Friday, November 20, 2009

Fertility Eating and Holidays

It's crazy. One moment we're having barbeques late into a hot sticky evening, and the next it's dark at 5 p.m., cold and threatening to rain. Halloween barely finished when our local drugstores started filling their shelves with stockings, Santas and lights. Zip, just like that the holidays are here.

For those of us on a restricted fertility diet, this can cause anxiety. Starting with the big turkey, the holidays are also about eating, and celebrating, and eating some more. There are holiday parties to attend and dinners to give, and there will be so much temptation to eat the mashed potatos swimming in brown mushroom gravy or the delicate chocolates sitting on table tops or that glass or two of champagne, and so on. What do you do? How do you handle them?

I have been on fertility diets through two holiday seasons and I know it can be challenging. But my recommendation is two-fold. One: keep the goal in mind. You want a baby, you are doing all you can--and the best you can--to encourage his/her arrival. The holidays--although a beautiful time to celebrate--will pass as fast as summer, but a baby, once arrived, is with you for life.

Second: When eating out, at parties and dinners, do the best you can. This is what I did and what I recommend. For dinners at the homes of friends and family: choose to eat only the healthiest options, and only small portions of those: the green beans, the rice, any side dish of raw nuts. If you've been on the diet for a while, your body can handle a little inorganic vegetables and rice here and there (once a week or so)--just to get you through the holidays. But meat has to be lean and organic or you don't get to eat it.You just don't want to risk having those growth hormones in your body, for one thing. Also stay away from any sauces and dressings: you just don't know what's in them. And pretty much stay away from everything else. If you get strange looks, tell them you're on a special diet for health reasons (they don't need to know more), or you're sorry, but you already ate, just before coming.

What about the chocolates, cakes, puddings, cookies, hot chocolates, wine, champagne and spiked egg nog, you ask. Of course, sugar and alcohol are the worst things for a fertility diet. On the other hand, it is the holidays and there's a lot of pressure. Again, if you've been on the diet a while (couple of months), your body can handle a little chocolate or wine here and there. How much? Not much! I would allow up to two glasses of wine over the entire holiday period, and about the same for sugar items (sorry). Even better: just take a few sips of wine at each party, or only a tiny bite of something sweet for taste if you must, and leave it at that. I would also choose ahead at which events I would let myself have a small "cheat," which is helpful.

The best idea, though, is to avoid all those holiday get-togethers where food is the center focus. Instead, invite others to your place for any main meals. That way you can control all the food that gets on the table... making a healthy, fertility-supported meal for you and all those you love.You can create sweet items with honey or Stevia, for example, and buy organic for everything.

Here are a few organic items to get you started:
For Thanksgiving, Williams-Sonoma sells organic turkeys.
Can also find organic turkeys at Local Harvest.
Local Harvest also sells organic cranberry sauce! Don't eat too much at one time though. It's sweet.

Photo from