Fresh fruits and vegetables are the most important food group of the Fertility Diet. Almost 2/3rds of your plate at each meal should be filled with fruits and vegetables. Eating enough lean protein, fiber, fat (yes fat!), and whole food carbohydrates are also very important.
I’m a sucker for a huge greens and veggie-filled salad on a hot summer day. I crave them! In addition to an increased desire to fire up the grill, these are also the days where fresh, local produce is abundant in gardens and farmer’s markets.
Below are my three summer go-to salads that you should try! They are adapted and borrowed from my two favorite restaurants in the town where I live and my Auntie Non. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! P.s. they may serve more than one, but a confession: I’ve been known to eat a plate full myself!
Thai Lettuce Wraps – a Deconstructed Salad
- 8-12 Bib lettuce leaves
- Grilled protein of choice – locally-raised, cage-free chicken or shrimp taste the best
- ¼ cup julienne
- ➞ carrot
➞ red pepper
➞ water chestnuts
Thai Nut Sauce:
While I often cheat and purchase a ready-made Thai Peanut Sauce (my favorite is by Organicville), here is a recipe* I use too, for those who don’t like eating peanuts…
- One can, 13.5-ounce, of full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk
- ¼ cup of Thai red curry paste (really is best)
- ¾ cup unsweetened, unsalted natural almond butter smooth or chunky (I prefer chunky) – or make your own creamy almond butter by simply grinding raw, organic almonds in a food processor until smooth
- ½ tablespoon Himalayan pink sea salt
- ¾ cup sweetener – I use raw honey even though this recipe is heated, but maple syrup, honey or stevia may work just fine
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (Do not substitute another vinegar for apple cider vinegar)
- ½ cup water
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, heat slowly until it comes together when stirred and is smooth. Remove from heat and let it adjust to room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It may solidify some, so reheat slowly when reusing.
Hold one bib lettuce leaf in your hand, add a few of each veggie, a slice or two of grilled chicken or shrimp, drizzle with sauce, roll like a wrap or burrito and EAT!
Fertility Food Fact: Water chestnuts are rich in B vitamins and iron, calcium, phosphorous and potassium.
Botana de Camaron – Shrimp Snack
- 1 small cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- 1 medium heirloom tomato, cut in half and thinly sliced (or heirloom cherry tomatoes halved)
- 1 small or ¼-½ medium red/purple onion cut in half and thinly sliced
- 1 naval or blood orange peeled and segmented (sometimes I use 2 oranges)
- Handful of fresh cilantro leaves (or as much as you like)
- Fresh lime juice to taste (approximately 2 limes)
- 6-8 shrimp, deveined and tails removed
- Extra Virgin olive oil
- Hot pepper sauce (optional)
- Himalayan pink sea salt
- Black pepper
Arrange the first 6 ingredients on a plate however you wish to, add grilled shrimp (see below), squeeze lime juice over the lot. Dig In!
- Grilled shrimp: place the shrimp in a medium sized sealable container, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, fresh lime juice of ¼ – ½ of a lime, a pinch of Himalayan pink sea salt and pepper, and a dash of your favorite hot pepper sauce (optional). Marinate for 2 hours in the refrigerator. Preheat grill for medium-low heat. Thread shrimp onto skewers, piercing once near the tail and once near the head. Discard marinade. Grill for 5 minutes or so on each side until pink and firm to the touch.
Fertility Food Fact: Shrimp are high in the minerals zinc and selenium for sperm and egg health and essential fatty acids important for fertility health, but also the proper formation of a baby’s nervous system, brain, eyes and heart.
- 1 small bunch fresh asparagus (8-10 spears serves 1, double this for two)
- Aged Parmesan cheese shreds – I shred my own from a brick of Parmesan
- ¼ cup whole grain mustard
- Extra Virgin olive oil
Place blanched* asparagus on a plate, toss with mustard dressing** and sprinkle with ⅛ – ¼ cup shredded parmesan (however much you like) and serve.
*To blanch asparagus: Trim woody ends from the asparagus and simmer in warm water until tender yet still firm. Plunge into ice water immediately after steaming them to stop steaming and cool a bit. Place in a strainer to drain while assembling the dressing.
**Dressing: Combine whole grain mustard, extra virgin olive oil. Use enough extra virgin olive oil to thin the mustard just a bit, 2-3 tablespoons is about all you should need.
Fertility Food Fact: Asparagus contains good amounts of vitamin B6 and folate. Vitamin B6 has been shown to promote hormone balance and reduce PMS. Folate is a crucial nutrient for a baby’s neural tube development.
There are really no right or wrong ways to make these three salads. Use vegetables or ingredients you love! I hope they complement your Fertility Diet. Prep and cut up extra ingredients for leftovers too. They are just as good the next day!
– *Recipe modified from SheSimmers Thai Cooking
– Recipes 1 and 2 modified from dishes served at The Tav on The Ave. and El Mazatlan
– Fallon, S., & Enig, M. (2001). Nourishing traditions: The cookbook that challenges politically correct nutrition and the diet dictocrats (Rev. 2nd ed.). Brandywine, MD: NewTrends Pub.
– Haas, E. & Levin, B. (2006). Staying Healthy With Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine. (pp. 313). Foods: Asparagus. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts.
– Rodriguez, H. (n.d.). The Natural Fertility Diet: How to Eat for Optimal Fertility. Retrieved on June, 25, 2015 from http://natural-fertility-info.com/fertility-diet