Bitter Sweet: An Inconvenient Truth

May 2, 2011

*Current Obesity Stats may disagree.

I have been struggling for a week to write a post on why those pursuing fertility, who are pregnant, lactating or feeding a small child (and basically everyone else… so… everyone) should give up sugar. When I say sugar I am referring to the white stuff, the brown stuff and the High Fructose Corn Stuff. Because as best as I can research, they hit you about the same (anyone got anything different? Please share!).

How do they hit you? Well, not good. It just arguable the degree of not good. On one end of the spectrum you have “its just empty calories preventing you from taking in good nutrients, plus it damages your liver leading a large portion of this country into metabolic syndrome (syndrome X, a precursor to diabetes, heart disease, cancer and a major cause of INFERTILITY). That’s the mild end of the scientific research. The other end of the spectrum involves sugar altering every single cell in your bodies function and being responsible for basically every modern disease we have: cancer, diabetes, ADHD, Autism, Irritable bowl syndrome, lack of gut flora, etc. AIDS has not been attributed to sugar, however the immunity hit from sugar would theoretically aggravate it.

So that’s the spectrum of nutritional science I have read. That should make it easy to post about sugar being bad right? But it’s not easy.

Perhaps because I feel like sugar is my heroin. My body CRAVES it and gets angry when I don’t give in. I LOVE all things sweet. I love to bake. I love to eat baked goods. I love candy and chocolate and soda. And Ezekiel bread with strawberry jelly. These are just the things that are obviously sweet. It excludes things like ketchup or barbeque sauce, both of which I am a big fan of.

Also, people get extremely defensive of sugar. I have shared with many people that I am a Christian and got tepid responses. The few people with whom I shared I had given up sugar in order to get pregnant reacted in such strong negative ways I actually stopped telling people for a while. Some of these people included members of the fertility group I went to where my chart read in bold all caps: SYNDROME X. I have a 3 hour glucose tolerance test that proves my blood sugar can’t get it together. Yet, I mentioned giving up sugar and even my dietician looked at me funny.

So I have started and stopped writing on this topic several times. I will try to formulate some real posts of this issue but here’s my bottom line:

If you’re trying to have a baby easy up on the sugar.

Sugar messes with your blood glucose levels, telling your reproductive system if it can or cannot support a pregnancy. Sugar needs to be filtered through the liver along with every other reproductive hormone. Give your liver a break. For now that may just mean passing on a second doughnut. For me it meant riding my shelves of ALL sugar and HFCS containing products (at Christmas people. I deserve a medal. Ok, this baby works too:). But please, have an open mind. Do your research. Don’t pretend the science isn’t out there. Heres some articles to get you started:

Is Sugar Toxic? A great article from the New York Times

Sugar: The Bitter Truth This is the lecture referenced in the NYT article. Long, but informative.

Too Much Sugar Affects Sex Hormones, Causes Health Problems  An interesting article on the sugar/hormone relationship.

Sugar is the New S Word A video by Donielle of Naturally Knocked Up who is basically my hero.

Basically this is me:

augustus-gloop.jpg


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PEEPS stole my BRAIN.

April 29, 2011

This post is happening AFTER the Easter candy has been “thrown away” (in my BELLY).  No good.

They look so sweet and innocent in their festive artificial flavors and colors!

I want to write an actual post with my thoughts on sugar, especially how it relates to fertility. I am doing a ton of research right now in how it also relates to pregnancy and childhood nutrition (ADHD? Autism? There are some scary studies out there. Google GAPS diet. Read. Be concerned with me. Rethink those stale peeps.) This will all come in good time.

But for now…

I found this fabulous lady Nancy Appleton’s website and her list of 146 reasons sugar is BAD. This list made me shudder and laugh. I cannot verify everything she says, but hey, if its true, YIKES. I hope you enjoy it also:

146 Reasons Why Sugar is Ruining Your Health

Please check out #136. THAT’S ME! I have an excuse for getting dumber! DARN YOU PEEPS.

Battling For my BRAIN.

Jerks.

(Not my picture.)

XOXO,

The Nutty Bee


G Free & Tasty: Leftover Lunch

April 22, 2011

This is a continuation of my Step 1 in combating infertility with food: Goodbye Gluten!

Part Three of this G Free & Tasty series is sort of a cheater post. Going G free is supposed to be very time-consuming and challenging, and this, well it just isn’t friends. It will be our little secret. So its lunch or dinner time what to do? A huge subway sandwich? Pass. How about a loaded baked potato? Doesn’t sound filling? Let me “fill you in”.

Started with a baked spud. This takes a bit of planning. Next time your using your oven (perhaps when your making some poppers?) give a couple of spuds a good rinse, stab them with a fork and toss them in. If your only baking for, say 30 min, leave the spuds in after you’ve removed your primary dish and turned the oven off. The residual heat should be enough to finish cooking the spud. Plus you get Green Points. Your carbon footprint is smaller. Al Gore is happy. It’s a win-win-win!

So you have a baked potato.

Mmmm Carbs, the way God made them.

Ok, the spuds a little boring. Lets add some Cheese and Sour cream that we have on hand from the Chili.

Now that looks purdy tasty...

Wait! Don’t dig in just yet! Why not add some meaty protein goodness?

Oh yes I did....

Leftover Chili? Don’t mind if I do…

Mmm looks good right?

But what if we went just a little crazy?

These are the ones you had to hide from yourself/spouse/kids/dog.

Chop Chop little pepper. It will be messy.

Spicy Topping Goodness?

Well…. ok….

Looks like a mess. Tastes like a YUM.

Although you may not guess from looking at it (note my sarcasm) this is great food for if you have a man who is unconvinced about this whole G Free bit.

Lunch is served!


Fertility Food Friday: Not-So-Scary Chili!

April 22, 2011

This is a continuation of my Step 1 in combating infertility with food: Goodbye Gluten! It will someday be a part of adding in good vitamins…

Part Two of G Free and Tasty is being hijacked by Fertility Food Friday. That guy….

AND… I am participating in Fight Back Friday on Food Renegade. Go see all the other fabulousness: http://www.foodrenegade.com/fight-back-friday-april-22nd/

Scary Chili is actually pretty normal chili with a bit of liver added to it. Liver is one of THE BEST fertility foods you can eat. I will be posting my Ode To Liver and all the fat soluble vitamins it possess, and how easily you can absorb them and how much you NEED THEM TO GET PREGNANT in a later post. For now, I just wanted to continue with the G Free and Tasty series. If the thought of liver sends you into the fetal position, by all means just skip it. I’ll work on convincing you later!

Chili is one of the most versatile, easy foods to make. It doesn’t hurt that most people enjoy it. This is my basic recipes (with some liver). I like to mix it up with lots of farm stand veggies in the summer or root veggies/ winter squashes in the winter.

Basic Chilli:

  • 1.5 Lb Grass Feed Ground Beef (or 1 lb plus 1/2 lb grass-fed beef liver, or 1.25 plus .25 which is probably the best if this is your first liver rodeo. For this particular batch I am using 1 LB GFB & 1/2 LB GFBL)
  • 1 Onion
  • 2-4 Cloves of Garlic
  • 16 Oz Red beans (best if you soak them, here I got lazy and used a can)
  • 1 32 Oz Can tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes)
  • 2 TBS Chili powder, or to taste
  • 1/2 TBS Red Pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 TBS Cumin, or to taste
  • assorted veggies if you would like (summer i do yellow squash/zucchini/mushroom, winter maybe butternut squash) This time I don’t have any veggies. Which is kinda a bummer.

Process

Conquering Liver:

You will probably need to ask your butcher for this. I cannot say enough about Grass Feed Meat, so if at all possible try to get grass-fed liver. Good news in, it’s going to be pretty cheap. It looks something like this:

Hey...your not so scary!!

Go ahead and give it the stink eye. Tell it who’s the boss. Tell it you would like all the vitamins, right now. Tell it you know why your both here, and that’s to get pregnant. If I know liver, it will get on board.

The cube it up.

Show it whos the boss.

Toss those cubes into a food processor. A blender would work too, but a FB is easier.

Give it another stink eye. Youre in charge here!

Food process until smooth. Not unlike a meat smoothie.

Now for a confession I am not proud of. This is where I freaked out the first time. I walked away, I swore I would not do it, I swore all those “experts” who had smarty pants degrees where dumb. Then I remembered that I would in fact like a baby. For extra motivation I pulled out a Pottery Barn Kids catalog and checked out some nurseries (don’t lie, I know you have at least on PBK cat). Beatrix Potter Bumper Pads strengthened my resolve. With renewed determination I headed back to the kitchen to dominate this recipes.

Now it gets all “normal old chili”

Chop up your onion and garlic. I like 4 cloves of garlic, because I want some strong flavors covering the liver.

Not scary, but can make you cry.

Saute these bad boys in your choice of butter or coconut oil. I chose CO.

Add your GF Ground beef. Then add your liver puree. Let the two brown together until you can’t tell which is which. Feel powerful.

Heres the part I’m also not proud of, because they come in a CAN. Don’t be like me. Soak your beans. Use fresh Tomatoes.

2 Cans Red Beans, 1 Big can Tomatoes

Rinse your beans, then add them and the tomatoes to the beef & veggie mixture. You could also add whatever other veggies you would like.

Spices (do what tastes right to you):

2 Tablespoons Chili Powder. I Like it hot.

1/2 Tablespoon Red Pepper. Fire Burnin, Fire Burnin

1/2 Tablespoon Cumin

Simmer this mixture for 30 minutes or so. The longer is sits the better it will taste. My man prefers it the next day. Than serve with cheese, sour cream, and a deep sense of satisfaction that you came, you saw, and you conquered. Scary Chili that it.

Bets Enjoyed with the Self Satisfied Smugness of a True Victor and a Pottery Barn Kids mag.

** This is a meaty chili. I have seen lots of great recipes, including the one in Nourishing Traditions that included Beef Stock and are a little more soupy. They taste good too, so experiment! Go Banana’s!**


GFree & Smarter than Bee!

April 18, 2011

This is a continuation of my Step 1 in combating infertility with food: Goodbye Gluten!

Don’t take my word for it…take these people! Recipes and studies that is. Here are a smattering of the cool things you can find on the internet about G Free cooking and the gluten/infertility link.

Bloggers with great recipes:

The Gluten Free Homemaker: http://glutenfreehomemaker.com/

Glugle: http://glugleglutenfree.com/

Elana’s Pantry: http://www.elanaspantry.com/ I’m not sure I could love this gal more. She blogs about utterly amazing G free food from her kitchen on Boulder, CO. Growing up, I spent my summer vacation & some Christmas’ in Boulder and the surrounding area. It feels a lot like home to me. I want to go to Boulder & convince Elana to be bff. That’s not Nutty at all, right?

Articles that Reference Gluten Sensitivity and Infertility:

Gluten Free Society: Article on Gluten & Infertility: http://www.glutenfreesociety.org/gluten-free-society-blog/gluten-intolerance-causes-infertility/

Newsweek Article: Waiter Please Hold the Gluten: http://www.newsweek.com/2007/09/15/waiter-please-hold-the-wheat.html

Living Without: A discussion on a Study Linking Gluten Intolerance and Infertility: http://www.livingwithout.com/blog/inside_living_without-2407-1.html

Happy cooking/baking/reading!


My Personal 12 Step Plan

April 3, 2011

Hi my name is NuttyBee and I am infertile.

You know it.

This list is a summation of months of research before, during, and after my infertility treatments failed. It is what I wished someone would have handed me three years ago, although I may not have been ready to hear it. I plan to expound on each of these steps in later posts, but these are a jumping off point for your own research, reading and experimenting. There is nothing on this list that I would consider easy, but there’s nothing on here that compared to the pain of repeated fertility cycle failure or miscarriage (I’ve had 2). I can’t promise this list will be a magic bullet, but I think you will find you could out stronger and healthier once you have tried it.

If you are going through fertility treatments I think these steps will absolutely help you. I would only caution you to talk to your RE before you take any kind of herbal supplement.

Things to do before you go on fertility drugs:

  1. Go gluten-free. Challenging, yes, but less painful than a HSG. Or giving yourself shots.
  2. Get the High Fructose Corn syrup out of your diet. Clean your fridge and cabinets. Read ALL the labels. If its got HFCS, toss it. There are plenty of HFCS free products like ketchup or barbecue sauce if you look for them. Often they will be in the “natural” foods section of a normal grocery store, or any option at Whole Foods or Trader Joes.
  3. Say buhbye! to white/brown sugar. You have probably already done this if you’ve gotten rid of gluten and HFCS. If you are using any G-Free “substitute” products, read read read those labels. Often they are full of sugar.
  4. Read The Infertility Cure. From this book I used a very small dosage of herbs. If your going to do anything other than small amounts, go see a naturopathic practitioner or herbalist or even chiropractor. Let someone with solid knowledge guide you. Practice pressure points or give acupuncture a try.
  5. Go organic for produce and dairy. Just for right now. Theory is: your liver processes just about everything you put into your body. Even trace amounts of pesticides must be processed and flushed out. Give your liver ever support you can, so its main job will be to allow the right amount of hormones to enter your blood stream.
  6. Stop drinking all alcoholic beverages. See liver, above.
  7. Stop drinking caffeine products. You can cry about this one if you need to. I did a little….
  8. Get your vitamins naturally. This means increasing things like vitamin A and folic acid in your diet through things like egg yolks, liver (I’ll show you how), dark leafy greens, and cod liver oil (in a supplement easy peasey).
  9. Balance your blood sugar this will be easy if you’ve been doing steps 1-8, but you may need a little tweaking in the form of planned snacks or mini meals.
  10. Add some high quality, full fat dairy. I drink a local grass fed. I know many people who drink raw milk. This is the only milk WAP supports. I encourage you to research this option and explore the availability of a quality raw milk in your area.
  11. Get some fermented food in your life. Let good bacteria come to the aid of your body functions. You may first think of yogurt, see dairy above, which you can make at home. There are other great options such as Kombucha (also something you can make at home), kefir, or fermented veggies.
  12. Serenity, Now! Get out of your own head. Find a way to really relax and unwind. For me it was a run or yoga. Or both, depending on the day I was having! “Infertility” and “trying to get pregnant” can really take its toll emotionally and stress does all sorts of nasty things to your body chemistry. So go get mellow. Serenity now!!