Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Deepak Chopra on Fertility & Trying To Conceive

Are You Trying Too Hard To Get Pregnant?

Have you been trying to conceive with so much effort that its exhausting you? Well, you’re not alone.  In my clinic, this is the topic of conversation more often than not.  Then add to it all of the lifestyle modifications people like me recommend to women who are trying to get pregnant—and, suddenly the whole process becomes even more daunting. 

As a practitioner who has helped hundreds of women conceive, I have to admit—I want to wave a wand and make it easier for every couple out there facing fertility challenges.  I’m 11 years into practice and even though I am admittedly one of the most glass half-full people you’ll encounter, seeing couples struggling to conceive hurts my heart.  I see my primary job as focusing on my patients wellness, not their illness, but sometimes this whole getting pregnant process takes a lot longer—and is filled with a lot more trauma—than I feel is necessary.  Which is why I’m constantly on the quest to finding ways to simplify it all.  Lately I’ve been saying things like, “Just have more sex.  Focus less on the baby making part and more on the fun and intimacy with your partner part…”  However, I will compassionately add, “I know that’s easier said than done.”  And, it is.

Recently, I had the opportunity to discuss the topic of fertility with Deepak Chopra, a man I hold in tremendously high regard, not only as one of my spiritual teachers but as a scientist who is always on the cutting edge.  We chatted about quite a few things, from logistics like ovarian reserve to the current fertility research to autoimmune diseases.  But the part of the conversation that I believe was most insightful was when I asked him his thoughts on his latest age reversal research and how that research could apply to fertility—since most of the western medical world see’s infertility as an age related disease.  He said how living what he considers the ‘5 Pillars’ of health can help deter the aging process and although it hasn’t been specifically researched this could help fertility.  His ‘5 Pillars’ are very in line with my general lifestyle recommendations for not just my fertility patients, but all of my patients, they are:

1.     Get Ample Sleep, ideally 7-8 hours
2.     Eat real food
3.     Meditate
4.     Move
5.     Be conscious, which in simpler terms mean to be present in this moment now.

After we discussed the ‘5 Pillars’ he went on to mention a premise he discusses in just about every one of his books and lectures: letting go.  He said, “They have to learn to let go…”  I joked and said, “you come to my office and tell my patients to let go…”  Joking aside—being  I have studied his teachings for so many years, I completely got what he was saying.  He’s not really implying you ‘give up’ or ‘throw in the towel’ on your fertility journey.  Rather this ‘letting go’ notion is more about accepting or surrendering to where you are currently—in the present moment—and while doing that, you faithfully remain in a state of knowing that you can have all you desire.  With this faith and knowing, you then let go or detach from all you want (to get a deeper understanding, I highly recommend reading the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra). 

I’m sure to a lot of you this sounds way too esoteric. But, really it’s simple.  Often this is how I explain it—when you go on Amazon to place the order for whatever it is you want, you expect it to arrive.  You click purchase, close the page and don’t think about HOW it will get to you or really WHEN.  You just know at some point it will arrive.  With intention setting, it is much the same.  The HOW’s and the WHEN’s don’t matter as much as the expectation you have that it will arrive.  That, is my interpretation of the notion of letting go. 

This may all sound a bit oversimplified to you.  However, there has to be something to this letting go process.  How many times have you heard stories of couples who ‘gave up’ and took a break from trying to conceive and wound up pregnant? Or what about the ones who decide to adopt and then suddenly wind up pregnant?  Or another one I see often clinically, is natural conception right after a failed In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) attempt.  The statistics are hard to find to support such incidences, but I’m sure we’ve all heard the stories.

That is the reason why one of the positions I take in the clinic and in my latest book, Yes, YouCan Get Pregnant, is to adopt the approach that you are on a ‘self-love health mission’, rather than on a get pregnant now mission.  By this I mean that you should embrace the recommended lifestyle changes like meditation and sleep and eating a nutrient dense diet that is free of processed and chemical laden foods because ultimately it is good for you and for your health.  And, ultimately a body in good health, that is regularly menstruating and ovulating, should be able to conceive (even over the age of 40!).  The science supports that mediation reduces stress and therefore can increase fertility.  That ample sleep improves health. That chemicals in our foods negatively affects our hormones.  That exercise is good for us and helps us live longer.  So, why not look at all of these lifestyle adjustments as a way to improve health and well-being and more importantly as a way to deter or even reverse the aging process.  When we take this approach to health and healing, it can take some pressure off of the task of getting pregnant.  When we are living our life from a place of choosing to feel good through being healthy and having faith in our body, letting go of the end goal—be it pregnancy or fighting the aging process—achieving the end goal often comes to us with ease. 





Thursday, May 28, 2015

Joy To Your Baby (a WRNY feature)

Just as what we eat transforms into nourishment for the child growing in our womb, what we think and feel can become part of our developing baby. As a practitioner of Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM), I am trained to see how our emotional state affects every aspect of our lives—and, when we are pregnant this is no different. In fact, from a TOM perspective, when we are pregnant, emotions not only affect our health and wellness, they affect the health and wellness of the baby growing inside our belly. There are the negative emotions like fear, sadness, anxiety and just general worry. And then there are the positive emotions of courage, peace, ease and joy. They all affect both you and baby positively or negatively… read more here!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Yes, I got pregnant at 40-- Naturally and with Ease!


Yes, I got pregnant at 40…naturally and with ease!

I turned 40 in September 2014 and just a few months prior I fell in love with an amazing 43 year old man. The relationship moved fast; we fell in love, moved in together and started talking about building a family. We both wanted children, and preferably more than one.  Since we do want to marry one another, the question for us was: do we wait and get married first, which might be a year later, and then start to create our dream family or do we just go for it?  We decided to go for it. 

We started trying to conceive in October and we agreed to not put too much pressure on it: we would just continue to have fun sex as we were already doing and wait and see what happens.  He offered to get his sperm checked and I said, “No. Let’s see what happens and if we’re not pregnant in six months, then we can both get tests done.” I thought about getting my hormone levels checked with my gynecologist, but I put that task on the back burner as well.  I just wanted to have sex and not focus on the getting pregnant part.  I wanted to hold onto the faith I have in my body and in its ability to do what I believe it can do—conceive with ease, regardless of the fact that I’m now 40 years old. 

In all honesty—I never shared this with my partner—I did expect it to take at least three months, more probably six to get pregnant.  I know how long it can take a couple to conceive when both partners are over the age of 40.  I know the increased risks of miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities with age. I’ve heard about and read all of the same statistics we all hear about: the emotionally draining tests, the roller coaster ride of multiple rounds of IVF or clomid, the painful shots, the mounting bills and the nights of tears. And, as much as I have always had faith in my body and its ability to conceive, I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say these thoughts weren’t causing me some turmoil.



I know the road of fertility challenges all too well, because professionally I am a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) who, for over the last decade, has specialized women’s health and fertility.  I have helped hundreds of women on their path to conceiving and giving birth to a healthy child.  I have written books on the topic, I speak publicly about the topic and I know all of the potential fertility challenges that exist because I have gone through them with my clients.  Over my decade of practice, I have witnessed way too many heart-wrenching fertility struggles.  But, through my experience, I also know that most all the women I work with do wind up conceiving healthy children at some point, even in their 40’s.

When I work with fertility clients, I guide them to adopt certain lifestyle changes—like being omnivores, eating organic, meditating, sleeping 7-8 hours each night and practicing gratitude—to optimize their fertility.  Based on my decade of clinical experience and my years of extensive research I believe that when we practice these lifestyle habits we truly have the ability to change our health and improve our fertility—even in our 40’s.  

I’ve seen clinically how these tweaks in behavior can dramatically shift health in a positive direction.   My clients, when they adopt these lifestyle changes see improvement in their menstrual cycles and their ovulation; their hormonal imbalances balance out; their thyroid comes back into harmony; their lives change for the better; they are happier in the present moment; and, overall they are healthier on a global scale: mind, body and soul.  It is then that I see them conceive—when mind, body and soul are in sync. 

So, now it’s my turn to be a testament to what I preach: the way you live your life has an impact on your health and your fertility and, in my clinical opinion—chronological age pales in comparison to biological age.

As I am writing this, I am 14 weeks pregnant. I got pregnant the second month we tried.  Last week we got the results from my maternity 21 and nuchal translucency tests, and they showed not only is the baby boy inside of me healthy, but that I have the same genetic odds of anything going wrong with this pregnancy as a women half my age.  The doctors have told me, there is no need for any further testing.  We are in the clear.  I can’t tell you what a relief that news was.  That’s not to say that when I go to the bathroom, I still make sure there’s no blood on the toilet paper or that I randomly catch myself squeezing my breasts (sometimes in public!) to make sure they’re still sore or when I feel cramping in my low back, I fear I am miscarrying—even though I know it’s just the baby growing.  I guess this is just the beginning of being parent and worrying about your child’s well-being. It’s absolutely surreal. For as many times as I’ve been on the other side of this with one of my clients, nothing compares to now knowing it and living it first hand.  It truly is a miracle.  And, then to know that my odds of a healthy baby are the same as someone half my age I feel is a true testament to all the work I have done on my health over the years.  I really believe the way I live my life has reversed my aging process, or at the least slowed down the aging process of my body and its cells.

I’m living proof that 40 and pregnant happens and it can happen naturally, with ease and fun.  I am proud to say that I treat my body like the palace I believe it is, and even though I had—and, will likely continue to have—moments of worry and fear over the health of my baby, I never lost faith in my body and its ability to conceive a healthy child at some point.  For all this, I am beyond grateful.

As I always say in my clinic: you have the power to change your health and improve your fertility.  My pregnancy at 40 years old is evidence of that.

If you are trying to conceive, here are 10 things that I regularly do that I wholeheartedly believe helped me conceive with such ease at 40:

1.  Go organic and non-GMO with all your food or as much of your food as you can afford. And, by all means avoid processed foods.
2.  Be an omnivore: eat fat, meat, fish and dairy—eat it all and enjoy it.
3.  Eat grass-fed and pastured animal protein, like beef—yes, beef! It doesnt have to be a daily routine, but a few ounces a few times per week is healthy for you.
4.  Eat 1-2 pastured organic eggs daily.
5.  Get in several servings per week of grass fed animal (chicken, beef or lamb) bone broth.
6.  Go non-toxic with your home, bath and beauty products. And, by all means avoid BPA.  Check out Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Database to check the toxicity of your products—my rule of thumb is to stay under a 2 on their scale.
7. Get restful sleep for 7-8 hours each night.
8. Meditate daily. Five minutes or 30.  Whatever you can fit in. Just do it. It’ll change your life.
9. Be grateful in each and every moment.  Find happiness now, not ‘when’ you have what you think you need to have to make you happy.
10. Keep the faith in your body.  Believe it can do what you want it to do.  The power of belief is undeniable. 

Through my regular blogging and my online videos, I will continue to document my pregnancy at 40 along with ways you can live your life to optimize your health and fertility as these are the stories we should be sharing—the honest stories, the hopeful stories and the stories that inspire us.  For now, you can check out my latest book, Yes, You Can Get Pregnant: Natural Ways To Improve Your Fertility Now and IntoYour 40’s.  The protocol I preach worked for me.  I believe it can work for you too. 


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Changing the Fertility Conversation: Egg Freezing

Last week, Fortune.com published an article, "Apple and Facebook will now pay for women to freeze their eggs." Although I am thrilled to see the dialogue around fertility becoming more public, the Fortune.com article is also very representative of the underlying message surrounding fertility these days: Women should be worried, very worried, about their fertility. As an author, women's health and wellness expert and a practitioner who has worked with thousands of women who are trying to conceive, it is with strong urging that I say: We need to shift the conversation about fertility that we are currently having.
Of course, being conscious of our fertility is a good thing, especially for women who want children one day. But being conscious is quite different than being panicked. The current conversation around fertility is telling women they should fear their declining fertility. Yes, the truth is women are now having children later in life and freezing eggs is an option for women to buy themselves some time. However, for the general population I think the focus should be more on preserving and optimizing our health and our fertility, not on the message, "spend $12,000, take potentially harmful medications, put your body through surgery (albeit a minor surgery) and freeze your eggs because your fertility is in danger." Yes, freezing eggs can be a life-changing move especially for women who have to undergo medical treatments like chemotherapy or radiation but, to make a blanket statement that encourages young women to freeze their eggs (which by the way, frozen eggs are rarely put to use, they are more seen as an insurance policy) is like saying to women: You should be scared, your time is running out, and by the time you are ready to have kids you'll be too old. Furthermore, when two of our nation's largest corporations are now offering coverage for the costly egg-freezing process it sets a precedent, putting pressure on all the women who don't work for these corporations and can't afford to drop $12,000 on freezing their eggs for that "just in case" moment.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Renew & Refresh NOW with these tips for Spring!

Happy Spring!!! Brrr!!!

Since its Spring and according to Traditional Oriental Medicine- it's the time of renewal & rebirth- I wanted to offer you some lifestyle tweaks for you to renew and revitalize your health,  clean up your diet and let go of any emotional burdens that may be weighing you down.  It's time to hit the refresh button, you definitely deserve it!

Take a few minutes and watch my latest video on my top 3 tips for Spring!  Read the rest of this blog for even more tips!

  • Get your butt outside, each and every day, for at least 30 minutes.  Breathe in that fresh, clean invigorating air and let your body fill up with the energy of this season.  
  • Chill Out & Let Go.  If this is the season to begin anew, then you need to really let go of any of that emotional baggage you've been carrying around.  Let go and set yourself free.  How? Well, one helpful tool is to write a letter to your 'baggage' stating all the reasons you should let go, being sure to clarify in the letter how damn good you will feel once you let this baggage go.  Another great way is to meditate daily, with your mantra being: I am letting go. I deserve to be free of X.
  • Eat Lightly.  Not just because beach weather is creeping in but because it is Spring! Spring is a light and airy season and its time to leave behind the heavier foods of winter, especially dairy products, sugar, processed foods (always to be avoided!), soy and wheat, can help you move into spring feeling lighter and lean you up for the coming summer months!  Personally, this is when I really cut down my dairy and wheat intake.  
  • Detox.  Not just in mind, but in body.  Spring is a great time to cleanse your liver.  Consider cutting down on your liver’s workload by eliminating alcohol, refined sugar, and anything artificial like fake sugar, alcohol, pesticides and herbicides. Even if you don’t want to do this forever, consider giving your liver a week or two off from known toxins — a spring vacation from toxins. Your health and your figure will greatly benefit!
  • Eat green foods.  In accordance with the season of Spring, as green shoots are sprouting from the ground, so should we be consuming green foods that are rich in chlorophyll like wheat grass or barley grass juice, spirulina, blue-green algea, and chlorella, parsley, kale, swiss chard, broccoli rabe, bean sprouts, dandelion and collard greens in order to accelerate liver rejuvenation. Personally, I love taking a daily dose of spirulina to help assist my liver in detoxing this time of year.
  • If you suffer from seasonal allergies add 1-2 diced cloves of garlic to a cup of dandelion or peppermint tea and be sure to avoid dairy, wheat and added sugar in your diet.  And, check out my blog on fighting seasonal allergies.  Don't forget to use your neti pot daily!
  • Drink hot water with lemon first thing in the morning. A little bit of the sour taste helps to gently help the liver slough off toxins. Or try 1 teaspoon each of apple cider vinegar and raw honey in one cup of water. However, too much sour will not be good for the liver, so think moderation so do one of these only once per day.
  • And… never forgot to BE KIND TO YOURSELF.  If that's the only renewal you accomplish this spring, you will feel so much better for it!  You are a loving, beautiful and precious soul that we all need in this world, so be kind to you!





Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How To Love Yourself MORE!

Lucille Ball once said,
"Love yourself first and everything falls into line."
And, I couldn't agree more.

So, with that in mind, here are my top 5 tips for falling more in love with the wonderful person you are:

1. List the ways you love thyself.  Grab a pen and a piece of paper--or sit down and write an email or text message to yourself--and list a few things you love (or even like) about yourself.  Ideally you can come up with ten things, but three is great too.  Here are some pointers:

      --I love the way I have compassion for people
      --I love the way I manage "x" at work
      --I love the way I take care of "x" in our family
      --I love the way I laugh
      --I love the kind of friend I am

OK... make your list and save it!  And, as often as you can, take it out and read it.  If you're feeling extra loving--add some more things to the loving thyself list!

2.  Surround yourself with positive people.  Sometimes this can be a challenge, especially if there are co-workers or family members who are negative.  But, try!  People who are friends with happy people are healthier and happier and definitely love themselves more.  So, choose wisely when spending your time with people.  If some of your friends or loved ones are the glass half-empty types, then avoid them.  Yes, you heard me--avoid them. I'm not saying to just drop those people (as if they're family or close friends--that's not the right thing to do) but I am saying to make a deliberate choice to spend less time with them.  When you do spend time with more negative people, make it your job to prepare for it: spend a few minutes before you see them and think of all the things you like about the person--think of all their great qualities and focus on sending them love.  Spending more time with happy, positive people will make a significant difference in your life.  And, it will amp up your love for you.  Remember: you are the most important person in your life, so look out for number one.

3.  Say, "I love you" to yourself.  Yes, every single day, catch yourself in the mirror and look into your own eyes and say, "I love you".  That's it, keep it simple and keep saying it until you start to believe yourself.  Even if you don't completely believe yourself, just the act of saying it makes you feel warm and nourished.

4. Believe.  Believe in something-- have faith in life being as amazing as you long for it to be.  Believe that all you desire can be yours.  If that feels like a leap for you--then spend some time pretending to believe... kind of like I said in my first book, Chill Out and Get Healthy: fake it 'til you make it.  I always encourage patients, friends, loved ones and even myself to spend some time each day daydreaming or imagining your life as you want it... abundant and fun and easy and happy.  Spend enough time imagining your life how you want it and you will start to believe it can happen.  Find a time each day where you can steal a few minutes and just daydream... and believe that all you desire can be yours!

5. Tell yourself a better story.  This is a great way to forgive the past and to find more ways to love yourself.  Is there something you tell yourself or a story you tell on a regular basis--it could be told out loud or in your head-- that is negative or self-depricating?  Is there something you believe about yourself that maybe isn't true?  My life coach would have me take a stressful statement, like: "I'm not good at "x"" and she would have me ask myself, "is that true?" Hmmm... kind of makes you think.  Is it true?  Well, Im sure there are ways you can show that it is true.  But, there are also ways you can show that its not true.  Aha!  And thats where your focus needs to go.  Tell yourself a different story...something like, "you know for years I always thought I wasnt good enough or I wasnt "x" and then I really looked at my life and I realized that when I do "a", "b" and "c" I am showing that I am good enough or that I can do "x".  Does that make sense?  So the key here is to tune into that internal (and external) dialogue and change the story.  Often my patients who are struggling with getting pregnant will say, "if i get pregnant..." and I make them repeat the sentence to "when I get pregnant..."  Just shift the words and tell yourself a better story and love yourself more!

I hope these tips are helpful!

You are amazing!


Sunday, January 12, 2014

4 Tips to make 2014 Magnificent

Happy New Year! I know we are just about two weeks into 2014…but I figure it's never too late to remind you of ways to make this year a magnificently magical one!

On New Years eve, I was in London on holiday and I made this quick video for you with my 4 tips for 2014.  To sum them up:

1. Be still. Take time each and every day to chill out and check in.  As one of my favorite teachers says, "In stillness I find my true self." Be still and find your true self!
2. Be happy.  Know that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Trust the process, enjoy the process and be happy!
3. Be kind. Be kind, like really kind, to YOU. You deserve it!
4. Believe. Believe in  yourself. Believe that you can have all that you want. Believe in miracles, they happen all the time!



Better things are on their way to you! Believe it!

Happy New Year! May your 2014 be filled with magic and love and tremendous joy!