What to eat during IVF

Review: The Stress-Free IVF Nutrition Guide by Liz Shaw


I have been around the (in)fertility block a few times. Even though I have educated myself about the role and importance of nutrition for overall long-term health, it’s amazing how I have had amnesia about how to nourish my body beyond the basics during the IVF journey. I recently did my fourth (yep you read correctly) IVF cycle at the age of 40. Although my diet is predominantly plant-based with a side of meat at this point, I was so grateful that Liz offered to let me try out her Stress- Free IVF Nutrition Guide leading up to and during my cycle. Liz said that I needed one less thing to worry about and she was right.

Under the expert tutelage of Liz who is a Registered Dietician with her own fertility story, she has created a concise, poignant, evidence-based guide aimed at elaborating on the Mediterranean diet with a Pro-Fertility diet and lifestyle. If you are anything like I was when I started all of this out, that may have just as well been written in Taiwanese. In a nutshell, Liz breaks down which nutrient-dense foods have been researched to help optimize cellular growth for egg quality. She also shares how fitness, self-care and avoiding endocrine disrupting chemicals are supportive to a possible optimized outcome. To put the new found knowledge in to action, Liz provides tips on how to easily stock your pantry with a checklist and provides sample recipes for every step of IVF, from retrieval to transfer.

I found the recipes tasty, quick and easy to make. (Just to elaborate, I am that person that when it says a recipe takes 30 minutes to make, it usually takes me an hour.) I was grateful that the length of time required for the recipes was actually accurate! My favorite recipes that I batched to last over a few days were the Berry Chia Slow Cooked Oats, and BBQ Lentil Burgers. Post-Retrieval, I enjoyed the Roasted Potato Tacos with Eggs as a healthy way to get the sodium necessary to dry out the egg follicle sacs and stave off OHSS (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome). I also appreciated that the Guide helps the reader put a nutritional plan into action at home and/or on the go. Let’s face it, while cooking at home is ideal, it isn’t always possible or convenient.

I spent a semester to get my holistic health coach certification so that I could understand the basics of nutrition to then decipher how it tied back to fertility. Liz broke down the IVF process and an IVF supportive nutritional/lifestyle plan in 47 pages. I am grateful that this Guide exists now because it is what I dreamed of finding so many cycles ago…

After reading the guide, I am also rethinking my hard and fast stance on avoiding dairy altogether during IVF. According to Liz, “the longitudinal evidence really has found it's somewhat moot, meaning it doesn't necessarily help or harm fertility. The benefits have been shown in those with anovulatory infertility, but in the long run, it's totally an individual preference. If you have difficulty digesting dairy, I always tell my patients that the best rule of thumb is to choose other calcium and vitamin D rich foods like fortified plant milks and mushrooms!” (In full transparency, I don’t consume much dairy in general as it is known to be inflammatory and I am a little lactose intolerant, however having good quality cheese from time to time in moderation is now something that I am comfortable with in my general diet.)

By the time that you complete the Guide, my sense is that you will feel empowered by being able to control the one and most important thing that you can do during the process; what you put into your body. I am also willing to bet that you’ll want to be best friends with Liz because she may be one of the most kind, gracious and supportive souls that you might ever encounter.

As Liz can attest, this way of eating may not necessarily guarantee the outcome of a baby, however, you will be and feel healthier following a Pro-Fertility diet which is largely anti-inflammatory and anti-bloating. The upside of long-term health benefits is definitively also a positive. I appreciate that the Guide offers a long-term health solution, not just a fad diet.

Interested in taking your nutrition into your own hands? You can pick up a copy of Liz’ Stress-Free IVF Nutrition guide here. Use the promo code fertilust for 10% off!

*Please note that this review is entirely voluntary and no funds, services nor goods were exchanged outside of an advanced copy to read.*