Giving Up

No, no, no…

I’m not giving up on having a baby.

No.  Not that.

I’m talking about giving up dietary choices that may be holding me back…

For one, I am completely caffeine-free.  You may not think that’s a big deal, but it’s been rough.  The last time I “gave up” caffeine, I basically allowed myself one caffeinated beverage first thing in the morning, and then none for the rest of the day.  When I was at my highest caffeine consumption, I was drinking probably six to eight caffeinated beverages per day.

And this is the worst part:  I don’t drink coffee, so almost all of my caffeine came from pop.

Which is why it’s also a big deal that I’ve almost entirely eliminated sugar from my diet.  I still drink a small glass of organic, no sugar added, fruit-and-vegetable juice blend in the morning, and I sometimes add a tiny bit of honey to my green tea.  I also eat fruit, sometimes with yogurt sweetened with honey.

Other than that, I’m not consuming any processed sugar or sugar from anything but natural sources.

These choices are a big deal to me, and it can sometimes be challenging to find things that I want to eat, because so many foods have processed components.  I have slip-ups from time to time, but I know that doing these things can help me get my body healthier, and maybe give me a better chance at conceiving.

Another choice I’ve been debating is whether to eliminate dairy from my diet.  I’ve read some pretty terrible things about the process involved in pasteurizing milk products, and also about the over-consumption of cow’s milk products in the US compared to the rest of the world.

Americans have weak bones not because they drink too little milk but because they drink too much, Campbell says. Animal protein, such as the protein in milk, makes blood and tissues more acidic, and to neutralize this acid, the body pulls calcium, which is a very effective base, from the bones. Because dairy products contain substantial amounts of animal protein, drinking milk actually robs the bones of calcium, he says.

– LA Times on The China Study

I’m not one of those people who diets.  Hell, I don’t even work out.  I’ve always been thin, to the point of having people take me aside to talk to me about anorexia (which is hilarious if you have seen me eat).

I do not have any urge to be a vegetarian.  I don’t even want to think about a vegan lifestyle.  Gluten is my BFF.  I want to eat bacon ALL THE TIME.

I don’t always make the healthiest choices when it comes to my diet, but I think I do pretty well in maintaining a balanced lifestyle.  I add spinach to everything.  I substitute quinoa for rice in as many recipes as I can.  I rarely eat bread.

I’m starting to wonder, though, if some of the foods that we grow up assuming are healthy for us, are actually a detriment to our health – or our fertility.  I’ve read some horror stories about antibiotics and steroids in milk products, and the effects those can have on our hormones.

I definitely have some kind of hormonal imbalance going on… Is my diet partly to blame?

I don’t know, honestly.

What I do know is that I love to eat, and I’m finding myself thinking more and more about what I put into my body.

I love to eat, and I can make careful choices that feed my body nutrients instead of empty calories.

I love to eat, and I can choose delicious meal options that are natural and healthy.

I love to eat, and I crave chocolate and cheese and fresh baked bread, but I love the thought of having a baby more than I love those things.

I don’t know if sacrificing my dietary fixes will get me pregnant, but it can’t hurt to try.

If the worst side-effects of giving up cheese are occasional crankiness and a longer life, well then it seems like a worthwhile venture to me.

Adios, dairy.  It’s been real.

Slow down, Ryan. I’m not there quite yet.

13 comments on “Giving Up

  1. Tracy
    February 26, 2013 at 9:48 am #

    As an afterthought, I just wanted to say that I feel sort of uncomfortable having made statements about dairy. I understand that it’s an important part of most people’s diets, and I feel like I’ve made some sort of political denunciation of a much-beloved food item.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love dairy products, and I know that most people who are trying to get pregnant (or who ARE pregnant) really need them in their lives. I’ve just made the choice to attempt to eliminate things from my diet that may be causing inflammation in general, and dairy happens to be one of those things.

    I hope it helps, but if it doesn’t prove to be a worthwhile endeavor, you can bet your smoked gouda that I’ll be enjoying pizza again in a heartbeat.


    • Jen
      February 26, 2013 at 10:13 am #

      I made the switch to Almond Milk and couldn’t be happier about it. It’s delicious, low in calories, high in vitamins, and keeps fresh way longer in the fridge (expiration date is usually 4-5 weeks after I buy it, as opposed to cow’s milk which is usually 1 week). That’s why we originally made the switch, but now I totally prefer it over dairy milk!


      • A Morning Grouch
        February 26, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

        I also LOVE almond milk – can’t drink regular milk anymore at all.


  2. MissTeddi
    February 26, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    Yeah, dairy is one of those things we always buy organic and I don’t believe the drink milk hype either. As far as the caffeine goes – that’s what did the trick for a friend of mine when she was finally 40. Avid coffee drinker finally just quit it for a while and bam. Gosh, that would be awesome. We’re routing for you and whatever you decide to try, ROCK IT! And thanks for sharing. As I meet others struggling with similar issues I point them here.


  3. Katy
    February 26, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    I know not everything works for everyone, but I’m so proud of all the steps your taking yourself! My doctors couldn’t explain why I randomly stopped ovulating for 6 months, or why I had multiple miscarriages, so I just had to take things into my own hands. For me, I think gluten was a big ticket, but we also cut out lots of sugar, dairy, and switched to all organic products (with a big focus on meats and such), and cut out using any types of chemicals for cleaning (lots of vinegar and baking soda instead!). So, who knows what it exactly was, but it seemed to help, and at the very least we were happy with our choices. You’ll get your fair share of comments and opinions (not that you’re not used to that already), but it’s the kind of change that it doesn’t hurt anything if it’s not the answer, and at least it’s worth a shot. I hope it all goes well! And if you are getting sick of your new options, we’ve come up with lots of good replacements, but your sister-in-law is tops at making gluten/dairy/soy-free foods that are beyond delicious–she’s quite genius with making things like that.


    • Tracy
      February 26, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

      This is all pretty new to me, but I definitely need to seek out her guidance… And I think of you often when I think about how much I love gluten, lol! I am so glad that seemed to be the ticket for you, and I hope some of these changes make a difference for me as well.

      Now, quit commenting on my rambling blog posts and go have that BABY! 😉


      • Katy
        February 26, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

        Haha, yes, I’m working on it. 🙂 I’ll be anxious to hear how things go for you! And I saw that Carly commented some tips already! Hopefully it will make the whole change a lot easier. Just know it’s normal to have that many more dreams about food. 😉


  4. sarah nadolny
    February 26, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    Do you plan to have your child follow the same restrictions? Have you ever tried a midwife as opposed to a general doctor? I had a friend that went through years of infertiility, was able to get pregnant twice, but miscarried. Then she carried a baby girl to 29 weeks, and she sadly died 6 weeks later. She has been working with a midwife since her baby died, and seems much happier. I don’t know if that is even an option, but I thought I would mention it. You’re strength is admirable. I only had to do clomid for four months, and it was awful, I don’t know how you do it. Best of luck.


    • Tracy
      February 26, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

      I feel good about my change over to this new doctor, and am planning on asking her if she has any opinions on seeing a midwife or an OB. Much of it will depend on what the cause of my subfertility is, however… if it’s a small thing that can be fixed by a lifestyle change, then I would be happy to see a midwife. If it’s something that may cause problems in the pregnancy, then I would feel more comfortable with an OB.

      I wish it were simple for everyone, and I wish I could say with some certainty what the future holds, but I think I will just have to roll with the punches a bit more. Thank you, friend!! 🙂


    • Tracy
      February 26, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

      After thinking about this for a minute, I have no idea if I would have my child follow dietary restrictions. I have no urge to live in a vegetarian or vegan household (because, let’s be honest, I love meat.), but if I find that I am having some kind of functioning allergy or intolerance to certain things, I would definitely want to have my child tested for the same.

      At the same rate, I grew up without allergies, playing in the woods with pets during the height of hayfever season. I had a good childhood, and I ate what I wanted without consequence. I don’t want my child to worry about these things if it’s not necessary, so maybe it’s important to address these things now, and make the what seem like drastic changes today into our normal lifestyle.

      Again, I just don’t know what the future holds. I would love to live simply and not have to worry myself with these things, but my eyes are starting to open up to the unnatural things being added to what we put into our bodies. It’s scary, and the scariest part is that most people seem not to care.


  5. Erin
    February 26, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    I hear you. I recently started the Paleo diet, which doesn’t allow any grains, dairy, sugar, or legumes, so I’m mostly eating meat and veggies with some fruit. It claims to be the healthiest way of eating, and seems to have the science to back it up. My acupuncturist says it’s the best diet I can be on to minimize insulin fluctuations, which of course jacks with all the other hormones. Not eating cheese is not easy, but as you say, I want a baby more than I want cheese. Good luck!


    • Tracy
      February 26, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

      I’ve read a little about this diet too, and think it sounds pretty reasonable. Good luck with that, and who knows – I may be going full-Paleo soon too! 😉


  6. Katy
    February 26, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    Hi Tracy,
    I love your blog! I love that you take a sarcastic approach to infertility like I do 🙂 It’s very refreshing. My husband and I have been TTC for two years as well and have been unsuccessful for unexplained reasons. I am also a registered dietitian and I’m constantly scrutinizing my diet to find answers to my infertility. I’ve come to the conclusion that it doesn’t so much have anything to do with what I am or am not eating, but instead is some other unexplained crap going on with my body. I think as long as you are balanced and taking in enough nutrients while, at the same time, not smoking crack, you should be good from a dietary standpoint 🙂 Thank you for your post!


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