Dealing with Infertility

by Martine Begnaud

An inadequate diet is probably the most prevalent cause of infertility. Refined and concentrated sugars, processed and re-fined flours, hydrogenated oils, chemicals and preservatives in food all take their toll on the body's ability to reproduce. A toxic and malnourished body is a breeding ground for viruses, harmful bacteria, disease -- but not for a growing baby. As Dr. Pottenger discovered with his cats, generations of an inadequate diet will lead to infertility. Like his cats, we are the third (and even fourth) generation of humans on an inadequate diet, and we, like his cats, are now becoming unable to reproduce. The process is reversible, but it requires active effort on the part of an infertile couple.

First of all, overhaul your kitchen. Products with labels so long you need a degree in chemistry to understand them are not only unhealthy, they are not even foods. You'll want to get rid of all processed sweets: cakes, ice cream, brownies, cookies, sodas, boxed breakfast cereals -- anything that contains concentrated sweeteners such as fructose, dextrose, sucrose, corn syrup, sugar, concentrated fruit juice, molasses, brown sugar, turbinado, high fructose corn syrup, and glucose. One of sugar's many dastardly deeds is to depress the immune system for five hours after ingesting it, and you need a strong immune system to produce a healthy baby. One "sweetener" that it is imperative to avoid is Aspartame, which is an excitotoxin that has been linked to migraines, seizures, coma and even death. Also throw out all products containing refined flours and hydrogenated oils, such as chips, crackers and many commercial breads. These products lack nutrients and many also rob your body of them. Lastly, throw out anything that has had preservatives added or been pasteurized to increase its shelf life. It is important that the food enrich you, not the pockets of the food manufacturers.

Needless to say, alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine are strictly taboo. Alcohol interferes with the function of vitamin B6 that is extremely important in protein metabolism and the function of transporting oxygen in a newborn baby's blood. Babies born to parents who drink are smaller at birth and mothers who drink are more likely to miscarry. Among many other detriments, cigarettes reduce the blood's capacity to carry oxygen. Cigarette smoke also contains nicotine and carbon monoxide, both poisons, not to mention others that cigarette manufacturers add to keep the cigarette burning. Smokers have almost twice the risk of spontaneous abortion and stillbirth. Caffeine, in the form of coffee, tea and sodas, robs the body of almost every vitamin and mineral known to man. Prescription and over-the-counter medicines should be limited to the essential. Many prescription and over-the-counter medications rob the body of essential vitamins and minerals and also have various deleterious side effects. Remember that whatever you put into your body will also go into your baby's body.

You may notice that your cupboards are now a bit empty. But before you go out on a shopping spree, it's time to clean out your own body. If you've been putting these nutritionally deficient, even toxic, foods into your body, you need an overhaul as well. You wouldn't put your new baby in a dirty room, so why would you let him grow in a dirty body? Many people can do well on a three-day to one-week vegetable juice fast. Simply drink fresh carrot, beet, celery, parsley, spinach or cabbage juice (whatever you like) three to five times per day. Wheat grass juice is particularly cleansing to the liver and your liver will need to be up to par in order to do a good job of helping you detoxify. Don't fast on fruit juice. It's basically sugar and will throw off your body chemistry just as much as the other sweeteners. If fasting on vegetable juice makes you feel depressed and faint, a 100% raw food diet is in order. Salads, fruits, raw vegetables, avocados, sprouted grains and legumes will be very cleansing as well. Sprouted fenugreek is particularly effective in stimulating the lymphatic system, and smoothly flowing lymph fluids will assist in cleansing by carrying released toxins through the body. While you are doing the cleanse, it's a good idea to supplement with fiber such as psyllium and bentonite clay to increase your body's ability to detoxify. During the cleanse, you may feel flu-like symptoms, but there should be no reason for alarm. If you were to sweep up all the dust on the floor of a room that hadn't been cleaned in ten years, the accumulation would probably make you cough a bit before you managed to clean it all out. Well, your body is very much like that dusty room. You may feel a little ill when you first start the cleanse, but imagine how much better you'll feel to have all that "dust" out of your body. After the cleanse is a good time to start using a pro-biotic. L-Acidophilus is the most well known; it increases friendly bacteria in the colon. It is impossible to have a toxic colon and clean body at the same time, and the more "good guys" (friendly bacteria) to fight the "bad guys" (disease-causing bacteria) the better.

Now that you are ready to start, you will want to remember two mottoes: "Eat raw!" and "Eat vitamin and mineral rich foods!" When Dr. Weston Price traveled around the world during the 1930's, he found that the healthiest, happiest, most disease-free people ate a traditional, whole foods diet with ten times more fat soluble vitamins than we currently have in our diet. Very important among these fat soluble vitamins is vitamin A, which is only found in animal fats. You cannot get vitamin A from a carrot. You get beta carotene from a carrot, and beta carotene only converts to vitamin A in a healthy adult body. If you have been eating the foods listed above for a length of time, it's a good guess that you don't have a body healthy enough to foster and nourish a growing baby. Foods that are particularly high in vitamin A include fish and fish eggs, egg yolks, butter and, above all, organ meats. Liver is especially high, with about 50,000 IU per serving. Sweetbreads (the thymus glands of cows) have a mild flavor and can be cooked in a variety of ways. Seafood is particularly wonderful, especially when eaten raw to preserve the delicate enzymes and essential fatty acids. Gravilox (lacto-fermented salmon) is delicious and easy to prepare. Ceviche (fish marinated in lemon or lime juice) can be made with a variety of fish and shellfish. If you can find salmon eggs, indulge in them as often as possible. As with all foods, it is important to find a source whose quality and standards of cleanliness you can trust.

Raw dairy products are also of tantamount importance. Many people who are squeamish about eating raw meat or fish have no qualms about eating raw dairy products. Fortunately for those in California, raw dairy products are available in almost every health food store; whole milk, plain kefir, cottage cheese, cultured butter and cheeses abound. In some states, raw dairy is said not to be available for human consumption and is labeled "for pet use only." Avail yourself of these products if you can find them. If you are giving them to your pets only, then your pets are eating much more healthfully than you. For those of you who are not fortunate to have raw dairy products in your state (or you don't have a friendly dairy farmer to supply you), yoghurt made from organic, pasteurized (not homogenized) cultured milk is acceptable. Don't forget to include plenty of butter in your diet and to consume only WHOLE dairy products.

Eggs are one of the easiest forms of animal protein to digest. Free range chickens will produce good eggs with a superior balance of fatty acids. They are delectable when eaten raw in kefir or yoghurt with a piece of whole fruit thrown in. The concoction tastes like a rich dessert rather than a health giving, high protein meal, and with all the enzymes intact as well, it is supremely digestible.

Raw protein is much more digestible than cooked protein, but if the only way you can get that T-bone steak down your throat is to cook it, by all means, do so, but cook it on very low heat and make it rare. Overcooked proteins are the least digestible of all, and you want to digest and assimilate your proteins, getting all possible nutrients from them. In this way, you can be assured that your body is healthy enough to support that new baby you are trying so hard to have.

If your digestive system is not too weak to tolerate them, raw vegetables are also an important addition to your preconception diet. Even those who cannot tolerate raw vegetables can eat, and benefit by eating lacto-fermented vegetables. They are easily digestible and aid in digesting other foods that are eaten with them. Making sauerkraut is not difficult, nor are any of the other lacto-fermented vegetables. The long list of benefits they offer far outweighs the small amount of effort it takes to make them.

Grains should be whole. White rice is not a whole grain. Pasta is not a whole grain. Pasta is similar in properties and nutritional value to white bread. A whole grain contains the vitamins and minerals necessary to aid in conception viamins and minerals that have been robbed from refined and procesed grains. Cooked whole grains are delicious and easily prepared. Simply soak them overnight, rinse them several times before cooking and you'll never want to eat pasta again.

In addition to a healthy diet of whole foods, whole food supplements are important. An extra supplement of natural vitamin C is recommended, as well as cod liver oil, rich in fat soluble vitamins. As mentioned earlier, essential fatty acids are of utmost importance to the couple seeking to have a baby. A balance of the omega-6 and the omega-3 fatty acids is necessary, but the western diet is extremely high in the omega-6 and low in the omega-3 fats. Small amounts of flaxseed oil taken on a consistent basis over a period of one year will help to correct this imbalance. You can add flax oil to homemade salad dressings.

Now that we've taken care of the toxins in the body, let's look at environmental toxins. Do you have a microwave? Do you sleep with an electric blanket? Do you sit less than five feet away from the television set? If your appliance has to be plugged in, it has an electromagnetic field that interferes with yours. Numerous studies have proven the detrimental effects of electromagnetic pollution. A microwave gives off radiation as well. The food "nuked" in a microwave becomes a non-food. Your body will identify food cooked this way as an invader and treat it as such. Do yourself a favor and give the microwave to someone you're holding a grudge against. Do you use pesticides, herbicides and petrochemical sprays in your house? Are your cleansers environmentally safe or are they embellished with a skull and crossbones? Not only are you breathing in any chemicals you use on a regular basis, but you are also absorbing them through your skin. Please take care of what you use outside of your body as well as what you put inside your body. Long before you smell any of the chemicals or toxins, your body has started to absorb them. Many natural cleansers are currently available, so there's no excuse for using the toxic alternatives.

Finally, you need to take into consideration that you are unique. The above-mentioned suggestions are valid and will help everyone; however, you may have an additional concern that requires more selective care. You may have a hidden allergy or illness that contributes to your infertility. Seeing a qualified nutritionist, naturopath or holistic practitioner is well worth your investment of time and money. Good eating, good living and good luck!