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Katie: Hello and welcome to the Wellness Mama Podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and wellnesse.com, that’s wellness with an E on the end. And this episode is all about fertility and the Egg Quality Diet. I’m here with Aimee Raupp, who is a women’s health and fertility expert, who has written multiple books on this topic, including her most recent, “The Egg Quality Diet: A clinically proven 100?day diet to balance hormones, reduce inflammation, improve egg quality, and optimize your ability to get and stay pregnant. She works with clients all over the world but has really worked to dispel some of the myths around fertility and the body’s ability to heal. We go deep on what research shows about inflammatory conditions and fertility, why fertility is an indication that the body is thriving, and what to do when fertility isn’t there. What the data says about protein, fat, and carb requirements for fertility and throughout pregnancy. Some drastic studies and statistics about increased fertility when women hit certain metrics and how long it takes to optimally prepare an egg for conception. We go deep on a lot of topics in this one, and if fertility is top of mind for you, I know that you will learn a lot. So, without further ado, let’s join Aimee. Aimee, welcome.

Aimee: Katie, thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Katie: I’m excited to chat with you because I feel like I’m getting an increasing number of questions related to fertility. It seems like there are certain fertility issues, at least that are on the rise. And I know that you have some very specific expertise and I think it’s going to be really helpful, hopefully, to many people listening. But to start off, for anyone who’s not already familiar with you, can you just kind of give us a little bit of background and how you got into this world?

Aimee: Sure. I am an acupuncturist and herbalist. I’ve been practicing for almost 20 years now, in my own private clinical practice. Prior to that, I have studied biology, chemistry, neuroscience. I was a research scientist, so I think I bring both worlds together. And I started writing books about 10 or 11 years ago, and a very popular one on the subject is called, “Yes, You Can Get Pregnant”, which came out in 2014. When I was writing that book and doing the research for that book and seeing clients clinically, you know, people were coming to me regularly trying to optimize their health and fertility and make babies.

I started to notice in the research a high correlation between, what I would say, undiagnosed or mismanaged inflammatory and/or autoimmune conditions and unexplained infertility. And that set me down this rabbit hole, if you will, of, you know, being a research scientist and having the biology and, you know, science background, if you will. I just started digging deeper. And I started talking to different reproductive endocrinologist, one that I interviewed for my book, “Yes, You Can Get Pregnant”, Dr. Hugh Taylor up at Yale. And I said to him, I go, “Do you see this in the research? Do you see this correlation between like, if everything’s either PCOS or endometriosis? Those both act like autoimmune conditions, you know, they have very similar characteristics.

Endo is technically an inflammatory disorder, but they all kind of overlap.” And then I said, “We see so many Hashimoto cases as well in the clinic or celiac cases”, and, and he said to me, he goes, “You’re onto something young lady.” He’s like, “We’re starting to screen everyone for these autoimmune conditions, because we’re seeing them so commonly.” So that sent me down this whole path where then I wrote the next book called, “Body Belief” I wrote it on autoimmunity. And some of that was just the editors really wanted a specific autoimmune book, not the fertility book. But for me, it was all in the same and, and I, you know, I talk a lot in “Body Belief”, and in all my books, except for my most recent one, but I give you, you know, homework on the side, if you will.

But about the emotional and, you know, if you will, mental emotional connection to inflammation in the body. And so, with “Body Belief”, I talked a lot about autoimmunity, and how it’s this self attacking self piece, right? And so the Chinese medicine always has this correlate between emotions and disease as well as physical and disease. And so I really brought that together in “Body Belief”, but I also discovered, you know, the autoimmune paleo diet and Chinese medicine traditional diets, and I kind of melded those two worlds together.

And what I started to see clinically was these long standing fertility clients, for infertility, I don’t like to use that word. But long standing, you know, women with fertility challenges that were either having lots of miscarriages or just not getting pregnant, or we know they have endometriosis, or polycystic ovaries that we just couldn’t manage. When I put them on a diet like this and I addressed the mindset as well, guess what? Things started to shift, and dramatically. And I also had the advantage that they were working with, a lot of them were working with reproductive immunologists.

So I got to see that their immune systems were shifting, inflammation was going down. And this was just diet and lifestyle, it was pretty fascinating. And so through that, then I started to craft this diet more and more, if you will, into what I think is a very, you know, macronutrient balance for fertility diet with fertility enhancing foods, that also is highly, you know, reduces inflammation. And so that’s where I came out with the “High Quality Diet” book, and very specific, it’s an elimination diet. But I have found, and I think your own personal experience is similar, too.

I have found that it’s not easy to do an elimination diet, it’s not easy to commit to something like that. But that is, like, the sweet spot. That is where I start to see the shifts in bodies that are telling us fertility is a luxury, right? And so if the body’s saying I have enough to make a baby, like I got all this stuff, I got an overflow. That’s a Chinese medicine perspective, like I have enough chi, I have enough blood. But also from a Western perspective, it’s saying I am not just surviving, I’m thriving, right?

There’s two different pathways every day that the body gets to choose. And when we really figure out what’s triggering the inflammation and there’s usually always an emotional and a nutritional component and we do some type of elimination diet is when I start to see the body shift and the body starts to say, “Okay, now I have enough” you know, “Now I can heal this or now I’m not just surviving I can start to thrive.” And then from there you do you usually see fertility kick into gear.

Katie: Oh, so many directions to go from there. The first just random thing for anybody watching on video. You mentioned you’re an acupuncturist and I’ve actually got a needle in my head right now. I woke up with a headache. So I’ve got one in my head to stay focused.

Aimee: Oh my gosh. Who put that in?

Katie: A friend who’s an acupuncturist.

Aimee: I love it. Yeah, you have Du 20 in there. That’s very nice.

Katie: But I love, you mentioned, I think so many important points and so many directions that we’re going to go. But the first being the idea that fertility is like you said, a luxury, but also it indicates that the body is ready for pregnancy, which it sounds so logical to say. But it seems like when we see all these really complicated fertility treatments that don’t also address the underlying root causes, it’s like your body’s trying to send you a message. And when we try to just go around what the body’s telling us versus listening to it, it seems like that’s somewhat when we run into problems.

But the important part that I love about your work is the message of hope within this because I think often women in fertility struggles feel somewhat hopeless. And they’re not given sometimes really good actionable advice from doctors that let them take ownership and kind of go in a direction that might be helpful. And so I love how you unpack so clearly, that there are things within your control that you can do that help your body prepare, and that also probably give you a much better chance and a really healthy, more comfortable pregnancy as well, because you’re in that then nourished and thriving place.

And I wish that our culture was better about that message and getting women to prepare before pregnancy. I feel like often, at least for me, with my first one, it was like, “Oh, I’m pregnant. Now I should figure out what I should do.” Whereas it would have been great to know six months in advance, like, “Oh, I can nourish my body in these very specific ways that will help prepare better.” So let’s kind of start broad and then delve down from there. Obviously, diet is a big component of this. You mentioned, the egg quality diet is an elimination diet of sorts, but also from reading it, like, a very hyper nourishing diet. So kind of walk us through just a broad overview of what some of those tenets of the egg quality diet are.

Aimee: Well, that’s another thing. I started to see, of course, like Chinese medicine background, been practicing for, you know, in the clinic for almost 20 years. I’m a student of Weston A. Price and studied nutrition with them. So the tenants of the diet for me have always been the same. You could go back to my first book from 2010, I wrote it in 2009, I’ve been talking about the same things. I’ve been talking about eating, you know, bone broth. I’ve been talking about eliminating sugar and dairy and gluten or having those things in moderation and really good quality if you have them.

Avoiding artificial sweeteners, and eating basically protein, vegetables and fat. And that’s been the mainstay of my diet. I’ve always talked about liver as being one of the most nutrient dense foods especially for fertility, so we’re talking the actual organ meat. But then through the years, there’s been more clinical research done on nutrition for different disease states if you will and infertility being one of them. And we can see from the data that the macronutrient balance, it’s about like 45% fat seems to be again, that sweet spot for fertility. And about 30% protein than the rest carbohydrates, but from good quality carbs.

I do tend to see many of my patients clinically and now I get to serve women all over the world with my coaching practice. So literally, you know, hundreds, if not thousands of women do better on less grains too. And so it’s fat from good quality sources, you know, like eggs, like good quality meat, good quality fish, coconut oil, avocado, olive oil, coconut milk, and then we’re talking, you know, good quality protein. I do find if we hit about 80 to 100 grams of protein from those good quality sources, we automatically fall into the appropriate fat macronutrient balance. It’s the carbohydrates.

There was an interesting study done out of a fertility clinic. It was a small study, but the fertility doctor noticed he, you know, wasn’t having success with this subset of a population and he had them do diet analysis for him, like keep a food diary. And he noticed that they were all eating on average 60% carbohydrates and only about 20% protein, so about 20% fat. When he switched them to 45% fat, 30% protein and 20%-ish carbohydrates and he didn’t even necessarily switch the exact type of food they were eating basically just increased protein and fat. The pregnancy outcomes quadrupled. These were women undergoing IVF without success in the past.

So that’s to me, the real tenant of the diet is that there’s like about six to eight servings of vegetables a day. I love the leafy greens and some starchy vegetables. You’re eating a rainbow of vegetables, and then you’re having about three ounces of protein two to three times a day and then adding in the fat where you can. And so in the egg quality diet, what I decided to do was really simplify it for women because I just kept hearing, you know, probably similar to you of like, “What to eat, what to eat?” And, you know, I love my book, “Yes, You Can Get Pregnant” I give them a one week diet sample, do you know what I mean? What are you going to do with that? Like, it’s too general, it’s in every fertility book out there, we all have one chapter on diet, maybe two.

And so I decided, I’m just going to give them 100 days because we know the process of folliculogeneis, which is the egg that you’re about to ovulate that recruited 100 days ago in your ovary and is now going through its maturation process inside your body and is impacted by the environment in your body. It’s impacted by your nutrition, by your environmental exposures, by your stress levels. So I gave them 100 days of exact menus, with shopping lists, with recipes, you know. So I just said, “Let’s just make it simple, here’s 100 days just follow the diet”.

So you start off eliminating, and then you spend about two weeks in a pretty strict elimination phase where you’re drinking lots of bone broth and just simple things. Simple protein, simple vegetables, try to eliminate any potential inflammatory reactions. And then we go into what I call in the book phase three, where we can reintroduce fruit and we can reintroduce different proteins, different vegetables, but we’re still off of nightshades and nuts and seeds and soy and gluten and dairy. And then phase four is where we start to reintroduce. And we learn, so it’s not just a fertility diet, it’s your fertility diet.

So you learn, like I’ve learned, like, potatoes? No bueno for me. But beans? No bueno. Some girls, it’s tomatoes and eggplant, right? And others it’s sesame seeds and lentils, right? And some, it’s none of the above. And they can even do dairy and gluten, right? So it really just depends on the person and their body and really the state of gut dysbiosis. I do think it comes down to that. So that’s my attempt is, reduce inflammation, heal the gut so the body can start to absorb its nutrition. Get out of fight or flight, get into thriving. We should make a baby, right? Seems simple.

Katie: Yeah and having an elimination diet not for fertility, but for in my case, autoimmunity. And you mentioned there’s some shared links there. I also remind women, this is not a lifelong thing. It’s not that these are forever. In fact, the body’s so incredibly capable of healing that often that short time will let the body function so much better for long term. And you can reintroduce often many, many of these foods. I love that you brought up liver. I have a habit now of often eating raw liver in the morning, just swallowing pieces of it. Because to me that’s the easiest…

Aimee: That’s amazing. Raw?

Katie: I get it down raw, I just cut it…

Aimee: Frozen? Or defrosted, like?

Katie: Defrosted. I just cut it in little, like half-inch pieces and just swallow it like a pill. Makes it easier.

Aimee: Amazing, I take the pills.

Katie: I think everyone has to do it their own way. I also love that you kind of go into not avoiding any macro, because I think anytime there’s any kind of issue, there’s that tendency to kind of go very extreme. And we’re seeing, you know, like fully plant based, we’re seeing carnivore, we’re seeing keto. And in a fertility aspect, like you’re saying it’s very important to nourish the body. And for women especially, I’ve talked about it before, but often I think we’re not getting enough protein, especially in fat, like you mentioned. And those are such important signals to the body that it’s being nourished, and it’s not starving.

I also love your approach of really focusing on, you know, getting enough of the macros but really more how can we get all these micronutrients? So how can we eat these nutrient dense foods, which then, of course, we know when you’re growing a human, you need all of these nutrients readily available. So I love how actionable you make it and how easy you make it because certainly for anyone who’s in that phase of trying to plan a pregnancy, there’s so much involved. And so I love that you just give an action plan and you can just go and figure out your own diet as you go, which is awesome.

And you also mentioned the mindset and emotional component. And I’m so glad you delve into this too because I feel like this is often overlooked as well in theWestern model. And so many women have had the experience of doctors telling them it’s all in their head or that that side doesn’t matter at all. And having had my own very direct experience now with seeing just how drastically mindset and emotions impact the physical body. I think, especially if we’re talking about conception, this is a really, really key conversation to have. So how do you address that with women? What are the aspects of emotions and mindset that you go into?

Aimee: Well, whatever comes up, really. But I mean when I’m writing a book or giving… So with the “Egg Quality Diet”, it’s the only book I’ve ever written, which is a little uncomfortable for me, that doesn’t have a chapter dedicated to the mindset. I have a paragraph that says, “Please don’t overlook the mindset, go to the website that I’ve created with the book and I have a ton of information for you to dive into that.” And I did that on purpose though, too, because again, the diet is intense. And I want them to dedicate those first 50 days to really getting their groove on with the food. And then as they get deeper into, I think it’s about week eight or nine, I start introducing every week, I have a weekly tip for success. And I drive them to the website, where then I talk about things like what I call emotional inflammation.

So getting them to tune in to the trauma that is there and very real. Whether it’s trauma, just, and I say “just” with you know, being kind of facetious. Just from trying to get pregnant and it not working, that in itself is significant trauma, but there could be previous traumas there. There could just be a really stressful environment that they live in. And starting to understand A. their connection to themselves. How they talk to themselves in the privacy of their own mind. And understanding that that sets the stage for, if you’re in chronic fight or flight it is just not a highly reproductive scenario, right?

And so the body’s really just thinking… You can get away with it when you’re younger, I definitely agree like, but I do think over time and not, “I just think”, the science shows us too over time. That this level of stress will tax the crap out of our adrenals which will impact our cortisol which will impact all of our male sex hormones, which will impact ovulation and it will impact your ability to get pregnant. So we know that for a fact. And I think there’s a time where we can get away with it when maybe our system is still pretty, you know, versatile, amenable as we get older.

And I tend to deal with women probably, you know, but I’d say, you know, 30, mid 30s to mid 40s tends to be the demographic I see the most of. I have some youngers but that tends to be the demographic. And it’s around that time that the mindset really does begin to impact. So I say in my book, “Body Belief”, you know, the thoughts you think and, you know, impact your behavior and your behavior impacts your health, right? So it’s all connected. So I could tell you the diet, I can tell you the lifestyle and when to meditate and how much to sleep. But unless you actually believe that you’re worthy of the healing that, you know, or that you actually see the connection between those two things, it’s very challenging to, you know, make that shift and fit those puzzle pieces together.

And my mission really is not that positive pregnancy test. It’s getting women to live in their bodies and really appreciate themselves again, so they can be the mothers that I think we, you know, we deserve to be and the world needs, too. So that is my global mission. And most of that is coming back home to themselves and liking themselves again and liking themselves enough to choose nourishment over chronic stress, right? And so okay, how can I slow down? What can I eliminate from my life? What do I need to not carry anymore? What unresolved, you know, traumas do I have still lurking? And giving them tools and of course if they need, you know, more psychological help encouraging that as well.

I’m a huge fan of EMDR, I think it’s amazing for trauma and tapping. And so, you know, all of those tools, and just really getting them to get in touch though with like, what’s in my way? What’s blocking my healing? What does, you know, they say we have… what is it? 90,000 thoughts a day? No, 50,000 thoughts a day, 90% of them are the same. So what are those thoughts? What are you saying to yourself? And a lot of times it is, “I’m not going to be a good mother”, “I’m not worthy enough.”, “My body is broken.” That, you know, “There’s no hope.” “All my eggs are bad.”, “My doctor told me the only option was adoption, or donor egg.” Or whatever have you. And so to get them in tune with those thoughts and begin to shift them.

Katie: Yeah, and I definitely discounted that side personally, for a really long time. I had dialed in the physical side and the supplements and I’ve talked about this a little bit publicly. But I learned very acutely, like we are the sum of our inner thoughts and the questions that we ask ourselves. And I think, you know, all the memes are true, but none of us would talk to our friend, our best friend, the way we talk to ourselves often inside. And I had this script that, “Oh, if only this and this and this, then I will be happier then I will love myself or then I will love my body.”

And it truly wasn’t until I made the mental shift that the physical part caught up without really any other physical changes. I already had those things dialed in. And once I got to that place of self love and feeling comfortable in my body, the physical part of my body adjusted to match my mindset. And I think often we get caught in that trap of thinking like, “Oh, I’ll just change my physical body and then my mindset will change” and often it goes the other way. You also mentioned, I love that you brought up, you know, women being told that their eggs are bad or that these things are incurable. Or I’ve heard women be told that when it’s PCOS or endometriosis that there’s not really any way to get rid of it. That once you have it, you have it forever.

Certainly I’ve talked to women who have overcome it, and I’ve overcome Hashimoto’s, which they said was not curable. So I know firsthand that that’s not always the case. But I’d love to talk a little more specifically about that, because I feel often that women are being told that there’s not hope in cases when there really is and especially when it comes to egg quality. And I love that you are addressing that specifically here because they’re told like, “Oh, well, if your eggs are bad, there’s nothing you can do.” And I know that from reading your work, that’s not the case. But can you kind of go a little deeper on that and kind of explain some of the results maybe you’ve seen from women that you’ve worked with? Or what women can expect to see even if they’ve been told they have one of these things that Western medicine isn’t addressing well.

Aimee: Yeah, I think you are not broken and you are fixable. And I think that goes across the board like even you with your Hashimoto’s. Like we can’t maybe cure Hashi’s or we can’t maybe cure endometriosis, you know. And I’m not sure I don’t totally believe that because I’ve seen it, too. But we can’t really say that out loud maybe, but we can see dramatic changes in the body. And so yeah, I’ve had those long standing cases. I’ve had girls that were trying for eight years, eight years is the longest I’ve had. Eight, six, and they have endo and their tubes are blocked, there’s no hope, you know, cysts, all the things. And that’s why I got so gung-ho about this diet and this lifestyle and the mindset piece. Because when we put it all together, then these girls that had these most challenging cases started to get pregnant.

They’d had surgeries, they’d had miscarriages I mean, you name it. Or also girls that have never gotten pregnant, you know, I had one girl, two dozen fertility treatments never got pregnant, never once. And then I got her to follow this diet and work on the mindset stuff and she really didn’t like me for a lot of it. And now she has a healthy baby boy, she got pregnant at the age of 42 after 20-some odd failed fertility treatments and she had been in it for eight years. So I mean, and we figured out her things. You know what they were? She was eating paleo when she came to me.

I was like her seventh acupuncturist, sixth functional medicine doctors. She couldn’t of had it more dialed in, right? But we figured out she was an autoimmune paleo, so she needed to be autoimmune paleo. We figured out it was lentils and tahini. Those were two things that she had in her diet that probably couldn’t be healthier for many people, right? She was soaking the lentils, she was doing all the things. Those two things came out, her migraines went away, her sinus congestion went away, her joint pain went away. She got pregnant.

It was pretty fascinating but it’s all shiftable and changeable. And like Chinese medicine, what I love about Chinese medicine is we treat what we see. So if I don’t see the signs and symptoms of endometriosis, I’m not gonna go berserko over it, right? It’s just like, I’m going to treat what I see. And a lot of times, like, even in the book “The Egg Quality Diet” I have a similar questionnaire in “Body Belief” it’s hard to measure fertility and egg quality, but I can measure inflammation in the body based on symptoms. And so when I see those symptoms, then I know that inflammation is absolutely impacting. It impacts every single cell in your body, why wouldn’t it impact the quality of the cells in your ovaries?

And then by that token, when you reduce inflammation and you start to heal, why can’t the cells in your ovaries also heal? So, you know, I make this argument in the “Egg Quality Diet” that my doctor says, you know, “All my eggs are bad, there’s no hope.” And it’s like, yes, fertility declines with age. No one’s arguing that because I think the pipes get a little more and more clogged as we age and we have to be stricter. But I do think it’s still manageable and fixable. But it doesn’t account for epigenetics. It doesn’t account for you know, the scientific notions that we can heal from heart disease or diabetes or Hashimoto’s. Why can’t we heal from endometriosis or “poor egg quality”? And it doesn’t account for like coexisting health challenges.

So for you, for instance, like if you came to me and you had Hashimoto’s, right? I would be going, I’d go after the Hashi’s first. I wouldn’t even think about the fertility, doesn’t matter to me right now. Like, fixing the Hashi’s, fixing the symptoms of that is actually going to help your body become more fertile and no one’s quite talking about that just yet. You know, a lot of the Western doc’s are just saying, “Oh sorry, you’re too old, your eggs are bad.” And that might be the case but they’re not giving you the alternative that you could though heal. You could heal, you could manage that endo, you could manage that PCOS, you could manage that Hashi’s. And guess what? Then your body starts to get out of that chronic state of inflammation of fight or flight and starts to say, “Okay, I’m getting nourished, I can calm down the immune response, I can calm down the inflammation.”

And we know for a fact too from the data, from the literature, that oxidation ages us. When it comes to fertility it ages our eggs for certain, right? High stress, high inflammation, egg quality: poor. We reduce that stress, we improve antioxidants, right? We are giving them antioxidants. There’s been studies like with melatonin with acai, with CoQ10, and you see embryo quality or egg quality improved from IVF cycles to IVF cycle. And these women are getting older, so it doesn’t quite line up. The math doesn’t line up, if you will. And I’ve seen it, I’ve seen women get older and make healthier eggs, and men get older and make healthier sperm. And so it is, I just think, too, it’s like if we’re walking around saying we could possibly even heal from some cancers, we could heal from diabetes, we can heal from heart disease. Why on earth can’t we actually reverse or heal from some of these challenges that are causing for fertility outcomes?

Katie: Yeah, exactly, and, and remembering the innate wisdom of our bodies, and that the natural state of the human body is to be healthy. And I learned also, it’s often not the stuff you have to add. But sometimes, like you said, the stuff you have to take away getting out of the body’s own way. It’s not that we are healing the body by any means. It’s that we are just giving the body the space and the tools to heal and get back to its natural state where it wants to be. And on the mindset side, I think it’s also having been through the Hashimoto side, important to not get stuck in the loop of identifying with your condition and making it part of your identity. Like I got out of the habit of saying, “Oh, I have Hashimoto’s” because that was reinforcing to my body that I have Hashimoto’s.

And just even just reframing that and trusting that the body can and is getting better, I think is an important mindset step like you said earlier on, “If you believe it” That’s a big step toward, because then you’re going to act in accordance with a way that’s going to help support the body in a way you otherwise potentially might not.

This podcast is sponsored by Wellnesse… my natural and good for you personal care line. That’s Wellness with an “e” on the end. When I realized years ago that there weren’t any great natural personal care products that worked as well as many of the conventional options, I set out to create ones that weren’t just comparable, but better! We created haircare that nourishes and protects your hair, rather than stripping it with harsh detergents like many others. Our toothpaste works with your mouth, not against it, to develop healthy teeth and gums, and our dry shampoo is my go-to on busy days and after workouts. All products are based on the idea of working with your body and not against it, with nourishing ingredients rather than harsh detergents or chemicals. Try it and feel the difference for yourself at Wellnesse.com.

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And on the age side as well, I think also, like, we look at native populations and other places in the world, fertility often happens much later than it does commonly in America. And so I think that that also is a clue to look at. What are the diets of these native tribes like? What are diets and other parts of the world where women are having healthy pregnancies in their 40s without complications? And what can we learn from that?

Aimee: It’s all fat. I’ll tell you, all fat. It’s like that book, “Deep Nutrition” Catherine Shanahan. I love that book. And she saw in certain populations upwards of 60 to 65% fat, they weren’t too low on the carbs, though. So keep that in mind because I don’t want to like, keto is not right for fertility. You need carbohydrates for balanced hormones, but fat. Fat does seem to be and, Thomas Callen from Weston A. Price, he’ll say, “You want to make a human? You want to make a structure? You need to eat fat and protein, like that’s what you need to eat.” And he just, he will never get cornered into saying what a fertility diet is.

He will just say what a healthy human diet is and it’s fat and it’s protein. But I want to touch upon, too, what you said about the story, like the story you tell yourself because I talk about that a lot in “Body Belief” and in all, I think, all my teachings. But that’s a huge part of the work that I do. And I do think that impacts how you nourish your body too, right? The choices you make every day. Because if it is this thing of like, “I have Hashimoto’s” or, “I’m infertile, there’s no hope.” Why on earth are you going to commit to an elimination diet? Do you know what I mean? Like that is a hard thing to do. So it is starting to say, you know, like, “I’m managing my endo”, or “I’m managing my Hashi’s”, or “There are women who have been like me, and they figured it out. So I can too, right?”

So it’s that glimmer of hope. You don’t have to fully believe it. I always say to women, I’m like, “You don’t have to believe that this baby’s coming until this baby’s in your arms, if you don’t want to.” Like, that’s too much pressure. We don’t have to go and visualize. And I mean, I’m a huge fan of meditation and visualization but that might be too much pressure for some women. So could we, though, just believe that you haven’t missed your boat yet? Could you just at least say that? Or that there is room for improvement because you went through the questionnaire and you have 30 symptoms? So could we improve things? Could we reduce inflammation? And by that token, could you then get on board with the fact, if I reduce inflammation in your body or you reduce inflammation in your body, the cells in your body are going to be happier.

And could that extend to the cells in your ovaries? And so that piece of just starting to, like, really line up and get on your own team. Like, I can do this and this will have this impact and then I am worthy of healing and then I do think it becomes a little contagious at that point. Then you start to see things shift and then you’re hooked, right? You’re in it to win it at that point. You don’t want to go back to the old ways. I have so many women that achieved their healthy pregnancies and they’ll never go back to the old style of eating or living because they feel so much better. And that really is the goal. It’s about us being as healthy as we can be, especially if we’re having children later in life so we can be around for those kids too, right?

And be healthy and get on the ground and play with them, but have these healthy pregnancies that we can recover from. Give these children the nutrients they need as they’re developing in us. So it’s not just this positive pregnancy test, that should not be the goal. And it does feel a lot like we’re just doing anything we possibly can to get to that positive pregnancy test versus not seeing the larger picture which, again, that book “Deep Nutrition”, which I’m like so obsessed with. But I mean, she goes into symmetry and the health of the mother, and how that actually manifests in the child.

And we know that now we know, like, transgenerational traumas, like emotional, but we also know physical. It’s, you know, the eggs in, you know, your and my ovaries, like if we were to have another child and your current children, my current children, we’re impacting our grandchildren from those children, right? We know that it’s two generations and that’s emotional and that’s physical. And so if we could step back and see it as part of this whole process, I do think, personally, for me, that makes it easier to to adopt these changes.

Katie: Yeah, fascinating book I read recently on the idea of generational trauma. It was called, “It Didn’t Start With You.” And it talks about the physical and the mRNA aspects and like how things are passed down through the physical body, and also how that emotional component can manifest in so many generations after. And it’s what I wish I had before I had kids, but I’ve been recommending to a lot of people. And I think it would be another really relevant one for women who are considering having babies.

And I also, I’m glad you brought up the carbs component as well, because I think that the keto trend has, the way it’s talked about has been a disservice to women in a lot of ways. I’m a big fan that anything can be a tool in certain cases. I think things can be cycled and be very beneficial. I, some days, eat very low carb. Other days, I don’t. I think the body is meant to be adaptable. So I like to give it constantly adapting metrics to deal with. But I do think a lot of women under-eat carbs, and we know hormonally, that can be really stressful to the thyroid. That can be stressful, like you said it, to the adrenals. And our hormones do need certain signals.

And so like to your point, women’s bodies can’t handle the same things men’s bodies can, especially when we’re talking about fertility. That doesn’t mean we need to eat processed carbs, of course, there’s wonderful options. But also I think the diet culture, so many women are not eating enough. And that was a surprising thing I found is, I was trying to lose weight so I was eating less and less and less. And my body was holding on to more and more and more and that diet culture has become so pervasive that I think the mindset shift toward nourishing the body is so, so key, especially before pregnancy.

When you do have this increased nutrient need, increased calorie need, you’ve got to have a good mindset going into that so you’re not afraid of the food that you need. And I know from having helped midwives in the past and having midwives tell me while pregnant. It’s so important to eat enough, like, still protein and fat while you’re pregnant as well. Especially the protein, we know the correlations there with better pregnancy outcomes, and fewer preterm.

Aimee: gestational diabetes, all of it.

Katie: Preeclampsia. So it’s so good for women to be able to understand that and have these habits really firmly rooted so that they transfer throughout pregnancy. And then like you said, of course the goal isn’t pregnancy, the goal is to the motherhood and the whole…

Aimee: Healthy mama.

Katie: Yeah, exactly. And then passing those things on to our kids. And so I love that it starts with something like egg quality but really touches every aspect of a person’s life and their family going forward and generationally if we start making these habits really stick. I’m a huge fan of how you interwove all of that into one book and made it so actionable. I think it also can be overwhelming and you make it so clear and easy.

Aimee: Thank you.

Katie: Yeah, you’re welcome. And I guess, I’m trying to think if there’ll be any specific questions, I know, each condition has its own kind of things that you’re going to address, but then inflammation being the commonality. And, and in that sense, even for someone who’s maybe not trying to get pregnant, these principles still apply. Anytime we’re dealing with inflammation, and we know inflammation is on the rise across all…

Aimee: That’s affecting women. You know, I mean, we know, auto immunity, right, is affecting women in their prime. So 25 to 45-ish affects women 75% more than men. I think that has a handful of reasons, you know. The environmental toxins and the exposure we have and how our hormones shift, you know, every week of our cycle. But I also think it has something to do with the emotional component of there’s this, “do it all” kind of mentality, you know what I mean? That, like, we’re super-duper hard on ourselves, which I think is that emotional inflammation piece. And okay, so I’m going to go and I’m also going to get this degree, and then I’m going to run my own business and I’m going to be a mom and I’m going to be a partner and I’m going to like run a great household and I’m going to design my home and I’m gonna paint this, I’m gonna do that. And I’m also you know, I’m gonna have babies and so it’s just, you know.

So yeah, in the book, I don’t distill so much of, like, PCOS versus endometriosis, versus premature ovarian insufficiency. Those are the three main issues though that come up with fertility. Or there’s the unexplained infertility, which is basically one of those three conditions to be honest, like when you boil it down. What I really boiled down though in the book is, it’s either there’s inflammation and there’s gut dysbiosis. And we’re seeing that in basically every single client that comes in. And, you know, Chinese medicine, again, has been talking about gut health and the spleen, stomach, the earth school for thousands of years. And I love to see the Western medicine correlation. And we also have been talking about epigenetics for thousands of years. Like, how you live your life impacts how you age, basically. And epigenetics is the same thing.

So what I try to just be general in the book and say, whether it’s gut dysbiosis, whether it’s inflammation, whether it’s some kind of genetic predisposition, it kind of doesn’t matter, because what we’re going to discover as you do this elimination diet is what’s the right tools for your body. But healing the gut and reducing inflammation, never hurt a single person. So whether you have a diagnosis, or you don’t, or you’re trying to get pregnant, or you’re just thinking about getting pregnant, I think it’s worthwhile to look into the piece of, how is my health? Because my fertility is an extension of my health, right?

Just like, you know, I love Lisa Hendrickson-Jack’s book, “The Fifth Vital Sign” You know, just like the menstrual cycle, and ovulation is our fifth vital sign. That is telling us the vitality of the body, especially for a woman. And so you might decide, you know, “I’m gonna start having kids at 33” but you haven’t even looked at how your body’s functioning across the board. So I do think following something or at least reading through the “Egg Quality Diet” or looking at the symptom questionnaire and just starting to piece together, Okay, how is my health? How is my menstrual cycle? How is my ovulation? And that gives us an idea of how your fertility is going to be. So many women are on the pill, but they don’t even know how their menstrual cycle is, too. So that’s maybe another episode.

Katie: I was just gonna say that’s a whole area I want to go into. But that deserves its own probably.

Aimee: Yeah, but I mean, we can definitely touch upon that right now, yeah.

Katie: Yeah, I mean, let’s briefly touch on that. Many women would be transitioning potentially off of some kind of contraceptive before getting pregnant. And like you said, that does change your cycle and it also can mask things. What do women need to know if they’re in that transition?

Aimee: I say, you know, give your body six to nine months to restore normal ovulatory function before you can really see everything that’s going on. There are women who get pregnant that first month going off the pill sure thing, you know. It happens I’m not saying it doesn’t, but you want to prepare mentally. “Okay, I’m going to go off the pill, I’m going to give my body six to nine months to kind of get its groove back, see where things are at, work out any kinks in my menstrual cycle or ovulation.” And adopt a diet like this, “Okay, I’m going to start hitting my 45% fat, my 30% protein” and because that is, I see it all the time and even in myself. I can have my busy days because I track everything and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I only had 60 grams of protein today, what the heck” And you know, it’s probably similar to you, like, I know all the things and I can still miss it.

So really paying attention and almost mapping out, “What is the next six months gonna look like for me? Am I going to clean up my bath and beauty products and go non-toxic with them?” Because we know they say the average woman is exposed to 500 chemicals before she leaves her house in the morning, you know, and those chemicals severely impact our hormones. What kind of supplements are you going to go on? Make sure you’re on something with methylfolate and not folic acid, right? With prenatal, make sure you’re taking a good fish oil. You know, and just look at it as like, every woman out there knows, you know, the conundrum of like planning the wedding and all this stuff or saving to buy a house. Why are we not giving that same timeframe to the preconception period?

And so I do think getting off of contraceptives and giving yourself you know, really it’s like a six to nine month window where you’re, as I say in my first book, and I say it in “Yes, you can get pregnant” in “Preparing the palace” is what we say in Chinese medicine. So you’re taking the time, the palace is the uterus. The translation for the term uterus, “Zi Gong” from Chinese English is “the child’s palace”. And so you’re taking that time to prepare the palace, getting the ship in shape to receive a child and I’m not saying in shape to be like physically fit or trying to achieve certain weight goals. It’s not at all about weight. I think that has very little to do with fertility, but it has to do with nourishment and how am I going to nourish myself and setting the stage for that nourishment knowing you’re not just impacting this child but your grandchild as well. And you know, looking at that from that larger perspective.

Katie: Yeah, that’s a great reframe and an important one. I hope that starts to take hold a lot more in our culture. I know other places in the world have it much more dialed in. And as we get close to the end of our time, a couple questions I love to ask. The first being, if there’s a book or a number of books that have had a profound impact on your life and if so, what they are and why?

Aimee: I think I mentioned one, “Deep Nutrition”, which I’ve mentioned twice today. That book was just a great book. “Nourishing Traditions” to go along with it too from a nutrition standpoint. I think from a mental emotional, standpoint, you know, one of my I still go back and I think I said this the last time I was on was Deepak Chopra, “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” Definitely anything by Abraham-Hicks, Joe Dispenza. That work really resonates with me and has allowed my mind to open up greatly and so I can better serve and heal myself.

Katie: Well, I will link to those as well as all of your books in the show notes, WellnessMama.FM so you guys go check those out. Where can people find you online, find your books and keep learning?

Aimee: Aimeeraupp.com, my website. You can also follow me on Instagram. I’m very busy on Instagram, with my stories, and I go live every single week talking about important topics. You know, like a lot of the ones we’ve covered here today. And that’s where I really reach my audience and go deep.

Katie: Wonderful, I will link to that as well. And Aimee, as always, it’s such a pleasure to chat with you. This was so much for me. I hope helped a lot of people as well. And you guys go find all of Aimee’s work in the show notes, WellnessMama.FM and thank you for your time.

Aimee: Thank you so much.

Katie: And thanks as always to you guys for listening and for sharing your most valuable resources, your time and energy and attention with us today. We’re both so grateful that you did and I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of the Wellness Mama podcast.

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

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