Posts in Food For Thought
Don't Forget to Leave Room For Magic

A few days ago I was chatting with a friend about infertility and how much we dislike the label, "infertile." She shared a story about a loved one that filled me with so much hope.

Someone close to her had been diagnosed with infertility at a pretty young age, which understandably was devastating. Despite her diagnosis, she never stopped trying. And years, I'm talking decades later, the woman spontaneously got pregnant, gave birth to a healthy baby (though she was well past the age that was thought to be possible) AND then got pregnant again and had another healthy little nugget of delight.

It got me thinking about how important it is that we leave a little room in our hearts for magic. That's not always easy to do that with all of our medical diagnoses, stats, predictive equations, risk assessments, and probability analysis that try to tell us how likely we are to conceive right down to the 100th decimal place, but it's so important.

Miracles happen every single day. Our bodies were designed to heal and find balance. I've seen, heard about, and read too many stories of folks who have overcome the insurmountable and have done the impossible to not believe in magic and miracles.

And if you take a look at your life or the lives of people you know, I'm sure you've experienced things that defy science too.

I'm a huge fan of science. I believe in the power of science. Maintaining my credentials mandates that I practice in line with science. But I also know science doesn't have all the answers. Yeah, I said it.

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What You Need to Know About Marijuana and Your Fertility

I've been putting off writing this post for awhile now.  

Mary Jane, weed, pot, Bobo bash, no matter what you call it, marijuana can be a very polarizing topic. And I tend to steer clear of controversy, at least in my online life. 

When you talk about cannabis, folks tend to assume you're a pothead. Add in my fro, fondness for boho fashion, and love of essential oils, and it's easy for people to assume I must be.

Truth be told, aside from the time in elementary school when my older friend (who had much older friends) rolled sugar, pepper, and dried grass from her backyard in a sheet of loose leaf paper and offered it to me as a makeshift dooby, I've never been offered a smoke of anything, nor have I ever smoked anything. But just because I choose not to, doesn't mean I'm completely against others choosing to.

There are medically legitimate reasons to take it. And it's the most used recreational drug in the US. Nearly half of the US population has tried it at least once. With more and more states decriminalizing its use, medical marijuana going mainstream (heck, even Whoopi Goldberg has medical cannabis line of products for menstrual issues), and Well + Good dubbing cannabis as one of THE wellness trends to watch in 2017, I'm sure its use is only going to continue increase.

Before we get started, remember I'm not here to pass a moral judgment, I just want to provide you with the info. That way you can make a decision that's right for you, your health, and your fertility.

That being said, I would be an awful healthcare practitioner if I didn't say, the American College of Gynecologists strongly encourages women to avoid taking or using marijuana in all it's forms while TTC, pregnant, or breastfeeding.

Alright, let's jump in and answer your questions about fertility and marijuana.

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Food, Fertility, and Folklore: Cabbage

If I wasn't a dietitian, I would absolutely be an anthropologist. I love learning about other cultures, especially a culture's food, reproductive rituals, dance, and spirituality. So, I thought I'd bring a bit of that to the blog through a new series: Food, Fertility, and Folklore.

I'll be sharing foods that are commonly eaten or given as a gift to improve or bless fertility in different cultures. Then we'll take a look at the science behind that food and its possible effect on fertility. 

First up, cabbage!

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The Dietitian Dishes #2: I Don't Do Meal Plans

About two weeks ago the strangest thing happened. Nearly every patient who came in expected (some demanded) me to create the perfect meal plan, the magic bullet that would finally cause them to shed the pounds they had been trying to lose for years. In a single hour, I would write a miracle plan that would wipe away years of struggle.

I'm sure you can imagine their shock and disappointment when I told them I wouldn't be giving them a strict diet to follow. They were equally shocked (and maybe a little offended) when I asked them, "If I write a meal plan for you today, how will it be different than all the other diets you started and then stopped in the past; what will make you stick to this one if you didn't stick to all the others?" My intention wasn't to be rude but to get them thinking. Blank stares and for a small few, introspection followed.

For the introspective few a light bulb went off. The aha moment! The true spark that ignites lasting change was lit. They realized they didn't need a new diet. A diet would only last a few days, weeks, or months at best. They had done that before and it didn't work. They needed a new way of thinking, relating to food, and living they could stick to for the rest of their lives.

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Breasts: Babies' Perfect Meal Dispensers or Sexual Playthings?

I'm feeling a little brave today, which could be a good thing or a bad thing. We'll see. In honor of World Breastfeeding Week I wanted to discuss something that may turn some folks off: the multipurpose breast!

I can't tell you the number of times I have spoken with a pregnant woman about what she is planning to do after her baby is born, breastmilk or formula, and she sheepishly tells me she wants to give her baby breastmilk but ONLY by bottle. Now, I have no problem with that. To each her own. Do you boo, but the sheepishness always lets me know there is something more there we need to unpack.

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Why I Chose Women's Health and Fertility Nutrition

Have you ever seen a woman give birth? It is one of the most powerful, touching, and downright frightening events this world has ever seen. It happens every single day, yet it is anything but ordinary.

After 40 weeks of being molded and sculpted out of sight, a new life readies itself to enter this world. Suddenly, it's time for the world to receive a beautiful gift. A woman bears excruciating pain, bares her most private of parts without shame, and pushes with all she has, all in hopes of finally locking eyes with the child who already holds her heart. But she rarely does it alone.

Surrounding her from start to finish are relatives and friends, all serving as mommy coaches and cheerleaders. There are doctors, nurses, and midwives providing medical care and support. She is cocooned by community, and most within her community are other women. It's been that way forever. Women have been helping other women give birth to and mother children from time immemorial. And from well before this blog was ever even a thought in my mind, I have longed to be a part of that community of women. I have longed to support other women along their journey to create and nurture life.

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The Dietitian Dishes: I Don't Count Calories

I confess! I have absolutely no clue EXACTLY how many more calories a quarter cup of almonds provides compared to a quarter cup of pistachios. Daily, people ask me how many calories are in a food and I typically have to answer, "I don't know, I'll have to look it up." They then usually look at me with an expression of shock and dismay. Oh, the scandal!

It's expected that as a dietitian-nutritionist I have a database of calorie counts for every food under the sun in my mind. It's also assumed I count calories myself to guide my dietary choices and teach others to do the same. But honestly, none of these three are true.

Do I think calorie counting has value? Absolutely! Do I stress it when I meet with patients? Rarely. Why not? Because low calorie does not necessarily equal healthful or beneficial. From what I have seen, focusing on calories breeds (or maybe it is the result of) a mindset of deprivation and punishment.

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Wellness Benefits of Journaling: Month Long Journaling Challenge

This month I'm determined to journal consistently. Every. Single. Day. I recently read The Miracle Morning, a book which walks you through properly setting the tone of your day by completing six daily practices. Journaling (or scribing as it is called in the book) is one of the daily practices emphasized to set your mind on the right track to achieve your goals and dreams.

Many accomplished people attribute at least a portion of their success to journaling. I'm fully committed to joining that group.

I think I'll mostly free write, letting my mind wander where it will. I want the words that fill the pages to be uncensored and honest. Although, I did read something today that has my mind spinning and I am eager to get my thoughts on paper. What was it? A simple question: "Why are you hiding?"

To make this more fun, I have two lovely journals ready to receive my thoughts and ideas. I also made peacock feather pens to add some color and beauty to my daily routine.

I was curious about what science had to say, if anything, about the benefits of expressive writing. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found!

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