• Yes, You should eliminate the “shoulds” when trying to get pregnant.

    Here’s how.

    When we decide it is time to get pregnant, there’s no shortage of information of how to go about it. And if it takes longer than expected, or we run into a medical diagnosis that puts us into the infertility category, the list just grows.

    On one hand, this can be helpful. There are lots of avenues and resources to get you to baby.

    On the other hand, the list can be overwhelming, conflicting, and stressful.

    Maybe you’ve been there. I know I was, and when most of my clients first come to me they have feelings of exhaustion, disappointment, and failure.

    Have you found yourself saying or thinking any of these?:

    • “I am doing everything “right,” but nothing seems to be working.”
    • “It didn’t work because I ate or drank <insert “bad for fertility” food or drink here>. I feel so guilty.”
    • “I spent hours last night researching and now I’m more confused than ever.”

    When we lose track of the big vision of parenthood and who we are in our pursuit to pregnancy, we begin to micromanage ourselves and our process. We start to live in a place of constant questioning and unknown. We keep doing and going and checking boxes in the hope that one of them might be the ONE thing that will unlock a successful pregnancy.

    Take heart, sister. There is a better way.

    You can find the combination of tactics, support, resources, and treatments that work for you. You will know when you’ve found it because it will feel empowering, not stressful. You will feel energized, not depleted. Your plan will give you hope and purpose, not leave you feeling empty.

    Sound good? Here’s an exercise I do with my clients to identify which aspects of their fertility plans truly help them – and which ones they are doing simply because they feel they “should.”

    You will need a pen, at least 3 sheets of paper, and a highlighter, marker, or pen with a different ink color than your main writing tool. (If you’d like a template, download it here .)

    (1) Write it all down:

    On your first sheet of paper, make a list of everything you are doing, have tried, or are considering trying to do to conceive. Be very honest with yourself about the true purpose or intent behind all of your actions. If there’s a little bit of you that thinks/hopes/prays that a particular action will help you become pregnant – write it down. It counts.

    Score each of the items on your list (scale of 1 – 10) on how empowered, energized, and hopeful it makes you feel.

    (2) Identify your mama values:

    Imagine yourself as a mother. What lessons do you most want to teach your child? What values do you hope to share? What do you need in order to become her? Not just the physical parts, but the emotional and spiritual needs, too. In a separate list, write down a few words that describe the mother you want to be.

    (3) Categorize:

    Create a chart with three columns: Mind, Body, Heart. Categorize all of your activities from your first list according to which element they fill up for you. You can have activities that fit into more than one column.

    Next, review the list of words or values describing the mother you wish to be. Circle the activities that most help you fulfill this wish.

    (4) Evaluate:

    Look at each column. Which seem off balance? What might you be able to put down or pick up in order to bring more eveness to the three elements: Mind, Body, Heart (or Spirit)?

    Then, review where your highest scoring tasks fall. If you add up the scores in each column, are they roughly the same? Do you have a column that is low? High? Do you have several low scoring tasks or a few really high ones? What do you make of this?

    How many activities are circled, indicating they align with your values for motherhood? How can those be enhanced or prioritized?

    (5) Make a plan:

    Based on your evaluation, which new way of looking at your plan makes the most sense for you – aiming for balance between mind/body/heart; by “score” of which make you feel most empowered and hopeful; or alignment with your motherhood values? Perhaps they all line up similarly to paint a clear picture. If not, that’s ok. Choose the organization method that seems most appealing and comfortable for right now.

    Identify 1 – 2 adjustments you can make right now that will help shift your plan into the new alignment. Commit to them for a short period of time (1 – 2 weeks is great). Resist the urge to change more than a couple of things right away.

    6) Revisit and adjust as needed:

    Keep your lists and check in with yourself at the end of your trial period to see how you’re feeling. Go through your new list and give yourself a score between 1 – 10 of how empowered, energized, and hopeful you feel because of each activity in your plan. Compare your new score to the scores you gave yourself at the beginning of the exercise. How have things changed?

    If you aren’t yet feeling more energized, hopeful, or in control, review your chart again and see what else can be tweaked. If you chose one organization method – balance, values, or score, consider looking at your chart from a different one. Ask yourself if you are holding on to some “shoulds”. How can you let them go?

    This may be an ongoing exercise, but if you stick with it and stay true to what is really serving you, it will help make your path easier. If you feel stuck, ask a partner, friend, coach, or practitioner for their input.

    Yes, infertility is stressful. Yes, you can do many, many, things to improve your fertility and reduce stress. I encourage you to consciously evaluate all you are doing. Give yourself the gift of a plan that empowers, energizes, and fills you with hope.

    Erin McDaniel is a six-time IVF “survivor” and now mom to two boys. As a fertility coach, she helps women improve their fertility process by identifying and reducing stress points, creating balanced fertility plans, and implementing positive mindset strategies. To learn more, visit MyFertilityCoach.com .

    Get proven strategies to improve your fertility journey with the Fresh Start Program from My Fertility Coach. An 8-week course, the Fresh Start Program focuses on key aspects of your fertility experience with group discussion and support to transform your family building experience. The group dynamic will connect you with women in a similar situation and give you the opportunity to build relationships, camaraderie, and support. Pulling Down the Moon readers get $30 off enrollment; use offer code PDTM30. Learn more and apply to join here. https://myfertilitycoach.co m/fresh-start

  • Focus on Nutrient Density to Optimize Your Fertility Diet

    By Margaret Eich, MS, RDN

    Did you know that there are a variety of vitamin and minerals that may impact your fertility? Our bodies require 27 vitamins and minerals to function properly. These vitamins and minerals are involved in a wide variety of processes in our bodies including breaking down our food for energy, allowing cells to communicate with each other, contracting our muscles, as well as bone and skin health. Specific nutrients may also impact fertility and pregnancy, including folate (important for DNA integrity), iodine (essential for thyroid hormone production), and vitamin D (thought to be involved in embryo implantation), just to name a few!

    It can feel overwhelming to make sure you’re getting enough of these nutrients on a daily basis. Instead of trying to track how much you’re getting of each nutrient, it’s helpful to focus on eating a nutrient dense diet. Nutrient density refers to the concentration of vitamins and minerals per calorie of food. In order to maximize the nutrient density of your diet, start by focusing on these tips:

    Eat whole, real, and minimally processed foods.

    Limit refined grains and added sugars.

    Maximize your vegetable intake by including at least 5 servings of vegetables per day. Work on including a variety of different vegetables. Does 5 servings per day seem too daunting? Start where you are, and set a goal of increasing your vegetable intake by 1 serving per day.

    Include especially nutrient dense foods like leafy green vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, berries, and nuts and seeds.

    Would you like to dig deeper and make sure you’re meeting your daily nutrient needs? Are you a vegetarian or vegan, or do you have other food intolerances or allergies that mean you’ve had to eliminate foods or food groups? Schedule a nutrition appointment today to ensure that you’re meeting your daily vitamin and mineral needs to maximize your fertility. Try our FREE special event for National Infertility Awareness Spring Cleaning: Using Yoga and Nutrition to Cleanse !

  • Spring Cleaning Your Mind

    by Cassie Harrison, RYT

    A therapist once told me to write down all my thoughts with my left hang (I’m right handed) and not worry about what I wrote. I was to write whatever entered my mind onto paper. This request sent me into a tailspin of excuses. I can’t, my journal is full. To write with my left hand would be sinister. The pen store is out of pens. I went on and on.

    When I finally committed to this drudgery, my eyes were opened or better yet my mind. What I learned from this exercise is that when I wrote with my dominant hand my tendency was to get caught up in self-judgment and criticism of my grammar, handwriting, and words. However, when I wrote with my left hand all that went away. My mind felt clear and quiet and this was before I started the exercise! Only my thoughts remained. What happened next was profound; the worry left with the ink. My hand couldn’t keep up, but that wasn’t important, as it wasn’t legible anyway! I let it all go. I could hear my breath, the space around me and found myself unconsciously being present. The “sound” from my citta (incessant monkey brain thoughts), was deafening, it drowned out the world around me and kept me from hearing my true self. I leave you with this, the fertility journey is tough enough and it might leave you felling depleted and out of control. I challenge you to take five minuets today (not tomorrow), set excuses aside, and chicken scratch onto paper (or that napkin below your coffee) whatever’s on your mind, whatever is troubling you.

    There is no right or wrong here. Just imagine who you would you be without your citta.

    Let us help you calm your mind and reduce your anxiety by 20% or more in just six weeks with our Yoga for Fertility series ! Available in Chicago on Tuesdays at 5:30pm and Saturdays at 8:30am along with Highland Park on Mondays at 5:45pm. Pair it with Acupuncture, Nutrition, or Fertility Enhancing Massage this month and save with You Pick Two for $199 . We also have special FREE events this month to take care during National Infertility Awareness . Call us to learn more at: 312-321-0004.

  • At the End of Your Hope?

    by Meredith Nathan, LMT

    In the United States alone, more than 5 million people of childbearing age have struggled or are struggling with infertility. That’s larger than the population of Los Angeles. In fact, it’s larger than the population of Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Cincinnati combined. It also means that one in every ten couples of childbearing age is struggling or has struggled to conceive. That’s a LOT of people.

    Of course we all have that friend that got pregnant on her honeymoon, or became pregnant with her second by the time her first was 6 months old, or has three kids under the age of five. Sure, there are those that can’t even flirt with their spouse without getting pregnant. But the group of people who have dealt with the frustration and sorrow of infertility is larger than you’d think.

    As I first entered this field, I remember reading that the grief levels of couples struggling to conceive rivals the grief levels of cancer patients. So why does no one seem to talk about it? Because to most people it’s a private matter, only to be shared with their partner or perhaps their mother or a best friend. But this very privateness seems to compound the grief – because in addition to all the doubts, fears, marital stress, financial stress, questions of self worth and feelings of insecurity that often comes with the territory, it’s easy to feel so very, very alone.

    In honor of infertility awareness month , I want everyone to know that you are most definitely NOT alone. That many people have shared in your struggles. And that their’s more information, resources, and solutions available now than ever before. That there is a community available now that decades ago wouldn’t have been. This is why centers like Pulling Down the Moon exist – to support our clients, to give them community if they are looking for it, and to encourage a successful outcome to their journey.

    Please know that you are not alone. And that you don’t have to give in to doubt. There are literally millions that have come before you, many of whom had been through the ringer and were at the end of their hope, but ultimately found their happy ending. Some have even expressed how much they learned through the process, how they felt they grew and changed through the process, and how the prize was most definitely worth the wait. Nothing compares to the love a parent has for their child. And nothing can even touch the passion of a parent who has fought for that child.

    Come by for a warm cup of tea, free yoga class , or one of our other complimentary special events for National Infertility Awareness . Whatever you may need, you are part of our community and we are here to help. We are also members of Resolve: The National Infertility Association where you can get help at any time of day at: 866.NOT.ALONE.

  • Better Egg Quality and Follicular Development: Acupuncture Can Help

    by Dr. Amie Shimmel

    In honor of National Infertility Awareness month we at Pulling Down the Moon like to remind patients how acupuncture can help with better eggs and follicles.

    Here’s how it works:

    Medical research shows that acupuncture can influence hormone secretion from the pituitary hypothalamus and ovaries, collectively called the (HPO) axis. One of the most recent studies was conducted at Georgetown University Medical Center, July 2015; they found that acupuncture balances this HPO axis.

    When an acupuncture needle is inserted into a specific acupuncture point this triggers the release of prostaglandins and opioid peptides into the bloodstream which lead to the production of a substance that transmits messages to the hypothalamus and pituitary and then transmits to the ovaries.

    The acupuncture normalizes the secretion of the hormones such as (GrRH), (FSH), and (LH). This improves ovarian function creating more follicles and better egg quality.

    The (HPO) Hypothalamus pituitary ovarian axis can be disrupted by stress, poor diet, age, etc. However this (HPO) axis can be positively influenced by many things, especially acupuncture.

    The bottom line; women’s follicles and egg development can be enhanced by the balance of the endocrine system. Acupuncture balances the endocrine system.

    We, at PDtM, recommend weekly acupuncture sessions to get the hormones in better balance and to help get the body as relaxed as possible. Acupuncture is accumulative therefore regular sessions can help shift the body in the direction the patient is looking for.

  • My Mother’s Battle with Endometriosis

    by Meredith Nathan, LMT

    My mother suffered from endometriosis for most of her adult life. She was riddled with extreme pain every time she had her period. She was put on heavy doses of birth control to control it, but the drugs made her feel crazy, and created more issues than they solved. To add insult to injury, she found it difficult to conceive and even harder to stay pregnant. Two miscarriages later, she said she felt like she was at war with her own body.

    ‘For many, pregnancy is a cure,’ her doctor informed her. The irony of the comment wasn’t lost on her. The truth is that endo then, as well as now, has a lot of mystery surrounding it. Endometriosis, the expansion of the uterine lining onto the surrounding organs and tissues, can create extensive bleeding and scar tissue in the abdomen. Symptoms run the gamut: one woman can be walking around completely unaware that she has endo, while another may be begging her husband to put her out of her misery every time she gets her monthly visitor. Theories on why it occurs range from estrogen dominance and hormonal imbalance to structural abnormalities and retrograde bleeding during menstruation. And since the extreme pain it can cause is often misunderstood as severe menstrual cramps (and the only way it’s diagnosed is through surgery), many women don’t know they have it until they find themselves unable to conceive.

    There is currently no known cure for endometriosis (other than menopause). But there are ways to handle the scar tissue and pain associated with it. In my mother’s case, the endo required two painful surgeries. But for others, massage may offer a gentler solution. Massage can help break up scar tissue from previous internal bleeding. It can also help to soften the stiff abdominal tissue often associated with endo. And as it relieves congestion it may also release endorphins and dopamine in the body, helping to diminish pain. In one study, researchers recorded pain relief data for people with endometriosis who underwent massage therapy treatments for six weeks, ultimately finding significant levels of pain relief.

    My mother’s story ends happily. Despite the pain, the drugs, and the surgeries, she ultimately had two healthy children. But back in the 1970’s she didn’t have access to the resources and information we have today. Could there have been a gentler way to handle her endometriosis? Due to it’s severity, my mother would most likely have needed surgery anyways. But massage could have provided a wonderful compliment to her treatment plan with her doctor, providing additional tools for relieving congestion and scar tissue. It could have eased her pain and created a sense of well-being. And perhaps in nurturing her belly with positive touch, it could have helped her find peace with the body she so often felt at war with…

    Learn more about the benefits of massage for endometriosis here . Here is more about how acupuncture can assist with pain from endometriosis here and nutrition can manage symptoms here .

  • 5 Ways Acupuncture Can Help Pregnancy

    by Anna Pyne LAc, MSOM, FABORM

    Acupuncture stems from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), an ancient medical model that dates back 3,000 to 5,000 years. There are 14 main meridians or pathways that are designated to each individual TCM organ. By stimulating the acupuncture points on any given pathway you can effect the paired organ associated with that meridian. Another way in which acupuncture works, is that it allows the body to recognize how to heal itself. A common question I get is, “Are the needles coated with medicine?”, to which the answer is no. The needles are non-coated stainless steel, solid, and as thin as a single strand of hair. Acupuncture should not be painful, or minimal sensation such as a quick pinch like a mosquito bite is the worst of it.

    Pregnancy is one of the most wonderful stages in a woman’s life. There are a myriad of hormonal, physical, and emotional changes occurring in the body. Such an exciting time that can also be quite stressful. The majority of our pregnant patients are high risk, as they mostly struggled with infertility from the outset. Acupuncture can alleviate or mitigate numerous common ailments affiliated with pregnancy, and when received from a qualified practitioner is extremely safe during this time*. To list a few, the following are five ways in which acupuncture is beneficial:

    1. Acupuncture Relieves Morning Sickness and Vomiting

    Morning sickness is quite common during pregnancy especially in the first trimester. The American Pregnancy Association states that more than 50% of women will experience it. There are varying degrees of morning sickness and a mild case can be normal. However, if it is disrupting your daily routine, or if the condition has worsened and turned into vomiting, then treatment is necessary. Acupuncture is quite effective in reducing or eliminating nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy**.

    2. Acupuncture Calms Insomnia

    In pregnancy the body is busy at work producing more blood to grow a baby. There is a connection between blood deficiency and insomnia according to TCM. All of the mother’s blood will go towards the baby first, then whatever is left over goes toward nourishing mom. If the patient is in any way blood deficient, there will not be enough in the end to supplement her system. This in turn will disrupt the mother’s sleep. It can cause difficulty with falling and/or staying asleep. There are many wonderful acupuncture points we use to help build the blood supply to help treat insomnia so that mom can have her well deserved restful sleep.

    3. Acupuncture Helps Decrease Depression and Anxiety

    According to TCM the mind and the body are so intricately connected, that when one is off the other cannot help but be afflicted. Acupuncture helps lift the mind and regulates the mood. It can calm a racing heart and any feelings of stress. It works by supplying the body and mind with the strength required to deal with life’s stressors. If there is a need to be on medication, acupuncture can be used to lessen the dosage of that necessary medication. In a study conducted at Stanford University, researchers found that 63% of women who received depression-specific acupuncture treatments reported that their symptoms were cut in half.***

    4. Acupuncture Resolves Headaches

    The hormonal flux from a woman’s non-pregnant self to pregnant self can trigger or worsen migraines and headaches, especially for those women who already have a predisposition to them. In some women pregnancy can eliminate headaches completely, which is wonderful. Acupuncture offers a safe non-pharmaceutical option for treating and preventing headaches and migraines while pregnant. In the very least it can help reduce the frequency and intensity of them, if not completely eliminate them.

    5. Acupuncture Can Help with Swelling and High Blood Pressure

    Many women experience swelling, which may even be accompanied by pain, in their hands, feet, and ankles. Usually this symptom arises towards the end of a pregnancy, but I have seen it happen at anytime, even earlier than the typical third trimester. Swelling is a fluid metabolism issue in which acupuncture is quite effective at resolving, by improving the body’s ability to reabsorb it or free it by way of urination. The acupuncture is also extremely useful for the accompanying pain if there is any. If swelling becomes excessive it may be indicative of a blood pressure problem. In this instance acupuncture has been shown to be quite helpful in dealing with high blood pressure in pregnancy.****

    If you have any questions in regards as to how acupuncture can benefit you in your pregnancy or to schedule an appointment please feel free to call the office 312-321-0004 to speak to our team or click here to schedule via Mind Body Online. Feel free to email me too if preferable at anna@pullingdownthemoon.com , I am in the office all day Tuesdays/Fridays in the Chicago River North location and we are open seven days a week for your convenience. Services are available in Chicago, Highland Park, and Buffalo Grove.

    Anna Pyne LAc MSOM, FABORM

    * https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4112450/

    ** https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11843784

    *** https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20177281

    **** https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26516136

  • Benefits of Mindfulness for Fertility

    Our bodies are hard-wired to react to stress. Back in the day, face to face with a sabre-tooth tiger, our stress response provided a huge survival edge. We were able to fight, or flee, or even freeze until the danger passed. Once safe (or eaten) the stress response could subside and our we could get on with things.

    The nature of our stressors, however, has evolved. Now instead of cave bears, we’re carrying smartphones. We have social media to remind us constantly where we’re measuring up, and where we’re falling behind. Our fertility journey creates a series of painful unknowns, worst- and best-case scenarios to our minds that shake us to our core. And to make matters worse, we know that stress isn’t healthy – it’s harder to sleep, have sex, eat healthy and exercise when we’re living in fight/flight/freeze mode.

    Enter mindfulness. We know that taking a deep breath or stretching tense muscles can provide relief when we’re stressed and anxious. Mindfulness is a practice: a series of techniques designed to short-circuit our instinctual response to stress. We learn – through body awareness, breathing and simple meditation techniques – to pay attention to what is happening in the moment and respond skillfully rather than reactively. When we short-circuit, our stress response good things happen. On a hormonal level, our body can enjoy the benefits of stress’s alter-ego, the relaxation response – better sleep, improved blood flow to our internal organs, improved digestion, less anxiety symptoms. Emotionally, mindfulness creates space for insight, or choice, as we respond differently to stressful situations.

    And, mindfulness is more than meditation. At the Moon, we work with a model that teaches simple practices to connect with five “access points” for mindfulness: body, breath, thoughts, awareness and flow. Using these points of practice, mindfulness can infuse daily life.

    If you’re interested in learning more, come join us for our Online Mindfulness program . Available as a drop-in or series, this class will lead you through this five-point system and help you develop a personal mindfulness practice that will help heal your body and mind, and create a resilience in the face of stress.

  • 8 Keys to Communicating & Staying Connected During Infertility

    Image result for couples communication

    Infertility is a trauma that impacts 1 in 10 people. Since it’s so prevalent, then it must be easy for friends and family to understand your feelings, right? Well, as you may have experienced, it’s not.

    Often the people you love most, say just the wrong thing. Those who have experienced the pain of infertility often hear things like, “Just relax. Then it’ll happen;” “You should enjoy your time without kids. I’ve got kids and I can’t tell you the last time I got to sleep in or go out to dinner.”

    Not only are these types of responses angering, they can be painful. These comments often lead to not sharing feelings in the future. Thus, feeling more and more isolated. Going through infertility is traumatic and just the kind of situation where one needs the most support and care possible. Learning to communicate your feelings with those you trust is an essential skill for surviving infertility.

    Here are 8 Keys to Communication During Infertility:

    1. Build awareness of your feelings . This is the very first step to open, productive communication. Understanding oneself and one’s feelings allows for communicating those feelings and needs.

    2. Practice breathing skills. It may sound simple, yet it’s crucial. When communication breaks down it’s often due to at least one person being flooded with emotion. We’ve all been there! Something a person says strikes a nerve and we fire back with a harsh or passive aggressive statement. When we can bring our focus to our breath even for a few seconds, we have a better chance of responding vs. reacting. This leads to a more productive conversation. Try meditation, practice mindfulness , or try Yoga for Fertility to get started.

    3. Talk with someone you trust about your feelings. Perhaps it’s a friend who has always been there for you and is sensitive to your feelings. It can be a parent or a therapist. Just make sure it’s a person that you feel safe talking to. Find your community.

    4. It’s ok to acknowledge hurtful comments. Using simple language like, “When I hear ‘just relax and it’ll happen,’” I feel hurt and frustrated. It makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong.”

    5. Use “I” statements & avoid critical labels. Instead of “You can be so insensitive” try something like, “This is a very painful time for me and I want nothing more than to have a child. So, hearing that I should just enjoy the time feels like a minimization of how important having a family is to me.”

    6. Tell people what you need. A good friend wants to be there for you. She just may not know how. The friend might think that bringing up the topic will make you sad. And maybe you desperately want to talk about it, but expect the friend to ask if she cares. Whether you need her to ask how you’re feeling or to not bring up the topic of kids, let her know.

    7. Vent your feelings to a confidant. Or if you prefer to write your feelings, get a journal and let loose! As you know, it’s important to express your feelings because feelings seep out either directly or indirectly. When we understand our feelings we can respond in a direct way vs. letting our feelings control us.

    8. Know that you can always revisit a conversation. If a conversation didn’t go how you wanted, go back to it. None of us are perfect! There are bound to be miscommunications, hurt feelings, and things left unsaid. Know that you can always try again with a fresh perspective.

    If you’d like to work on these skills more or have a particularly challenging dynamic with a friend or family member, feel free to contact me. You are going through one of the most painful experiences in life and are growing stronger through it.

    Alison Moran, MA, LCPC

    Founder & Psychotherapist

    Evolve Counseling & Wellness, Inc.

    53 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 1119, Chicago, IL 60604

    825 W. State St., Suite 214, Geneva, IL 60134

    p: 312.340.9511

    alison@evolvecounseling.com

    www.evolvecounseling.com

  • Reducing Endo Pain Naturally with Diet

    by Mia Zarlengo, MS, RD

    The pain and discomfort associated with endometriosis can at times be overwhelming and seem just unbearable. Fortunately, there are many areas we can address in our diet to help to relieve these symptoms naturally! With endometriosis being a state of inflammatory pain, an anti-inflammatory diet is our best approach to nutritional support. A few small, realistic shifts in our diet can make quite a large difference on our reproductive health!

    When attempting to relieve the symptoms of endometriosis naturally, there are a few areas in our diet where we can address -especially in the Standard American Diet. The biggest culprits that promote inflammation include processed foods, refined sugars, alcohol, caffeine, and refined carbohydrates.

    In addition to eliminating some unhealthy foods from our diet, we can support the healing of inflammation through the addition of some healthy foods. For example, increasing our omega-3’s from foods like fatty salmon or sardines is a simple way to help to reduce inflammation. Additionally, adding more vegetables to our diets help to increase fiber, which has also been shown to reduce markers of inflammation in the blood. The My Plate method recommends ¼ of your plate to be protein, another ¼ to be a whole grain or starchy vegetable, and the rest of our plate to be filled with a variety of vegetables. Aiming for half of our plate to be filled with veggies, and always including a high quality protein source is a simple way to visualize our plate and ensure we are filling up on the right foods!

    Follow these few simple guidelines to help reduce any ongoing inflammation:

    1. Limit added sugars to less than 24g each day

    • Reading ingredient labels is key! Look for words like cane sugar, cane syrup, high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, etc. in an ingredient list.

    • Added sugars can show up in mysterious places- don’t assume “health” foods are perfect- check the labels on things like protein bars, cereals, and oatmeal packets.

    • This does not include natural sugars occurring in fruit! Fruits like blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries are packed with antioxidants and low in sugar- making them a great addition for an anti-inflammatory diet.

  • Eat an antioxidant-rich diet

    • The more color, the better! Fruits and vegetables with vibrant colors provide us with tons of inflammation fighting antioxidants!

    • “Eat the rainbow!” Eating a variety is so important. Every fruit and vegetable has a unique nutrient profile, providing us with their own unique benefits!

    • Antioxidants are powerful tools for reproductive health in general.

  • Increase fiber

    • The average woman gets around 10-13 g of fiber per day- when we should be aiming for around 30 g!

    • Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, leafy greens and carrots are high in fiber and packed with beneficial nutrients for reproductive health and reducing inflammation.

  • Eat healthy fats every day!

    • Incorporate more healthy fats into your diet with foods like salmon, walnuts, olive oil, avocados, and chia seeds.

    • Change it up! It’s important to get variety in our diet, including the fat sources we take in!

    • Avoid pro-inflammatory fats like trans fats, corn fed beef, and highly processed vegetable oils.

    Learn more about Mia here . Book a nutrition consult to get started today!