Recipes

From Bumps to Baby with Liz Shaw

Liz Shaw and her baby girl. Photo provided by Liz.

Liz Shaw and her baby girl. Photo provided by Liz.

Although you wouldn’t know it, I only recently met Liz Shaw. Liz has quickly become a friend, confidante and source of nutritional expertise for me. I met Liz as she was launching her Stress-Free IVF Nutrition Guide and am so grateful that I had the opportunity to recently review it during my recent (fourth) IVF cycle. (You can read more about the Guide here.)

Liz is a Registered Dietician, Certified Personal Trainer and owns a nutrition consulting business. Based on her own experience with infertility she has bridged the gap between diet/nutrition and the process. Liz lets us in on all of her secrets with her recently published Stress-Free IVF Nutrition Guide and also her Fertility Foods Cookbook.

Liz is someone that you need to know. Not only because she may be the world’s kindest and gentlest soul but because her understanding of nutrition as it relates to fertility and overall health is an absolute game changer. I caught up with Liz the other day and am excited to share our discussion with you!

What does fertility warrior mean to you?

LS: That’s a great question! I have a whole series devoted to the women (and men!) who’ve gone down a path that’s not so easy to expand their families. A warrior in the sense that they continue to persevere despite the challenges of their “battle” with infertility.  I have a colleague who’s trying to open up and change the negative connotation around warrior and instead focus on the strength and power of the women (and men!) and I love that vision too! 

Since you are a RD, were you surprised when you struggled with your own fertility?

LS: Yes! But then again, even doctors get cancer and dentists get cavities, so we are all human!  As we know, infertility doesn’t have a type. It affects all of us, health professionals and athletes and people of faith, there’s no discrimination. What’s important for people on the outside to remember is that infertility is not something someone can control. It’s often caused by so many factors in which there is no one size fits all approach to treatment.

I like to try and remind people that finding the right treatment plan for them, the right professionals to guide them on THEIR path is what will make this entire process that much more bearable in the long run. And let’s be real, sometimes this is a VERY LONG RUN! 

Please share your story

LS: My husband and I started our journey to expand our family about a year after we got married in 2012. Realistically, we didn’t intend to get pregnant right away, but I had been on birth control since I was 13 years old and we knew it would take some time for my body to regulate.  Lo and behold, we waited, and waited some more. 

I was finally diagnosed with unexplained infertility related to my hypogonadotropic hypogonadism  (HH), which is a lack of hormonal regulation in which little to no sex hormones are produced. You can read more about that experience here, but essentially it was the beginning of a long road for my husband and I which also coincided with entry into the assisted reproductive technology route to expand our family. 

I truly believe any period of waiting is challenging for a want-to-be-mama. Be it a two-week-wait or a trial time for your body to “figure itself out”, neither is a desirable scenario. Thus, we did a mix of both. We started with an IUI, entering full force with the notion that this was our ticket to baby. After our first failed attempt, I was crushed. I never fathomed the emotional pain of that particular experience and surely wasn’t ready to jump into another emotionally, financially, and physically exhausting experience. Side note, because of my HH, I was placed on the IVF medication regimen for my IUI round.

Our doctor at the time assured us that the highest rate of success would be to start IVF. In February of 2016, we decided that was our next step. We took some time off since we had been on this rollercoaster since 2013 and knew we needed to find the joy in our marriage again. We signed up for a Spartan Race in Hawaii, dominated that race and came home to start our first round of IVF…

It was during this time of waiting, I began to feel lost, alone and so confused. I knew I needed to seek help, and through that formed the community known as Bumps to Baby. This community has been my rock, my outlet to share the innermost thoughts I’ve felt on this journey to baby and most importantly, a safe place for others to find security and friends through. While it began as an Instagram account, it quickly morphed into a private Facebook Community and a full website with a special feature for others to share their stories, too, known as Warrior Women Wednesday. 

After our IVF retrieval, my body responded very poorly and we were unable to do a fresh transfer. Of the 15 eggs retrieved, only two embryos were viable for cryopreservation. As bad as that day was getting the news that our 15 had turned into two, the worst was yet to come. The two days in which we received the news that both embryos didn’t take (during the transfer) was by far the lowest of the low in our 4.5 year journey to baby. Honestly, it was during our final failure in August of 2017 that I knew I needed to take a step back from ART treatments. I needed to regroup, find a new sense of peace with my body and begin to remember, baby or not, I (needed to know that I) was enough as a person, a wife, a woman.

Fortunately, my husband was also traveling back and forth between Switzerland and the US for work during this time. I was blessed with the opportunity to join him for the remaining part of 2017 and so we packed up our belongings and moved to Locarno from the end of October through mid-December of 2017.

During this time, I was able to find that sense of peace. I was able to mourn our losses, the trials and tribulations that infertility had taught me and began to refocus on the community of Bumps to Baby and the messages that I wanted to help communicate. It was also during this time the passion project I had worked on with a close colleague and friend was released, The Fertility Foods Cookbook. The cookbook helped merge my love of nutrition and heart for the fertility community into one.

This experience, this break, this opportunity to learn to trust my body again is ultimately what led to the greatest twist and joy in our journey to baby. I’m happy to report our miracle baby made her way into our arms August 4, 2018. A true testament to the powerful role stress can play in your health and most importantly, the importance of finding trust and healing your relationship with your body, remembering you too are enough! 

What pieces of advice would you share with someone on their (in)fertility journey?

LS: I think I would sum up my advice in the hashtag #NeverLoseHope. Infertility can feel like such an isolating journey when you’re in the thick of it. I was there for years before I decided to break the silence and find comfort from my #ttcfamily. And believe me when I say, we are not alone! We know the statistics show that 1 out of 8 couples struggle and lets be real, likely someone close to you is going through the thick of this disease too.

When you feel comfortable enough to share your story, to seek help, know we are here for you. Join the Bumps to Baby Private Support group and begin feeling a new sense of peace and warm welcome into the family you never wanted to have, but are blessed to be a part of!

How do you feel about the word “journey”? Love, hate or both and why?

LS: Love the word journey! It shows that it’s not a start and stop point but a continuous path, especially once the individual does see their rainbow and begins the new journey of motherhood.

You recently wrote the Stress-Free IVF Nutrition Guide, what was the inspiration? 

LS: It was a way I could give back to the community that has been such a rock for me time and time again over our five-year journey. As an RDN, it was everything I wish I could help tell patients who are lost, confused and consulting Dr. Google before beginning their cycle. Truthfully, it’s the guide I wish I had when I was going through our cycle, too. You can pick up your guide here. Use the code fertilust for a 10% discount.

Favorite fertility foods ranked

LS: Tough call! I love variety so really a plethora of fruits and veggies in nourishing bowl or pile high on thick, seedy whole grain bread!

This  Amaranth Buddha Bowl and these Beet Burgers recipes are some of my favorites!  

Pineapple core pre-transfer. Myth or reality?

LS: Myth, to some degree! Little to no scientific evidence exists on this. Every Friday a group of RDNs and I debunk myths and share fertility nutrition information! We actually covered this one here, and you can follow the weekly series here!

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

LS: My sweet little pineapple, aka my rainbow baby! Even before her arrival, I was driven in my career and lucky enough that my passion is able to be pursued each day by helping women and men understand the important role nutrition can play in their bodies. 

What keeps you up at night? 

LS: The endless tabs I have open in my brain! Whether it’s work, parenting, family, the Bumps to Baby community, or what I want for breakfast, I have a hard time unwinding and closing down at night! 

 

About Liz Shaw: Liz is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer in San Diego, California. She owns a nutrition consulting business in which she works with brands to help disseminate key health messaging to practitioners and consumers at large via national speaking, TV segments, and through her strong social media presence. Liz also runs a maternal health private practice in which she specializes in fertility nutrition. She is an author of the Fertility Foods Cookbook published last fall and a blogger at both Shaw’s Simple Swaps and Bumps to Baby.

Liz is also a freelance writer and serves as a nutrition expert for many national publications, such as Shape, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Muscle and Performance, Fit Pregnancy, Parentsand others. Her current position has led her to what she loves most, educating the public at large about the importance of nutrition and health in daily life while connecting individually with those struggling to build their families. Helping to empower others through nutrition is truly what brings Liz joy!

 

 

Learning how to lead a Nutritious Life with Keri Glassman

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I realized after some initial setbacks with my fertility that nutrition held the keys to the kingdom that I was looking for.  I became convinced that what I put in my body would ultimately help me achieve conception.  I got to reading books on foods for fertility and met with a couple of nutritionists, but ultimately knew that I just wanted to be more educated on the subject.  (Maybe the Type A in me?)  Cue Keri Glassman and The Nutrition School (TNS).  The courses not only solidified my understanding of nutrition, but also gave me a “wholistic” view on health, wellness, and nutrition.  Thanks to Keri and TNS, I am now Nutritious Life Certified and accredited by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.

You may have heard about Keri… she is a nationally recognized celebrity nutritionist, registered dietician, healthy cooking expert, published author, and the founder of Nutritious Life and The Nutrition School.  Or you may have seen Keri on TV; she has been tapped as an expert to speak on The Today Show, Good Morning America, The View, The Talk, The Chew, Dr. Oz, and much more. 

I was recently fortunate enough to snag some time with Keri to discuss how her life was destined to be a nutritious one.  Read on to find out how you too can glean some important tips on leading your most nutritious life!

 

How do you spend most of your time?

Good question.  Every day varies but there are a few things that I do to keep my schedule consistent despite travel and projects.  I always take a look at my week and assess what I am doing with my kids, when I am having my family time, and what are the fun and exciting things that we are doing together based on their schedule.  I also always try to be home for breakfast unless I have early morning TV (interviews), as well as dinners to spend time with them.  Breakfast and dinner together is a huge part of our day. 

When you are your own boss and someone is not telling you where to be all day, it can lead to lack of structure and productivity.  I am an early riser and am my best in the morning so try to tackle one big project on my list between 5:30am and 7am.  That gives me a little bit of time for myself, plus a bit of time to organize and map out the day.  I pause, have breakfast with the kids, and when they go to school, I get my workout in.  Then I try to block out time to get in computer time (writing my own content, doing research) until around 1pm to harness my most productive hours.  I take the time after that to power through media interviews, calls, and meetings.  I find that I am better in those situations because I have crossed off things from my list earlier in the day, am clear-headed and focused.

What inspired you to launch Nutritious Life and TNS?  

Since I was a little girl, I was interested in nutrition without even realizing it.  I played sports and had a natural interest in how the body works and fuels itself.  In seventh grade science class, I told my friend that I was craving almonds so my body must need Vitamin E.  I probably had no had idea what Vitamin E actually did but I had read it somewhere, and was interested enough to remember that fact. 

Fast forward to college, I continued to play sports and eat well.  A lot of my friends did not.  They drank Diet Coke, didn't eat healthfully, yet I was the one who gained the “Freshmen Fifteen”.  As a result, I became interested in how to fuel the body for performance but also how to be lean and fit.  After I graduated, I worked with Sports Illustrated and because it was owned by Time Inc., I could get my hands on all the magazines.  I remember sitting at my desk and going over every last word in Health Magazine.  In fact, I was so interested that I went back to school part-time and took nutrition courses at NYU.

To some extent the rest is history, but when I graduated I started working for an online health and wellness company and was counseling people; first at Equinox, and then privately.  At the same time, I was getting my business experience at a small start-up.  The start-up pulled me away from hard-core nutrition because it took so much of my time so I decided to take the business skills that I had gained and couple it with my passion for nutrition. Then I went for it.

I quit my job (at the start-up) and opened up my own practice called Body Fuel about fifteen years ago, which has since evolved into Nutritious Life.  My practice from day one encompassed the mantra of a nutritious life, and it being more than just food.  In fact, my first logo was an icon for stress (a brain) with an arrow going to a drop of water (hydration) to an arrow going to a bed (sleep)!

I created TNS to scale my practice throughout the country.  It started with a binder to keep myself accountable and to eventually train others.  Then I hired my first dietician, trained her, and then the binder evolved into the program that it is today.

How old were you when you started playing with food?

I talk about this with my mother all the time… My mom still has a recipe box and found all of these cards with recipes that I had written, even though some were make-believe like Lizard Stew!

In the second grade, I made a “cookie dough machine” for a school project.  My dad brought cardboard and paper towel rolls for me to make it.  I always think of that as my first recipe and foray into entrepreneurship.

What’s the first thing that you remember cooking?

Growing up I cooked with my mother who made so many great recipes!  I remember the ritual and experience more so than what we actually made; sitting on the counter in the kitchen and being with mom, and cooking dinner every night.   We started every meal with half a grapefruit, and a salad with Ken’s Italian dressing.  Every night we had a vegetable, starch, and a protein, followed by dessert.  It may not always have been focused on health per se but it was always balanced.  We also always sat down as a family.

An ingredient that you can’t live without?

Nuts and nut butter.

One ingredient that you avoid at all costs?

There is almost nothing that I do not like but I can’t stand cilantro. 

What do you listen to when you cook?

Everything from what I listened to when I was growing up to what the kids listen to now.  From Coldplay, Eminem, U2 to the Bee Gees to Taylor Swift.  I was rocking out to Katy Perry the other night and loved it.  My daughter took the opportunity to share… “Mom, that song is not good”.

Favorite vegetable?

That is hard…  I have to pick one?!  Mmm…. Let’s go with spinach.

Favorite fruit?

Blueberries

Last cookbook that you used?  What did you cook?

I recently made a great recipe from “It’s All Good” by Gwyneth Paltrow.  I made Two-Pan Chicken with Harissa, Preserved Lemons and Green Olives. I love olives.  In fact, it inspired me to make poached olives and they were so good.

Do you have any secret talents?

Hand-eye coordination.  If you throw something at me, I will catch it.  I can also pogo stick for hours.  I think I beat a neighborhood record when I was a kid.

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and why?

Oprah.  Who wouldn’t want to sit with Oprah all night and pick her brain?

What is the number one piece of advice you would share with those looking to lead a Nutritious Life?

The combination of eating real, whole foods in conjunction with listening to your body, eating when you are slightly hungry, and to stop eating when you are slightly satisfied.  You’ll never have to count calories or worry about anything food related if you can master that powerful combo.

Remember it’s not just about the food.  It’s also important to pay attention to the other areas like focusing on stress reduction, sleep, and to not forget that they are just as important as exercise and food.

 

Ready to get started?  I put together a sample meal plan below with balanced and healthy recipes designed by Keri.  Just click on the recipe links below to get started with leading a Nutritious Life!

Breakfast: Morning Glory Muffins

Snack: Avocado Banana Smoothie 

Lunch: Chopped Salad with Tofu & Soy Nuts

Snack: Carrots & (10) Almonds

Dinner: Noodle Free Turkey Lasagna

 

*Note: Look out for GMO-free soy products.  Also, all recipes shared were created by Keri Glassman, Nutritious Life.

Apple Pie Overnight Oats

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I was not a breakfast person until recently.  While I love breakfast and have been known to eat it for dinner, I never quite made the time to "break the fast" in the morning.  Between the snooze button on my phone and finding myself rushing out the door, I could never quite get to it.  Sound like you too?

Motivated to have it all (the extra sleep plus fit in breakfast,) I have made eating breakfast a priority and possible thanks to meal prep in advance.  Here's what prompted me to get excited about breakfast...

A healthy breakfast kick starts your metabolism for the rest of the day.  (Really; starting your day with a morning meal initiates thermogenesis, the metabolic process that gets your body going.)  Skipping breakfast might initially mean saving on calories but the body gets conditioned to make up for it and then some by looking for more food and usually less healthy options later in the day*  If the potential weight gain isn’t convincing enough; when the body is focused on basic survival and when it is going to eat next, it isn’t working as optimally and is certainly less focused on making new life happen.

If breakfast is something you'd like to get add in to your daily ritual without sacrificing something else; here is one of my favorite healthy prep-in advance recipes for Overnight Oats to help get you started.  The following is a recipe that I have adapted from Angela Liddon’s cookbook: “Oh She Glows Every Day," for Apple Pie Overnight Oats.

Apple Pie Overnight Oats


HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • 1 cup Gluten-Free Rolled Oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill)

  • 1 ½ cups Almond Milk

  • 2 tbsps single-ingredient Peanut Butter (or Almond Butter)

  • 1 tbsp Raw Honey

  • 1tsp Cinnamon (Simply Organic is a great option)

  • ½ tsp Vanilla Extract

  • Pinch of Sea Salt

  • 1 large organic Apple diced

  • 3 tbsps Chia Seeds

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS

  • Hemp Seeds

  • Ground Cinnamon or Nutmeg

  • Dried Cranberries

  • Bananas, blueberries, strawberries

The Recipe

10 Minutes Prep & Let Refrigerate for 2 Hours+ or Overnight

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the oats, milk, peanut butter, honey, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, apple, and chia seeds. Stir to combine.

  2. Cover or transfer into a large mason jar to settle. Refrigerate for 2 – 3 hours or overnight to soften the oats. If the mixture is too thick for your liking, add a little extra almond milk and stir.

  3. Serve chilled or warm up. Add toppings if you would like. Keep any leftovers in an airtight container (or mason jar) in the fridge for a few days.

Go nut-free:  Swap almond milk for nut-free milk and lose the peanut butter.

 

WHY I LOVE THIS RECIPE

A quick, easy to make and tasty gluten-free breakfast for days that provides a good ratio of protein, (healthy) carbs and (good) fats.  

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Cinnamon is a super spice and chock full of antioxidant properties. It can destroy fungal infections, soothe indigestion, ward off urinary tract infections, fight tooth decay and gum disease, prevent ulcers, and is believed to control blood sugar in people with diabetes.  Plus the scent is linked to curbing fatigue, easing frustration and increasing alertness.

Chia Seeds are high in fiber and are a great source of Omega-3s (7 grams in a 11⁄2 tablespoon or 1⁄2 oz serving or more than 1⁄4 of your daily needs.)  They are also packed with protein, calcium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus. Chia is linked to heart health, bone health, blood sugar control and exercise performance.  Please don’t consume chia unless it’s incorporated into liquid or foods, otherwise it could pose health risks.

Hemp Seeds provide essential amino acids in a vegan and gluten free seed.  Thanks to the omega-3s packed into these little gems your heart and brain function optimally.  Like chia, it’s abundant in fiber (12 grams in a tablespoon and a half,) and keeps the pipes working smoothly.

Credits: The Nutrition School, Nutritious Life by Keri Glassman.

 

*The National Weight Control Registry is a log of menu and women who have lost anywhere from 30 to 300 lbs and have kept it off for at least 5 1/2 years.  Interestingly enough, 78% eat breakfast every day.  Another study from The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development reported that as of 2011, the percent of obese adults (BMI > 30) in America is 26.1% while the percent of obese adults in Germany is 13.7%.  According to the study, over 75% of Germans eat breakfast every day while only 44% of Americans do.  Credit: The Nutrition School, Nutritious Life by Keri Glassman.

Amazing Almond Milk

When I first started my journey of eating clean, my friend Shannon sent me a kit to make my own almond milk.  I was a serial breakfast skipper and I think that this broke her heart a little.  Shannon wanted to ensure that I was covered from a non-dairy alternative in my coffee to easy pre-made breakfasts.  (Almond milk is a key ingredient to my now go-to breakfast, Overnight Oats.)  I am pretty sure that this was one of the first times that I began using my kitchen since we had moved in to our new home two years ago.  I have since played around  enough to make a recipe that I love and hope that you will too.

Homemade almond milk is a fantastic substitution for dairy milk; from coffee to baking.  Most importantly it tastes great plus is so ridiculously easy to make.  It seriously only takes around 10 minutes or so to achieve an awesome dairy-free milk alternative without all of the gross additives like Carrageenan* that might be found in the store bought versions.

Here's what you’ll need

  • 1 cup Raw Almonds (ideally sprouted)
  • 3 ½ cups Filtered Water
  • ½ tsp salt (I recommend Himalayan Pink Sea Salt because of its added benefit of trace minerals)
  • Zimtal Nut Bag

And because I was always a sucker for the sweet drinks at Starbucks, I sometimes sweeten the pot with the following:

  • ½ tsp Vanilla
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp raw Honey

The Prep

  • Soak almonds in salted water, in a covered container, in the fridge overnight (or at least 8 hours).

The Process

  1. Rinse almonds thoroughly, throw into a blender and blend away.
  2. Grab a small bowl, line the bowl with your nut bag and pour the liquid through.  Remove the bag from the bowl and squeeze the liquid through the bag. (I always imagine this is what it must feel like to milk a cow.)  
  3. Once all liquid contents are in the bowl and you are just left with the almond bits in the bag, pour the liquid back into the blender.  (Don’t forget to give your blender a quick rinse in between to lose any almond bits.)
  4. Add in the natural sweeteners as recommended or to taste, blend and viola, you are done!
  5. Your almond milk should last 3-4 days in the fridge.

*Carrageenan is a food additive that keeps products and beverages from separating.  It can be labeled as organic and natural since it is made from algae.  The seaweed is cleaned, extracted, filtered, concentrated, combined with chemicals, pressed, dried, blended, and refined.  Still sound organic to you?  Research studies link carrageenan as a trigger to inflammation that could be a factor in severe health conditions including cancer, diabetes, colitis, and other GI tract damage.