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Hi, I’m Dr. Martha Lucas. I’ve been practicing Chinese medicine for more than 20 years. I have practices in Denver, Colorado, which is my private practice, and then I practice in a Western medicine clinic two days a week in Littleton, Colorado. And my Teaching site is lucas teachings.com, and then my private practice site is acupuncture woman.com.
Today I’m going to present fertility and the importance of the Earth element part two, and I wanna thank the American Acupuncture Council for allowing me to present this information to you. So let’s go to the slides.
in part one. We talked a lot about the importance of earth or the importance of good gut health for when people are having fertility challenges, both the men and the women. Having good digestion, as we know, is super important in Chinese medicine. It’s how we make our energy and One of the things we need to do with our couples is make sure that their guts are working well or all our patients.
We probably all focus on the gut for our patients, and I’m saying trust your gut is not a silly thing to do. Our guts were our first brains before the conscious . Brain came around before the conscious mind came around and made us start to not trust our gut. How many times have you heard people say that, oh, I should’ve listened to my gut.
It was telling me not to do that thing, and it didn’t work out exactly how I wanted. That’s because our gut is still giving us advice, but our conscious brain sometimes says no, that looks pretty good. I’m just gonna over, I’m not gonna listen to what my gut is saying. Turns out that our gut has millions of nerve cells that respond.
To stimulate and send signals to us. Think about how anxious you get before you do something new or forget. Have to give your first presentation at work. Those butterflies in your stomach are signals, your brain sends to your body indicating that something is up, something is different, something’s gonna happen.
Because your gut is so in tune with the rest of your body, it is important to take good care of it, especially when trying to conceive. In addition to the millions of nerve cells, your gut is lined with bacterial microbes that produce serotonin. That allows us to convert the food we eat into energy for our body to use, and that would partly be creating a warm, fertile environment where conception can occur.
There are three to 500 different kinds of bacteria, as well as more than 2 million genes in the gut. All of that is matched up with viruses, fungi, and other microscopic organisms that make up the microbiome that is affected by genetics, stress, lifestyle, diet, et cetera. Your microbiome affects everything from your metabolism to your propensity to certain illnesses, to your ability to conceive.
Gut health is a major concern for those trying to conceive, especially for those that have one of the following conditions. Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis celiac disease. In my last presentation, I talked about the relationship between celiac disease and some fertility challenges. Inflammatory bowel disease, I B D, irritable Bowel syndrome, I B S, and those conditions can make it difficult to conceive for both men and women.
As I always say in my classes about fertility. Don’t forget about the man’s health. It’s yin and yang. It takes two, however you wanna say it. Sometimes just opening the man’s dai. Can improve conception success and also those conditions just mentioned can cause a decrease in libido. And so many of our couples, and I’m sure you’ve heard it again and again, the intercourse just becomes a chore.
The, I’ve treated so many men who are like, yeah, I do it, but it’s not the most pleasant thing. I’m tired of hearing about . Mucus and hormones and days of the month. I wish we could just be natural. It’s hard to be natural when natural isn’t working so well for you. So looking back at the gut health of both the male and the female can sometimes lead to an answer.
Other symptoms to look for that indicate gut issues include stomach pain, craving sweetss. We know that means the digestion is out of balance, gaining or losing weight unintentionally. The onset of anxiety or depression, rashes, . Or that they have an autoimmune condition that is getting worse, and that can all be because of an imbalance in gut bacteria that can cause inflammation, which may lead to a flare up in their autoimmune issue.
So now the blah, blah, blah part about how to change your diet, to improve your gut. But the good news is that I will talk about some specific food recommendations, some pulses and some treatment ideas. So what’s some general advice? Eliminate processed food for one thing. Processed foods have a lot of heat in them.
They use heat to process it, right? They use heat to take a nice fruit or whatever that’s nice and full of juice and liquid and turn it into something that’s processed that you can. Get out of a bag or a box. That’s toxic in our medicine. So trying to eliminate as many processed foods as we can.
Eat a diet with a blend of protein, fiber, fruits and vegetables include specific foods that improve gut health, which could be bananas. Oats, pistachios and give your patients a, an a good, interesting list, not just two or three things. Quinoa, chia, kombucha. ’cause some people don’t like certain things on the list.
Remember, kimchi, kafi, yogurt sauerkraut. All can improve gut health. Olive oil is a healthy, stable, it’s one of the. Things we have as a health stable in our kitchens. Its fatty acid content is well received by the gut bacteria, which is why it’s such a healthy oil. And so you can make your own or your patients can make their own simple vinegarette.
They can use extra virgin olive oil. A little vinegar. Avoid the plain white vinegar, salt, pepper, some citrus juice, Dijon mustard and herbs of their choice. Throw in a sprig of basil is really nice, or throw in dill or change it up a little bit with some herbs, some fresh herb of your choice.
believe it or not, because of its high fiber content. Popcorn is good for your gut, but not the prepackaged microwave kind. Again, toxic heat in there and the chemical lining of the bag is not good for your gut and the microwave popcorn is high in sodium. A little too high in sodium, you can make popcorn naturally yourself and dress it up with, make it.
You can make it sweet, you can make it savory. Ground cinnamon, curry powder, sea salt. Again, Italian herbs, any herbs, maple syrup, cocoa powder, or paprika to get some extra fiber. For a sweeter snack, you can make your own trail mix with walnuts and almonds for the omega threes. Blueberries, which have folate and vitamin C in them.
Good for the gut and for fertility and banana chips for some fiber. You can also add dark chocolate, coconut plates and sunflower seeds. So again, looking at foods that improve the gut and also can help with the relationship between the gut and hormones and fertility. Raspberry leaf tea is another thing that can help with irregular periods.
Or hormone imbalance. It also helps reduce swelling. Also, chamomile tea is particularly good. I don’t have that in the list. I think for digestion because it reduces inflammation. It actually has nice properties that can help both . Things like anxiety and depression and gut health because it reduces inflammation and it’s also calming.
So chamomile tea is another raspberry leaf is a middle, little more specific for hormone imbalance, but chamomile tea is really good to reduce, especially inflammation in the gut. And then you can try to. Eliminate as much sugar as you can. I keep saying you, but your patients, your fertility patients well, and these are actually probably good advice for everybody’s gut health.
Eating too many refined carbohydrates and sugary foods can cause imbalances in blood sugar and exacerbate conditions like P C O S and insulin resistance. So too much sugar also are kidneys. Can only process so much sugar. So if you’re eating too much sugar and you get, for example, an acne breakout, that can be your body telling you Uhoh, too much sugar for the kidneys.
They can’t process it. And so they use your skin as an exit. They use your skin as a detox organ because remember, our skin is an organ. Cutting down on sugar B. Vitamin rich foods help support energy levels blood cell production, and reduce the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida and other brain defects in the fetus.
B rich foods include grass fed red meat, pasture raised chicken and eggs, and sustain sustainably sourced fish, avocados and leafy greens. Proper iron intake can help prevent low birth weight of the baby and increase hemoglobin for the mom. Hema iron is the form of iron that is most readily absorbed by the body and it can be found in grass fed red meat, pasture raised chicken and eggs, and sustainably sourced fish.
Foods high in folate, and we’re focusing here on folate, not folic acid can help reduce the risk of neural tube defects that we just talked about and include . How you can get it, folate, pasture raised chicken, lentils, spinach, strawberries, and a spice.
And remember what I call the burden of conception is not only on the woman, so how can the male conception partner change his diet in order to burst? Boost fertility well optimally. The male would also reduce eating highly processed foods. He will hopefully reduce the number of sugars he is eating, the amount of sugar he is eating.
Nutrients like zinc, folate, and omega three fatty acids can all improve sperm quality. It’s not only about the number, it’s about the quality. And men would also take care to avoid excess alcohol, excess caffeine, and phytoestrogenic foods like soy and meats that contain antibiotics and hormones. I’ve had a little theory in my mind working for years that some of the.
40% of male infertility that we’re seeing is due to them growing up eating foods with estrogen in them, and so their hormones can get way outta balance because it’s only been in the last decade or so I think, that we’re learning about meat and dairy that has estrogen in it, which would not only affect women, but would affect men as well.
So some meal ideas that include some of those foods I just went over and are gonna help the gut and . Fertility success includes something like a salmon stir fry with vegetables, slow cooking, beef and vegetables, right? Getting the warmth in there with the slow cooking, a spring salad with chicken or salmon to warm up the coolness of the salad, make.
A chicken and sweet potato dish, right earth food, warm or salmon and sweet potatoes, Turkey burgers if you want a low fat burger option. Egg salad, hard boiled eggs, deviled eggs, the ones that are pasture raised, a wild rice salad. Or add that to a dish with protein like salmon. Now, food advice specifically from a Chinese medicine perspective.
Would be one of the issues to avoid is dampness. When you’re trying to conceive, we wanna avoid creating any dampness because dampness causes blockages or stagnations in the body, right? So foods that create dampness. Or for which stamp ness is a side effect, include cheese. I just tell my patients dairy in general, white flour and sugar.
I had a patient, in fact, who was starting to have little like clear skin tags, flat skin tags, and this guy ate so much. Dairy, ice cream almost every day. Frozen dairy, pretty much the worst thing you can put in your body according to the theory of Chinese medicine and drank a ton of milk. And again, not that there’s anything wrong with that, if your body is tolerating that well, but I just suggested to him, can you just give up dairy or cut way, way down.
I’d love it to be zero for two weeks and just see what’s happens to your skin. And sure enough, he turns out he, those skin tags went away and he got tested for lactose intolerance and was lactose intolerance. So our body, his body was telling him, look, I’m creating dampness. This, Daryl, this dairy you’re eating is creating a symptom.
So when your digestion is working well, you won’t create dampness, right? That’s the whole key. Getting the digestion to work well, according to the theory, you should be able to eat anything, and it’s not going to create any symptoms or dampness or heat if your digestion works well, but if your metabolism is off or your calories don’t burn clean, then the leftover residue
Is considered dampness, accumulated dampness, clogs, organs like lungs, causing asthma or digestion or digestive organs causing indigestion, high cholesterol, and sometimes constipation or diarrhea. Vegetables can play a major role in reducing dampness, so this can include lightly cooked vegetables, lightly steamed vegetables, and then leafy greens in the diet.
You can interchange white and brown rice to reduce dampness. White is said to be more cleansing and brown rice is more nourishing. Millet and quinoa also are clean burning and they will help drain damp. Of course our advice would be to limit cold and raw foods because we believe they form dampness and they’re difficult to process because they use too much energy to warm up as I, I think, like I said about ice cream, I think of all the energy that our gut is having to use to just warm that up to body temperature is huge.
Limiting cold ice, cold especially, and raw foods. If you need to eliminate dairy, that’s just what has to happen. Then get calcium from foods like almonds, leafy greens, and broccoli. You can get calcium from other foods besides dairy. Eliminate sugar, but eat Chinese medicine sweet foods like rice, meat, and some vegetables.
As I said, you can give your patient a list if you can eat according to the seasons. Eat warming foods in winter in summer. Cooler foods like lightly cooked vegetables, those are still cooler. Steam them rather than bake them or fry them. Of course. And if you can eat what grows in your region, that’s great.
I’m in Colorado, so when I, it’s wintertime and we’re eating, according to our region, what grows in our region. We’re eating an awful lot of potatoes and onions, occasionally throw in some beets and other root vegetables. So in pulse diagnosis for the earth. Besides the usual and customary pulse positions that we all learned in school, my system shows the uterus and the prostate in the left chair or the, what’s traditionally the kidney position.
So when you’re working with fertility issues, you may wanna pay more attention to that left kidney position. You can see I have it written down, left side uterus and prostate so you can feel if there are fibroids in the uterus so you can feel if there’s inflammation in the prostate and. When conception happens after the fetus, after the cells are a certain size, you’ll be able to feel and follow the pregnancy.
That’s where you’re gonna look over there in the left side, the right side, of course, middle pulse middle position is spleen and stomach, where you’re gonna be looking at digestion. Now, here’s a drawing of what the might look like. Poor digestion, that arrow going down in the spleen, stomach. Okay. . If you’re not feeling a nice flow of energy from the kidneys through the spleen and stomach into the lung large intestine, that means there’s a digestive issue.
This particular picture would mean that old trauma is preventing the person’s earth element from nourishing them, just like the early trauma prevented them from being nourished emotionally and maybe physically, unfortunately. That pattern stays in and their digestion doesn’t work very well. So whenever you feel an imbalance in the digestion with your fertility patients, I advise you talk to them strongly about their digestion, be and explain to them, in order to make good blood flow to the uterus, we need to have good spleen and stomach.
We need to have good earth. We need to have a balanced digestion. And then obviously you can use all the other information in this presentation in part one, to talk to them about food, to talk to them about their gut microbiome, et cetera. Because what we wanna get to is this balance, yin and yang.
Sine waves is the perfect pulse, the good healthy pulse, sine wave yang and yin sine wave yang and yin and all. As you can see in this picture, all of the organ systems communicating with each other. This is what we’re trying to get with every treatment. Our goal of every single treatment is balance in the pulses.
At least that’s the way I teach Pulse diagnosis, and that’s the way I do my practice. Honestly, after more than 20 years, it’s pulse diagnosis, the excitement of feeling things in people’s pulses. That keeps me interested in Chinese medicine. If I did prescription Chinese medicine and oh, somebody came in with infertility or fertility challenge and I did this, I would’ve been bored years and years ago.
So you can see every presentation I’m going to . Impress upon you the importance of the pulses for not only diagnosis, but for treatment. So you can reach firstname.lastname@example.org. That has a contact Dr. Lucas button. My pr private practice website is acupuncture woman.com has a contact button also on lucas teachings.com.
There is some food advice. There is a A P D F that you could print out and give to your patients. I just want to. Thank you for watching. I hope you learned a lot as if you have any questions at all, feel free to contact me at one of those websites. I also wanna thank the American Acupuncture Council for sponsoring this webinar and allowing me to present this information to you.
And so I hope you have a great and enjoy treating your fertility patients. .