Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fertility Eating On the Road

Just back from two weeks of a heavenly and much needed vacation visiting friends and family in Europe, I am slammed hard with jet lag and may need to keep this entry short. Speaking of traveling, it can be especially rough trying to stick to a fertility diet (or any diet, for that matter) away from home. You may not have access to a kitchen, and depending on where you go, you may not be able to find your usual healthy foods or know where to go to get them. A few tips are in order for this:
  • Do the best you can with what you got. If you go out to a restaurant, try to make it one that serves salads or vegetables. Even if these items are not organic, you'll still get the nutritional value, and they're a whole lot healthier than eating pizza, sandwiches or cream- (and wheat-) laden pasta. Plus, you can eat as much of it as you want.
  • Don't order meat dishes unless you know the meat is organic; you can't risk the growth hormones they might contain.Same goes for dairy. Skip it.
  • Seafood is great! Order smaller fish and nothing raw, though, and don't eat it every day (due to mercury levels).
  • It can be hard to find non-wheat breads or crackers in some places. Again, do the best you can. If you must eat wheat, at least make sure the bread and cracker products are minimally processed and don't have forbidden ingredients, like trans fat. (Do your best to read the label.)
  • If you can find a grocery store, see if you can't get your hands on some good, portable fruits, like apples, and also some carrot or celery sticks and rice cakes or minimally processed crackers to snack on. If you also have access to a kitchen, see what you can do with what you got.
  • Some countries have their own form of "organic." In Switzerland, for example, food labeled "bio" counts more or less as organic. Ask the grocer about whether they carry pesticide- and chemical-free foods, and what they're called.
  • It's best to give you and your body at least two or three months to adjust to a strict fertility diet before traveling to foreign locales. Once you've built that "base," your body is better equipped to "absorb" your being less strict for a short period of time. Also, you will have built some healthy eating habits that will carry over.
  • Which leads to an important point: it's the overall healthy effect of the fertility diet that's important. So don't worry if you're not able to be as strict for a short period of time (say a week or two). As long as you've been following the diet for a while and you make the healthiest choices you can in your circumstances, your body will be in good shape. You might be feeling the need to take a little vacation from the usual, regimented diet anyway, and if it helps you keep going, that's a good thing.
  • Of course, you can also make it easier on yourself by choosing to travel someplace (or eat out someplace) where healthy foods are more available.
So go forth, enjoy your vacation, try not to worry, let it all go. You never know what might happen, once your guard is down and you let yourself truly relax. As it turns out, our son was conceived on vacation, four months into our fertility diet. Vacations are good!

Try the Eat Well guide to help locate healthy, sustainable, organic food in the U.S.