Life is a balancing act. We are constantly balancing our jobs, our families, and our health, to name a few things. Sometimes we are out of balance and we seem to have a penchant, this time of year especially, to indulge. Now, I love food and I have a tendency to delight in every bite I take. I, for one, don’t believe it is helpful to completely eliminate delectable bites such as ice cream from life! Removing the joy and love associated with eating is not the goal, but rather increasing knowledge and capability around what we put into our bodies and how it makes a difference! It’s a process and certainly not about perfection.
I encourage patients to replace “diet” with “balance.” When we eat nutritious foods we are fueling and nourishing our bodies; this approach is not so much about calorie counting but making thoughtful choices. For all of us, and especially for fertility patients, making sustainable changes towards better health can start with a small step. And when things don’t go according to plan, practice self-compassion.
Our nutrition team at RMACT focuses on helping patients find eating competence, helping them realize the impact that a few small changes can make in a journey towards optimizing their health, and helping people realize that eating is about connection, not just with our bodies, but life itself. Our nutrition influences hormone production, which is at the essence of our fertility and reproductive health. An ideal fertility meal plan includes healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and a variety of fruits and vegetables. As we gather together with friends and loved ones this time of year, let us experience both the enjoyment and nourishment that food provides, in balance.
Here is one of my favorite recipes that epitomizes balance; it includes the indulgent texture of avocados and freshness of vegetables, all in a delicious dip. Avocados are nutrient dense with folate (folic acid), healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamin C, K, additional B vitamins, potassium and other minerals and fiber. Since I’m always short on time during the holidays, I like that this recipe has only four ingredients and takes just minutes to make. Plus, it has festive red and green colors! I like to spread it onto sandwiches in place of mayo, or simply enjoy it as a dip with carrots or whole grain pita chips.
Holiday Red & Green Guacamole
- 1 cup of diced zucchini, cooked and drained
- ½ avocado
- ¼ cup of salsa
- 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh jalapeño with seeds removed, optional
Mash the avocado. Add the zucchini and jalapeño. Gently mix in the salsa. Adjust the heat of the dip as desired based on the spiciness of the salsa.
Ellie Downs is a registered nurse (RN) and health coach at Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT), the leading infertility practice in Fairfield County. With over 11 years of experience in women’s health, one of Ellie’s main responsibilities is working with patients who have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). She also contributes to RMACT’s patient education program with a focus on preconception and early pregnancy health and wellness. Personally and professionally, Ellie’s passions are health, wellness, and an active lifestyle.