Happy holiday party-time! Woo hoo! Time to celebrate and have fun! Yes, I do believe in fun and yes, I do think you can indulge (even when struggling with infertility) in some fun holiday drinks. HOWEVER, there should be a self-imposed limit to the celebratory drinking. Hear me out, ok! Today’s Fertility Friday blog post is dedicated to my Holiday Drink Tips.
This Fertility Friday is a special one! Today, I am proud to share my interview with Katie O’Conner, founder of Shine, a non-profit organization that helps women struggling with infertility.
I like toast, I really do. Why do I love it? Because it’s the perfect platform for so many other nourishing foods. And when I’m encouraging people to try new foods (such as beans), I love to incorporate something familiar. Enter toast.
Back before I had my daughter, during my early struggles with infertility, I found myself searching for ways to nourish and “center” myself.
Are you in need of some amazing thirst-quenching drink ideas?
It’s hot and you’re thirsty. You’ve had glass after glass of water, but you’re looking for something with just a little more pizazz.
It can be a struggle to drink enough water every day and many of us fall short of our water requirement. Instead of thinking “outside of the box” when it comes to water, we continue to grab our glass, stick it under the facet and hurriedly chug it down. Just trying to “get it in.”
Fertility Friday + Smoothies
That’s right, you read that correctly, I said “Fertility Friday + Smoothies!” A random pairing? Of course not, I do everything with intention…ok, well almost everything.
Today for Fertility Friday I would like to focus on the amazing nutritional power of smoothies. Yes, I know that people are crazy about smoothies these days. They make their own, they buy the fancy one that costs 10 dollars and they insist on having them every morning for their “bowl” breakfast. But this is one trend where you can believe the hype…at least to a certain extent.
Fertility Friday + Recipe for Maple Cinnamon Almonds
Do you remember back in the ’80’s and ’90’s when all fat was considered “bad?”
Looking back on that time, it was almost comical the degree to which we feared fat. Companies worked so hard removing it from their products and people went crazy buying fat-free everything. I remember noshing on a box of fat-free cookies thinking, “wow, no fat, but they sure taste good, I’m so glad they’re good for me!”
Fat is Back?
Oh dear! Luckily research has improved and we are no longer shunning fat. In fact, now we know that fat is vital to our existence. Fats provide energy, help us absorb fat-soluble vitamins, and can keep our hearts healthy. We just have to be smart about the type of fats we’re choosing and how much of them we’re eating.
But I Can’t Eat as Much as I Want?
While all fats fit, it’s important to keep moderation in mind. Saturated and trans fats are the types of fats we should limit. Research is always on-going on this, and recently saturated fast have been in the news about not being as “bad” as we once thought. My advice? Stick with moderation. Go for the whole milk, but keep your serving to one cup. Enjoy that birthday cake, but choose the small slice instead of the massive monster piece. See where I’m going with this? Don’t over-indulge. It’s never wise to eat too much of one thing, right?
Instead, focus on getting more healthy fats into your diet. We call those unsaturated (specifically monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) fats. These unsaturated fats can also help support fertility by helping control blood sugar and tamper inflammation. Where do you find them? Great question!
Where to Find The Fantastic Fat:
Sources of polyunsaturated fats: fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines; flax seed and flax seed oil, walnuts and edamame
Sources of monounsaturated fats: nuts (like in these Maple Cinnamon Almonds!) and seeds, avocado, canola and olive oil
Putting it Together
It’s easy! Eat fat, but make smart choices. Stick with moderation and balance your intake with other foods. Eating this way just makes sense! Feeling inspired? Get into your kitchen and make these yummy Maple Cinnamon Almonds so that you can enjoy some of those nutritious healthy fats!
Maple Cinnamon Almonds
Super easy snack made with almonds, maple syrup and ground cinnamon.
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 1/2 cups almonds
- Preheat the oven to 300’F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Place the salt, maple syrup, water and cinnamon in a medium pot and set over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir to combine. Pour in almonds and stir until almonds are well coated. Spread out on prepared sheet pan and bake 20 minutes, rotating the pan half way through cooking time.
- Remove and allow to cool before enjoying.
- Calories: 2118
- Sugar: 32
- Sodium: 1192
- Fat: 180
- Saturated Fat: 14
- Unsaturated Fat: 157
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 90
- Protein: 73
- Cholesterol: 0
Fertility Feature: Meet Jessica Fishman Levinson of Nutritioulicious + grab her recipe for this fantastic Salmon Waldorf Salad!
Today Liz and I are so excited to introduce you to dietitian and mom extraordinaire, Jessica Fishman Levinson. Her recipes, stories and blog posts can be found just about everywhere (see her bio below) and bless her heart for always putting that awesome nutritional touch on everything she writes. She’s a credible and valuable nutrition resource and we’re so happy she’s decided to contribute to our Fertility Series. Without further adieu, meet Jessica Fishman Levinson!
She’s Legit! Check out her amazing bio!
Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN is a registered dietitian nutritionist and the founder of Nutritioulicious, a New York-based nutrition communications and consulting business with a focus on culinary nutrition. She maintains the popular Nutritioulicious blog, where she shares weekly meal plans, family-friendly recipes, and nutrition tips. Jessica’s recipes and nutrition recommendations can also be found in numerous media outlets and health and lifestyle websites, including the monthly Culinary Corner column of Today’s Dietitian Magazine. Follow Jessica on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
And she’s sharing her story (and recipe!) with us!
I’m honored that Sara and Liz asked me to participate in their posts for Infertility Awareness Week. As someone who struggled with infertility, it’s a topic near and dear to my heart and I’m so happy that Sara and Liz started Fertility Fridays to bring attention to the often unspoken topic. When my husband and I realized getting pregnant was not going to be as easy for us as it was for many of our friends, I felt very alone and depressed. It seemed like everyone around me was pregnant or just giving birth to newborn babies and as happy as I was for them, I couldn’t help but feel jealous of what they had and the fact that we were going through treatments to help us get there. I remember sitting in the packed waiting room of the fertility clinic looking around at all the women and men who were sitting there with their heads buried in magazines and books and thinking to myself this is such a missed opportunity for people who are all struggling to come together, talk to each other, and find comfort in a shared experience. I hope that Sara and Liz’s focus on fertility helps other couples open up more about their experiences.
My story has a happy ending and I know I am lucky. Despite having to go through various treatments, we were able to conceive, which I know is not the case for so many others. Our four year old twin daughters are a blessing to us and I am forever grateful for them. I wish the same for all those who are suffering and struggling with infertility and know you are not alone.
We are so incredibly honored to have Jessica share her story! Just to prove how awesome and generous she is, she’s also got an amazing, fertility-friendly recipe for you. Visit her over at Nutritioulicious and grab the recipe for her Salmon Waldorf Salad!
Don’t forget to check out the other spotlight features of the week over on Liz’s blog too!
The Fertility Friday series celebrates the mighty mushroom.
Thank goodness this little fungi is a fertility-friendly food. Mushrooms boast some powerful nutrition – think Vitamin D, selenium and B vitamins such as riboflavin – all nutrients that are beneficial to fertility. In fact you can head on over to Shaw Simple Swaps to learn more about Vitamin D and selenium! But before you go, learn why I think you should include more mushrooms in your diet (even if you’re not struggling with infertility!). I’ve got a super simple recipe that starts with delicious sautéed mushrooms and ends with fresh thyme and toasted pine nuts! Yum!
Let’s focus for a moment on an underlying theme present in most of the foods and recipes we recommend for fertility. That theme is the power of a plant-based way of eating. The research shows that eating more plants is a great way to nourish and fuel your body for fertility. Plant foods contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients, all of which play a role in making you the most healthy version of yourself, while also preventing chronic disease. And mushrooms, while fungi, make plant-focused eating easy.
Here’s Why You Should Use More Mushrooms In Your Cooking:
- Umami. Just what is that? It’s the 5th sense of taste and it’s just as important as it’s fellow tastes, sweet, sour, salty and bitter. Umami means “savory” and that’s exactly how mushrooms behave in food applications. They add a “meatiness” when there isn’t any meat and that can leave you feeling more satisfied. It’s an easy way for people to transition into eating more plant-based foods, which leads me to my next point…
- Interest. If you want people to eat and enjoy their food, it helps if you keep them interested. At least this is what I’ve learned with my work as a chef and dietitian. If the food your prepare has just one note and that note is boring, than no way can you convince yourself or anyone else to eat it. This is where mushrooms can help. Since there are so many varieties, all boasting their own unique flavor, they can instantly add interest and intrigue to a meal. This is a win-win, because you’ll be getting more plant-based foods in while showcasing just how delicious and easy it is to do so. Which takes me to my final point…
- Flavor. Remember my mention above about each variety of mushroom having it’s own unique flavor? The flavor difference is actually quite amazing and is something many people don’t take advantage of. Cremini mushrooms, for example, have mineral and earthy tones, while shiitakes sharply boast that umami savoriness. Think about how that flavor can boost the flavor of other foods too. Think how amazing sautéed mushrooms taste! That taste means you might need less fat or salt, both of which we don’t necessarily need more of in our diets.
Next time you’re at the grocery store, don’t forget to add mushrooms to your cart. Besides nourishing and fertility-friendly, they’re loaded with satisfying umami, adding interest and flavor to your nourishing fertility-friendly plant-focused way of eating.
Oh and before I forget! For my meat-lovers, have no fear! I’m not saying forgo meat, no way! It has a place on the fertility-friendly food list. But I figure we could all use a little more encouragement when it comes eating more plant-based foods.
Feeling lost? RESOLVE is a non-for-profit that helps people dealing with infertility. They’re a great resource and can even connect you with people in your area going through the same thing. You’re not alone! Feeling inspired? Why not be apart of National Infertility Week and share your blog posts, tweets and Facebook posts about your journey. Use the hashtag #startasking to make it easy for people to follow you on social media.
And here are the beautiful pictures of Sautéed Mushrooms with Bulgur
Sautéed Mushrooms with Thyme and Bulgur
Finely chopped mushrooms sautéed until golden then tossed with bulgur, fresh thyme and pine nuts.
- 3/4 cup bulgur
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 8 ounces mushrooms (cremini or a blend), cleaned and chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (about 20g)
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- Place bulgur in a medium bowl. Add 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt, then cover with boiling water. Immediately cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and let bulgur steam for about 20 minutes.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add the pine nuts and toast, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan and reserve.
- Turn heat down to medium, add the olive oil and butter to the skillet. Once butter has melted, add the shallot and saute until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Increase heat to medium high, Add the chopped mushrooms and a sprinkle of salt and continue cooking another 5 minutes.
- Remove plastic wrap from the bulgur and drain any excess liquid. Add the mushroom mixture to the bulgur along with the toasted pine nuts, black pepper and fresh thyme and stir to combine. Garnish with extra thyme if desired and serve.
- Makes 3 cups
- Serving Size: 6
- Calories: 115
- Sugar: 1
- Sodium: 34
- Fat: 5
- Saturated Fat: 2
- Unsaturated Fat: 3
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 16
- Protein: 4
- Cholesterol: 5