This might sound crazy given how many of us took or do take prenatal vitamins, but it is possible to receive adequate nutrition through diet alone. What a concept! All things being equal, vitamins would then be more of an ‘insurance policy’ to avoid a disaster when nutrition is inadequate.
Kind of makes you think that many of us are not getting what we need to maintain our health, much less sustain another growing human being. Getting pregnant is a miracle and frankly too many of us struggle to conceive. I don’t know about you, but if I were trying to conceive again (which I am not – so no speculation my dear readers!), I would want not to just try to avoid a disaster, I would want to to conceive quickly, have an easy pregnancy, and have a child who would thrive not just survive.
So What Foods Promote Fertility?
As a home cook, I often look to the wisdom of my elders in food preparation. My grandmother made many foods we might view as strange and off-putting now, but I like to think of these foods as our lost ‘sacred’ foods. These traditional foods were eaten for a reason so it is worth taking a look at them now with a new eye. Many are not made any more because they are viewed as bad for our hearts (too much saturated fat!), they smell bad (ew–stinky fermented foods!), or they have been replaced with a perceived convenience item at the grocery store (broth in a box – woot!).
According to Feed Your Fertility, a brand new eBook by Emily Bartlett of Holistic Squid, the following is a list of so called ‘sacred’ foods from yesteryear that are fertility ‘superfoods’. These sacred foods were reserved for the young and especially those of childbearing age. Why? I personally believe it is much easier to take note of infertility in a small village of 50 people than it is today. One would know immediately if there was an issue because the tribe would die out! It was in the best interest of the village to ensure its young people stay fertile and they could clearly see the results year after year. Included in my adaptation of the list are links to my simple ways to prepare these sacred foods.
According to the Weston A. Price Foundation:
Quite simply, liver contains more nutrients, gram for gram, than any other food.
In summary, liver provides:
- Nature’s most concentrated source of vitamin AAll the B vitamins in abundance, particularly vitamin B12
- One of our best sources of folate, the non-synthetic form of folic acid
- A highly usable form of iron
- An excellent source of high-quality protein
- Trace elements such as copper, zinc and chromium; liver is our best source of copper
- An unidentified anti-fatigue factor
- CoQ10, a nutrient that is especially important for cardiovascular function
- A good source of purines, nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as precursors for DNA and RNA
Liver is now a weekly guest at our dinner table. We call chicken livers “chicken nuggets‘ at our house and we also all love this amazing chopped liver recipe passed down from my grandmother. She definitely new how to make liver!
Heart, Kidney, and Other Organ Meats
According to Feed Your Fertility:
Beef heart has more highly concentrated protein than regular muscle meats and is very high in CoQ10 (an antioxidant), B vitamins, iron and folate – nutrients essential for healthy conception and pregnancy.
Not sure how to make beef heart? Here is my foolproof way for making it tender.
Also according to Feed Your Fertility:
Kidneys from pasture-raised animals are very high in potassium, B12, iron, zinc folate, and vitamins A and D.
It is a must to properly prepare a kidney. Additionally, I would highly recommend soaking the kidney in milk or whey to remove the bitterness and funky flavor before cooking.
I have never forgotten that meat usually comes on bones because I grew up in Texas and we really love our beef ribs here. However, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I came to truly love bones. Bones are truly an amazing and inexpensive way to enhance your nutrition. According to Feed Your Fertility:
The broth made from bones is full of minerals including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur and other trace minerals that are vital for creating a healthy new life. Ancient South American proverbs tell that broth will even decrease the pain of childbirth.
I try to consume bone broth daily – usually just straight chicken broth. I drink it in the morning much like many of you probably drink coffee except instead of sugar, I add a pinch of unrefined sea salt! If you want to stretch a buck and still be incredibly nourished, bone broth is your ticket!
The other amazing substance you can get from bones is marrow. If you haven’t tried marrow on sourdough toast with fresh parsley, you haven’t lived, in my humble opinion. Enough said. However, if the thought of marrow still creeps you out, try this custard recipe made with marrow for a sweeter and sneakier option.
My grandparents made me eat caviar and I did not see this abnormal…maybe that is why I still love fish roe or eggs to this very day. It was a special treat for sure…and expensive. But many other types of fish roe can be very affordable. According to Beautiful Babies by Kristen Michaelis:
A single ounce of roe “contains 8g of protein and 873 milligrams of omega-3 fats, and 54% of the RDA for vitamin B12.
For that much nutrient density, I will take it! I do not make this recipe for taramasalata nearly as often as I should because it is just so delicious and very affordable.
According to Feed Your Fertility:
Most thriving traditional cultures also revered seafood, often going out of their way to trade for fish if they did not live near the coast. Oysters, mussels, clams, and other mollusks are rich in zinc, iron, selenium and other trace minerals; fat-soluble vitamins A and D; and the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. For optimal nutrition, eat fresh seafood, 2-4 times per week, with a focus on fish roe, mollusks, shellfish, salmon, sardines, and anchovies.
My favorites from the list above and by far the easiest way to get my seafood on: sardines in this snack with avocado and anchovies a plenty in my Caesar salad dressing and as salad toppers!
What Else Will I Learn from Feed Your Fertility?
This eBook is packed with so much information that is invaluable to anyone trying to conceive.
- An Eastern vs. Western medicine take on what is going on with your body
- How to cultivate fertility
- How your lifestyle may be hindering your fertility
- How to make time for yourself to reduce stress
- Learn all about traditional diets and fertility (what I shared above is just a small preview!)
- How to work with an acupuncturist to assist
- Recommendations on vitamins and supplements if you are deficient
- Tips on how to navigate the medical world of fertility procedures (IVF, etc.)
Hurry! This special offer won’t last!