Hi Everyone I was wondering if anyone has any feedback about how the vegan diet affects fertility. Over the past six years, I have completely changed my life; I gradually went from being a chain-smoking, binge-drinking junk food fiend to a teetotal, vegan (this conversion is very recent!) non-smoker. I have been following a macrobiotic diet - minus fish - and feeling pretty good. I developed secondary amenorrhea (my period stopped) when I came off the pill a year and a half ago and I am lacking certain hormones required to get pregnant. However, as the periods we get while on the pill are false, I may have developed amenorrhea before then. My husband and I have been trying to conceive for over a year and during that time, I have tried everything from yoga to agnus castus, acupuncture and hypnosis. There does not seem to be anything medically wrong with me although my doctor told me I was underweight and so I put on some weight - still nothing... The latest diagnosis is that it is due to that favourite catch-all, stress. Out of desperation, we are now using fertility drugs: Clomid and Ovitrelle. I hate putting these in my body and am cranky, bloated and spotty for most of the month. Has anyone else had similar issues and is there a happy ending?? On a lighter note, I love the Kind Diet and am working my way through the book, rice waffles for breakfast with soaked dried apricots, yum! Eating calmly at my table, looking out into the beautiful early morning sunshine, it is hard to believe I am stressed.... Thank you Nat
hi natalie - a clean healthy organic diet will help for sure! eating veggies won't help as much as eating veggies that have no pesticides. Also, there was a study done that showed in some women certain levels of caffine cut fertility by up to 50%. And its great you stopped smoking -but if your partner smokes, the second hand smoke will affect you negatively as well and impact his sperm. Keep in mind that you spent years putting the bad stuff into your body, so you have to give yourself some time to let your body get back to where it needs to be! You came off the pill a year and a half ago and say you have been trying to conceive for over a year - so it seems you started trying before your body was hormonally even back to where it should be. I say this only because to you, you have been trying so long with no result but in my mind the first year of trying doesn't even count in a way because you were about 5 minutes off of artificial hormones and into whatever positive lifestyle changes you were making - its frustrating, but you have to give your body time to balance. You say you have tried acupuncture, yoga, vitex etc....which is great - I am hoping that all of those things are not in the past - when I work with women trying to conceive with acupuncture/herbs, to treat for about 6 months to a year before expecting anything is about average - especially if its something as difficult as ammenorhea. RE: the stress dx - when our stress hormones go up, our body will not allow itself to get pregnant - a survival mechanism. Of course what's an incredibly stressful thing.....not being able to get pregnant! So keep engaging in anything that helps lower the stress. Also, look into taking the chemicals out of your environment - your beauty products etc.....in europe they have imposed stricter standards because they feel the decrease in fertility is due to these chemicals disrupting hormones.
Hi Manya, no I haven't but that is a great idea. I live in London so I am sure I can find one! Appreciate you chiming in. Thanks Ann, what you say makes perfect sense to me. My partner does not smoke so no risk there and I don't drink any caffeine but it is interesting that it can have such a dramatic impact on fertility, I'll pass that along to some other friends of mine in a similar position. I have been a yoga and acupuncture fan for years so do keep that up but maybe I should add massages into the mix... Regardless of the outcome, I have decided not to go back on the pill ever again, it is worrying that such a 'standard' medicine can mess up our bodies like this. Don't get me wrong, I am not anti conventional medicine but I have had so many crazy reactions from coming off the pill that it made me rethink the logic behind putting such a powerful drug in my body for years at a time. Really appreciate your understanding, comforting words and good advice
Hi There, To build the blood in Traditional Chinese medicine we advocate for the consumption of dark green leafy vegetables like kale and collards as well as orange veggies like yams, sweet potatoes, butternut and acorn squash.
The blood is thought to provide the uterus with the "heavenly fluid" that allows implantation so building the blood in this way is always safe and can be used in conjunction with medicines. I advise patients to buy these foods and cook them all up in large amounts to store in the fridge. They should consume at least one large serving from each group once a day or even more often. It is ok to miss a day or two here or there but I have them try to make eating them easy and quick.
The highest rate of success that I am aware of involves the use of a combination of acupuncture and modern reproductive endocrinology. Using both the needles and the meds has about twice the rate of success as using either modality alone.
Thanks for your professional advice Justin - that's spooky, I have been eating a lot of kale and sweet potatoes as they really appeal to me right now. Maybe my body knows what I need better than I do! I love the idea of 'heavenly fluid', it makes me feel I am nourishing my body beyond just giving it fuel. Are there any grains that are specifically recommended? I am drawn to quinoa, wild rice, job's tears and bulgur wheat at the moment (although brown rice makes a frequent appearance in my diet too). You have inspired me to step up my acupuncture sessions, I have not had one for a few weeks as we were going down the fertility drugs route but I take your point that these approaches do not have to be mutually exclusive... PS - I see you have been on a macrobiotic cruise, that sounds amazing!
Very interesting. I too Natalie have been dealing with infertility for 3 years. We got pregnant 3 years ago and miscarried in the 2nd trimester. I have endometriosis which is a cause of infertility. Ive been vegetarian for years, but vegan for only a couple months.. It's hard to be vegan when you leave your home and meet out for lunches and dinners. I gave up coffee except on sundays, and drink green tea;) I started acupuncture 6 months ago. I've done clomid as well! I want you to know you are not alone!!! I've also met soooo many women who have unexplained fertility problems, and to be honest a lot of them find out that they have endometriosis. So if you have bad periods with a lot of pain, look into it! Keep updating your progress! I've been wondering about this diet and fertility, I would think it would help!!!!!
This life style is a huge help in my opinion. I say this because after 18 years of getting my period with the help of either birth control pills or provera, I got my period on my own just last thursday. I have 1 ovary and was diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 14. My period stopped completely when I was 16. Talk about being stoked! My husband and I did infertility treatments for 3 years, 1 year of IVF. We had no viable pregancies and now 35 pnd lighter (30 to go) I got my period on my own. Just keep the faith and keep eating healthy, it will help. Remember it takes time. Keep us updated.
Thanks for the inspiration everyone. I too have had amenorrhea for the past five or so years. Earlier this year I went superhero-ish after being vegetarian for 10 years and started acupuncture. Still no period and I'm starting to get a little frustrated. I'm traveling a lot this summer for work and don't have a choice but to eat fish and some dairy (I travel to Africa and you really have to take what you can get!), and was starting to think about giving it all up even when I get back home. You all are inspiring me to keep with it, and I really hope to get my period naturally again one day! Hearing everyone's stories is a great support, thanks for sharing.