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Fertility Smoothies: 5 Best Ingredients

fertility smoothie, fertility naturopath, toronto naturopath, period naturopath, naturopathic doctor toronto

You should know 3 things about me: (1) My Vitamix is my favourite kitchen appliance (2) I prefer smoothies over juices and (3) Chinese medicine (TCM) is my favourite naturopathic modality. Certain foods that we incorporate in our diet can actually help optimize our fertility. Let’s talk about some TCM problem areas when it comes to fertility and how to correct them with ingredients to blend in our fertility smoothies!

YIN

Yin acts to cool, nourish, and moisten. When it becomes deficient, we tend to become warm and dry. This usually happens when we’re overworked, our diet isn’t nourishing our cells, sleep and exercise are low priority. Doesn’t this sound like every busy woman that we know?

SIGNS OF YIN DEFICIENCY:

  • Unusually warm body temperature

  • Little to no vaginal or cervical mucus (yes, you should be paying attention to this)

  • Scanty periods

  • Increased sex drive

Blueberries are great yin boosters because they are dark in colour, chock full of nutrients, and don’t stimulate your body. Add a handful of blueberries to a base of leafy greens and water and you got yourself the perfect yin boosting smoothie. Check out another one of my yin boosting smoothies!

YANG

Yang is the opposite to yin, it’s warm and active. When it becomes deficient we start to become cold, and it usually happens when we’re eating too much cold food, we live or work in a cold environment, and we’re not getting enough sleep (notice a theme?). When we’re too cold, our energy tends to stay still and it can’t move throughout the body to warm us up!

SIGNS OF YANG DEFICIENCY:

  • Miscarriages

  • Infertility

  • Pale menstrual blood

  • Watery period

  • Decreased sex drive

Ginger is warm, spicy, not to mention yellow – making it a fantastic yang food. To make the perfect yang smoothie, use fruit that is stored at room temperature because if your smoothie is too cold, you’re not going to achieve that yang boosting action.

QI

This is the energy that circulates throughout our body, and keeps us going! When it comes to fertility we need the qi to move the egg from the ovary all the way to the uterus. When our energy can’t move and becomes stagnated it’s usually due to stress.

SIGNS OF QI STAGNATION:

  • Painful periods

  • Irregular periods

  • Painful breasts

  • Abdominal cramps

Lemon juice is the sour little kick that we need to get everything moving! Stagnation can be kicked to the curb with a little sweet and a little sour. Pairing the lemon with pineapple and mango can lead to the best qi boosting smoothie.

BLOOD

Blood nourishes the uterus, something that we want because it creates the best environment for your baby to grow. Deficiency can happen when we’re not eating enough protein (specifically animal protein), our periods are too heavy, and we’re incredibly stressed and experience feelings of anger and frustration.

SIGNS OF BLOOD DEFICIENCY:

  • Scanty periods or no period

  • Cold hands and feet

  • Brittle nails

Beets are deep red, which helps build the blood. When it comes to nourishing our blood we want foods rich in phytonutrients. Adding carrots and spinach will help create the best blood deficiency smoothie (without having to blend a steak).

ESSENCE

Essence is directly related to our ability to reproduce. The lower our essence is, the harder it is to get pregnant. It becomes lowered through our monthly periods, the number of children we’re already had, as well as life’s general stressors!

SIGNS OF ESSENCE DEFICIENCY:

  • Delayed or late puberty

  • Irregular periods

  • Amenorrhea

  • Under developed secondary sexual characteristics (ex: breasts, body hair, hips)

  • Poor response to fertility drugs

Almond butter is terrific because nuts contain all the nutrition needed to grow a plant. Foods that nourish us will help build essence – so if you’re making a smoothie with high quality and whole ingredients, it’s going to do a lot of good in your body.

Next steps

Did you notice that you were deficient in any of these 5 areas? These area-specific fertility smoothies are great to add to your daily routine! When you’re ready to take it to the next step and correct these deficiencies, book an acupuncture appointment. Acupuncture can effectively target these areas and optimize your fertility so that your journey is happy and simple as possible.

PS. Now that you have a semi-solid plan, please sign up for my monthly newsletter called The Flow for more informative and useful content like this! I want to make sure that you have a good flow! (PS. You also get 4 free smoothie recipes to support your cycle! How sweet is that?)

Source: Treatment of Infertility with Chinese Medicine by Jane Lyttleton

Female Friday

October 7, 2016

fertility friday, fertility, bloor west, toronto, naturopathic doctor, naturopathic medicine, alexsia prioloThis time last year I was in Europe on my honeymoon. I wish I was exploring Lisbon’s hidden gems, driving between Berlin and Munich and counting all the windmills on the way, or eating another lemon sorbet in Monterosso – but alas, I am studying for yet another exam. A few years ago I started up Friday Five, a curation of different links I enjoyed over the week. This reboot called Female Friday, is going to specifically focus on women’s health because I want you to be well informed with everything involving you and your lady parts.

Figuring out when you’re fertile / Check out my latest video to figure out when you’re ovulating during your cycle.

Menstrual Cups Revival / I’m not the only one who listens to podcasts during my commute, right? Why I didn’t do this during my 10+ years of riding the TTC I’ll never know, but now is better than never. Stuff Mom Never Told You is one of my favourite podcasts, and I was so happy that they discussed menstrual cups. What I found most interesting was that the cups has to be marketed to the midwife/vegan/alt med practitioner first because other women weren’t likely to try it. Which is true in my personal experience! When I was at York, the sexual health team (of HealthEd) was giving away TONS of these and at that point in my life – I was 100% NOT interested. Even during Naturopathic Medical school I went back and forth on the decision to try. I caved last year, bought one, and never looked back!

Does the birth control pill cause depression? / It’s true, hormones can affect your mood. I’ve read the study which was in JAMA Psychiatry and it seems pretty robust. The authors did note that the women not taking any form of contraceptive, were also at risk for being diagnosed with depression or prescribed an antidepressant. The most concerning part was that teenage girls were more sensitive to depression than women aged 20-34. I’m interested in knowing how many teenagers are going on the pill to prevent pregnancy, versus going on the pill for other reasons such as painful periods, heavy periods, acne, etc. Because if we can treat these underlying period problems, what effect will that have on women and depression.

What men need to know / I remember teaching my husband about periods when we were in high school. I’m not sure how many men retain that information, but it is important for them to know. While they may or may not want to know about the follicular phase or luteal phase, it is important to both of you to know about ovulation.

Clue / After learning that my favourite period tracker was sharing my information with 3rd parties, I’ve decided to test out another period tracker app. Clue interested me the most because it has a great website with tons of information and it was created by a woman (which I’m always happy to support!). It’s much less pink and flowery and more minimalist (which I love!). I wish I could import over 2 years worth of period info, but c’est la vie. Let’s see how this one flows (get it?).

Naming your period / Does your period have a name? Or should I say, does it bother you enough to warrant a name?

How Pokemon Go Can Increase Your Fertility

October 5, 2016
stagnation, period, period naturopath, naturopathic doctor toronto, toronto naturopath

Let’s be honest, you downloaded Pokemon Go during the summer (I did too!). In between seeing patients, I found myself walking more, trying to hit up all the Poke stops in the Bloor West area, and pushing myself to go that extra 200m to catch anything that wasn’t a Drowsee. I notice that every time I finish a good walk I feel incredibly refreshed, my mind is quiet, and my body feels nourished. You might be thinking “That’s great Alexsia, but what does this have to do with my fertility?” Well, this is where TCM concept of stagnation comes into play.

Stagnation

If you read my article on the TCM concept of the liver (read it here), you’ll remember that the liver has a big impact on our qi (energy) and helps it flow smoothly throughout the body. When women are stressed it can have a big emotional impact, lead to feelings of anger and frustration, and makes our period less pleasant.

YOUR MENSTURAL CYCLE

In women, stagnation has its biggest effect on our menstrual cycle. It can transform a normal healthy cycle into one where we experience symptoms of premenstrual pain such as abdominal cramping and breast tenderness, and impact the regularity of our periods causing them to be irregular or stop completely.

While it’s easy to pop an Advil or two to deal with the pain, eliminating the true cause will be much better for your fertility in the long run.

MOTION

Exercise has been shown to be an effective way to decrease stress, helps our body to produce qi and encourages it’s movement. Depending on your energy, you might benefit from a daily 5k run or a simple walk around the block. Because most women are under huge amounts of stress, it may be best to start with a short walk around the block.

This is why Pokemon Go is fantastic for our fertility. It gets us outside walking to each Poke stop, hatching eggs and catching anything but a Drowsee. As we’re walking, we’re actively letting go all of those unwanted feelings of anger and frustration, minimizing the those awful PMS symptoms, decreasing the amount of Advil and promoting a regular flow.

NEXT STEPS

Incorporating certain foods and exercise can do wonders to eliminate our stagnation. Acupuncture is an even better way to do that! Our bodies have specific points that when stimulated, actively work to move our qi. The best part: a single 30 minute session can do wonders when it comes to decreasing stress. If you’re interested in learning how acupuncture can optimize your fertility, book an appointment with me!

Hopefully you’ve come away with a plan of action! If you love learning about your body and period, be sure to sign up for my monthly newsletter called The Flow for great and informative content like this!