Natural Fertility 101: Exercise

Exercise Can Prevent Conception

It’s what many of us want to hear right, that if we actually do get off our duffs, that it could hurt our fertility! Well….not exactly.

When our bodies are overworked, over stressed, or constantly moving, they go into a type of physical fight or flight mode. This in turn can impact our natural fertility, as our bodies get the message that it may not be able to support and nourish another little being.

Over exercise can affect both men and women alike.

When we stress our bodies and constantly push them ‘to the brink’, our stress hormones (like adrenaline) are activated, sending a cascade of effects that can then inhibit production of the reproductive organs. This decrease in fertility is often found in marathon runners, body builder types, and those who constantly push their bodies to failure without break.

In men, extreme workouts seem to cause the internal body temperature to rise too high, thus killing off sperm and leading to low sperm counts. This can be especially harmful during workouts where the man sits; rowing, biking, etc.

In women, it can also cause an unnatural loss of body fat. This super lean body type, which to modern folks may look “perfect,” disrupts the production of estrogen— up to 30% of the body’s estrogen is produced in fat cells. Women with little to no body fat often fail to ovulate.

Lack of Exercise Prevents Conception

On the other side of the spectrum, a daily routine void of all exercise can put a damper on your fertility. Lack of movement and activity is very closely tied to excess weight, which causes too much estrogen in the body. Again, remember that 30% of a woman’s estrogen is produced in fat cells. Excess weight can also cause insulin resistance; and when you produce too much insulin, it effects your entire endocrine (hormone) system as well. If you are overweight or otherwise not inclined to workout, adding activity into your life would greatly benefit you!

Balance

Somewhere between working out like you’re being chased by a pack of rabid wolves and sitting on the couch (or behind a desk!) all day, there has to be some middle ground. A place where you can find time to exercise, feel refreshed at the end of the workout (not completely exhausted), support your reproductive organs, and enhance your natural fertility.

Where do you find your middle ground?

Are you actively moving your body for better health?

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Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

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Natural Fertility 101: Natural Living

Last month in the Natural Fertility 101 series, we covered a lot about helping our bodies naturally cleanse and detoxify. This month we’ll begin to focus a bit more on how to keep those toxins out to begin with.

When I sit and think about how differently I live my life compared to just 5 years ago, I really just have to laugh.

I was the poster child for conventional/modern life.

I thought nothing of the makeup I wore or the lotions I used, air quality was the last thing on my mind, and wasn’t everything organic? I mean….it had to start as an organic particle somewhere right? The one thing I did think about was the cleaners I used; they had to be super strong and full of chemicals! If they weren’t, then they just didn’t work at all.

I looked at people like me and laughed – literally laughed out loud. How in the world could people live like that?! Don’t they know how crazy they seem!? But sometimes I think God really has a sense of humor, because it seems that everything I was adamantly against, I now believe whole heartedly.

A co-worker came into work one day and announced that her father had cancer – she decided to do everything in her power to reduce her exposure to chemicals that contribute to the horrible disease and, intrigued, I watched in wonder. She began buying natural cleaners and remarked at how well they worked. As much as I didn’t want cancer I was amazed at how much money they could save me over a years time, and I bought some from her. Little did I know how much I was doing for the health of my family.

One of the scariest issues with conventional cleaners is this:

“Cleaning product companies are NOT required to list ingredients used, because they are considered trade secrets.”

So, not only are the chemicals toxic—most of the time you don’t even know which ones you’re using.

Some of the common hazards of cleaners include:

  • Alkayl Phenoxy Polyethoxy Ethanols – Found in detergents and multiple types of cleaners. Researchers have found that even in small amounts, this chemical can activate estrogen receptors in cells, which they found stimulated the growth of breast cancer cells and feminized male fish.
  • Kerosene – Found in all-purpose cleaners and degreasers, it can damage lung tissue and dissolve fatty tissue around nerve cells.
  • Para dichlorobenzene – Found in deodorizers and mothballs, it is an endocrine (hormone) disrupter.
  • Triclosan – Found in antibacterial products, it can amplify the response of our naturally occurring hormones, causing depression of estrogen and androgen production.
  • Phthalates – used often as fragrance and is a common hormone disruptor.
  • Glycol ethers (2-butoxyethanol) – common in all-purpose cleaners and window cleaners (Windex) and has been shown to impair fertility and harm fetal development in animal studies even causing implantation mortality (miscarriage) and impacted litter size. Men exposed on the job were more likely to have lowered sperm counts.
  • Triethanolamine – found in disinfectants (Lysol) and shown to cause genetic damage.

The list of chemicals is of course longer than this, and many more have
been shown to increase risks for multiple health issues including some having a direct link to hormone disruption, infertility, and birth defects.

Changing your conventional cleaners to natural ones is an easy step. There are plenty of healthier options in the stores now and making them at home is not only super frugal, but effective as well. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll discuss the many options and what I’ve chosen to use in my home.

If you use natural or homemade cleaners, why did you make the switch?

Check out this month\'s sponsor, Natural Fertility Shop. They are 100% focused on helping you during your journey towards parenthood and have expert staff and knowledgeable customer service here to help you every step of the way.

All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

I am not a doctor and don\'t pretend to be one. Use everything you read only to inspire you to do your own research and be an advocate for your own health. Please read my disclaimer in full.

Natural Fertility 101: 7 Simple Ways to Detoxify Your Home

photo credit: darwinbell

1. Use a water filter , especially if you have water treated with fluoride and/or chlorine. Shower filters are also important as chlorine is released into the air as well as absorbed through the skin. Swimming in pools treated with chlorine may be cause for concern; make sure you stick to outdoor pools if possible or cut back on your swimming experiences. And stick to stainless steel or glass water bottles as the plastics may leach into the water.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulcole/3631719372/

photo credit: paulcole

2. Use cast iron or stainless steel pots and pans to cut down on toxic fumes from non-stick pans.

photo credit: crossbow

3. Stay away from products made with PVC (poly vinyl chloride). Many household items are routinely made from PVC and continue to off gas for many months. One very common PVC product is a shower curtain, others include windows, bottles that contain beauty care products, office supplies, and even food storage containers.

photo credit: collinanderson

4. Use only natural cleaners within the home. Not only does this keep your surfaces non-toxic, but decreases air pollution as well. Many common household cleaners are made from chemicals that produce hormone disruption as well as developmental problems in animal studies. It’s easy (and very cheap!) to make your own cleaners at home!

photo credit: tessawatson

5. Use plants within your home to naturally detoxify the air you breathe. The Areca Palm Tree, English Ivy, Boston Fern, Aloe Vera and even Spider plants have all been shown in studies produced by NASA to clean the air and remove substances like formaldehyde and even heavy metals.

photo credit: petrusia1

6. Air your home out on a regular basis, even in the winter, will keep the air fresh and push out stagnant air that holds toxins.

photo credit: mdid

7. Cleaning your home regularly also keeps any chemicals and toxins at bay. The dust that settles on furniture is often polluted.


Making just a few small changes within your home goes a long way to better health!

Check out this month\'s sponsor, Natural Fertility Shop. They are 100% focused on helping you during your journey towards parenthood and have expert staff and knowledgeable customer service here to help you every step of the way.

All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

I am not a doctor and don\'t pretend to be one. Use everything you read only to inspire you to do your own research and be an advocate for your own health. Please read my disclaimer in full.

Natural Fertility 101: Herbs for Cleansing

Used throughout the centuries, herbs can be a powerful source of assistance to the body in natural detoxification. While many herbs are considered cleansing, there are a few that normally rise to the top in availability and taste.

Dandelion: Containing substantial levels of vitamins A, C, D, and B complex as well as iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, manganese, copper, choline, calcium, boron, and silicon, dandelion is often thought to be a common nuisance in lawns across the country but has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes. The root is often used in teas and tinctures, and the leaves in salads. (If you use in salads, make sure it’s from a pesticide-free lawn!!)

The summary from Mountain Rose Herbs:
“Dandelion leaf is a mild chloretic, that is, an agent for stimulating the release of bile from the liver into the gallbladder. The herb is used to support treatment of a variety of liver and gallbladder disorders, especially the incomplete digestion of fats. The release of bile is laxative, and accelerates the breakdown of various steroid hormones, causing an indirect, favorable effect on eczema and other skin conditions. Dandelion leaf, like dandelion root, also is one of the best herbal diuretics. It stimulates urination but also replaces the potassium lost to the increased volume of urine.”

Red Raspberry Leaf – While not to be used during the first trimester, RRL can be beneficial in cleansing the uterus and is high in B vitamins as well as vitamins A, E, and C.
Nettle Leaves – Believed to increase fertility while ridding the kidneys and uterus of toxins. Also contain wonderful amounts of vitamins A, C, and K. Some sources recommend not taking nettle leaf during pregnancy.

To use herbs medicinally, you can consume them as a tea, up to 3 cups per day.

Other herbs that can help cleanse the body are often used in modern cuisine like parsley and cilantro. Both can be used as additions to green smoothies as well!

*when herbs are used medicinally it’s best to work with an herbalist or holistic health practitioner. Some herbs may cause an increase in miscarriage rates. (parsley is one example of that)

Check out this month\'s sponsor, Natural Fertility Shop. They are 100% focused on helping you during your journey towards parenthood and have expert staff and knowledgeable customer service here to help you every step of the way.

All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

I am not a doctor and don\'t pretend to be one. Use everything you read only to inspire you to do your own research and be an advocate for your own health. Please read my disclaimer in full.

Natural Fertility 101: Cleanse with Whole Foods

It’s really no coincidence that I started off the Natural Fertility 101 series with detoxification. Even in January. You see, cleansing our bodies before conception is important AND January is a great time to do it! During the fall months we normally dine on rich and dense foods like stews, chili, and roasts so that our bodies can build up nutrient stores to help us last through the winter months. The normal indulgent and sweet treats of the holidays are also behind us and our bodies are ready for a break.

I’d long heard that winter was a great time for a cleanse and I heard it again when I had a chance to listen to Jordin Rubin speak last fall. He highly recommended a week-long diet cleanse every three months, starting in January. A recent newsletter from the Body Ecology Diet mentioned the same thing as well as referred to the Traditional Chinese Medicine theory that backed that thought as well.

But how do you cleanse your body?

It can actually be as simple as making just a few changes within your diet and healing with real foods.

photo credit bobmarley753

Length of a Dietary Cleanse

The length that one would choose to cleanse can vary by person, but should last somewhere between 3-10 days. The goal is to lighten the load placed on the body and increase bile production to remove toxins.(increased bile production makes the liver more efficient and moves more toxins out of the body faster than it normally would) You don’t want to cleanse any longer than 10 days (unless you’re working with a professional for a specific health issue) because while the foods that help your body cleanse are healthy, you also need to make sure you get the building blocks needed for strong health as well as keeping your reproductive system working in top gear. Growing babies need those building blocks too!

Foods to Avoid

  1. Caffeine – While it’s the most popular ‘drug’ consumed in America, it’s also very hard on the body. It’s one of the biggest contributors of adrenal fatigue, causing constant internal stress. It also causes us to push our bodies beyond normal limits and we work instead of rest.
  2. Sugar – Not only is refined sugar hard to digest it depletes the body of nutrients. During a time of cleansing, we should also refrain from even unrefined sugars to allow for even more healing.
  3. Gluten, Grains, Legumes, Nuts, and Seeds – Often hard for people to digest, they also contain enzyme inhibitors that are difficult for the body to deal with.
  4. Meat – While meat is a very nutrient dense and building food, there are times where we need to take a short break from including it into our diets.
photo by wwworks

Foods that Cleanse

All of the following foods have wonderful cleansing properties to them and contain plenty of antioxidants, sulpher compounds, and/or specific nutrients that can help increase bile production.

  • Dandelion leaves and spinach.
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Broccoli and brussel sprouts
  • Asparagus
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Avocado
  • Eggs

Other Foods to Include

Probiotic Foods. Fermented vegetables, yogurt, kombucha, and homemade lacto fermented dressings all add to the beneficial bacteria within your system. This bacteria is essential for good health and keeps your body’s immune system functioning properly.

Homemade Bone Broth. Deeply nourishing, bone broths are rich with minerals and help heal the digestive system.

Seafood. More specifically, wild caught seafood is not near as “heavy” as other animal meats and offers a multitude of essential nutrients.

Berries and “Sour” Fruits. Lower in natural sugar, many types of berries and the more sour or tart fruits can help the body cleanse as well as help deal with any sugar craving that come up during a cleanse. You’ll want to look for not only berries and lemons, but fruits like green apples and grapefruit.

{Learn more about cleansing with foods in chapter two of the book!}

Cleansing During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

There are a couple of times in life when a woman should not try to actively cleanse her body. Pregnancy and breastfeeding are those times! When you cleanse, your body may release many toxins, which can end up being sent to the baby in utero as well as through the breast milk. It would be a good idea to eat foods that have cleansing properties along with your normal diet, but do not cut out foods like whole dairy and meat because your little one needs these nourishing foods to grow and develop correctly.

Also be aware of when you try to conceive following a strict cleanse as the sperm and egg have a three-month life before conception. You don’t want to be displacing toxins around your body to have them effect the DNA of the egg or sperm. If you are already in good health and don’t have a lot of exposure to toxins, this won’t be such a big deal as if you are coming off of a very standard american diet and may have a much larger toxic body burden.

Dr. Natura Health Tip:

For extra cleansing, you can boost the detoxifying effects of a plant based whole-foods diet with a fiber-based herbal cleanse. Adding a fiber cleanse to your whole-foods diet can help stimulate digestion while sweeping the GI tract clear of wastes and toxins. Look for a cleanse that combines powerful psyllium fiber husks with soothing and stimulating digestive herbs like fennel seed, rhubarb root and/or slippery elm bark.

 

What do you do/have you done to actively cleanse your body with foods?

Check out this month\'s sponsor, Natural Fertility Shop. They are 100% focused on helping you during your journey towards parenthood and have expert staff and knowledgeable customer service here to help you every step of the way.

All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

I am not a doctor and don\'t pretend to be one. Use everything you read only to inspire you to do your own research and be an advocate for your own health. Please read my disclaimer in full.