A common misconception about dietitians is that we have perfect diets and are 100% healthy all the time. The truth is, we’re human. There are days we eat cake for breakfast, are too tired to workout, and have one more glass of wine than intended. And dietitians have health issues too, like infertility. Today I’m thrilled to share an interview with my dietitian college and nutrition entrepreneur extraordinaire Liz Shaw MS RDN CLT. Liz has publicly shared her fertility struggles in the media and on her new site, Bumps to Baby. Today she’s opening up to the Nutrition Nuptials couples community.
Hi Liz! Let’s start with a brief introduction of who you are, where you’re based, and what you do.
I’m a nutrition communications consultant in San Diego, CA. I own Shaw’s Simple Swaps and write freelance for various national outlets such as Shape, Fitness, and Fit Pregnancy. I’m a frequent guest on local media discussing nutrition trends and how to lead your healthiest life yet! Stay tuned for Fertility Foods, 2017 ; 100+ Nourishing Recipes to Boost Your Fertility coming soon!
Tell the readers a little about your fertility story.
My journey with infertility began about 4 years ago, and I’m still on the hunt for my rainbow. After one failed Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), one failed Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) and an immeasurable number of ovulation test strips, I am still optimistic there is a light at the end of my tunnel. You can read more about this journey to motherhood here, here, and here. Or, if you’re interested in becoming a part of the Bumps to Baby community, feel free to sign up here!
You recently launched a new logo for Bumps to Baby featuring a pineapple. Can you explain what it means?
The Bumps to Baby new logo of the pineapple is a safe place, for both the wanna be mom and future baby! It symbolizes hospitality, welcoming friends on this journey to baby to feel secure in having a place to feel comfortable, like home. The pineapple directly in the center of the shirt also symbolizes welcoming the gift of fertility! The mantra, live, laugh, love, is a saying I’ve said so many times to myself on this journey. It reminds me regardless of my pain, I’ve got to remember to live, laugh, and love through this pain!
And, the big news– today I’m announcing a shirt! It’s already set up on the shop and the preorders are going out tonight. It’s an opportunity to spread awareness without writing “I’m infertile!” on a shirt! Use the code “bignews” for $5 off the sale price.
@bumpstobaby has a new shirt for sale at bumpstobaby.com/shop. Use code BIGNEWS for additional $5 off!
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What nutrition advice do you have for both males and females trying to conceive?
Food is the one thing you can control in this out of control journey. Focusing on a balanced meal plan will help you feel less stressed and more at ease during this roller coaster. You can find out more about the specific foods I’d recommend in this article I wrote for Fitness Magazine.
Are there certain foods that should be incorporated (or limited) in the diets of males and females trying to conceive?
Really, it’s not a big secret, but plant-based proteins and high intakes of produce are excellent additions to a fertility fueling diet. I like to focus my mantra on eating the rainbow with a balance of healthy fats and full-fat dairy for females. On other hand, it’s important to note research is still evolving in this area and to speak with your registered dietitian nutritionists on your particular diagnosis to come up with the plan that is right for you. For instance, science has not yet proven that full-fat dairy assists with male infertility, however, it does show an increase in fruits and vegetables helps improve overall sperm quality. So, use caution and read the research before adjusting for males and females.
How do other aspects of a healthy lifestyle fit into reproductive nutrition, including fitness, sleep, smoking, and stress management?
A healthy lifestyle is definitely something that goes hand in hand with fertility. Lifestyle factors like stress, inadequate sleep, smoking, drug and alcohol abuse are not conducive to a fertility fueling lifestyle. Exercise can be an important part of a healthy lifestyle, however depending on ones individual diagnosis, exercise may be recommended to be weaned to assist with cycles and ovulation.
What words of wisdom do you have for couples who are having difficulty conceiving?
I would say my biggest piece of advice is to take this journey one day at a time. Never forget that you and your partner are already a family, with or without a baby. Sometimes the schedule and craziness of fertility treatments can leave you angry, stressed and sad. Never let a day go by without telling your partner you love them, and that you’ll get through this together.
And, if you’re looking for more encouraging words of wisdom, I invite you to visit the fabulous voices of women who are beating infertility at my Warrior Women Wednesday series.
What resources, websites, or support groups are there for couples trying dealing with fertility issues?
A few of my favorites:
Trying to Conceive Nutrition Support (Facebook Private Group for Nutrition Support)
The Nurtured Mama Club (great support for postpartum depression)
Where can readers find you who want more information or to connect with you personally?
My Book: Fertility Foods, 2017 (Out in Summer 2017!)
Any other pertinent information or messages you’d like to share regarding reproductive nutrition/fertility matters?
You are not alone! Infertility affects a number of individuals in one way or another. Find a safe place you feel comfortable with sharing your emotions. There are plenty of us who are here, ready and willing to lend support!