How your food can stuff up your fertility

The food you eat will make you more fertile, but do you actually understand why? Yesterday on healthtalks we went about discussing raw versus cooked foods. Chinese medicine loves to focus on warm cooked foods. It is understood that the nature of food will influence how our bodies function, and so with this in mind, we need to appreciate that our gut health drives our entire body function.

Here’s what I have to say today, over on healthtalks website.

The raw versus cooked food debate has sparked great discussion as the girls yesterday nutted out their own thoughts and ideas on raw versus cooked foods.

As a Chinese Medicine Practitioner, I’m still waiting to meet an amazingly healthy raw foodie. And before you get all cranky pants with me, please hear me out. Now I don’t doubt some people go better with more raw. But, there’s always a flip side – and it goes to show that in many instances we fail to listen to what our bodies really want and need.

Raw is great – but so is cooked!

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) 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.

Now I’m mad for a good green juice – but what you might not realize is that not only do I take notice of what works best for my body, I also factor in the seasons too. That means that warm foods are awesome in winter when its cold and you can generally tolerate more raw foods in summer. Adding nutrient packed juices into my diet is seasonal. What’s more, raw foods can be very heavy – as Jess touched on in yesterday’s clip and over consumption can be linked to weight gain because once again, it puts the ‘fire’ out.

From a Western sense, we may like to look at it like this. Our bodies digest food at 37 degrees. So when we consume raw and uncooked foods, not only does it have to go to work to digest, but it first has to get the temperature of the food up to 37 before it can effectively deal with it. For some people this is no problem. But for those with a sluggish metabolism this can be disastrous.

So you see – we love raw, and we love cooked!

It is all about working out just what works for you and why. Once you know why, you can set about making the necessary changes to have your body thriving.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this – what has worked for you and what hasn’t. Have you been on a raw diet and felt amazing? Or perhaps you’ve wondered why you’ve eaten this way and felt lousy. Whatever your experience, we’d love to hear – so leave us a comment in the comments section below – because your experience may just benefit somebody else.

When it comes to fertility and reproductive health, we need to make the connection with what eat and how our bodies respond to it. This may be relevant for something like period pain or infertility, where there is stagnation in the uterus, slowing down the menstrual flow or preventing implantation occurring due to obstruction like endometriosis. Whatever the case, everybody benefits from working out exactly how their body best functions. This is the foundation of the principles in my ebook fertilise yourself. Do you know what works for you? I’d love to hear of the connections you have made between the food you eat and how your body functions. It may be as simple as wheat causes flatulence – or cold foods make the body ache. Whatever your story – I’d love to hear in the comments section below.


  • March 6, 2013 By Camilla 9:23 am

    Great post I love how you always a offer perspective! Looking forward to discussing some of these issues with you in a few weeks. It should always be about what works best for you and your body and this is what will allow you to feel most optimal and live your healthiest life. I’ll definitely be reiterating this to my future clients. Thanks Nat! 🙂

  • March 6, 2013 By Dr Natalie Bird 12:01 pm

    Hi Nat, great post and I completely agree. I’m my practice my general rule is to avoid wheat and sugar for all my clients that truly want to see how great their body can function. From there we become more specific based on individual needs. It would be awesome to say everyone has to go raw, or go paleo, which I do recommend often, but we all have different nutritional needs based on where we are at in our health journey. It is so important to realize that drastic dietary changes, although great, can often cause a huge reaction in the body and potentially overload the kidneys, adrenals, bowels etc. Its so important to make informed decisions with the help of a trusted practitioner to decide what is right for you. And experiment, make it fun, see it giving back to your body, not restricting. Thanks for your post Nat, always thought provoking and challenging. x

  • March 8, 2013 By Larissa 4:26 pm

    Hi Nat, love this post. I am new to all this and have just started drinking green smoothies which I love. I am a cold frog though and I know it wont be good for me to drink this when its gets a bit colder. But I really would like to continue with them and was wondering if I added fresh ginger – is this a way of warming it up?

  • March 9, 2013 By Jemma 1:50 pm

    Hi Nat,

    I really liked this post and I have noticed as much as I love smoothies if they are really cold they are mucous forming for me. I have also noticed when I eat wheat or grains containing gluten I can feel quite sick and end up with problems for a few days afterwards. I really like how you always put things in perspective, and teach people that we need to find out what works for us because we aren’t always the same. Thanks heaps for the info 🙂

  • June 1, 2013 By Megan Bullen 3:46 pm

    Thankyou SO SO much for the post Nat… I’m a 36 year old Mum of a 12 yr old & 10 yr old and I saw a Naturopath in Feb for what I thought was hormonal imbalances, but it turns out I had leaky gut syndrome. My body has a really hard time digesting food. I never thought to look at it the way you’ve pointed it out, and I know my body feels calmer when I eat warming foods. I’d love to know more – you definitely fuelled my fire for information.

    I can’t wait to see you speak at Utopia in July in Brissy – I’m so excited!!

    Thankyou again for your indepth information, and for explaining it in a way that we can ‘get it’. 🙂


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