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5 foods you think are healthy that are making you fat (and fertility challenged)

Want in? I’ve got a secret. We aren’t all built the same, we have different constitutions, we live in different environments and well, what we require nutritionally probably isn’t the same as your favourite supermodel (let’s not forget, there are truly some genetically gifted people out there too). Recently I jumped over onto the whole raw food wagon because well… why not? But I had to slap myself in the face with a bunch of kale one morning, I’d gone overboard, making too many cold smoothies and eating too much raw, cold food. Something had happened to me on my juicing bandwagon. The effects of my raw ways had made an impact and my skinny jeans told me so. I’d gained weight. And so, I learn’t me a good lesson – I had to get myself back on track – back to my old ways of eating and refresh my mind to just how chinese medicine see’s the gut. I had to get back to my roots. Those 5 foods that are making us fat and infertile, they’re coming up, but first here’s a refresher from a few weeks back that we must remember to better understand why…

Allow me to explain to you from a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective how the digestive system likes to work. Imagine if you will a pot of soup, sitting on a fire. In TCM, both the spleen and stomach are the organs responsible for digestion; they transform and transport to the body the essential elements of the food and drink we consume. The nutrients they draw from food are sent out around the body to do good – and the waste product are removed and sent out as waste.

So going back to our pot again. To help you best understand, the stomach is the ‘pot’ and the spleen is the ‘fire.’ Therefore you may like to understand that digestion is a process that requires warm energy. Then lets add another layer to this – you may know that all foods have properties in how they behave energetically in the body. Those which are warming and invigorating (think meat proteins, some legumes, chili and alike) and those that are cold (like melons and berries plus the obvious like ice-cream and cold drinks) which can slow down such processes.

For those who have a cold constitution, (you know these people, they’d sit on the radiator and would bear burn marks if they had to ) adding more cold to the pot can be disastrous and equally those who are hot, adding more heat isn’t necessarily ideal either ( it can lead to all kinds of issues like period pain or headaches). So you can quickly start to see, that what works for your cousins uncles baby sitter, won’t necessarily work for you. And just because Miranda Kerr thrives on juice, doesn’t necessarily mean you do too.

You need to work out what works for your constitution. But the way the digestive system works at its best doesn’t differ from person to person. So the following foods that you may have thought are ok and certainly not fattening might surprise you!

I’ve got 5 foods to share with you that may not only having you stack on the kilos but are whacking your fertility factor over rover! Here goes.

Raw Foods – so if you look at this whole idea of constitution, you might easily see that raw foods are super hard to digest. The strain they then place on your gut can be substantial. These foods, for those with sluggish guts may contribute to infertility, weight gain, bloating, sluggish bowels… the list is huge! This is because the load they put on the digestive system is so big, it tuckers out, and at times may only be completing half the job meaning you’re not adequately pulling out and absorbing the nutrients found in these foods anyway.

You know, many fruits and veggies were never meant to be eaten raw. Way back when loin cloths were hip, foods were mostly cooked to remove any toxins or poisons and to make them safe to eat. But what’s more, these foods assisted in digestion process because they were simple to break down. Fast forward a little and we’re now eating so much more raw food (which is commonly higher in sugar too). They are usually very cold from the fridge (cold – we’ll learn more about that too) so they keep for a long time too – longer than nature intended. Many of these fruits and vegetables have been genetically modified so that we can safely digest them. That comes with another swag of issues we must discuss on another day.

Switch raw salads for blanched veggies drizzled in oil and vinegar or add a touch of honey and some sesame seeds for a punch of digestive power.

Sugar – it’s seriously time to quit. The idea of this can seem madness but when you understand just how the body works, it becomes very apparent that it leads to weight gain and because fat cells manufacture oestrogen, an overabundance will affect fertility. This might look like menstrual irregularities, fertility issues, pre menstrual tension, can lead to poor immunity AND contribute to increased cortisol levels which we will visit in a tick.

Switch sugary snacks for miso soup, hummous on rice crackers or olives, kale chips, nuts and seeds – there is just so much more to life than sugar!

Cold Food – for the same reason raw food doesn’t work, cold food is also super hard to digest as the body has to heat the food up to 37 degrees before proper digestion occurs. If the digestive system is already damaged, this just won’t happen and the effects can look like diarrhoea, irritable bowel, constipation, fertility issues, period pain…. I can keep on going and going because the gut is the pivot point of our health.

If you really want to drink your juices, I suggest placing your fruit and veg on the bench the night before or as soon as you get up in the morning. That way, they are no longer cold – just raw. But you’ll work it out. Just listen to what your body is telling you.

Alcohol – you know, a little alcohol is ok. The amount you drink starts to become the issues as it affects health and especially fertility. Before I go there, we need to know why. This is because, alcohol mimics oestrogen in the body. Too much oestrogen for women will upset the delecate balance of ovulation and hormone interaction and for men, it affects semen quality and appearance – meaning it will look totally abnormal (ie two tails or enlarged heads etc) and make conception impossible. This may present by way of recurrent miscarriage, amenorrhea as well as a host of other health concerns including liver damage.

Those totals looks like this:
For women – 2 drinks per week (anything more than this is considered moderate consumption)
For men – no more than 3 drinks in one innings with an alcohol free day every second day.

Coffee – now, I’m a lover, not a fighter. But I’ve recently kicked the coffee ‘habit’ and been able to have one on an ‘every now and again’ kinda scenario. It’s a good feeling having it out of my system. But here’s what you need to know. Coffee was once considered an appetite suppressant and therefore suggested to assist in weight loss. Think again.

Coffee raises cortisol as soon as it hits your system. This promotes more cortisol to be made (the stress hormone). This hormone stops you from burning fat and sees you put on weight especially around the mid section of your body. In fertilise yourself, I share of how weight affects fertility too. Unfortunately the fertility factor doesn’t stop with weight in the instance of coffee. Yes, there’s still more. Cortisol and progesterone both latch onto the same receptor sites in the body – they literally compete with each other for a spot. Problem is, cortisol will always win the battle over progesterone which sends the hormones to a state of imbalance. This is because there needs to be adequate amounts of both oestrogen and progesterone to support implantation and maintain pregnancy. It’s a good one to cross of your list and find yourself a happy alternative (you’ve heard me go on about my nightly cup of bambu!)

The idea of leaving the raw cold foods at the door can be overwhelming for some. Don’t get me wrong – it’s all about you working out how much you can handle. But if you are eating all the ‘right’ things just not how nature intended them to be eaten, it’s certainly something to think about switching over – your fertility and health will love you for it!

Leave a Comment

24 Responses to “5 foods you think are healthy that are making you fat (and fertility challenged)”

  1. Rebecca

    Hi Nat 🙂

    On the coffee subject, i was just wondering if it is the caffeine in coffee that has all the negative effects on the body. Or is it the coffee bean itself?? I try and drink a very low caffeinated coffee bean (The coffee beans grown in Australia are very low caffeine as the plant doesn’t have many pests and naturally produces less caffeine). As my one cup of coffee a day is more of a habit for me than anything and i like the bitter taste of coffee, i was hoping a low caffeine coffee was o.k ?

    Cheers

    Bec

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      It seems to be the caffeine itself. I think the point here is that if you are having trouble with weight, this may be something to consider. If your weight isn’t an issue – it’s probably ok for your body. x

      Reply
  2. Olga

    Hmmm, great article. Thanks Nat.

    The whole juicing thing has been on my mind a lot lately. I have seriously gotten into juicing in the last month and I must say that I have never felt better and more energised. Although, I do feel that when I am digesting it, it feels cold in my body.

    So, then I start having soups, but I just don’t feel as nourished as when I am having that raw nutrition from the juices going into my body. It just feels like the cooked food is inadequate for me at the moment. I also have a history of IBS and adrenal fatigue, so I feel like the juicing is really filling my body with the nutrition it needs without having to work very hard to digest it.

    I have learnt over the years to listen to my body, so I am just sitting with it and listening at the moment. I know that we are going into winter, so I need to up the cooked food, but, like I said, my body just doesn’t feel as nourished.

    Reply
  3. Steph

    Thanks for this post Nat! I think i’m the same as you.. have been getting into the juice/smoothie’s lately and finding that i’ve put on some weight which is surprising!! Think I might lay off them for a bit and see what happens. I have a strange constitution as a chinese medicine doc once told me that I have a blood disease, which he said isn’t something to be worried about, just that I tend to feel temperatures very easily.. when it’s hot, I am boiling, and when it’s cold, I am freezing :-/ Apparently I am very sensitive to temperature, which makes it hard to know what type of food my body thrives off the best. Any ideas? Haha.

    Thanks again 🙂 Steph

    Reply
    • Veronica

      So much conflicting info!! Not from you, but in general! I get and love the listen to your body approach, but after treating it so poorly for so long, I think my body is a bit shy. I am in the middle of ready ‘crazy sexy diet’ and trying for a 80-20 raw to cooked approach and even having one whole raw day a week. Are there raw foods that are easier on digestion that I should be working with?!

      Reply
  4. Sian

    Hi Nat,

    Thanks so much for anoher great Blog. The info on Coffee and it’s affect on the body is particularly great to see being addressed. I get so frustrated when I see so many people going on diets where it’s recommended that unlimited coffee is drunk to supress hunger! The Fast Diet (5:2 diet) is one of them and it doesn’ t even touch on the effect that coffee consumption has on stress response, cortisol levels and fat!

    Could you please recommend where I can find out more about TCM and what would be right for ‘my’ body. Is it similar to Ayuveda in that there are ‘body types’/doshas?

    Many thanks and have a great day!

    Reply
  5. Linda

    Hi Nat. Are there particular veges that are best eaten blanched? I’ve heard that carrots are better slightly cooked. Is it true for others? And which are best eaten raw? Cheers!

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      Most are better eaten slightly blanched – broccoli, asparagus are my fav at the moment. Obviously root veggies need to be cooked for longer like swedes or parsnips etc.

      Reply
  6. Anna

    Hi Nat, I’m wondering if you have any advice for me. For the past year I haven’t eaten any grains, legumes or sugar. And I only eat homemade fermented dairy. I don’t smoke and only drink a couple of drinks (2-3) every second week. I don’t eat much raw or cold food and all my food is made at home from scratch (and therefore unprocessed). I do light exercise 4 times a week and my BMI is about 22.5. But for the past three months my cycle has stopped. I do have PCOS but my diet had kept it under control (and off the pill) up until now. I’m only 26… Could my 2-3 coffees a day really be what’s throwing it out? Or could it be something else? Thanks for any insight.

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      It’s so hard for me to say without seeing you or having a thorough consultation history in front of me because I need to know everything to make a conclusion. I do offer skype consults too. x

      Reply
  7. Chrissa Reed

    Thanks for the article, Nat! I was nodding my head for each of your points, thinking, I can do that – until I came to the coffee one!!

    Is one cup of freshly ground organic coffee per day okay?!

    Thanks 🙂

    Reply
    • mnfadmin

      it’s really an individual thing – if it works for you then that’s ok! x

      Reply
      • Chrissa Reed

        Thanks heaps!

        And regarding raw foods – I totally agree that they’re not best for me during the colder months but during summer I was having a lot of smoothies and juices and I know I really benefited from the many nutrients I was getting from them.

        Any ideas on how to keep the nutrients high during the cold weather when I’m not downing so many juices and smoothies?

        Thanks 🙂

  8. shosh

    hey Nat, i do agree with you, and i tio have a cold constitution for sure, however i get scared of being overly acidc from all animal protein, eggs, beans etc. in summer eben with my cold disposition i naturally gravitate towards salads and juices.. Woud it be possible to have a room temp green juice/ SMOOTHIE foloowed by a warm tea or swhilst sipping a warm tea?? would that make a difference? if you have a cold constiturte does it mean cutting out all raw foods such as avacado and banana?? i have never liked cold anything anywhere i like my food if cold to be room temperature as well as my water…. does it mean never having raw or cooked room temp foods or limit them, what about when your in a hot climate???guess raw ice cream is totally out the question!!! im confused much love shosh

    Reply
  9. Merle

    Smoothies: I fell in love with my smoothies and didn’t want to give them up but my Acupuncturist also said no more Raw, Cold foods. So…I compromised.

    My Vitamix has a setting “Hot Soups” — so I make my smoothies and use the “Hot Soups” setting and end up with a room temp/warm smoothie — still delicious!!

    Just thought I’d share because they are a great way to get a lot of nourishment. I usually put some combination of avocado, coconut oil, kelp, pastured egg yolk, greens, beets, berries, etc…..

    Reply
  10. Texas Gifts and Souvenirs

    Thank you for this article. I have noticed that my body does not digest cold or raw vegetables very well so I try put it in the microwave for about a minute or 2 to soften the fibers up and that helps. Although I hope the 1-2 minutes in the microwave doesn’t kill all the nutrients.

    Reply
  11. Harshani

    Do you actually have scientific evidence for what you are saying. I am confused by your digestive enzyme claim. Mostly people with a backed up/clogged system lacking in probiotics will have this issue. Bloating is due to fermentation process of bacteria, however the enzymes will digest it all. The enzymes are made in such a way that they keep working on and on.

    Cold food …. we eat salads or drink smoothies that are mostly between room temperature or maybe a bit colder. Our body will heat it up as soon as we start to chew. Our digestive system is long. The food will heat up to get to 37 degrees. People warmed up food to digest the meat that’s hard to eat and digest and also to keep themselves warm during colder days.

    I’m a scientist and I study metabolism and how food intake and types of food can cause cancer. I would buy your theories if you can back up your statements with at least one publishes scientific fact.

    I eat and eat and eat raw foods the whole day … I digest very well and have no bloating and I do not gain weight at all. Maybe these facts are true for you and your body (since we all have different types of bodies and metabolisms) … but please don’t scare people with these statements and generalize your situation with everyone.

    Reply
    • Nat Kringoudis

      Thanks for your feedback & suggestions Harshani.

      Much of what I share is based on TCM theory which is now fortunately starting to be researched more and more as people are paying attention to what we base our diagnosis and theory on.

      I really encourage those who need more evidence & especially with a research background, to dive deeper into this area if it interests you.

      Not only do I base much of this on theory but also on clinical experience – I’ve seen first hand time and time again the evidence behind the theory.

      What I also know is nothing is definite and the more we research & learn the more we realise we don’t actually know.

      I’ve got more on my site about this – take a look around. Hopefully some questions may become clearer.

      Reply
  12. Belinda carusi

    Finally some sence

    Reply
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    Reply