As part of #UnlockTheClock, we’re publishing real women’s stories of what the process of trying to get pregnant was like for them. We’re excited to share with you this guest post from our friend Lindsey Becker of Health Chef Lindsey. She is currently pregnant and due on October 8!
Having children was a life milestone that I couldn’t wait to experience. I always assumed that perfect time would come and it would be easy, despite ignoring all of the warning signs I should have noticed in my 20’s. Whenever I went off the pill, I would fail to get my period (later diagnosed as amenorrhea). My doctor’s only solution was to get back on birth control. She said it would be fine and I would have my period again. But wait a minute… if I don’t get my period when I go off of the pill, how am I going to get pregnant later in life? All she could recommend is that I not worry about it now and my body would sort itself out later on.
For about the next 10 years it was an out of sight out of mind issue. I stayed on birth control and simply forgot that I ever had a problem. When I finally did marry my husband, I decided to go off of it hoping that we could start trying for kids soon. Low and behold… no period and a concerning case of amenorrhea. I went to four gynecologists and three endocrinologists and none of them had an explanation. Even though I was at a healthy body weight, their only suggestion was for me to stop working out and gain more weight. Desperate to try anything, I did what they said, but still no period.
The one subject that no doctor wanted to discuss was my diet. Could diet affect your hormones and fertility, I wondered? It absolutely could! Even though I’ve been a professional chef for years, I decided to become a certified prenatal health coach to learn more about this issue. I started studying the detrimental impact that our conventional food system can have on our bodies and put what I learned into practice on myself. I switched to eating a balanced organic diet with an abundance of fruits and vegetables, gluten-free whole grains, lots of nuts and seeds, low-mercury wild fish, full-fat organic dairy (in small quantities), grass-fed and finished meats, and organic poultry while simultaneously cutting out ALL processed foods.
I was amazed to find out just how many chemicals are in the American diet. On any given day, most of us ingest trans-fats, GMOs, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, pesticides, growth hormones, toxic food dyes, MSG or HVP, soy lecithin, carrageenan, BPA, BHA, BHT, potassium bromate, sodium nitrate/nitrite, propyl gallate, and sodium benzoate. These chemicals and food additives are in just about everything that’s processed and can wreak havoc on your endocrine system. Even the Whole Foods salad bar wasn’t safe (they use canola oil in most of their dishes which is not only a GMO crop, but also a toxic oil that goes through a process of refining, bleaching, and degumming, all of which involve chemicals). I could go on and on about everything to avoid but it’s probably easier if you view my list of foods to avoid.
After following this diet for a strict six months, I became pregnant. The very first time my body ovulated, a little baby girl was formed. Not only did I become pregnant, but I have had a very easy pregnancy thanks to a healthy nutrient-rich diet. I gained 25 pounds, have incredible energy, never got stretch marks, never got sick, and felt like I was glowing throughout my pregnancy. I never understood why doctors don’t stress the importance of healthy eating during pregnancy. Everyone thinks it’s a time when you can eat whatever you want, but that could not be further from the truth. It is the most crucial time to supply your body and baby with all of the vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients they need to be strong and healthy.
For me, the best way to cut out processed foods and eat a nutrient-rich diet is to cook from scratch! Sounds daunting, I know, but it’s easier than most people think. I’ve shared some of my favorite prenatal recipes on my website to help you boost your fertility, get your body in balance, and maintain a healthy pregnancy.
I wish all of you the best of luck on your fertility and pregnancy journey and hope I can serve as a healthy eating resource.
Here are some of my favorite fertility-boosting recipes that are easy to make. They are all filled with nutrients to help improve fertility, prevent recurrent miscarriage, and support a healthy pregnancy. You can also find all of my fertility-boosting recipes here.