February Book Review

During our journey to become parents so far I have picked up a few books on infertility. I am a typical “Type A” personality and when I am in a situation I can’t control, I’d like to at least become an “expert” on my situation. 

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While typing that sentence it made me hum this song… 🙂

I found some of them more helpful than others and would love for others out there struggling for understanding and control to read them as well to gain some peace and understanding about things that are out of our direct control. So every month I thought I would feature a different book that I have read. 

The Infertility Cure

By: Randine Lewis, Ph.D.

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I thought it fitting that my first book review would be the first book that I read about infertility. It came to this book by way of my SIL who is very big into natural remedies and holistic health. I was not previously one to put any weight on natural treatments or holistic health. I thought it was just for hippies…Turns out it may be for hippies, but I have turned into one!

 This book is written by someone with both Western and Eastern (called Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM) medical knowledge. The book starts off with some success stories introducing her method of helping women conceive. She then breaks down the Western medicinal approach to infertility, followed by the TCM approach. 

She then breaks down the TCM method of diagnosis. This part was really cool. There was an actual tick list where you recorded things you may experience in life that you would never relate. For example, I ticked that I bruised if a feather touched me, get up several times in the night to go to the bathroom and my feet always feel like ice at night—who knew those were all symptoms of Kidney Yang deficiency. This was a great hook because after seeing how easily I fit into certain categories, I “bought it”.

Then come diet, lifestyle and TCM remedies such as herbs and acupuncture. Also a great recourse all throughout my journey. I wasn’t going to completely change everything about my life, but I did think “hmm I shall put black sesame seeds on this dish” or “I should really eat some wild rice this week”. Really most of the changes are healthy no matter what (avoid excessive exercise, avoid white bread and pastas…) 

The second half of the book breaks down individual fertility diagnoses and how TCM can help either solo or in conjunction with Western treatment. As I don’t have a firm diagnosis as to what my issues are, I perused some of this, but didn’t read it super carefully. It seemed to have some good information along with success stories (which sometimes you like and sometimes makes you want to throw the book at the wall).

 So…the elephant in the room. A Christian seeking Eastern Medicine, isn’t that bad?!?! Well my thoughts are that God made us with such specificity and purpose, why wouldn’t he make us so perfect that all our body systems balance? Wouldn’t he make our ailments treatable using other things he made (foods, herbs) rather than toxic chemicals? I’m not going to a voodoo doctor and chanting curses, just thinking in a way outside of the box of western medicine. Again I’m not a theologian or doctor of any kind, just an average, humble Christ follower and person of some medical knowledge– and that’s just what I think!

 My rating: I wouldn’t use this as a “bible” to live by, but just something to add to your repertoire of things to have in your corner against infertility. Why not pray about infertility, go to your doctor, exercise and eat wild rice? It doesn’t hurt! I’m not relying on this book or TCM to heal me. Only He can heal me, but why not make changes you can to help you deal in the mean time? I chose to buy this book so I could have it on hand whenever I wanted to look something up. Also worth just checking out from the library first to see if it’s something you are interested in. 

Protein Matters

I know all the info surrounding diet and infertility is super controversial. One doctor says to eat cheese, the other says it’s bad. Is gluten really our enemy? What about sugars? Well, I really don’t know who to believe, so I guess I’ll just do what I think is right within the guidelines given to my by my doctors. When I had my first appointment with the full-blown fertility doctor a few months ago she told me there is no empirical evidence to support any of the dietary aspects of fertility, but that a healthy, varied, well-balanced diet is the way to go. She also mentioned that the one part of our diet that is proven to help fertility is to make sure you have enough protein in our diet.

This has always been a problem for me since I am a picky eater by birth. I’ve gotten so much better since adulthood, but still am not a huge fan of meats and beans. I try. I just don’t like it much. So with another month with no pregnancy, I’ve decided to make this month’s target to get enough protein, it can’t hurt!

What is “enough”? The CDC recommends women my age to have 46 g per day. The University of Maryland Medical System calculated that I need 63 g per day. So I guess if I get somewhere in between, I’ll be good. It also says that you want to get plenty of vegetable protein every day from sources like beans, nuts. I took the liberty of calculating what my protein intake was yesterday: 32g. I can do better. My husband is going to help me stay on track by making sure that I have a protein-rich lunch sorted (I often graze for lunch unless we have leftovers).

So how do you increase your daily protein intake without breaking the bank? Here is what I am doing this week to increase my protein.

Breakfast

  • 2 eggs with 1/2 avocado (14g)
  • 1 cup Oatmeal with 1/2 cup yogurt and berries (16g)
  • Homemade granola (I add extra almonds, pumpkin and chia seeds) with 1/2 cup yogurt and berries (about 25g)

Lunch

  • Leftovers (varies)
  • Salad with spinach, feta, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, cranberries and cucumber (15g)
  • Chicken quesadilla with guac (37g)
  • Chicken on whole wheat with spinach and hummus (37g)

Dinner

  • Mexican Lasagne with salad (45g)
  • Salmon and Millet with broccoli (35g)
  • Homemade chicken strips with sweetcorn and wild rice (43g)
  • Make your own pizza: 1/2 cup Mozz cheese, 1 sausage cut up, spinach, garlic, mushrooms  and salad (37g)

Snacks:

  • 1/2 cup Almonds (15g)
  • Chips and hummus (8g)
  • a few brie or camembert wedges with apple slices (15g)

How do you make sure you get enough protein in your diet? Let’s hope I can keep it up this month!!

xoxoTally