How does nutrition intersect with fertility?
Today I am SO happy to be sharing a review of a book that is very near and dear to me, not only because the topic is perfectly aligned with what I write about here on TBSD, but because I know the two women behind the book and I know they mean every last word they’ve written. Far more than any profit that their book sales bring them (which I hope is great!) I know that nothing in the world would mean more to the Fertility Foods: 100+ Recipes to Nourish Your Body authors than for other women and their future babies to benefit from the love and care they put into this cookbook.
I first met Liz on a media tour in California and was so touched by the way she was open about her struggles with infertility! Even though she had only just met me and the other attendees of the tour, she readily shared her story, which I know can be such a challenge for anyone facing infertility. She continues to share her struggle on Shaw’s Simple Swaps and her new infertility-focused venture, Bumps to Baby.
I met Sara briefly at a nutrition conference last year and I was so inspired by her enthusiasm for getting others into the kitchen, especially kids! I’ve continued to work with her in promoting the benefits of cooking with kids and love that she is possibly even more passionate about the subject than me! (It’s one of my favorite parts of being a dietitian, so that’s saying a lot!)
I was honored that Liz and Sara asked me to help them review a few of the recipes in Fertility Foods last year. Here’s my then-14 month old daughter enjoying their Smoky Sweet Potato Chili!
But let’s talk about the book itself. Here’s the way I see it: We know that nutrition is incredibly important to fertility, pregnancy and family well-being. I wouldn’t have made it the focus of my work if it weren’t. But there is SO much information available to women who want to conceive. Even as a dietitian, when I first started thinking about getting pregnant I wasn’t quite sure where to start.
I was SO blessed not to have trouble conceiving my girls. Truly, this is something that I am thankful for every day. But in the few months it took me to conceive my first, I learned that wanting something that is so very important but potentially so far out of my control is enough to make anyone put their crazy pants.
Of course, this book can’t guarantee you’ll get pregnant, or that your pregnancy will be without issues if and when you do conceive. But what you are guaranteed to receive is the best available information on how nutrition intersects with fertility from two women who are as passionate about conceiving healthy babies as you are. I especially love that each recipe features a “Fertility Focus” that explains its nutritional benefits in simple terms.
If you’re trying to conceive, there are thousands of healthy recipes that would probably fuel your fertility efforts just fine. The trouble is weeding through all the noise and finding somewhere to start. So just start with Fertility Foods and know that the recipes that are nourishing your body are crafted by two women who care about your fertility just as much as you do.
As for me, even though I’m not currently trying to conceive I am really digging the Sweet Treats chapter of the book. Breastfeeding + stress = give me all the desserts! So I absolutely love that the recipes in this chapter use fruit, veggies and whole grains as their foundation to pack in good nutrition while also satisfying my sweet tooth. Sweet Potato Pie Greek Yogurt Parfait, Heavenly Chocolate Cake (with zucchini!) and Banana Mango Sorbet with Toasted Coconut…yes, yes and yes please!
This Berrylicious Fruit Crumble is another one that I helped review for the book. It’s super low in added sugar but still smells and tastes incredible! Pictured here is the cherry and almond variation with some dairy-free substitutions. Nom. I’m off to have another helping…you go check out the book!
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Fertility Foods' Berrylicious Fruit Crumble
For the Fruit Filling:
- 2 1/2 cups strawberries chopped (fresh or frozen, about 16 ounces)
- 1 cup raspberries fresh or frozen, 6 ounces
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 11/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
For the Oat Crumble Topping:
- 2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
- 2/3 cup rolled old fashioned oats
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar packed
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon melted butter or 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 375°In a medium bowl, mix together strawberries, raspberries, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Place fruit mixture into a 9-inch pie pan sprayed with nonstick spray. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
While baking, mix flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl, and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the butter (or vegetable oil), milk and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and blend together using the back of a fork as a pastry blender, mixing until dry ingredients are well coated.
Mix in the chopped walnuts and sprinkle the remaining oat crumble topping over the top of the pie dish. Continue to bake, uncovered, for remaining 15 to 20 minutes, until fruit bubbles at the top. Remove and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Variation: Substitute 1½ pounds pitted sweet cherries, cut in half, ½ teaspoon almond extract for vanilla extract, and sliced almonds for the walnuts.
Storage: Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.
Reprinted with permission from Fertility Foods, 100+ Recipes to Nourish Your Body While Trying to Conceive by Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN and Sara Haas, RDN, LDN, Hatherleigh Press, 2017.