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UPDATE Sept. 2018 – While the info I share in today’s blog post (and all of my “Let’s Get Personal” blog posts) will be helpful to those who are starting out on their healing journeys, I felt it pertinent to post a quick update as to where I am now in my healing journey. It has been quite the adventure with all sorts of ups and downs, twists and turns. I got to a point where I no longer felt drawn to share so many intimate details so I stopped writing the Let’s Get Personal series in 2016. If you would like to get the most recent update on my health and healing journey, please read this post, 3 Reasons Why I No Longer Share About My Healing Journey Online. or watch the video below. You are always more than welcome to email me with any questions as well! Cheers! ~Jessica
Featured Image Above Credit sxc.hu and Rotorhead
This is going to be a long post, but I really hope you’ll bear with me and read through it. I hope that the information I share will be helpful to at least one person.
I am not saying that lowering your carbohydrates is going to magically make you fertile. I’m also not saying that this is the be-all end-all for wellness. What I am saying is that getting your blood sugar under control is the first step that you can take in improving your fertility. To get your blood sugar under control, going low-carb has been proven time and time again to be effective. Nothing in your body can be healed if there are underlying metabolic (i.e. blood sugar) issues. That is a fact. Some people are going to struggle with blood sugar issues for the rest of their lives. In order to control those, they might have to remain low carb. Find what works for you and your body and stick with it. But, don’t kid yourself and think that you have nothing to worry about on the blood sugar front. I’d venture to say that almost everyone walking around today has some sort of blood sugar imbalance.
Also, I am just sharing my experiences, because I truly believe that by sharing our stories with one another, we can learn and heal.
OK. Read on.
DISCLAIMER: The content shared on this site is for informational and educational purposes only. Statements/products discussed have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease or illness. Please consult your own certified health care practitioner before making changes to your current diet or before beginning any herbal or vitamin supplement regimen or exercise program.
Let’s Talk About Blood Sugar
So, like I mentioned a couple weeks ago, the reason I have decided to put my health in the front seat is because I am concerned about my fertility. My husband and I would like to start a family in a couple years and I honestly have fears that I won’t be able to conceive. Now that I have received all of my blood work, we know where we stand and can start making a road map for healing. I’ll discuss more of my diagnosis in a different post.
First and foremost. If you don’t know how your blood sugar works, then please read this post: “How Does Your Blood Sugar Work?” Please note that: “Blood sugar balance (or blood glucose level) is one of the 2 most tightly regulated systems in the body, with the other being blood pH.” So yeah. It’s kind of important. I don’t want to go into the basics of blood sugar in this post, in an effort to save time, so read the one above to get the overview of how it works and what normal numbers are.
The more blog posts and comments and Facebook posts that I read from people around the Web, the more and more clear it becomes that people simply do not understand how the blood sugar system works and why it is CRITICAL that it is managed well.
Blood sugar has to be managed before ANYTHING else can be addressed.
I cannot stress the importance of this enough, and I think many other people, people who are much more educated and popular than me, would agree.
You cannot sit there and tell me that you’re eating all these carbs and that it is having no effect on your blood sugar and insulin. If you continuously dump excess carbs (even “good” carbs like soaked and sprouted grains, legumes, breads, etc.) into your system, sooner or later, you will have blood sugar issues. Note, I said excess. Some carbohydrate intake is necessary. Grains, pasta, potato chips, ice cream, bread, cakes, cookies, etc., at every meal, or even a few times a week, are not necessary.
But, I digress.
The first thing that one must do to improve their fertility is get their blood sugar under control.
Now, before you say (and boy, have I heard this 1,000 times in the last couple weeks), “I get my blood sugar checked every year and it’s normal“, let me just tell you that even if that lab comes back normal, there is still a chance that there are still underlying issues that you’re not aware of. That is simply because doctors don’t do anything but the bare basics when it comes to checking blood sugar metabolism. As long as the standard lab comes back “normal”, that’s good enough from them. Believe me, because it happened to me.
The standard lab that most of us have received is the Fasting Blood Glucose test (FBG). According to Chris Kresser, “It only tells us how blood sugar behaves in a fasting state. It tells us very little about how your blood sugar responds to the food you eat.”
Before we proceed, let me just say that I am speaking from personal experience here. In all the years that I have been getting my yearly physicals (about 14 years total), I have never had my standard blood sugar test come back abnormal (the FBG is the only one I’ve ever had). Scratch that, it came back abnormal one time, when I was in college and eating loads of crap. I stopped eating crap, had it re-tested in 3 months and I was normal again. That was a good lesson for me that if you eat crap, you get crappy results.
Fast forward 14 years of normal blood sugar tests to today. Last week, I got my blood sugar tests back. And they were not what we expected.
First, I had the C-Peptide test, which is used to monitor insulin production and to help determine the cause of low blood sugar. That came back in the normal range.
Second, I had the FBG, I also had my Hemoglobin A1c test done, which came back in the normal range, but it was on the higher end of the range.
Lastly, I had to have a 2-hour monitored blood glucose test done. This is called the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). For this test (if you’ve never had one of them) they prick your finger and take your fasting blood sugar. Then, they give you this DISGUSTING, fake orange flavored, glucose-laden, nasty drink and have you chug it (ewwwwwwwwwwwww!). Then, they test your blood sugar at hour 1 and then hour 2. You get three blood sugar readings in all.
According to the OGTT, I am diabetic.
Now, before you ask why I’m not freaking out, let me tell you why I’m not.
1. My doctor didn’t freak out about it.
2. My other numbers are “normal”.
3. I have been, and will continue eating, low-carb, because I know it works, and my doctor knows it works, and has had countless success stories with this form of eating.
4. I don’t really think that the OGTT is the best test in the world. According to Chris Kresser, “The other problem with the OGTT is that it’s completely artificial. I don’t know anyone who drinks a pure solution of 75 grams of glucose. A 32-oz Big Gulp from 7-11 has 96 grams of sugar, but 55% of that is fructose, which produces a different effect on blood sugar. The OGTT can be a brutal test for someone with impaired glucose tolerance, producing intense blood sugar swings far greater than what one would experience from eating carbohydrates.”
When we got the labs back, I was so pleased with my doctor’s reactions. He never once mentioned medication. He never once gave me a diagnosis of being diabetic. He just said, “Interesting” and then proceeded to discuss diet and nutrition with me (which included him advocating that I eat lots of coconut oil. NICE!).
This is totally fixable. And, for the record, I don’t think that I am diabetic. I think that there is definitely something out of whack in my body and it could be a combination of various things, including my thyroid and adrenal health (which I will discuss in a different post). I know that with a continued low-carb diet, exercise, and some weight loss, things will correct themselves.
Now, I want to state something right here and now.
Prior to this test, I was not gorging on lots of heavy-carb filled meals, lots of sweets, and tons of sugar and soda. I was eating a real food diet (think Nourishing Traditions), with lots of protein, fats, fruits, and some grains. I was by no means eating a your Standard American Diet (SAD).
<begin pity party>
To be brutally honest, when I saw these numbers I was shocked, because it seemed unfair. Here I was, doing what I thought was best, and it wasn’t enough. It’s unfair that I try to live a healthy life, and this is what I get. Look at all the people walking around eating Big Macs and chugging down Big Gulps, and here I am eating, grass-fed dairy, grass-fed meats, properly prepared grains, etc., and I am the one with problems? Dammit.
<end pity party>
That said, I am really glad I got all of these additional labs done, because now I know where I stand. I didn’t feel any different than I usually do. I had no idea that something was amiss with my blood sugar. I didn’t have any diabetic symptoms. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that I was having blood sugar issues. So, I was actually quite shocked at my results.
The last time I had blood work, which wasn’t that long ago, the doctor said everything was “normal”. But, then again, that doctor only ran what was considered standard (the FBG test). They didn’t think about doing all of the additional testing that my new doctor has done. It makes me wonder if there were underlying issues for quite some time, but because I was always “normal” no one thought anything different.
Hmmm … food for thought there if you’ve always had normal labs … Just because you don’t think you have blood sugar issues does not mean that you really are in the clear. I had no clue about mine.
If you want more great reading about blood sugar, I strongly encourage you to check out these two posts from Chris Kresser:
When your “normal” blood sugar isn’t normal (Part 1)
When your “normal” blood sugar isn’t normal (Part 2)
OK, Let’s Talk About Babies
Imbalanced blood sugar, insulin resistance, and diabetes WILL have negative effects on your fertility.
A simple Google search will yield millions of results that will back that statement up.
So, put down the potato chips, set down the bowl of properly prepared rice, and lay down the sandwich made on sprouted wheat bread, and let’s get down to business.
In just a sampling of the literature I have read on this subject of blood sugar imbalance and infertility, Dr. John Briffa says that carbohydrates are linked to infertility in women:
Sometimes, problems with ovulation can relate to a condition known as polycystic ovarian syndrome or ‘PCOS’. Individuals with this condition often have problems with sugar and insulin regulation in the body. A mainstay of medical treatment for PCOS are drugs designed primarily for diabetes. Treating women with PCOS with these drugs has been found to improve ovulatory function.
Other evidence has linked higher levels of HbA1c (a measure of blood sugar control over the last 2-3 months) and reduced fertility.
These lines of evidence suggest that, generally speaking, high levels of blood sugar-disruptive carbohydrates in the diet might be bad news for female fertility.
Dr. Briffa goes on to say,
…The results of this study found that compared to women eating diets of lower GL values, those eating diets with the highest GL were 92 per cent more likely to suffer from ovulatory infertility. Total carbohydrate intake was also associated with risk of ovulatory fertility, with highest intakes associated with a 91 per cent increased risk compared to the lowest intakes.
As a disclaimer, I don’t know if I have PCOS. That is an area that I have not looked into, but at the rate things are going, I wouldn’t be surprised.
So, simply put (because it is a little more complex than this), eating excess carbohydrates –> leads to blood sugar imbalances –> leads to issues with fertility.
Note that I say excess. Again, some carbs are needed in our diet, however, that intake is way less than you would think. We do not need to eat bread with breakfast, grains with lunch, and pasta with dinner, in order to be healthy. It’s time that we start changing our perceptions of what is considered healthy. Just because your grains have been soaked and sprouted, your cakes are made with coconut flour and honey, and your ice cream is homemade, doesn’t mean those things are healthy! And, please, spare me the “everything in moderation” excuse. Do you eat arsinic in moderation? How about smoking? Is that OK in moderation?
On August 1st, I started Lydia’s (from Divine Health) Blood Sugar Control Challenge. I have also transitioned my style of eating from a traditional foods (aka. Nourishing Traditions) style, to a more Paleo/Primal style. I have received countless comments about how that will do more harm than good, but frankly, I don’t buy it. I have been moderate/high carb up until this point, but I am going to become more strictly low-carb, at least for awhile. Perhaps once my blood sugar issues are stabilized, I can start adding more carbs in. But, I know that I will never go back to grains, because frankly, I feel SO much better without them in my diet. And, even when I do start adding more carbs in, I can’t see going over 100 grams per day. Now that I am accustomed to this style of eating, I don’t crave carbs. I don’t want sweets. I don’t even miss my favorite sourdough bread. I feel full and satiated and pleased with the foods I am eating.
Coincidentally, I just found this article from Liz at Paleo Pregnancy Guide:
A Paleo diet isn’t necessarily a low-carb diet, but sometimes reducing your carbohydrate intake can be beneficial. This has proven to be the case when it comes to improving fertility. Specialist Dr. Michael D. Fox from the Jacksonville Center for Reproductive Medicine says that nutrition plays an important role in fertility, and ovulation disorders are often the result of elevated insulin levels caused by excess carbohydrate in the diet.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is frequently found in those who have trouble conceiving. It is now the number-one cause of infertility. This hormonal disturbance is closely related to metabolic syndrome and is often found in women who struggle with their weight.
According to Dr. Fox, women at his clinic who follow a low-carb diet double their chances of conception. Those who stick to a diet as close to zero carbs as possible rarely need aggressive therapies and become pregnant in one or two cycles with simple oral fertility drugs.
Let’s Talk Carbs
So, how many carbs should you be eating? According to this article from Mark’s Daily Apple, the amount of carbs that we need to survive is much less than you would think.
0-50 carbs per day for a ketosis state and accelerated fat burning (it’s wise to be under the care of a physician if you’re going to drop this low). I am personally in the 40-50 carbs per day range, per the request of my doctor.
50-100 grams per day is the “primal sweet spot for effortless weight loss”, because it minimizes insulin production.
100-150 grams per day is the optimal maintenance range.
150-300 per day is going to equate steady weight gain.
300+ carbs per day puts you in the danger zone!
For all you people who may have skipped reading the “How Does Your Blood Sugar Work” post above, you might not be getting the full effects of what I am writing. Try reading this one instead: “The Definitive Guide to Insulin, Blood Sugar & Type 2 Diabetes (and you’ll understand it)“.
For optimal health, the 100-150 range is a good range, provided you have no blood sugar issues and that fact has been established through proper testing. If you are able to consume that many carbs, it is a lot easier to reach that 100-150 mark than you would think. Just take a look at these numbers — and these are just basic foods, not even full meals. Also, it doesn’t matter if these are homemade or store bought. Carbs are carbs are carbs. Our bodies treat them the same way.
- 1 cup brown rice = 45 grams carbs
- 1 cup white rice = 37 carbs
- 1 slice wheat bread = 15 carbs
- 1 slice sourdough bread = 19 carbs
- 1 whole wheat pancake (6″) = 38 carbs
- 1/2 cup dry rolled oats = 32 carbs
- 2oz (approx. 3/4 cup cooked) whole grain spaghetti = 42 carbs
- 1 small Russet potato = 30 grams carbs
- 1 cup hashbrowns = 55 carbs
- 1 cup sweet potato = 41 carbs
- 1 cup quinoa = 39 carbs
- 1 cup black beans = 41 carbs
- 1 cup pinto beans = 45 carbs
- 1 cup whole milk = 13 carbs
So, the fact is: If your blood sugar is messed up, your fertility is messed up. Simple as that.
So, if you are at all serious about (a) conceiving, (b) living a long, healthy life, (c) losing weight and feeling better, (d) avoiding disease later in life, or (e) any or all of the above, this is what I recommend:
1. Get serious about this. Realize that blood sugar regulation is delicate and can easily be messed up. This is serious. I cannot stress that enough. Even if you’ve never had your FBG come back abnormal, there could still be underlying issues.
2. Get your doctor to do some additional blood sugar testing and see what your results are. Get your normal FBG lab, but also request the C-Peptide, the Hemoglobin A1c, and, if you are really curious, the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test, but let me warn you, it is nasty, nasty stuff.
3. Get a blood sugar monitor and start testing at home. This is going to be the easiest and most efficient way to see what is really going on with your blood sugar levels.
4. Reduce your stress. Stress interferes with proper blood glucose levels. Stress also makes you fat and diabetic.
5. Exercise. Exercise plays an important role in blood sugar control. Plus, you get all the awesome other benefits from it like, a healthier heart, less jiggle in the belly, and a nicer butt.
6. Lose that extra weight. Understand that extra weight has detrimental effects on your blood sugar. Now, I don’t believe that we all fall into the “ideal” weight ranges that the medical community sets forth, however, even 20 or 30 extra pounds can have a major effect on your overall health, including your blood sugar. I don’t think the “experts” would disagree with me on this either. There is no good reason for women to carry around an extra 20, 30, 40 pounds. Women should be curvy, but curves don’t weigh that much.
7. Get lots and lots of sleep. Get less than 6 hours on most nights and you’re 3 times more likely to have elevated blood sugar levels.
8. Say goodbye to excess carbs. This doesn’t mean that you can never have a cup of kefired ice cream or a homemade brownie ever again (two of my favorite indulgences – I can’t help but stare at the photos and shed a small tear). But, you can’t have them until you get your blood sugar issues resolved. And, even then, they should be reserved for very special occasions and do not need to be eaten daily, or even weekly. Think birthdays and anniversaries.
I could go on and on and on. This is such a huge topic with so much information. I have barely scratched the surface, but my recent fascination with this subject has been brought on by conversations with my doctor, medical industry experts, my nutritional therapist, and many friends who are also facing similar challenges right now. The information I share above is true. It’s just up to you to choose what you believe.
Oh, and P.S. There is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY more that goes into your fertility and thyroid health than just checking your temperature. That is NOT a good gauge of whether or not you are fertile and healthy. Get your blood sugar sorted out and then let’s talk about temperature.
Talk to me. I want to hear your feedback! Let’s start the discussion below!
Health Journey Update – 8/18/15
Here are a few videos of my current progress. To see even more up-to-date info on my personal health journey, check out my YouTube channel here.
Support Your Stress Response, Adrenals, Thyroid, and Whole Body Through Herbs
When it comes to supporting overall wellness, herbs are a great tool to have in your toolkit, especially those who may be dealing with chronic illness of some type. Since 2009, when I started this site, I have met thousands upon thousands of people through my work and by far, the #1 health complaints are:
- adrenal fatigue (or adrenal dysfunction of some sort) (click here to read all of my adrenal health articles)
- thyroid disorders (hypo-, hyper-, or autoimmune) (click here to read all of my thyroid health articles)
Because of this, I wanted to add in a section into this post about the benefit of using herbs with chronic illness. Adaptogens are by far one of the most used herbs when it comes to working with people who have low energy, fatigue, and overall imbalance in the endocrine system (thyroid, adrenals, and blood sugar).
While the benefits of adaptogenic herbs extend far beyond just supporting that one system, this tends to be one of the main reasons people turn to adaptogenic herbs in the first place. That said there are a lot of other herbs out there that offer amazing support for the body, especially those dealing with chronic illness which is why I wanted to share this section today.
If you are dealing with any type of chronic illness, I’m sorry to break it to you, but caffeine may not be your best friend. 🙁 While you can find lots of info online in both the pro- and the anti-coffee camps, the fact of the matter comes down to the fact that are a lot of people dealing with chronic illness, especially thyroid and adrenal problems, that simply cannot tolerate coffee and caffeine.
While those with sluggish adrenal glands tend to feel run down and in need of a regular pick-me-up (like coffee and other caffeinated beverages), in the long run, caffeine can do more harm than good while you are healing. I go into the “whys” around caffeine and your adrenals in this detailed post here. In addition to the caffeine, there are other constituents, molds, and mycotoxins that can show up in coffee that some people find they react to and can further exacerbate the toxic load on the body.
When I was diagnosed with autoimmune disease and adrenal fatigue, one of the first things that had to go was coffee. In addition to dealing with these issues, we suspected that I was having some detox pathway sluggishness so we wanted to also focus on supporting the liver and lymph systems. Most people who are dealing with chronic illness are also going to have issues with detoxification of the body, which is why herbs can play such an important role.
To be honest, I never drank coffee because of the caffeine. I drank coffee for the taste and aroma, as well as the emotional experience I felt to my morning cup of joe. For me, it was a ritual that I looked forward to every day (and sometimes multiple times a day). Whether I was brewing it at home or going to my local coffee shops, the experience was one that I clung to tightly.
But, when I was faced with new health struggles, I knew I had to do whatever I could to support my body and give it the tools it needed to heal. Giving up coffee and caffeine was one step in this direction.
And it sucked.
I turned to the coffee substitutes on the market in a desperate attempt to recreate the ritual I had grown so fond of, but nothing ever tasted the way I wanted it to. Nothing ever gave me that same experience that my cup of “real” coffee did. I knew there had to be something better, but I simply could not find it on my health food store’s shelves.
Necessity is the mother of invention so that is why I created my own coffee substitutes. They were made with organic, sustainably harvested herbs with zero grains, zero gluten, and zero caffeine. Just herbs.
Herbs that not only tasted delicious but supported my body’s function, like liver detox, bile production, digestion, etc. All of the herbs used in my “coffee” blends have been used for thousands of years to support the body’s normal functions and help everything work a little better — something we all need in today’s toxic world! (psst, dandelion is one of the herbs!)
When it came to creating these blends, if I could get something to not only tasted amazing (and helped me recreate my dearly loved ritual), but also did amazingly supportive things for my body, then it’s a no brainer!
I sold these pre-made blends on Etsy for awhile and the demand was more than I could keep up with. People literally LOVED these blends and were stunned at how much like coffee they actually tasted. Customers who had been dealing with a variety of chronic illnesses had given up coffee to heal their bodies, but like me were deeply missing their morning cup of joe ritual.
After careful consideration and work with some highly experienced advisors, I decided to stop selling the pre-made blends and instead share my proprietary recipes in the form of an eBook. That way I could arm people with the knowledge and recipes they needed to make their own caffeine-free, gluten-free, grain-free blends in the comfort of their own home.
That is why I created the best-selling DIY Herbal Coffees eBook: A Complete Guide To Making Delicious Herbal Coffees to Support Healing & Stress Relief.
Now in its second edition, this ebook features:
- All of my proprietary herbal blend recipes to you can craft a homemade herbal cup of “coffee” at home.
- A ton of researched information about coffee’s impact on the health of those dealing with issues like adrenal fatigue, blood sugar dysregulation, autoimmune disease, thyroid disease, and any other chronic illness.
- Information about all of the herbs used, why I selected them, how to source them, how to prepare and store you “coffees”, and much more.
- Access to your own personal coffee shop where I show you how to recreate your favorite coffee shop drinks and pastries with wholesome, nourishing real food ingredients. No junk here. Only real food.
This book truly is a comprehensive guide to supporting your health, reducing your stress, and bringing a little something special back into your healing journey. You can learn more and download your own copy of this revolutionary wellness guide here, or simply click on the image below.
Thank you! All this information is very helpful. I went through infertility before we had our daughter. My mom also went through many years of infertility and is now a diabetic. I am not diabetic, but I do have PCOS and am not overwieght and we are struggling again to concieve. I am worried that my daughter will have the same isses as my mother and myself.
Thank you for your posts, I am reading all of them!
Hi Rosalind – Thank you for sharing some of your story! It is always nice to know what other people have gone through. We learn so much from one another. I pray that you are able to conceive again. I am so scared that when that time comes, I won’t be able to, which is why I am getting so aggressive about health right now. I have always tried to do the best health-wise for many years, but it is obvious that it’s time to kick it into high gear! I appreciate your readership and your feedback and I look forward to hearing from you more!!! 🙂
“. . . people simply do not understand how the blood sugar system works and why it is CRITICAL that it is managed well.”
This is so true. It’s amazing how the cases of metabolic disorders and nutritional deficiencies continue to increase because of the “fats are bad/carbs are healthy” mindset, yet the majority still follow this dead-end road. It’s heartbreaking, especially since what we do today affects future generations.
Hi Liz – Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting! I love your blog and am a regular reader!! When I saw what you posted the other day, I knew I just HAD to write this post. So, you were a bit of inspiration for me! 🙂
A lot of this information is spot on. I wonder where an emphasis on intuitive eating is within this framework?
Also: the evidence shows that #6, weight loss, is actually just weight “cycling” in 95-99% of people. There is absolutely no evidence that weight loss increases health. Only .01%-5% of people who lose weight ( yes, even with “moderate” healthy eating plans etc) succeed in keeping it off for more than a couple years, even if they keep their new habits up.
There is a lot of evidence linking weight loss ( which given these statistics can only be called “weight cycling”) and regain ie yoyo dietingto metabolic syndrome.
All of these stats are available in the book Health at every Size which I strongly recommend.
Also, there are some paleo docs who find that too low of carbs in the diet hurts fertility: worth a google.
Maggie – Intuitive eating only happens when you are in tune with your body and you know what is good nutrition and what is not. Most people don’t know that and need to learn how to do that. It goes with that old adage that “common sense isn’t so common”.
Weight cycling is bad. I totally agree. And, it can lead to metabolic syndrome. No dispute there. I do, however, disagree with your statement that there is no evidence that weight loss increases health. Pretty sure most doctors would disagree with you on that. Being overweight puts countless stressors on your body, especially your blood sugar. Blood sugar affects everything else in your body and mismanaged blood sugar leads to countless diseases. I don’t think that people need to always meet the “standard weight chart” that we’re all familiar with, but we should try to avoid excess weight because there are countless ways that extra weight throws our systems out of whack.
I am not sure that I agree with you that too low carb can potentially hurt fertility, however, the issue that I am addressing is that one MUST get their blood sugar under control before they can ever hope to improve their fertility, thyroid health, etc. You have to START with blood sugar and then work your way through the system. In order to get blood sugar under control, low-carb is the best way. And, there have been countless scientific studies that prove that.
Thanks for stopping by!
Thank you for such a nice write-up… I have PCOS. I am hypoglycemic (I don’t think I was ever really told the importance of that diagnosis). I have fertility problems.
I have this gut feeling about modern medicine treating my PCOS to get pregnant- if my body isn’t healthy enough to GET pregnant, how will I be healthy enough to carry a pregnancy?? So, after a year of trying on our own, my husband and I went to see a naturopath… She had me lower my carbs, take the right oil supplements (primrose oil and flaxseed oil), and on a exersize routine… And after one more year (where my cycles were 28 days on the dot for the first time in my life), I got pregnant.
I now have a happy, healthy two year old and am trying for a second. We have been trying for a year, and I am just now realizing the importance of a low-carb diet to my over-all health. I, too, have been doing the challenge with Divine Health. What a help that is!! And am hoping to get my fertility back in check (I’ve been having 55 day cycles!) naturally again. But, boy- It is not easy!
Good luck to you!!
Hi Angela – That is a very good point about if your body is not healthy enough to get pregnant, than what are the chances of a healthy pregnancy. I am happy to hear that you have experienced some healing and that you have a happy, healthy child! Awesome!!! 🙂
Thank you for sharing your story! Each story that is shared on here allows us to learn from one another! 🙂
Excellent information. Thanks for writing. I read a few of the links within article as well. Have you read Dr. Wilson’s work? Infertility – http://drlwilson.com/Articles/INFERTILITY.htm
& Copper Toxicity & Infertility – http://drlwilson.com/articles/copper_toxicity_syndrome.htm
I loved the article on 5 reasons for infertility where she addresses adrenal fatigue and heavy metal toxicity and chemical exposure. Sad what’s happening to us today with all of our 21st century easy living. Comes at a huge price!
Freda – I have not read those articles, but thank you for sharing them. I have them bookmarked and will sit down and go through them. It is sad what is happening to us today. And, many times, there are so many other issues that confound infertility. In my case, there is not only some blood sugar issues, but thyroid and adrenal issues as well. But, knowledge is power and healing is possible. Countless stories, on this site and other sites, prove that!! We just have to be proactive and not believe that our doctor always knows best! 🙂
Oh I couldn’t agree more. There are many factors. I just love people who are finding health in alternative therapies. I can only offer my personal experience ya know. And the more I learn and unlearn the biggest lesson that stands out to me is that we are all
custom built. As there are many ways to skin a cat, there are many roads that lead to health. I love the responses from women on weight. It’s refreshing. I’ve been fortunate enough to have never struggled w weight because I kicked my ass in the gym 7 days a week and landed to where I am now: adrenal exhaustion. I like the idea of being so comfortable w ones body that weight is a non issue. My mom thinks she is over weight and I think she is beautiful. I keep asking her do you feel good? Yeah. She looks amazing. Has amazing hair and skin. I said take a look around you. Most women are falling apart these days. You’re not! Anyway good luck on healing and I’ll be reading your progress. It will all
come together for you because I confidently believe when you seek you shall find! Someday I’ll share my story! Definetly read those articles! That man has changed my life through simple, old fashioned healing methods for less than $300.00! But what worked for me is just one avenue!
Jessica, came across this article this afternoon. Excellent article on carbs and infertility. Page 5 discusses infertility and chemicals and as you dig further in to article they get into diet, adrenal glands and other juicy topics like carbs and excercise. The human body requires 0 carbs! I’ve also read that about dogs too. Anyway thought you might find it interesting! Excercise, Athletics, and Physical Degeneration http://healthelite.us/_p/_file_dwnld.php?index=13
Ooooooh! Freda, great find! Thank you so much for sharing!!! 🙂 Keep the resources coming! Seems like you have a knack for finding great info! 🙂
Will do. I’m like a put bull; once I latch onto
Something I don’twt go until I find the answers. But not for what happened to me in December I’d never be down this path. I’d still be looking in the wrong direction!
Jessica, I found another excellent article on Sugar with a bunch of links. I’ve been reading them. Awesome information. http://healthelite.us/_p/_file_dwnld.php?index=24
There is one on bread and carbs too!
I’m loving Health Elite, they base a lot of their research off of Dr. Larry Wilson.
You are awesome! I was going through that download that you left on Excercise, Athletics, and Physical Degeneration last night. That was really good. I’ll check out this one next! I’m totally fascinated with everything right now and you’re finding all sorts of goodies! 🙂 Thank you!!!
You’ve got me fascinated w blood sugar now! I’ve been doing Hair Mineral Tissue program w Dr. Wilson and been learning so much. Just when I thought I learned it all I’m now reading all his articles on carb addiction, sugar addiction and the analysis they have me on what’s going on in my body right really is all coming together and making sense. I’m so fascinated. It is also filling a lot of wholes in as to my past eating habits and crazy addiction to excercise! I haven’t exercised in 5 mths and haven’t gained a pound! I just started walking again for 30 to 40 min every other day. But I refuse to go back to previous craziness. Blood sugar is something i didnt even consider until i read ir post. It was always there in the reports but I didn’t pay attention. Anyway If I
Come across other interesting stuff I’ll share.
You’re the best! I love your passion!
I was actually somewhat okay w/ this post until number 6, when you attempted to write about weight loss. Epic fail in my opinion. Weigh loss absolutely has been shown to fail 95% of the time for most people, so how can it be a cure for anything? More often than not, it leads to endless weigh cycling. I agree with Maggie. This is all recent research. Why are you still believing what mainstream doctors say? People should not try for weight loss, since most of the time it leads to weight cycling and eating disorders. Practicing healthy habits and moderate daily exercise makes all the difference (and it may or may not lead to weight loss), where weight loss does not. This is what Health at Every Size is about. I prefer not to feed a 60 million dollar a year weight loss and diet industry by pushing weight loss at people.
If you continue on this trend, I may have to stop reading this blog. Weight loss is NOT what I want to read about.
Roxanne – This is not a weight loss or dieting blog. This is a health and wellness blog. Whether you chose to read it is up to you. It is my site and I will write about topics that I know will help people. If you don’t find any benefit in that, that’s fine. That’s why there are hundreds of thousands of blogs out there to choose from.
First and foremost, I don’t advocate dieting. Diets don’t work. 99% of the time, diets fail. You know why? Because people don’t change their habits and lifestyle permanently. The only way that weight loss can happen, and be successful, is if it is gradually and you make lasting changes to your lifestyle. Never once did I tell people to go on a diet. I am telling people that it might be time to re-evaluate what we consider healthy.
Also, I am not saying that weight loss is a CURE for anything. You are twisting around my words. Weight loss alone will not cure everything, though it can help. Weight loss is not a cure all, and being overweight is also not an automatic creator of metabolic issues, though most of the time, it contributes. As a side note, there are plenty of skinny people who also suffer from metabolic issues.
That said, weight loss does help overall health. If you are carrying additional weight that your body does not need, losing that weight will help your entire body. Weight loss in the case of balancing blood sugar is critical and you can read countless articles about that — both by mainstream medical doctors and holistic naturopathic physicians. I am not just believing what mainstream doctors say. I am believing what holistic practitioners and nutritional therapists say. Not a single one that I have spoken to or read has said “You know, it’s OK to stay fat. It won’t have any effect on your overall health, now or long-term”. That thought is simply ludicrous.
Like I said to Maggie, weight cycling is bad. That does set you up for metabolic syndrome. No argument from me here. That’s why you don’t weight cycle. You change your lifestyle and the weight loss will naturally happen. Sometimes it will be fast, sometimes it will be slow.
I seriously cannot believe that you are telling me that it is OK to carry around extra weight on your body? Really? You’re telling me that an extra 20, 30, 40 pounds is OK and has NO effect on your wellness — blood sugar, cardiovascular, joints, etc.? I am bewildered with that statement.
This article was SPECIFICALLY about blood sugar regulation and fertility. I’m not going to argue weight loss with you. You can find plenty of experts (both MDs and NDs) online, or in person, who will tell you that if you are overweight and have any type of blood sugar issues, weight loss is the best thing you can do to help regulate your blood sugar. And don’t accuse me of buying into a 60 million dollar a year diet industry. Did I once try to sell a product or say “try this weight loss shake”. No. I advocate eating a nutrient dense diet of veggies, grass-fed and pastured meats, grass-fed dairy (only if you can tolerate it), and lots of healthy fats. Sugars and sweets and fruits should be excluded completely or kept to a very low minimum if you have blood sugar issues. By changing your habits, you start healing your body and then weight loss becomes possible.
If you want me to compile a list of resources for you about how weight loss is vital to long-term health, I certainly can. Like I said above, weight loss alone is not a cure. But, it is a start. You could start by reading Chris Kresser’s articles on diabesity: http://chriskresser.com/diabesity. “Diabesity is the leading cause of modern, chronic disease. The “diabese” have increased risk of heart disease, stroke, dementia, cancer, kidney failure and blindness – to name only a few.”
I wish you well.
For every website you list that preaches the dangers of “diabesity,” I can give you two that dispute that as ridiculous fear mongering (which I think it is).
For a perfect example that it is okay and possible to be fat, happy, and perfectly healthy and FIT (with NO health issues), I suggest you go talk to Ragen Chastin at www.danceswithfat.com
She can lead you to scores of others who don’t put much faith in the fat-loss myth and who also live healthy, active, and fit lives. Health is multi-dimensional. Diet isn’t the be-all/end-all of it. Not by a long shot.
I’d also like to point out that not all of us women who carry around some extra weight are suffering from PCOS. There are a host of other symptoms that are involved with that condition other than extra weight.
Also for some of us, happiness cannot be defined by how restrictive our diets are and how Puritanical we can be with our eating. We get to choose what kind of happiness we want. And this insane notion that everyone should eat low-carb because it’s just the best thing for our health is, frankly, insulting. I am not a child. I’m the boss of my own underpants. When I consider my health and happiness, I consider it from a hundred different angles–not just from if I feel well today or will I feel well tomorrow or from what supposed outcome is going to play out in the future. I do the best I can with my eating. I don’t eat junk and sweets and don’t keep them in the house. The bulk of my diet is whole foods; I eat enough fresh produce to make people raise their eyebrows at me. But I’m not about to force a bunch of food rules on my husband (who would promptly tell me to shove it) or the other people that cook for me or on anyone who invites me into their home for a meal they’ve labored and fussed over.
There are more important things in life than the food I eat–like relationships and being able to socialize, travel, and experience life without a bunch of food rules hanging over my head. And that will be the last word on this from me. I don’t think I will be reading anymore. I just can’t support such dogmatic and obsessive views on diet and eating. Some would call that disordered eating in itself. I happen to agree.
Best of luck.
You took my entire article out of context. I wish you the best of luck and health!
And P.S. Changing to a low-carb diet has liberated me. I no longer have the blood sugar crash from grains and bread. I’m feeling better and have more energy to live the life I want to live. If you want to call that dogmatic, then so be it. I know how my body is responding and it’s glorious!
In addition — this article was not about weight. It was about blood sugar control. Weight plays a part of that, but it was certainly not the focus of the article. I want people to understand just how serious controlling their blood sugar is and how even if they have had “normal” test results, there still could be underlying issues. I want to encourage women to really take a look at their blood sugar and maybe even ask their docs for some additional testing, in order to see what might be going on metabolically.
Jessica – I needed this reminder today! I had a D&C on Thursday. We were not trying to get pregnant but sure were excited when it happened. Long story short – I started Paleo last summer when I witnessed my Aunt’s battle with Parkinson’s. I knew low carb diets had worked for me in the past and I loved the idea of the healing that comes with a Paleo type diet. I was insulin resistant, had PCOS and borderline hypothyroidism. I also had a nodule on my thyroid. Just by changing my diet – no exercise – I have reversed the insulin resistance and PCOS and the nodule has shrunk by half. I am still borderline hypo – but am watching it carefully. I have lost 60 lbs and feel so much better. But I am not as strict as in the beginning and realize I need to get back to that point. I am 33 and we have no children either – would like to try again maybe in the spring of next year. Best wishes to you 🙂 And I love your quote about moderation – I think that’s going on the fridge so I’ll see it every time I think it’s ok to have a little ice cream!
Erica – Thank you for stopping by and sharing your story! I am so sorry to hear about your recent loss. 🙁 I love that you have experienced healing and that is something to take comfort in. The more that I learn, the more I believe that since we live in such a toxic world, full of lots of misinformation, we must be vigilant about our health. It might mean taking some unconventional measures, but it’s our bodies and I think we all want to live long, happy, healthy lives! I am happy that this post helped you, even if just a little. I really wish you all the best in your healing journey and know that there is power in knowledge, and we’re all in this together and can learn a lot from one another. Sharing your story will help other readers. I know it has helped me, so thank you! 🙂
thank you for this article! Refreshing breath of truth and facts after some of the “stuff” coming out recently from Real Food bloggers :-)!! I have been following a low carb/paleo/ketogenic/real food diet for the last 10 months and have lost 30 lb!! Two books that have been tremendously helpful to me are Dr. Jeff Volek and Dr. Stephen Phinney’s—The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living and most recently–The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance. Because of the info from the last book, I have been testing my fasting blood glucose and blood ketones every morning. Very helpful feedback to have! If you haven’t read them, I highly recommend them.
Marla – Thank you for stopping by and commenting! I appreciate your feedback! I actually just heard about those books yesterday and have added them to my list. I’m looking forward to reading them! I am on serious information overload right now — I can’t get enough, so any recommendations, I’m happy to check them out! I love that you shared your story. And, yes, I agree with you on some of the recent trends in the real food blogger world. Some of those trends have me very frightened for the women reading that information. Your kind comment has made my day! Thanks again! 🙂
I find that everything in moderation is a good strategy. That includes treats, and time off. I much rather lead a relaxing, life than be worried about every little thing. I’m sure if I was stressed out about that stuff, it would affect my fertility too.
I appreciate your blogs very much & have come across them multiple times recently, recommended from other bloggers I follow. Not a criticism, just a thought: maybe you could break up a long blog like this into multiple articles, so we can read it in less time & read as it pertains to us. I’m thankful for all your great research!
Abi – I know it was a long read! Sometimes I get going and just can’t stop! I will make sure to take that into consideration moving forward! Thank you for your kind words! 🙂
Great article Jessica!!! Definitely will be thinking more about blood sugar and my diet!! The Grumpy Roxanne girl needs to take a chill pill! No one is trying to tell you how to live your life!
Hope all your effort is rewarded with a sweet angel baby:)
Awwwww Sarah! Thank you SO much for your kind words! You seriously just made my day!!!!! 🙂
Great article! Just wanted to know if you have any more information about fertility and thyroid health? Thanks in advance!
Thanks Desiree! I do have an article on my site here: https://www.deliciousobsessions.com/2013/01/fertility-pregnancy-and-the-thyroid/. You can also find more great info on Donielle’s site (there are links within her post). Hope that helps!
I have been ttc for 3 years now….I took my blood glucose with a home monitor I just bought as a way to keep me in check. I thought I would have high blood sugar but the highest I ever got was 94 mg/dl – when should I be testing 2hrs after bkfst,lunch,and dinner? Thoughts!?!
Hi Jessica – Home monitors are great. I have one and should use it more often, but checking my blood sugar is a major anxiety trigger for me, so I often avoid doing it, because it stresses me out so badly. I stay pretty low/selective carb, eating lots of healthy proteins, veggies, and fats. Chris Kresser has a couple of really good articles on blood sugar. He says that he finds the 2 hour reading after meals to be the best indicator of blood sugar health:
Hi, I just found this article after searching for information on blood sugar and fertility. Just wondering if you ever tried to conceive, and how that worked out for you? Trying to find out why I seem to be perfectly healthy, but can’t get pregnant. I follow a Paleo diet as well, but I think perhaps I love my paleo treats too much. Just looking for info, thanks for the great blog post!
Hi there! No, we have not yet gotten to that point. Have you tried working with a holistic practitioner? I know a lot of women who have had success with fertility when working with alternative practitioners. Also, you may find some good info my friend Donielle’s site: http://naturalfertilityandwellness.com/. Best wishes to you!!! 🙂
I am a vegan. Dairy, meat and eggs nauseate me so I get much of my daily protein and vitamins from whole plant foods, which ends up being a lot of carbs. Would you say I am in danger?
Hi Rach – Thanks for stopping by. One thing that I have found is that many people switch to a vegan diet for the same reason as you — meat products make them nauseated or otherwise ill feeling. This can sometimes be an indication of poor digestion and is why extra digestive support may be needed for those people. It’s actually something we talked about in one of our past podcasts, as my co-host had a client who went vegan for the same reasons as you mentioned and once they started supporting her digestion, she was able to tolerate meat again. You may like to listen to it here: https://www.deliciousobsessions.com/2015/06/the-vh-podcast-episode-11-hydrochloric-acid-supplements-safe-or-not/.
Thank you for a great article! I’ve shared this widely 🙂 My WAPF-trained RWS practitioner also drills it into our heads that blood sugar is one of the most important things we can keep a handle on, fertility or no. blood sugar dysregulation also affects men’s hormones too, which can lead to men’s infertility. So it is important for all! Not to mention helping prevent gestational diabetes and blood sugar dysregulation in your baby.
Thanks for writing this article chock full of great links!
Hi Tiffani! Thanks for stopping by! So glad you liked the article. Yes, blood sugar is of the utmost importance. Hopefully more and more people will become aware of it as time moves on! 🙂
Just read your article and was very intrigued as I have had very similar results recently in my blood sugar testing. I wondered where you are at now since writing this article? Have your blood sugar issues resolved? Are you still needing to eat very low carb/no grains/no sweets? Would love to hear more! Thanks in advance!
Hi Denae! Thanks for your message! I really need to write an updated blog post about my healing journey! It’s been so many years since I wrote this one. I’ve learned a lot about blood sugar and whole-body health in general since this point. My blood sugar has definitely improved, but it will always be something I have to be conscious of as I have multiple chronic illnesses that impact it and my whole endocrine system every day. I am no longer super low-carb, but I do focus on getting my carbs from real food sources and keep sweet treats to a minimum. I am also not paleo anymore as I did add some legumes back in here and there. But I still do avoid most grains just because I’m honestly not a huge fan of grains so keeping them out of my diet is not difficult for me. My focus has shifted over the last couple years to healing my mind and spirit as I neglected those for the first few years of my healing journey and finally discovered how much these areas needed to be addressed for me to move to a new level of healing. I am no longer so rigid about my diet and now just focus on eating the foods that help me thrive each day. Thank you for stopping by and reading! So glad it was helpful! 🙂