!

After the event, a belief was strengthened…that belief is that one key to thriving and finding greater success during life difficult experiences is to focus on your marriage. It is true!! If you can be strong together, if you can cope together, if you can have a positive relationship with each other…you can survive!

We can’t do this on our own.
We need each other.

(For a great talk by Elder Hales about doing things on our own, go here).

Tomorrow, come back, because I want to share 3 keys that will strengthen your marriage from a Licensed Therapist…you won’t want to miss it!!