Many patients come into the clinic and ask me if they should eliminate gluten or dairy from their diet to enhance fertility. Although this might be a good idea for some, it seems that in our society when we think of good health, we automatically think about deprivation. Why is that? How healthy can it be to deprive oneself of all these things? And why isn't anyone telling you what to put back in to replace those things?
I encourage you to have a mental paradigm shift when it comes to healthy eating. Ask yourself, "What can I add into my diet?" rather than, "What can I take away?" The concept of "adding in" is one of the most important principles in my practice.
Protein and their building blocks, amino acids, are important for all cellular development. Whether you are a meat eater or hold a form of vegetarianism, you must include a variety of protein sources. I recommend having some protein and a healthy fat in every meal and snack. You can easily do this with a variety of beans, nuts, whole grains high in protein, and meat.
One great way to get extra protein in your diet is to make a big pot of beans on the weekend and stretch it out through multiple meals. For instance, you can use them in salads for lunch, tacos for dinner one night and soup the next. At my local grocery store there are 20 varieties of beans in the bulk section.
Have you ever heard of Adzuki beans? In Chinese Medicine, these easily digestible beans are great for strengthening the Qi, Yin and Blood — all necessary for boosting fertility. They are also very high in fertility-friendly minerals and vitamins such as antioxidants, potassium, B vitamins, fiber, iron and zinc! I am including a very simple recipe here so that you can see how easy it is to cook these beans!
It is so important to make long-term, sustainable changes to your diet. If you have made changes that you cannot sustain, that is a sign that you might be doing something too extreme. I hope you enjoy this recipe.
Fertility-Friendly Adzuki Bean Stew
- 4 cups dried beans
- 2 boxes organic chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ diced onion
- 1 diced organic yellow or red pepper
- 3 diced cloves garlic
- 6 roma tomatoes cut into small pieces
- 3 small potatoes chopped
- olive oil or coconut oil
1. You do not need to soak adzuki beans so just rinse beans in cold water and place in large pot.
2. Cover beans with water a good solid two inches. Bring beans to a boil, and then simmer covered for about 60-90 minutes until soft. Set your timer in 20-30 minute increments so you can check on the beans and add more water or broth if needed.
3. Combine all of the dry spices in one bowl and prepare the vegetables while the beans cook.
4. In the final 30 minutes, add half of the dry spice mix to the beans and gently mix them in. Then, on a separate burner, add oil to a large pan and heat on medium-high. Add the garlic. Cook, stirring frequently 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the onion, potatoes and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the rest of the spice mix to the veggies. Gently stir until ingredients are mixed together.
5. When beans are just about done, add your veggie mix to the beans and gently stir. Cook for another 5 minutes or so.
6. Serve with quinoa and fresh avocado for a complete meal.
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