Whether you are trying to have babies or not, hormone balance is INCREDIBLY important.
How do you know if you have un-balanced hormones? Here are a few hints:
- You are moody a lot
- Your weight fluctuates (and not necessarily because of changes in diet)
- You have a lot of digestive issues
- You have a low sex drive
- You have un-reliable periods
- You are tired all the time
- You've experienced early hair loss or thinning
The foods that I am eating right now for fertility are the same foods I should be eating to solve any hormone balance issues. Strange coincidence? I think not.
Yes, eating them will help put my body in the best condition to conceive. They will help with morning sickness, cravings, food aversions, and varicose veins. And they will later make my pregnancy go smoother, my baby's health better and breast-feeding easier.
But they will also help boost metabolism and promote weight loss, combat stress and reduce inflammation, AND increase sex drive (which will, of course, also help with making babies too).
And before you wonder to yourself, the answer is NO. Eating these foods will not MAKE you get pregnant, as long as you are following birth control methods. Silly.
What we’re looking for in fertility and hormone-balancing food:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin B6
- Long Chain Fatty Acids
- Sources of Omega-3
- Adaptogen Herbs
With that in mind, I’ve created a fertility food plan for myself. The plan is based on Weston A. Price’s fertility diet, but I’ve taken it down a couple notches, added a few of my own special touches, and tried to make it a little more realistic for people.
Without further ado, here it is…
2 or more eggs, preferably from Pasture-raised chickens.
Where to get them: I love Vital Farms eggs because you can get them from most Whole Foods and Weseda Farms eggs from my favorite, Local Foods. But since it’s Farmer’s Market season, I highly recommend picking up a couple dozen from your local farmers.
2 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil, used in cooking, smoothies, or bone broth.
Where to get it: I love Dr. Bronner’s. You can order it at Thrive Market, pick it up at Whole Foods or order it online.
Pasture-Raised/Grass-Fed Beef, Lamb or Chicken.
Where to get it: Both Marianos and Whole Foods will carry some Grass-Fed meat. But if you live in Chicago, my market of choice is Local Foods as I wrote about in this post. Why grass-fed? I explain it all right here.
1 cup or more of bone broth, used as a morning drink in soups or in cooking.
Where to get it: My first recommendation would be to make your own (I will be showing you how in a future post). It's a lot less expensive and you have more control over the ingredients. But in the meantime, I’m a big fan of the Kettle & Fire brand and they are now offering it for a discounted price at Thrive Market.
Fermented everything: Beverages (Kefir, Kvass, KOMBUCHA!!), Vegetables and Condiments.
Where to get Kombucha: My two favorite Kombucha brands are GT (available at any Whole Foods, most Marianos, and some Jewels, and even starting to be available at cafes like Hannah's Bretzel) and Health-Ade (harder to find in the Midwest, but available at Fresh Market and recently spotted at Le Pain Quotidien). And get this, now there is even a starter kit that makes it really easy to make on your own.
Where to get Kefir: Available at most grocery stores in the refrigerated section next to the yogurt. Try to steer clear of the ones with lots of added sugar, and instead get plain WHOLE MILK kefir and add your own mix-ins or put it in a smoothie. And just like the kombucha, there is a cool culture kit to make your own.
Where to get Fermented Vegetables and Condiments: Naturally fermented pickles, sauerkraut and carrots are becoming more and more widely available. Check out the refrigerated sections of Trader Joe's, Marianos and Whole Foods. One of my favorite brands is Bubbies.
Pumpkin seeds. Sprinkle it on your salads, make healthy cookies or bars, eat it straight, whatever floats your boat.
Where to get it: Most grocery stores will carry pumpkin seeds, but I highly recommend looking out for the sprouted nuts and seeds. Why sprouted? The process multiplies proteins, enzymes and minerals making food easier to digest and allow the nutrients to be more easily absorbed in the body. I love the Go Raw brand – available at Whole Foods, Marianos and Thrive Market.
2 Capsules of Fermented Cod Liver Oil every day OR 1 Teaspoon of Fermented Cod Liver Oil.
Where to get it: Green Pasture is the only brand I've ever found that carries the fermented kind. This is different than fish oil capsules; it's much more nutrient-dense and your body will absorb it MUCH BETTER. Here are the Capsules and here is the Oil.
1 Vitex pill.
Where to get it: It’s actually pretty widely available at grocery stores, but if you want to order it online, this is the one I use. Bonus: totally affordable.
Seafood, 2-4 times/week (wild salmon, fish eggs, mollusks, shellfish, canned sardines, canned tuna).
- Where to get it: Wild salmon as well as mollusks and shellfish is available at most grocery stores. My favorite canned fish brand is Wild Planet which you can get the cheapest from Thrive Market. I eat my sardine salads with this stuff at least one time a week. It’s my fast, cheap and easy way to get my seafood intake in. Don’t knock it till you try it J.
Liver, 1-2 times/week. Visit my Paleo Hormone Balancing Meatball post to better understand why you need liver for ideal hormone balance, and discover a really delicious way to get it into your diet.
- Where to get it: Ask your butcher if he can put some aside for you if he doesn't already have it. Whole Foods keeps it in plastic containers in the refrigerated section next to the bacon. Keep in mind, though, just like any other animal protein, where it came from matters. Local Foods is a whole animal butcher so it keeps EVERYTHING from all the animals so you can choose your pick between Chicken livers, Pig livers or Cow livers. Stop making that face. It's worth it. Promise.
Superfood Smoothies packed with hormone-balancing nutrients like Goji Berries, Bee Pollen, Turmeric, Ginger, Camu Camu, Wheat Grass and Grass-fed Collagen Powder. I'll go into more details about superfoods in a later post, but I nudge you to try some in your next smoothie. You can actually feel their benefits happening right away, I think.
- Where to get: Thrive Market is a great place to shop for discounted prices on superfoods like goji berries, cacao powder, maca and matcha. Otherwise, Whole Foods and Marianos both have sections in the store dedicated to these types of foods.
- Where to get recipes: I have been posting fertility smoothies non-stop on my Healthy Stacey Instagram page. If you want to see more, follow me! (please 🙂
1 teaspoon Royal Jelly, 2-4 times/week. This stuff is gold. It is the Queen Bee's primary source of nutrition and the reason she lives longer, stronger and bigger than any of the other bees in the hive. (5-6 years vs. 30-40 days!!). With it she produces approximately 250,000 eggs in one season, producing as many as 200 eggs/day. Bonus: It’s mixed in with honey and tastes DELICIOUS. Every time I take it, I can’t believe it’s part of my “supplements.”
- Where to get it: Not easy to find locally here in Chicago, unfortunately. So where else? Amazon. The brand in my link came recommended to me by a sweet old beekeeper named Bob that I met at the Daley Plaza Farmer’s Market.
p.s. Love reading reviews on Amazon like this, don’t you?
Lots and lots and lots of greens. No explaining necessary. You guys know the drill.
I’m trying to shorten these babies up a bit. I tend to go on and on and on. There’s just so much to say! This post was originally twice the length because I also was trying to explain why everything I was recommending was good for hormone balance. Instead, how ‘bout you guys send me an email if you’d like all that info as well and I’d be happy to provide it?
Alrighty. What do you guys think of all this? Are you overwhelmed? Are you excited to try some of it? Comment below…
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- Michaelis, Kristen. Beautiful Babies: Nutrition for Fertility. Victory Belt Publishing, 2013. Digital E-Book.
- Orecchio, Christa and Buckley, Willow. How to Conceive Naturally: And Have a Healthy Pregnancy after 30. Grand Central Life & Style, 2015. Digital E-Book.