Guest Post – Can You Improve Your Fertility by Improving Your Digestion?

Guest blog by Rose from Stomach Kind.

Stomach Kind is a website created to share advice for a healthier digestive system, based on personal experience with bile-reflux, gastritis and stomach ulcers. The blog shares all of the advice collected over 3 years. It’s honest, practical and supportive.

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Can you improve your fertility by improving your digestion?

Over the last year, I have made a huge recovery from chronic stomach problems (gastritis mostly). Whilst recovering, I learned more about the stomach, and especially about the wider role of the digestive system in my overall health. It may not come as much of a surprise to you – but your digestive system is your best friend when it comes to improving your overall health, and in turn, your fertility.

My fiancé and I have had many laughs over some of the health books I read, from which some of the advice is best taken with a pinch of salt. But the funniest bit ever was from a book on the role of your digestive system and digesting nutrients – and there was a chapter in there on fertility. It said we had to “Nourish the soil” with a great diet, “ready for conception” – bleaugh!! That’s almost enough to put anyone off eating healthily…. I hope my article is less – well – disgusting. No-one should have a licence to use that kind of cringey language ;-)

Now, let’s not beat around the bush here – I have never tried to get pregnant and I don’t have children – and I’d hate for you to think I don’t have the right to comment. But if you are trying to conceive, you’ll probably feel like trying anything! I hope this article helps.

The main point I’ve noticed is: there are so many do’s and don’ts around trying to conceive – it can get confusing and even start to make you feel like you are going crazy…..and that won’t help you relax! J The most important thing is – everything in moderation. Your happiness is key…..try to improve your overall health and understand what you can do to help, but it won’t do you any harm to have a glass of wine and some chocolates once in a while.

The tips below are taken from my research – and although most of the tips are designed to improve your general health, please please talk to your GP before trying these, so you know if it is safe for you or not.

So, let’s begin:

  • Foods to avoid:
    • Anything high in saturated fat – so this includes junk food, ready meals
    • High amounts of sugar and salt, which deplete the body of nutrients needed for conception
    • Wheat is high in phytates, chemicals that block the absorption of some minerals, so it’s best to reduce this.
  • Friendly foods:
    • Any good protein (chicken breast, egg whites, cottage cheese are just a few examples)
      • Magnesium (found in mackerel, pumpkin seeds, spinach, kale, lentils, avocados, brown rice, bananas, and dried fruit)
      • Suggestions:
        • Have a full health MOT and check the side effects of any prescription drugs you may be taking – some medication could temporarily reduce your fertility.
        • You could switch to organic foods – or if this doesn’t appeal to you, either try growing your own or at the very least wash your fruit and vegetables very well before you cook with them (or even better, peel them, as the pesticides are more concentrated on the skin).
        • Acupuncture has been believed to increase fertility in both men and women – so it is worth investigating this with a qualified practitioner.
        • Start using a water filter instead of drinking direct from the tap.
        • Limit your exposure to chemicals in household cleaners, toiletries, fake tan, hair dye, room sprays and perfumes.
        • Deal with any stress in your life. This means finding the root cause of any stress and either reducing it or coping with it via exercise or meditation.
        • Gentle exercise is best for improving fertility – so think less of running and aerobics, and more of swimming, walking, Pilates and yoga.
      • Aiding Nutrient Absorption:

      You need to start to take proper care of your digestive tract so that you properly digest all of the vitamins and minerals you need…..Aloe Vera juice is great at soothing the gut, so I often have a tablespoon diluted with a little water about 20 minutes before dinner every day. Liquorice is also great at soothing the digestive tract – so if you like the taste, liquoriceteas or supplements are perfect for this. Word of warning – do speak to your

      • doctor before eating lots of liquorice as it raises blood pressure.
      • If you want to take a multivitamin, try one that’s super easy to digest and goes straight into the blood stream – like one that you can spray underneath your tongue, or one that dissolves in your mouth (as opposed to a massive tablet you swallow with water).

      So can you improve your fertility by improving your digestion? In summary, a poor diet low in nutrients, food additives, smoking, alcohol, stress and urinary tract infections will all contribute to lower fertility…..so although there are many factors, to ignore the role of your digestive system in fertility would be irrational. I’ve included the references for both of the most useful books I found on the role of diet and fertility……& have a look in your local library and you’ll probably find many more!

      I hope this is useful for you……I have many more tips and pieces of advice I have found, so if you have any specific questions please do not hesitate to contact me and I can direct you to a good book or give you my two-pence worth.

      Finally, a word of thanks to Smiles and Trials for being kind enough to host my guest blog! Thank you!

      References:

      Emma Cannon, The Baby-Making Bible: Simple Steps to Enhance Your Fertility and Improve Your Chances of Getting Pregnant, Rodale, 2010.

      Hazel Courtney, 500 of the Most Important Health Tips You’ll Ever Need; An A-Z of Alternative Health Hints to Help over 250 Conditions, CICO Books, 2011.

       

Pocket Money Mother’s Day Gifts

Despite Christmas having only just happened, we are now in March, with Mother’s Day less than a fortnight away. There are a million ways to show our Mums that we care (not just at this time of year, either!) – chocolates, perfume, balloons, gifts, a ‘phone call out of the blue…  My sisters and I plan to surprise our Mum with some Freesias in the post this year, just a small way of letting her know we are thinking of her and are grateful for all she does for us.  It is quite easy, then, as an adult, to show our appreciation.  But what about as a child?  Yes, they could rely on Daddy to pick up the tab, but just what is out there that can be bought for Mother’s Day on a pocket money budget?  I’ve been doing a little research to find out, and here’s what I came up with:

Starting with Boots, we have these gorgeous Yankee Candle tealights, priced at £6.75, a pretty Laura Ashley memo block for £7, or this very pretty decorative bottle, which is just £8.

boots

Next up, I browsed the Hawkin’s Bazaar website, as the shop is always somewhere my two like to spend their pocket money.  The site offers a plethora of less traditional gift ideas, including this coin-counting piggy bank, which is now just £4.98, and this amazing Grow Your Own Chocolate kit, priced at £10 – the perfect compromise if they can’t choose between chocolates or flowers!

choclate

Finally, I perused Thorntons for more pocket money gift ideas.  Happily, I found two great ones – the ‘I Love Mum’ chocolate truffles, which are just £3.50, and the Mother’s Day heart plaque, available at £5 with free personalisation as standard.

mother's day

 

It seems my worries were unfounded – there are some lovely Mother’s Day gifts to be found, even on a pocket money budget.  And let’s not forget that the best gifts, the ones I know I will keep forever, are the ones that are homemade.

 

 

Review – Chocolate Cherry Sandwich Cake – Sugar and Crumbs

I bought new cake tins this weekend, for the express purpose of making a proper fresh cream Victoria sponge cake. For their first outing, however, they were used to make a chocolate cherry sponge with Nutella filling. You see, Sugar and Crumbs sent me a selection of flavoured cocoa powders and icing sugars that were just begging to be used.

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For the cake, I used the following ingredients:

220g self-raising flour
220g butter, softened at room temperature
220g caster sugar
100g Sugar and Crumbs chocolate cherry cocoa powder
100ml milk
4 eggs
1tsp baking powder

I added them all to one mixing bowl and combined until just smooth.  The batter was then divided between my shiny new cake tins, which were subsequently popped into the oven to bake at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes.

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Once baked and cooled, I started to think about the filling.  I contemplated raspberries and whipped cream, chocolate fudge frosting, and strawberry jam.  I settled, however, on Nutella, with strawberries for the topping.

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I spread a generous layer of Nutella over the cake before sandwiching together.

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Finally, I used little blobs of Nutella to glue the strawberries to the top of the cake, added some sugar flowers, and (rather more liberally than I had planned to), dusted with Sugar and Crumbs cherry bakewell icing sugar.

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We ate the cake for pudding and it went down well, though was a little dry.  If I make it again, I would go with whipped cream for the filling, probably with a layer of black cherry jam too.  James suggested that a shot of Kirsch in the batter would have worked well, too.

The addition of the Sugar and Crumbs products transformed my bake from an ordinary cake into something a little more interesting.  Flavoured cocoa powders and icing sugars are such a great idea and I will definitely be stocking up on some different flavours.  At just £2.99 for 250g of icing sugar, and £4.99 for 250g of cocoa powder, it doesn’t cost a lot to spice up your baking either.

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We were sent some goodies from Sugar and Crumbs for the purposes of this review; all words are my own.

Alternative Easter Gift Guide

My children love chocolate, I’m not going to lie.  When it comes to Easter, though, I don’t tend to buy them any. Sure, they will have chocolate!  But not from me.  I usually buy them a gift; something they have been after for a while.  Something to make them smile and play.  My parents often buy them an outfit; a tradition that began when they were too small for chocolate.  Sometimes they even receive cheques for their trust fund accounts.  But I buy them toys.

For the boy this year, I think I will replace his scooter; I bought him a new Spider-Man one for Christmas but did not check the size and it is far too small for him to use.  I will definitely look more closely this time!

For Miss J, craft supplies are always gratefully received.  This set from House of Fraser is right up her street.

I_8009233048836_50_20141009Currently half price, it is a great value little set too!

I know that if the boy could choose his own gift, he would like an action figure.  Whether it be a superhero, a Disney Car, a Toy Story doll or something from Big Hero 6, he would be one happy lad.  Miss J would probably still choose something arty.

For younger children, or those who are dairy intolerant, it is always worth considering toys, books or clothes as alternative Easter gifts.  It doesn’t have to be anything huge or too expensive, just a little something to celebrate the festival.  My two are lucky.  They come from large families so do not miss out on the chocolate side.  However, I think I will always buy them something different.  After all, they aren’t children for long.  They may or may not realise the religious significance of the celebration, but they will always know that they are loved.

Published in conjunction with House of Fraser; all words are my own.