Not Getting Pregnant – How One Woman Turned Things Around

This is a guest post by Dawnmarie Childs on Not Getting Pregnant – and how she managed to turn things around.

It was about a year ago that I last contributed to Nathalie’s blog about my achievements through a raw food diet. I was not getting pregnant. In 2006, I was fat, tired, depressed, anxious, constipated, separated from my husband, and infertile. At least that is what the reproductive endocrinologist told me. “Your FSH is too high. You need an egg donor. There is nothing I can do for you.” He was right. There was nothing he could do for me. But there was something I could do for myself. Never one to take “No” for an answer, I researched what I could do to improve my fertility… and I found raw foods.

I Was Not Getting Pregnant – Was Food to Blame?

While I couldn’t find anything in the human medical literature about food and fertility, I did find a veterinary article regarding heifers and their improvement of reproduction with dietary changes. That, paired with the information in Gabriel Cousens’ Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine, where he reported that hormonal changes can be improved with diet, I decided to give raw a go.

I was strictly raw for three years and in that time, I went from the above with numerous prescribed and over the counter pills, to needing absolutely nothing. My blood sugars stabilized, my anxiety and depression resolved, my cholesterol lowered to about 87, my blood pressure lowered, my weight was in a healthful range, but my FSH continued to rise.

Still looking for answers, I sought other treatment in addition to the raw foods diet. Clear Passages in Florida, through Osteopathic based techniques, helped relieve pelvic adhesions that could interfere with fertility. Colonics improved my bowel health. Supplements helped replace missing enzymes and essential nutrients. DHEA was to help improve “egg quality.” And yoga was added to open the pelvis.

While I was working toward better health, my online friendship turned into romance. Jerry and I were married in March of last year. I moved from one coast to the other to be with him and with his children. Prior to the move, we looked for further answers at a prominent fertility clinic in New York City. After a pelvic ultrasound and lab tests, the prognosis given wasn’t much better. My FSH more than doubled. My AMH was zero. My right ovary was defunct and my left ovary only had one follicle in production. “You need an egg donor,” was the reply that I was given. Jerry was devastated, but I was determined. We enjoyed a lovely meal at Pure Food and Wine and then contemplated the next move.

“I’m going to go back to Clear Passages for a little more work. And then I’m going to see Randine Lewis.” Randine, Osteopathically trained, converted to Chinese medicine after medical school. She holds annual retreats for those who are fertility challenged. Randine put all of my lab data into perspective for me. “Of course your AMH is zero. You are producing only one follicle at a time. The AMH that you do have isn’t measurable. It doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant.” At the retreat, I received acupuncture, an evaluation for Chinese herbal remedies, education regarding fertility, and a lot of support. I left with a renewed hope. I believed that motherhood was going to happen for me.

There Was Hope for Not Getting Pregnant

A few weeks after I returned to my new home, the herbs arrived. They smelled foul. They tasted terrible. After the first packet of herbs, I was knocked out on the couch for two days. I lowered the “dose.” I was getting nauseous. I continued to be exhausted. Something seemed to be very wrong. I felt like I was going crazy. Simple slights made me want to sob uncontrollably. I called my husband at work, very upset. And then it hit us. I was laaaaate (in Dr. Evil ally Frau voice), by 5 days. “Honey, pick up a stick on your way home from work.”

Jerry arrived with the package in his brief case. I ran to the bathroom. The results came back quickly. I wasn’t sick. I was pregnant! Alexander Perry Childs was born the day after my 42nd birthday. He was 7 pounds 7 ounces and 20 3/4 inches long. He is a healthy gorgeous boy who has more than doubled his birth weight at three months and is just growing by leaps and bounds. He is the joy of my life.

How did I get pregnant with the odds against me? Was it the raw foods? The acupuncture? The herbs? The colonics? The yoga?

By the time I met Jerry, my life was in balance. And raw foods helped bring my physical and mental well-being into equilibrium. While there are plenty of pregnancies achieved in dire circumstances, I was only going to get pregnant under ideal conditions. And thankfully, that was so. Motherhood is challenging. I would not have been supported in my first marriage as I am in this union. I also wouldn’t have wanted my child exposed to the medications that I required previously to function. And I likely would have had it more difficult during the pregnancy had I continued my health-less lifestyle I held previously.

And, as a physician, what did I learn from all of this? First of all, don’t treat the lab, treat the patient. Secondly, the body has the inherent capacity to heal itself. Thirdly, western medicine doesn’t have all of the answers. And finally, eat a whole food plant based diet, and you can achieve almost anythingnot getting pregnant is reversible.

How to Drink More Water Every Day

In a previous article, I wrote about how much water you need to drink every day. Water is great for flushing toxins out, treating constipation, having clearer skin, and just feeling great overall!

That’s all fine and dandy, but what do you do if you don’t like drinking plain water or if you just forget?

Keep reading and you’ll find out exactly how to drink more water every day!

How to Drink More Water
Photo by Matthew Stuart

How to Drink Water First Thing in The Morning

One of the most important things you need to do when you wake up in the morning is to drink water. And preferably about 16 oz of it!

That much?! Yes, and here’s why: your body gets dehydrated throughout the night as you exhale little droplets of water. Not to mention that you’re likely not drinking any water during the night.

That makes for an easily dehydrated body in the morning.

Plus drinking water first thing in the morning is a great way to kick start your body awake and flush out any toxins.

So how do you do it? Gradually! Just like Havi explains that waking up earlier is all about waking up a few minutes earlier each week, so it is with drinking more water every morning.

Start with just a sip of water if you’re not used to drinking anything in the morning. Then gradually work up to half a glass, and then a full glass.

You might need to put the water somewhere obvious if you’re a little groggy in the morning. Think about putting the glass on the toilet seat. Or beside your alarm clock.

How to Drink More Water Every Day? Taking Water Breaks Throughout The Day

Another really important thing is to drink water throughout the day. Preferably earlier on in the day, as opposed to late at night. Otherwise you might need to wake up to go to the bathroom!

If you have a hard time remembering to take water breaks throughout the day you just need to put a few friendly reminders.

If you work at a computer, get yourself a little “take a break” software reminder. Every hour it should tell you to go get a glass of water.

Another tip that a friend of mine employs is having a carafe of water to refill her glass, so she doesn’t need to get up all the time. Then she refills the carafe and takes a longer break during that time.

Making Water Taste Good and More Fun to Drink

If you’re used to drinking soda, juice, milk, coffee, and the bazillion other types of drinks out there – settling for water can seem like a step down.

It doesn’t have to be! Water can be just as much fun, and taste just as good as all those commercial drinks. Here’s how:

  • Use a Fancy Glass: If you’re bored of drinking water in a boring glass, get a funky one to make it fun again! Use a wine glass, a funny cartoon glass, or even your favorite mug.
  • Change the Temperature: Some days drinking cold water is refreshing, while drinking warm or hot water can be just what you need on a cold day. Experiment and enjoy different temperatures of water.
  • Add Goji Berries: This is essentially like making a tea using goji berries and water. It adds a little boost to your water, and it tastes great too.
  • Margarita Water Recipe: Add some sea salt and squeeze half a lime into your water. It’s reminiscent of a margarita and it’s got tons of great minerals in it!
  • Slice Some Ginger: Add a few slices of ginger and some raw honey if you want something sweet and hot. This is a great remedy for a sore throat too! Or if you’re experiencing some cold-related pain during that time of the month.
  • Add a cucumber or lemon slice: Similar to the margarita water, adding a slice of cucumber or lemon is a great way to add some zest to your water.
  • Get a New Water Filter: If you can’t stand the taste of your water, maybe it’s time to consider getting a new water filter.
  • Crush Mint Leaves: Mint is such a refreshing herb, try adding some fresh leaves to your water and enjoy the yumminess!
  • Add a little raw cacao: Okay, we’re venturing further from true water here but adding a little bit of raw cacao powder or raw maca powder is a great way to have some really rich satisfying water.

What Are Your Tips?

Leave a comment and let me know what your favorite “drink more water” tricks are.

Have a happy, hydrated day!
Love, Nathalie

What Does a Raw Food Coach Do?

This is a question I get asked whenever I explain what it is that I do. What do you do when you coach people who want to eat more raw food, and not necessarily 100% raw? What is a raw food coach exactly?

Let me illustrate this with…

The Unavoidable Sports Metaphor

Sporty, sports.

Look, I hate sports metaphors as much as the next gal. But here’s the deal: all of us can use a coach at one point or another in our lives.

A teacher. A mentor. An adviser. A consultant. A coach.

You might not know this, but I’m a black belt in the martial art of Tae Kwon Do. As a youngster I used to compete in tournaments, and even went as far as the United States Nationals.

My favorite part of competing was the patterns competition. Though I did enjoy my share of sparring.

Until quite recently, I don’t think I ever really appreciated the importance of having a coach. In the ring, when you’re fighting and just trying to catch your breath you really don’t think about your coach much.

When you win, you don’t attribute it to your coach. If you lose, you don’t blame your coach. You know you’re the one doing the butt kicking (and receiving it!).

But it sure feels good to know that there’s someone on your side. Someone watching your back. Someone who is keeping her eyes on your strengths and weaknesses, and telling you about it.

Your coach has a higher vantage point than you do. Instead of being caught up in all the action, your coach can see what’s coming. She knows what you need and she can guide you to excel.

On top of all that, your coach is experienced. More insights, a sharper eye, and targeted advice just for you.

Who Needs a Coach, Anyway?

We’ve all become accustomed to the idea of athletes getting coached. Tiger Woods, one of the best golf players of all time still has a coach.

Do you think that Tiger Woods could do alright without coaching? Sure he could. But he doesn’t, because he is committed to being his best and he knows a coach is the way to keep him accountable and continuously growing.

Actors get acting coaches, business owners get business consultants, and yes if you want to eat healthy high-raw meals you get a raw food coach.

When Things are Humming Along

I remember after I first went raw as an experiment for 30 days, I felt incredible! I was practically floating. I was getting better grades, losing that excess weight… and just feeling good in general.

That’s when I decided to “indulge”. While in New York City, my mom and I decided to visit The Magnolia Bakery. I hadn’t had anything super sugary (other than my beloved raw treats and desserts) for at least two months by then.

I ate three bites of a chocolate cupcake. It was the cutest cupcake I’d ever seen. But my body had such a violent reaction, I instantly regretted it.

I got the worse rash I had ever seen. My stomach got completely red, full of little bumps. I didn’t feel so hot myself, and I just put the rest of it back in the box.

Honestly, I realized it wasn’t worth hurting myself over a cupcake. Not when there were plenty of delicious and healthy raw alternatives. The type that didn’t give me major rashes or cause me to breakout like nobody’s business.

Woops, There Goes the Wagon – and You’re Not On It Anymore

Falling off the raw food wagon?
Photo by Renee

I’ve fallen off the wagon many times. I’ve had those days (or weeks!) when I thought maybe this whole raw food thing wasn’t for me.

Then there were times when I just wished I could get back into eating more raw foods. I literally stayed awake in bed imagining eating sweet and savory foods.

I didn’t have anyone to keep me accountable or keep me on track when I was going raw. I had never even heard of coaching at the time, well except for sports coaches.

A Raw Food Coach Can Keep You Accountable

Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables has been the biggest turning point in my life. There were times I wish I had someone to keep me accountable, to listen to my binging horror stories, and to steer me in the right direction.

Luckily, I learned from my mistakes along the way. Now I can help others who may be struggling with their direction and old habits.

If you’d be interested in learning more about raw food coaching, leave a comment below or email me and we’ll go from there.

Love, Nathalie

Raw Food Tooth Sensitivity & Cavity Journeys

This is an extremely hard blog post for me to write. In fact I was going to write an entirely different blog post, but I couldn’t get the writing to flow… so I knew I had to follow my heart, and share this vulnerable side with you.

Running Away from the Dentist

You see, I’ve never had great teeth.

I’ve been going to the dentist for fillings ever since I can remember. My parents didn’t have great teeth, and maybe it’s a combination of genetics, and bad food choices from my childhood days.

As you may recall I was the cookie monster and I ate so much candy when I was little.

I never saw my photo on the wall with all those happy kids who were cavity-free.

It didn’t help that my first dentist was a little rough around the edges. After my dad brought me to the dentist one time and I cried too much, the dentist kindly asked that my mom do all the dentist duty from then on.

The truth is that too many of my teeth have been filled with amalgam fillings. You know the ones that leech mercury into your body? They’re also pretty ugly, all metallic and dark.

Then comes orthodontia…

To make my relationship with my dentist even more rocky, I also had a bunch of teeth pulled when I got braces.

I’ve had a total of 7 teeth pulled, including 3 whisdom teeth. (Don’t ask why they decided to keep the last one.)

I don’t have a lot of teeth compared to most people. When I first went raw I thought I was doing the best thing for my teeth. After all, raw food is good for your body, and bones are part of the body right?

I thought I was so immune to health problems since I was eating more raw food, and really taking care of myself. I mean I was brushing 3 to 4 times a day, flossing with dental tape regularly, and swishing after every meal.

Yet when I went to the dentist last summer I had to have a root canal. Yuck! Never again. That was the turning point for me.

Becoming an Adult

It’s not about teeth, or health, or any of that stuff. It’s about becoming an adult, being honest with myself, and taking full responsibility.

You know how it’s easy to ignore that you’re in debt when you only pay the minimum balance on your credit cards? The same is true when you ignore slight tooth pains, or your check ups at the dentist.

I’ve read a lot of information about eating a raw food diet and maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

The Weston Price folks say you need to eat raw dairy products and raw eggs. I gave that a try for awhile, but didn’t feel so good. (I’m always evolving, and I don’t claim to have all the answers. If raw milk works for you, all the better!)

One of the things I learned from this video is that raw foodists tend to think themselves impurvious to health challenges, even around their teeth.

The sad truth is that when you’re eating more healthy fruit sugars, the bacteria in your mouth is actually thriving. None of that fake sugar can compare to the real deal, and that’s good for your body but also good for the bacteria between your teeth.

Replacing Amalgam Fillings

Brush your teeth!
Photo by Kevin Trudo

I’m really glad to have gone to a holistic dentist for my root canal, since she is helping me to remove all my old amalgam fillings. Last week I had an old amalgam filling replaced and I had a cavity growing underneath.

I have 3 more to go, and I also need to go for a full check-up and clean up. I used to absolutely hate going to the dentist.

Now it’s my responsibility. I take myself willingly to the dentist because I know that there is still the possibility of developing cavities while eating raw. Especially because of the not-so-good start that I had as a child.

So if you’re experiencing sensitive teeth, or you’re worried about your old amalgam fillings I urge you to find a holistic dentist.

Book that appointment, no shame, no blame.

I’m finding out the hard way that it’s never too late to really take your health seriously, and really make the most of what you’ve got. And your teeth are pretty precious.

How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy

Here are some of the things I do now to maintain my healthy teeth and gums:

  • Floss with Dental Tape: Dental tape is thicker than regular floss, and it removes more stuff from between your teeth. Make sure to floss below the gum line, because it’s usually where the stuff hides.
  • Brush with Tooth Soap: Although I haven’t experienced any teeth growing back or cavities reversing, many people who use tooth soap have had great experiences. If you don’t know what tooth soap is, check it out here.
  • Rinse with Ecodent Mouthwash: None of that alcohol content, but all of the bacteria killing power. At least that’s what the bottle says. I’ve been using this Ecodent mouthwash for a little over a month now, and it’s very refreshing.
  • Oil Pulling: Swishing cold pressed sesame seed or sunflower seed oil in your mouth slowly for 15-20 minutes, then spitting it out. Rinse again with fresh water a few times. Be sure not to swallow the oil. This is great for whitening teeth, and strengthening gums.
  • Going to the Dentist: A lot of web sites teach you all of these alternative methods for taking care of your teeth, but this one is usually not on the list. Honestly, I regret not making dentist appointments a priority in my life even while I was traveling abroad and living the carefree raw foodie lifestyle.
  • Eating Lots of Leafy Greens: So I already did this with green smoothies, but I didn’t realize how important it was when I first went raw. Eating more greens and less fruit is the way to make sure you’ve got lots of minerals to keep your teeth healthy.
  • Keeping Citrus Fruit to a Minimum: This one is kind of interesting. The idea is to keep citrus fruit to a few times per week. The trick is also to brush your teeth before you eat citrus, since citrus actually makes the enamel on your teeth softer and more prone to pain after brushing.
  • Keeping Nuts and Dried Fruit to a Minimum: These foods get stuck between your teeth and create food for bacteria. It’s something I’m personally still working on, since you know I love my raw sweets and those usually involve dried fruit and nuts.

What have been your experiences?

Did you experience tooth sensitivity, or cavities while eating raw food? I want to know!

It’s only by speaking up and sharing our experiences that we can find what works for each of us. I hope you learned from my story, because it’s not easy for me to admit that I’ve had tooth issues for the majority of my life.

Love, Nathalie

What Does it Mean When Your Tongue has a White Coating?

Welcome to Day 3 of my first Master Cleanse. You can find out what is the Master Cleanse here, and why I’m doing it here.

Before I go into today’s topic, I just wanted to let you know how I’m doing. (Hi, Mom!) To my great surprise, I’m really not hungry or craving food.

My boyfriend came home with two bags full of lemons and limes, and it was the cutest thing.

For those of you who might be wondering, I’ve still been having regular bowel movements. Crazy, huh? I know that this is likely old toxic matter that needs to be eliminated.

Now onto the white tongue issue…

Traditional Chinese Medicine and White Tongues

White Tongue Coating Detox
Photo by SeenyaRita

If you’ve read about my story with birth control pills and losing my period, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Actually, it was a TCM doctor who really helped me balance out my hormones.

One of the things that TCM doctors look at is your tongue. If it’s “abnormal” then they can figure out which parts of your body are out of balance. Now all of this may not seem scientific. But I know it works.

If your tongue is pale or white, then it means that you might have a Qi or blood deficiency. That might mean you’re feeling tired, or have low energy. You can read more about TCM tongue interpretation here.

At the time I was visiting my TCM doc, I had a pale white tongue and that was definitely true for me. For past few years my tongue had returned to normal.

Except now that I’m doing the master cleanse, my tongue has turned pale and become coated with white stuff again.

Coincidence? I think not. Keep reading to see what’s causing this.

What a Healthy Tongue Should Look Like

A healthy tongue is usually pink, and smooth.

If your tongue is always white or has weird fuzz, then medically speaking it could mean a few things.

White Tongue and Dehydration

The easiest to check is dehydration. If you aren’t drinking enough water, then that could definitely be causing your tongue to be too white.

Another thing to keep in mind with dehydration is that not all liquids are hydrating. For example coffee and tea are very dehydrating, and you would need to drink twice the water to compensate.

I always recommend you drink 1/2 a Liter (16 oz.) of water right upon waking up. Trust me, your body needs water first thing in the morning.

White Tongue and Candida

Another possibility is an overgrowth of yeast, also known as candida or thrush. This was a big ah-ha for me, because I know that I have to balance my beneficial bacteria and yeast since I’ve taken the birth control pill in the past.

I am under the impression that this whole white tongue thing is related to processing the yeasties and candida in my body.

According to an article on the Master Cleanse web site, it is common for the first few days to produce a white coated tongue. After the first few days it goes away, while your body goes to work healing and detoxing further.

This naturopathic article on white tongue may give you more insights if you want further information.

Tongue Tied Together?

Taking the TCM approach and the naturopathic or scientific explanations together really work for me. They might not be enough to explain your white tongue experiences, so I encourage you to do more research if this didn’t answer your questions.

I just know that I feel better knowing that I am actually bringing on this white tongue effect through my detoxification efforts. It’s definitely one of the detox symptoms and side effects.

Thanks for reading about my experiences with the Master Cleanse. Yay for getting through this cleanse, and getting rid of these yeasties!

Love, Nathalie