Will a vegetarian diet help you get pregnant? Yes and no … but mostly no. For fertility, we generally recommend a ‘vegetarian-style’ diet. That is, it still includes portions of healthy animal proteins. You’ll want the majority of your food to be raw and cooked vegetables. This is both for fertility as well as other health reasons.
Fresh, organically grown vegetables are nutrient dense. Yet it’s generally not a good fertility strategy to “go all the way” into a pure vegetarian diet. Fertility and pregnancy have an essential need for animal fats and proteins.
Photo by MS-R / Michael S-R “Health” https://flic.kr/p/7eekgw
It turns out that your physiology is not as ‘modern’ as you’d like to think. It still harkens back to your paleo roots. Let’s take iron and vitamin B12 as examples. A vegetarian diet is usually quite deficient in these. Doubly so if your focus is conception, or the stages of healthy pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Iron is a difficult mineral to get in a balanced, absorbable form, other than from animal sources. I remember during both my pregnancies, I craved a bloody steak, weekly! I thought I was going back to my primal, cave-woman roots.
There’s another indirect challenge with the vegetarian diet. That is, the tendency is to eat a lot more carbs (as filler) and sugars (driven by various cravings). This is a path of LOW nutrient density and filler foods. A lack of healthy animal fats and proteins opens up a nutritional gap for this downward spiral.
Should you worry about too many saturated fats with this diet? Beware, as we’ve been sold a bill of goods known as ‘the cholesterol myth’. It was really a marketing campaign engineered by the Statin drug industry. It has wrongly steered folks away from healthy animal fats and proteins. Instead, it encourages an unhealthy abundance of carbs. It’s not fats that make you fat, it’s sugar!
Good pH balance is the number one fertility factor. A vegetarian diet pushes you in the opposite direction. At its worst, it tends towards lower density carbs and sugars and other types of cravings. It may “sound like a good idea at the time,” but is out of touch with your fertility nutrition needs.
Another hallmark of the vegetarian diet is all the soy protein substitutes. Soy burgers; soy protein powder; soy milk – you know the drill! Consider soy foods to be ‘anti-nutrition’. We’ve written more about this elsewhere.
The phytoestrogens found in soy interfere with:
- Endocrine function (potential to cause fertility problems)
- Reproductive issues
- Reducing the assimilation of important minerals
- Premature puberty
It’s a hormonal nightmare! Adding this to the general issues of a vegetarian diet is an open invitation for infertility. Dr. Price’s research shows the importance of animals fats and proteins for fertility. Our clinical experience confirms this. It’s the foundation for a healthy fertility diet.
This topic is further expanded in Step 3 of The 8 Steps to Natural Fertility Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About. You can download your free copy here.