5 Foods That Are Making You Fat & Hurting Your Fertility

Recently, I gained some weight after jumping on the raw foods bandwagon, and I was inspired to go back to the basics and see what happened. As a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Practitioner, I always revisit my teachings whenever I feel off. 

In TCM, digestion is viewed as a process that requires warm energy. So how does that relate to what we eat? Well, according to TCM, all foods have properties according to how they behave energetically in the body. Some are warming (think meat and chili, for example) and others are cooling (like melons and berries).

For people with a cold constitution, (you know, the folks who literally sit on the heater), adding more cold can be disastrous. For those who are hot, adding heat isn’t ideal, either. It can lead to all kinds of issues such as period pain or headaches. The point is: What works for your cousin's-uncle's-babysitter won’t necessarily work for you. And just because Miranda Kerr thrives on juice, doesn’t mean you or I will. You need to work out what works for your constitution. But at its best, the digestive system doesn't differ from person to person. It has a way it likes to run. And so you might be surprised to see the following on a list of fattening foods. Not only are they helping you pack on the weight, they could be interfering with your fertility, too.)

Raw Foods

Given the TCM view of digestion, you might imagine that raw foods are hard to digest, due to the strain they place on your system. For those with sluggish digestive systems, these foods may contribute to infertility, weight gain, bloating, sluggish bowels, you name it... the list is huge! 

The load they put on the digestive system is so big that it tends to give up. Or it can only complete half the job, meaning you're not adequately absorbing all the nutrients from these foods.

Centuries ago, foods were often cooked to remove poisons and make them safe to eat. These foods assisted in digestion because they were simple to break down.

Fast forward a little: we're now eating so much more raw food. These fruits and vegetables are usually very cold from the fridge, so they keep for a long time—longer than nature intended—and many have been genetically modified. (That comes with another swag of issues.) My advice? Switch raw salads for blanched veggies drizzled in oil and vinegar, or add a touch of honey and some sesame seeds for a punch of digestive power.

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Alcohol

You know, a little alcohol is OK. Some guidelines: For women: 2 drinks per week (anything more than this is considered moderate consumption). For men: no more than 3 drinks in one inning, with an alcohol-free day every second day. What matters most is the amount you drink, which can affect your health. Alcohol mimics estrogen in the body. Too much for women will upset the delicate balance of ovulation and hormone interaction. For men, it affects semen quality and appearance, meaning it will look totally abnormal (i.e. two tails or enlarged heads, etc) and make conception impossible. This may lead to recurrent miscarriage, amenorrhea, as well as a host of other health concerns, including liver damage.  

Sugar

It's time to quit! This idea can seem mad, but when you consider just how the body works, it becomes very apparent that sugar leads to weight gain, poor immunity, AND contribute to increased cortisol levels. And because fat cells manufacture estrogen, an overabundance will affect fertility. This might show up in your body as menstrual irregularities, fertility issues, or premenstrual tension. Switch sugary snacks for miso soup, humus on rice crackers or olives, kale chips, nuts, and seeds. There's so much more to life than sugar! 
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Cold Foods

For the same reason raw food doesn't work, cold food is also difficult to digest as the body has to heat the food up to 37 degrees before proper digestion occurs. If the digestive system is already damaged, this heating won't happen and the effects can look like diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, fertility issues, period pain....If you really want to drink your juices in the morning, I suggest placing your fruit and veggies on the counter the night before or as soon as you get up in the morning. That way, they're no longer cold, just raw. 

Coffee

Coffee raises cortisol as soon as it hits your system. This prompts more cortisol (the stress hormone) to be made. This stops you from burning fat and causes you to put on weight, especially around the mid section of your body, which can affect fertility. And there's more: Cortisol and progesterone both latch onto the same receptor sites in the body. They compete with each other for a spot. Problem is, cortisol will always win the battle over progesterone, which sends the hormones to a state of imbalance.  This is because there needs to be adequate amounts of both estrogen and progesterone to support implantation and maintain pregnancy. It's a good one to cross of your list and find yourself a happy alternative (you've heard me go on about my nightly cup of bambu!) The idea of leaving the raw cold foods at the door can be overwhelming. Don't get me wrong: it's all about deciding how much you can handle. But it's certainly something to think about switching over: your fertility and health will love you for it!

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