Eating Animal or Vegetarian when TTC

This article talks about how one vitamin important for fertility may be more beneficial from animal sources than vegetarian.

I get a lot of questions from vegetarians and vegans about the need for eating animal products when trying to get pregnant.

If you avoid animal products for ethical and religious reasons, I respect that and I’m not trying to change your mind.

However, if you question the value of animal products because you believe that a plant-based diet is the healthiest route for fertility, this post may help a little.

As clinicians, our training predisposes us to a certain philosophy. Since my formal education is as an acupuncturist (4 years of graduate school ending with a Masters in Traditional Oriental Medicine), I know the value of using animal parts because of its proven use for thousands of years in Chinese herbal medicine.  I know with 100% certainty of the clinical effectiveness in using animal products to facilitate a healing response.

I often see immediate changes in clients’ periods in as little as 1 cycle when they add a little red meat in an otherwise predominantly vegetarian lifestyle.  Their periods get heavier and longer, indicating that they have a thicker uterine lining, important for implantation of a fertilized egg.  For women who don’t ovulate, they start having a period again.  Ultrasounds show more follicles.  Their hair gets thicker and shinier.

Some people go into health coaching already a vegetarian/vegan and bring that paradigm into their practice.  Because of their existing belief system, they won’t introduce in the animal portion.

As an omnivore, I don’t have a buy-in either way – it’s what I see to be clinically effective and what science says.

My goal is to give the most options to my clients, which means allowing access to everything that’s at our disposal.

I don’t think anyone can dispute that ounce for ounce, in general, animal products are the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. You’ll need a whole lot of vegetarian sources to get the equivalent (sometimes not as bioavailable) from an animal source.

When trying to conceive in your late 30s and 40s, you need to build a surplus of nutrients as quickly as possible for you AND a healthy baby. The fastest way to do that is with animal products.

If you want to stay vegetarian, that’s totally fine. I’ve had vegetarian clients get pregnant. If eating animal products creates too much stress and angst, then it’s better to stick with what you’re comfortable with so that your fertility journey is one that you enjoy.

At the end of the day, you need to do what feels right for you.  You know your body better than anyone else.