I love eggplant parmesan like nobody’s business, but how it is traditionally prepared is SO bad for you. Normally, you bread and fry the eggplant slices in olive oil before layering them between beds of tomato sauce, lots of parmesan and mozzarella cheese, and drizzling with more olive oil. My mom recently made it for our family, and while we all devoured it and it brought back very fond memories of my Grandma Faye, I could literally feel my arteries pulsing with olive oil and cheese. I figured it was time for a revamp since we love eggplant (even Zoey will inhale it!), and it is so easy to find in the grocery store this time of year. I don’t even think it’s in season right now, but man has it been easy to find and they are gorgeous!
Turning 30 hasn’t exactly been graceful for my husband or me.
We both work for the same company and recently had to complete a biometric screening for insurance purposes. Basically what happens is they check your height and weight so they can calculate BMI, check your blood pressure, and prick your finger to check for some possible health risks. For us, they checked glucose, triglycerides, HDL (good cholesterol), LDL (bad cholesterol), and total cholesterol. I’ve had these screenings done many times in the past, but for him this was a first. I tend to have a history of low HDL, no matter how many greens and healthy veggies I get in me, my HDL never gets where it should be. Overall though, my cholesterol is generally perfectly fine. My only red flag in the past has been blood pressure, and of course this day was no different. Apparently I have “hypertension”.
I did had high triglycerides, but everything else cholesterol wise checked out perfectly fine.
My husband, on the other hand, has terrible cholesterol… and we had NO idea. For one, it’s really difficult for him to gain weight. He’s always been really lean and fit, and eats like crazy. He never goes to the doctor, rarely gets sick, and overall has had a pretty clean bill of health.
This all means we no longer have just me to think about when it comes to how we eat, but we have to closely monitor him. And this also means what applies to me with diet and PCOS also applies to him. This probably sounds like we don’t take Zoey into consideration at all, but let me make it pretty clear that we do. That child eats healthy. She’d rather eat cherry tomatoes, blueberries and carrots for a meal over most things any day. But at the end of the day, she doesn’t have symptoms to control like we do, so that is what I mean.
So what changes are we making?
Well, for starters, we had to figure out where all the cholesterol comes from. It looks to be primarily animal products and by products… meat, eggs, dairy products. Okay, that said, with his body type he really needs a high protein diet and we have no desire to go vegan. Power to those who are, it’s just not for us. He can not afford to lose weight. His BMI is already close to underweight… ugh. So while there is cholesterol in meat, we had to look at what else we eat that doesn’t digest and break down as well, and affects your overall wellbeing. We started looking at our carb and sugar consumption. We weren’t that bad with carbs, but we did have one with every meal. And after talking to some other folks who have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, it became increasingly clear that the cholesterol count on a package is not where all your cholesterol comes from… it comes from how you eat in general. Some people with high cholesterol go paleo and eat all the meat they want, but cut out grains, sugar and dairy. One person in particular that I know completely healed himself just making that change, and he does not have to live on cholesterol medication. He eats all the meat and veggies he wants.
Ya’ll know how I am about supplementing and using food to our benefit when it comes to healing and proper body function, so to me, this was a no brainer. We need to eat better not only for me, but for him. And it’s not like we ate that poorly before, but when your husband prefers to eat frozen burritos for lunch nearly every day over a salad, it’s no wonder his cholesterol is high. It certainly wasn’t coming from MY cooking. Our dinners were decent. But he doesn’t eat breakfast very often and definitely wasn’t helping himself with those burritos.
In general, we have cut back a lot on our processed carb/gluten intake and we’ve drastically increased our vegetable consumption. We also completely cut out soda and he’s drinking more water. So instead of a carb, veggie and protein as our dinner, we’re doing protein and 2 different veggies. We are still taking in some carb, but we’re choosing things that are easier to digest and have other benefits, like fiber and protein (quinoa), instead of just empty carbs like you get from pasta and white rice. We’ve also cut back on dairy unless it’s low fat or skim milk based, but we do still take in some. Goat cheese for the win – it’s one of the lowest cholesterol diary options available!
Here’s what our meals look like this week:
Greek yogurt (17g protein) with coconut granola (10g protein) and fruit
Avocado tuna salad (using avocado in place of mayo) in romaine leaves or whole grain wraps
Salad in a jar with grilled chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, chickpeas, edamame and baby spinach
Fruit: bananas, apples, grapes
Skim milk mozzarella cheese sticks
KIND bars (gluten free)
Roasted red pepper hummus w/ baby carrots or gluten free brown rice crackers
Baked vegetable chips
Stuffed bell peppers with lean beef, quinoa (little bit), and tomatoes
Grilled lemon thyme salmon with sauteed portobello mushrooms and roasted broccoli
Baked chicken breast with sauteed kale and butternut quash
Grilled lemon pepper tilapia with roasted asparagus and carrots
Sauteed diced chicken breasts with roasted brussel sprouts and sauteed portobello mushrooms
So that’s our start. We’re making a few tweaks here and there without going cold turkey on everything so we don’t set ourselves up for failure. We’re not doing some fancy detox or making an extreme change, but we’re doing some things that I think will help bring his levels down where they need to be. We’re getting lean proteins and lots of vitamins from some pretty great veggies, plus plenty of extra fiber and heart healthy omega-3 between the fish we’re eating and the ground flax I’ve been sneaking in to things. 😉
Do you have any other suggestions for us?
Hey, hey! This is something I’ve been wanting to put together for a while now, and after much research, I finally got around to writing it. I hope you find this useful. What I have pulled together includes 15 fertility superfoods, and of course the reasons why. For some, I include a few ways to prepare these things or sneak them into your diet. I realize these aren’t on everyone’s “favorites” list, but when it comes to fertility superfoods, sometimes we just have a find ways to get them in.
This superfood is probably my favorite on the list. The healthy fats within an avocado are excellent for women. To top it off, avocado is rich in folate and vitamin E! As I’ve mentioned before, vitamin E is an excellent way to boost your uterine lining to make it nice and thick for implantation, so eat up! I tend to load up during the days leading up to ovulation and for a few days after. An avocado makes a great mid-morning snack. Just slice it in half and top with sea salt and cracked pepper. Yes, I even do this at work. At my desk. 😉 You should see the looks I get. I simply don’t care.
In addition to the folic acid that broccoli is known to have, it is high in vitamin C (bet you didn’t know that one!), which apparently helps your eggs mature. Say what?! The vitamin C and egg maturity thing is new to me, so I can’t speak much on that, but the folic acid alone is a good reason to consume broccoli on a regular basis. Roast it with a little olive oil and lemon juice!
The omega-3 in salmon is excellent for fertility because it helps regulate hormones and apparently increases bloodflow to your girly parts, which means it likely contributes to your uterine lining getting nice and plump, and to your ovaries producing better eggs. Bingo! Loaded with protein, it’s a wonderful, lean option to get good protein into your diet. I like to grill it on the Foreman with olive oil and lemon. SO good!
I’ve been a big advocate for pomegranate juice for some time now, because paired with vitamin E and a few other fancy things, it helps that uterine lining get thick for baby. It works. Whatever is in those things, it works. Add on the “antioxidant” tag, and it’s perfect for this superfoods list.
Spinach is loaded with folate and iron. Iron is good for your blood and that uterine lining. Try to sneak in spinach as much as you can. If you’re not a fan, stick a handful into a smoothie and I promise you won’t even taste it!
Rich in protein and a little something called choline, eggs are an excellent fertility superfood! This was new to me, but apparently choline helps protect your newly developing fetus from neural tube defects. I try to get in eggs whenever I can – boiled, scrambled, fried (don’t judge).
7. Coconut Oil
I mainly cover this one in my coconut oil post, but coconut oil is excellent for supporting a healthy pregnancy and helps with keeping your hormones balanced. Use it to saute some shrimp with a little curry powder!
Maca is a major fertility superfood that can be consumed in pill format since it’s not as easily found in its raw form here in the States. Maca helps increase progesterone and balances your hormones. I covered more about this one in my post on improving uterine and ovarian health.
Almonds are rich in protein, but they’re also rich in vitamin E! They’re so easy to just keep around for snacking, too. I usually keep a jar at my desk at work. Did you know that 10 almonds = 1 oz of protein?
This is a green that is loaded with folate! This is one of my favorite vegetables ever. My favorite way to cook it is broiled with lemon pepper and sea salt. Add plenty of olive oil! It’s also good steamed.
Apparently kale is excellent when it comes to helping your liver detoxify, which is only beneficial when you think of how many toxins we end up ingesting and breathing in on a daily basis. Kale is delicious roasted with a little olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper.
12. Black Beans
These beautiful beans are my favorite from the bean family! They are a great source of protein (and carb, so tread carefully), and they’re also a great source of fiber. Did you know that fiber helps regulate insulin levels? I didn’t either! Black beans for me, please!
Did you know that quinoa is a seed, not a grain? It is loaded with protein (yay!) and iron (double yay!), and let’s not forget the fiber (woohoo!). This is one of our favorites because it’s so versatile. I like to use it in place of rice for stuffed peppers. Add a little lean ground turkey, tomatoes, black beans and spices, and you’ve got a perfect meal.
This one might be tough for some people to stomach, but I honestly love oysters. Mainly smoked oysters. These suckers are rich in zinc. Did you know that zinc deficiency is a thing? I didn’t! Apparently zinc deficiency can slow down your egg production. Not cool. This smoked oyster stew with bacon is so delicious and a great way to get in lots of zinc! Glenn loves the bacon in it. Of course.
Blueberries are probably one of my favorite fruits. They are rich in antioxidants and apparently help protect your cells from damage. When I think of cells, I think of my uterine lining. Popping back a 1/2 cup of blueberries with a side of almonds is a favorite snack of mine – a great afternoon boost!
What are your favorite fertility superfoods?
A lot of people ask what’s the big deal with coconut oil, why it’s good for us to use in so many ways, etc. I mentioned this very briefly in the Tropical Fertility Smoothie post, but I felt like it warrants its own blog post. I don’t know about you all, but I absolutely love my coconut oil. I use it for cooking and baking quite frequently, and we use it on Zoey as a lotion. When it comes to coconut oil for fertility, I want to send you guys right on over to this article on natural-fertility-info.com that pretty much sums up every reason why I love coconut oil and why we should consume it if we’re challenged in the fertility department. Instead of just regurgitating what it says, head on over there and check it out for yourself. Halfway through, it talks more about how it’s so good for making babies:
Note: I always buy extra virgin or unrefined coconut oil to reap the most benefit. I sometimes buy at Walmart or Kroger, depending on the price, but it’s also on Amazon in a double pack for a great price, which is convenient when I’m already buying supplements on there as well… plus other household items because I’m obsessed with Amazon. 😛
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I’ve blogged about this before: Rumor has it pineapple aids in implantation because of the heavy concentration of bromelain within the core of the fruit. It’s said that bromelain makes your uterus more sticky and receptive to a fertilized embryo – that it increases cervical mucus, which can in turn promote implantation. There isn’t a ton of evidence to support this, but a lot of ladies in the infertility community swear it helped them, so it can’t hurt to try, right? After all, pineapple is good for you and is so delicious when fresh. The hard part is making yourself consume the core. Ick.
Late last year when I was going through infertility treatment, I was attempting to eat pineapple core from 1-5 DPO and it was horrible. You’re supposed to take one whole, fresh pineapple and cut it into five sections so you can consume it during the five days after ovulation – the meat AND the core. However, the core is so stringy and tough, I wanted to vomit just trying to shove it down. And I LOVE pineapple… but the core was just, ugh. No thank you. Some ladies don’t have any trouble with this, but I really struggled… big time.
So I decided to try something new, and while it’s said that you should try to consume only warm things after ovulation to keep your uterus warm, it’s 90 degrees in the south right now. I do coffee in the morning, but I am not about to eat warm pineapple. No thank you. I figured the only way to convince myself that I can eat pineapple core is to freeze it and put it in smoothies. It’s warm enough outside for my uterus, I don’t think a cold smoothie is hurting my chances any more than anything else. That said, here is the smoothie recipe. This is a single-serve recipe that I whip up in my new Ninja!
1/5 of a fresh peeled pineapple, meat and core (frozen), cut into small chunks
1/2 banana, peeled and sliced (frozen)
3/4 cup vanilla almond milk (or other milk of choice), plus extra as needed
1 T coconut oil
2 T shredded unsweetened coconut
1 small handful of baby spinach
Blend it up, add some extra ice if it’s not cold enough for your liking, and enjoy! The point of this fertility smoothie is to encourage your body to be receptive to implantation, so it’s best to enjoy this every day during the five days after ovulating. What a tasty way to kickoff the two-week-wait!
A few notes…
-When I first made this and prepared my pineapple, each section was just cut in half. BAD IDEA. It was so hard to blend up, ya’ll. This is what I recommend: when you slice the pineapple into five portions, cut up each portion into small chunks, especially the core. Store each cut-up section into a separate small ziplock baggie so it’s easy to grab and blend. This would also be a good time to add the sliced banana into the same baggie. Starter smoothie packs. 😉
-I use banana because one contains 25% of your daily value of vitamin B6, which apparently also increases cervical mucus to aid in implantation. B6 is tied with increasing fertility. Like pineapple, the increased chance of implantation is not 100% proven, but it can’t hurt to pair these together, right? (read more here) Plus, it’s a natural sweetener. I buy an entire bunch of bananas dedicated to smoothies, then go ahead and peel them all, break into smaller chunks and freeze.
-I personally use almond milk because it has some protein in it and doesn’t mess with hormones the way soy milk does. Plus, I’m personally sensitive to dairy so I limit it to cheese and yogurt, not milk. This would probably be really good with coconut water as well, I would just modify your other measurements to accommodate how watery it is.
-I add coconut oil because it promotes hormone balancing and supports adequate fat stores for pregnancy. This was something new to me in my research to create a smoothie recipe for hopeful implantation (read more here).
-The unsweetened coconut is optional, but I really like the texture added to the smoothie. I don’t really add it for any other specific reason.
-Baby spinach is highly recommended in any fertility diet! It’s loaded with iron, which is good for the blood, and as we all know, we need good, happy blood pumping to the uterus for implantation.
-Because I struggled so much with the frozen core due to my own absent mindedness, I blended the pineapple and almond milk first before adding anything else. I also found I’d end up needing extra almond milk because this would blend too thick. Play with the measurements, starting small and work your way up to the smoothie consistency you prefer.
That’s it, friends! I really enjoy this smoothie and I hope you do, too. Please let me know if you try it and if you have any suggestions for modifications. There are so many options out there, this is just one way to sneak in that pesky pineapple core. 😉
So, this recipe was supposed to be protein bars, not balls. However, once I mixed everything up and started to spread it on wax paper to make bars, I got annoyed. Quickly. You know when you make rice crispy treats and you have to fight the hot gooey mess to get it to spread into the greased pan? It was like that. Except it wasn’t hot. But it sure wasn’t cooperating.
I was inspired by my friend Logan over at With Great Expectation to turn these bars into balls (Logan, you pretty much saved the day and don’t even know it! Thank you!). The main difference (minus a few key ingredients) is that I did not process this, so the ingredients are chunky and earthy. I like the whole oats. If you’re not a fan of the chunkiness, check out Logan’s recipe for Secret Ingredient Protein Balls. That recipe is a favorite of mine ~ you’ll love it!
Anyway, back to the story… after the “spread it out on wax paper” fail, I bumped everything back into the bowl and into the fridge to later mold into little balls. I was originally inspired by this recipe to make my own protein bars for a cheap, healthier alternative to store-bought. Maybe I’ll try bars again in the future, but for now, this works just fine. If you prefer bars and have more patience than me, check out the original link. It has several recipes within it. 🙂
Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls
Yields: 12 balls | 6 servings
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 2 scoops chocolate protein powder
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (or nut butter of choice)
- 1/3 cup almond milk (I used vanilla because I had it, but chocolate would have been even better)
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips/chunks
- Mix the first four ingredients together until it becomes a sticky dough.
- Add chocolate chips and mix well.
- Place bowl in the refrigerator for 1 hour to chill.
- Remove from refrigerator and scoop large spoonfuls at a time, rolling each into a ball.
- When all your balls are formed, store in the freezer so they keep their shape. Get your giggles out of your system.
- Take out each ball as you need and allow to thaw for a bit, or eat straight from the freezer (I like that better!).
Let me know if you try it and like it! I eat 2 of these at a time and they usually serve as a mid-morning snack to carry me through between breakfast and lunch. Also, don’t forget to check out Logan’s recipe. It’s so good. I use dates instead of prunes, sunflower seeds instead of walnuts (apparently I’m allergic to raw walnuts since having Zoey) and coconut oil instead of the flax seed oil, because I have it on hand. Otherwise, I follow it exactly measurement wise and it’s fantastic.
On Monday of this week, I started taking royal jelly in hopes that it lives up to its rep and helps my ovaries function properly. When I wrote the post on More Natural Ways to Improve Your Uterine and Ovarian Health, I was still researching a lot on royal jelly and trying to figure out if it was something I’d even really go for, but it kept showing up everywhere I researched (paired with Maca and L-Arginine). It comes in a freeze-dried pill format, but I am already taking 12 pills a day.
Yes, you read that right.
Every single one is a vitamin or supplement. Maca and L-Arginine make up 8 of the 12 – they don’t just come in the dose you need, you have to take a couple at a time to reach the potency you desire.
Gah. Someone please tell me I can open up some of these capsules and just dump them into a smoothie or something. But wait, that would require me buying a new blender.
I space the pills out over the course of the day, so I’m taking something four times a day. I obviously wouldn’t remember that on my own – thanks to the iPhone, I have reminders going off every few hours. 😉
What is it? How does it work? How do you take it? How much do you need? Let me break it down for you:
What is it?
Royal jelly is created by worker bees and is fed to the larvae that is to become the queen bee – the head honcho – the mother of all mothers – the one who will ultimately lay up to 2,000 eggs per day. Royal Jelly is rich in amino acids and contains high levels of vitamins. It is extremely dense in nutrients.
How does it work?
Because of the high level of amino acids, proteins and vitamins found in royal jelly, it nourishes the endocrine system and helps support proper hormone function. I’ve read that it’s beneficial for thickening the uterine lining and preparing it for implantation because it helps with your estrogen production, which is what really helps get your lining thick. It also nourishes the ovaries for egg production, which is primarily why I am taking it. It helps the queen bee lay up to 2,000 eggs per day, ya’ll. That’s a lot of eggs! It’s all she eats and as a result, she’s the bee who lives the longest and is the largest.
How do you take it?
There are a few ways to get royal jelly into your diet. Some people prefer the pills, others prefer it in a more raw format. I decided that I was taking enough pills and wanted to go for the more raw format, so I purchased a royal jelly/pollen/propolis/raw honey mixture off of Amazon.
I went with that one because I read that all of those items are good for infertility (source will be at the end of this post). I also read online quite a bit that raw royal jelly tastes pretty nasty, so mixing it with honey is crucial to getting it down the hatch. I figured this mix would probably be the best way to get it in me and it came highly recommended in lieu of the pills. The label says to just take it plain, but I also read online that some people spread it on toast because the carbs aid in absorption, so I opted for that instead. I spread it on whole wheat toast, then top with a little extra local honey and serve it alongside a hard boiled egg.
How much do you need?
I feel like this is up for debate. I’m reading a lot of conflicting information out there on how much you need and how often you should take it (I’m sure it has something to do with loss of potency going from raw to dried format), so let me just share the conclusion I came to: I take 2 tsp/day, which is between 600-1,000 mg. The label for the jar I bought says to take 1-2 tsp, 1-2x/day and that one serving is 625 mg. I just do 2tsp (rounded, so likely a bit more than exactly 2) in the morning with my breakfast. A lot of sources say you need to take 1,000 mg/day, so I figure I am getting close. Other sources say you need more and that I should take more than 1-2 tsp because it’s not as potent mixed with the raw honey/pollen/propolis. I’m just doing what I feel most comfortable with.
To conclude this post, I’ll share this video from Natural-Fertility-Info.com that I found best explains the benefits of royal jelly. Below that you’ll find some links to sources. I hope this helps those of you who are curious about royal jelly. If you have any other questions and can’t find the answers online, let me know and I’ll be happy to help you find what you’re looking for!
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Drive-by update on how my follicle ultrasound went yesterday: I have one good follicle measuring at 20mm on my left ovary. My uterine lining was… wait for it… 9mm!!
Those of you who have been following me for a while know that it has been sooo hard for me to thicken my lining. We have tried heavy estrogen patches and baby aspirin, both of which failed to bring my lining above a 5 or 6 and instead made me miserable. Last month, I started doing major research on how to thicken my lining using more natural methods. I shared them in this post, before I really had personal experience. It was as new of a journey for me as it was for some of you reading it.
Last cycle, I had a stomach flu off and on for weeks at a time that messed up my rhythm. My lining was able to make it to 7mm thick and I was really hoping it was due to my half-way doing my new regimen. I missed a lot of days that month and knew that trying this another month would be the only way to know for sure.
Well, today I am happy to report that my lining was 9mm thick and I definitely give credit to my regimen! Below is exactly what I did. I will admit though, there were 3 days where I missed my tea and a day or so of pom juice (never both at the same time), but I never missed my vitamins.
Cycle Days 1-13
- 6oz pomegranate juice mixed with 4oz sparkling water: 1x/day, usually with dinner
- 6oz red raspberry leaf tea: 2x/day, mid-morning and mid-afternoon (this keeps me from grabbing a coffee during these times of day. It’s just a warm, cozy, herbal tea. I sweeten with local honey or agave nectar)
- 400iu Vitamin E: 1x/day, mid-morning
- Vitamin B Complex: 1x/day, mid-morning
That is it, friends! I have stopped the pom juice and RRLT for the rest of the cycle, but I will continue to take vitamin E and B complex. In addition to these, I do take a prenatal vitamin every evening with 800mcg of folic acid (the B complex adds an extra 400mcg). Side note: if you’re taking all these vitamins, space them out for better absorption. This is why I do the big dog (prenatal) at night before going to bed and take the E + B vitamins in the morning. Plus, the B gives me extra energy!
As for my one lonely follicle, I’m okay with it (especially being the size that it is) and am actually a bit thankful because it means a less painful ovulation. By the way, that sucker was hard to find. At first we thought I didn’t have any good follies, but after much pushing on my abdomen (ouch) we found it hiding on my left ovary!
Going from having a response of 4 follies in October, to 2 in November, to just 1 for December (all on the same dose of Clomid), we’re going to jump from 100mg to 150mg of Clomid next cycle if we’re not successful. My body seems to be getting used to the Clomid and may stop responding if it keeps up this pattern (UGH). My right ovary is a major mess. The PCOS seems to just be worse, but all the pain is worth it if we get a miracle at the end.
I’m sure some of you are wondering if I will do pineapple core from 1-5dpo again. The answer is NO. I like pineapple, but the core is horrendous and I found myself gagging. I’ll just stick to keeping my uterus extra warm. [NOTE: I came up with a tasty smoothie as of July 2014 that helped me get the core down the hatch! Check it out: Tropical Fertility Smoothie: Kickoff the Two-Week-Wait]
We triggered with Ovidrel so we’re officially in the 2ww! We’re skipping a P4 this round to cut costs because I obviously do fine on the progesterone supplements (200mg @ 2x/day, starting at 3-5 dpo). She was actually the one who suggested it. We’re also not doing an hcg beta unless I get a positive pee test at home (yet, another thing I am so grateful for). We’re just going to wait and see what happens. If I get a + HPT at home, we will include a P4 with the hcg beta to check status at that time.
Until next time…
Soooo somewhere I read that 100% pomegranate juice is stank.
AKA it is terrible.
I thought, “Surely not, I love everything pomegranate.” HA! Boy was I wrong. Straight up pomegranate juice is rough. My blender broke, so my plans for making smoothies went down the drain (literally). To help me tolerate it better, I picked up some sparkling water (I cheated, it’s flavored) and it makes the stank juice become an instant treat. It is SO GOOD!
If you are sitting there asking yourself, “why in the world is she drinking pomegranate juice and what does that have to do with infertility?” Then you need to check out this post! Let me know if you have anything to add. 🙂
My follicle ultrasound is next Wednesday, so I’ll know then if my uterine lining is doing better from all my efforts or not. I have also started my red raspberry leaf tea… although, I need to drink it twice a day, I’ve only been drinking it once. Zoey has been sick and that has thrown off my entire routine. My chart? Psh, it’s so messed up right now. I’ve been up and down so much during the night that my temps are looking post-ovulatory for me, so I keep discarding them. Oh well, I figure I just came off “george” anyway and the chart is usually a bit off during that time of the cycle. Hopefully things will level out soon as she starts to sleep through the night better.
Until next time, I’ll just be over here… drinking my pom soda, yo.
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Ovulating is half the battle, right? I’ve figured out a formula that works for me so we’re sticking to it. 100mg of Clomid with a trigger shot of Ovidrel seems to be my new BFF. However, getting my uterine lining to 8mm—which is the minimum it’s supposed to be for implantation—is a whole different ballgame. We’ve tried everything medicinal… high levels of estrogen, that didn’t work. Baby aspirin, that didn’t work. My doctor even tried doubling the estrogen and it gained me 1 extra mm… I haven’t been able to get above a 7, no matter what. I don’t know where all that stuff goes, but it’s not going to my uterus! It’s time to try some alternative methods.
Last cycle, my uterine lining—while thin—was the healthiest it has looked this whole journey and I credit that to the red raspberry leaf tea I drank twice a day. I plan to do that again this cycle once “george” starts lightening up a bit, but I’ve been doing research (aren’t I always?) on other ways to help my lining without messing with my hormones. My main concern is I don’t want to do anything that could negatively impact my response to Clomid. I want that left alone.
Here are some things I came across:
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea: CDs 5-13, drink 2-3 cups/day. I’ve written about this before, but its primary function is to “tone” your uterus. It does cause it to contract so it’s said that you don’t want to drink it during the second half of your cycle because it’s not 100% known if it will cause a miscarriage or negatively impact implantation. It’s best to drink it when your period is coming to an end and up until ovulation. However, I have also read that if you’re hemorrhaging (bleeding a LOT during your period) that this can help calm that down a bit and lesson your cramps, even though it’s technically causing contractions, somehow it’s better. I don’t know a lot about this… but I do know that when I was drinking it 2x/day, my uterus did feel worked by the 3rd day. It felt sore, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. This is also used to naturally induce labor once women hit 38 weeks and are concerned with having to deal with a medical induction. This has worked great for some women I know! I’ll write more about that some other day.
Vitamin E: Daily, 600mg. This is one of those things I found out and thought, “duh, that makes sense.” What have we always been told Vitamin E does for us? It causes cell regeneration. It’s great for your hair, nails and skin. This makes perfect sense. In a study done back in 2010, 25 women were given 600mg of Vitamin E (the study fails to mention how many days) and 18 of them had significant change in their uterine lining. That is HUGE. Vitamin E is so simple, it won’t hurt to add this to my daily vitamin regimen. It’s good for my body in general and hopefully it will encourage my uterine cells to grow, grow, grow!
B Vitamins: Daily. I already take a Vitamin B Complex every morning (Prenatal at night) and it gives me extra energy. It’s great for your metabolism, too. I’ve come across some information, although spotty, that says B vitamins are good for your uterine health, so I’m already on the right track. Plus, it gives me an extra 400mcg of Folic Acid (in addition to the 800mcg in my Prenatal) so I feel pretty good about that.
Pomegranate Juice: CDs 1-13, drink 8oz/day. This is new to me! Apparently, 100% pomegranate juice is great for your uterus and some women claim that drinking it every single day helped their uterine lining significantly. I am behind on starting, but I plan to pick some up this weekend so I can begin. I think what I will do is make smoothies and use it as the base. Add in some berries (great antioxidants), spinach (rich in iron) and almond milk (great for protein).
Pineapple Core: 1-5 DPO, eat 1/5 of a pineapple. I have read so much conflicting information out there on this, but I will share what I found. The core of a pineapple contains this enzyme called bromelain. Apparently this enzyme breaks down these proteins we have that inhibit implantation from occurring… as if it wasn’t hard enough to conceive, we now have proteins that fight off embryos. Great. From what I understand, you want to take a fresh pineapple and cut it into five equal portions and eat each portion, including the core, from 1-5 DPO. But some people say to not eat too much pineapple because it can cause uterine contractions (hence why to not drink red raspberry leaf tea at this point in the cycle) and to only eat the core. I don’t know what to think about all this, but I am going to try the whole thing and see what happens. I can’t imagine just the core alone being any good so I might try to put the “pineapple portion of the day” into a smoothie. We’ll see how this goes. [NOTE: I came up with a tasty smoothie as of July 2014 that helped me get the core down the hatch! Check it out: Tropical Fertility Smoothie: Kickoff the Two-Week-Wait]
Those are just a few things. I’ve also read a little about fish oil, DHA, avocado (all those healthy fats). I’ll probably make a conscious effort to consume more of those things, but not sure if I will add more pills to my regimen.
In addition, I probably need to cut back my caffeine (okay, I know I do, and I say this as I sip on an ice cold classic Coke) and I need to pick back up with more protein, less carbs and more dark leafy greens. I ate like that for a year and then got sick of everything I was eating. I wanted some macaroni and cheese, dang it! But truthfully, I need to do better in that department. PCOS means I cannot eat like crap because it affects me worse. Sometimes it is just so hard to be motivated. I also apparently need to keep my uterus warm, which means I need to stay nice and toasty, and that might be difficult with the cold weather upon us, but I will do my best.
That’s it for now. Do you have any other suggestions for uterine lining improvement or for things that encourage implantation? What worked for you?
***UPDATE!!! I had success!! Read about it here: How to Naturally Thicken Your Uterine Lining – It Really Works!