Hormones, Nutrition, and Infertility
[This is also an episode of Friday Free Talk on The Tranquility Tribe Podcast on iTunes. Listen here.]
Hello Tranquility Tribe! I am so excited about this episode of the Tranquility Tribe podcast – today, Hehe talked to Kelly Agnew, a holistic nutritionist who is passionate about women’s health and using nutrition to achieve a healthy and balanced life.
First, a little bit about Kelly!
A self-proclaimed sugar-loving kid, Kelly has not always been an expert on nutrition. However, after experiencing a particularly severe case of burnout induced by the stresses of a corporate job and the pressure that she was putting on herself, Kelly decided to make a change. She began to focus on her nutrition because she realized that the food that she ate had a major impact on the other aspects of her life and because it was a tangible and approachable area that she could adjust.
In her pursuit for a more balanced life, Kelly changed jobs, began blogging and building a presence on social media, and took nutrition classes. At the same time, she was also looking for a house with her fiancé and supporting a sick family member, and she started to feel overwhelmed and burnt out once again. However, this time Kelly was equipped with nutrition and lifestyle-based strategies to address and recover from this period of high stress, and since then she has grown to become passionate about promoting self-care and stress-management for herself as well as for women around the world. Now she is a certified nutritional practitioner who empowers women to use self-care and nutrition to find balance and support fertility, because when they are happy and healthy women’s bodies can accomplish amazing things!
So what’s the big deal about nutrition?
Believe it or not, the food that you eat plays a major role in how your body functions every day. And it makes sense – food is your body’s source of the building blocks it needs to carry out all of its important processes! Excess stress and poor nutrition can influence the regulation of hormones in your body, which in turn can have an impact on your mood, your productivity, and even your fertility. Once one hormone is affected, your body will often try to compensate by changing the production of other hormones in an effort to regain control, which can cause you to feel very imbalanced. But don’t worry! By paying attention to your diet and taking steps to avoid prolonged periods of stress, you can achieve that illusive balance that everyone is looking for!
That’s great, but where do I start??
When making diet and lifestyle changes, Kelly and Hehe both recommend taking baby steps to ease yourself into it without becoming too overwhelmed. Starting off slow can help you maintain the changes that you are trying to achieve. And be sure to take time to look back and celebrate how far you’ve come! Even the small changes are an accomplishment.
Often when people are trying to focus on their nutrition, they seek out specific superfoods to help them achieve their goals. However, as Kelly explains, the best way to support your nutrition is to eat a healthy balance of many different types of foods. It’s not so heavily dependent on the particular foods you are eating, but rather on the combination and kinds of foods. Kelly sums up her approach to nutrition in five tips:
1. Eat tons of fruits and vegetables! These foods are a great source of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that your body needs, and they support detoxification and elimination to kick any harmful toxins out of your body.
2. Eat lots of fiber. Fiber helps you to maintain healthy bowel regulation, which is essential for the detoxification process. If you don’t have regular bowel movements, all of the toxins that are collected in your waste can be reabsorbed back into your body, which is the opposite of what you want! Fiber is also important for maintaining a healthy blood sugar level and avoiding that 3pm crash.
3. Drink a ton of water! Not only does water help keep everything flowing through your body, but it is also important for cellular (read: egg) health. Kelly recommends drinking at least 8, and even up to 10, cups a day.
4. Protein is power! Your body uses the building blocks from proteins to build hormones, and in order to achieve hormone balance it is essential to make sure that you have all of the necessary pieces to make those hormones. Protein also helps keep your blood sugar levels stable.
5. Don’t avoid healthy fats. Fat is a major component of every single cell in your body, so not eating fat can actually have very detrimental effects. Healthy fats can be found in many foods, including avocados, nuts and seeds, olive oil, and fish. A sufficient amount of healthy fat also has anti-inflammatory benefits that can help create a healthy internal environment, especially if you are trying to conceive.
As Kelly explains, these nutrition tips apply to pretty much any stage of your life – whether you are just trying to achieve some balance in your life, hoping to conceive, or eating for two, the most important thing to remember is to eat a variety of foods so that you get all of the nutrients your body needs. And for those of you who are pregnant or breastfeeding, keep in mind that you are supporting the life of a tiny human! Your body will prioritize your baby, so make sure that you are eating enough so that you are receiving all the nourishment you need, too.
Kelly’s parting advice for parents who may be feeling a little overwhelmed?
Take baby steps! You’re never going to achieve perfection, and even if you do everything perfect there are so many other factors that will impact your baby’s health. The goal is to do the best you can with what you’ve got. Be kind to yourself and know that your best may look different from day to day, but ultimately you are giving it your all and doing amazing things!
If you want to learn more about Kelly and her nutrition knowledge, check out her website at kellymaianutrition.com. Kelly offers one-on-one consultations as well as an online group program called From Burnt Out to Balanced, and she is working on a five-day nutrition program focused on achieving balance that will be released soon. You can also find Kelly on Instagram @kellymnutrition.
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Written by our Guest Blogger, Kyra Shreeve. She is a Biochemistry, Health Policy, and Music student at Brandeis University.