I wrote my first book, Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility, with a doctor, and in the book both Dr. David and I, strongly suggest that couples wanting to conceive should incorporate a fertility-friendly lifestyle. Your diet is one of the main ways you can change your body chemistry every day, which is why at the Yinova Center we encourage our fertility patients to pick up some healthy eating habits. This is backed up by findings from a study at the University of Surrey in the UK, which showed that couples diagnosed with infertility who made lifestyle changes, especially to their diet, and used a program of nutritional supplements had an 80 percent pregnancy rate.
I know that overhauling your diet can seem like an overwhelming task but if you only make one change, I would suggest that the most important thing you can do is eat more leafy green vegetables. These include kale, chard, collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion leaves, cabbage, broccoli, arugula, spinach, bok choy, and seaweed. Not only are they rich in folic acid, but they also provide beta carotene, B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc, magnesium, and selenium. In addition, they are full of fiber and important phytonutrients. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, turnips, mustard greens, kale, and the like contain a phytonutrient called DIM (diindolylmethane) which helps people to better metabolize estrogen. Cruciferous veggies help combat the estrogen dominance that can lead to fibroids and endometriosis, and they can improve the balance of testosterone with estrogen and allow more testosterone to circulate freely in the body. DIM helps eliminate active estrogen, breaking it up into particles, a process that can release testosterone bound to certain proteins. One daily serving of these vegetables is all you need to get the job done.
Eating your greens isn’t just good advice for anyone trying to get pregnant it’s a great idea for all of us. I was reminded of this as I read a fabulous book by pro-athlete-turned-firefighter Rip Esselstyn The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds. In the book, Rip talks about how they were able to convert their fire station colleagues in Texas away from meat and persuaded them to adopt a heart-healthy vegetarian diet. The book is full of delicious recipes including this one for a Kale, Lemon, and Cilantro Sandwich. Now I have to admit that when I told my husband he was getting a kale sandwich for lunch he looked a bit underwhelmed. But this sandwich is a lot tastier than it sounds and I encourage you to give it a try.
- 4 slices whole-grain bread
- 1 bunch of kale, rinsed and chopped into bite-sized pieces (remove thick stem)
- 2 Green onions, chopped
- 1/2 bunch cilantro or parsley, rinsed and chopped
- 1/2- 1 lemon, center part, very thinly sliced and the ends squeezed and zested
Toast the bread until brown and crispy.
Put kale in a pot with about 3-4 inches of water in the bottom. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook until kale is tender, about 3-5 minutes. Check frequently. Kale is good when cooked almost spinach-like.
Spread toast thickly with hummus, sprinkle green onions on the hummus, pile cilantro on top of the green onions and then place a few wafer-thin lemon slices on the cilantro.
When the kale is tender, drain well. Shake the strainer so all water is gone, sprinkle the kale in the strainer with lemon zest and remaining lemon juice. LOTS of lemon makes this good!
Then put a big handful of lemon filled kale on top of each piece of bread. In Rips recipe the sandwich is served open-faced but we topped with another slice of toast. This is a super-healthy sandwich and it tastes so good!