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!