25 Oct Q&A with Liz Shaw, Co-Author of Fertility Foods Cookbook
By Toby Amidor, MS, RD
You don’t often think about food when discussing infertility, but there is a connection. Fellow registered dietitians Liz Shaw MS, RDN and Sara Haas, RDN co-authored a cookbook about foods that help optimize fertility. The Fertility Foods Cookbook: 100+ Recipes to Nourish Your Body. provides science-backed advice on which foods can help boost fertility, which foods to avoid, and other lifestyle factors to consider when thinking about starting a family. Each delicious recipe features a “fertility focus” highlighting the health benefit the recipe has to offer. I had the opportunity to interview Liz about her new book (and get a delicious recipe!) and here’s what she had to say.
TA: What made you decide to write a cookbook dedicated to foods that help support fertility?
LS: First off, the void on the market of a book written by a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) who’s actually gone through the ropes of infertility was our first draw to writing this book! I had always known I wanted to write a book and when I realized there was this void, I knew it was my calling. I reached out to Sara Haas, a friend I had connected with online through our mutually exhaustive experiences with infertility. Long story short, after asking for her opinion on the book, she indicated she too had a desire to work on a book surrounding this topic. Two heads are better than one I said, and so began our book adventure!
TA: What is the number one nutrition tip you would give to those trying to conceive?
LS: Focus on produce! Increasing your fruits and veggies will not only provide more nutrients into your diet, but also antioxidants. Infertility can be related to high amounts of circulating free radicals in your body that wreck havoc on your ovulation. Focusing on this will really help and make you less likely to indulge in sugary, processed snacks that are very low in nutritional value.
TA: What type of foods or behaviors do you recommend avoiding while trying to conceive?
LS: While trying to conceive can be a very stressful time, it’s very important that individuals, both males and females, refrain from smoking, drugs and alcohol. While we certainly won’t say you wouldn’t catch us with a glass or two of wine on occasion while trying to conceive, it’s best to really limit your consumption.
TA: When most people think about infertility, they think of the female side of the equation, but can men also benefit from the fertility-friendly diet you outline in the book?
LS: While our book is predominately directed for females struggling with infertility, many of the recipes can easily work for males, too. The only exception is regarding whole milk versus skin milk. Research points in the direction of skim milk for males struggling with infertility.
TA: Can you share a recipe from your cookbook?
LS: Yes! Here is a recipe for our Tropical Chia Rice Pudding
Tropical Chia Rice Pudding
MAKES: 4 servings, 1⁄2 cup each
1 cup water
1⁄2 cup brown rice, rinsed
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
2⁄3 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon honey
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons chia seeds
1 cup chopped pineapple, divided
2 tablespoons chopped roasted, salted pistachios, divided
Pour water over brown rice in a medium pot. Add salt and cook over high heat until water begins to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes. Water should be fully absorbed and rice should be soft and chewy.
Drain any excess water and set rice in medium bowl. Add milk, honey, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and chia seeds to the bowl, stirring together until combined. Cover and set in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to allow chia seeds to absorb milk and honey.
When ready to serve, portion pudding into bowls, then top with pineapple chunks and chopped pistachios.
Storage: Refrigerate for up to 2 days in a sealed container.
Nutrition Information PER SERVING: Calories 240; Fat 7g (Sat 1g); Protein 6g; Carb 40g; Fiber 6g; Calcium 116mg; Iron 1.4mg; Sodium 40mg; Folate 13mcg
ALLERGENS: Milk, Tree Nuts