fertility

This spring I took on another rite of passage as a parent; teaching my son how to ride a bike. I have been enjoying his company on the back of my bike for the past three years and have joyfully watched him master the balance bike but it was time to nudge him closer to being able to ride on his own. I have always enjoyed riding a bike and wanted to pass that skill on to him as soon as he was ready.

Ah yes, that old adage….

Healthy sperm, is an important piece of the reproductive puzzle. Unfortunately, the health of these little swimmers can, and often is, neglected in the quest for optimal reproductive health. When preparing for conception and a healthy baby, it is equally important for the man to nurture his physical and mental well- being as it is for the women.

I was looking for some dinner inspiration the other night, so I opened my new cookbook, “It’s All Good” by Gwenyth Paltrow and Julia Turshen. One recipe in particular caught my eye, “Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Mustard and Parsley”. My first thought was, what interesting combinations. More importantly, was the delicious use of a cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower. Yummy!

For many women struggling with infertility, Mother's Day is one of the hardest days of the year.  The Hallmark holiday is filled with weeks of advertsing and sappy commercials, and for many, it is a deeply painful reminder of not yet being a mother yourself.

Seaweed is the commonly used name for a large range of marine (both fresh and salt water) plants and algae. Seaweed is full of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Most notable is its high content of iodine, a nutrient seldom found in other foods. Seaweed not only provides the base of most marine food chains, but also provides a wide range of benefits to humans (see this article for a more comprehensive discussion of the benefits). Among these benefits are dietary and medicinal.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jing refers to our genetic blueprint. Jing is passed from parents at conception. In order to increase fertility and pass along strong Jing to our children, a healthy lifestyle is important. Among other things, eating healthy food, getting enough rest and managing stress play roles in supporting Jing. Jing is stored in the kidneys. In Chinese medicine, the kidneys are associated with the reproductive system. Therefore, when thinking of foods to support your fertility (i.e., to impact the quality of your eggs or your sperm) nurture your Jing.

One of my favourite dietary sourcebooks, Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford, describes Autumn as the “season of harvest, a time to pull inward and gather together on all levels, a time to store up fuel, food and warm clothing, a time to study and plan for the approaching stillness of winter. Everything in nature contracts and moves its essence inward and downward. Leaves and fruit fall, seeds dry, the sap of trees goes into roots.

 My daughter Rio and I attempted our first vegetable garden this year. The other day, we were admiring the fruits of our labour. Eager with anticipation, much love and hard work went into tending the soil for our vegetables to thrive in. With bated breath, we grew ourselves a lovely garden. Having a special interest in reproductive health, this made me think of the importance the uterine lining plays in conception.

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