Guest post written by Donielle Baker, author of Naturally Knocked Up
Natural fertility has been a passion of mine for a few years now, but my natural ways didn’t start just because I was trying to get pregnant.
The father of a coworker of mine passed away from cancer and through her, I learned about the toxins in most cleaning products. I didn’t do a lot of research on why chemical cleaners were hazardous to our health, I just followed suit and began buying cleaners that claimed they were natural.
One of the big problems I found was the cost, and after we finally did have our first baby, it was too expensive to keep up on.
Yet I also knew I didn’t want those chemicals anywhere near my kid! And it was also about that time that I started blogging about my journey to healthier living while trying to do it as frugally as possible. I was a woman on a mission and many of those “recipes” I uncovered then, I use even now, and published some of them in my book.
As I began to read and research, and find blog friends who had the same desires (at the time I didn’t have many ‘natural’ friends locally) I began to uncover the problems that chemicals and environmental toxins cause to our reproductive systems. And these dangerous chemicals are in everyday products!
- Mercury crosses the placental barrier and can be passed on from mother to baby; and, according to the CDC, up to 8% of women that are of childbearing age have mercury levels in their blood that present developmental risks for their babies. At high levels mercury can also cause problems with the nervous system and affect a developing fetus.
- Aluminum competes with calcium for absorption, making it hard for our bodies to fulfill our requirement for a much needed nutrient, absorbing aluminum instead while the calcium is excreted.
- Cadmium is similar in structure to zinc and can actually replace it in some of our different biological systems. One of the most worrisome places it can replace zinc is within the scrotum, leading to increased rates of varicocele and problems with sperm production causing low sperm counts and motility issues.
- While toxic levels of lead affect most every organ in the body, lead can also directly affect the reproductive system. In men it leads to changes within the sperm, including count, motility, and morphology problems. In women it has been associated with increased rates of miscarriage and problems with the child’s nervous system development, causing learning difficulties.
- Fluoride is a chemical in most public water systems (and every conventional toothpaste I’ve ever seen) and is placed there because someone thought it would help prevent cavities and it has also been shown to decrease fertility in many of the animal studies that have been done, showing it may cause multiple problems with sperm quality. Chronic exposure to fluoride has also been linked to thyroid and neurological disorders, hormonal imbalances, and heart disease. (It may also enter the skin through bathing and swimming.)
- Bisphenol A (a xeno-estrogen) has been suspected of being hazardous to humans since about 1930, and luckily companies are starting to hear the outcry from the public and are taking it out of products. Studies have shown it affects the reproductive systems in both men and women, as it acts as an endocrine disruptor and mimics estrogen in the body.
And the list could go on and on. Tens of thousands of chemicals have been approved for use (some of which are later banned due to health issues) and they are in just about everything we use. So the importance of making better decisions about what we can control becomes ever more important.
My top three tips to living less toxic lives
- Make your own cleaners to keep indoor air pollution to a minimum.
- Search out, or make your own, natural beauty care products. Your skin is your largest organ and what you put on it will get in to your system.
- Choose foods as close to nature as possible. The less it looks like how it came from the tree/bush/vine/animal, the more processed it’s going to be, giving you less absorbable nutrients.
I’ve also found great healing over the last few years through changing what I eat. I used to suffer from poly cystic ovary syndrome when I ate both a standard American diet and the diet recommended by the USDA. What I found was that the way our ancestors ate provides the body with the nutrients it needs to work properly. And it keeps our body’s natural detoxification system working as well.
This way we can help support our bodies and cleanse the chemicals that do make it in, allowing us improved health.
And a traditional diet is full of good fats (butter, evoo, coconut oil, and even lard), grass-fed animal products, fresh dairy whole grains, and plenty of organic produce.
Of course, different people will all need to consume different amounts of food based on their lifestyle and health issues. I’m actually in the process of changing my diet even more as I’ve dealt with some hypothyroidism issues stemming from my miscarriage last year.
But in my book, I break down all the different aspects of a real food diet, talk at length about cleansing with foods, and even wrote a whole chapter on super foods.
Because when you’re looking to have a baby, you need all the nutrients you can get!