Mindful and compassionate eating

We’ve all heard, ad nauseam, the term “relationship with food.” We’ve heard how it’s not about diet but about lifestyle. People, desperate to lose weight for all sorts of reasons, force themselves to make large changes over night. The vast majority of those people are successful in the short-term, but find themselves back in their old patterns for the long-term.

Usually feeling a little worse for the wear; guilty. Ashamed. Convinced they just aren’t “strong enough” and, had they tried harder, or done this or that, they would have lost the weight and FINALLY be good enough in their own eyes. And others’ eyes, too.

I’m a naturopath. And, for a number of reasons, I always feel extra pressure to always make the right choice around food. It’s hard, friends, because truth be told: I really love to enjoy food. And I was raised on the Standard American Diet (SAD). So, I joke that ALL my teeth are sweet, not just one.

I know, dear friends and clients, that the struggle is real.

My relationship with food has been, like everyone’s, a journey. One with triumphs and with pit falls. I once reached out to a fellow naturopath for help making sense of my relationship with food. I was told, “you’re a naturopath! you should have this figured out!” This only added to my shame, and I withdrew inside myself, confused and frustrated. I, apparently, could help others. But not myself. So, I struggled in silence.

Eventually, about a year later, I found a book called The Yoga of Eating (available on Amazon) and began to explore mindful eating.

And, all the sudden, my struggle made sense.
I wasn’t struggling because I was weak.
Or I was self-sabotaging.
Or a bad naturopath.

I was struggling because I was attempting to force change and by seeing my relationship with food allopathically; simply a way to get (or not get) the nutrition I needed, instead of dynamic, changing and  growing, with many dimensions and even more personality.

When, in reality, food is (and should be) so much more.

Mindful eating - when can we eat chocolate cake?

Here in the USA we have this near obsession with will power. If we fail it’s because we’re weak. If we’re struggling, we ought to push harder. If we’re craving something not good for us, we need to resist. We’re a nation whose motto might as well be “pick yourself up by your bootstraps and move on…”

The problem with this mindset, though, is that we were never… ever… meant to survive on will power. Will power was meant to get us through challenging moments and difficult situations. Not lifetimes. And relying on willpower, a rallying of all our inner gusto, requires us to, essentially, ignore the base desires/needs and cues we have; disconnecting us from our bodies, and teaching us to deny our senses and inclinations.

We were never meant to live in such a state of disconnected exhaustion. Imagine living connected to yourself. Experiencing your longings, desires, needs, and cravings.

And then responding to them. And honoring and meeting those needs.

Can you imagine?

Think for a moment.

How would that be?

To connect with yourself.

Feel your desires. Cravings.

The pushes. The pulls.

How would it be to release our iron clad sense of needing to push through and hold strong?

What if, instead, we connected to our bodies and explored our feelings around food?

Honored its dynamic, multifaceted place in our life and began to work on change from there?

What if, instead of fighting the desire for chocolate cake, you knew that the chocolate cake was more about connecting to a time in your life where things made more sense and you need that right now… things making sense. Security. And you don’t have a whole lot of control over much right now. So that chocolate cake… it, well, it brings you peace. And you honor that.

You have a piece of chocolate cake.

The BEST kind of chocolate cake.

Maybe it’s gluten-free or egg free because you can’t do gluten or you can’t do eggs. But it’s got great ingredients. It’s free of additives and junk, because friend, your body deserves the BEST ingredients.

And as you eat that very amazing chocolate cake, you enjoy every single bite.  It tickles your taste buds and maybe your close your eyes and breathe deep. Because it’s THAT good. Your closest friend is there with you and together you both fully enjoy your cake.

Because really, it’s about far more than the cake. And because you know that, and you’re seeking to identify those needs and sort out how to meet those needs in healthy, meaningful ways.

My encouragement to most* of my clients that are working on making food changes is this:

Yes, if you went home today and made all these food changes today and never ate poorly again you would feel better SO much faster.

But you weren’t meant to live off of willpower. So if you find yourself battling for more than a short while, check in and see what it is that you need.

Is it the sugar? If so, what else could you eat?
Is it comfort? If so, what other ways could you comfort yourself?
Is it the grounding memory that’s associated with that food? What other things help you feel grounded and secure?

If at the end of the dialogue with yourself you’re still trapped in a willpower battle, allow yourself the cake. Make it a good cake. The BEST cake. With the best possible ingredients. Because you are worth the best.

It’s okay to put the bootstraps down. And know that you’re moving forward.


*I say “most” because SOMETIMES a food is making someone SO sick that they don’t have the luxury of indulging here and there. They have to go all in over night. Even in those instances, though, there is grace and love and immense compassion for those chocolate cake moments.

It’s time to take the first step (next step) towards healthy living

Hey you.

The one that has read all the books on how to eat healthy, whole foods and still grabs the same boxes of convenience foods at the super market.

The one that pins all sorts of healthy recipes, yet never makes them.

The one that bought all sorts of ingredients to make natural beauty and cleaning products, but still haven’t tried them.

The one with an extra 20 pounds (or more) that you still haven’t lost because you haven’t started to exercise yet.

The one that deals with hormone imbalance, but doesn’t know where to turn or where to start because of all the conflicting (and massive amounts) of information.

I know you because you are me. 

It's time to take the first step towards healthy living

I’ve spent much of my life not knowing WHERE to start, so I never start at all. Whether it’s knitting, embroidery, playing guitar (all things I’ve wanted to learn for many years!), learning more about herbal medicine, fermenting foods, or making my own cheese, I just want someone to help me along the way so I don’t feel like I’m fumbling.

You see, I hate to feel like I don’t know what I’m doing.

And this mindset has held me back in life more than I’d like to admit!

I also tend to be a perfectionist, and this means that I don’t do something until I know I can do it perfectly… which doesn’t work out so well. So I don’t workout unless I know I can do it everyday without fail. Instead of simply eating better and making a few smarter choices, I strive for perfection and then let it fall to the wayside the second I slip up.

I currently have so many things I want and need to do in order to bring my body back to where I know it could be, yet I’m having a hard time getting started and making new habits. It’s one of the biggest reasons that I started the weekly fertility challenge – to not only help you take small steps to a healthier way of life, but to also push myself to make those same steps again.

It’s the same reason I started our private chat group on Facebook – for moral support!

I also have a few goals I’d like to meet by my 15th wedding anniversary this December and have struggled to get started. So this week I’m going to start by first writing them out, and then taking the first step in adding regular movement to my daily routine. October will bring a few dietary changes and by November I hope to add to my workout routine.

One source I’m getting a lot of help from is the Healthy Living Bundle, which includes a couple of membership programs I’ve already been looking at trying.  I hadn’t really planned on doing much with it – I was simply going to be a contributing author and affiliate. I figured the bonus offers would be fun (I mean, who doesn’t like free stuff?), but that the rest of the information wouldn’t be useful for me.

But being one of the authors this year, I got early access to go over the material and in looking everything over and signing up for different membership sites, I realized how much I need this in order to get my butt in gear! Because it’s helped me out so much I really wanted to share why from a personal perspective instead of simply a sales perspective.

I seriously thought it might appeal to a few of you, but once I got into the nitty-gritty of all that came with it I’m sure that most of you will benefit!

And even if you’re not interested in the bundle (which I pick apart for you below), I want to push you to take that step.

What is it you want to accomplish?

What can you do to get there?

Take a moment and really think about it! Comment (or hit reply if you’re reading via email) below on where you’re gong to start, or let me know what you need help with!


What is cleansing for conception? (fertility detox)

So often we hear of people “cleansing” or “detoxing.” Sometimes they’re working with a doctor or nutritionist; sometimes they’re taking the advice of a friend; and sometimes the ideas come from an oddball internet source.

Detox products are a huge industry, and they often sell to those who are desperate for health. This is simply because many of us are desperate for health, vitality, and fertility.

What is a fertility detox?

We’re tired of feeling tired, and we just want some hope that change can be possible. Yet, we have a hard time trusting those who are selling us these products meant to give us back our health. And, granted, that mistrust is warranted many times, as there are plenty of companies and products that are of little to no help.

Your story may be similar to mine; it’s been a constant journey to keep my health and fertility on track. Many times, I just wanted someone to give me hope, so I’ve tried many different dietary and detox protocols over the years.

Yet, I failed to stick with the “detox” programs I read about in books, and I would purchase different herbal detox pills, only to fail to finish them.

I recently realized why: my perceptions of a detox were a bit off. I went into them with negative emotions, expecting to feel miserable — and that ended up being the case. I felt deprived and stressed out instead of rejuvenated. I worked against my body instead of with it.

I also changed my wording and thinking from a “detox” to a “cleanse” for one simple reason: a detox is a designed program that, while it can be effective, is designed to stress your body to some extent and, many times, dramatically evict toxins of every sort. A cleanse, in my mind, is more gentle and supports your body through its normal process. It’s not a “gimmick” or fad, but a simple way to eat and live that allows our bodies to function properly.

Definition of the word cleanse:

  1. to make clean
  2. to become clean
  3. to remove dirt, filth, etc., from

Our bodies are magnificent creations, and they work each day to keep our bodies clean. The problem comes when we live in environments that keep us polluted, or we consume a diet that doesn’t quite give our body the nourishment it needs to complete this task.

I’m also guessing that many of you are like me and have negative connotations when it comes to cleansing or detoxing. That we have to go hungry, or eat food and drink teas that taste ridiculously horrible. Because this is what we see other people do: starve themselves and take drastic measures to get everything out all at once.

But does it really have to be that way? Is that really safe when trying to conceive?

Or, can we find a way to cleanse our bodies of impurities, yet stay nourished?

SIDENOTE- my ebook, Cleansing for Conception, is available as part of this fall’s Healthy Living Bundle! This means you can grab not only my ebook, but also 7 MORE ebooks (including Debunking PCOS and Simple Guide to Fertility)3 printables, 13 ecourses,  and membership to 3 different sites – all to help you learn how to implement and live a healthy lifestyle. One where you not only feel great, but your body works great as well! Don’t miss this sale – it only comes around once per year!

Oh, AND there are extra bonus offers from companies as well. You can get free natural products to your door as part of this package as well. It makes the bundle a no-brainer. I’m also sending out my own bonuses to you! Find out more here – http://naturalfertilityandwellness.com/healthy-living-bundle-2015/

Should you do a fertility detox?So, who should do a fertility detox?

Should you do a fertility detox?

Many holistic practitioners think everyone should do a simple and gentle detox a few times per year, and I think doing so can be good practice.

But gentle is the key word for those looking to conceive! Because causing a mass exodus of toxins from your body may actually be harmful to not only you, but a new baby as well.

We simply want to support our body’s own natural detoxification system in the 4-6 months prior to conception and that’s why I’m a big supporter of using whole foods, herbs, and other natural therapies to assist the body in doing what it was created to do.

You can do a fertility detox and it doesn’t have to be hard!

Simply take steps each day to support your body and let it do all the hard work. Change your diet just a little bit, add some herbs in to your daily routine, and figure out what your body needs to thrive.



Healthy Living Bundle 2015

Changing our health isn’t easy.

There is no quick fix, or an easy pill to take once a day that will help our bodies heal so that we can thrive.

It takes hard work, determination, and lots of help and support from others.

My story is like many of yours I’m sure… ate the Standard American Diet or followed the Food Pyramid growing up, found out it was super hard to get pregnant when I didn’t ovulate (who’d a thunk?!), and decided to do anything I could to change the way my body functioned.

I wasn’t sure it would work at first.

Six months later, when my cycle was normal for the first time ever, I considered my changes a success! In fact, my story is the reason I started this site seven years ago and I’ve been given a first row seat in seeing hundreds, if not thousands, of women change their health for the better in that time.

I know what it’s like to feel that healthy living is difficult, and it costs so much! I mean, don’t you ever wish someone would just tell you exactly what you need to know and how to make these changes for less?

Ready to change your health and fight infertility?

When you have the right info and tools at your fingertips, it all comes together so much more easily. You know what to cook for your family. You’re more confident in choosing natural alternatives. You can easily replace store-bought products with DIY options that really work. You feel better (and even look better, too). Healthy living becomes less stressful and more enjoyable.

That’s why Stephanie and her team have put together the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle for the fourth year in a row. Each year, they’re amazed at how many families are saying “yes!” to their health and taking them up on this super short opportunity to get a complete collection of natural-living resources for a crazy low price.

You sort of need to see it to believe it, but the package includes over 90 digital products on topics like natural remedies (three books written specifically about fertility), essential oils, real food recipes, paleo & allergy-friendly eating, fitness & weight loss and much more. All together, it’s worth over $1900 if you were to buy all of these books separately!

Plus, it comes with $225 worth of bonus products including:

  • ePantry – FREE hand soap + $8 credit on one shipment, FREE dish soap + $8 credit on the next shipment, AND 60-day VIP access with FREE shipping ($30 value)
  • Plant Therapy – Lemon, lavender and peppermint essential oil set ($22.92 value)
  • NaturOli – FREE travel essentials facial set: deep conditioning facial wash (1 oz.), new radiance facial creme (1 oz.), exfoliating walnut scrub (1 oz.) ($16.95 value)
  • Bloom Naturals – FREE SPOT treatment for acne & eczema OR a $15 gift certificate toward Bloom Naturals products ($15 value)
  • Lexie Naturals –  FREE natural care gift set: lip balm (.15 oz.), lotion tube (1 oz.) and trial-size deodorant (.35 oz.) ($15 value)
  • Perfect Supplements – $15 gift certificate toward any Perfect Brand product ($15 value)
  • Strawesome – $15 gift certificate toward the straws and accessories of your choice ($15 value)
  • TriLight Health – FREE 2-oz liquid herbal formula or $15 off larger bottles ($15 value)
  • Craftsy – 1 FREE online class ($44.99 value)
  • Once a Month Meals – $32 toward OAMM membership + a free mini menu ($35 value)

AND… I’m going to throw in an extra bonus for the first five people who order their bundle through my link! Once you order your bundle after clicking this link (https://us154.isrefer.com/go/bundle/a50/), simply email me your transaction number along with your address and I’ll mail you a paperback copy of my book Naturally Knocked Up. (already reached)

And since I normally have a lot more than five of my readers that order the bundle (this is my fourth year promoting and my second year as a contributing author – thousands of people order this every fall!) I’ll make sure anyone else that orders through my link gets a $10 coupon code to my brand new Herbal Products line over at ApothecaryKids.com.

(Don’t forget to click this link first https://us154.isrefer.com/go/bundle/a50/ , then go purchase your bundle and email me your transaction number!)

The most important detail, though, is that this bundle is available for just 6 days! After Monday night, September 14th, the sale ends and you’d have to buy all of these products individually. Extended to 3PM EST on Tuesday the 15th due to server failure last night!

I’d hate for you to miss out, so click HERE to learn more or buy the bundle.

It’s even backed by a full 30-day guarantee, so you can know for sure that it’s right for you.

If you’re ready to make that next step in getting healthier, and want to purchase the Healthy Living Bundle, I thought I’d help give you the extra push to actually USE the information (because I know I’ve purchased some things and never used them….) So after going through the entire bundle package of ebooks, ecourses, and bonus offers, here are some of my recommendations on where to start based on what your issue/goal is. (Each section may have some overlap.)

If you have PCOS:

Start with the ebook Debunking PCOS by Nat Kringoudis and get the information you need to get your hormones back on track to tame those wild ovaries of yours and overcome PCOS and endometriosis.

Check out the Four-Week Paleo Kick-Start Plan by Nell Stephenson in the Paleo category and use this four-week plan to jump into better healthy with a sound, balanced, ‘how to eat’ meal plan. The other six ebooks in this category contain plenty of recipes for you if you find that eating a diet low in grains works to help lower your symptoms. (MANY women find that eating this way, not necessarily 100% – will depend on the person – helps them get over PCOS)
If you’re new to “real food” and simply trying to make small changes that will benefit your health and reduce some of your symptoms, check out these ebooks from the Real Food category:
  • 227 Healthy Snacks by Laura Coppinger – Make snacktime simple with more than 227 awesome real food snacking ideas that can be prepared ahead of time and in just a few minutes, including many gluten-free options.
  • Real Food for Rookiesby Kelly the Kitchen Kop – Improve your diet and health with this simple, easy-to-follow guide to real food.
  • Your Grace-Filled Journey to Real Food by Diana Bauman – Increase your understanding of the industrial food system so that you can begin to make simple changes for the health of your family.

Putting together meals can also be made easier with the Once a Month Meals membership. They have all sorts of plans from their traditional meals, to gluten-free, to paleo, to whole foods. I’m using my plan this week to help me prepare for this next month and our busy business season!

And of course you’ll want to check out the fitness category as movement is so important for metabolism and hormonal health! If you’re like I am right now and haven’t been exercising regularly, start with the Fit2Be Foundations 5 routines.

One of the other bonus offers is a $15 credit to TriLight Health’s six best sellers – one of which is LivCare – Liver and Skin Cleansing Support (Liver, gallbladder, juandice, skin, and dermatitis support. Cleanses and rejuvenates the liver.) This would be a great pick as the liver is so important in breaking down hormones and eliminating them from the body.

Speaking of liver support, you can grab Perfect Supplements Perfect Desiccated Liver capsules for only $4.95 after using the $15 credit you get with the bundle purchase.

If you have endometriosis:

Since endo has such a strong gut/inflammation connection, start by reading these ebooks:

Heal Your Gut by Lee Holmes – Bring your gut flora into balance with food to achieve optimum and enduring health with this uncomplicated and achievable gut healing protocol.
Inflammation Free Zone by Amy Hager, RDN, CDE – Improve your digestion, circulation, skin, and pain levels by following these carefully crafted recommendations that address diet, lifestyle, supplements, and stress response.
Also skim through Debunking PCOS by Nat Kringoudis – Get the information you need to get your hormones back on track to tame those wild ovaries of yours and overcome PCOS and endometriosis.
Many women with endometriosis also find they have food allergies/intolerances that contribute to their pain, so the eleven cookbooks in the Allergy Friendly category will be right up your alley!

And of course you’ll want to check out the fitness category as movement is so important for metabolism and hormonal health! If you’re like I am right now and haven’t been exercising regularly, start with the Fit2Be Foundations 5 routines. It’s low impact so you won’t put yourself in more pain by working out!

One of the other bonus offers is a $15 credit to TriLight Health’s six best sellers – one of which is LivCare – Liver and Skin Cleansing Support (Liver, gallbladder, juandice, skin, and dermatitis support. Cleanses and rejuvenates the liver.) This would be a great pick as the liver is so important in breaking down hormones and eliminating them from the body.

Speaking of liver support, you can grab Perfect Supplements Perfect Desiccated Liver capsules for only $4.95 after using the $15 credit you get with the bundle purchase.

If you are new to healthy living:

We were all there once! And it’s something I’m continually learning about and making changes in my diet and lifestyle.

Start first with Love Your Body by Elizabeth Walling to help set you up on a healthy course of action.

For diet, first read Real Food for Rookies by Kelly the Kitchen Kop (Improve your diet and health with this simple, easy-to-follow guide to real food) and then move on to Your Grace-Filled Journey to Real Food by Diana Bauman (Increase your understanding of the industrial food system so that you can begin to make simple changes for the health of your family) and Real Food Basics: Second Edition by Kate Tietje (Learn the basics of cooking real, recognizable foods in your own kitchen).

Take a look through the cookbooks and find a few new recipes to try! There are like 36 ecookbooks, so you’re sure to find a few new meals you’ll love.

The next step is planning out a menu, but if you’d like some help as you begin, it can be made easier with the Once a Month Meals membership credit that comes free with the bundle. They have all sorts of plans from their traditional meals, to gluten-free, to paleo, to whole foods.

The next step would be to replace some of your beauty and cleaning products, so read Detox Your Home Handbook by Katie @ Wellness Mama (Discover natural alternatives to everyday household products as you walk step-by-step through the process of switching them out the easy way)DIY Personal Care Products by Nina Nelson (Start making your own personal care products with these step-by-step recipes and tips), and DIY Natural Household Cleaners by Matt & Betsy Jabs (Make all your own homemade cleaning products using simple, natural ingredients with 60+ money saving recipes for your kitchen, bathroom, laundry, wood, windows, walls, air, and more.)

Fitness is also an important aspect of keeping out bodies strong and healthy. It’s always best to start with the basics, and that would be the Foundational Five Plus ecourse from Fit2B. Then move onto the Healthy Moving Core by Jennifer Hoffman. The other courses have more advanced motions which – after laying a solid foundation – you would be MORE than ready to tackle!

If you are looking to increase your herbal/essential oil knowledge:

First things first, grab the Printable Essential Oil Reference Guide by Mandi Ehman and use these handy printables to quickly reference safety information and usage tips for the essential oils in your collection.

Then read The Truth About Essential Oil Safety by Lea Harris to help you sort through the fact and fiction of using essential oils safely and effectively with this guide from certified aromatherapist Lea Harris.

Sign up for the Essential Oils for Families course by Jessie Hawkins and learn to use essential oils for your whole family in a manner that is both safe, effective and based on sound science as well as How To Protect Your Family from Colds and Flu Using Essential Oils by Andrea Butje to learn which essential oils can help you prevent or recover from respiratory infections, why the oils work, and how to use them in this comprehensive, three-hour study.

And definitely sign up for The Herbarium by Marlene Adelmann (a membership site) where you’ll have access to complete and constantly updated herbal monographs, photographs and thoughtful articles as well as educational podcasts, videos, tutorials, and teaching charts.

If you’re already pregnant

I know a lot of you have been able to overcome infertility and are currently pregnant (I love those emails!), so check these out:
The Great Pregnancy by Kristen Burgess course, where you’ll learn the pregnancy essentials for a fantastic pregnancy, good birth experience, and healthy baby, will be really informative.
Then read Morning Sickness Remedies by Lindsey A. Morrow to learn practical and effective ways to reduce or prevent morning sickness symptoms in pregnancy.
Cooking during pregnancy and post partum can be tough, so the following ecookbooks can help you save time and have meals in the freezer ready to go!
  • CROCK’D: Slow Cooker Freezer Mealsby Kelly McNelis – Quickly fill your freezer with slow cooker meals that don’t require any cooking ahead of time, are very easy to prep and taste delicious.
  • Money Saving Mom’s Guide to Freezer Cooking by Crystal Paine – Learn the basics of freezer cooking to save time and money in the kitchen and serve your family healthy, delicious meals even on busy days!
  • And use your Once a Month Meals membership credit that comes free with the bundle to join OAMM and get help with freezer meals. They have all sorts of plans from their traditional meals, to gluten-free, to paleo, to whole foods.

You can also use your $15 Bloom credit, and $16 ePantry credit to grab natural items you need for your little one!



Improving egg quality

Old eggs …

How do you know you have them?  And how old is too old?

If you are 35 or older, chances are that your body has already started slowing down in the reproductive organs, and there’s potential that your eggs need a little boost to liven them up.  But don’t fret – it’s not impossible to get pregnant at 35 or older.  You don’t just automatically stop being fertile at age 35.

AND … I’m a firm believer that you can “fix” your “old” eggs.

How Old Is Too Old?

It’s really hard to tell, as your chronological age (how old you are in years) can be different from your biological age (the rate your body is actually aging). If you are menstruating and ovulating regularly, there’s still a good chance that you can get pregnant, but the older you get the lower your chances each cycle.

This doesn’t mean it’s not possible – just that you have a lower chance of success within any given cycle.

For the average fertile couple with everything timed just right and no known fertility issues, their chances of getting pregnant each cycle is only 20%. That’s said not to discourage you, but to bring awareness that just because you go 4 or 5 months without getting pregnant it doesn’t mean you’re abnormal or that anything specific is wrong with your fertility.

Improving egg quality - help for getting pregnant after age 35

What’s An Advanced-Age Woman To Do?

So, what can you do if you’re 36? or even 43?

My advice is to focus on your health, balancing hormones, and timing baby-making intercourse as much as possible. If your cycles are regular and you don’t have any known issues besides your age, then eat as healthy as possible.

This means, completely cut out junk food and processed foods –  white sugar, white flour, white rice, processed meats, soda (both diet and non-diet), prepackaged foods (which usually contain a lot of artificial ingredients – all the obvious stuff.

Eat as “clean” as possible. By this, I mean eat lots of foods that are in their most natural state – whole foods. You don’t want empty calories. You want foods that are as nutrient dense as possible.

Pasture-raised, organic meats, pastured eggs, lots of leafy greens (especially important for advanced age), fresh fruits and vegetables (organic when possible), seeds and nuts, legumes, and fertility-boosting infusions (like red raspberry leaf and stinging nettle).

Superfoods & Herbs For Egg Quality

There are a number of superfoods and herbs known to help with egg quality. I have personally used maca and spirulina, and I believe they truly helped me get pregnant naturally at ages 39 and 41 after having two previous early miscarriages.

Maca is a nutrient-dense superfood that enhances the functioning of the whole body. Scientific research has proven that maca increases fertility. Another beneficial perk is its tendency to boost libido.

This fantastic superfood restores overall health, which in turn improves energy levels, sexual function, and overall fertility. It is a food (not a hormone) that has a dramatic effect on the endocrine system and aids the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands, which are all involved in keeping hormones in balance.

It is well-known to be excellent for improving egg quality in older women who were trying to conceive. Since I was over 35 when I began taking it and considered “advanced age,” I figured it was worth a try. I truly believe maca helped tremendously in my success conceiving.

Spirulina is a blue-green algae superfood that is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and protein. Spirulina also contains essential fatty acids, which are helpful for balancing hormones.

Spirulina nourishes the endocrine, nervous, and immune systems, regulates metabolism, and repairs tissue. Increased fertility from spirulina is thought to be due to the high protein content, which in turn can increase the quality of your eggs.

Royal jelly is the substance that worker bees produce and feed to the queen bee. Because the queen bee is the only bee that is fertile within the colony, laying around 2000 eggs per day, this substance is considered to help promote fertility in humans as well (and specifically benefit egg quality).

Damiana is beneficial for toning, strengthening, and stimulating the reproductive organs. It also helps to balance hormone levels and improves egg performance and quality. Damiana also improves libido in both males and females (which is very important when trying to conceive). It is to be used before ovulation.

Damiana may be used safely by both men and women to help enhance libido, erectile function, sperm count and motility, as well as egg follicle maturation and viability.  Natives of Central and South America have drunk damiana tea to help with all these issues.

Get Your Timing Right Each Month

It’s not only important to focus on egg quality and your overall health, it’s vital to get your intercourse timing right every single cycle.  And don’t just guess about the timing to have intercourse – make sure you KNOW if and when you are ovulating.

You can do this by using Basal Body Temperature charting, cervical fluid observation, and OPK testing (or all three).  There are certainly more methods (such as cervical position monitoring), but these were the three I used.  The more methods you use, the better you will be able to tell when you are ovulating and target your baby-making intercourse accordingly.

BBT charting tells you after ovulation has occurred, which can be very beneficial for detecting a pattern in your cycle.  You need to use other methods for knowing when ovulation is approaching.  I like to use OPK strips, but others find it difficult due to irregular cycles.  You can also purchase a more expensive fertility monitor (ranging about $300), which some women with irregular cycles find extremely beneficial when other methods fail.  If it can clue you in on your cycle, it would be worth the cost.

Hope For Advanced Age

As hopefully you can see, there is much hope for women who are 35 or older to conceive naturally.  Don’t lose heart.  Seek to be your healthiest, get your timing right, and de-stress daily.  As with most natural methods, allow three months or more to see changes.


Guest author bio:

Sally Moran is an author and fertility coach who delights in helping women improve their fertility and get pregnant more quickly.  You can connect with her at Getting Pregnant Faster where you can read her advanced-age infertility success story.


Folate vs. folic acid – what you need to know

There’s been a lot of hype around folic acid for health. We’ve heard for a long time that it’s essential in order to prevent birth defects– specifically neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly. Since these conditions come with devastating consequences, the CDC makes the recommendation that ALL women of childbearing age supplement 400mcg of folic acid, daily and 800mcg for pregnant women.

What is difficult (and really unfortunate!), is there has been some confusion over folic acid, a synthetic, man-made “nutrient” and folate, which is naturally occurring in food cultivated from the seed of live foods.

folic acid vs folate

While they’re often used interchangeably, they are different and can have long-term impacts on your health, for the positive and the detriment. One is health promoting and healing, while the other has been linked to serious health issues and can interact with several pharmaceuticals. Can you guess which one is what?

Folate is the naturally occurring version, crucial to the healthy functioning of our bodies.

Folic Acid is man-made and is used to fortify foods that have either LOST the folate due to processing (wheat —> bread is a good example of a process by which a food losses its innate nutritional value; the producer then replaces just a few –usually 7-9 of the dozens of the lost nutrients– in synthetic form back into the food). Or, it’s ABSENT because of soil depletion and environmental pollution and influence.

Fortification in the USA began in 1998 at the say-so of the FDA. Since then, we’ve fortified a lot.

We also fortify foods, like boxed, bagged and other highly processed foods, that don’t naturally  have significant levels of a nutrient, with that nutrient because of a current cultural push to get it into our bodies because we’re not consuming enough of whole foods that would naturally provide us with the nutrition on their own.

L-methylfolate is given when someone can’t break folic acid down, as there is a four step break down process, with L-methylfolate being the “end result” of the process.

Folic Acid > Dihydrofolate > Tetrahydrofolate > 5, 10, Methylene THF > L-methylfolate

Folate, on the other hand, is naturally occurring.

And what the body needs is FOLATE.

Folate is the highly bioavailable b-vitamin “B9.” B vitamins function and absorb BEST with their fellow b-vitamins, and are found together in nature, in live foods– especially GREEN veggies.

foods high in folate

A few of the most concentrated sources include:

  • Spinach
  • broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • lettuce
  • liver
  • eggs
  • citrus
  • asparagus
  • avocado
  • sunflower seeds
  • almonds
  • peanuts
  • cauliflower
  • mushrooms
  • beets
  • celery
  • carrots
  • winter and summer squashes

Apart from being a protective against certain birth defects, folate is required for synthesizing and repairing DNA, proper cell division, healthy production of red blood cells (to prevent anemia and related conditions).

Folate naturally metabolizes directly in the small intestine, and requires less effort and burden on the body than its synthetic “imposter” folic acid.

Folic acid, on contrast, has a high enzyme burden and takes much longer to be metabolized and utilized by the body.

Proper enzyme function is essential to the utilization of folate. With folic acid there is a more complex, 4 step process that must take place within the liver, where as, as stated before, folate is metabolized directly in the SI. Supplementing with folic acid, and consuming more than your enzymes can handle at a time, leads to health complications.

Concerns with the synthetic version include that it will mask a B-12 deficiency, particularly in the elderly. Because the deficiency is not noticed, this then leads  to greater problems down the road. Folic acid has also been linked to cancer, specifically of the lungs and prostate.

At 800 mcg, or .8mg, of folic acid, serious heath risks have been documented: heart attack, anemia, and seizures. Long term use risks/side effects: abdominal cramps, diarrhea, rashes, sleep disorders, irritability, confusion, nausea, stomach upset, behavior changes, skin reactions, seizures, gas, excitability, etc.

In addition, there are MANY drug interaction possibilities, even with other supplements, where as consuming FOLATE from foods and herbs contain it inherently, there are no side effects or health risks.

Healing Strategies

1. Increase your intake of the folate-heavy foods listed above.

2. As with any sort of supplement, be sure that it is FOOD BASED and know the reputation and  the harvesting and processing practices of the company producing your chosen supplement.  How do you know if the supplement is food-based vs. synthetic based? A good way to know is by taking a look at the ingredient list. Does it list foods and herbs in the ingredients? Or the names of the nutrients? For instance: “spinach” vs. “folic acid.”

3.  If it is determined that you are not utilizing or absorbing folate, seek out a practitioner that will help you ask and answer “why.” When you know what is hindering or preventing you from absorbing and utilizing folate (or any other nutrient), you can take steps to correcting this.


Folate containing prenatals/supplements:

As always – be sure to check with your health care provider before changing supplements and get their thoughts on the one you want to begin taking.


Liquid Supermom 2 Bee prenatal with 800mcgs of folate sourced from organic lemon peel.

“In addition to concentrated whole food nutrition, Supermom 2 Bee was also carefully crafted to include the most bioavailable forms of key vitamins and minerals with an emphasis on making it as easy on the body as possible to utilize. Supermom 2 Bee™ includes Folate, Vitamin D3, the methylated form of B12, and a whole food form of iron.”

And if you already have a whole foods vitamin you love and simply want extra folate, they also offer a liquid folate separately.

Seeking Health

Contains folate in their Optimal Prenatal [50% as Quatrefolic® ((6S)-5-methyltetrahydrofolate, glucosamine salt) and 50% as folinic acid (calcium folinate)] as well as B12 in the form of methylcobalmin and adenosylcobalamin, both of which are helpful if you carry the MTHFR gene. This prenatal does not contain iron (as some women have problems with supplemental iron) so you’d need to find another source for that if it’s needed.

Thorne Research

(available on Amazon) Contains Folate 1 mg (500 mcg as Calcium Folinate and 500 mcg as L-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate from L-5-Methyltetrahydrofolic Acid, Glucosamine Salt) and Vitamin B12 200 mcg. (100 mcg as Adenosylcobalamin and 100 mcg as Methylcobalamin)

Innate Response

(available on Amazon) Contains 800mcgs of folate.

Douglas Laboratories

(available on Amazon) Contains  1,000 mcg of Metafolin®, a patented form of (6S) 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF). This is a folate only supplement so you’d need to add a multi vitamin if you wish.


More information:

The little known difference between folate and folic acid by Chris Kresser

Folate vs. folic acid by Kate Spears

Folate and you, perfect together by Kelly Brogan MD

Folate vs folic acid – how to avoid a dangerous pregnancy by Stefanie Ruper

Probiotic Peaches ‘N Cream Soda

There is just something about the summer season that just doesn’t feel quite “summer” until our peaches are ready to eat!

I don’t know if it is just how the weather just seems to feel more summer like, or it is those ripe, juicy peaches, but every late July/early August we pick up a couple bushels of them from a local farmer near us and we really enjoy them.

Probiotic peaches and cream soda

Peaches and cream are a staple around our house. It is so simple, but a swirl of fresh, sweet cream with summer sweet peaches is so amazing.

Last year I decided I wanted to see if I could capture that flavor in a fermented soda. We love taking the best summer flavors and making a special soda treat that we can enjoy on hot summer weekends.

This simple fermentation method infuses probiotic rich whey with the sweet fruit and real sugar for the probiotic bugs to feed on to make a bubbly, crisp soda that is so delicious. It isn’t overly sweet despite the amount of sugar as the probiotic bugs “eat” a good majority of it.

The peaches and cream soda turned out so good last year that it was one of the first things I had to make with this year’s peaches!

healthy, fermented soda

Probiotic peaches and cream soda

Peaches 'N Cream Soda
  • 5 cups peaches, sliced
  • 1 cup organic pure cane sugar
  • 7 cups of water
  • 2 TB vanilla extract
  • ½ cup whey (Just scoop a container of plain whole yogurt into a dishtowel, tie it up onto a cupboard door and let it drip into a jar - the liquid dripped off is probiotic rich whey! The leftover yogurt in the towel is like Greek yogurt or cream cheese - yum! If you are dairy free you can use water kefir grains or a ginger bug.)
  1. Put the peaches, sugar, and water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Squish the peaches in the pot (I use a potato masher), and pour the peach sugar water through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and whey to the peach sugar water in the bowl and stir. Pour the soda mixture into flip top bottles and set in a warm area of your home.
  4. After a couple days you can open a bottle to check for taste and let the fermented gasses out so it doesn't build up too much. Fermentation can take anywhere from 2 days to a week. Move the bottles to the fridge once they are ready.


*For more amazing drink recipes, follow our whole foods board on Pinterest!

68 Recipes to make when it’s too hot to cook

Summer is awesome. I love being outside to soak up the sun or take a visit to dip my toes in Lake Michigan. After long, cold winters, I don’t mind the heat, I welcome it.

However, it really makes my desire to cook away. I start to crave easier, lighter meals that take less time to prepare and don’t heat up my house.

68 Recipes to make when it's too hot to cook

It’s perfect timing really, because as soon as I started to feel that way, the summer produce starts rolling in for yummy salads and sandwiches.

It is so easy to fall into the ‘salad rut’ as I call it, but listen to me, there is no reason for it! Get creative! Change it up!

I stop  by the farm stands around my area at least once a week in summer. I enjoy browsing and picking out vegetables that are not normally in our standard grocery rotation. I enjoy the challenge it brings to add them to new meals.

If you aren’t feel brave, start out small, change up your greens. Lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula, beet greens….they will all make such a difference in you salad.


Summer salads

Even just trying a new dressing on the same vegetables can breathe new life into the meal. You don’t have to go nuts, just a little change and you are set with a great new salad.

Trying different spices, oils or even different vinegar.  Each new change brings such a great flavor to the mix. 

Browse in the grocery store in the dressing aisle. You will find lots of different ideas. I love looking at premade dressings (I don’t buy them because of the oils and MSG) to get ideas.

Need some inspiration? Here are some awesome dressings to try.


summer sandwiches - great for when it's too hot to cook!

heirloom tomato sandwich via The Organic Kitchen

Sandwiches are a favorite here. We love them in the summer because they are quick and require little to know heating. I love that there are so many gluten free bread options available now. It makes for a guilt free sandwich.


Now, you have a HUGE amount of ideas to keep your house cool and nourish your body with summer fresh produce.

What is your favorite, non-cooked summer meal?

3 “healthy” foods to avoid with Endometriosis

I often get asked about my journey with Endometriosis and how I have managed to now live a life that is completely pain and symptom free. One of the first things I recommend is to look at diet and the foods we are eating. Eating, is something we do 3 times a day and it is ultimately sustains our life force so it makes perfect sense that it would have an impact on our health and well-being.

foods to avoid with endometriosis

The trouble is, what is considered “healthy” by some is not really healthy for others. We have been told so many different things about foods and what is considered “healthy” that it is almost impossible to know for certain that we are on the right track. The other trouble is that what we eat with Endometriosis is also different from what other women might eat.

I want to dispel some common “healthy” foods which are sometimes recommended with Endometriosis and why I always avoid them.

1. Soy foods

Marketed as the ultimately protein food which is easy to digest and available in various forms! This food group is often recommended for women with Endometriosis as it is said to be able to replace the excess oestrogen’s in the body with these more “natural” oestrogen’s, called isotopes (plant oestrogen’s).

The trouble with soy is the way it has been manufactured. Most soy products contain very high quantities of oestrogen and this will exacerbate the already out of balance oestrogen load happening with Endometriosis. Too much oestrogen creates more cysts and more trouble with Endometriosis. We most certainly don’t want to be adding in anymore than we need to!

I have seen this happen time and time again with Endometriosis and not just from food but also with plants being used in the same manner. Because Endometriosis and poor liver health are closely linked, it is imperative that the focus be shifted away from hormone imbalances.

Endometriosis is a complex disease and hormone imbalance is merely a symptom. Focusing on liver health provides a longer term solution.


2. Flax seeds and flax oil

As women with Endometriosis frequently struggle with digestive health issues, they are often recommended flax seeds to help keep them regular. There is some debate about how much of the flax seeds is theoretically absorbed by the body, however I err on the side of caution with this food as it also contains a high oestrogenic load.

Flax oil is definitely one I would avoid as it would definitely demonstrate oestrogenic activity within the body. I also question whether the transportation and handling of flax seed oil may make this oil rancid before it is even brought home.

3 Foods to avoid when you have endometriosis

3.   Agave Syrup

I will be honest, when I discovered Agave Syrup, I jumped on it. Yippee! A new “natural” sweetener which can replace sugar…. sounds good right?

The thing is, there is nothing “natural” about Agave Syrup. This stuff is so commercially manufactured it’s scary!

They use genetically modified enzymes to create Agave Syrup and a whole bunch of other stuff like caustic acid, clarifiers, filtration chemicals and ultimately we are left with a highly refined fructose which is has a higher fructose content than high fructose corn syrup!

The key thing with Endometriosis is to focus on liver health and anything that has a high sugar load like Agave Syrup is going to create more work for the liver, plus potentially create more weight gain.


There are plenty of alternative foods to eat that truly support our bodies and help us successfully manage Endometriosis. Between changing what I eat and using my REACH Technique© I am now living pain and symptom free from endometriosis.

Homemade Peach Lemonade

One of my favorite summer fruits is peaches!

There is a beautiful, generational family about 30 minute’s drive from us that have a stone fruit farm that we pick cherries from every July, and then toward the end of July the bushels of peaches start showing up! There is really just nothing like a summer peach right off the tree. Sweet and juicy, they literally feel like they melt in your mouth!

Homemade peach lemonade

And blending summer staple drink of lemonade with those amazing summer peaches is a match made in heaven!

This spring I made a blueberry lemonade for a birthday party we threw, and I just knew I wanted to try the same concept with peaches once they came in this summer!

You can use fresh or frozen peaches – if you don’t have access to in season peaches, frozen will be the best tasting most likely. In fact when I made this, I bought a few peaches from the store and it is not quite the season here yet – they were nothing like in season peaches so I ended up using some frozen organic peaches from Costco.

Healthy homemade peach lemonade

The peach lemonade is super smooth almost like a peach nectar. And lightly sweet and tart – it is really a great combo if you have never tried it! I was really impressed with the flavor!

Just a couple of notes on the raw honey! Be sure not to add the raw honey to the cooked peaches until after the heat is turned off – you want to maintain all of the mineral and enzyme benefits of the raw honey. I get my raw honey from a local farmer. Take a visit to the farmer’s market and see what you can find or ask around there. You can also find it online as well from stores like Tropical Traditions.

Peach Lemonade
  • 2 cups sliced, pitted peaches (Fresh or frozen)
  • ¼ cup raw honey (you can add more if you want it sweeter but start here)
  • Juice of 4-5 lemons
  • 3 cups water
  1. Make the peach syrup. Put the peaches and a cup of the water in a sauce pan, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer until the peaches soften and you can squish them well with a masher. Put the cooked peaches in a blender along with the honey and puree completely.
  2. Add the peach syrup to your pitcher along with the lemon juice and the rest of the water and stir to combine. Chill in the fridge or serve over ice in your glass.

 If you are looking for more fresh summer fruit recipes you can try these strawberry creamsicles, fudgsicles, or this iced mango green tea.

For more amazing drink recipes, follow our whole foods board on Pinterest!