We all know we’re supposed to follow a special diet during pregnancy, but what about beforehand? Many healthcare providers now recommend a fertility diet for both the man and the woman.

Does it work? Well, it did for my husband and I, because we got pregnant on the very first try. And we did it in three basic steps.

Video: What to Eat if You Want to Conceive Naturally

Step 1 of the fertility diet: Clear out the junk

Now it goes without saying this means cutting out any illegal drugs, alcohol, nicotine; those things that are really burdensome to the body and are toxic. So we wanna cut those out completely. Then we want to eliminate sugar, white flour, processed food, MSG, those chemicals and fake foods that haven’t been around that long, to be honest. A great rule of thumb is if your grandmother didn’t eat it, then neither should you.

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Step 2 of the fertility diet: Eat Nutritionally Dense Foods

I started with good quality fats, and here’s an example, olive oil. Now, I know for a lot of us, they grew up in a low-fat, fat-free era. This is kind of a mind shift but trust me, fats are so important for the female endocrine system. It’s gonna fuel and feed all those great hormones that are gonna sustain your pregnancy. I also ate a lot of good old-fashioned butter.

I know butter’s been demonized, but it’s been nourishing humans for thousands of years, and I ate plenty of it and it didn’t cause me any problems. Other examples could be avocados, nuts and seeds, coconut oil. All those are great fat that just nourish the body and prepare you for pregnancy.

Then we go into high quality protein sources for the fertility diet. Now, this is really where the organic part is important. Now I know ideally we’d all eat organic all the time, but it’s expensive. So you can focus just on your protein sources being organic. That’s the most important because that’s where they use the most hormones and pesticides and things that we don’t need. So this would include wild fish versus farm-raised fish, your poultry, grass-fed meat if you can find it, of course, eggs are a great nutritional source of protein: easy, fast and inexpensive.

And I really wanna focus on dairy for this fertility diet. Dairy is vitally important as you’re trying to prepare your body for pregnancy, particularly whole fat sources, okay? This is about whole yogurt, whole milk, real cheese, even cream, ice cream, all of those things. Again, a mind shift for those whose used to skimmed milk, but studies have proven that whole dairy products, women that consume them have a significantly higher chance of conceiving than women that don’t.

That’s kind of your core diet; of course you wanna include good quality whole grains. I really enjoy oatmeal because it was fibrous and it filled me up. When I eat my whole grains, I soak them. It helps the digestibility and the nutritional components of it. You can Google it to learn more, that’s something I also recommend. This is your baseline diet. You wanna fill it in with organic—if you can— fruits and vegetables, the more the merrier. My husband and I would make huge salads, we’d make vegetable soups, and we just really enjoy those foods, because, again, they’re so great for your bodies.

Step 3 of the fertility diet: Use Smart Supplements

The granddaddy of all of this is cod liver oil. Cod liver oil has also been around for hundreds of years, my grandmother took it. She had seven children. It’s great for the body. It’s got those Omega 3 fatty acids which are so essential not only for the mom, but for the baby. What I did, actually, was use a lot of the probiotics. I used the high quality probiotic. I really boosted my level because when we give birth, we actually give away some of our intestinal flora to our children. So we wanna make sure we’re at a good level so that we can pass on that health, and then also stay healthy ourselves.

One of the nutrients that you always hear about for a fertility diet or pregnancy, particularly in your first trimester is folic acid. So you can start loading your body with those B-vitamins before you try to get pregnant, even better.

The problem for me was most vitamin B’s that I took, I wouldn’t have peed them out. I could tell because my pee was literally neon yellow. So I didn’t really feel like I was getting those nutrients, so I found a source, again, it’s a natural source. It’s yeast flakes, and these are loaded with B-vitamins, and yet when I would take them, my urine was unaffected, so I felt really confident that I was absorbing those nutrients, and really preparing my body, again for that whole pregnancy process.

The last thing for a good fertility diet is: some doctors now are even recommending that we start our pre-natal six months before we get pregnant, but let’s face it, a lot of prenatal vitamins are horse pills. They don’t go down well. They give you heartburn, and they’re just not really fun to take. So what I focused on was actually a food-based pre-natal.

I took Mega Food Baby and Me, and I really felt great on it, and my hair grew like a weed, it still is. My nails are strong. I felt like I had those signs that proved to me that it was working.

Read more about the fertility diet and preparing your body for pregnancy

If you wanna read more about a fertility diet, I recommend two books. One is Garden of Fertility by Katie Singer, and the second one is a fantastic cook book called Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

Give it a try, and I wish you the very best!