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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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May 02, 2012

5 Primal Superfoods for Fertility and Pregnancy

By Guest
296 Comments

This is a guest post from Chris Kresser of ChrisKresser.com.

As a clinician with a special interest in fertility and pregnancy nutrition, two of the most common questions my patients ask are:

  • Is a Paleo/Primal Blueprint diet safe during pregnancy?
  • What are the most important foods to eat for boosting fertility and ensuring a healthy pregnancy?

I’m going to answer these questions in this article. But before I do, let’s first take a moment to discuss the importance of proper nutrition for fertility and pregnancy.

Numerous factors determine our health as adults, including nutrition, exercise, lifestyle and genetics. But recent research suggests another powerful influence on lifelong health: our mother’s nutritional status during (and even before) her pregnancy.

In fact, some researchers now believe the 9 months we spend in the womb are the most consequential period of our lives, permanently influencing the wiring of the brain and the function of organs like the heart, liver and pancreas. They also suggest that the conditions we encounter in utero shape everything from our susceptibility to disease, to our appetite and metabolism, to our intelligence and temperament.

We’re only as healthy as our mother’s womb

The theory that the nutritional environment we encounter in the womb determines our lifelong health is known as the Developmental Origins Hypothesis. It was first proposed by British researcher David J. Barker in the 1980s to explain a seeming contradiction: as British prosperity increased, so did heart disease. Yet geographically, the highest rates of heart disease were found in the poorest places in Britain. Barker found that rather than smoking, dietary fat or some other lifestyle cause, the factor that was most predictive of whether an individual would develop premature heart disease (before the age of 65) was their weight at birth (PDF).

Barker found that infants carried to full term with birth weights between 8.5 and 9.5 pounds had a 45 percent lower risk of developing heart disease later in life than infants born at 5.5 pounds. (They also had a lower risk of stroke, a 70% lower risk of insulin resistance and a slightly lower risk of blood pressure later in life.) As the chart below demonstrates, the risk declined in a linear fashion between 5.5 and 9.5 pounds, but started to increase again as birth weight rose above 9.5 pounds.

How the first nine months shapes the rest of your life

Over the last 25 years, Barker’s original work has been reproduced and expanded. If you do a quick search on PubMed for “developmental origins of disease”, you’ll find references to the fetal origins of cancer, heart disease, allergies, asthma, autoimmune disease, diabetes, obesity, mental illness and degenerative conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, dementia and Alzheimer’s.

The following list is just a small sampling of the literature on the subject:

  • The metabolic syndrome. In a 2011 paper, Bruce et al showed that the onset of metabolic syndrome is “increasingly likely following exposure to suboptimal nutrition during critical periods of development”.
  • Heart disease and diabetes. In a 2002 paper, Barker (the “father” of the Developmental Origins hypothesis) showed that slow growth during fetal life and infancy – itself a consequence of poor maternal nutrition – predisposes individuals to coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and hypertension later in life.
  • Breast cancer. In a 2006 paper Hilakivi-Clarke, et al. showed that maternal diet influences the risk of breast cancer by inducing permanent epigenetic changes in the fetus that alter susceptibility to factors that can initiate breast cancer later in life.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In a 2007 paper, Dumesic et al. showed that insulin resistance and resulting increases of testosterone during pregnancy promotes PCOS during adulthood.
  • Obesity. In a 2008 paper Kalliomaki et al. showed that simply by studying the composition of the maternal gut flora (influenced by nutrition, medications, stress, etc.) they could predict which children will be overweight by age 7!

These studies – and many more – have made it clear that the mother’s nutritional status leading up to and during pregnancy affects her baby’s health not only at birth and during early childhood, but for the rest of his or her life. This leads us to the obvious conclusion that proper maternal nutrition is crucial for boosting fertility and ensuring lifelong health for our children.

But what is proper maternal nutrition? And is the Primal Blueprint diet you’ve come to love safe during pregnancy?

If you listen to the mainstream authorities, they’ll tell you the best diet during pregnancy is one that’s rich in whole grains and low in fat and animal protein. Some of my patients have even been told by their previous physicians or nutritionists that it’s dangerous not to eat grains during pregnancy!

Sound familiar? This is the same misguided advice dietitians have been giving to the general public for decades – and it’s just as wrong for aspiring parents and pregnant moms.

Let’s break out that trusty analytical tool called “common sense” to combat the notion that the Primal Blueprint diet isn’t safe during pregnancy, and that it’s somehow dangerous not to eat grains during pregnancy. If that were true, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. Why? Because humans have eaten a paleolithic diet (without grains) for the vast majority of our evolutionary history.

Imagine the timeline of human existence as a football field (100 yards from end-zone to end-zone). If you started walking at one end of the field, the first 99.5 yards would represent all of human history up until the last 10,000 years. During those first 77,000 generations of human history, we survived and thrived on a paleolithic diet. It’s only in the last one-half yard that agriculture was developed and humans started regularly consuming grains.

Perhaps the more appropriate question is whether the Standard American Diet is safe. Infertility rates are already high, and they’re increasing at an alarming rate. 1 in 7 women today have trouble conceiving, and a recent study in the U.K. predicted that number could more than double (to 1 in 3) by 2020. While there are probably several reasons for this dramatic increase in infertility, the Standard American Diet is almost certainly one of the most important.

How can you supercharge your fertility and ensure a healthy pregnancy and lifelong health for your baby?

The Primal Blueprint diet is an excellent starting place for those wishing to conceive, or for women who are already pregnant or nursing. But within the context of the Primal Blueprint diet, there are certain foods and nutrients that are particularly beneficial during these periods.

Traditional cultures have known this for millennia. That’s why they have sacred fertility foods they feed to mothers-to-be and even fathers-to-be. These include nutrient dense foods like fish eggs, liver, bone marrow, egg yolks and other animal fats. For example, the Masai tribe in Africa only allowed couples to marry and become pregnant after spending several months drinking milk in the wet season when the grass is lush and the nutrient content of the milk is especially high.

With this in mind, here are the top 5 “superfoods” I recommend for fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding.

  1. Liver. Ounce for ounce, liver is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. It’s loaded with fat soluble vitamins like retinol (pre-formed vitamin A) that are crucial for reproductive health, and difficult to obtain elsewhere in the diet. Liver is also a great source of highly absorbable iron, which helps prevent miscarriage and maternal anemia, and B12, which is required for proper formation of red blood cells and DNA. Liver is also a good source of bioavailable protein, zinc, and folate.
  2. Egg yolks. Like liver, egg yolks could be considered “nature’s multivitamin”. But they are especially rich in a nutrient many people have never heard of: choline. Studies suggest that 86% of women don’t get enough choline in their diet. This is significant because choline helps protect against neural tube defects. It also plays an important role in brain development, helping to form cholinergic neurons and the connections between these neurons that are so crucial in the first few years of life.
  3. Cold-water, fatty fish*. Seafood is the exclusive food source of the long-chain omega-3 fats EPA and DHA. DHA is particularly important for fertility and pregnancy. It is preferentially incorporated into the rapidly developing brain during pregnancy and the first two years of infancy, concentrating in the grey matter and eyes. It’s also crucial to the formation of neurons, which are the functional cells in the brain, and to protecting the brain from oxidative damage. Salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines are excellent sources of DHA.
  4. Cod liver oil. Yep, grandma was right! Cod liver oil is a sacred fertility and pregnancy food that fell out of favor during the last couple of generations, but is making a comeback. It’s one of the highest dietary sources of vitamin A, which we discussed above. It has more vitamin D per unit weight than any other food. Vitamin D is crucial to fertility and pregnancy, and studies show that up to 50% of women are deficient in it. Vitamin D promotes proper development of the bones, especially during the 3rd trimester when the fetal skeleton begins to grow rapidly. Cod liver oil is also a good source of the long-chain omega-3 fats EPA and DHA.
  5. Grass-fed dairy. While dairy is not strictly a Primal food, it’s a great choice for fertility and pregnancy for those who tolerate it well. Dairy is rich in saturated fat, which is especially beneficial for fertility. It’s also a good source of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, K2 & E) and a healthy, natural trans-fat (not to be confused with artificial trans-fats, which are harmful) conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Fermented dairy products – like yogurt and kefir – are also great sources of beneficial bacteria. This is important because a baby’s first exposure to bacteria is in his/her mother’s birth canal, and the mother’s gut health has a significant influence on the lifelong health of her baby.

*Some women are scared to eat fish during pregnancy because of concerns about mercury levels. It turns out those concerns have been overblown. Read this article for more information.

Want to supercharge your fertility and promote lifelong health for your baby? Check out the Healthy Baby Code.

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296 Comments on "5 Primal Superfoods for Fertility and Pregnancy"

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Derek
Derek
4 years 4 months ago

Cod liver oil and liver, both extremely high in vitamin A, and possibly teratogenic to the fetus.

Proceed with prudence and caution.

Jana
Jana
4 years 4 months ago

Synthetic Vitamin A is toxic. Also, if you don’t take it in the presence of other vitamins that occur with it naturally, like Vitamin D and Vitamin K, it can cause an imballance. That’s why properly prepared cod liver oil is so good for you because it’s natural not synthetic, and it is not seperated from it’s vitamin counterparts.

Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago

Exactly. Derek, I responded below but didn’t hit the “reply” button to your comment, so it went into the main comment stream.

Keerthy
Keerthy
4 years 4 months ago

Hi Chris,
What about mercury levels in cod-liver-oil and fish?

Conventional Wisdom usually suggests that pregnant women not eat or reduce fish unless they are sure that it is not high in mercury. And also that elevated mercury levels will directly affect brain development of fetus and of infants.

Jacqie
Jacqie
4 years 3 months ago

Chris, If taking a prenatal vitamin had 1700iu of vitamin A, and omega pill, do I still take the 5ml of the cod liver oil, or do I reduce it.

Sarah
Sarah
4 years 2 months ago
Hi, I’ve been following you for several months now and love what knowledge you are sharing!!! I have a question…I have a 5 week old who seems to have colic…every night for a few hours he seems to be in great discomfort and very uncontentable, crying out in pain 🙁 We eat a very clean/organic diet…NO wheat/gluten. All our meat and dairy comes from a local farmer who practices biodynamic farming… Everyone keeps telling me it’s the dairy, so I went off the dairy for almost 2weeks and it didn’t seem to help…I drink about a pint of keifer in… Read more »
Joshua
Joshua
4 years 8 days ago

Sarah, I hope you subscribed to your comment so you’ll see this.
Your child may have fructose malabsorption. For some reason, onion and garlic also cause trouble for those with FM. If you are eating onion and garlic, the offending problems are in the breast milk. If you haven’t figured out the issue already, eliminate those and if it helps, be prepared to avoid anything with more fructose than glucose when he gets older.

David
David
4 years 4 months ago

But the form of vitamin A in Cod Liver Oil is retinol, which can be toxic if taken in very high amounts for a long time.

Sampson
Sampson
4 years 4 months ago

How many people a year die from CLO/liver overdose?

Trish
Trish
2 years 2 months ago

If you get 3rd party purity tested cod oil it is mercury free. You can buy it at a health food market.

Jo
Jo
4 years 4 months ago
As with everything, common sense is the key. Don’t sit down and eat 3 pounds of liver and drink a bottle of cod liver oil then follow it up with the biggest plate of sushi you’ve ever had in your life. Eat regular portions, only when you are hungry, and eat until you’re full. Pregnant or not. Women may be hungry more often during pregnancy, which is normal, but gaining 50 pounds of body fat from sitting and eating constantly is not good for the mom or the baby. Too much sugar is bad for the fetus, yet women usually… Read more »
Mark Pieciak
Mark Pieciak
4 years 4 months ago

This is brilliant. Only if this article could be posted everywhere for parents-to-be to see. It kills me that families still think bread, oatmeal, cereal, pastries, pancakes/waffles, spaghetti/macaroni, etc. are the norm for a healthy diet. People should really open their damn eyes. Great article, none-the-less.

Hazel
4 years 4 months ago
While I agree that it is annoying that people still see grains as the main source of nutrients and energy, it’s not fair to blame people in general and tell them to “open their damn eyes.” For years we have been told a low fat, high carb diet is the way to go, and this is information from health professionals. Why wouldn’t people believe it? If you talk down to people and make them out to be idiots they’ll never listen to you. You’re no better or worse than anyone just because you’re primal. If you want people to see… Read more »
mdmhvonpa
mdmhvonpa
4 years 4 months ago

Precisely! You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar. Of course, who wants to catch flies, eh?

Jess
Jess
4 years 4 months ago

Eeeee. I disagree… I’m a health care provider & I’ve never had any MD or other provider tell me that eating a high carb diet low fat diet was good. Most docs that I’ve known & nurses encourage people to eat less sugar & carbs & more dense foods. I’m not sure where your getting your info… it’s ancient info.

Hazel
4 years 3 months ago

If you look at the food pyramid you will see that grains are at the bottom and it recommends that we eat at least 6 portions a day. This is regularly handed out to every kid in school. “Healthy Wholegrain” is a phrase used way too often by health professionals.

Trish
Trish
2 years 2 months ago

I think the problem is they dont realize how easy it is to cook home made food that is actually home made. allrecipes.com has some awesome things for people that dont know where to start.

liberty1776
liberty1776
4 years 4 months ago

I purchased Kresser’s “Healthy Baby Code” for my then pregnant sister. The series is a great nutrition primer for anyone. As a single male with no plans to have children, I highly recommend the Healthy Baby Code for anyone who wants a layman’s crash course in nutrition.

Jana
Jana
4 years 4 months ago
I’m nine months pregnant right now, four more weeks to go, and finding good dietary advice for pregnancy is nearly non-existant. All advice out there right now is that paleo/primal and anything resembling LCHF is horribly dangerous. I think most of this is based on them not wanting women to gain weight during pregnancy and seeing fat as a prime culprit in weight gain. They seem to tollerate women gaining weight but would be even happier if they gained non at all (but don’t lose weight unless it’s due to morning sickness!). For some reason it is considered safer to… Read more »
Tricia
Tricia
4 years 4 months ago
I’m also nine months pregnant and completely agree that there is a serious need for more information like this to be put forth. Just go to any parenting website with message boards and you will see how much bad dietary information there is out there for pregnant and lactating mothers. One user posted that she had to quit her low carb diet after the baby came, (which she was following due to gestational diabetes), because her doctor told her it was “dangerous” to nurse and continue to follow a low carb diet. And the advice about avoiding saturated fats and… Read more »
ctan
ctan
4 years 4 months ago
I ate a lot of fatty food and meats and hardly any grains in my last two trimesters (I craved carbs in the first few months!). I gained a total of 25 lbs during my pregnancy– most in the first trimester when I was eating a lot of grains. I didn’t gain anything in the third trimester despite eating way more meat and fat than ever (but almost nothing processed). My baby was 7lbs at birth and very healthy. I think her health had a lot to do with my diet. I was vegetarian for 7 years, had PCOS and… Read more »
Kim
Kim
4 years 4 months ago

I wondered if the paleo way of eating would help with conception as well. I am hoping that it will help me conceive easily as well.

Daniel
Daniel
1 year 10 months ago
I realise I’m replying to a very old post, so hopefully by now you already have your bundle of joy but for the benefit of those reading through these comments… Mark Sisson’s “colleague” for want of a better word, Andreas over at diet doctor dot com interviewed a specialist fertility doctor with a preference for nutrition over pharmaceuticals, the video is still on his youtube channel and I’d recommend for those trying to get pregnant but also people worried about an unconventional diet. The specialist doesn’t really go into great detail but touches around the edges, edifying everything Mark says.… Read more »
Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago
Derek, That is a myth. I cover it in great detail in the Healthy Baby Code, but here’s the gist: vitamin A is only toxic in high amounts when vitamins D and K2 are also deficient. Supplementing with vitamin D radically increases the threshold for vitamin A toxicity. A 160 lb. person would need to take over 200,000 IU per day of vitamin A to reach a toxic level. Considering that a serving of cod liver oil has about 3-5,000 IU of vitamin A (depending on dose and product), it’s nowhere near the toxic range. This is another reason why… Read more »
Kristi
Kristi
4 years 4 months ago

Chris,

Do you recommend a particular brand of Cod Liver Oil? What about fermented CLO? Is that preferred to unfermented? If so, why?

Thanks for your help! And thanks for what you do. This article is much-needed in today’s world!

Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago

Kristi,

Yes, I recommend the Green Pasture fermented cod liver oil. Fermentation is preferable because it’s a cold-processing method. Omega-3 fats are fragile and vulnerable to heat-processing.

The fermentation may also increase the amounts of K2.

Johannah
Johannah
4 years 4 months ago

Chris,
What condition are the omega-3 fats in from canned fish like salmon?

Adam
Adam
4 years 4 months ago

Derek, do you think it is worth it to get the Green Pastures Butter Oil/Fermented Cod Liver Oil Blend? Or would the Cod Liver Oil provide most of the benefits?

Adam
Adam
4 years 4 months ago

Oops! I actually meant to address Chris on that question.

Derek
Derek
4 years 4 months ago
Chris, I agree with your comments and position, that’s why I used the word “possibly” in my statement. But I think any time you speak of peri/prenatal nutrition, and mention liver/cod liver oil, it’s worth discussing toxicity. This audience is astute, but some people like to think if a little is good, more must be better. There’s a reason the practice of obstetrics has ridiculous rates for malpractice insurance. It’s a touchy subject, and anytime advice is given, it should certainly be done with caution. Anyway, I like your articles, just mentioning that it seemed this article was too brief… Read more »
Violet
Violet
4 years 4 months ago

It’s also worth pointing out that the article says milk is a good source of vitamin D. This is true in the US, where milk is supplemented with vitamin D (by law). In the UK – and lots of other places, I would imagine – milk is not fortified with vitamin D, so milk is not a good source of this nutrient. Also, I would guess that raw milk is not fortified, even in the US.

vacexempt
vacexempt
4 years 4 months ago
I’m sure you must be aware of the view by some promoters of high Vitamin D blood levels that almost any amount of retinol will prevent the Vitamin D from being benificial. They say you should let your body regulate how much retinol to produce from beta caretene. I guess I should rethink this because it caused me to stay away from CLO for the last 2 or 3 years. I even avoided a salmon oil supplement because it has a small amount of retinol in it. It seems reasonable that our paleo ancesters ate liver from every kill while… Read more »
John
John
4 years 4 months ago
The problem with most knowledge about vitamin A and D is that most of the research has been done in isolation- looking at vitamin A without D, and vice versa. The truth is, A, D and K2 all work together, and protect against toxicity of each other. Vitamin A toxicity only seems to appear if D is deficient, and Vitimin D Toxicity only seems to appear if A is deficient. There’s also the idea that findings have been misinterpreted. For example, and increase of Vitamin A may increase calcium in the urine, and this was thought to be bad for… Read more »
David
David
4 years 4 months ago

Very good points – I totally agree.

Erin
3 years 19 days ago

Not everyone efficiently converts beta carotene to retinol (esp. people with thyroid disease). If I take D3 without taking any retinol, I develop mild keratosis pilaris on the back of my arms (usually a sign of retinol deficiency) and it clears up quickly after adding retinol.
I get plenty of beta carotene from green and orange veggies, but I don’t convert it well.

Orielwen
4 years 4 months ago

I think I know the study you’re referring to – this one, yes? Even that doesn’t suggest that pregnant women shouldn’t ever have liver: I calculate that it should be safe to have 20–30g of liver now and again at least, based on those numbers.

Could you supply links to the other papers, the ones that show a lowered risk with Vitamin A? I’ve found studies in non-pregnant women, and studies in monkeys, but nothing else that actually deals with pregnant humans taking Vitamin A.

Mary
Mary
3 years 11 months ago

Chris, I’m not trying to get pregnant, but would like to start the FCLO/butter oil blend from Green Pastures (they are currently out of stock). I plan to discontinue my fish oil and vitamin D3 supplements after starting the FCLO/BO. Is that wise? I plan to still take my high quality multivitamin daily. Do you think that could be harmful?

HopelessDreamer
HopelessDreamer
4 years 4 months ago

whether or not to have children is everyone’s personal decision. it worries me though,that fewer intelligent, educated, financially stable people are having children. maybe i’m a bigot, but why should we leave the future generations to the ignorant, SAD eating masses? i guess i want to believe that there is hope for the world by living and eating better. passing along that health and knowledge is part of improving the world, imho.

Jess
Jess
4 years 4 months ago

Mark, I love reading your blog every day! I am planning on getting pregnant for the 2nd time in about a year. I am thinking about taking Cod Liver Oil as a supplement soon. Is all the vitamin A in Cod Liver Oil is okay for the developing baby? I’ve heard scary stuff about too much vitamin A. BTW, our first baby is 2-1/2 and is very healthy besides having an intolerance to dairy. We are getting ready to try raw dairy with him. He’s also doing amazingly on an 80% primal diet!

Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago

Jess: see my response to Derek’s comment about vitamin A above.

Penny
Penny
4 years 4 months ago
Jess…I would absolutely try organic whole raw dairy for your child…then get yourself some kefir grains and make him some kefir. I drink a pint a day. You want to make your gut happy with tons of beneficial bacteria? Drink kefir…as well as lacto-fermented veggies (see the perfectpickler.com) I know it’s not 100% primal/paleo, but I would NOT give it up for the sake of the health of my gut…which ultimately boosts my immune system. I know a father of 6 who got his 12 year old on organic raw dairy and his asthma was cured in 2 weeks…no more… Read more »
Sara
3 years 9 months ago

Penny, THANK YOU so much for the website for perfect pickler. It is affordable and I have been looking for ways to ferment veggies that didnt cost upwards of $50. I will be ordering from them soon. Thank you!

Katie
Katie
4 years 4 months ago

So glad this was posted. The woman who sits next to me at work is 7 months pregnant and is constantly eating fast food and microwavable meals. It hurts me to watch and I wish there was better education about the foods you should be eating while creating a human being.

Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago

Yes, it’s physically painful, isn’t it? And it just becomes even more painful when we fully understand how important nutrition during pregnancy is for the *lifelong* health of our children.

Danielle
Danielle
4 years 4 months ago

It’s ridiculous! During my pregnancy I told my midwife I was waking up hungry in the middle of the night and she actually told me to eat something sweet right before bed “to keep my blood sugar up over night”. As a lifelong hypoglycemic, I had no problem telling her that advice was absolutely wrong and I would not be following it. Too bad I didn’t know about Primal/paleo eating back then… I could have avoided alot of problems.

Marcia
4 years 4 months ago

Yikes! They always told me to eat something like yogurt or cottage cheese.

katie
4 years 4 months ago

just finished making liver meatballs for the week! I’ve also been using raw egg yolks as dressing lately… hopefully setting myself up for a healthy pregnancy someday.

randi
randi
4 years 4 months ago

hi Katie,

would you mind posting a recipe for the liver meatballs? I hate liver, but I know I should eat it…any tasty ways to take it in are greatly appreciated 🙂

theresa
theresa
4 years 4 months ago

i second that request for the recipe! i’ve been meaning to eat liver for a long time, and as i’m pregnant now, i REALLY should eat it…

Jeanie Witcraft
Jeanie Witcraft
4 years 4 months ago

I made Paleo Liver Chili: http://www.wildnessandwonder.com/2011/07/offally-fantastic-paleo-liver-chili/

I used chicken livers, and there’s the *barest* coppery tinge as you swallow some bites. Delicious!!!!!

Izzy
Izzy
3 years 10 months ago
First post on this site, so don’t get harsh on me 🙂 I like chicken livers (from before knowing this is healthy eating) made this easy way: heat 1-2 tablespoons of cooking fat in skillet (I use olive oil but here it seems not good so use what you want) on medium. Fry the chicken livers, covered, for a few minutes, turning once, just until, when poked with a fork, the juice is no longer red, not more. Salt AFTER turning off the heat. Pepper if you wish. Use the cooking liquid as sauce on whatever you eat it with.… Read more »
jonas
jonas
4 years 4 months ago

I second randi’s request… I’m not a huge fan of liver, but meatballs should be tasty. Could you share your recipe?

Christine M.
Christine M.
4 years 4 months ago

This recipe was recently posted at Primal Palate: http://www.primal-palate.com/2012/02/beef-liver-and-onion-meatballs.html

Might not be the exact one Katie used, but it’s probably a good baseline. 🙂

misterworms
misterworms
4 years 4 months ago

I started making a similar meatball (using thai flavors like ginger & lemongrass) and my liver-hating husband and 3yr old eat them up, having no clue about the liver 🙂

Danielle
Danielle
4 years 4 months ago

Well, my son certainly got a nutritional boost in being such a smarty-pants. I CRAVED whole eggs while I was pregnant, and ate about half a dozen a day. Yay, choline!

Amy
Amy
4 years 4 months ago
Chris, do you have any advice for the men? My husband has hemochromatosis which was diagnosed in his early 20’s, and due to that, has a very low sperm count. Because of this, we were told our only hope of getting pregnant was in vitro fertilization which we did in January 2008 and we had a beautiful baby girl that fall. We would absolutely love to have another baby, but in vitro is very expensive! My husband is very interested in finding a way to naturally raise his testosterone levels – he has not transitioned fully to primal eating –… Read more »
liberty1776
liberty1776
4 years 4 months ago

What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago
Yes, in general men should follow the same approach I outline for women. However, since your husband has hemochromatosis, he has to avoid iron-rich foods like organ meat, oysters and too much red meat (beef, lamb). He should also be following fairly aggressive iron reduction strategies to keep his ferritin <100 and iron saturation <45. The reason his testosterone is low is because iron damages the pituitary gland, which secretes LH and FSH. LH acts on the leydig cells, which produce testosterone. FSH acts on the sertoli cells, which produce sperm. Reducing iron levels to the targets mentioned above should… Read more »
Amy
Amy
4 years 4 months ago

Thanks for the info Chris – when my husband was initially diagnosed, he did a very aggressive phlebotomy treatment to get his levels within the normal range, and again, that was probably 15 years ago. No one ever told us that him having hemochromatosis would affect his fertility. Is it possible that his extremely high ferritin and iron levels (1600-1800) when he was first diagnosed have permanently damaged his pituitary glands? We have never really been able to get a straight answer from anyone! He now does quarterly phlebotomies to keep his levels normal. Thanks!!

Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago

Unfortunately, it is possible. But the reason no one has answered you definitively is that it’s difficult to know for sure. He may simply need additional support to regulate hormone production after the initial damage elevated iron did.

cancerclasses
4 years 4 months ago
There’s a lot he can do, including bioidentical testosterone supplementation. Also you don’t say where his weight is at, fat is estrogenic & suppresses testosterone production as does a high carb diet, & toxic adulterated liquid vegetable oils & trans fats in take out, fast & junk “foods” completely disrupt & shut down the entire hormone system & block uptake of essential O-6&3 fats & probably all fat soluble vitamins too. “…a quarter of all men have low sperm counts, and obese men are 42 percent more likely to be among them than normal-weight men. Even more frightening, the obese… Read more »
Amy
Amy
4 years 4 months ago
He is actually at a pretty healthy weight – he fluctuates between 165 and 175 and is about 5’10.” Like most men, he carries his fat around his belly and sides. He did try to go primal a while back, but had some serious low-carb flu and couldn’t handle it. Although he usually eats primal for dinner with me, breakfast and lunch are typically a SAD and lunch is often fast food b/c he’s on the road a lot during the day. I am doing my best to get him and my 3 year old on board by slowly weaning… Read more »
Randy M
Randy M
4 years 4 months ago

My wife and I teach a natural childbirth class that has an emphasis on nutrition. I find the advice of the course matches pretty well with primal eating, advocating healthy fats, protein such as liver, eggs, leafy vegetables, colored vegetables, calcium/dairy, all daily.
It does recommend whole grains as well. I figure if they are eating all the nutrient rich foods we emphasize they won’t have time to over-indulge in too much grains and will be much better off than on a SAD diet.

Stevi
Stevi
4 years 4 months ago

If one were to follow these eating habits, would that make prenatal vitamins unnecessary?

Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago

Even in the context of a Primal diet with superfoods like I’ve recommended here, it can be difficult to get adequate folate and vitamin D. So I do recommend supplementing with folate (NOT folic acid), and checking D levels periodically before and during pregnancy to ensure they’re in the 35-60 range.

laura
laura
4 years 4 months ago

Can you explain what is wrong with folic acid? My husband and I are trying to conceive and my ob put me on 4 mg’s of folic acid because I have very minor spina bifida they found on an x-ray. Not knowing anything about folic acid, it seemed like a really high dose.

Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago

I recently wrote an entire article on the subject. I’d post the link here, but they’re getting stuck in the moderation queue. Do a Google search for “Chris Kresser folic acid” and it will be the first article that comes up.

Sara@AJoyfulMother
3 years 9 months ago

Is it bad to take New Chapter prenatal a (5000 iu of beta carotene) daily AND fclo/Bo from Green Pastures? I am convinced that fclo is ok, but what I haven’t seen is whether or not it is ok to mix the two supplements. Thanks!

Liz
Liz
4 years 4 months ago

Definatly stick with the prenatals! Looking back at my own pregnancies I would not have been able to stomach CLO, liver and fish especially during those first few months! I did maintain a low carb diet and ended up with two healthy and pretty darn cute babies.

Joseph
Joseph
4 years 4 months ago
I would agree with Chris’s reply, since this exactly how we ate for my wife’s first pregnancy. The only supplements were Vit D drops 4-6K unit to stay in the 70+ range(recommended by her OB) and folate. Her OB always commented how she was one of his easisest patients and always looked forward to our visits. We were one of the few, if only, who had no issues from start to finish. One way I found to include liver and CLO into my wife’s diet was to mix CLO into shakes/smoothies and mix liver into our ground beef dishes using… Read more »
Andy Williams
Andy Williams
4 years 4 months ago

Given that even grass-fed raw dairy is highly insulinogenic, is it a wise choice for pregnancy? The corrollary question – what is the effect of repeated high insulin spikes on fetal development?

Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago

Insulin is not a problem. We eat carbohydrate, we secrete insulin, insulin moves the glucose into cells, cells use the glucose. This is normal physiology. It only becomes a problem when someone is insulin and leptin resistant.

Tim
Tim
4 years 4 months ago

Love the info Chris, thank you. I wish we’d known about it back when my two sons were born (the oldest turns 12 today actually). I often wonder if we might have escaped the onset of his type 1 diabetes with a primal diet.

That said, my friend’s wife had been unable to conceive for years and years and they heard about the primal/paleo diet from us, tried it, and their beautiful baby girl is now almost a year old. Keep up the good work.

@dystopicthinker

Olivia
Olivia
4 years 4 months ago

I read Dr. Atkins vita-therapy (or some title like that) book some years ago and he thought that the onset of type 1 had some relation to I believe it was Vit-A deficiency and appeared to have success in preventing it with therapeutic doses. I had a coworker with type 1 who was on a low-fat/low-sugar diet because that was supposed to save her from heart disease and cancer…unfortunately her adolescent developed type 1 too.

Justher
4 years 4 months ago

Actually, that is a pretty typical diet for those with type 1. They should watch their carb (not just sugar) intake and eat low fat. The low fat is not 100% UNLESS she has problems with blood sugar. If that’s out of control you should 100% eat low fat.

The high blood glucose makes fat stick to your vessels easier. So, unless you’re controlled you should keep it low fat.

Jill Skyvington
Jill Skyvington
4 years 4 months ago

Our now 19y.o.daughter got diabetes 1 when she was 10y.o.We also wonder this as the three of us are now eating basically Primal/Paleo.It came as a huge shock as we have no other diabetics in the family.At the time we were eating very healthily but of course not primal.At age 7 she was trekking in the Himalayas with us and at 10 in hospital very sick.She is now very independent and going great and at uni but what a journey it’s been!

Kelly
Kelly
4 years 4 months ago
I ate primal before and during my first pregnancy, continued to do so while breastfeeding, and am doing it once again for baby #2. Not only is it the healthiest way to eat for a developing baby (and his/her mama!), but it is also completely doable and sustainable during pregnancy. The popular idea that pregnancy is a time to eat whatever you want and give in to every craving you have is ludicrous to me. I have tried to improve my diet beyond “baseline primal” as much as possible during both pregnancies, going out of my way to eat things… Read more »
Magan
Magan
4 years 17 days ago

Kelly-

I am now on my 3rd week of Primal and couldn’t feel better! My husband and I are thinking about starting to try in October. All I want is for a healthy pregnancy and baby! Naturally, I’m nervous of staying on Primal because of its bad wrap, but after seeing your post it provides some confidence that I’m making the right decision. Did you do prenatals and mult-vitamins before and during?

Steph
Steph
4 years 4 months ago
Blargh. I’ve been supplementing folate (800 mcg), D3 (4000 IU), and Omega-3s (1500mg/900 EPA/600 DHA), and now this article has totally confused me. I’ve looked at CLO, but frankly it just doesn’t seem to provide as much D3 as my supplement, but now I’m worried I’m not getting enough Vitamin A. If I supplemented CLO, would I need the D3 and Omega-3s still? I eat liver about once a week, I eat plenty of grassfed dairy, and I even try to work in egg yolks even though I don’t enjoy them. I’m not a fish fan. Any ideas? So confused;… Read more »
liberty1776
liberty1776
4 years 4 months ago

I’d think if you are eating 3oz of pastured liver a week then you would be set.

Be creative: Do you like hollandaise sauce? That is mainly egg yolk. I for one love mustard hollandaise but use a spice you like.

Fish. Try braising fish with other flavors/spices you like to create a taste that is less “fish” and the texture will be moist and flaky/shredded when you put your fork through.

Saute more veggies in bacon fat, lard, tallow, etc to better absorb all the fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K).

Tim
Tim
4 years 4 months ago

Krill oil is more expensive than cod liver oil but it’s excellent for Omega 3s and it comes in tiny little red caplets. So if you’re looking for another source of Omega 3, that’s one.

Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago
The only way to know if you’re getting enough D (through CLO and fatty fish) is to test your levels. I recommend testing before pregnancy, during the first trimester and at the beginning of the 3rd trimester – when the fetal skeleton is rapidly developing and mom’s need for vitamin D is the highest. You should be in the range of 40-60 (roughly). Unfortunately, testing is the only way to know what dose of vitamin D is necessary. There is a wide range of absorption from food and production from sunlight of D from individual to individual.
Steph
Steph
4 years 4 months ago

Thanks everyone. 🙂 I had my Vit-D checked last year, but will get checked again. We’re trying to conceive as of last month, and I’m just trying to up my odds!

Rebecca
4 years 4 months ago

Chris – how do you feel about krill oil vs. cod liver oil (for both pregnancy or not pregnant)?

Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago

CLO is superior because it contains the fat-soluble vitamins A, D & K2 (in the case of fermented cod liver oil). In fact, I think of CLO as primarily a fat-soluble vitamin supplement, and secondarily as a source of omega-3s.

Jenn
4 years 4 months ago
Thank you for this wonderful post today! I read TPB in April 2010 during spring break at the beach with my husband and our to kids, aged 11 and 13 at the time. It caused a revolution in my thinking, and we adopted the lifestyle upon returning home. By the end of May 2010 I was pregnant. No kidding. We weren’t trying – in fact we were actively NOT trying. To me, that’s how successful primal/paleo eating and lifestyle is! During the pregnancy I was mostly primal but still managed to become diabetic as I had in at least one… Read more »
Marcia
4 years 4 months ago

Funny, I just wrote about my own experience below. 3 weeks on the Primal Blueprint diet and I was pregnant (at 41), after 15 months of actively trying and another 5 months of not really trying (but doing nothing to prevent it either).

Joshua
Joshua
4 years 4 months ago

Be careful what you tell hospital dieticians especially going forward. They could use it as a reason to deny insurance coverage. Smile, say thank you, and dump the pamphlet in the nearest garbage. It is shocking though how many dieticians give precisely backward advice.

Jenn
4 years 4 months ago

Good advice. Fortunately I have government health care (military husband) and my doctor supported my choices, which I was able to substantiate via glucometer readings.

Candice
4 years 4 months ago

Fantastic! It still makes me shudder that the people who are authorized to pass out nutritional advice and particularly to women who are building our next generation still get it so wrong! Congrats on the little addition to your family!

Marcia
4 years 4 months ago
Mark Sisson got me pregnant. Just kidding (sort of). It took me 1.5 years to get pregnant with my 6 year old. When he was 3.5, we started trying again. After about 15 months, we gave up. At that point, we were getting “long in the tooth” anyway. Later that summer, I needed to lose a few pounds. I started eating fewer carbs, that helped a bit. Then I decided to try an experiment. Since the paleo folks and the vegans are both so…adamant about their diets and how great they are, I decided to try both. Just then, the… Read more »
Jenn
4 years 4 months ago

I LOVE your line about Mark Sisson getting you pregnant. We should start a club and use that as the name. I wasn’t 100% during and immediately after the pregnancy, more like 75% but I was able to recover from a difficult c-section and some serious anemia with the help of liver and steak dinners my husband would bring me from the lovely market near our home.

Good luck with the last 9 weeks!

Jana
Jana
4 years 4 months ago
Low fat anything suppresses fertility. Something in the processing really impacts you. Also, soy is a major culprit of infertility. Eat the liver while pregnant, it’s safe and the natural vitamins in it are much healthier than what you find in a bottle. I’m nine months pregnant with my second child so I understand your concerns. I found grains were giving me severe congestion, especially in pregnancy, and don’t eat them now. I have normal blood preasure this pregnancy, I had pre-eclampsia last time, and zero swelling or bloating. Carbs are addictive but only if you eat the processed stuff… Read more »
Tricia
Tricia
4 years 4 months ago

I got pregnant at the beginning of the primal challenge (I have three weeks to go). And, we were most definitely not trying to get pregnant. I wonder how many other primal challenge babies are out there? 🙂

Angela
Angela
4 years 4 months ago
Marcia thanks for your post! I laughed so hard about Mark getting you pregnant. My husband and I were practicing the paleo/primal for awhile until I got pregnant. Fell into the thinking that I didn’t want my baby to lack a nutrient so started the carbs again, even potatoes and carrots. One of the most difficult things with pregnancy is that the blood sugar drops so fast and I’m instantly hungry, not just a rumble but a feed me now hungry. And if you’re not prepared you grab the slowest moving thing and shove it in the gaping hole. Anyways,… Read more »
Sharee
Sharee
4 years 4 months ago
I too have conceived two babies on PB. I was told that I would never have children due to endometriosis when I was 18. I Got pregnant with my oldest at 19 while eating SAD and I am talking NOTHING that did not come out of a box. I didn’t really try or try not to get pregnant after him. I dabbled with paleo in 2008 and went full on out paleo in 2010 and found myself pregnant in 3 months. My little girl is 10 months and we have been blessed with another (unplanned) pregnancy! There is also a… Read more »
Amanda
Amanda
3 years 8 months ago

Your story is really inspiring to me. I just turned 40 at the end of November and am hoping to get pregnant this year. I am transitioning to Paleo diet, and hopefully this will boost my chances of getting pregnant, which I know at my age are slim. All the best for you and your family.

Kaitlyn
Kaitlyn
4 years 4 months ago

I highly recommend purchasing Chris Kresser’s Healthy Baby Code program. My husband and I find it invaluable. We’ve been following the nutrition recommendations for a little less than 1 year now and are 6 months along with our first pregnancy.

Tom
Tom
4 years 4 months ago

I don ‘t recommend it, Chris is a bit quackish.

Shebeeste
Shebeeste
4 years 4 months ago

Care to elaborate?

mikeinmadrid
mikeinmadrid
4 years 4 months ago

What does the graph mean i.e. “Deaths from CHD before age 65” of 1.5? 1.5 per 100,000? Is the difference per birth weight really significant or am I more likely to be struck by lightening?

Christine
Christine
4 years 4 months ago
While I agree with this for the most part. I was told by my doctor even liver is dangerous because of the vitamin A content regardless of whether it’s balanced with other naturally occurring nutrients. I also want to forward some advice to pregnant women: if you’re as sick as I was during your pregnancy, eat what you can regardless of whether it’s a grain or not. The only thing I COULD eat during the first three months was plain pasta with butter and buttered white bread. Even after the first three months, I had to eat a fair amount… Read more »
Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago

Christine,

The vitamin A concern is unwarranted. I’ve addressed this further up in the comments section. Your doctor is misinformed, unfortunately. The research does not support his conclusion.

Here’s a good summary: http://www.westonaprice.org/fat-soluble-activators/vitamin-a-on-trial#dprotects

Lauren
4 years 4 months ago
It’s also a question of natural vs synthetic vit A; that one (now discredited) study that showed vit A caused birth defects used synthetic stuff. Certainly we need to eat. I discovered that being hungry made my nausea worse and gave in to the lure of grains and dairy as quick fixes. But here’s the thing: if you don’t tolerate these foods, you’re exposing your child to your body’s reaction to them, and possibly predisposing their body to expect heightened immune activity etc. It’s not just about the calories. There is a strong case for the suggestion that we crave… Read more »
cancerclasses
4 years 4 months ago
That’s bullshit, unless you’re subsisting almost entirely on a diet of Arctic animals. From Wikipedia re Hypervitaminosis A: “The liver of certain animals — including the polar bear, seal,[12] walrus,[13] and husky — is unsafe to eat because it is extraordinarily high in vitamin A. This danger has long been known to the Inuit and has been recognized by Europeans since at least 1597 when Gerrit de Veer wrote in his diary that, while taking refuge in the winter in Nova Zemlya, he and his men became severely ill after eating polar bear liver.[14] In 1913, Antarctic explorers Douglas Mawson… Read more »
Michaela
Michaela
4 years 4 months ago

Hi Chris

I want to get pregnant I have already use FCLO I eat salmon 4 times a week but do have problem with liver(the taste of it). It is really needful?
Also I would like to ask you about veggies what kind of veggies is good. I have heard that some of them are not good for thyroid other have oxalic acid, then nighshades etc. So it is ok to eat raw spinach or no? eat tomato? Brolccoli everyday? Thanks a lot

Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago

Too many goitrogenic vegetables (primarily the cruciferous veggies) isn’t a good idea because they inhibit iodine absorption. But this can be mitigated by taking 800 mcg of iodine per day, or by cooking the vegetables. Steaming decreases goitrogen content by 30%, boiling and keeping the water by 65%, and boiling and discarding the water by 90%.

Cristen
Cristen
4 years 4 months ago

Hi Chris,
I make sauerkraut with red cabbage. Does fermentation mitigate the effect on iodine absorption?

Albert G
Albert G
4 years 4 months ago

I’m assuming beef liver is what is being refered to?

Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago

All types of liver, but beef liver is probably the best choice in general. Chicken liver is especially high in folate, which is a crucial nutrient during pregnancy.

Penny
Penny
4 years 4 months ago
If anyone is looking for a great liver drink, Nourishing Traditions has the Pottenger (Dr. Francis Pottenger who did the cat studies) Liver Cocktail…I drink it daily. 1 small chunk pasture-fed beef or lamb liver frozen for at least 14 days 4-6 oz tomato juice (I use organic Very Veggie dash of tabasco sauce or to taste squeeze of lime juice 1 tablespoon whey Since I make my own organic whole raw milk Greek yogurt weekly I have plenty of fresh whey. I’m guessing this may be hard for some people to come by. I put all in a tall… Read more »
Karen
Karen
4 years 4 months ago
Absolutely love and agree with everything here. There is a paucity of good pregnancy info and it’s helpful to find things like this. I just want to include a bit of encouragement to mothers who may not have eaten ideally during pregnancy. I work in early childhood healthcare and I see many babies born into less than ideal situations (far more severe than being the product of microwaved meals) and they live happy, healthy lives. Sure we can argue if they are or are not ideally healthy, but sometimes mothers don’t have this info and sometimes things happen that cannot… Read more »
Heather
Heather
4 years 4 months ago

Good on you Karen, lovely comment!

BootstrapsOnMyFivefingers
BootstrapsOnMyFivefingers
4 years 4 months ago
Question – the weight at birth (chart) and at one year (PDF link) refer to males correct? There are gender differences in weight? Also, I think what you feed kids in their first year of life is just as important. Kids who eat fatty fish (salmon) before their 1st birthday have lower incidences of ezema and asthma (so I’ve read), for example. I hope diet has SOME influence because I’d hate for my daughter who was born 7 weeks premature with congential heart defect (birth weight 3.4lbs, weight at 1st birthday 16lbs) to be doomed. She’s thriving now, at age… Read more »
Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago

Yes, you’re correct – that study was conducted on men.

I agree that nutrition during early childhood is also crucial. I discuss how to introduce “first foods” and which are most important in the Healthy Baby Code.

Good nutrition during the early childhood period can make up for a lot.

Jeanie Witcraft
Jeanie Witcraft
4 years 4 months ago

I was hoping that eating well as an adult could help. I was premature, w/ asthma & now (I think) autoimmune thyroid disorder, obesity, and likely some insulin resistance.

*sadpanda about the future.

Karen
Karen
4 years 4 months ago

This is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about. Major kudos to you for hanging in there and what a blessing to have your daughter seven years later and healthy!

Sandra Kay Miller
4 years 4 months ago

As a farmer who raises livestock, I can confirm that animals (all species) who don’t get a good start in life often end up in the ‘failure-to-thrive’ category and most often, the stew pot. As we humans get further away from our food supply, we lose sight of the big picture of what it means to be healthy.

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[…] and during early childhood, but for the rest of his or her life. … View original post here: 5 Primal Superfoods for Fertility and Pregnancy | Mark's Daily Apple ← The Best Tips on Preventing Pregnancy Stretch […]

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Maren
Maren
4 years 4 months ago

Great info! I always suspected there was a connection between early health in the womb and health later on. I weighed under 4lbs. at birth and had depressed lung function. 35 years later I struggled with nearly all the issues listed but have since over come most of them with diet and exercise. Now that I’m planning my own pregnancy, I plan to continue on the Paleo path.

Hilary
Hilary
4 years 4 months ago
The diet certainly doesn’t hurt, I started the diet 3 months before our IUI and got pregnant that cycle. The biggest push back i hear from doctors about primal is low carb ketosis, that is apparently to be avoided during pregnancy. Otherwise they were fine w/ my diet, just wanted me to get more calories since i wasn’t gaining much. I tried eating eggs and liver and just gagged on it, major egg aversion during pregnancy. The things i really craved were grapefruits and apples. And then my baby was born rather tiny for gest age, 6lbs at 38 1/2… Read more »
Ashley
Ashley
4 years 4 months ago

Chris can you address the issue of rancid fish oil. I stopped taking it because of studies I found that said it did more harm due to the fish oil not being able to be preserved properly.

Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago

Yes, best to stick with reputable brands that proper processing technology (like fermentation).

Sarah HI
Sarah HI
4 years 4 months ago

What about for dudes? Do the same foods boost male fertility?

Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago

Yes, absolutely.

Lekki
4 years 4 months ago

Ergh. I so wanted to be primal during pregnancy. Unfortunately any meat or fish or eggs made me violently sick by week 7 and any vegetables (fruit was strangely OK) by week 6. Seriously,even the sight of squash would make me unable to eat. Conversely the only thing that eased the nausea and made me able to function, was rice, or bread. I think primal is a great approach (I would watch the liver… research is conflicting) but sometimes it is just not possible.

Danielle
Danielle
4 years 4 months ago

I couldn’t stand the sight of eggs for my most recent first trimester either. Everything else was fine, and I’ve eaten them like crazy the rest of my life. It seems like a common aversion for many first trimester women… does anybody know why?

Megan
Megan
4 years 4 months ago
Oh, how I wish I could have followed this advice during my pregnancy! As a woman with PCOS, I “accidentally” became pregnant (I was eating a healthy, mostly primal diet), but during pregnancy, I dealt with hyperemesis gravidarum. That means that I vomited for 9 months and was on prescription anti-emetics, near hospitalization the whole time. Yogurt with frozen berries were a good option, but eggs would get stuck in my nose when I’d vomit. Ice cream was the only thing I found to help with my third trimester migraines. Now that my baby is born and I’m breastfeeding, I’m… Read more »
Katie H
Katie H
4 years 4 months ago

Which animals’ livers? “Liver” is pretty vague.

Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago

Any type of liver, but beef and chicken liver are probably the best choices.

cancerclasses
4 years 4 months ago

Almost all, from Wikipedia re Liver (food):
“There have been several anecdotal reports and a few scientific studies of vitamin A poisoning due to the consumption of the livers of polar bears, seals and huskies. The livers of these animals can contain very high levels of vitamin A.[2] The Inuit will not eat the liver of polar bears or seals.[2]

Vitamin A poisoning is less likely from consuming oil-based vitamin A products and liver than from consuming water-based and solid preparations.[5]”

gilliebean
4 years 4 months ago

Yay! I ate all five of these foods during my pregnancy! And I’m now cuddling my two-week-old infant girl who was born weighing 8 lbs 12 oz!!

Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago

Congratulations!

wildwoman
wildwoman
4 years 4 months ago
I am about 7 mos pregnant and for most of the pregnancy I adhered to a paleo diet and had a sugar aversion and still got diagnosed with gestational diabetes, I could not tolerate the 50g of glucose or the 100g they make you drink for that test! So I am now required to take a nutrition class and monitor my glucose. All my meal numbers are lower than their standard range however my fasting glucose maybe a few points elevated. Their diet suggests I eat whole grains to avoid ketosis. Any suggestions as to what other carbs to eat… Read more »
Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago

Plantains (both ripe and unripe), taro root (slice & brush with duck fat or lard to make the best chips ever!), yuca (make fries with duck fat/lard; see my recent recipe for this on my website) and more exotic choices like lotus root.

You don’t need much carbohydrate to avoid ketosis. Usually 50 grams will prevent it.

Phil
Phil
4 years 4 months ago

I once considered FCLO, but because I ate so much liver (5 or 6 big portions a week – it’s now down to about 4 big portions at lunches) I thought I’d get too much Vit A.

When I eat liver, while I eat sardines and 1 to 3eggs everyday, I’ve been having a couple of drops of Vit D drops (very good value) at 4000IU each. If I remember right from the WPF, a good ratio is 5:1, A:D.

momupthecreek
momupthecreek
4 years 4 months ago

14 years ago I gave birth to a girl over 10 lbs. Trying to give her a good start I became a vegan during my pregnancy. I went from 120lbs to 215lbs during this pregnancy. She is now wheat & dairy intolerant and ADD. I wish I would have known.

Adriane
Adriane
4 years 4 months ago

What about folic acid? Doctors stress the importance of getting enough especially in the first trimester. Do paleo food supply enough? If so, which ones?

Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago

Folate is a crucial nutrient during pregnancy, and is difficult to get enough of in the context of a Primal diet. This is one thing I recommend most women supplement with for fertility and pregnancy.

Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate, and should not be supplemented with.

Janet Miles
Janet Miles
1 year 27 days ago

two food sources of folate are lentils & oranges

Queenbolete
Queenbolete
4 years 4 months ago
Just had a awesome pregnancy. I am 37 and went primal half way through the pregnancy. Best , easiest and fith pregnancy! Beautiful 8 pound 2 ounce boy and I am thinner than when I got pregnant at 7 weeks post partum. The only time I felt yucky or had heart burn was when I had any grains or sugar. I had several pounds of elk liver in the freezer and got organic chicken livers from the farmers market but I slowed down because of the vitamin A worries and did lots of fish oils and organic food . Now… Read more »
Irene
Irene
4 years 4 months ago

Mark u left out COCONUTS, I would add coconut oil and coconut milk and coconut products to the list, its very healthy and beneficial for fertility and in pregnancy and post pregnancy.

Stefanie
Stefanie
4 years 4 months ago

Thank you for posting this! Now- to figure out how to pass it along to resistant pregnant friends!

gina
gina
4 years 4 months ago

Question: I am 7mos pregnant, third kiddo. Eating mostly primal when not dealing with nausea.
I currently take a vit D3 supplement. 3-4 drops (1000 IU’s per drop) daily. If I start taking the cod liver oil, should I stop or reduce the D3 drops?
(I had my vitamin d level tested at the beginning of my pregnancy and it was low. Doc recommended 1000 IUs/day. I have not had it retested since then. Guess I should.)
Thanks!

Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago

Yes, you really have to test to answer that question.

jenny
jenny
4 years 4 months ago
Chris, I just started eating a primal diet and I expect I will begin losing weight as Im currently overweight, but Im also trying to conceive. Will I have to stop eating primal when I get pregnant if I keep losing weight? If you are losing weight, you are in ketosis, right? I know it would be ideal to lose the weight before trying but due to our age and some fertility issues we feel it’s best to not wait any longer. What can I do to ensure that our future baby will have the best chance of living a… Read more »
Lauren
4 years 4 months ago

Ketosis and weight loss are NOT the same thing.
Your metabolism will change in pregnancy (the switch flips to “hoard”), so as long as you have a nutritional balance and caloric intake that covers your collective needs, ignore the scale.
The biggest concern are any underlying health issues that led to your overweight situation – are they dealt with? If your guts are healthy and hormones in order, your weight will sort itself out. And as many people here have said, so will your reproductive status!

Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago

As Lauren said, losing weight will not put you into ketosis. Ketosis is caused by a very low carbohydrate intake. I don’t recommend a ketogenic diet during pregnancy, because glucose needs are higher during pregnancy. It is absolutely not a good idea to follow a caloric restricted diet during pregnancy.

Brandi Goff
Brandi Goff
4 years 4 months ago

I love all of your articles. But i’d seriously love to see some info on a PCOS diagnosed woman trying to conceive and what would be recommended? Going Low-carb has brought back regular periods, but not sure that means fertility. Would it be dangerous to continue this during pregnancy? I fear miscarriage as it’s common for PCOS women…just curious, great article all the same 🙂

Sarah
4 years 4 months ago

Thank you so much for an article like this! My third baby is two months old and while I was pregnant I could find very little information on following a low-carb diet during pregnancy. We have followed the PB for about two years now, and really believe in the truth of this lifestyle, but it sure was hard to find information to support it while pregnant or breastfeeding. So, it’s very nice to see this information out there!

Bethany
Bethany
4 years 4 months ago

Thank you for this article! Can you do a similar one for nursing moms? Or would your recommendations be the same?

Chris Kresser
4 years 4 months ago

They would be identical.

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