“If there was any food that would make your cycle more likely to succeed, you’d see it on your prescription” – my doctor
Each time I gear up for a cycle, a frenzy ensues. This usually happens immediately after I put something in my mouth and it is teetering on the tip of my esophagus. Then I suddenly remember reading something, somewhere that implied it might not be a wise thing to do. Cue the simultaneous summoning of a gag reflex and Dr. Google.
It’s perfectly irrational, given that for decades, women the world over have gotten pregnant despite eating peas and drinking miso soup. Ditto coffee, salami, and peanut butter. But women the world over also appear to blink and fall pregnant, so let’s factor them out this equation.
Each cycle, there seems too much at stake to take any risks. Let’s pass on the pizza, I tell the Man, and remove the peas from a shepherd’s pie with the precision of a heart surgeon while checking if carrots were a yay or nay, swallowing before remembering the big X over mozzarella. Cue: panic.
I’ve stalked a silly number of “what I ate this cycle posts”, my eyebrows doing a dance as I digest yet another article about strange superstitions or talk of French fries after transfers (and only ever McDonald’s ones, for some reason. I always wonder how they landed that plug as I order a large portion).
My doctor laughs it all away. “If there was anything that would make your cycle more likely to succeed, you’d see it on your prescription. Eat what you want, everything in moderation,” he gently reassures each time I bring a new suggestion of a fertility food to him. Five cycles in, I am sure he is considering rebranding his prescription pads with that quote.
But… “Let’s throw all the crazy ‘science’ out of the window”, said no woman doing IVF ever, as she loads up a shopping basket with avocados, walnuts, and goji berries for good measure.
I’ve always found myself back at the list from this article, based on absolutely no science and the preference of my tastebuds: avocado, broccoli, strawberries,
oatmeal, bananas, brazil nuts, dried figs, salmon, tomatoes, blueberries, spinach, fresh orange juice, anchovies, smoked trout, wheatgerm, low-fat yogurt, wholemeal bread, brown rice, pineapple, kale, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, cabbage, mango, s weet potatoes, melon, walnuts, pomegranate, eggs, humus and chicken.
Avocado seems critical. Not least because I REALLY like avocado, and I am constantly looking for ways to justify paying so much for it.
To that list, I’ve added fresh (and well-washed) salads, beetroot, cashews, A LOT OF CAYENNE (because, above all else, I really like it), and enough pork, beef and potatoes to avoid suggestions of a divorce (the Man needs to eat, and I don’t have the time to cook separate meals).
Stuff I avoid: semi-cooked anything, carb overloads, peas, soft cheeses, refined sugar (I fail spectacularly with this one), too much caffeine (two coffees are fine pre-cycle, one while cycling, says doc), sugary drinks, artificial sweeteners, seafood/shellfish (this one’s easy coz I’m allergic to most of it anyway), too much soy, and peas.
AND pineapple. I have a BIG problem with pineapple and won’t touch the stuff. Two reasons: one, since I was a kid, it’s made my tongue bleed (a sure sign that the damn fruit should be left alone). The second, I have read (and chosen to believe) WAY too much stuff about bromelain and its ability to induce contractions.
Anyway, without my doctor’s blessings, I am once again staring at a fertile and overloaded shopping cart, hoping that somewhere in these packages is the ideal recipe for pregnancy/ivf success. Or at least a really nice avocado salad.