Saturday, September 21, 2013

U.S. Department of Agriculture Guts National Organic Law; Circumvents Public Process | Food & Water Watch

A MUST read article for those of us that are buying organic foods with an organic label on it. Because of changes by the USDA, those organic labels may not be as organic as we think. Read on and let me know what you think.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Guts National Organic Law; Circumvents Public Process | Food & Water Watch

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My 5 favorite DIY household cleaners and beauty products

If you have followed My Fertile Lifestyle's Facebook page and Pinterest board, you know that I love to keep my family healthy.  I have been feeding them organic and local produce for a few years now.  I don't mind spending money on these types of foods because I want my family to be as healthy as they can be. As Hippocrates once said, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."

You may also know that I entered this healthier phase of my life, when my oldest child was born. My journey led me to healthier household cleaners and most recently, healthier beauty products as I learned that what I put onto my skin was absorbed into the bloodstream quicker than what I ate. Now I would like to share what I think are fabulous DIY household cleaners and beauty products.

My favorite coconut oil, Trader Joe's!

  1. COCONUT OIL - In case you don't know, I love coconut oil!  It is such a versatile product that I use it both in cooking and as a DIY beauty product.  You can read more about my love of coconut oil here
  2. GLASS CLEANER - This recipe has three ingredients, that's it!  You probably already have them in your house.  The recipe says it is okay not to use newspaper to clean the mirrors if you don't have any.  However, I highly recommend using newspaper to clean the mirrors. My mirrors only come out well when I use newspaper.  Also, you may want to make half a recipe if you use a small spray bottle.  I always forget and then have glass cleaner left over. Let me know how it works out for you.  You can find the recipe here
  3. ALL PURPOSE CLEANER - This is my favorite cleaner for two reasons.  One is that I can re-use lemon peels instead of throwing them out.  The second reason is that it works so well!  It gets rid of the soap scum and makes my bathroom tiles shine.  The recipe calls for orange peels, but I recommend any citrus peel that you use.  Here's the recipe
  4. UNCLOG A SHOWER DRAIN -  Recently I had a shower clog in the master bathroom. Since we are living a more fertile lifestyle, I knew that I had to find a recipe to unclog it without using Draino.  And found it, I did. You will love this one, made from ingredients that you already have in your home.  Here it is.  
  5. DEODORANT - Let me start by saying that this recipe is a deodorant, not an anti-perspirant.  Although I still sweat, I don't smell.  Since I am avoiding toxins going into my blood stream, which would happen with OTC deodorants, I don't mind sweating.  Since I started using it, I don't think I smell nor have I received any complaints of smells.  In fact, the first day I used it, my 4 year old son said that he liked the way I smelled.  That's good enough for me. Here's the recipe for it.  
One of my favorite DIY beauty products, deodorant in a small jar.

And there you have it, my top 5 DIY recipes for keeping dangerous chemicals out of my home and off my body.  My husband joked that he doesn't know whether to use the all-purpose cleaner to clean the counters or put it on a salad.  My mother joked that her time spent with us would be more like a cleanse, rather than a vacation.  Everyone can joke about our lifestyle, but in the end, it is our choice to live this way.  We want what is best for our family and we believe this is it.  

Thursday, May 30, 2013

CSA - What is it?

I’d love to tell you all about CSAs, but first, I should tell you what the acronym stands for. It stands for Community Supported Agriculture which is exactly what it is.  The Palmentieros (as part of the community) support (with an upfront payment before the growing season) our local farmers.   By purchasing these "shares" in the farm, it gives the farmer some cash flow before the growing season.  For the past few years, we have been a part of two different CSAs.  Most CSAs work the same way.  In January or February, a payment is made to the farmer for a share in the bounty of the farm that year. 

Once the farmer begins harvesting vegetables, most CSAs will provide a weekly basket full of fresh vegetables and/or fruits that are picked that week.  The baskets are either picked up or delivered to a central location. 

The two CSAs, that my family have been a part of, are a little different than the norm.  The first one allowed everyone to pick the vegetables that went into the basket.  We were e-mailed a list of available vegetables on Sunday night and then we would return a list of the vegetables to be in our basket at pick-up.

One of the complaints about traditional CSAs is that there is no choice as to what is in the basket.  So if your family doesn’t like kohlrabi or you don’t know what to do with it (I didn’t know what to do with it either before I joined a CSA), you were stuck.  Who wants vegetables that you are not going to use?

The second CSA is very different.  At the beginning of the year, we make a payment to our farmer, Patti Popp of  Sport Hill Farm, for her Cash Crop program.  She then gives us a credit, to use in her marketplace on the farm, which is slightly more than what we originally paid.  She uses our money for her upfront expenses but the credit allows us to buy more fruits and vegetables.  I'd call that a win-win.

Benefits of a CSA:
  • Going to the farm - By picking up my share from the farm, it gives me a chance to ask about how the produce is grown.  The produce person at the supermarket can't answer that.  
  • Getting children excited about food - My children love going to the farm. One of the farms had cows, and the second one has chickens. They are learning where their food comes from. Sometimes they get to feed the animals.  It's fun and educational!  

  • Trying new vegetables - As I mentioned before, it was certainly interesting to try new vegetables. This year I have used kale, both as a chip as well as in my smoothie. How about that for a new use!  
  • Cash flow - For the farmer, it is a great way for them to raise some funds at the beginning of their growing season, especially when they haven't sold much for a few months.  
  • Meeting new people - For both the farmer and the community, it's a great way to meet new people who are interested in where their food is coming from.
  • Cost effective - Even though you may be in for sticker shock when you buy produce from a farm, you have to realize the value you are getting for those fruits and vegetables.  Since it doesn't have to travel from far away to arrive in your local supermarket, the produce lasts longer! It has probably been picked the day you bought it.  
By supporting your local farms through their CSA programs, you are keeping farms alive. There is a bumper sticker that I have seen recently that sums up the purpose of supporting farms, which says, "No farms, no food." By actively purchasing produce from a farm, you are increasing the chances of that farm staying financially viable.  That in turn, helps to ensure that there is a place where you can get healthy, nutritious food without GMOs.    And when we do that, it helps keep the earth healthy by supporting farms that are farming sustainably.  Isn't that what you want in order to have a fertile lifestyle?  I know I do.  

If you are interested in finding a CSA near you, check out this link to Local Harvest:


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Getting off course to get back on track

Today was one of those days that I got a little off track to help put me back on track.  "What do you mean?"   you ask.  Well, I was going about my usual routine of getting the kids off to school.  After I drop off my son, I exercise by either getting on the elliptical in our basement or going for a run in our neighborhood.

This time, after pre-school drop-off, my car drove me to the lake that is within walking distance of our house. I didn't expect the car to take me there.  But there I was, so I decided to take the walk around the lake.  I've taken the kids to the lake a couple of times.  With them it is a 2 hour walk since my youngest child is three years old.  This morning I saw the lake from an adult perspective, rather than  a child's view.  There were some things that we missed on our walks.  For instance, check out this birdhouse that someone hung on a tree.

Corn cob birdhouse

On this same tree, someone also hung Christmas tree ornaments.

Later in my walk, I saw the cascades.  

I also saw a tree that had fallen across the trail.  It looked as if someone or someones had cut the tree so that the trail could continue.

And one of the last things that I saw, that was picture worthy, was the pond at the lake.  I had seen the pond on the trail map but had not taken the kids to it.  Now I was glad that I had taken a look at it because they will love to see it on our next hike.  
Pretty big pond! 

So what did I mean about getting back on track?  I had not written a post in a couple of weeks.  Today's walk was so inspiring, I wanted to write about it and share it.  Sometimes doing something that isn't part of your normal routine can be just the inspiration you need to get back on track.

Monday, April 29, 2013

5 Great Reasons to Grab a Smoothie

In "For me, gluten-free is the way to be", I mentioned how I had begun drinking smoothies for breakfast. It is 3 months later and I am still drinking one smoothie a day.   Here are a few great reasons that I began drinking them.   Maybe one or two will be your reason to start.


The reason I love smoothies is that they are so darn convenient.  Mix ingredients up in a blender, put it in a cup and drink it on the go.  I bring mine all over the house as I get the kids ready for school.  I can even bring it in the car with me as I drive my son to school.  What breakfast is so healthy and convenient?  Omelets don't travel well, neither does cereal.  Toast gets crumbs everywhere. Oatmeal is sticky.  Another convenience is that you can prepare dry ingredients the night before to save even more time. And yet one more convenience factor is seasonal fruits and vegetables.  You can have different smoothies year round if you buy seasonally fresh fruits and vegetables.

P.S. Recently I saw a blender that doubles as the smoothie cup.  Once you mix all the ingredients together in the blender, it has a lid to take the smoothie to go.  No more pouring the smoothie into a separate cup.  And we all know how time is precious so why waste it pouring your smoothie into another cup.  It's all about the convenience!


How can smoothies not be nutritious with all the great fruits, vegetables, protein powders, etc. that you can put in them?  I love adding protein powder for an extra nutritional punch.   However, some of the ingredients can be quite high in calories but this is not about the calories.  It's about the nutritional impact.  Smoothies pack quite a punch.

Some very healthy ingredients that I have used are:
  • Berries
  • Pineapples
  • Mango
  • Carrots
  • Avocado
  • Cucumber
  • Old-fashioned Oats
  • Nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt and milk

Some ingredients that I would suggest that you avoid would be:
  • Sugar-sweetened fruit juice or concentrate
  • Ice cream or sherbert
  • Fruit in a can

3)     VARIETY

You can make a smoothie out of almost any fruits or vegetables (or both), some ice (or not), some kind of liquid (or not).  On My Fertile Lifestyle's Pinterest Board, called Smoothies, I have an infographic on "How to make a smoothie."  It tells what fruits you can add, how to choose a base, how to thicken it up, what to flavor it with and suggestions for some power boosts.  With that kind of chart, who needs a recipe?


If you ever have a fruit or a vegetable that is overripe, don't throw it away.  Freeze it.  My sister taught me this one with an overripe cantaloupe.  She cut it into chunks and I used it in one of my very first smoothies.  At the moment, I have several different, overripe fruits in my freezer, waiting to be used for my next homemade fruit smoothie.  That's my fertile lifestyle!


Smoothies have become quite popular in recent years.  If you don't feel like making one, you can always buy one from places like Jamba Juice, Robeks, and Red Mango, just to name a few.  So there is no excuse not to pick up a smoothie when you feel the urge.

So, if you have ever wondered why the buzz about smoothies, these are some of my reasons for drinking one every day.  I'd love to hear from you, especially if you are a smoothie fanatic like me.

Friday, April 26, 2013

How to paint rocks!

My daughter loves art.  At around age 3, she began collecting rocks and painting on them.  This blogger painted the rocks as garden markers. I thought it was a great way to re-use so that we are not buying something new.  I hope that we plant some vegetables this year so we can use this idea.  My daughter will love it.  If not, we'll save it for next.  Enjoy this article.  There are some great pictures with it.  Read on!  WhiMSy love: Rock On!

Monday, April 22, 2013

It's Earth Day: What will you do?

Happy Earth Day!  I thought I would reach out to you and find out if you had any ideas as to what you can do to keep the planet healthy.  Let me tell you what I did last year.

At this time last year, I decided to stop using paper towels and napkins.  I thought it would be a great way to save a lot of trees.  Don't get me wrong, I still have some in the house.  They are great for soaking up oil from fried foods or bacon that I have baked.  I use napkins in the kids' lunch boxes. However, the paper towel roll is kept on a lower shelf, off the counter, behind a closed door, so that I don't know it is there.  In its place, I use bar mops for clean-ups in the kitchen.  I purchased them at Home Goods along with cloth napkins.  As the bar mops get old, I use them as rags to clean other parts of the house, i.e., bathroom, living room, etc.  As I move them to this pile of rags, I put a black "X" on the tag so I don't mix them up with the kitchen bar mops.  And something I didn't realize I would be saving, when I decided to make the switch to cloth, was money!  In this past year, I have bought one mega-roll of paper towels from BJ's Wholesale Club.  The previous year, I was buying one a month.  I don't have to do the math to know that I saved money.  Some people think that it is inconvenient to use the bar mops and cloth napkins.  At the end of the day, I throw them into the laundry for cleaning.  What could be easier?

This year, I will try to use less plastic.  I'll have to change out my storage containers in the kitchen to glass and stainless steel containers.  I'll have to stop buying water in plastic bottles and make sure that I always have my water bottle with me.  When shopping, there will be zero tolerance for plastic bags.  In the past there have been times when I have forgotten to bring my shopping bags with me.  Now, there is no excuse. I am on a mission to rid my life of plastic and keep the planet healthy.  It's one part of my fertile lifestyle.

Feel free to keep me posted as to what you are doing for Earth Day.  I'd love to hear from you.

If you want to learn more about how to help save forests, check out the National Resources Defense Council's article: A Shopper's Guide to Home Tissue Products.  It will tell you which facial tissues, toilet papers, paper towels and napkins are the most environmentally friendly.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Okra: Failure with the vegetable that's a fruit

This week on My Fertile Lifestyle's Facebook page, I asked everyone to try a new vegetable.  I said I would try one too.  While shopping at my local Whole Foods, I bought okra.  I had heard of it but had never even seen one before.  If you're like me and don’t know what it looks like, here it is:

For fun, I did a little research about okra.  I was hoping that, with some information, I would be able to “sell” it to my kids, mostly my daughter.  Did you know that in some countries it is called lady’s finger, bhindi or gumbo?   I can sell lady’s fingers.   It is grown in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate climates around the world.   Okra has health benefits such as high fiber, vitamin C and folate content.  It is also known for being high in antioxidants, calcium and potassium.  I am all for anti-oxidants! What's not to love about okra, I thought.

There are several different ways okra can be cooked.  A word of caution: the seed pods turn into goo or slime when cooked.   In Malawi, it is actually cooked with sodium bicarbonate to make it more slimy.  There is no way that my kids are eating slime.   Okra has also been used in gumbos, stews and soups.  It's quite popular in the southern part of the United States where it is usually served fried. Another way to cook okra is to stir-fry it.  My kids like stir-fry so I set off to find a recipe on Pinterest.  The one I found was an okra stir-fry with sweet potatoes.  If my kids didn't like the okra, at least, they would eat the sweet potatoes.

After telling my kids that I was writing this article to encourage people to try new vegetables, I began to cook.  My daughter helped me cut the okra.  She said that the seeds looked like tiny pearls.  They did! (Those "tiny pearls" make it a fruit.)   After everything was cut up, I began to cook the sweet potatoes.  I added the seasonings and then finally, the okra.  Well, that's when the recipe started going awry.  The okra got slimy.  There was no way they were going to eat it and quite frankly, I didn't like the looks of it either.   We had chicken and rice that night.  

Apparently, this is one fruit/vegetable that should be handled by an expert and not an amateur, like me. I will wait until my local farm, Sport Hill, opens up again.  Our farmer always has something new that I have never heard of.  I will make another attempt at trying a new vegetable soon.  If anyone wants to cook okra for me, I am open to trying it.  Did you try a new vegetable this week?  I'd love to hear about it.  

Monday, April 1, 2013

A contemplative walk

Today as I waited with my daughter at the bus stop, I realized what a beautiful day it was going to be. So I thought, "What a great day for a run."  After she left, I went inside, changed into my running clothes and took my son to school.  However, when I got home, my body told me, "Take a walk instead."  I am glad that I listened.  For me, running today would have been a metaphor for my life, always on the go. By slowing down, I was able to enjoy what was around me.  I heard birds chirping, saw them finding worms (and there were a lot of them after the rain last night) and then flying away with their meals. Flowers were just starting to bloom after a winter that dragged on and on.

As I type this post, I feel thoughtful and contemplative.  I know there is a lot to do today but for once, I am not in a rush to do it.  I know that it will get done when it gets done.  My to-do list is a mile long, as everyone's list is.  It will still be there later, tomorrow, next week and forever.  To me, the lesson I was reminded about was that I should listen to my body more.  I am so grateful right now that I did.  Once in awhile, ask yourself, "Do I listen to my body?"  When you do, I hope that you will be as grateful as I was this morning.

A recent New York Times article discusses a study which supports what I learned on my walk.  It's called "Easing Brain Fatigue with a Walk in the Park."

Friday, March 29, 2013

For me, gluten-free is the way to be

Corny title, I know, but it got your attention.  So, now that I have your attention, I'll tell you about how I arrived at this place of being gluten-free and how it has been so far.

As you may have read in my first blog, "My fertility journey became a journey into the green revolution" I had been gluten-free while trying to conceive my first child, April, seven years ago.   After I became pregnant, someone asked me if I would stay gluten-free, and I said no.  It was too hard to find a variety of good gluten-free products.  Plus, I'm Italian and we love our pasta.  Well, fast forward seven years and gluten-free  food products are not hard to find.

In the last year or so, I have been trying to find ways to calm down.  I'm raising two young children who are six and three years old.  Clearly, they can be trying at times but, for the most part, they are great kids.  However, there had been times when I became upset with them over the "little things."  When I would think about how I reacted later, I would become upset with myself that I had been so harsh. Once I became gluten-free, the answer to calming down became clear.

Becoming gluten-free happened by accident.  Almost two months ago, I made my very first smoothie for breakfast.  Since I had a pineapple in the house, I decided to try a pineapple-carrot smoothie recipe that I had pinned (Pinterest is great! My Fertile Lifestyle has some boards which include this recipe as well.  Check out the boards.)  It was fabulous and so easy.  I wondered why I hadn't thought about having a smoothie for breakfast sooner.  Mornings were so chaotic, trying to get two children off to school at different times.   Who had time for breakfast?  I realized that smoothies were a healthy breakfast that I could take with me, i.e., from room to room, in the car, etc. They were better than the piece of toast I forced myself to eat, just to avoid low blood sugars from not eating since the night before.

Several days later I thought to myself, "wait a minute, when was the last time you had a piece of bread or some pasta, or any other food with gluten in it?"  I realized that I had been relatively calm with my kids for several days.  My blood sugars seemed to be more level, rather than dropping so low that I became MEAN, MONSTER MOMMY!  Don't get me wrong, there have been times since I have become gluten-free that Mean, Monster Mommy has surfaced.  The difference now is that I am yelling less.

I have been gluten-free for about almost two months now.  I don't think it is as hard as people think it is. With all the gluten-free products on the market, there is more choice. It means eating more organic fruits, vegetables and meats. For pasta, I use a corn pasta from Trader Joe's.  Since I have been drinking smoothies in the morning, I don't eat breads.  And don't forget the 80/20 rule which says that if you are in a place that doesn't serve gluten-free, eat as best as you can.  Gluten-free living should not stress you out.

I recently learned that not all gluten-free foods are the same.  Check the package and if it doesn't list a whole grain, such as brown rice flour, as the first ingredient, move on to the next package.  For more info, go to this link, that I also posted on My Fertile Lifestyle's Facebook page:  Seven Foods You Think Are Healthy But Aren't.

This is not something I am recommending for everyone.  It is certainly something that you have to think about and decide for yourself.  It could be that you start it, drop it and then come back to it later, as I did. It's your journey in life.  I'm letting you know what is working for me and my fertile lifestyle.

If you have any questions, feel free to go to My Fertile Lifestyle's Facebook page and post them there. I'd love to hear from you if you have decided to try a gluten-free lifestyle.  I will also be pinning some gluten-free recipes onto My Fertile Lifestyle's Pinterest boards.

Here is a related article about cross-reacting which is when the body reacts to a food that it thinks is gluten but is actually not:

  1. Are You Not Healing Because Your Body Thinks Coffee, Chocolate & Cheese Are Gluten?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Coconut oil is my new best friend

Recently I discovered the wonders of coconut oil. Have you heard about it?  It’s my new go-to product in my fertile lifestyle.    

One day I had mentioned to a friend that I was going to start using coconut oil for cooking.  She said that she was also using it as a moisturizer.  So I took a look at what the Internet had to say about that.  I found there were so many uses for it.  I started using it as a foot cream, twice a day, in the morning after my shower and at night, before bed.  I would put socks on over my feet and wake up with oh, so soft feet.  And it was during the summer when you want your feet to look their best because you are wearing all of those cute sandals and flip flops.  My feet have never looked so good in the summer.  It was like having a great pedicure every day! 

Next I decided to try coconut oil on my face since I am now in my mid-40s.  I was starting to see those wonderful (said sarcastically) lines around my mouth and eyes.  Again, you want to use it twice a day.  Most days I use it alone but on the days that you are going to use it under your make-up, I suggest waiting an hour for it to soak into your skin.  I won’t lie.  It is a little greasy.  But if you let it soak into the skin, the foundation goes on smoothly.  And another tip for you is that if you are in your 40s, throw out the powder that goes over the foundation.  It gets caught in the lines and shows them even more.  Who needs that?  Between the coconut oil and the two bottles of lemon water that I drink a day, my lines have faded, even the ones on my forehead, if ever so slightly but I'll take it.    

Recently, I started using coconut oil as a styling product in my hair.  Since I have very curly hair, I have to use something so that it doesn’t look frizzy.  Not only does my hair not look frizzy, it is so soft to touch.  If you must know, I keep a jar of coconut oil in my bathroom with a spoon.  I scoop a little out for my feet, my face and now my hair.  What a versatile product coconut oil is.  Who knew? 

The best part of using coconut oil is that a 16 oz. jar from Trader Joe’s is $5.99.  Oh, and did I mention it is organic?  Where are you going to find a 16 oz. organic moisturizer for $6?  It makes me happy to put something on my skin that is not full of chemicals that I can’t pronounce.  Do you know how many ingredients are in an organic jar of coconut oil?  One: coconut!   Happy shopping! 

Friday, March 15, 2013

My fertility journey became a journey into the green revolution!

Many women think of their infertility issues as a struggle.  Having lived through the “struggle” twice and survived, I have come to realize that I was on an incredible journey.  I just didn’t realize it at the time.  My journey began in the spring of 2004 when I was 37, married for 6 months and trying to conceive for the first time in my life.   The first month we tried, I became pregnant.  Wow, that was easy!  Then at 5 weeks pregnant, I began bleeding.  I was shocked, confused, disappointed and every other emotion you can be when you miscarry, especially the first time you are pregnant. 

After the first miscarriage my husband and I tried again for several months but we were once again disappointed when I miscarried the second time I became pregnant.  Now my feelings included “what did I do to cause this to happen?”  I was a healthy woman with no medical issues and now I had had 2 miscarriages in less than a year each time I had been pregnant.  Somehow this must be my fault.  Miscarriage is not a topic that many people discuss so I had no one to talk to about it.  I was becoming increasingly despondent.  If I wanted to feel better, I knew that I needed to take action.

Being 38, I realized that my eggs were not getting any younger so my husband and I decided to visit our local fertility doctor.  The next thing I knew he was telling me that I had a little problem called high FSH and that I had a less than 1% chance of having a “take home baby.”  I was going to need his help and quickly.  So we started fertility treatments.  I was put on the highest dosage of fertility drugs that anyone could possibly take and then felt like I had PMS for 24 hrs. a day, 7 days a week.

Between the high dosage of fertility drugs and the emotional roller coaster that I was on, I became depressed.  If someone looked at me the wrong way, I would start to cry.  Holidays didn’t help either.  The worst was having to go to the hospital to wait for someone else to give birth.  I spent most of the time in the bathroom crying until the baby was wheeled up to the nursery glass window.

After 6 months of roller coaster emotions and only being able to go through 2 IUIs, we did not get pregnant.  Although I desperately wanted to have a child, I hated all the medications that I was on so I began to explore other options.  And where do you turn to when you need alternate solutions?  The Internet, of course!  That’s where I started to read about acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine.   The idea behind it is that “infertility” happens when a woman’s body is not in balance.   I never realized that so many things in our bodies need to happen perfectly for conception to occur.  When a woman’s body is not in balance and it’s trying to have a baby, then either (a) conception won’t happen, or (b) as in my case, it will happen, but a woman won’t stay pregnant.  

I then discovered a book called “The Infertility Cure” by Dr. Randine Lewis.   What a great title!  Who wouldn’t want a “cure” for their infertility, as if it is a disease?  I quickly ordered one.   Here’s a link to find out more about her at The Fertile Soul.   Dr. Lewis also holds retreats so I found out where her next retreat was being held and headed out to Austin, Texas.  By this time it was January 2006.  What a life altering experience the retreat was.  It lasted for 5 days.  Along with Dr. Lewis, there were dynamic speakers, classes, spa treatments, and group healings.  Dr. Lewis herself claimed in her literature that I “would enter a lifestyle path that [I] won’t ever want to leave.”   One of my favorite sessions of the retreat was on nutrition.  She stressed the importance of eating whole, natural and organic foods and especially not eating foods that are processed.  She also stressed eating gluten-free and dairy-free.  Before I knew it, I had lost 7 lbs.

When I came home from the retreat, I felt like a changed person.  Although I had a back-up plan to start IVF a few months later, I believed that I was going to get pregnant without medical intervention.  Dr. Lewis referred me to an acupuncturist, Michael Berkley of The Berkley Center, who performed acupuncture and prescribed herbal teas from a pharmacy in Chinatown called Kamwo.   And sure enough, one month after I came home from the retreat, I was pregnant!   As I continued on my pregnancy journey, I realized that Dr. Lewis was right and that I wanted to continue on the path that had helped me to have a child.  I made some changes in my life that I had learned at the retreat which would also be beneficial for my unborn child.  My husband and I continued to eat more natural and organic foods.

When my daughter April  was born in 2006, we decided that she would be breast-feed for 1 year and eat organic baby foods when she began to eat solids.   Later, as I was cleaning the house and April started to crawl around, I realized that I did not want her to breathe in the fumes from the cleaning products that I was using.   This made me change my cleaning products to more eco-friendly ones.  My fertility issues and experience at the retreat made me aware how important it is to know exactly what is going into your body, no matter how it goes in.

When we tried to have a sibling for April, we again went through the same struggles.  April was nine months old when I had my third miscarriage after 5 weeks.  We again decided to try acupuncture and herbal teas.  Mike referred me to Yaron Seidman of Hunyuan Fertility.   He made some further, individualized dietary suggestions such as eating more liver.  (That wasn’t much fun.)  The next time we had a miscarriage, I had not been using acupuncture long enough.  That’s when I knew it was time to give my body a rest.  We took three months off from acupuncture and trying to conceive.  When we began again, I started going to acupuncture and brewing and drinking herbal teas.   This time it worked and my son Cody was born in July of 2009.

And now, seven years and two kids later, I am doing things that I never thought I would do.  For the past three years, I have joined Sport Hill Farm’s Cash Crop program, so that my family can enjoy farm fresh vegetables.  We now eat mostly organic foods from meats to breads to cookies and jellies.  We recycle as much as we can. I use cleaning solutions that I make myself.  My fertility struggles led me on a journey to where I eventually became a part of the “green revolution.”  Who knew that would happen but I think it is incredible!