There is specialist gear, swag and kit for everything these days and getting preggers is no exception. You may not need all or any of the below, but here is a handy list of all the items that I have used whilst trying to fight the good fight.
Mum' Not Having Chemo
This fabulous book on health and wellness was where my obsession began. Although the subject of this book is treating cancer, rather than infertility, much of the information is about how to be the healthiest you can possibly be. The themes are similar to those you may read in fertility books, and it is brilliantly researched and written. If Laura Bond's mother could treat ovarian cancer with natural healing, food and lifestyle then you can beat infertility, right? A must read.
The Infertility Cure
Where East meets West. A book from a fertility expert in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is wonderful at explaining the Eastern approach to dealing with infertility and how it relates to Western medical tests and diagnosis with which we are more familiar. This book was the catalyst for me consulting a herbalist and drinking the world's foulest and most expensive tea.
The Better Baby Book
Lana and Dave Asprey
Written by Dr Lana Asprey and her biohacker husband Dave Asprey, this book details the evidence based regime Dr Lana used to overcome PCOS and to fall pregnant naturally, twice, in her late 30s. It is detailed, well-referenced and practical with most of my vitamin supplements coming from this book's recommendations. If it is good enough for Dr Lana, it is good enough for me.
Stick It To Me Baby
Getting in touch with my spirit and harnessing my belief system. This book has the air of woo woo about it, but it is different to the more medically and physiologically based advice in other books because it is focusing on positivity, mindset and emotional hinderances that may be delaying our path to motherhood. Definite food for thought and much needed encouragement. As my nan would say "Chin up, duck".
It Starts With The Egg
This detailed book on improving egg quality is great for anyone planning on IVF and wanting to increase their chances of success. The advice in this book can feel overwhelming at times but if you commit to just taking baby steps (sorry!) and focusing on one small action at a time, then you'll find it a practical and informative book. It spurred me on to reduce my BPA and toxins exposure and start taking COQ10, amongst other things.
The Period Repair Manual
Lara Briden ND
Unless you have perfect cycles (and let's face it, who does?) then this book is likely to be of huge help. It covers many of the main cycle complaints and explains how to deal with them naturally, from period pain, to not ovulating, short luteal phases to endometriosis. From my perspective, it was the first time that PCOS was linked in my mind with inflammation (skinny girls' PCOS) and the book provides useful insight into how to reduce inflammation through diet.
Gut health and infertility are intricately linked. In fact, that is probably true of gut health and most medical conditions. This book is not related to fertility but is a great introduction to the function and working of the gut. Useful for those with digestive issues who want to understand more about this aspect of health, although it is an overview rather than providing practical advice to readers. I enjoyed this book, and not just because I have a massive lady crush on Giulia Enders, which I do.
The Art of Eating Well
Hensley and Hemsley
Possibly my all time favourite cookbook and the one that I cook from the most. Nearly all recipes are gluten and dairy free except for the use of butter, which can be well tolerated by some people intolerant to lactose anyway. Pablo's chicken, a healthy take on southern fried chicken, slow roasted lamb with anchovies and the sticky toffee pudding (gluten and refined sugar free) are must tries.
Good and Simple
Hensley and Hemsle
Another corker from the Hemsley sisters. Packed with healthy gluten and dairy free recipes. Great all rounder with recipes for soups, smoothies, snacks, meals. Check out the salty cajun-roasted cauliflower, a snack that my husband and I tuck into whilst watching telly and a great replacement for popcorn, as well as the chicken comfort pi and super simple fish fingers.
The Detox Kitchen Bible
A perfect cookbook for if you want some super 'clean' eating to kick start your healthy living. It has some cracking smoothies (carrot, beetroot, apple and celery juice is a fave), savoury breakfasts (soft-boiled eggs with avocado salad is gorgeous) and plenty more. Loads of fresh recipes make it more of a summer eating book than a winter one in my eyes.
This cookbook takes its readers back to first principles of traditional, good old fashioned cooking. Great for anyone interested in following a Weston A Price style diet. It has recipes for fermenting and sprouting, making your own condiments, yoghurt and butter. This book is where I learnt about my all time favourite hot drink, Golden Milk (turmeric and ginger milk). The fabulous photos make me want to quit my job and buy a small holding in the country.
This cookbook is all about eating more alkaline foods to encourage your body to be less acidic. I heard to author speak on a podcast and she treats her PCOS through following this diet. It is vegetarian (a warning for all you meat eaters out there like me) but has the best soup recipes of any book I own (the tomato coconut and chilli soup is especially amazing) along with particularly good healthy snack and pudding recipes.
The Gut Health Diet Plan
When focusing on gut issues, looking for easy to digest and nutritious meals, this book has been a lifesaver. The food is delicious and my attempts look just like the pictures, which is rare (and there are plenty of full colour pictures of the meals to gawp at). Of particular note is this book's accessible recipes to get some liver in to your diet (beef and liver burgers with wasabi mayo and pan fried Indian spiced liver) which are edible for even the staunchest liver haters, like me.
Riverford Farm Cook Book
Everyday Super Food
Every recipe in this book has an accompanying photo (I love to know what I'm aiming, for even when I miss the mark spectacularly) and provides delicious and varied healthy meals. This book is especially good if you want some grains in your diet and are wanting recipes that contain whole and healthier varieties. And it's Jamie. Who doesn't love Jamie? (My Dad. MyDad hates him for no explicable reason. Just bizarre.)
It's All Good
Leon Happy Salads
This is a great cookbook if you take your own lunch to work. Fabulous salads and homemade dressing recipes. The Mexican Salad (sweetcorn, pepper, chorizo, avocado, tomato and a spicy dressing) is my favourite so far. Delicious. I seem to use every pot and pan when making these salads and it leaves my kitchen in a total state, but it is completely worth it.
This book provides me with recipes for all my home made beauty products, including a DIY deodorant that actually works. This is principally why bought this book, although it does contain many delicious and healthy meal recipes too. It is quite spiritual and bohemian, so if you are a hippy at heart you'll love it. The photography is also fab (I'm a sucker for a good photo) and what a dog! - The lurcher, not Xochi, just to clarify.
Perfect accompaniment to a weekly veg box, it tells you how to store, prepare and cook all different types of veg. If, like me, you sign up to a veg box in order to broaden your vegetable horizons through force, this book is what you need. The sections in the book are ordered by vegetable, providing suggested recipes that are much needed, especially for the less familiar veg box items.
Ah Gwynie, must husband groans when I say that I am cooking from the Paltrow book because he thinks it is 'worthy'. But the times that he doesn't know the origin of the recipe, he loves it. In fact, the dairy free banana ice-cream is one of his faves. This book has a great variety of recipes and the Sweet Tooth section has some cracking bakes and pudding that are free of gluten, diary and refined sugars. In my eyes, this is where the book comes into its own.
This book is teaching me all the techniques that my great grandparents would have know and used, but we all seem to have forgotten. Soaking grains and beans and sprouting seeds to make them more digestible and nutrient dense. Making broths and fermenting foods. My gut is thanking me for buying this book. It resembles a textbook with recipes and just to warn you all, there are no photographs. On the plus side, this means that everything I cook I assume is perfect, without having a picture to prove otherwise.
My toiletries cabinet
For more information on why I take these vitamins, further information is provided on the supplements page here.