Nutrition plays a vitally important role in optimal reproductive health. Along with being a Licensed Acupuncturist, Merritt Jones is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and enjoys leading her team and her patients in creating optimal nutrition plans to help patients thrive.
Each one of us has unique dietary needs and requirements, and part of our job as providers is to help our patients figure out what nutrition strategies will best fortify them with the unique nutrients their body needs to thrive.
Natural Harmony’s Nutrition Philosophy
In Chinese Medicine, nutrition is one of the 5 “branches” or pillars of a complete medical system, meaning that it is an innate and essential component of an effective healing plan. In our practice, we combine the traditional wisdom and philosophy of Chinese medicine with modern nutrition research to yield simply powerful results. We use food as a tool for healing — and we have fun doing it!
Some of our foundational tenets:
Whole Foods First
This one is probably no surprise, it’s become a pretty popular mantra among the health conscious in the last several years. But what does “eating whole foods” mean, exactly? To us, eating a whole foods diet means that you are choosing foods that are minimal processed and from the earth or the animals who live off of the earth. Ideally, locally sourced, from land and animals that have been treated well and raised as nature intended. A simple concept, but not always easy to put into action.
In San Diego, we are privileged to live among some of the best farms and food available, and have relatively easy access to locally sourced organic produced, meat, dairy and more. Community Supported Agricultural (CSA) programs make it convenient to have local produced delivered fresh to your doorstep, and local farmers markets and grocery stores sell animal products from happy, well raised animals.
Although the details of each persons individual nutrition needs will certainly vary, generally speaking, a well rounded diet will include:
- Abundant vegetables, including leafy greens, root vegetables and crunchy vegetables.
- Well sourced fat at every meal (see below) including grass fed butter, ghee, tallow, olive oil, roe, avocados, coconut oil/milk, grass fed cream, pastured eggs.
- Well sourced protein at every meal, including grass-fed meat on the bone, pasture raised chicken, wild caught fish, pastured eggs and legumes that have been properly soaked/prepared
- A variety of low glycemic, antioxidant rich fruits.
- Nuts and seeds.
- Fermented foods (see below).
- Broths and stocks.
Fat is Your Friend
If ever there was a nutrient worth defending, it would be good quality, well sourced fat. Fat has gotten a bad wrap in the last 20 years, but actually, fat is one of the most important components to a healing diet, especially for reproductive health and fertility. Fat is required for healthy cellular function (hello, egg quality! Did you know the human egg is the largest single cell in the body?), brain health, hormone production and more.
Contrary to what was taught in the 80’s and 90’s, it’s now been proven that eating fat is not the common culprit in weight gain or cardiac issues, sugar is. High glycemic foods are pro-inflammation in the body, and can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes, cardiac disease and more. In fact, research is showing that people who eat a low fat, high carbohydrate diet have a shorter life expectancy than people who eat a high fat, low glycemic diet (1). Thankfully, research is now showing that good quality, healthy fat, especially when combined with produce and healthy protein, provide a powerhouse of nutrients that are delicious, fortifying and essential for health.
Listen to Your Gut — Fermented Foods
The root of health begins in the gut, and a major component of a healthy gut is a healthy microbiome. Did you know that literally billions of microorganism live in your gut and require some maintenance in today’s modern world to ensure they thrive?
Probiotics have been well researched to promote nearly all aspects of health from immune support to bowel function, brain health, women’s health and more (2).While it’s become popular to supplement with capsules and powders of probiotics, often the best and simplest way to maintain a healthy gut flora is by eating a variety of fermented foods. Some great sources of healthy probiotics include:
For specific healthy issues, strategically supplementing with certain strains of probiotics may also be helpful, but for general health, getting in just a couple tablespoons of fermented foods daily will go a long way!
1: Dehgan, M. Et al. (August 29th 2017). Associations of fats and carbohydrate intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality in 18 countries from five continents (PURE): a prospective cohort study. Retrieved from https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(17)32252-3/fulltext
2: S. Parvez et all. (April 6th, 2006). Probiotics and their fermented food products are beneficial for health. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2672.2006.02963.x