The Fertile Kitchen (TM) is a new cookbook published by author and culinary couple, Cindy and Pierre. The book gives mouthwatering recipes that show women how to eat healthy during the “TTC” period. Drawing from her husband’s rich culinary background and her own personal experiences the couple educates women on what foods are healthy and helpful when trying for a baby.
Cindy was able to answer a few questions for Ovatel about their new book, her favorite recipes, and why eating with a focus on fertility is essential for an easier conception and healthier pregnancy.
Q. Why write a cookbook focused on recipes for fertility?
A: This book came out of our experience. I was given a 2% chance of conceiving, which I refused to accept. Instead, I did a lot of research and put myself on a fertility friendly diet, among other healing regimens, such as yoga and meditation. Four months later, my husband and I conceived – naturally. During that time, what made the restrictive diet so much easier to follow was my husband Pierre’s cooking. He created a wide variety of dishes that were simple to make, yet full of flavor (you can’t tell these dishes contain no wheat, sugar or dairy!). Having those recipes kept us from getting bored and giving up. It helped us stick with it! Plus, it was a project we could do together, and we felt empowered by the process. Naturally, we wanted to share what we learned and all the recipes with others in hopes that it might help them in the way it helped us. The recipes serve to make the diet easier to follow.
Q. Tell me a bit about what sort of recipes you feature in your book?
A: We feature a variety of ethnically diverse recipes which are all simple to make. Women and couples struggling with fertility issues are often already overwhelmed. We didn’t want them to feel changing their diet would be another burden. We wanted them to enjoy flavorful dishes so they wouldn’t notice too much that they were on a diet. We feature recipes for vegetables, beans, rice and grains, meat, seafood, soups and salads, sides and sauces and breakfast dishes. We only feature a couple of desserts, as processed sugar is not allowed. Favorite dishes include: Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup, Chicken with Portobello Mushrooms, Lamb Stew, Spicy Garbanzo Beans, Crepes Salée, Chile Con Carne (healthy version!) and more. All are easy to make!
A: Women should eliminate alcohol, caffeine, coffee (even decaf), processed sugar, artificial sweeteners, overly processed foods and trans fats. Sodas and other bottled beverages should also be eliminated (except purified water). (Fruit juices have too much concentration of sugar; eat whole fruits instead.) Women should also avoid dairy and wheat, both because they’re difficult to digest, and also because many have either a sensitivity, intolerance or outright allergy to these food products, making them especially hard on your digestion and body, and causing a number of health problems. You don’t want to overly tax your digestion or body while trying to conceive. Women should also eat all organic, especially for produce and meat.
Q. Are any of the recipes in this book helpful for male fertility?
A: Yes! Male partners are strongly encouraged to follow the fertility diet too, for overall nutritional balance. Not only can diet affect such factors as sperm count, motility and morphology, but there is also the fact that 10 to 15 percent of couples have unexplained infertility, meaning the cause is unknown. Since you can never be absolutely sure of all the factors that are causing a your infertility, you should do the diet together.
Male partners should also be sure to get sufficient levels of zinc, selenium, vitamin B12 and vitamin C to help produce healthy, viable sperm. The diet and recipes in our book support these nutrients – namely: our recipes that include lamb, salmon or halibut, shrimp, broccoli, bell peppers and strawberries, for example.
Q. On a fertility diet, what would your average breakfast, lunch, and dinner look like?
A: Breakfast is very important for blood sugar levels. Don’t skip it! The healthiest includes protein and fiber. Healthy choices include: oatmeal, veggie omelets with 100% rye toast, pancakes made with non-wheat whole grains and no processed sugar—and with all ingredients being organic. Lunch or dinner could be a main protein dish (beans, seafood or meat) with a grain (rice or quinoa, for example) and a vegetable dish. You could also do a soup or salad or a pasta dish (made with rice pasta). Polenta Pizza, Fried Rice or Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup also make great dishes on their own. There are many choices!
A: All of them, because in those first few weeks of pregnancy you will not know if you are pregnant and it’s important to be eating right beforehand.
To learn more about Cindy and Pierre you can visit their website www.fertilekitchen.com or purchase their new book The Fertile Kitchen.