Whether you are trying to fall pregnant naturally or undergoing IVF, the time from day 3 to ovulation (or collection) of your menstrual cycle is the key time for follicular development. This is the time when your immature gamete cells start to mature in to egg cells (ova) and get themselves ovulation and fertilisation ready.
There are many things you can be doing during this time to assist your ovaries with growing healthy and happy follicles. Acupuncture is amazing at regulating your hormones and promoting blood flow to the ovaries, mediation is fantastic at ensuring stress hormones don’t interfere with healthy gamete cell maturation, light exercise is great at getting the energy flowing throughout your entire body, and what you eat is vitally important in making sure your growing follicles have enough nutrition for cell division and growth.
It is quite easy to find plenty of foods you shouldn’t be eating when trying to concieve. Sugar, caffeine, gluten, processed foods and GMO’s have all been labelled as things to avoid, but as is often the case, when trying to avoid so many foods it can leave you wondering what it is you should be eating. During this time before ovulation (follicular phase) making sure your body has plenty of the right nutrition to support rapid cell division and proper gene expression is key in making a healthy baby. A high intake of vitamins, minerals, proteins and healthy fats will greatly assist this process and as so many of us are time poor these days finding quick and easy recipes that contain all these nutritional elements can be hard.
This milkshake recipe is not only great for those needing a quick burst of protein on the run, it is also ideal for ensuring your follicles are, in the words of Kelis, ‘better than yours’… But no charge for teaching you this little gem (hehe!).
So here is how you make a nourishing milkshake to assist with optimal follicle health:
250mls of raw milk
1 raw organic, free range egg
a sprinkle of organic cinnamon
a sprinkle of powdered organic ginger
1/2tsp of raw organic honey
1tbls of raw organic cacao (optional, but is great for a nutritious chocolate milkshake taste for all those chocoholics)
Place all ingredients in a blender ( I have a nutribullet at home and it does the job perfectly) and blend until all combined. Pour into a glass and enjoy. You can consume this drink daily, though for some of my patients who seem to be needing a little more nutritional support I may get them to do this up to 3 times a day.
What’s the go with all the raw stuff?
Let’s start with the raw milk.. Many health practitioners will actually advise their patients to avoid dairy as it can cause sensitivities or inflammation in some people. In a large number of these cases milk sensitivity may be due to the fact that commercial milk is homogenised and pasteurised. As raw milk does not go through these severe heating treatments its proteins are not denatured, making it well tolerated by most people who are sensitive to dairy. One study showed that when milk was treated with high temperatures it destroyed all its vitamin B12 content, about 60% of the thiamin and vitamin B6, 70% of the ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and about 30% of the folate.¹ Available lysine was also reduced by 21% and lactulose was formed.¹ This would suggest that as raw milk retains a much higher nutritional value and during times of increased nutritional demand it may be a healthier option for many. It is important to note that raw milk does come with a slightly higher risk of milk-borne bacteria so make sure you source your raw milk from a reputable producer.
The commercial honey that is found on the supermarket shelves these days is actually far from what real honey should be. Commercial honey is pasteurised and heavily filtered, and therefore contains no traces of pollen and lacks the beneficial vitamins and enzymes, as well as a host of other natural constituents that its raw counterpart retains. As raw honey does not go through this heating and severe filtration process, it nutritional content of proteins, enzymes, amino acids, minerals, trace elements, vitamins, aroma compounds and polyphones is kept in tack and is provides much nourishment for the human body.² When buying your raw honey it is important for you to note that is should be of a thick, grainy consistancy and not a clear, golden colour.
Now to the part that most people turn their nose up at.. The raw egg.. Yes, I realise that the thought of eating raw eggs makes you gag, but trust me, you won’t even taste it in this recipe. Eggs are a nutritionally dense food source that contains important fertility nourishing elements such as folate, riboflavin, selenium, choline, vitamins B-12, A, K and D.³ Furthermore, eggs are a source of high quality protein, and the lipid matrix of the yolk serves to enhance the bioavailability of nutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are necessary for healthy eye development as well as being a key antioxidant that aids in reversing the aging process (making even more important for those trying to conceive in their late 30’s to early 40’s). ³ If you are worried about the possibility of salmonella poisoning with raw eggs then make sure you thoroughly inspect them beforehand and throw away any with cracks or a discoloured shell. You can even wash your eggs before using them to remove any bacteria living on the outside shell.
The Chinese medicine benefits:
The Chinese are well known for their medicinal use of foods and herbs, so a fertility milkshake wouldn’t be complete without some ancient wisdom:
Milk – is classified as a multiple organ tonic that produces fluids and lubricates the intestines (sperm and ova are mostly made up of fluids)
Eggs – are considered a blood tonic (healthy blood is required to provide nourishment for optimal gamete cell maturation)
Honey – detoxifies, lubricates dryness and relieves pain (by detoxifying you a reducing free radicals that can interfere with healthy sex cell division and growth)
Cinnamon – aids digestion and warms the surface and interior (healthy digestion means more nourishment can enter you blood and be sent to your ovaries)
Ginger – yang and qi tonic (gives your reproductive system energy to produce healthy hormones and cell growth)
As you can see when all these ingredients are combined you have a complete combo of nourishing, energising, protein rich, vitamin and mineral packed tonic that will support your body and reproductive energy during the early stages of ova development and growth.
When it comes to fertility nutrition I like to advise patients to eat like their grandparents and great grandparents would have. Back in the good old days fertility issues were rare and part of the reason why comes down to their lifestyle and what it was that they were eating. Unfortunately, these days we are consuming large amounts of highly processed and packaged foods that are nutritionally void. Mix this with the demands of the modern lifestyle to work long hours, leaving limited time for wholesome food preparation and you have a recipe for fertility disaster… If you are wanting to bring all the baby boys, or baby girls, to your fertile baby making yard, than this milkshake is a great dietary addition to boost your daily intake of a whole lot of fertility nourishing goodness. Remember, it is the prep work done in the 3-12mths before conception that greatly improves your chances of conceiving a healthy and happy baby. So, ‘Just get the perfect blend’ as Kelis would say, and happy baby milkshake making… Learn more about our IVF Support Program or Natural Fertility Support Program here.
- Alvarez-Suarez, J.M. et al., 2010. Contribution of honey in nutrition and human health: a review. Mediterranean Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, 3(1), pp.15–23. Available at: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s12349-009-0051-6 [Accessed November 16, 2016].
- Iannotti, L.L. et al., 2014. Eggs: the uncracked potential for improving maternal and young child nutrition among the world’s poor. Nutrition Reviews, 72(6).
- Kilshaw, P.J., Heppell, L.M. & Ford, J.E., 1982. Effects of heat treatment of cow’s milk and whey on the nutritional quality and antigenic properties. Archives of disease in childhood, 57(11), pp.842–7. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6983327 [Accessed November 16, 2016].
Spring Acupuncture is an integrative Chinese medicine and acupuncture clinic committed to providing the best outcomes for our patients, and empowering them along their journey to optimal fertility, pregnancy health, IVF success and general wellness. We are located in Springwood, Brisbane, and are conveniently situated right next door to The Fertility Centre, IVF clinic.
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