In 2022, taking care of ourselves has never felt more overwhelming. As amazing as it is to have access to the internet and the plethora of health + wellness resources available everywhere, this overstimulation can easily make me feel like I’m not doing enough. There are also a lot of inconsistencies and opposing views on which products and practices are truly supportive of reaching optimal health.
As a woman in child-bearing years, fertility awareness adds an entirely new layer to the already exhausting pursuit of health. As an avid researcher (I’m a 1/3 profile in human design!, if you know you know!) I’ve gone down my fair share of wellness and personal growth rabbit holes which often leads my head spinning with more questions than answers.
The one thing I always come back to: I feel my best when I do simple acts of self care and nourishment every day, regardless of which biohack or bougie wellness practice is trending 😉
So I’m taking this same no-frills approach with fertility. Sure, there’s technology, trackers, advanced bloodwork, gene testing, very specific/restrictive diets, protocols and endless testimonials that promise miraculous results. But in my case, I find that often the stress and financial burden of advanced practices does more harm than good.
Although I’m in the early stages of this journey, I trust that inner and outer work I have done over the last few years has helped set the stage for me to prepare for motherhood physically, mentally and emotionally.
So in this post I’m sharing my current approach to pre-conception that’s simple enough for any women to implement regardless of her demographic or lifestyle. Below are 7 foundations for supporting my health and the health of my future child(ren).
A primarily organic, plant-forward, micro-nutrient and fiber rich diet that limits processed foods, added sugars, and toxins. At this point in my journey, it also means eliminating animal products while I detox my liver and eliminate EBV.
Our bodies require a lot of micronutrients in comparison to what is in the amount of food we are able to consume. We can only spend so much time and energy preparing, eating and digesting food so having a boost from a trustworthy 3rd party tested supplement can be a great assistance, especially for anyone who has a history of consuming fast food, processed food, and/or if you have low vitamin and mineral levels. Horacio and I are taking the Prenatal duo from Beli Baby that has an optimal blend of vitamins, minerals and adaptogens that support our fertility needs. It’s certified GMP (a must!), non-GMO, and science-backed. The capsules are easy to swallow, and we haven’t experienced any negative side effects, unlike other brands we’ve taken. Visit their site to learn more and for a generous 15% discount with code Ashley_15 =) Or use the direct link my Linktree!
This duo has truly been life-changing for me and I love that it simultaneously supports every system of the body and has a synergetic effect. This ancient Chinese medicine (always choose a licensed, well-trusted practitioner!) is helping to improve my blood counts, nourish my blood, increase fertility, reduce chronic inflammation, and also supports me in getting better sleep. I’m sure there are countless other benefits of acupuncture that my body is so grateful for! If you’re in the Chicago area, I highly recommend Siri at Essential Acupuncture!
An effective and natural way to support hormones by providing extra micronutrients during each of the 4 phases of the female cycle. Not only does it prepare the body for pregnancy but also reduces PMS, may shorten/regulate menstruation, increases energy, and makes us more aware and in-tune with our body’s natural intuitive cycle. Starting this practice early in menstruating years may make the preconception phase more seamless. Seed cycling is often used to treat amennorhea or inconsistent periods alongside other Eastern or Western protocols. My source for plain ground seeds that I use in various ways, is Seed Cycle Blend. I’ve contributed recipes to their eBook and blog, and they share trustworthy info on the female body that is truly empowering! Visit their site to learn more about the details of seed cycling. And for seasonings, cookies, and teas I love Agni For All, which also provides pregnancy and lactation boxes filled with nourishing and delicious treats! The perfect partner for Beli Baby prenatal! Check out Agni’s IG and site for several of my recipes! Use code ASHLEY25 for 25% off any purchase!
Algae, Bee Products + Adaptogens
These all support immunity and contain vital micronutrients needed to support the body’s functions, especially a woman’s increased needs during preconception, pregnancy and postpartum. I take 1 tsp Virgin Raw Foods Bee Panacea a few times per week which is packed with propolis, adaptogenic mushrooms, spirulina, chlorella, and several other potent superfoods. Use code ASHLEY10 for a discount! I also use propolis tincture topically and internally when I’m feeling under the weather. Spirulina is easy to add to desserts, smoothies, and any kind of blended concoction and in addition to excreting heavy metals from the body, is the world’s highest source of protein! Check out my blog recipes for inspiration on using spirulina in your meals! In addition, I typically add maca, ashwaganda, and chaga to my smoothies and lattes because these adaptogens create homeostasis in the body. From nervous system support, sexual function/libido (shoutout to maca here), sleep support, increasing immunity + more, the benefits are truly endless. Most are safe for nearly anyone with any condition, but I recommend discussing with your practitioner and doing your own research as well =) I trust Healthforce Superfoods and Vimergy, and I advise against purchasing random brands on Amazon!
Reducing Caffeine + Adding Herbs
I didn’t truly grasp the role caffeine was playing in my sleep, energy levels, mood, adrenal health, and liver health until I pivoted from 2-3 cups of coffee in the late morning and throughout the afternoon to only 2-3 cups per month! When caffeine accumulates faster than it’s excreted it builds up in the liver. Our livers are often already overburdened with processing viruses, fat, glucose, alcohol, and environmental toxins, and the strains of daily living. There are so many delicious alternatives to coffee that not only taste similar, but have anti-viral hormone-supporting properties. Not to mention I much prefer a calm, grounded feeling instead of feeling jittery and moody every day because I was dependent on a certain caffeine threshold. I now view coffee as an occasional “recreational drug” rather than a daily habit. Some of my favorite beverages to sip on instead include Rasa, Teeccino, Ceremonial Matcha, lemon balm tea, nettle, golden milk (so good iced!), and herbal chai. Discount for my favorite Mantra Matcha is in my link tree bio or use ASHLEY20 for 20% off and free shipping! There are also a variety of flavorful, nutrient-rich loose leaf tea blends on the market that are worth checking out. Rishi is an amazing source, and yogi tea offers so many herbal flavors available at nearly every grocer!
Yoga for Lower Chakras
Although I’ve been a long-time yoga enthusiast, the past few years I have explored more of the nuances that this ancient practice has to offer. One of the most notable benefits of yoga is engaging the parasympathetic aka rest and digest system. Bringing my body back to a calm, neutral state has impacted my life and hormones for the better. Even a simple breath work practice is so powerful in bringing me into the present and that shifts my entire day, even after leaving my mat. I’ve spent a couple years accessing my upper chakras with heart and throat opening poses and doing meditations for my crown chakra but last year I realized I was neglecting my lower chakras: root, sacral and solar plexus. Bringing awareness to these energy points creates a connection with my womb, my femininity, creativity, and provides a sense of peace and grounding – a welcomed feeling considering the fast pace of life. I’m no chakra expert, but I do encourage doing a bit of research and seeing which of the 7 points you have lost touch with over the years. Then find exercises and yoga poses that reaffirm mind-body awareness at these energy centers. Reference Pinterest for some lovely infographics, visuals, and charts that bridge the gap between the woo woo and practical applications 😉
P.S. See my link tree for discount codes for the above brands =)