In traditional cultures around the world certain fertility foods have been revered as sacred due to their important place in fertility and reproduction.
Traditional peoples were not just concerned about the basic health of their offspring. They knew that the degeneration of health happens progressively over generations. Thus, a man and woman realized that they had to eat not only for their health and the health of their children, but also for the health of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Woman regularly bore over 10 healthy children well into their forties without losing their vitality, strength and well-being. They knew how to space their children and to eat special fertility foods to keep their nutrient stores well stocked during their childbearing years. Some of these sacred fertility foods were: spring butter, eggs, fish eggs, fish heads, and liver.
In general, sacred fertility foods were grass-fed animal foods high in fat.
For example in peoples native to North America,
…. all of the foods considered important for reproduction and all of the foods considered sacred were animal foods, rich in fat……
Bear was a sacred food—altars of bear bones have been found at many Paleolithic sites. Cabeza de Vaca reports that the Indians of Texas kept the skin of the bear and ate the fat, but threw the rest away. Other groups ate the entire animal, including the head, but recognized the fat as the most valuable part……
Bear was also considered an important food for reproduction. When Byrd asked an Indian why their squaws were always able to bare children, the Indian replied that “if any Indian woman did not prove with child at a decent time after Marriage, the Husband, to save his Reputation with the women, forthwith entered into a Bear-dyet for Six Weeks, which in that time makes him so vigorous that he grows exceedingly impertinent to his poor wife and ’tis great odds but he makes her a Mother in Nine Months.” (excerpted from Sally Fallon & Mary Enig’s, Guts and Grease, The Diet of Native Americans)
Infertility is on the rise in North America.
In 1940 the average male had a sperm count of 163 million/ml. Today it has dropped to below 10 million/ml, and only 1 in 5,000 sperm actually make it to the egg. In 1995 18.5% of couples were reported to be clinically infertile. There are many contributing factors to this decline in fertility including exposure to chemicals such as chlorine, chemical pesticides, plastic residues in packaged food, and hormone residues in industrially raised animal products.
Nutritional deficiencies also contribute to infertility. Some studies show that infertility rates increase over generations in animals fed denatured low enzyme, cooked meat/milk, diets with added sugar (Francis Pottenger’s famous cat studies). Consumption of similar denatured processed foods promoted in industrial nations is another piece of the infertility puzzle. All Industrial nations are facing similar increases in infertility, not to mention the emergence of and continued increase of degenerative disease.
The high sugar / carbohydrate and low-fat (high-hydrogenated fat) diet encouraged by the government and big food industries is creating nutritional deficiencies that lead to increased infertility. In order for the (male and female) reproductive system to function optimally it needs enough healthy fat and protein to make the necessary hormones.
Furthermore, when we eat refined sugar/carbohydrates without protein or healthy fat our blood sugar rises to an level that alarms the body. Never before in the history of mankind have we had the emergency need to lower blood sugar. The body responds by producing insulin to force blood sugar down, but because the body has not evolved to perform this function, it overshoots the mark and blood sugar gets lowered too far creating a new emergency.
The adrenals fire when we have dangerously low blood sugar which in traditional times only happens occasionally – the classic fight or flight response. When the adrenals are over-taxed (as they are in our culture of sugar and carbohydrate and caffeine consumption) they steal nutrients from the other endocrine functions including those that regulate natural fertility and healthy reproduction.
Even if you aren’t ready to add bear meat and fish eggs to your diet, there are many familiar and delicious ways to increase traditionally raised grass-fed protein and healthy fats in your diet while also decreasing chemical exposure.
Here are 20 things you can do to get started adding fertility foods to your diet:
- Strictly avoid hydrogenated fats and high fructose corn syrup
- Avoid commercially raised meat/eggs/produce (this includes industrial “organic”)
- Make your own salad dressing with cold pressed virgin olive oil
- Increase consumption of fermented foods (kombucha, yogurt, sauerkraut, raw cheese)
- Eat food without LABELS as much as possible
- Eat farm-direct organic food (Farmer’s Market, Co-ops, CSAs, YOUR BACKYARD)
- Eat eggs from pastured hens who are allowed to eat greens AND bugs
- Find sources for biodynamic and or grass-fed animal products
- Eat butter, lard, tallow and other traditional fats from PASTURED ANIMALS
- Find a source of clean raw grass-fed cow or goat milk. (perhaps your own backyard miniature milking goats?)
- Add a high quality cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil to your diet
- Drink fermented mineral rich beverages (kefir soda, oatwater)
- Use filtered or spring water.
- Use glass instead of plastic whenever possible.
- Make, consume and cook with Bone Mineral Stocks
- Learn traditional fermentation techniques for your grains & nuts (and everything else!)
- Walk for 20 min. a day
- Filter your bath & shower water
- Sleep at least 7 uninterrupted hours each night (new parents: catch up during the day)
- Sleep by the light of the moon (or in complete darkness except for 3 nights when moon is full)