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Eating for Your Fertility and Finding Support in the Process

a blog by Julie Monacelli, September 26, 2013

I am very fortunate that I have a close family member trained in chiropractic care with a specialty in pregnancy and child birth called the Webster Technique. She also works with children with autism, ADD/ADHD and sensory processing disorders. She doesn’t just talk the talk, she walks the walk. She is gluten intolerant, and has a few miscellaneous allergies. When her daughter was born and became a bit colicky, she gave up dairy and eggs while she was breastfeeding. Whenever they have suspected the baby has a new food allergy, she gives that up also. I have to admit, her baby is the happiest, healthiest baby I have ever met. She has not had a single ear infection or other infantile illness plagued by my own children.

When she suggested I be tested for gluten intolerance , I told her I had been eating it just fine for almost 40 years. She was persistent, and eventually talked me into the ALCAT test. As it turns out, I am, in varying degrees, intolerant to gluten, dairy, egg yolks, soy, lentils, chicken, turkey, onions, garlic, banana, broccoli, lettuce and about 50 other foods (mostly fruits and vegetables). Yes, lettuce, the food that everyone turns to when you are trying to avoid other foods. I can safely eat air, water and ice on special occasions.

I have cut out soy and gluten. When you read labels you will find going soy free is not easy, it’s in everything in some form. Remember all the forms of Bubba Gump shrimp? Same for soy… soy bean, soy oil, soy sauce, soy lecithin, soy milk, tofu, tempeh, miso, soy cheese, soy protein isolate and the list goes on. At first, I shopped for commercially produced food. $5 for a loaf of gluten free, soy free bread that is half the size of a regular loaf, with thinner, smaller slices makes for some very expensive lunches. What I found was that my husband and I do not make enough to shop exclusively in the specialty section of the grocery store. Only the very rich can afford to eating well while avoiding this many food groups. Simple things like mayonnaise, which is made from soy oil by every major manufacturer, jumped from $4 a large jar to nearly $7 for a small jar of canola mayo. Basically, it boiled down to me eating Trader Joe’s version of ramen noodles for every meal (gluten free at 99 cents a bowl and actually really good in a pinch) or I could start cooking at home, going back to basics.

It’s been a year of changes for my family and me. It’s also been a year of learning to eat well, but cheaper. In many ways, giving up gluten for me meant giving up a crutch for my family. A lot of the meal fillers, like bread and pasta, have been replaced with nutritionally dense vegetables that we never would have made a regular part of our diet like baby spinach, swiss chard, eggplant and pattypan squash. By giving up those fillers, we also gave up the expensive replacements for the originals. We planted an organic garden, started shopping at a local organic farmers market, subscribed to an organic CSA and began canning our own foods. As a result, we are honestly healthier and have lost some weight. My inflammation has decreased, my moods are improved, and my last lining was the best out of all of my cycles. Whether or not it was a coincidence that it was my only truly gluten free lining, I don’t know.

There’s a new Diet and Lifestyle Changes board on for those who share my quest to eat better and cheaper while living within their own dietary confines. Come on over and help me by exchanging recipes, substitution ideas or websites. You can also share advice and experiences on our Facebook page and Twitter.


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