Am I Too Old To Have a Baby? Some Thoughts from the East and the West

Sometimes we hear that biological clock pounding so loudly that it’s hard to ignore. If you’ve opted to wait for some, Emily Bartlett and Laura Erlich, authors of Feed Your Fertility, have have some great insight into some of the concerns that people have.

These days, many women earn graduate degrees, pursue careers, or simply wait for the right partner before settling down to get married and/or have families.

While we’re all for women’s rights, there is one unfortunate hitch in this plan: biology. Realistically, many women in their 40s will have a heck of a time getting pregnant because that’s how most of us are genetically programmed. Painful as it might be, it’s helpful to consider that women who conceive naturally later in life are the exception to the rule—outliers, if you will.

If you are struggling with fertility in your late 30s or 40s, you don’t have a disease. Your body is going through the normal functions associated with your age. Despite the inevitable aging timeline, there are ways via both science and nature to improve your pregnancy odds.


Photo by Nina Matthews courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

What the West Says

The media shows us attractive women in their late 40s happily pushing infant twins in a stroller on the way to the park and presents research indicating that older women will have smarter and healthier babies. What tabloids don’t reveal, however, is how many cycles of IVF failed before a successful pregnancy occurred, how much medication the mother needed to inject and ingest, how many tens of thousands of dollars had been spent, and if these babies were born via donor egg, donor sperm, and/or a gestational carrier to host the pregnancy.

Reproductive medicine can be a miracle of science, but it is an extremely expensive (and often emotionally draining) miracle, yielding lower and lower margins of success with each passing year of age.

That said, we believe that knowledge is power. We recommend that all women over the age of 40 who have been trying for more than three months seek a Western workup with a reproductive endocrinologist to rule out potential obstacles to conception—whether hormonal or structural. It is better to do this at the outset, rather than allowing precious time to go by.

Some conditions (such as fibroid removal) can take several months in the healing process, so determining and treating any issues detracting from your fertility right away may make a big difference in your success.

Genetics and Epigenetics: Why Some “Older” Women Can Conceive and Others Cannot

How long we are able to procreate is different for every person. Just because your best friend’s sister-in-law’s cousin got pregnant at 48 doesn’t mean we all can. Trying to change your genetics around your fertility is as futile as trying to have blue eyes just because someone else does.

What we can influence, however, is epigenetics. Epigenetics is defined as the way our genes express themselves. This emerging field is providing more and more evidence that the things we do, like how we eat, think, and feel, can actually influence the way our genetic predispositions play out. For example, just because you have a family history of breast cancer doesn’t mean you are doomed to develop this disease yourself.

Likewise, while your waning fertility may be a natural part of your genetic programming, you can slow this process a bit and optimize pregnancy outcomes by making smart choices in how you choose to live your life.

Changing your diet, lifestyle habits, self-care routines, and stress levels can go a long way toward turning back the biological clock. Regardless of whether or not you end up having a biological child, these methods will only bring you better health and vitality, which is what you need to be a parent, biological or otherwise.

What the East Says

While Western medicine has very little to offer in terms of turning back your biological clock, Chinese medicine can help to breathe hope and inspiration into the space where your odds seem to decline with each passing month. Chinese medical texts say that pregnancy should be possible from the onset of our first period (menarche) through the very last (menopause).

With that in mind, let’s examine how Chinese medicine can help to optimize fertility through influencing epigenetics well into your later reproductive years.

Depending on a woman’s reproductive profile, Chinese medicine can often dramatically slow down and sometimes even reverse ovarian decline. We have personally assisted many patients with “rebooting” their ovaries, which can increase follicle count, improve responses to fertility drugs, and result in more pregnancies (natural or assisted) and fewer miscarriages.

Having a healthy, regular menstrual cycle is the cornerstone of improving fertility health, and Chinese medicine shines when it comes to this. Using herbs and acupuncture to regulate and support the cycle, women may find themselves ovulating and menstruating more regularly, experiencing less pain and clotting, feeling less PMS, having better cervical fluid at ovulation, and experiencing an improved libido.

Beyond the mere functionality of your reproductive organs and hormones, Chinese medicine can help you to cultivate fertility in your entire being, so that you can approach your baby-making journey from a place of feeling already fulfilled by your life, rather than trying to fill an empty space in your heart with a baby.

Feed Your Fertility

Do you want to make a healthy baby and have a healthy pregnancy?

Are you interested in a holistic approach to fertility?

Do you need to optimize your fertility due to your age or health conditions?

Are you trying to conceive and experiencing challenges?

Very few women and men expect to have trouble when it comes to having a family, and coming up against obstacles can bring about epic levels of stress. Deciding what steps to take can be absolutely baffling.

The good news is that Feed Your Fertility is here to help you. Inside, fertility professionals and authors Emily Bartlett and Laura Erlich will guide you on a path to making the nutritional and lifestyle changes you need to help support healthy fertility and pregnancy. Inside you’ll learn:

How your lifestyle may be inhibiting your ability to conceive – and what to do about it

Why popular fertility diets may be leading you down the wrong road

What foods to eat to optimize and nourish your fertility, and how to adopt a real foods diet

How to determine your personal health imbalances that may be interfering with your fertility

How to use Chinese medicine to bring your body into balance and improve your odds of conception

How to streamline your supplements and take only what you really need

Your natural and medical treatment options for common fertility issues

How to navigate the medical fertility world and when to seek help

Get your pregnancy on track the natural, time-tested way and enjoy your journey to motherhood with Feed Your Fertility.


Why Iron is Essential During Pregnancy–And How To Get More of It

If you’re pregnant, you know all about those giant pre-natal vitamins and that you need to make sure that you are getting all of the important nutrients that you need to help you grow a strong healthy baby. Fit For Birth by Suzy Clarkson provides tips for a realistic and balanced pregnancy, including information about some important nutrition aspects.



Brown rice is a plant-based source of iron. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

During pregnancy iron gives protection against anemia and helps the body manufacture all the extra red blood cells you and your baby need. Iron is vital in keeping your blood and immune system healthy.

Iron requirements at least double in pregnancy from the normal recommended dietary intake for women of 18 mg to 30-60 milligrams per day, but iron absorption by the body is a relatively difficult process. Estimates suggest that only about 10-20% of the iron consumed is actually absorbed, hence the need for dramatically increased levels of 100 milligrams or more per day to satisfy the necessary building of blood cells in the mother and fetus.

Iron requirement are even higher in the third trimester, when the baby starts to lay down its own important stores of iron.

It is hard to get the amount of iron you need from food alone, so most pregnant women take an iron supplement. An unfortunate side-effect is that iron supplements can often cause constipation. To help alleviate this, make sure you drink sufficient fluids, including orange juice to help iron absorption.

Prunes or kiwifruit may also provide some relief. Your doctor will also give you information on how to take iron tablets as they are generally better absorbed on an empty stomach.

Taking vitamin C at the same time, either in food or supplement form, can assist with iron uptake by the body, but this is the only vitamin you should be taking at the same time as your iron. Vitamins and minerals in a combination tablet can also hinder iron absorption.

Caffeine (contained in both in tea and coffee) and milk also hinders absorption, so avoid those around the time of taking your tablet. Your iron level should be monitored throughout your pregnancy by your LMC and this is usually checked a around 12 weeks and at 32-34 weeks.

Effects of having too much

In normal people, excess iron is not absorbed. In people who are genetically at risk, excess iron can cause haemochromatosis, with liver damage, cirrhosis, diabetes and abnormal skin pigmentation.

Food sources of dietary iron—two types

Iron from animal-sourced food is called haem iron. This is iron that comes from red meat, chicken or fish, and is easily absorbed and utilized by the body. A rule of thumb: the redder the meat, the higher the iron content. The best sources include:

  • Beef, kidney and liver (although limit liver intake to 100 grams per week, because of the high vitamin A levels, and ensure that it is well cooked, served hot and eaten immediately after cooking)
  • Veal
  • Lamb
  • Chicken or turkey
  • Fish and mussels (these must be fresh, cooked, hot and eaten immediately)

The second type of iron is from plant-sourced foods and is called ‘non-haem’ iron. Good sources of this type of iron include:

  • Whole grain breads and cereals (especially breakfast cereals with iron added)
  • Brewer’s yeast (sprinkled over food)
  • Brown rice
  • Vegetables (peas) and legumes (dried beans), leafy green vegetables, broccoli
  • Dried fruit, nuts (almonds, cashews) and seeds (pumpkin and sesame seeds)

As iron found in plant-sourced foods is not as easily absorbed as the iron found in animal foods, you need to include a food which is high in vitamin C at the same meal to assist in iron absorption. For example, include one of the following at meal times: fruit juice, potatoes, tomatoes, fresh or dried fruit.

Pregnant women who are vegetarian need to take special care with their diet to ensure they have adequate iron intake and more importantly iron absorption. Even if you have not previously been a meat-eater, you may find when you are pregnant this changes and you start to crave red meat. This is a good example of the body’s natural tendency to seek out that which it needs.

If this is not an option, seek advice from local medical professionals, or ask them to refer you to reputable information sources.



Many older women spend months, if not years, trying for motherhood, then endure an anxious pregnancy wondering if they are eating and exercising properly. Fitness expert Suzy Clarkson has been there. Her first pregnancy at the age of 38 was relatively trouble-free, but trying to get pregnant again a few years later was very different. Following fertility treatment, she finally gave birth to her second child at the age of 45.

Qualified in physiotherapy, Suzy has now devised a practical guide to assist older women through their pregnancies, using her own experiences of motherhood to support her text. This easy-to-follow fitness program will take you through each trimester, showing suitable exercises and suggesting how to develop healthy habits to achieve a safe outcome, a successful childbirth and a speedy recovery afterwards. The book is fully illustrated with step-by-step photographs showing the exercises in detail. The information she provides is based on the latest research, and is endorsed by leading specialists in obstetrics and fertility.

But the book is more than its exercises. Suzy is a ‘real mum’ who offers encouragement and a compassionate helping hand to all older mothers. Fit for Birth and Beyond is the guide you can trust and use with confidence.

Looking for Natural Remedies for Your Kids? Here are Some Tips for Safely Using Herbs

More and more, we have been leaning back toward natural remedies for small ailments. Herbal teas soothe when we are sick, apple cider vinegar is a wonderous disinfectant, and ginger works wonders for your tummy. But even natural ingredients can have some adverse effects. It’s important to use them safely and Kate Tietje author of Natural Remedies for Kids has some important advice.



Dried herbs image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Safely Using Herbs

Before diving into natural remedies, it’s important to know how to use herbs safely. Not all herbs are 
appropriate for all people in all situations. You’ll find specific cautions on each recipe, so you can determine what is best for your family.

Please read the cautions carefully and consult your doctor if you have a special health concern before using any remedy.

Even simple herbs, like ginger, should not be used by some people. Always read the individual contraindications on each recipe.

Always Properly Label Your Herbs

If your herbs aren’t properly labeled, then plants that look similar may get mixed up and used improperly. If in doubt, throw it out. Never use an herb if you’re not completely sure what it is.

Check the Contraindications

Some herbs can cause adverse effects in some people, just like anything else—for example, some people are allergic to peanuts or shellfish, which are foods that many people can consume without an issue.
If an herb is known to be harmful or potentially harmful to some people, it will be noted on individual recipes. Read these carefully before choosing which ones to prepare.
When in Doubt, Use Smaller Doses
For some people, it takes only a tiny dose to bring about the desired effects; for others, it takes a larger dose. You can always take more, but you can’t take less. Start with a very small dose, especially the first time you use an herb. Consider taking notes on what doses you give and how they work, so you’ll know next time what is right for each member of your family.
Know if Internal Use is Safe
Some of the recipes in this book can actually be used topically or internally. Many of the herbs can be used both ways in different preparations. A few must never be used internally; these recipes will be labeled “for external use only.” Know the proper amount and method for taking any remedy you use.
Store Herbs and Remedies Properly
Herbs should be stored in their original bags or labeled glass jars, away from heat and sunlight, and out of your child’s reach. Remedies should be stored in labeled glass jars, bottles, or tins. Some remedies must be refrigerated. Make sure to check the individual recipes for storage instructions. If a remedy ever smells off or looks discolored or moldy, throw it out.
In general, herbs are pretty safe. Most of the herbs used in the book are “adaptogenic,” which means that they are used to gently balance the body, rather than have any strong effect. Many are safe even in large doses (these are chosen purposely). Still, always exercise caution with an herb that is new to you or your child.



Natural Remedies for Kids is an easy-to-use reference for parents who are ready to take their family’s health into their own hands by using over 100 natural and herbal remedies to help common ailments at home.

There’s no need to rush off to the doctor at the first sign of sniffles or fever! Instead, understand what each symptom may be a sign of, how to help treat that symptom naturally, and how to help your child rest comfortably until the illness is over. Find out if the symptoms may be serious enough to warrant a call to the doctor. Then, learn to prepare one of the many recipes for home remedies found within the book to help your child naturally.

Clear up common conditions like:

  • Diaper rash
  • Eczema
  • Runny noses
  • Coughs
  • Sore throats
  • Upset stomach
  • Teething
  • and more

Find tips and hints from Kate Tietje on which remedies are best for which issues. Discover the time-tested treatments that will help to keep your child healthy and happy, naturally!

Hayfever Making You Miserable? Try This Honey Remedy

If you’ve been dealing with the itchy, watery eyes, scratchy throat, and sneezing that comes with spring, then you’re in need of this helpful tip from The Little Book of Home Remedies, Aches and Ailments by Dr. Linda White, Barbara H. Seeber and Barbara Brownell Grogan.


For many people, spring is the sneezin’ season. Other symptoms of hay fever (allergic rhinitis in the medical world) include nasal congestion and itchy and watery nose and eyes. If you only have these symptoms a couple of months, consider yourself lucky.

Cherryblossomtree (1)

Springtime blossoms are appealing to the eye but hard on the allergies. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Some people have a year-round condition called perennial rhinitis. Triggers include pollen, molds, dust mites, animal dander, and other airborne offenders.

Allergic and perennial rhinitis tends to run in families, along with asthma and atopic dermatitis (eczema). In recent decades, the prevalence of all three conditions has risen. A warmer climate with longer growing seasons is expected to increase the pollen load for hay fever sufferers.

The underlying problem is immune system hypersensitivity. The immune system detects a speck of ragweed pollen and reacts as though an army of streptococci had invaded.

In response, white blood cells produce a type of antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE), which binds to mast cells, immune system cells involved in allergic reactions. Once IgE binds to mast cells, the latter release histamine and other inflammatory chemicals that cause those well-known symptoms.

Conventional treatment calls for avoiding known allergens and taking medication, such as antihistamines, to reduce symptoms. Side effects include excessive drying of the mouth, nose, and throat.

The older antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine, also cause drowsiness. Newer antihistamines, such as loratadine (Claritin) and fexofenadine (Allegra), are less sedating.

Intranasal steroid sprays and other medications can manage symptoms in people with persistent symptoms. Finally, immunotherapy (“allergy shots”) may be used to desensitize people to allergens (the substance that causes an allergic reaction).

Honey-Sage Tea

Popular lore has it that local honey (made by bees visiting local plants) can reduce hay fever symptoms. New studies are confirming the benefits of honey.

    • 2 cups (475 ml) water
    • 2 teaspoons dried, crushed sage leaves
    • 2 tablespoons (40 g) honey

PREPARATION AND USE: In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the sage. Turn off the
heat. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Stir in the honey. Sip and enjoy.

YIELD: 1 large or 2 small servings

HOW IT WORKS: For nasal secretions, sage (Salvia officinalis) has a drying and anti-inflammatory effect. A Finnish study was able to confirm that, for people allergic to birch pollen, consuming steadily greater amounts of birch pollen honey between November and March (before hay fever season) had significantly fewer symptoms come spring.

Do not give honey to infants under twelve months of age because of the small risk of botulism.


In this giftable mini booklet of The Little Book of Home Remedies, Aches and Ailments, Barbara H. Seeber and Barbara Brownell Grogan join Dr. Linda White to draw on years of training in the area of natural healing to help you treat aches and pains and manageable ailments naturally. This handy guide provides remedies and advice for headaches, migranes, arthritis, joint pain, earaches and more.

Use Hair Chalk to be the Talk of Your Prom With This Twist Crown Design

Set yourself apart from the crowd and create this really pretty half-up do. Try to make the hair chalk match your dress, or for a bolder statement, go for the contrasting color!

This style looks positively regal when done with naturally curly hair.

Hair Chalk (big)

Pull about 1/3 of your hair into a high ponytail and the rest into a low ponytail.

Hair Chalk (1)


Choose three colors for your crown; you might need to use white as a base if you have dark hair.

Hair Chalk (2)


Section off a few strands from the top pony and chalk them, switching colors every two locks.

Hair Chalk (3)


Continue around your head until you have a high ponytail, sections of color, and a bottom ponytail, in that order.

Hair Chalk (4)


Remove the hair tie from the top ponytail, gather the colored sections into it, and twist away from your face and around the crown of your head.

Hair Chalk (5)


Continue to twist the top section until you reach the other side of your head or run out of hair.

Hair Chalk (6)


Pin the end of the twist under the rest of the hair. Take the tie out of your bottom ponytail.

Hair Chalk (7)


If you want a more casual crown, style the back of the twist lower down and closer to your neck.





Easily change your hair color to match your outfit, mood, or style for any day or night. With Hair Chalk: Step-by-Step illustrated instructions + 12 Easy to Follow Hairstyles, you can design your own look from the many styles within to express your individuality. This kit includes twelve two-and-a-half-inch hair chalks, non-latex gloves, and a 32-page, full-color instruction book to help you get the perfect color every time!

Try out different techniques and styles like monochromatic, ombre, mermaid, full-spectrum rainbow, and more that you can wear to prom, cosplay, Halloween, parties, or a night on the town. Learn to color all types of hair, from white-blond to bleached and treated, to deepest darkest brown. Featuring styles for short, mid-length or long hair; straight, curly, or wavy hair, for people with all hair types.

Chloe Sakura has been coloring her hair since age 13. Growing up in NYC she was exposed to club life and the high-fashion of temporary and semi-permanent hair dyes and has been styling her hair (and her friends) ever since. She loves yoga, bike riding and pit bulls, and now lives in a large, sunny house by the sea.

Join the Ultimate Plank Challenge! Work Your Abs and Build Explosive Power with Plyometric Planks

Jennifer DeCurtins is challenging you to the #UltimatePlankChallenge. Are you ready to try a plank-a-day in May?! Get started!

Want a stronger core and some accountability? Join me for the #UltimatePlankChallenge. I’m hosting this challenge for the month of May that features 31 bodyweight plank exercises from my book Ultimate Plank Fitness. My goal for this challenge is for you to improve your core strength. Day 1 and 31 are maximum plank holds so you can track your progress. Weekly signed book giveaways and an end of challenge prize pack from sponsor @premierprotein. To enter, tag some friends to complete the challenge with you and repost this image! During the challenge you’ll post the plank of the day, tag @jdecurtins and @premierprotein and use hashtag #UltimatePlankChallenge. I’ll be posting daily videos with instructions, modifications and tips! Who’s going to plank with me in May!?

A photo posted by Jen | Peanut Butter Runner (@jdecurtins) on Apr 29, 2015 at 9:22am PDT

SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate


This plyometric plank requires you to jump the feet from full plank to the outside of the elbows and back to the full plank.


Start the exercise in the full plank position.


  • Get into a full plank position with your hands under your shoulders and a straight line from your head to your heels
  • Slightly bend your knees and jump to the outside of your elbows, landing in a deep squat position with your knees outside of your elbows
  • Jump back to full plank position; land with slightly bent elbows and softened joints to absorb shock
  • Alternate your right and left sides.

Build strength and flexibility by hopping from side to side.


  • Locked out joints
  • Knees do not get to the outside of your elbows


This exercise drives up the heart rate and trims the waist.



A safe, challenging, and effective method of core conditioning, planking is one of the best ways to get fit and toned. Variations of planks are used across many fitness domains including traditional group exercise, personal training, home workouts, yoga, pilates, barre, CrossFit and more. Not only are planks perfect for crafting six-pack abs, they also target shoulders, pectorals, biceps, triceps, glutes,quads, and hamstrings. They increase the heart rate, offer calorie-busting cardio exercise, and create healthy muscle tone.

Ultimate Plank Fitness features 100 different variations of planks that can be used to customize your workout. Easily increase the difficulty of your core strengthening exercises by adding stability balls, gliders, and weights. Each exercise includes a step-by-step photo demonstration, points of performance, where to engage, along with common faults to detect ways to improve your fitness. Finally, CrossFit coach, personal trainer, and fitness instructor, Jennifer DeCurtins provides you with ten 5-minute workouts incorporating several planks that you can use to target trouble areas and build strength.

With countless variations of the exercise, ranging from traditional planks to side plank variations and planks using external weights or unstable surfaces, your entire workout can be programmed around the plank! Work your way to a healthy core with Ultimate Plank Fitness.

Looking for A Protein-Packed Punch to Start Your Day? Make Your Own Vegan Granola

Granola is great. It’s easy, it lasts a long time, inexpensive to make and pretty darn healthy. But what if we had a way to punch up the nutrition and add more protein into your mix? You’re in, right? Well, not only did Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes, authors of The Great Vegan Protein Book, create a recipe with quinoa flakes for extra protein, but they also made it to satisfy the plant-based lifestyle.  Enjoy!


This scrumptious granola is loaded with protein from the cashew butter and quinoa flakes. The spicy gingerbread flavor gives you the perfect excuse to make something holiday-centric all year long. Happy breakfast to all and to all a good day!



  • ½ cup (170 g) regular molasses
  • ¼ cup (48 g) Sucanat
  • ½ cup (128 g) cashew butter or sunflower butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) neutral-flavored oil
  • Scant ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • About 20 pieces (2.5 ounces, or 70 g) of crystallized ginger, chopped small
  • 2 cups (160 g) rolled oats
  • 2 cups (204 g) quinoa flakes

YIELD: About 6 cups (770 g), or 12 servings


Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C or gas mark 2). Have a large rimmed baking sheet handy.

In a large bowl, combine the molasses, Sucanat, cashew butter, vanilla, oil, salt, spices, and chopped crystallized ginger. Stir to combine.

Add the oats and quinoa flakes on top. Stir to thoroughly coat.

Evenly spread the granola on the sheet and bake in 10-minute increments, carefully flipping the granola with a large wooden spatula after each increment, for a total of 20 to 25 minutes, until the
granola looks dry and just slightly browned.

Let cool on the sheet. The granola will crisp up as it cools.

Let cool completely. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container for up to two weeks, at room temperature or in the refrigerator.


  • For the sake of clarity and awesome results, we’re talking about quinoa flakes that look
    like quick-cooking rolled oats, not those that are similar to corn flakes. We use the ancient Harvest brand.
  • A good trick to getting big crumbles in your granola is to use a large wooden spatula.Lift the granola to flip it instead of stirring, so that the crumbles don’t fall apart.



“How do you get your protein?” As a vegan, you’re sure to get asked this question often. Most likely, you’ve even thought about it yourself. Vegan protein comes from things like tofu and tempeh, to beans, nuts, and protein-rich whole grains like quinoa. There are loads of options out there, but how to prepare them? What to put them in? These are questions that can feel daunting, especially if you haven’t used these ingredients before. Never fear, Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes to the rescue! The Great Vegan Protein Book takes you step-by-step through each protein-rich vegan food group, providing you with valuable information on how to prepare the ingredient along with more than one hundred delicious and easy recipes (many of them low-fat, soy free, and gluten-free!). Each recipe uses whole food ingredients that can be easily found at most grocery stores or farmer’s markets-no hard-to-find ingredients or things you can’t pronounce. Say yes to protein and eating better with The Great Vegan Protein Book!