Foods for Fertility: Buckwheat pancakes and quinoa pudding

by Shelby Burns

This week’s fertility diet ingredient: complex carbohydrates

While carbohydrates - or the reduction of them - are very popular right now, they do serve an important purpose in our diets general and especially if we are trying to achieve pregnancy. Carbs are important to blood sugar and insulin levels. When these rise too high, they can impact ovulation and reproduction by messing with hormone balance.

The 2007 Harvard study, printed in the Oxford Journal, analyzed Nurses’ Health Study data and concluded that it’s not the quantity of carbs in a diet but the type of carbs. In order to achieve optimal hormone balance, complex carbs are necessary in the diet in good quantity. Simultaneously, avoid the highly refined carbs like white flour and breads, potatoes, or soda pop). The highly refined carbs will increase blood sugar rapidly and boost insulin levels which can lower the chances of ovulation and pregnancy.

The complex carbohydrates you should indulge in are whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits - all in as close to natural state as possible. It’s easy to remember that these carbohydrates are the ones which have not been broken down by pre-processing. An added bonus: many complex carbs contain multiple nutrients like folic acid which prevent neural tube defects in a fetus which occurs early in a pregnancy.

There are lots of ways to incorporate complex carbs easily into the diet: oatmeal for breakfast, whole wheat bread on your lunch sandwich, and brown rice with dinner will get the job done. You can also enjoy the buckwheat pancakes below or the really great and interesting quinoa pudding as a dessert or snack.

Fluffy Buckwheat Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1 c. buckwheat flour - complex carbs galore
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 3/4; cup buttermilk - excellent source of calcium
  • 1 tbsp canola oil - good source of monounsaturated fat
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • Natural maple syrup

Preparation

In a large bowl, stir together the flours baking powder baking soda, and salt. IN a small bowl, beat the egg yolks, buttermilk, and one tablespoon oil until well bended. Stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture just until evenly moistened.

In a bowl using a mixer on high speed, whip the egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Fold gently into the batter.

Get pan up to medium heat til water sizzles when drizzled on the surface. Oil and wipe off excess. Spoon batter by third cup measurements. When bubbles come to the surface flip over, about two minutes. Add more oil if necessary.

Serve with warm maple syrup. Add fresh fruit for more complex carbs!

Makes 10 to 12 pancakes

Quinoa Pudding

This is an unusual and interesting way to serve this emerging whole grain. You can find quinoa in stores that cater to vegetarians in the grains and flour section.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 1 cup golden raisins (you can also use dried cranberries or blueberries)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts - pecans are great
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Preparation

Wash the quinoa under cold running water. Drain and place in a pot with two cups cold water. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat, and boil gently until all the water is absorbed, and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.

Measure 2 cups cooked quinoa and to it add the apple juice, raisins, nuts, lemon juice, and pinches of cinnamon and salt to taste. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.

Chill. Serve plain, or with berries and sliced banana. Maple syrup or honey will add some natural sweetness.

Source: Cooking to Conceive, Andrew Weil

photo by George Popa

Reference

Whether you are prepping for pregnancy, birth or an energetic parenthood, diet impacts your body, your mood and your success. Significant fertility issues will call for medical advice and intervention; however, a balanced diet can support optimal hormone levels and keep your reproductive organs healthy. Obesity and BMI are clearly related to regular ovulation as well, so it’s really important to maintain optimal weight. Lifestyle choices affect your health and your fertility.


 
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