Tuesday, November 13, 2012

And so it begins

As always, this community continues to amaze me. This past weekend was a rough one, but thanks to all of you I am dusting myself off and preparing for whatever is to come.

Yesterday was CD2, meaning it was time to begin the usual suppression medications. Lupron has been ordered and I'm currently on BCPs. Though no symptoms have been evident, I fully expect to start feeling all those lovely side-effects by the weekend (just in time to record another podcast). If listening to a medicinally-induced menopausal woman talk about infertility and pregnancy loss doesn't grab your attention, this may be one to miss.

Anyway, in preparation for the havoc these drugs will be doing to my body, my acupuncturist and I had a discussion about things I can do to help turn-over the drugs. I haven't written about this since July, but the herbs that I've been on have been amazing regarding regulating my cycles and making PMS virtually nonexistent. With being on the drugs, though, herbs are out (they could potential interfere with the drugs, counteracting their intended purpose), so we had a discussion about the next best thing: food.

I have a love/hate relationship with food. From a young age, my weight was scrutinized, resulting in calorie counting and obsession about what went into my body. It isn't much of a surprise that my eating habits were so awful for years based on this, with me focusing too much on what the back of the package said vs. what I was actually eating.

All of that changed for a time when I moved to Seattle. Living in the Mint House meant communal living and sharing food. I learned from the Mint Ladies to stop focusing on the package and to instead focus on the product, the presentation and the portion size. Slowly, I began to love food for what it was. Meeting Grey only enhanced this, as he and his roommate would spend hours perfecting various recipes. It was through them I learned it was important to toss the margarine and embrace butter as well as how to incorporate spice, various types of vegetable cuts and most importantly patience. And it wasn't a terribly surprising consequence that my waistline began to shrink as I learned to eat better.

Then infertility hit. Though I was still mindful of food, being balanced went out the window. Instead of feeding my body, I was focusing on what to eat/not to eat while TTC. The balance I had found with various types of foods was gone and it wasn't long before bad habits started creepy back in. Over the past 3 years, I've managed to add 20 lbs to my frame. While other's talk about how they lose weight while undergoing IVF, I added (and was envious of those who were able to lose) and worried that the weight was adding to the increased symptoms and negatively impacting our changes. The inability to wear certain pieces of clothing or things becoming tight have been physical reminders of all the failure.

My acupuncturist equals all of this to an increase in dampness to my body. The idea being that as moisture has accumulated and become stagnant, so has the weight. Part of the problem with the increase in dampness has been my daily commute (2 hours round trip 5 days a week is certainly taking a toll), but also to me not clearing things. So, we talked about what I could do in order to stave off some of the negative side-effects of the drugs.

She started by recommending a couple of books. The first is called "Healing with Whole Foods," by Paul Pitchford. What she liked about this book is that it incorporates Chinese medicine with Western nutrition. Though there are things she doesn't agree with, in general it was a good place to start. The other book is called "The Self Healing Cookbook," by Kristina Turner.

As I'm waiting for these books from the library, she gave me a list of additions to/subtracts from my diet. Some will be harder than others.
-Beets (roasted ones, if possible)
-Beans (Lentil soup anyone?)
-Leafy greens
-Green tea

-Coffee (this one may kill me)
-Excessive sugar
-Soy (minimize this one)

The adds are clearly easier than the subtracts.

So, I'm slowly weaning myself off of coffee (I hate decaf, so it's better to reduce as much as possible) and minimizing sugar. In addition to this, I've come to the realization that beer needs to go too. In the meantime, I've been experimenting with ways to prep greens (roasted beets with balsamic vingar, kale with garlic and pepper flasks) as well as stocking up on old staples. All in the hopes of getting a leg up on Lulu.

Two BCPs down. 2.7 weeks to go.


  1. Hmmm...I might have to check those books out. Good luck adding the beets...one of my least favorite things! Man I wish healthy and clean eating was easy :)

  2. Good list. Ive been off the leaded for a couple years now. You'll get used to the decaf. Hang in there lady!!!

  3. I know you hate decaf, but when I was going through treatments, I switched to a high quality, organic Swiss-water decaf... Not ideal, but made it bearable!

    I too gained more weight than I wish I did through treatments... Losing it is not nearly as much fun as eating unlimited chocolate! I'll have to check out your cookbooks!

  4. I love some kitchen adventures with whole foods and balanced eating! Google massaged kale and poke around some of those recipes. The professor and I love the flavor when it is massaged. We eat it cold with salad toppings of gently warm it in a skillet right before serving (not cooking it, just warming). A delicious way to get another green into your diet!

    As for this upcoming FET: I am so glad that you are moving forward. I know it is scary, but also realize it is so important to give all your embryos a chance. While I might not be great TTC support right now, do know I'm keeping you both and your last embabies in my thoughts and that I'm ALWAYS here to listen... or to recommend a new way to prepare some veggies :) xoxo

  5. Beets? Oh my goodness I would have to choke that one down. Once I stopped my coffee addiction during first ivf, it was easy to stay away. If I drink coffee now it makes me sick. Never thought I would give up one of my great loves. Gosh I really love reading that you have decided to give your snow babies a shot! Love it!

  6. Hey there... long time follower, first time commenter. :) I'm really excited for this cycle (and possibly even more excited for this upcoming podcast!). My advice for all these diet modifications is to figure out what your "treat" will be -- if you're cutting out all the fun things like sugar and coffee and alcohol, you need something that will sate your cravings more than kale and beets. Maybe a coconut-milk based ice cream? Or some high-quality dark chocolate?

  7. I love beets, especially roasted ones. They are also really good pickled. Both make lovely additions to salad. If you haven't already tried golden beets, I would. They are my favorite kind. I tend to eat lacinto kale braised with garlic and red onion.

    I'm sorry you need to give up the coffee, that's a hard one. I can live without soy or sugar, but coffee, not so much. My TCM dr was always telling me to not eat wheat. I was never able to comply with that.

    I hope you can keep lulu at bay. She's no good!

  8. I'm so happy to hear you've got a great acupuncturist in your corner. I think everyone could benefit from having one of those. The direction, I'm sure, is helpful for both your head and heart.

    I'm not a lover of sports, but I know when there is a lot on the line, having your head in the game is most important. That, and the support from your teammates. I'm so Team-Cristy it's crazy. Like, I want to make Tshirts and bumper stickers and stuff.

  9. America's Test Kitchen has a wonderful recipe that utlizes either kale or collard greens (you choose)in their Tuscan Bean Soup. I am a big soup lover and fan of all things culinary. You can find the recipe online through Google if you just enter 'Tuscan Bean Soup and Americas Test Kitchen'.

  10. I love beets. Never had them roasted. Only boiled or pickled or candied. I'm going to have to try them roasted. Love artichokes too but they take so long to eat the butter gets cold.

  11. Oh I hear you! I have 20lbs that needs to come off and is as stubborn as ever. After Christmas I will attempt to give up coffee once again. It just sucks, sucks, sucks!

  12. My husband loves beets, but I think they taste like dirt. That would be a hard one for me, but everything else sounds good. I have days when it's just really hard for me to eat right, and then, of course, I feel guilty about it, which doesn't help at all. I hope this change in diet works for you.

  13. Hi Cristy. I am following along even though I'm a sparse commenter lately. Your news totally took me by surprise and I'm really hopeful for you. Lots of love, friend!

  14. I need to cut out the sugar myself. Roasted beets are delicious!! I love them in the oven with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Yum.

    I wanted to get on the list for the next fertility sock exchange, but didn't see a comments area under the "fertility socks" tab. :-)

  15. I think it's great you are being proactive. I also gained during treatments and it hasn't been easy to feel good about myself since, but I know that all too soon I can start focusing on getting my body and health back. I look forward to it.
    Beets are good! I hope you find some great recipes!


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