100 Foods to Feed Your Fertility

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It’s hard to believe this is my 100th post on Fertile. Fit. Fabulous. It’s also my last… on this site at least. And that’s because I’m moving! Head on over to my new site, Live Fertile for more women’s health and wellness posts.

I’ve had so much fun writing about fertility, nutrition, wellness, and fitness; and the randomness that flies into my head as I write about fertility, nutrition, wellness, and fitness. I’ve faced some major fears, namely the fear of being judged.

I put myself out there to talk about a subject I’m still learning about. Which for the girl who would sweat bullets in class even when she knew she knew the answer, is a really big deal. But when you are passionate about something, in my case helping others give birth to healthy babies and create full lives, you grow some courage. You just do it. You just get started. And I hope, you do the same.

So as a farewell to Fertile Fit Fabulous, and a hello to Live Fertile, I would like to share 100 foods that are jam packed with goodness and nutrients to help us build a more healthy, happy, radiant, and fertile body, mind, and life.

See you over at Live Fertile!

  1. Almonds
  2. Amaranth
  3. Apples*
  4. Apricots
  5. Arugala
  6. Asparagus
  7. Bananas
  8. Barley
  9. Beets
  10. Bellpeppers*
  11. Black beans
  12. Blackberries
  13. Blueberries
  14. Broccoli
  15. Brown Rice
  16. Brussels Sprouts
  17. Bulgur
  18. Butternut Squash
  19. Cabbage
  20. Cantaloupe
  21. Cashews
  22. Carrots
  23. Cauliflower
  24. Cherries*
  25. Chicken*
  26. Chickpeas
  27. Chia seeds
  28. Collard Greens*
  29. Cranberries
  30. Dark Chocolate
  31. Dates
  32. Edamame*
  33. Eggs
  34. Eggplant
  35. Figs
  36. Flaxseeds
  37. Full Fat Dairy*
  38. Garlic
  39. Ginger
  40. Grapes*
  41. Green Beans
  42. Hemp Seeds
  43. Herbs
  44. Jicama
  45. Kidney Beans
  46. Kale*
  47. Kimchi
  48. Kiwis
  49. Kohlrabi
  50. Lemon
  51. Lentils
  52. Lime
  53. Lychee
  54. Millet
  55. Miso
  56. Mushrooms
  57. Mustard Greens
  58. Mussels
  59. Natto
  60. Nectarines*
  61. Oats
  62. Offal*
  63. Okra
  64. Onions
  65. Oranges
  66. Olives
  67. Olive Oil
  68. Peaches*
  69. Peanuts
  70. Pears
  71. Peas
  72. Pecans
  73. Pistachios
  74. Pineapples
  75. Plums
  76. Pomegranates
  77. Pumpkin
  78. Pumpkin Seeds
  79. Quinoa
  80. Raspberries
  81. Salmon*
  82. Sardines*
  83. Sauerkraut
  84. Seaweed
  85. Sesame Seeds
  86.  Shrimp*
  87. Spaghetti Squash
  88. Spices
  89. Spinach*
  90. Strawberries*
  91. Sweet Potato
  92. Tangerines
  93. Teff
  94. Tomatoes*
  95. Turkey*
  96. Watermelon
  97. Walnuts
  98. White beans
  99. Wild Rice
  100. Zucchini

*when possible, choose the organic, wild caught, and/or pasture raised versions of these items.

 

Is Too Much Exercise Affecting Your Fertility?

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When it comes to exercise and fertility, I always think of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Falling into either extreme, too much or too little, will keep us from creating healthy, happy, and fertile bodies. We need to find the amount that is just right. It’s all about finding that sweet spot.

Nonstop, high intensity exercise puts loads of stress on the body. If we couple too much exercise with too little food, we are begging for trouble.

A stressed, overworked, and depleted body is not a healthy body, let alone a fertile body.

Studies looking at how physical activity affects fertility and fecundity suggest vigorous activity negatively impacts a woman’s ability to get and stay pregnant. It seems the longer the sessions are and the more frequently the sessions occur, the more profound the negative effect. Moderate activity seems to be beneficial, though (check out the details here, here, here, and here).

Being active is soooo important to our health and fertility, but too much is too much.

So, just how much is too much? And how do we define vigorous anyway? The simplest way to figure out if you are exercising vigorously is to do the talk test. Can you talk while doing the activity? If you can, it’s probably moderate. Can’t say more than a few words without a great deal of effort or needing to pause to catch your breath? Then you’re probably working at a vigorous level.

The amount  of exercise that is too much is a bit different for every body, but if our bodies are telling us we have crossed the line, we would be wise to listen.

Here are 5 signs you might be overdoing it:

  1. You’re constantly exhausted even when you get enough sleep.
  2. You are experiencing back to back injuries or maybe injuries that never seem to heal completely.
  3. The sniffles are your constant companion. Are you getting sick more often than usual?
  4. Something’s different… Cha-cha-changes to your menstrual cycle.
  5. Your muscles are sore. No, like really sore. Like, all the time.

Experiencing any of these? You might want to take a breather and talk to your medical provider about how you’ve been feeling. Want to avoid overdoing it from the start? Schedule rest into your workout schedule while also incorporating more restorative exercise like tai-chi, yoga, and gyrokenesis into your plan.

And of course, if you are new to exercise or coming back after a bit of a hiatus, ease into it by starting off with moderate cardio two to three times a week and increasing gradually.

Want to learn more about moderate vs vigorous activity? The CDC has a list of activities and their intensity you might be interested in.

P.S. I’m moving folks! New site and address coming soon. Stay tuned for the details.

Chocolate: Pregnancy, Health, and Beauty

Dark chocolate and cocoa health and beauty benefits
It’s that time of year again; Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Which means it’s time to give, receive, and eat chocolate! I’m not sure how or why chocolate became THE go-to gift for THE romantic holiday, but I’m not complaining.

So, in celebration of love, chocolate, and the love of chocolate we’re taking a look at some health and beauty benefits of one of my favorite things in the world: CHOCOLATE!

Now, before I dive into the good stuff, let me preface all of this with a gentle reminder (to myself…) that good for you does not mean go hog wild on it. The right kind of chocolate or cocoa has loads of benefits but excess is still excess.

The greatest benefits lie in 70% or higher dark chocolate, unsweetened cocoa powders, and cacao. When I buy cocoa powder or dark chocolate bars, I always look for ones that haven’t been alkalized or dutch processed. This type of processing leads to less bitter chocolate, which some people prefer. But it also strips the cocoa of a lot of its health and beauty boosting properties, not at all what we’re after.


 

Benefits of Cocoa

Healthy Pregnancy

Craving chocolate? You are certainly not alone. Cocoa cravings are one of the most common pregnancy food cravings. And there’s a chance giving in to that craving might be good for you.

Sure, the study results have been mixed. Some studies suggest chocolate can reduce the risk of preeclampsia and lower blood pressure during pregnancy while others show no effect. But it certainly doesn’t seem like reasonable amounts of chocolate hurt our bodies or our babies during pregnancy. So enjoy!

Heart Health

Cocoa is packed with heart healthy nutrients like minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients. Some are known to help keep our blood pressure in a healthy range, others protect our blood vessels from damage and lower our cholesterol, and some actually relax our veins and arteries so blood can flow more easily.

Mood

I don’t really know that we needed science to tell us eating chocolate could put us in a better mood, but it’s nice to have some proof it’s not all in our heads, right?

Whether it’s some nutrient or just the feel good effect of eating something tasty that’s responsible for it’s mood boosting abilities, we aren’t really sure yet. What we do know is, chocolate can make us feel calmer and happier.

Beauty

Cocoa is full of nutrients that fight inflammation, oxidative stress, and uv damage, which means it can help keep our skin healthy and fight the signs of aging.

If you are anything like me, you didn’t really need to know the benefits to motivate you to eat chocolate. It tastes good, the benefits are just icing on the cake.

Love it so much you wish you could bathe in it? Try out the DIY below.


 

Chocolate Sea Salt Body Scrub

This body scrub is inspired by my favorite KIND bar, the Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt bar. They are so amazing I just want to bathe in them (is that weird?) This is as close as I can get to doing that without ruining my tub.

Recipe

1/2 cup Almond Oil (or any other body oil)

1 tbsp unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1/2 cup Coarse sea salt or epsom salt

1/2 cup fine sea salt

1. Stir all the ingredients together. Simple, no?

5 Hot and Healthy Drinks for Winter

 

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Growing up in Southern California, the land of eternal summer, I tend to romanticize snow storms. I am almost embarrassed to admit the number of times I imagined myself lying on a (faux) bear rug in front of a flickering fire place. My outfit of choice was typically a cozy oversized sweater and knee high socks. And there was usually a good book in one hand and a hot beverage in the other. So when Old Man Winter blew into town last weekend and dumped over two feet of snow on NYC, I seized the chance to stay in, stay warm, and live out my dream.

While I don’t have a fireplace or a bear rug, I do love wearing a cozy sweater, reading a good book, and sipping tea when the temperature drops. If you are anything like me, you may have been on the lookout for some new drinks to add into the rotation. My five current favorites are below.

Each recipe (I use that term loosely) is simple, just 4 ingredients or less, not including the water, milk, or sweetener, and they all happen to be super healthy. All of the ingredients have anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. Some even fight against bacteria and viruses. But most importantly, they are tasty. Feel free to play around with the measurements. Find what you like and enjoy. Happy sipping, pinkies up!

Apple(less) Cider- Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves

This one tastes like apple cider, minus the apple. Simply place a cinnamon stick or two, an inch of coarsely chopped or grated ginger, 1/16 of a tsp of nutmeg, a few whole cloves, and 1 1/4 cup of water in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil, then simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Strain or not, your call. Feel free to add honey or your favorite sweetener. If you have some apple cider on hand, it sure couldn’t hurt to use it in place of water…

Three Cs Hot Chocolate- Cocoa, cayenne, and cinnamon

Here is my take on Mexican hot chocolate. Just add 1 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and 1/8 tsp of cinnamon to 1 cup of warm milk. Dairy or non-dairy works. Sweeten as you see fit. Add a tsp of coconut oil and a few drops of vanilla extract for an extra special treat.

Sweet, Sour, and Spicy- Ginger, lemon, and honey

Battling some nausea due to pregnancy, PMS, or just ’cause? Give this a go. Grate 1 inch of ginger into a mug, squeeze in the juice from a quarter of a lemon, and add a tsp of honey. Pour a cup of boiling water over your mixture and let steep. Wait until it cools a bit and sip happily.

Ponyboy- Turmeric, pepper, ginger, and cinnamon

The spice of the year, at least in my mind, is definitely turmeric. Curry and mustard are probably the way it makes its way into most of our diets. Fortunately, curry and the world’s second best condiment (second only to Sriracha) are not the only way to enjoy it. It makes for a nice warm drink too.

Mix together 1/2 tsp of turmeric, a pinch of black pepper, 1/8 tsp of ground ginger or an inch of fresh grated ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon together. Add 1 cup of hot water or milk.

If you go with water or fat free milk, I suggest you drink this with a snack or meal that has some fat in it. Fat, like pepper, helps our bodies absorb curcumin, one of the things that makes turmeric so good for us.

Matcha- Matcha powder

Just follow the directions on the back of the tin or box of matcha you have in the house. Doctor it up with ginger or lychee juice if you are looking for a new way to drink an old favorite.

What is your favorite steamy drink to enjoy this time of year?

PCOS and Nutrition: 8 Tips to Apprehend the Thief of Womanhood with Food

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PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome, Stein-Leventhal Syndrome, the thief of womanhood. No matter what you call it, let’s be honest, it’s just not very pleasant. There are the irregular periods, muffin top around the midsection you didn’t ask for, fertility issues, the hair loss, and let’s not forget the hair growth in less than desirable places. None of which you signed up for. But, there’s hope.

You can manage it. You can feel better. You can take back your health. Healthier eating habits and exercise can be a great place to start.

The directive to get to and maintain a healthy weight is usually the first bit (and sometimes the only bit) of lifestyle change advice doled out by healthcare providers to help treat PCOS. But what if you are already at your own unique to you healthy weight? What if you don’t want to lose weight? And if you do, how should you go about it?

If any of the questions above have ever floated through your mind, the blanket, “Lose weight. Eat healthier,” advice didn’t give you the direction you really needed. So here’s something I hope helps:

  1. keep your blood sugar nice and steady,
  2. put a damper on inflammation, and
  3. chummy up to antiandrogenic foods and drinks.

The eight simple changes below can help you accomplish the three things above. Diet and exercise changes can go a long way in helping you feel and look your best.

Add resistance training to your workout routine.

Whether you are already active (I see you Cardio Queen) or are looking to start working out for the first time, make sure resistance and strength training is a part of your routine. Cardio is great but so is resistance training. Resistance training builds lean muscle, and lean muscle boosts your metabolism. It also seems to improve hormone levels and blood sugar levels for women with PCOS. Check out the results here, here, and here.

Not into free weights or weight machines? That’s ok. Resistance training includes yoga, pilates, aerial arts, and barre, pretty much anything that causes your muscles to contract.  Find what you enjoy and get moving.

Combine fiber, fat, and protein with slowly digesting carbs at meals and snacks. A little cinnamon wouldn’t hurt either… 

I know, you have heard me harp on this one sooooo many times but bear with me again. When you eat carbs, it’s always a good idea to have some healthy fat, protein, and fiber along with it. These three slow down how quickly the carbs make your blood sugar go up and slow down how quickly it comes back down.

Cinnamon is a great spice to add to meals and drinks for additional antioxidants, to battle inflammation, and possibly lower blood sugar and cholesterol all without any calories and with lots of flavor.

Say, “bye bye” to soda, juice, and other sugary drinks.

Instead choose fruit infused water, seltzer water, herbal teas, and tried and true plain old water. Sodas, juices, and the like cause your blood sugar to spike, not the best thing for women with PCOS (or anyone else for that matter.)

Snack on nuts instead of chips, pretzels, and crackers.

Nuts have protein, healthy fats, and  fiber (my favorite combo!) Not to mention vitamins and minerals. All of which makes for a healthy snack which can help optimize health and wellness.

A handful of nuts (or a tablespoon of nut butter) paired with a small portion of your favorite carb source (maybe fruit or a slice of whole grain bread) makes for a satisfying snack with staying power.

Sip on unsweetened teas and coffee in place of that double mocha caramel vanilla pumpkin frapamachilatte… 

Green, white, and black teas, and coffee are full of antioxidants and can help squelch inflammation. Of course you don’t want to over do it and load up on too much caffeine either.

Peppermint and spearmint teas are other great teas to give a go. Not only are they tasty, they are also antiandrogenic.  Which means they can work against the excess male hormones that plague women with PCOS. Happy sipping, pinkies up!

Turn to low mercury fish and pulses as your protein sources of choice.

Anti-inflammatory properties, protein, vitamins, minerals, and in the case of pulses (beans and lentils) slowly digesting carbohydrates. What more can you ask for? Low mercury fish, beans, peas, and lentils are a great alternative to red meat. When possible, choose wild caught fish. 

Make the switch from refined grains to whole grains. 

Whole grains are full of fiber, B vitamins, minerals, and healthy fat so they are great for heart health and will keep your blood sugar more steady than refined grains. The best choices are intact whole grains like quinoa, steel cut oats, brown rice. Think whole mostly unprocessed grains, like steel cut oats, instead of more broken down types like products made from fine wheat flour, like crackers.

Flip those portions. 

If you are anything like most people you might have the tendency to fill your plate with rice, pasta, and potatoes and only put a tiny smidgen of colorful veggies in the mix.

Definitely a good idea to switch those portions around. Even if you are choosing whole grains, stick to a portion no bigger than your fist. Then add a serving of a protein rich food and load that plate or bowl with fiber rich vegetables.

Any type of vegetable makes for a great choice, but the cruciferous type (like broccoli, cabbage, and kale) can be especially beneficial since they support detoxification and combat androgens.

Choose one or two things to change at a time or adopt all the tips. Your call. With lifestyle changes and medical care, you can start to take back what PCOS tried to steal from you.

Pulses: A Fertility and Wellness Nutritional Powerhouse!

 

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2016 has been officially dubbed the International Year of the Pulses by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO.) And for good reason. Seriously, pulses are amazing.

But what the heck are they? Simply put: beans, peas, and lentils that are grown for their dry seed. So fresh beans and fresh peas, as well as legumes grown for their oil don’t count, but canned beans, peas, and lentils do. Why do we love them? For one, they are some of the healthiest foods in the world.

They are packing so much nutritional goodness:

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Phytonutrients
  • Fiber
  • Protein
  • Slowly digesting carbs

Plus they are inexpensive, sustainable, versatile, and just down right tasty. In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a fan.

I adore beans! They are hands down my favorite food. You will never catch me without a can (the BPA free, low sodium, organic variety from Whole Food’s 365 brand are my go to) or bag of beans or lentils in my cupboard.

If you are currently prepping for pregnancy, I strongly encourage you to load up on pulses.

Reason #1

The non-heme iron (fancy for iron from plants or supplements instead of animal based foods) in beans, peas, and lentils is linked to a decreased risk of ovulatory infertility.

Reason #2

They are a great source of folate, an incredibly important B vitamin for women of childbearing age. Folate reduces the risk of neural tube defects and is essential for a healthy pregnancy.

Reason # 3

All of that fiber, protein, and resistant starch means they are a slow digesting source of carbs. We need carbs for energy, as you well know; we just want avoid a dramatic spike in our blood sugar. A slow steady rise, followed by a gentle decline and plateau is the goal when it comes to keeping blood sugar levels nice and steady, and our hormones happy. Which is important for all of us, especially if you have PCOS, diabetes, or prediabetes.

Ways to Fit More Pulses into Your Diet

  • Layer hummus and avocado on whole grain toast for a quick, satisfying, and ridiculously healthy breakfast or light lunch. Feel free to add tomatoes, cheese, chili flakes, or anything else your heart desires.
  • Add kidney beans to your salad for a fun sensory experience: creamy texture, subtle but distinct flavor, and a little color contrast next to the rainbow of hues from all of those lovely vegetables.
  • Replace that bag of chips, pretzels, or cheese flavored crackers with baked crunchy garbanzos. Just preheat your oven to 400 degree F. Rinse and drain a can of garbanzos (or any other bean for that matter.) Toss with a tablespoon or 2 of olive, avocado, canola, or grapeseed oil. Place beans on a baking dish, pop them in the oven, and bake for 30-45 minutes (until crisp.) Toss with any combo of seasonings.
  • Try a bean or lentil burger at your favorite diner or restaurant the next time you are out.
  • This one might sound strange, but trust me, it works and tastes great. Add 1/3-1/2 cup of any variety of white beans to your smoothie of choice.
  • Making some quinoa? Throw in a cup of lentils and 2 additional cups of water. Lentils and quinoa have nearly the same cooking time, so they can be cooked together.
  • Enjoy a nice bowl of lentil soup or split pea soup. They are ridiculously tasty, comforting and cozy, and take very little time to make. They make the perfect companion for sautéed greens, and warm flat bread.

Fuel for Labor: Eating During Child Birth Revisited

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Late last year the American Society of Anesthesiologist (ASA) issued a press release titled, “Most healthy women would benefit from light meal during labor.” This was a pretty bold statement, considering fasting during labor has long been the norm. After receiving quite a few comments of concern from members, ASA attempted to clear up the controversy the release stirred up. They stated the release was simply an acknowledgment of research reviewed by a colleague, NOT a change in their position or guidelines.

The no food during labor policy many hospitals follow was birthed out the desire to prevent women from aspirating (fancy for choking on stomach contents if they made their way into their lungs.) Changes to how anesthesia is administered have made this less of a concern for healthy women with a low risk labor and delivery. However, the no food rule continues to reign in many labor and delivery wards.

I am of the opinion that for low risk women, eating during labor is fine as long as the labor team agrees. I would go so far as to say it’s more than fine, it’s a good idea. Listen, labor is extremely taxing. A woman can use the same amount of energy it takes to run a marathon giving birth. And no one would expect someone to run a marathon without proper fuel, would they?

How much should you eat during labor?

If your team agrees, by all means enjoy your meal. But remember, this isn’t the time for the meal of the century. Think light and small. Just as you wouldn’t eat a huge meal before exercise, you wouldn’t want to eat a large meal during labor. You want something that won’t overtax your digestive system.

What should you eat while giving birth?

Similar to the answer above, think light and small. The food eaten during labor should be something that is easily digested and that will leave your stomach relatively quickly. That means staying away from too much fiber, fat, or protein. Just like you would choose something higher in carbs and lighter in the fiber, fat, and protein departments before exercise, you should choose the same for a pre/during labor snack or meal.

Since neither the The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologist’s nor ASA have changed their practice guidelines, at least to my knowledge, the best thing to do is arm yourself with information and have a discussion with your healthcare team. Together, reach a decision that everyone is comfortable with.

I have included links below to abstracts and opinion statements that discuss eating and drinking during labor for your reading pleasure.

Oral intake during labor: a review of the evidence.

The effect of unrestricted oral carbohydrate intake on labor progress.

Effect of oral carbohydrate intake on labor progress: randomized controlled trial.

Low-risk mothers. Oral intake and emesis in labor.

Oral intake policies on labor and delivery: a national survey.

Eating and drinking in labor: should it be allowed?

Eating and drinking in labor. A literature review.

Natural eating behavior in latent labor and its effect on outcomes in active labor.

Eating and drinking in labor: the influence of caregiver advice on women’s behavior.

Eating in labor.

ACOG Committee Opinion: Oral Intake During Labor

What are your thoughts: should women eat during labor or should they avoid food? If you have given birth before, did you eat or not? How was your experience?

Pre-Pregnancy Prep Nutrition

Back with another infographic (aka my love muffin. Seriously, I love infographics.) This one is packed with simple changes you can make to  your diet if you are planning to get pregnant in the next 3 months to 2ish years. Not planning any baby making in the near future? That’s ok. These tips will help ANYONE create a healthier and happier body and mind.

PrePregnancy Nutrition Food to Get Pregnant fertility Kendra

Liquid Gold Ginger Smoothie: Morning Sickness and Nausea Relief

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Hands down, the number one complaint I hear from pregnant ladies is that they are soooo over their morning sickness.

Usually they can only eat fruit or bread and have become the best of friends with ginger ale (which oddly enough, usually has no ginger in it. Strange…) Not exactly the most balanced way to eat.

Smoothies are a Godsend in these situations. They are a smart way to go when nausea and vomiting rear their ugly heads because they:

  • are easy to digest
  • can be a complete meal if sources of fat, protein, and carbs are included, and
  • can be tailored to taste preferences.

To add some anti-nausea power to a smoothie I highly recommend adding ginger and banana. Ginger is THE go to when it comes to managing nausea naturally. Banana lends a creamy and smooth texture, mellow sweetness, and has vitamin B6. Since B6 supplements are often prescribed to pregnant women with severe vomiting, making sure to get enough if you are struggling with morning sickness is a good idea.

One of my favorite smoothie combos is ginger, banana, and beets. These three make for an awesome base that works well mixed with many other vegetables and fruit. For the smoothie pictured above I used golden beets. They have a delightful golden color and subtle honey like sweetness. So good!

Liquid Gold Ginger Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1 golden beet, peeled and chopped
  • 1 inch of ginger, peeled
  • 1 orange of any variety, peeled (I used satsumas, delicious and easy to peel)
  • 1 medium carrot, washed and peeled
  • 1 tbsp of flaxseeds
  • 1 cup of liquid base of choice ( I recommend water, dairy, or non-dairy milk. The milk options are a great way to get in some calcium and protein if you can’t tolerate much of anything else.)

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients into a blender
  2. Blend until smooth
  3. Enjoy!

 

Building a Better Breakfast

healthy breakfast fertility pcos nutrition diet pregnancy quinoa fruit peanut butter breakfast bowlWe’ve all heard it before, breakfast is sooooo important, possibly the most important meal of the day. It is the meal that replenishes our bodies after it has worked heartily through the night to repair itself AND the meal that sets the tone for the day ahead.

But knowing how important it is not the same thing as doing something based on that knowledge. Whether it’s a time constraint or just not being “a breakfast person,” for many of us breakfast just doesn’t always happen. And when it does, much of the time it doesn’t include what our bodies really need or what our tastebuds really want.

Whether your goal is to improve your skin, manage your PCOS symptoms, or just eat a meal that truly nourishes your mind and body while delighting your senses, it all starts with balance. Balancing your blood sugar that is. And how exactly do you do that? By combining fiber, fat, protein, and carbs.

Fortunately, building a tasty and nourishing meal need not be time consuming or complicated. With a little prep the night before or using cooking techniques that allow you to whip up a meal while you shower, you can get it done.

Here are a few of my faves that will help you start your day off with the energy you need to get going and stay going.

Quinoa + Nuts/ Nut Butter + Fruit + Spices

This one is my winter go to. The picture above is one of my favorite combos and what I ate this morning: pear, peanut butter, and dried cherries, with ginger, cinnamon, and honey. So tasty! So easy to make!

I normally add the quinoa (1/2 cup) and the water (1 cup) to a small sauce pan, then bring it to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, I lower the flame and let it simmer while I get the other ingredients ready. Then I turn off the stove and hop in the shower. While I am showering and getting dressed, the quinoa absorbs the water. When I am done getting dressed all I have to do is mix everything in a bowl and enjoy.

Egg + Sliced Tomato + Mashed Avocado + Whole Grain Toast

An egg sandwich just screams morning-yumminess-on-the-go to me. So here’s the set up. Pop two slices of whole grain bread in the toaster. While it is toasting prep the eggs, tomato, and avocado.

To make the egg in no more than 2 minutes, I crack one whole egg into a small bowl or mug. Then I add my seasonings of choice (sometimes I will add spinach and cheese at this point,) whisk briskly then pop that bad boy into the microwave for one minute.

While the egg is cooking, I slice my tomato and avocado. By then the toast is ready, the egg is ready, and I just need to assemble the sandwich. Sriracha typically makes an appearance here as my condiment of choice.

Fruit & Veggie Smoothie + Nuts

Last but certainly not least is the old standby, my trusty smoothie and nuts combo.

This can totally be prepped the night before. Just place all of the ingredients (minus the liquid base and any add-ins like flax and chia seeds) in an air tight container, then pop the container in the freezer. Put a handful of nuts in a snack container and head to bed.

In the a.m. all you have to do is pour everything into your blender, add your liquid, and any add-ins. Then blend until smooth. Grab your snack container of nuts and nosh and sip to your heart’s content.

And there you have it folks, three meals, two of which travel well. You are now have no excuse for skipping breakfast or grabbing that donut (unless you just want a donut, in which case, enjoy.)

Be well!