Could your "Fertility" Diet actually be sabotaging your ability to conceive?

I’ve been thinking a lot these days about the “optimal” diet for fertility. Between finishing up with Baby Making and Beyond and working towards my Registered Holistic Nutritionist  (RHN) certification, nutrition is number one on my mind.

 Liver, tasty to some, stressful to others

Liver, tasty to some, stressful to others

So, back to my question, is your fertility diet actually sabotaging your ability to conceive?  What do I mean by that, well, let me explain. This question was triggered by an email sent out by Real Food Liz, my BMB partner in crime. In it she posed the question, are you “accidentally” dieting.  Listening to the Balanced Bites podcast this week there was some discussion about how we view our food choices. There is a large tendency in our food and looks obsessed culture to diet, go on detoxes and boot camps. Some of these programs can be great re-sets for helping us move towards a more healthy, balanced real food approach, but sometimes, the “rules” they create can end up extending past these 21 or 30 day challenges, limiting our diets, but more importantly, create a toxic relationship around food. Food can be labeled, ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and even worse ‘permitted’ or ‘not permitted’.  We can lose our ability to enjoy eating and enjoy our meals.

Back to my original question, is your fertility diet actually sabotaging your ability to conceive?  While I’m trying to create the most optimal dietary guidelines to maximize fertility it is my most sincere fear that these “guidelines” could actually cause more damage than they create good by causing toxic STRESS and feelings of deprivation for some women who just so desperately want to do the very best thing for themselves and for their future babies.  Stress, in any form, is toxic to fertility. Put very simply, stress activates adrenal hormones (think cortisol), which sends signals to your body that now is a stressful time and not a good time to conceive. Stress is powerful enough that the benefits of even the most “perfect” fertility diet could be nullified by the effects of elevated cortisol. 

Here’s the issue with stress when you’re seeking to optimize fertility:

  1. Cortisol raises blood sugars and promote inflammation as well as unhealthy weight gain (especially around your tummy). 
  2. Cortisol reduces your body’s ability to make it’s own sex hormones including thyroid, estrogen and progesterone
  3. The constant stress on the adrenal system tells the body that it’s not “safe” and that now is not a good time to raise a baby successfully. 

 So, what to do about it? What can you do if you feel trapped in a “diet” or set of eating “rules” . What do you do if you're feeling deprived, stressed out or exhausted by trying to achieve the perfect diet ?

1.     Let go of all the rules! We each get multiple times each day to make food choices. We are all individuals, not robots. Sometimes we make more nutrient dense choices, while other times we may make choices that just satisfy our souls. When enjoyed, these are all GOOD CHOICES. Try to choose nutrient dense most of the time. Other times just enjoy the ice cream Sunday or gluten free pizza. Heck, last week I ate a marshmallow that fell in the fire pit. Whatever. No stress, no consequence. One choice at a time.

2.     Create a list of ‘smart’ deal breakers Always avoid things that obviously are harmful for your body and are known to cause a reaction or be a source of inflammation. For me it’s dairy and gluten. They are an absolute NO GO. That being said. When I want my ice cream sundae, I’ll make it with decadent coconut milk ice cream and dairy free chocolate fudge. No suffering here!

3.     If fertility is your goal, create a list of things you want to include each week and then fill in the gaps with spontaneous eating habits that nourish your body and soul. For example, you want to eat liver twice each week, eat dark leafy greens every day and enjoy more bone broth. Easy!  Meet these goals and then fill in your diet with spontaneous unplanned choices that keep your mind, body and soul satisfied.

 This woman is enjoying her meal...she's also a fertility nurse and know's the how important it is to learn to stay chilled out. 

This woman is enjoying her meal...she's also a fertility nurse and know's the how important it is to learn to stay chilled out. 

4.     Create a stress free culture around meal times. Enjoy your food. Sit down with family for at least one meal per day. Try not to eat on the run or be distracted by the TV or computer when you nosh. Take five deep breaths before sitting down to eat. Not only will this aid in digestion and nutrient absorption (fertility bonus),but it will  also acts as a potent stress reliever. If regular meditation or yoga isn’t already a part of your fertility practice, MAKE IT A PRIORITY. Yes, I said this loudly, a stress management plan is just as important as anything you put in your mouth. We will have a GIANT stress section in Baby Making and Beyond, so stay tuned for that.


If you need help with your diet or nutrient plan, feel free to send me a message. I’ll be accepting new clients in the spring of 2017 and have a waiting list started of everyone who’s interested in a bit of help. I’ll be offering a wide variety of both hormone and allergy testing as well as fertility, prenatal and post- baby nutrition packages. So stoked for this new phase in my career and excited to keep working with all of you wonderful women.  Also, stay tuned for a series of e-books designed to help you get on your way to fertility and pregnancy friendly paleo eats.


 Dark chocolate hazelnut ripple....and yup, it's's also delicious! 

Dark chocolate hazelnut ripple....and yup, it's's also delicious! 

Till then, enjoy that Sundae. You know how I feel about ice cream! 

Reflections, redirection and rejuvination

Can you believe it's been 10.5 months?! Time flies and as I find myself in a space of reflection, I'm realizing that for the past few years (or more), my mantra has been,  "I'm just so busy, there's no time".  I've been chasing the "dragon" so to speak, burning the candle on both ends trying to keep up with work and life.

Well, you know what happened? It caught up to me. Shocking, I guess I'm not immune to burnout and my body is protesting! After facing some real health issues, I'm re-focusing and defining what balance means for me. I'm  also re-defining how I can continue to give back to the beautiful world of women and families while honouring my self and it's own needs.

In the next few months, expect some exciting announcements, new posts and different directions. I've started my path towards becoming a Registered Holistic Nutritionist so I can officially add that piece to my practice and am psyched to share this journey with all my readers. Keep the questions coming, I love the daily emails I get from women and their partners near and far. 

Big love

Meg the Midwife (and soon to be RHN) 




These little people....warm my heart. 

Downsizing for a few months. When less is more!

 This is me, after almost 26hrs on my feet....a good reason why this busy little midwife is downsizing.....but just for a little while! #selflove

This is me, after almost 26hrs on my feet....a good reason why this busy little midwife is downsizing.....but just for a little while! #selflove

Change is a beautiful thing! However, with all the changes in my life lately I just don't have time to update this wonderful blog all that often. So, in an effort to simplify, right now I'll just be working on Baby Making and Beyond and putting Modern Paleo Midwife on hold.

Until I return, check out these links to my most popular posts or feel free to search for something in the search bar on the right. 

Guide to Eating Paleo in Every Trimester:

First Trimester

Second Trimester

Third Trimester

Fourth Trimester


Micronutrients aka Vitamins

All about Carbs for fertility pregnancy and breastfeeding

Caffeine and Bulletproof Coffee



Stay tuned for BMB for TONS of more in-depth and comprehensive info. Until then, follow me on  Instagram  and please feel free to send me your questions or comments. I'll still be checking comments and emails as always :)

Meg the Midwife


Meg the Midwife...on the move

As some of you have noticed, (thanks for the email's btw!), I have been totally MIA (missing in action) recently. There have been a lot of exciting changes happening in my world. I packed up my house and moved to Vancouver. I closed my private practice in the Canadian Rockies and am getting ready to start with a new clinic here on the coast. And, I undertook some pretty serious  renovations on my new condo....needless to say, this has honestly been one of the most stressful, although wonderful, times of my life. I'm totally fried and with only one week left until I start my new job, I'm really thinking a lot about self care during tumultuous times of prolonged stress, lack of sleep and transition....sound familiar postpartum moms? 

Anytime we undergo a life transition it can be unsettling. Lack of sleep, atypical eating patterns and a nervous system that is dominated by sympathetic activation (aka always in fight or flight) can take it's toll on your body. I thought I'd write a little post about strategies I've used to stay as grounded as possible after three weeks of hard times.

Aside from an INSANE amount of retail therapy I've engaged in, I've been focusing on controlling the things that I CAN control. During times of transition, it's pretty common to feel totally out of control of your life. However, there are some choices you can make everyday that help nourish your mind and body. These include: food choices, a bit of daily exercise and how you choose to respond to stressful situations. It seems like an obvious trifecta of sorts but, sometimes, it's the simplest things that make the biggest differences.

This LOCAL super clean almond based yogurt is my new healthy addiction. 

Food: When your dominated by stress and sympathetic nervous system activation, your body doesn't digest or assimilate foods very well. This can lead to a miriad of general IBS like symptoms. Not exactly 'good times'. Support your digestion with simple whole foods that are easy to digest. Don't have time or in my case, a kitchen to cook in? No problem, I pretty much lived off the Whole Foods salad bar. You can microwave the raw kale mix to make it more digestible and there are a lot of paleo friendly choices. Just watch out for any pre-made salads or stewed meats at the hot bar. These may be hiding a ton of canola oil, just read the labels. Here are the foods that have been my staples recently:

  Kevita , my fav water kefir finally arrived in Canada. I've been enjoying this drink daily during the last few weeks to support my immune system and digestion. 

Kevita, my fav water kefir finally arrived in Canada. I've been enjoying this drink daily during the last few weeks to support my immune system and digestion. 

  • Fermented foods like kraut, water kefir and natural yogurts.
  • Gently cooked deep green veggies daily. I've been enjoying steamed kale, collards and chard once but mostly twice a day.
  • Lean organic, pastured meats such as flank steak, chicken and game meats. Nothing against fat but , fatty cuts can be harder to digest. 
  • Safe starches such as white rice, potato and yams. I usually eat these with a meal. Gentle carbs support adrenal and thyroid health. Avoid low carb! 
  • Avoid too many nuts, raw veggies, sugars, caffeine or processed foods, even if you crave them. They can be hard on digestion and sugar/caffeine is really hard on the adrenals. I did indulge in a giant vegan gluten free peppermint frosted brownie from a local 'clean' bakery but I chopped it into four and ate it over a the course of a few days. This way I didn't tax my adrenals with a sugar overload! I also enjoyed a daily little dose of coconut milk ice cream.....because that's just how I roll.

A bit of exercise. My normal routine was totally trashed but I made sure that I got outside to do something that I enjoyed about every other day. For me this usually looked like a trail run or hike in the woods or in the mountains. Some days I didn't have much time so I found some more urban runs, like the Stanely Park seawall loop here in Vancouver or taking the short 15min walk down to Kit's beach for a paddle in the ocean that made me feel energized and like I was connected to nature. Don't push yourself if you're tired, listen to your body but MOVE a little bit each day. Studies have confirmed that daily activity outside boosts all of your feel good hormones. Here's a great article from Mark Sisson that sums up all the spectacular benefits of regular time spent in nature. 

Choose how you respond to stressful situations. I've talked about this before but it is by far, one of the most important things I've learned over the years. Even when everything is out of your control and the pace of life seems insane, you can always choose how you respond to stress.  Every moment of everyday we can choose optimism, positivity and happiness over pessimism, negativity and sadness. We can choose to feel stressed or, when we start to feel the stress of life build up within us, we can choose to recognize it and release it. Over the past few weeks, I've just been rolling with it, knowing it will come to an end and laughing at myself when I catch myself feeling like a crazy woman. 

 My sweet friend Laurie sent me a daily flower every morning from her garden all the way out in Halifax. Knowing you have friends to call on is one of the greatest feelings in the world. 

My sweet friend Laurie sent me a daily flower every morning from her garden all the way out in Halifax. Knowing you have friends to call on is one of the greatest feelings in the world. 

So, that's my life in a nutshell right now. Just trying to slow down, ground and relax before starting my new job. I haven't disappeared or stopped working on Baby Making and Beyond....just taking a bit of a pause as I switch gears and find my groove. 

Postpartum weight loss: How to lose your baby weight effortlessly

Whether you're thinking about becoming pregnant, currently have a bun in the oven or, are already gazing into your new baby's eyes, the topic of postpartum weight loss can instil feelings of anxiety, stress and fear in many (if not all) women.

It's natural and necessary to put on weight during pregnancy. During this magical time, there are a myriad of hormonal changes that happen within your body. You produce human placental lactogen (HPL) which  promotes insulin resistance. This state of insulin resistance does two things, first it helps you increase your blood glucose to feed your growing baby and second, it increases visceral fat stores that will be utilized during breastfeeding. Both totally necessary and vital functions.

I get letters from new mom's frequently who are putting oodles or pressure on themselves to shed the baby pounds within weeks of giving birth. While there is no quick fix, magic pill or underground liposuction network, there are a few things you can do to help the baby weight fall off effortlessly. 


 As demonstrated by Gisele...breastfeeding, the new celebrity weight loss plan....sorry, cheesy but I couldn't resist.

As demonstrated by Gisele...breastfeeding, the new celebrity weight loss plan....sorry, cheesy but I couldn't resist.

By far, the easiest way to lose your baby weight is to breastfeed. Remember that hormone HPL that helps you hang on to weight during pregnancy? When you breastfeed, HPL is replaced by Prolactin. Prolactin's job is to support lactation, reduce estrogen levels (causing freedom from menstrual periods) and mobilize nutrient stores to feed your growing baby. Prolactin produced during breastfeeding is an easy way to essentially 'reset' your postpartum metabolism. 

It's not just about the hormones either, your body requires an additional 500 calories per day to produce milk to feed your baby. It's kind of like natures built in weight loss system. Most weight loss experts recommend a caloric deficit of about 500 calories/day in order to lose a healthy and sustainable pound per week. In essence, breastfeeding is kind of like natures built in weight loss system. That being said, please DON'T starve yourself. Ensure you are getting adequate calories to support your body's recovery and activity levels. If you drop calories too low your milk supply will suffer. 

Balance your hormones

Ensuring your hormonal levels are balanced and stabilizing post baby is a critical part of weight loss.


One of the most common and under-diagnosed postpartum conditions is postpartum thyroiditis. This form of hypothyroidism (aka not enough thyroid hormone) is often diagnosed between 4-9 months after baby arrives and can cause symptoms that include weight loss plateaus, weight gain, fatigue, constipation, depression and irritability. Since these symptoms are rather general and may be applicable to ALL postpartum women, it's often missed. You're at greatest risk if you've been diagnosed with a thyroid condition before, have suffered from adrenal fatigue, have an autoimmune disorder or are under-eating. A simple blood test is all you need to check your levels. 


If you have suffered from PCOS in the past, aren't able to breastfeed or you're baby has weened early you may suffer from a condition called estrogen dominance. In hormonally healthy women, estrogen levels should be balanced by progesterone levels in ratios of roughly 1:5 on day 21 of their cycle. Having too much estrogen or too little progesterone can create this state of estrogen dominance which can cause weight gain, fatigue, cravings for sweets, trouble sleeping and thyroid dysfunction. See your functional medicine specialist if you think this may be happening to you. There are a number of supplements and lifestyle changes that can support a healthy estrogen/progesterone balance. 

Even if you don't have a diagnosed condition like thyroiditis, you still do need to take good care to support your natural hormone function to be able to effortlessly lose the baby weight. Here are some other things you can do to help get things back in check:

 My fav CARB...the purple potato 

My fav CARB...the purple potato 

  • Eat Carbs: Low carb or ketogenic diets are in vogue right now in the weight loss world. For most women, the childbearing years are not the time to experiment with ultra low carb diets. Limiting carbs in your diet (below 100g/day) can cause a host of issues for postpartum women. It can stress your adrenals, tax your thyroid, decrease your milk supply and cause insomnia or other sleep disturbances.  We'll be sure to dive into the carb-conundrum and get into specific levels in the upcoming Baby Making and Beyond program, but for now, just be sure to add healthy paleo friendly carbs like purple potatoes, yams, squashes and even some rice into your diet.


 Spend some time enjoying the small things in life.....stress reduction is a key part of a postpartum weight loss plan

Spend some time enjoying the small things in life.....stress reduction is a key part of a postpartum weight loss plan

  • Stress-less: Stress can increase cortisol levels (produced by your adrenal glands) making weight loss very difficult. Support your adrenal glands by following the recommendations in this previous post of mine. Limiting caffeine, practicing regular meditation and SLEEPING will all make the journey so much easier. 

 Spending time exercising outdoors is a BONUS. Outdoor movement increases endorphins and dopamine levels helping you stay happy and balanced.

Spending time exercising outdoors is a BONUS. Outdoor movement increases endorphins and dopamine levels helping you stay happy and balanced.

  • Exercise: A little intelligent movement will support muscle growth and help sustain fat loss. Please, don't go crazy and don't start too soon. Start walking around 2-4 wks. After 6 wks, you can introduce some light weight bearing exercise. The best combination of exercise for postpartum women is lots of walking, a little yoga and some form of weight lifting, trx or body weight movement. 


Remember, it takes 9 months to gain the baby weight and it will take 9-18 months to lose it. Practice gentle loving kindness for yourself and don't sweat the small stuff. In the grand scheme of life, 10 extra pounds is a first world problem, focus on the things that really matter like family, friendships and being an active and informed citizen of your community and planet. 

When life gives you lemons.....

 Finding a moment of calm in the midst of a busy day

Finding a moment of calm in the midst of a busy day

My post this week is going to take a slightly different tone. No hard science, no, "eat this", "supplement with that".....I'm going to take a step back and wax poetic about life and the choices we get to make each and every day.

Challenges....we've all got them. For some, it may be financial hardship, for others it may be the challenge of a stressful job, lack of social network or chronic illness. I hear from women all the time who struggle with adrenal fatigue, infertility or just straight up lack of mojo for life. So many of these conditions are exasterbated by how we view the world and our place in it. I don't mean to offend or place blame on the many women, myself included, who have struggled with adrenal issues and anxiety. I'm writing this post for everyone out there, who, like eeor, finds themselves shrouded in a little black cloud more often than not. How can we change the way our minds work so that we can welcome more pleasure into our lives? What do when we feel like we've been handed a big ol' box of lemons?

When one is handed a box of lemons, one has a few choices:

1. Pucker, grimace and complain wondering why you were so unlucky to be handed such a batch of bitter, sour fruit.

2. Juice those little babies and make some sweet lemonade. Wait, why stop there, make a lemon pie, make lemon tarts, lemon poppy seed paleo pancakes and heck go all out, make some beautiful lemon cupcakes. 

My point, aside from my obvious cravings for lemon flavoured confections is this; we all have a choice about how we want to view the world. Some of life's great hardships are created, in one way or another, by decisions we've made in the past, while others, like accidents or misfortune, we have no control over.

The one thing we certainly DO have control over each and every second is how we cope with the stress these little lemons create. Every moment of everyday we can choose optimism, positivity and happiness over pessimism, negativity and sadness. We can choose to feel stressed or, when we start to feel the stress of life build up within us, we can choose to recognize it and release it.

Sounds simple, right? Well, if it was that simple then I'm guessing the world would be a much happier place. The practice of becoming mindful and aware of your own stress, anxiety and tension takes great patience and repetition. In my case, it's taken about five years to work with my own  neuroplasticity. As a result of a lot of hard work, I've changed the way my brain thinks and responds to stress. I didn't read any books or follow any guru's methods or recommendations, I just simply made a decision to choose happiness, practice loving kindness for myself and release feelings of stress about things I could not control. 

Ask any of my friends, I still get stressed! No doubt about that, But, the difference is now I know when I'm stressed and I can consciously change my thought patterns away from negativity, towards positivity, creating lightness in my mind, body and spirit. The result, I smile more, even when I should be crying. My health is better, my sleep is deeper and I love my life. 

Meg the Midwife's Favourite 5 ways to create a happier verison of you

(even when you've been handed a box of lemons)

 A little play can go a long way

A little play can go a long way

  1. Play. Find an activity, preferably outside, that makes you feel like a kid again. It can include doing something fun with others like rock climbing or biking (some of my faves), or playing a silly board game or do something more solitary like practicing headstands. Laugh, smile, dance and sing. Play makes us all feel good and turns our mind away from our troubles. 
  2. Give Back. Stepping outside of ourselves and giving back to others has an enormous benefit for both our communities and for our own sense of fulfillment and self worth. If fosters a connection with others which, studies have shown, is an important component of feeling content with ourselves. 
  3. Meditate. Quieting the mind and body can be like a grown up form of 'time-out'. Meditation teaches us to be still, present and in the moment. So often in our daily lives, we are focused on the past or driven to push ahead for some lofty future goal. Staying present has been associated time and time again with a sense of wellbeing. I practice a form of meditative yoga that has totally rocked my boat! This practice has taught me stillness and brought so much REAL joy into my life.  Baby Making and Beyond will have lots of info about how to get started with meditation. Our resident yoga guru Erin Urton will be your guide and teach you some easy ways to get started. 
  4. Gratitude. Studies have shown that feeling a sense of gratitude can drastically increase our happiness and protect us from stress, anxiety, depression and illness. Gratitude is easy to practice. Some people start a gratitude journal or share a few things that they are grateful for at the end of each day with their kids or partner. Even in the worst moments we can ALWAYS find something to be grateful for. It's an easy way to change your mind from that of a 'negative nelly' to a 'positive polly'. 
  5. Don't chase happiness. What? I thought it was about being happy? Well, sometimes it's a good idea to 'be' with your feelings of negativity. They are real and do need some attention. Get mad, get sad, get frustrated or hurt. Let the feelings move thorough you so you can release the power they have on you and move on. Practice gentle loving kindness with yourself. It's okay to feel every feeling under the sun, just don't dwell. If your feelings of negativity start to dominate your thoughts then maybe it's time to get some help processing them. Talk to a friend, loved one or a well trained therapist. 

What to eat when you're in labour

 Just like a big day of running in the heat, labour requires the right fuel to keep your body working at it's very best. 

Just like a big day of running in the heat, labour requires the right fuel to keep your body working at it's very best. 

Labour is HARD WORK! Hey, they don’t call it “labour” for nothing. Fuelling your body properly is essential for any intense physical or emotional output. Labour is no exception. Your uterus is one big muscle and without a steady supply of glucose for fuel, it can become inefficient and uncoordinated. Think about a marathon runner who's bonking...she can't run in a straight line, she trips and stumbles eventually falling right on her face! Nobody wants to fall flat on their face...sheesh.

Here's the quandary, when you’re working so hard bringing your baby into the world you won’t feel like eating much of anything at all. This is when it will be up to your partner, support team or care provider to encourage you to keep up your consumption of the fluids, electrolytes and calories that are necessary for you to sustain yourself and your uterus in labour.

What to choose?

The best choices are things that are quick and easy to digest. Things that you can take a fast nibble of or sip of between contractions and won’t cause any additional discomfort or nausea are your best bets. You want foods that make it easy for your body to mobilize into fuel. 


  • Putting some of these pre-made energy chews into your birth bag is a smart idea. They are by FAR the most consumed snack I see women eat. Brands I like include, Honey Stinger and ProBar Bolt Chews

  • Or, you can make your own! Try Meg's Blueberry version. You can sub the blueberry for any flavour, raspberry works well too. 

Meg's Blueberry Ginger Gummies

These healthy low sugar gummies are a source of electrolytes thanks to the sea salt. They are a great quick snack, pick-me-up during a training session or or as an easy to digest labour fuel. The ginger can also make them great for nausea in the first trimester of pregnancy. 

  • 2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)

  • 1/2 cup boiling water

  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar (or more water)

  • 2 tbs grassfed gelatin (find it here

  • 2 tsp sea salt

  • 1 tsp powdered ginger

  • Stevia as desired to taste 

Place the blueberries, stevia and balsamic in a small saucepan and cook for 5-10 mins or until cooked and have released there sweet juices. Transfer to blender or use an immersion blender (careful if your mixture is hot!) and puree until well blended. Return to pot. Mix gelatin into water and allow to "bloom" for 5 mins. 
Re-heat blueberry mix adding in sea salt, ginger and gelatin mix. Don't let boil but get hot enough to mix in gelatin. Stir well until combined. Allow to sit for 30-ish mins and then transfer into a silicon mini muffin pan or molds of some sort. Chill for 3-4hrs and enjoy! 


  • In the early part of active labour you may still be able to handle some solid foods. Glucose rich foods are easy to digest and don't tax your liver unlike foods that may be high in fructose like many fruits like watermelonapplescherriesmango and pears or applesauce.

  • Good Choices include: Fruits such as, blueberries or strawberries or starches such as cooked salted potatoes & yams

 Be sure to add some salt to them spuds to keep your muscles firing at maximum capacity.

Be sure to add some salt to them spuds to keep your muscles firing at maximum capacity.

Electrolyte Drinks:

Try Meg's Homemade Coconut water "Labour-ade"

3 cups Coconut Water

1 cup filtered water

¼ cup lime juice

¼ cup lemon juice

¼ tsp pink himalayan sea salt or other salt

Add a few drops of Rescue Remedy also is a good idea to calm and soothe your nervous system

Don't have time to make your own?