By: Dr. Spence Pentland (Vancouver Fertility Acupuncturist)
Over the years working in the reproductive health field I have seen many diets come and go. What is effective is a diet that is simple & sustainable, meaning one that people can actually stick to for the long term. There is much truth to the adage ‘you are what you eat’, so I believe diet is the best place to start no matter what health condition you are faced with. It is something you have almost complete control over. The only hurdle is the commitment to being accountable for your actions, and identifying the ways you may sabotage your own success.
In a nutshell, the few principles that should be implemented are the following:
1. avoid or completely eliminate gluten, sugar, and dairy (with the possible exception of organic plain yogurt).
2. reduce or eliminate processed and deep fried foods.
3. control portion sizes.
4. increase the amount of colorful foods you consume.
5. half your diet should be raw food.
6. reduce the glycemic load of your food intake.
7. choose organic whenever possible.
Gluten sugar and dairy are over-consumed. I have seen conditions like endometriosis and other inflammatory and allergic conditions improve drastically with the elimination of these foods. These are foods that people are very commonly sensitive or allergic to, which results in fatigue, headaches, bloating, bowel problems, sleep issues, poor concentration, and the list goes on. So bread and pasta should go, as well as treats and dairy. That said, life is about enjoying yourself and balance, so depending on your current and long term health goals, you may allow yourself that wine and cheesecake at your best friends birthday celebration!
Processed foods are full of chemicals we are only beginning to understand. The fact is, that the plastic that many processed foods are packaged in have a chemical within that is a known endocrine disruptor, that means it messes with your hormones.
Deep fried foods are something we all know a lot about already, so this is not news. But, evidence shows, when men’s reproductive or sexual health is concerned, a good rule of thumb to remember is; ‘what is bad for your heart is bad for your penis!’.
Portions are likely to be the main culprit in today’s obesity epidemic. Plainly put, we are just eating too much. If our foods are nutritious, smaller portions will fulfill our needs. Obesity is also strongly linked to reproductive health issues such as fertility in both men and women.
Antioxidants. If you have not heard of this ‘fountain of youth’ it is time you did. Antioxidants essentially clean up the residues left from the stressful lives we lead and the environmental toxins we come in contact with. Stress and toxins are responsible for aging, infertility, skin issues, chronic pain, just to name a few. Antioxidants are found in colorful foods, i.e. fruits and veggies. Therefore, pile your plate high with fresh colorful whole foods.
Raw food vs. cooked food. In my opinion there is no conclusive evidence as to which may be better for you. I understand that food is naturally raw in nature, but we were also given the gift of fire. So it is my belief to make sure half of your diet is raw. Let’s keep it simple.
Did you know that all the carbs in your diet are turned into sugar during digestion? Well, they are. Cards are complex sugar, so don’t be fooled, especially if you have ovulatory disorders such as PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). Too much sugar, that includes all sugar, grains, starches, etc, are shown to overload the system and lead to insulin resistance and possibly diabetes. This same overload can lead to ovulatory disturbance. So, cut WAY down on the carbs, way down.
Lastly, eat organic whenever possible. This usually supports more local farmers and cuts down on the chemicals dumped on our earth. this overall leads to a healthier more fertile earth, thus more fertile people.
Dr. Spence Pentland is a board licensed Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and certified Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine. Since 2004 Spence has focused exclusively on the treatment of reproductive disorders in both men and women in Vancouver Canada. To book an appointment or for a free 15 minute phone consultation visit DrSpencePentland.com (Vancouver fertility acupuncture). He and his wife are also ‘bringing sexy back to baby-making’ with their new line of ‘fertility friendly’ men’s underwear!