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I remember the night I started reading “It Starts With The Egg” by Rebecca Fett.
I bought the Kindle version and sat in bed, next to the husband, reading it on my phone.
For those that aren’t familiar, “It Starts With The Egg” is a very popular book among those with infertility because it presents the latest scientific research for improving egg quality and fertility in a convincing and easy to read way.
The first chapter was pleasantly informative but boy, when I hit that second chapter? I was all “what?…hm!!?…. nooooo….all this time???”.
By the end of the chapter, I turned to the left and casually let my husband know that we need to throw away all of our food containers…like…INSTANTLY.
Over the next week, I bought new food containers, stopped drinking out of water bottles (even before I bought a water filter), stopped microwaving takeout, stopped using my old cooking spoons, starting buying new supplements, disgustingly declined all store receipts and made a bunch of other changes.
Instead of feeling like I was making progress, each lifestyle change brought a whole new wave of anxiety- a simultaneous feeling of “how can I keep all of this up” and “I gotta do more”.
When I caught myself shopping for medication boxes to organize my new collection of 10+ daily pills, it finally hit me- “Alright, I think I’m doing too much”.
I hadn’t even made all of the changes that the author recommended and already felt overwhelmed.
I also had doubts about how impactful some of these recommendations even were. I mean…..store receipts damaging my fertility? How was anyone getting pregnant if that was the case??
To escape the feeling of overwhelm, I had to break this book down to the basics and figure out what lifestyle changes would have the most bang for the buck towards improving my fertility.
And when I did that, I found that the most important changes (for me) came down to the following thing.
The Most Important Lifestyle Change For Fertility
One of the most (if not the most) important things that Rebecca Fett recommends for improving fertility and egg quality is to reduce exposure to bisphenol A (otherwise known as BPA).
What is BPA?
BPA is an industrial chemical that is used to make plastic for food and beverage containers.
The problem is- plastic releases toxins when it is heated.
When you eat food or drink beverages that were in contact with a BPA containing material, those toxins enter your body.
In our bodies, BPA has been found to have negative effects.
Specific to fertility, BPA can affect our reproductive hormones and cause abnormal chromosomes during the final stages of egg development.
This leads to difficulty getting pregnant or implantation failure.
It is easy to get obsessed with the idea of eliminating BPA. It’s everywhere! Even in store receipts!
However, in the book, Rebecca Fett clarifies that the goal is to avoid above-average levels of BPA. She recommends that we, “reduce our exposure, not to avoid BPA completely”.
I’ve developed a pretty good system that helps me feel like I am doing the best I can do to reduce my exposure to BPA on a daily basis (without getting overwhelmed).
Here are some of those tips.
Before you keep reading, I have to give this disclaimer-
I am not a doctor and you should not take medical advice from me. Seek medical advice from your physician.
8 simple lifestyle changes
to improve your fertility
#1. Replace your food containers with GLASS
Basic step one- Replace your plastic food containers with glass food containers.
If you can’t replace all of them at once, prioritize the plastic containers that are scratched, melted or used for hot food.
A great brand of glass food containers that you can find almost everywhere (including Amazon) is Pyrex. They have well priced food containers in all sizes!
#2. Replace plastic water bottles with a WATER FILTER
Doing this is not only good for you, but also for the environment.
When I’m not drinking water, I like to buy drinks that are bottled in glass.
If you can’t, here’s a great tip: plastic bottles with recycling number “7” are likely to have BPA. So, avoid those.
#3. Choose UNCOATED paper plates
Judge me if you must but I hate doing dishes. And because I hate doing them, I keep a stash of (recyclable) disposable plates that I use whenever I need to.
Styrofoam and plastic disposable plates are an easy “no”.
But, out of ignorance, I used to buy coated paper plates (because they are more sturdy).
I eventually realized that the coating is made from plastic so there was a chance my food was absorbing BPA or other chemicals when I heated it up.
After I realized that, I started buying uncoated paper plates. Yes, they are less sturdy but I just stack two paper plates together (or use a real dish) when I am eating something that could get soggy.
#4. Avoid “steam in a bag” vegetables or food
Don’t worry; you don’t have to give up all conveniences on this quest to better fertility.
If you like to keep packaged foods on hand (for example if you take Lean Cuisine to work or something like this), find alternatives that don’t microwave in plastic (they may be hard to find but they are out there).
After I realized that the lasagna I like to eat at work heats up in plastic, I searched for an alternative and so far, I have been loving Amy’s organic burritos. You can take them out of their plastic and microwave separately.
Instead of steam-in-a-bag veggies, buy fresh or frozen vegetables and steam them in a safe container.
#5. Don’t microwave takeout food in the plastic, Styrofoam or coated containers it comes in
Have you noticed that takeout containers are almost always made out of styrofoam or plastic?
For that reason, when I take my food to go, I NEVER microwave it without transferring it to a safe container.
#6. Replace your plastic cooking spoons with STAINLESS STEEL (or wood) COOKING SPOONS
I am guilty of using plastic cooking spoons when I didn’t know better.
After reading “It Starts With The Egg“, I started to notice how my plastic cooking spoons looked after extended use – some had melted edges and others had scratches. I realized that micro-bits of plastic could be ending up in my food so I replaced them.
#7. Replace disposable utensils with NATURAL WOOD UTENSILS
If you want to go the extra mile, you can also avoid using disposable plastic utensils.
If you find that you use them a lot, try natural wood disposables instead.
I keep a pack of these disposable birchwood forks around for when I need disposable utensils.
I can testify that they are sturdy enough for a normal meal.
They would not be the best option if you are eating something very wet. They are also not very sharp and would not be suitable for stabbing tough foods. Other than that, they work well for the great majority of foods that I eat.
Also, they are eco-friendly!
#8. Eat natural folate
At the end of the day, DON’T PANIC!
Why? Because according to Fett, “consuming more than 400 mcgs of natural folate from food per day appeared to cancel out the effect of BPA“. (More on this)
So, at the end of the day, if you get everything wrong, the least you can do is EAT WELL.
The foods with the highest level of natural folate are: lentils, edamame, leafy greens like spinach and kale, brussels sprouts, asparagus, black eyed peas and fortified grains like rice and cereal.
Get your nutrients easily with these 9 delicious fertility smoothie recipes.
Now, get eating!
Overall, DON’T be overwhelmed.
Whenever I feel myself getting to that point, I remind myself that women have conceived and delivered healthy babies, without doing any of these things and way before this information was even available.
Just remember that any steps that you can take to improve your fertility also improves your overall health. And that is always a worthwhile thing to do!