When we got married, we knew we would have kids, we just didn’t know when.
Three years later we knew it was nearing time for us to start a family.
By fall 2010, we felt like the following February (2011) was the month to conceive… but something was wrong. My cycles had become longer and more irregular over the previous two years. We knew my cycles needed to be healthy before we conceived – both for baby’s well-being and for mine.
For years I had been trying to make healthy choices, but despite my efforts, my health had become worse.
I was never eating completely vegan, but my diet tended in that direction – I avoided most animal products. I thought these choices were going to turn me into a super healthy, super lean, super hot chick! Instead, my cycles were getting weaker, and I was gaining unwanted weight – even though I was exercising a lot!
I also discovered that I had a problem with binge eating, which is a story in itself. Conquering that “monster inside me” helped me lose some of my excess weight – but that was only a part of being healthy enough for pregnancy.
I knew that my health needed to be mended, but I had no idea what to do. We felt I needed to have at least three healthy cycles before conceiving, so I didn’t have much time to figure it out! Yet I had peace. I knew that God would show me how to solve these health mysteries.
As I continued researching health and fitness, I discovered traditional foods. Think Native Americans… Inuit of the Arctic… Masai of Africa… Aborigines of Australia… and so on. Pretty much how everyone ate until the Industrial Revolution. They all ate diets that largely consisted of animal fat, meat, organs, full fat dairy products, and seafood. A broad study in the 1930s found that people eating these traditional, high fat animal foods were in near-perfect health. But when their diets became more “civilized,” their health suffered. I recognized myself in those studies – I had all but replaced animal foods with “civilized” soy, vegetable oil, grains, and legumes.
I was getting the picture and getting excited. I realized that my body was slowing down because I wasn’t giving it what it needed to operate. It wasn’t just the information I was reading that convinced me, it was that I could feel it in my bones. I could see how my body was made of the things found mostly in animals, not plants.
The other thing I learned is that most of the meat and animal products in grocery stores are very different from the animals eaten in traditional cultures. Animals raised in factories and on grain have far less nutrition to offer than animals allowed to live in their natural environment.
The sight of animals lined up in restrictive cages from birth to slaughter had always upset me. Now that I knew my nutrition depended on happy animals, I had a way to eat animal foods without supporting that.
So just like that, I completely changed my diet that day. I shopped at our local co-op and bought food from animals that were grass-fed and lived in their natural (though domesticated) environment. I bought and ate the things I remembered liking as a kid, but had grown fearful of: chicken skin, bacon, real butter, even steak without the fat trimmed off. I learned about coconut oil and used it liberally. I threw away all of our soy and vegetable oil products (like tofu… fake butter spreads… soy milk… soy beans…).
I started to eat the way primitive cultures have eaten for generations. Before this food change, I was grossed out at the sight of chicken bones, tendons, and veins, so I would avoid them by just buying the trimmed meat. But now, I was cooking whole chickens and digging right into them, slurping up the juice! Learning that they were full of nutrients changed my ‘civilized city girl’ perspective on food.
I was really hoping this would work, because it was already November 2010 – three months before we wanted to conceive!
The first month it was like a light switch – my cycle was the healthiest I’d had in years. This was AMAZING! I went from having three-month-long fuzzy cycles to crystal clear month-long cycles. (The fuzzy or clear part is the mucus pattern that happens around ovulation. If you have never observed your fertility signs before, this may not make sense to you. Basically, the more balanced a woman’s hormones are, the more clear her mucus pattern will be.)
The second month was the same. And the third. I had solved the mystery of my cycles!! We were overjoyed and knew just how to celebrate.
We had been practicing Natural Family Planning (Sympto-Thermal Method – watching mucus and temperature) so we knew which day I would ovulate – and which day we would conceive.
If you have read this blog, then you know the rest of the story… God gave us the sex and even the name of our little one two weeks later… we confirmed pregnancy through monitoring my morning temperature... and little Simon was born 8.5 months later!
And that is our first conception story.
My next blog will be focused on all of the nutrition-related things I have learned since my pregnancy – I am excited to share!
Thank you for reading!