AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH TO FERTILITY
By Dani Kenney
Fertility is a natural state of being. So why is it difficult for many women to conceive?
I believe that the answer is that we as a human species have wandered far off course from most of our natural states of being. Societal advances have taken us away from the simplicity of the natural world, and infertility rates have soared. If you are one of the many women who has struggled with fertility, please do not feel like there is something wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with you. If anything there is something wrong with our current world. Our bodies are microcosms of the world in which we live. If you have not been able to conceive, it just means that something is off balance. And in order to try to help women restore this balance, I have compiled a formulaic list of lifestyle changes into an alternative approach to fertility. While I make no promises, it has helped every woman to whom I have given it thus far. It does not mean that this plan works for everyone, and it does not mean that the end to infertility can be reduced to the solutions outlined in this article. I do not pretend to be an expert on fertility or claim to be a doctor. Some of wisdom outlined below may be common knowledge. I also do not claim to have invented diets that work for fertility, as our ancestors did that many moons ago. I am merely a chef, with a background in holistic nutrition.
But because of this, my focus in life tends to be on food. Particularly, healing through food. And in my field as a holistic chef, I have seen a lot of miracles happen surrounding food. I have seen the synergistic power of medicinal plants work magic on the human body. I want to offer an alternative to those who have tried to conceive a baby without success—using both food for the body and food for the mind. And this plan is not just for those who have attempted to conceive without success, this is also for those who have conceived and have suffered repetitive miscarriages. If you are someone who has endured such a painful rollercoaster, I encourage you to let go of any limiting beliefs you may have, surrounding fertility—and to give this plan a fair shot. Following this alternative approach requires trusting in something bigger than yourself, letting go of any doubt you may have, and diving in head first with a sort of nothing-to-lose, blind faith. You will notice that part of this plan has a dietary approach, along with some other pieces of action to implement. If you have tried all of the below nutritional suggestions, then there may be a mental or emotional block somewhere, so do try to implement the mental and metaphysical work as well. We are looking to address fertility from a holistic approach, which involves the mind, body and spirit—not just one of those things, isolated. Therefore, I encourage you to try everything outlined below, together at once. For remember—you are not only trying to show your body that you are ready to become pregnant; you must also show this soul who is to be your child that you are ready, as well.
DRINK BONE BROTH EVERYDAY
This is the first thing to start doing right away. Drinking at least 8 ounces of bone broth per day will nourish your body on a cellular level and begin to prepare your body for carrying a child. If you are a vegetarian, you can skip this step. However, I really believe this helps. The collagen, fat and protein levels in bone broth feed you’re cells the basic nutrients needed to initiate and maintain a pregnancy. I believe that this step can help the prevention of miscarriages as well.
LET GO OF EVERYTHING HOLDING YOU BACK
If you are still living in the past, having trouble forgiving yourself or others, harbouring resentments or holding anger in your heart, you will have trouble conceiving. You must release doubt, fear and past trauma, in order to make room for this spirit to enter your body. Write down everything you are currently harbouring and holding in your mind and body. Let whatever comes up come up. Then release it by praying to the Universe. You may say things like, “Dear Universe/ Dear God, please help me forgive myself. Please let me see this situation differently so that I might forgive this other person. Please take this doubt and fear from inside me. I surrender my desire to hold onto past trauma.”
This step can take time, particularly if you have trauma and fear-based emotions buried in the subconscious. But the more you become aware of these past or current grievances, and the more you turn over your fears to the universe and try to let go of these blocks, the more you will make room for an amazing miracle.
It is also amazing how often you will find negative feelings and resentments still held against yourself. Guilt and shame are two of the biggest roadblocks to attaining your desires. If you secretly hate yourself, you are not showing that baby’s spirit that you have room to love another. You have to find the love for yourself first, and take care of yourself first. You must start releasing all of your baggage from the past and begin to look at yourself and others as humans and teachers, all sharing this experience as man. We are all prone to screw ups and at our deepest cores, we are all made up of stardust and just want to be loved and love each other. So if you want a baby, get rid of grudges.
TELL YOUR FUTURE CHILD THAT YOU ARE READY FOR HIM OR HER
This might sound strange, but I think that it is important to let that spirit know that you welcome him or her with open arms. At our core we are energetic beings who can sense if we are wanted or not. If one parent wants us and the other doesn’t, we can feel it. If you are projecting fear surrounding conceiving or being a parent, that spirit will be reluctant to come join you. If you are ready, smile and talk to your baby. Tell that little soul how cool earth is. Have a dance party in your living room and invite them to come join you. I literally did this.
SURRENDER YOUR DESIRE TO CONCEIVE
(I.e. “let go of your desire to conceive.”)
Talk to the Universe. “I am ready for a child when you think I am ready, or when the child is ready. There is no pressure on timing, I let go and I trust. I want you to know that I am ready when your timing is. I surrender and turn over my desire for a child.” You can elaborate with specifics here too. When speaking to the Universe, whatever you say must ring true for you. It can’t feel silly. So just speak from the heart, as you would to a dear friend. Feel the love and honesty pour through your heart and you will convey your message. I like to use the word “Universe,” but God or Goddesses, or any term you like will do. The important thing here is having faith, believing you deserve what you want and letting go. When you let go of attachment to something (attachment being a tense form of energy) you enable that very thing to come to you. When you release something, the tension eases and energy naturally flows. Also remember, that the Universe is bigger than any one person. If you are not conceiving, it may be that your soul knows it needs to learn a thing or two first. Put your intention/ desire out there, trust the timing of it and let go.
TAKE PRENATAL VITAMINS
Even if you eat extremely well, this is something that is recommended by all doctors, and will make sure that your body’s stores of vitamins are sufficient for building a baby. If you do indeed get pregnant, this will also put your mind at ease, because prenatal vitamins contain the right amount of folic acid necessary for your baby’s neural development.
TAKE LIVER SUPPLEMENTS
Another option here is eating liver in your diet, but the supplements are a means of getting this nutritional food daily. The Native Americans used to give women the livers (and other organs) of animals when trying to conceive. This is actually a common practice among many native cultures around the world. Even if it sounds a little new and weird to you, I really believe in the nutritional power of taking a grass-fed beef liver supplement. There are plenty of sustainable, conscious and kind companies out there who make vitamins of liver, as well as other organs.
EAT A BALANCED VARIETY OF PLANTS AND VEGETATION
Eating plenty of leafy greens will keep your body stocked up on great nutrients. Eat as many greens as possible, everyday. You also want to make sure that you get a balance of other colours too. Baked yams, purple cabbage, black kale, yellow lentils… the more colourful your diet, the larger the variety of nutrients you have on hand to make a human!
I think that one of the reasons our society struggles with fertility is because of a fear of fat. Eat lots of healthy fats, such as coconut oil and grass-fed ghee or butter. Salmon and omega-rich balanced meals are great for this. Your body will likely balance itself out by not craving as much of this in the first trimester when you do become pregnant. A lot of women end up craving carbohydrates during the first trimester (I sure did!)
Proteins are the building blocks of life. Eat clean sources of protein like low-mercury fish, grass-fed, pasture-raised meats and poultry, eggs, beans, seeds, nuts and plant superfood proteins like spirulina and cacao.
DRINK FERTILITY TEA
Drinking a cup of nourishing fertility tea everyday can help tone certain organs in preparation for pregnancy. Vitex, or chasteberry is an old herb that is thought to regulate hormones and increase chances of conception. However, you don’t want to overdo it with this herb either. It is very potent. I’ve crafted a fertility tea that contains this herb, as well as other nutrient-dense, fertility-boosting herbs. You just drink one little cup per day. I really believe that if you do all of the other steps though, you don’t even need the tea. The tea is the icing on the cake.
This may seem silly, but I believe that connecting to nature is incredibly powerful and important. Digging your feet into the earth while declaring your intentions, prayers and desires is particularly magical. Being in nature is man’s inherent state and when we are outdoors connecting with grass, trees, dirt, mountains, the sea, salty air, sunshine and rain, our stress levels go down. There have been studies that show that particles in dirt actually make people happier. The lower your stress, the more likely you are to conceive.
SAY NO TO DRUGS
Possibly let go of fertility drugs. I will not ask you to do this, because it is not my place, but if you have been on them for a long time without success, consult your doctor and see if he or she will let you go off of the medication for a little while, while you try this alternative approach. There is a big part of me that feels like the drugs interfere with this process. It’s like telling your body, future child and the Universe that you trust the process and then hiring back up because you really don’t. And really, it’s putting artificial chemicals in your body when you’re trying to align your body with its own natural intelligence and healing. So while I will never tell you to do or not do something medical, I encourage you to at least have a discussion about it with your doctor. And while on the topic of drugs… I think a rule of thumb during the conceiving process, is the more natural your body the better. If you are on other medications continue to talk to your doctor about things you may be able to wean off of. If you want to have a little wine with your partner on a date before doing the deed, I think that it helps relax the body and I say go for it. But I probably wouldn’t recommend binging or going to Burning Man and trying ‘new things’ while trying to conceive!
OPEN YOUR HEART
You can’t have a closed heart as a mother. If you want to open your womb, open your heart first. Feel the love in every aspect of your life. Feel the love of your partner, of your parents, of your siblings, of your pets. Give that love back. Give love everywhere. Love your neighbour and your barista and your hairdresser. Say thank you, give hugs and accept hugs. Open your heart!! If you’re going to let a soul into your body, you better believe you’re going to need to open that heart up even more. So if you’re guarded, let that guard down. Let your hair down. Feel the love that is all around you and that wonderful boomerang effect, as it goes around and comes around.
GO EASY ON WORKOUT INTENSITY. If you are already a very active person, you don’t have to be as cautious with this. But particularly if you are someone who has had a miscarriage, just be easy on yourself with exercise during this process. Try regular walks and yoga (minus the inversions.)
MAKE LOVE WITH ABANDON
(Well, with your partner!) A bit of a no brainer, but the sperm and egg need to meet in order for that magic spark to happen, or you’re just going to be spinning your wheels. If you are trying in vitro, that’s fine too, just keep on doing that throughout the other steps. Definitely find the joy in these things though. It should not feel like work, but play. It should feel like an act of love, connection and be fun. If you’re going the traditional route here, I really like to say to stop having scientific sex based on the ovulation calendar and just try to find that spark again with your partner and let the good times roll as often as you feel like it. Of course you definitely want to take advantage of the ovulation window to be intimate, but don’t focus so much on peak days. Find that window, but find that passion. Naturally, you will have ebbs and flows of feeling up for it, which is good for building up reserves too.
NOW LET GO AND BREATHE
Once you begin to implement this plan as your daily routine, let go of the thought of it. Let it be second nature, but don’t try to be a perfectionist with it all. Allow yourself to be human and miss a day of bone broth and prenatal vitamins. As your fat, eat a big bowl of ice cream one day. So do these things and then let go of the worry attached to all of this.
Let this be a new journey for you and your family. At the very least you will build a healthy relationship with all aspects of your body as you begin to nourish and nurture it. And you will build healthy mental and spiritual practices as well. And my hope is that you will also become pregnant from all of this. But please try to let go of your attachment to conceiving—because it needs to be said more than once. Once you have checked off everything on this list, just try to enjoy yourself, your partner and life. Then that little baby will come join you, because s/he won’t want to miss out on all the fun!
Dani Larson Kenney is a holistic chef from Los Angeles, California, currently residing with her husband and child in Fort Myers, Florida. She attended culinary school at Bauman College for Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts in Northern California and has been a private chef to many A-list celebrities, and has cooked at Zagat-award-winning restaurants and wellness retreats. Her alternative approach to fertility comes from her personal experience with herself and with clients. Dani does not claim to be a doctor, nor does she claim to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Before beginning any new fertility program, please consult with your doctor. For more information on Dani and her unique offerings of products, recipes and services, please visit www.danikenney.com
Photography by Jenzel Velo