Babying my immune system / Soothing recipes for you

IMG_8158I bought this book a little while back and thought I’d share it with you, in case you find it a useful resource. I’ll share some excerpts and favorite recipes below. Trying them has been a small part of how I am addressing any immune system issues that might be going on…

No tests have shown that I have any immune system problems so far, but it can’t hurt to try to reduce inflammation through anti-inflammation and gluten-free cooking. I have tested negative when it comes to gluten allergy—I have a clean celiac panel—but have tested moderately allergic to wheat (and eating wheat makes me feel horrible). I’ve been wheat-free for a long while but now I’m  gluten-free, as well. After all, studies have shown a connection between gluten and miscarriage. And some articles out there suggest that pregnancy might increase wheat/gluten sensitivity, or even “turn on” celiac’s disease (can’t find any peer-reviewed studies on this phenomenon, though).

I know a lot of you have recommended that I look into immune therapies for this upcoming embryo transfer, but I am not, after all, going to take Prednisone or do intralipid therapy. This is based on the advice of Dr. Shapiro at RBA and my OB, and on my own research. My local RE does rec Prednisone, and I am extremely tempted to take it, against Dr. S and OB’s advice, but I think that urge stems from simply yearning to try something very different. I don’t want to cause more harm than good in my eagerness to feel like I’m doing something new.

Still, I’ve researched immune therapies, and for those of you who are interested in learning a little more, I’ve created the page Immune Therapies. See, too, the page Super-Fertility, a phenomenon that goes hand-in-hand with some of the immune therapies. They are both pages of a few links to articles and information.

So, for this upcoming FET, I am taking care of my immune system in other ways.

  • 3400 IU Vitamin D3 each day:  Vitamin D3 is safe up to about 4000 IU. It may decrease NK cells, and it might alter the T-helper 1/T-helper 2 ratio in a way that is anti-inflammatory—that is, by lowering T-helper 1 cells and increasing T-helper 2 cells. **T-helper 1 = bad. T helper 2 = good.
  • 230 Vitamin E each day: This is said to reduce inflammation and damage done by inflammation. It also increases blood flow.
  • 450 mg DHA and 90 mg EPA each day: These are anti-inflammatory. See and
  •  I’m also, as I’ve mentioned before, taking baby aspirin and Folgard 2.2 (and will be taking Lovenox). But that’s more as a safeguard against the unlikely effects of Factor V Leiden heterozygous and MTHFR heterozygous.
  • I will undergo a scratch biopsy and take doxycycline before transfer, a process that down-regulates the T-helper 1 cells I don’t want while favoring the T-helper 2 cells I do want.

But I feel that developing a gluten-free and mostly anti-inflammatory diet is the best thing I am doing for my immune system right now. The recipes below that I’ve made from The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book fill our kitchen with the scent of a health-food cafe, and when we eat the food, the subtle, soothing flavors make us slow down to savor each bite.

Some of the recipes I’ve tried have been a little bland (I haven’t featured them here) but I’m going to play around with cayenne and pepper and other spices to see if I can liven them up.

Here are some quotes and bits of info from the book that I’ve found helpful. I don’t follow every single dietary suggestions, but put it here for your perusal:

On inflammation

  • “When a body is no longer in homeostasis for any reason—for example…chronic emotional stress—it becomes weaker, rendering it less able to defend itself against certain microorganisms and other disease states.”
  • “Inflammation, fever, tissue swelling, and allergies are largely controlled by fatty acids called prostaglandins….certain foods promote the production of certain prostaglandins” and meat and dairy promote the prostaglandins that produce inflammation. Safflower, sunflower, sesame seed oils and DHA and EPA, for example, promote anti-inflammation.”
  • “Exercise helps to eliminate toxins through sweat and breath, and following the anti-inflammatory diet helps to reduce intake of water-soluable and fat-soluable toxins that are part of the standard American diet.”
  • “Healthier lifestyles reduce stress on the body, leading to a reduction in the secretion of stress hormones.”
  • “Serotonin…promotes secretion of growth hormone [and] is responsible for mood, promotes sleep…ninety-five percent of serotonin is produced within the gastrointestinal tract….a better-functioning GI tract improves serotonin secretion, which improves sleep and mood…[and in turn] the immune system is better able to perform detoxification and to repair damaged tissue at night.”
  •  “When stressful events occur…cortisol [is stimulated] which in turn promotes an increase in blood sugar….These days, people live [with] chronically elevated cortisol levels…[which] can lead to thyroid dysfunction, blood sugar abnormaliteis, weight gain, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, hyperinsulineumia, hypercholesterolemia.”
  • “Physiological or psychological stress promotes inflammation through the release of certain neuropeptides [that in turn] stimulate a whole-body stress response.”
  • “Negative emotions and lack of supportive relationships significantly….stimulate proinflammatory cytokines….abrasive personal relationships [and] even negative stresssful events from the past that were not processed correctly or resolved increase risk of…disease.”

I’m sure that you, like me, have heard again and again that stress does not cause miscarriage. Considering the successful pregnancies that have occurred in concentration camps, during natural disasters and wars, in situations of rape and incest, I tend to believe that. But when I read these bits above, I wonder: How much specific research has been done about the effects of the chronic stress of recurrent pregnancy loss on subsequent pregnancy? Has anyone read anything out there that looks at this closely? I’d love to read it, if so.

On the importance of diet

  • If you remove the allergens from your food, you are more able to process unavoidable allergens in the environment.
  • “Any inflammation in the body [caused by allergens] interferes with and slows down metabolism and the healing response.”
  • “Coffee and other caffienated beverages are very taxing to the liver due to their toxin load and are taxing to the adrenal glands because of caffeine’s effect on cortisol levels. The adrenal glands…are responsible for…moderating the stress response….If a person’s system is already burdened with physiological or psychological stressors, caffeine will exhaust any stress-moderating resources left in the body.” (I’m still at 2 cups a day. Will get waterpressed organic decaf soon. SO SAD. DH thinks he’s my true love, but really it’s black coffee, in my favorite mug. We have such a rich history!)
  • “Pork, even organic, is not allowed on this diet because of its potential to stimualte an autoimmune reaction.” (Relates to crazy recent studies showing our similiarites to pigs.) “Pigs have very similar protien structures to humans; thus, consuming pork can increase the chance of cross-reactions in the immune system….triggering an immune response against the body’s own cells.”
  • Eat: * Salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, halibut. *Pineapple. *Organic fruits and veg (most are ok). *Avocados. *Garlic, ginger, and tumeric. * Nuts and seeds (except peanuts)—flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower are good. * Flaxseed and olive oil (don’t overheat the olive oil b/c becomes a trans fat). *Amaranth, spelt, barley, buckwheat, millet, oatmeal, quinoa, basmati/brown rice, rye, Wasa brand rye crackers. *Rice, oat, almond, or soy milk. *Legumes, tempeh, and tofu. *Organic, free-range, grass-fed meat. *Slow-cooked, poached, or soft-boiled free-range eggs. *Maple syrup, brown rice syrup, raw honey, agave syrup, stevia. *Coconut oil (especially for high heat and baking) . *Small amounts of organic butter.  *Filtered water. *Don’t eat any one food more than 5x/week. 
  • Avoid: Tomatoes, potatoes, wheat, shellfish, pork, conventional beef, citrus fruits, dried fruits, NO SUGAR or artifical sweetners, hydrogenated oils, overheated oils (trans fats), canola oil, dairy products like yogurt, cheese, cow milk, peanuts, caffeine, alcohol, fried foods.

I now have flax, pumpkin, chia and sunflowers seeds in my refrigerator, in airtight containers. Check out this information about proper seed storage—it really helped me. My seeds were getting soft on the shelf.

I’m now using coconut oil for almost everything, and I LOVE it! It smells so good.

Tumeric is a big one—I see it recommended all over the web for anti-inflammation. I’ve been making the most delicious and soothing Tumeric Tea at night, and can’t say enough good things about it. Tumeric tea + hot bath + book = good bedtime ritual.

Try the Carrot-Ginger Soup and Chicken Curry. You will be oh-so soothed. And I’ve been eating the deliciously mellow healthy cookies every day this week for breakfast (totally breaking the don’t eat the same thing more than 5x/week rule):


The following recipe for gluten-free chocolate chip cookies is from another cookbook I just got, Gluten-free on a Shoestring. Oh my lord they are delicious (just be sure not to bake them too long).


Leave a comment


  1. Yes! Food for the infertiles! A topic I truly adore! At times there seems to be so little we can do to heal our bodies and uplift our spirits but I am a firm believer that food can be an incredible means of empowerment for us… I have some degree of endometriosis and although I have never tested positive for celiac or other food allergies, I have read time and again that eliminating wheat, gluten, and milk products can be very important for alleviating related symptoms. I won’t go on and on but I want to share with you and your followers a few websites that I absolutely LOVE, where the healthy recipes are packed with flavor, flavor, flavor! Be well and enjoy! (,,,

    • 101 cookbooks! One of my favorite cooking websites ever. Incredible stuff there. Thanks for all of the other links. It’s true, food and cooking really can be empowering. To be honest I’d gotten away from it for a while and now I’m remembering how imporant it is to pay attention to how and what we cook. We always ate healthily, but now there’s more care and art to it.

  2. oh dear! No caffeine? You just made my heart sink…
    LOL! Actually I have cut out most caffeine (just one cup of coffee in the morning) but I was kinda thinking about starting up my addiction to McDonalds Diet Cokes again…that is, until I read your blog. haha

  3. I am stoked you posted this book. I have been almost all gluten free for several months now… Holy cow… Close to a year. I have also stayed away from caffeine, processed sugar, and wine (boo!!) for about 3-4 months. My naturopath told me about the studies he has done for RPL and gluten, he really encouraged me to keep on my diet to try and avoid any more losses…. I was amazed at the research! And of course I am more than willing to do anything to make a baby stick WHEN it happens to get there! I have noticed soo many postive changes in my mental health AND my overall health since these diet changes. What a great resource. As a long time sufferrer of endometriosis I LOVE having anti-inflammatory foods in my body!! Ps. SOOO Excited to try those recipes!

    • A year, that’s impressive! It takes real discipline becasue the world out there is filled with wheat-products, and it is expensive to always be seeking alternatives (as in, Cup 4 Cup costs $17 for a 3-pound bag, gahhh). That’s encouraging to hear the advice of your naturopath (she says as she slurps coffee). Those changes to your health are also encouraging. Let me know how you like the recipes, so happy to share.

  4. AndiePants

     /  January 10, 2014

    LOVE this and can’t wait to try the tumeric tea! My brother has celiac’s and even though I’ve tested negative for it, I just have too many issues to not avoid gluten. The nutritionist my RE sent me to has me on a sort of modified paleo approach right now and while I miss rice and non-gluten grains, I have to admit I am feeling quite good. I haven’t quite escaped sugar’s deathly hold yet, though. All things in time . . .

    • Oh yeah, that tumeric tea is to die for. The tumeric, ginger, and cayenne look so pretty in the cup before you pour the hot almond milk in. The whole process of making it is fun and relaxing. I’m really interested in the paleo thing, too—I’ve heard great stuff about it. Sugar is a mountain! I haven’t conquered it yet either. Ate chocolate yesterday—but at least it was swathed in almond butter.

  5. Thanks for posting this! I’m definitely going to try some of these recipes. I’ve been gluten free for over a year now. I think it gets easier over time. I struggle with dairy though. I love it so much! Thanks for the seed storage tips too. I just keep mine in the cupboard.

    • Yeah, those storage tips are great. I tossed out all of my old seeds and bought fresh ones and immediately put them in air-tight containers in the fridge. Way to go being GF for a year!

  6. Kali

     /  January 10, 2014

    I went on a cleanse after the BFN from my last cycle on December 27, to get the drugs out of my system faster. Physically, it’s been wonderful, and my focus is better than ever. I struggle with I’d say mid-level ADHD a lot (if I don’t have it then I’m just lazy in spurts, but it runs in my family). But lately, I’m jumping on tasks. Not caught up, apartment not spic and span, but I’m doing my work tasks as they come, which is what’s important.

    I know this feeling of NOT taking pleasure in procrastinating. The last time I felt like this was when I was pregnant. The acupuncturist said it was the extra blood. . .

    I’m a huge believer that diet changes = life changes. The first time I went on a no-toxin, no refined carbs diet, my allergies went away the subsequent year. It also helps with my anxiety (so long as it’s not acute).

    I may check out your book and incorporate some of it into what I’m doing now post-cleanse which is Anne Louise Gittleman’s Fat Flush Plan-type eating.

    Sending you hugs. I feel like we’re in similar places, though my body needs a rest, which means a natural cycle or two (Can you believe my nurse tried to get me back on the Pill? The doctor had AGREED with me that I need a break) so I’m not very close to a transfer of any kind.

    More hugs, I know I’m rambling.

    • Yes, we’re in similiar places—we can’t control much, but we can control what food we put in our mouths, right? I’m glad you are taking a break. I have to say: I’m getting so sick of the RE world. Trying to keep my heart open to it, but god is it a frustrating place. Annoying that she tried to get you back on b.c. Anyway, keep up the self-care!

  7. My sister actually discovered that she had Celiac disease while pregnant, and now I wonder if she was actually “bumped up” to have Celiac from a lower level intolerance. I’ve always tested negative too, and I have no sensitivities to wheat that I know of, but I think I might go GF for the next few weeks before my FET. If nothing else, I’ll see if it makes any difference to my health in general. I definitely don’t think I can cut out everything on that list above though…no bacon?? Really????

    • Ha! Yes, no bacon. The last I ate pork was New Year’s, and indeed it was a little bit of bacon! Going GF can’t hurt, even for “normal” people. My mom tests negative for everything, but when she stops eating gluten, all of her aches and pains go away. She says it’s amazing. Crazily, I just had a conversation with a woman who went through something like 6 years of fertility treatments and 3 years of pursuing adoption (she adopted a son), only to find out that she has Celiac’s….she went on a gluten-free diet and then, without trying at all, she became unexpectedly pregnant. She is now 7 months pregnant! She told me that there is gluten everywhere, even in Always maxipads.

  8. Turmeric tea doesnt sound too palpable too…but its really good if u can have it that way. U cud also try adding it to warm milk…help with coughs too :) i am planning to go atkins for 2 weeks. Good luck to us both…

  9. Very interesting!!! Thanks for sharing! We have made a lot of these changes too!!!

  10. Kali

     /  January 13, 2014

    I LOVE the turmeric tea! I’m having it for the second morning in a row. I don’t actually like the taste of turmeric, but once I add cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and a little honey it’s lovely! I can barely taste the turmeric–I’m leaving it in because it’s good for me. Minus the turmeric, this recipe is a lot like real Indian chai–not the restaurant or Starbucks variety. If I was to put in loose black tea instead of turmeric, it would be like having a cup of tea at home with my parents (I’m Indian).

    • I know, isn’t it just so yummy? I’ve been adding some extra spices, too. Once I accidentally used too much tumeric and that wasn’t so great. I think you told me at one point that you are Indian but I had forgotten—how lovely that it brings up such a nice association.


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