When it comes to preconception-prep and diabetes you can never start too early. And while many of us get caught up in A1C land, cleaning up our diet is equally important for both Mom and Dad! A healthy diet with conception in mind has been proven to improve fertility, prevent miscarriages, and support a healthy pregnancy. A good time to start is 6 months before trying to conceive (TTC), but if you can start earlier than that then praise be (handmaid’s tale anyone?)! That’s because the foods you eat today have a direct effect on the health of your eggs (and his sperm) 90 days from now. A diabetes preconception diet is a bit different than a non-diabetic preconception diet because we are really focusing on supporting the endocrine system, lowering inflammation, and loading up on vitamins and minerals that diabetes chips away at.
Diabetes Preconception Diet
1. Clear out the Junk!
The big ones here are drugs & alcohol, and really anything that is toxic to the body. This also includes sugar, white flour, processed foods, sugar-free sweeteners, vegetable oils, and MSG. These toxins cause major inflammation in the body, especially in those with autoimmune diseases.
2. Focus on Nutritionally Dense Foods
Healthy Fats: A lot of us grew up in the low-fat era, so this is a bit of a mind shift, but fats are incredibly important for us. Especially for a healthy female endocrine system. Healthy fats help to fuel and feed hormones needed for a healthy pregnancy.
Some examples of healthy fats are olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados.
High quality protein sources: Ideally all our meat & produce would be organic, but sometimes that can be expensive. So if you can only afford one, focusing on your protein sources being organic will really give you the best bang for your buck! Livestock is where they use the most antibiotics, hormones, and chemical pesticides. So focusing on meats that are grass-fed & pasture raised, wild caught fish (as opposed to farm raised), and pasture raised eggs will greatly help reduce your exposure to these toxins.
Avoid Soy in any form (unless fermented like Miso and tempeh) and pay attention to dairy. For many of us, dairy is congesting to the body and a big source of inflammation. If you tolerate dairy well, then it’s important to make sure it’s full-fat and organic.
Organic produce: If you can’t afford for all your produce to be organic, then focus on the clean 15 and dirty dozen.
The clean 15 is a list of 15 of the cleanest produce, aka the least sprayed produce. If you’re not going to buy all organic produce, then these 15 foods are the ones to buy non-organic.
The Clean 15 (updated in 2022):
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas, frozen
- Honeydew Melon
- Sweet Potatoes
On the opposite side of that… The dirty dozen are a list of 12 of the most heavily sprayed crops. These ones should be bought organic whenever possible!
The dirty dozen (updated in 2022)
- Kale, Collard & Mustard Greens
- Bell & Hot Peppers
While having a clean diet will do WONDERS for your fertility, the carrot that you grow in your backyard today isn’t as nutritious as the carrot your grandma grew in her backyard 70 years ago. That’s because our soil isn’t what it used to be. Over farming and the heavy use of pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and hormones have greatly impacted our soil, and not for the better.
That’s where supplements come in.
It’s important to buy your supplements from quality sources. And whenever possible, have them coming from a food sources (example, taking Cod Liver Oil instead of an omega 3 vitamin… or eating Nutritional Yeast instead of taking a B Complex MultiVitamin.)
I wrote in detail about the supplements I take during pregnancy here.
Liver is also a fertility superfood, but since most of us aren’t about to cook up a plate of liver and onions, desiccated liver capsules are a mama’s best friend. Make sure you’re getting it from grass-fed/pasture raised animals only. This is the brand I use.