Note from Stephanie: Many years ago, I connected with fellow blogger Donielle Baker through the realization that we shared a common struggle of infertility due to having a diagnosis of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). What bonded us further was that we were both using real foods, herbal remedies and supplements, and making natural lifestyle changes to address the hormone imbalances of PCOS– and wonder of wonders, these lifestyle changes really worked! While I continued to focus on healthy living and homemaking in general, Donielle saw a specific need for fertility-focused help and information for women.
Through her blog, and now her brand new book Naturally Knocked Up , she shares a wealth of knowledge, information, how-to and baby steps for any woman wanting to improve her fertility through wholesome living, rather than pharmaceuticals and medical procedures. If I could recommend one book to anyone living day-to-day with this difficult burden, it would be Donielle’s book. She has done the research; she knows what she’s talking about. Plus, she approaches all of this from a humble and balanced Christian perspective. Today, she’s sharing with us some first steps to eating for fertility, in keeping with our Real Food Made Simple  series. Welcome, Donielle!
Guest Post by Donielle of Naturally Knocked Up 
I stumbled upon the world of “real food” about five years ago now through the blogging community. What once was a small underground network has truly blossomed over the years into a growing and vibrant community, spilling into local cities and supporting the farmers that grow good food.
But I didn’t find it because I was searching for it.
I found it because I wanted to get pregnant and didn’t have much to lose if it didn’t work.
You see, getting pregnant hasn’t been easy for me as it took just a couple of weeks shy of an “infertile” diagnosis to get pregnant with our first. And after he was born, I began to find more and more information about traditional and whole foods diets and how they might help increase my fertility.
I thought about it for a few months.
My husband balked at the idea.
And yet I decided I might as well go for it and see if food could really change my body. And within about 6 months, boy, did I ever change! Because while most women seem to dread the normal monthly visitor, I was ecstatic that I was finally seeing her every month. For the first time in my life, I was ovulating regularly instead of only once or twice a year.
Since then, I have made even bigger changes to my diet, but the biggest changes were seen after implementing some basic steps to whole foods.
1. Cut out white sugar.
Ahhhh, my sweet, sweet friend. Always there for me on a long and tiring day, or after an argument with my husband. Who am I kidding? It was an everyday affair with sugar, and lots of it.
But cutting out all white sugar, and limiting whole sugars, can go a long way in balancing the hormones and increasing fertility.
You see, sugar tends to cause drastic fluctuations with the insulin balance in the body. Insulin is a hormone and can affect the production of other hormones as well in somewhat of a cascade effect. It also takes a lot of nutrients to digest and eliminate sugar, so your body uses its stores of essential fertility vitamins and minerals to break it down.
It was definitely one of the hardest habits I’ve had to break, and to be honest I’ve had to re-break that habit many times over the years.
2. Make healthier snacks.
My husband and I have always had an after dinner snack, usually chips or ice cream. Years ago we regularly went through two to three bags of chips and at least a half-gallon of ice cream every week for just the two of us!
Yet those processed snacks, with their neouro-toxic flavor enhancers, rancid and unstable vegetable fats, and lack of nutrients were doing untold damage to my body. I had to find something better!
So I began sticking to snacking only on whole foods: veggies and dip, fruit, and homemade popcorn and ice cream…….while my husband still munched away at a bag of potato chips. (And it’s really OK if your husband isn’t on board right away ; he’ll get there!)
3. Stop eating out.
Not only does it save you money (money that you can then use to buy better quality whole foods) but eating at home more often is so good for your overall health and fertility!
All to often restaurant foods are high in those vegetable oils that we should stay away from, as well as artificial additives and plenty of sugar. The quality of the meats is also less than stellar in many cases!
I began refusing to eat fast food, waiting instead until we got home, and limited myself to ordering only whole foods dishes (even if the ingredients weren’t perfect) at sit down restaurants less than once a month.
The first few weeks were hard as I was used to stopping and getting lunch on the way home from church, but with a bit of planning and making some meals ahead of time, we were able to save plenty of money and nourish our bodies with home cooked food.
I know it can seem overwhelming to change your entire diet all at once; it’s why I’ve always been a big fan of taking it one step at a time. And it’s also hard to know where to start first, but these three steps to whole foods can bring you not only a more nourished body, but somewhat quick results so that you stick to your desire to transition to a whole foods diet.
There is also a lot more information on fertility diets than I could pack in to one post, which is actually why I wrote a book that released last summer. Naturally Knocked Up  is my way of sharing my passion for whole foods and natural health with women who want to take special care of their bodies before conception, or even overcome infertility!
It’s been so much fun to give away some awesome freebies this last week, that I’m extending it for today only! So when when you purchase the paperback book from Amazon or Vintage Remedies, all you need to do is email me your purchase receipt to assistant AT naturallyknockedup.com (replace the AT with @) and I’ll send out a link so that you can download over $35.00 in free eBooks and printouts!
These amazing downloads will help you learn even more about the benefits of natural living and give you the tools you need to make these changes.
Here are the freebies you can download:
Printable Recipe Pages
All the recipes you’ll find in the book, PLUS printouts of the recipes that got cut from the original manuscript because it was getting to long! These extra pages include plenty of fabulous how-tos and incredible recipes from some of my favorite “real food” and natural living friends.
I’ll be putting together a couple of menu plans to give you an idea of what your “fertility diet” could look like as well as a sample whole foods cleanse menu.
Fertility Foods Checklist
This basic nutritional recommendation list is a great way to start making sure you get in all the nutrients your body needs. Just put it up on the fridge and mark it off as you go through the week.
Herbal Nurturing ebook by Michele Augur of www.FrugalGranola.com 
Naturally prepare for cold/flu season, PMS, headaches, sunburns, postpartum, tummy aches, rashes, and more with over 30 recipes, additional homeopathic suggestions, and healthy-living tips.
Week-by-Week Guide to Your Pregnancy ebook by Angela England of http://untrainedhousewife.com 
What changes should a woman expect during her pregnancy? How does the baby grow each week? This pregnancy development ebook will answer all those questions, and more. Not only does A Weekly Guide to Pregnancy cover each week’s changes for both mother and baby, but the book also includes some bonus material including morning sickness, easing back pain, and other pregnancy complaints.
Over 60 pages of week-by-week information at your fingertips.
A value of $4.97!
Angela is also the author of Backyard Farming  and 30 Days to Make, Market, and Sell a Fabulous Ebook .
Beyond Grain & Dairy, an ebook by Starlene Stewart of GAPS Diet Journey 
When you’ve been told you can no longer eat gluten, grains and dairy, it might seem there is nothing left to eat. Beyond Grain & Dairy is a recipe book with 113 delicious recipes made with real food which will show you that there is plenty of delicious food. There is no need to feel deprived; move Beyond Grain & Dairy and you may feel better than you have in your whole life.
A value of $17.00!
The Kitchen Herbal by Jessie Hawkins (digital addition) of Vintage Remedies 
Herbs and spices have been used medicinally since antiquity, but not in the capsules and preparations we use today. Traditionally, the line between food and medicine was blurred, as many functional foods served as medicine, and many medicinal herbals were taken with food. This leads to an explosion in flavor possibilities that will please the palate while boosting wellness.
In this book, Jessie Hawkins explores eighteen traditional culinary herbs. You will learn how to cultivate them, harvest and store them, and how to add them to your table. She covers the nutritional and medicinal use of each herb, then provides recipes and tips on pairing flavors for maximum taste. This delightful book combines food, health and wellness in a fun and enjoyable culinary experience.
A value of $4.95!
Jessie Hawkins is also the author of Handbook of Vintage Remedies  and Guide to Bread: Unlocking the Mysteries of Grains, Gluten and Yeast .
Sugar Detox Challenge ebook
Whether you’re just starting on your journey to ‘real’ and natural foods, or you’ve been on this road for some time and just need a bit of encouragement, this ebook is for you!
Is Your Flour Wet? ebook
A multiple blogger project I’m involved in, put together by Katie of Kitchen Stewardship . Your guide to soaked, sprouted, and fermented baked goods with plenty of recipes. You’ll learn the reasons behind why you’d want to prepare your grains this way and also gain tutorials on how to do it properly. The recipes have been contributed by other bloggers who have worked to make sure they’re both tasty and nutritious.
What Is Thyroid Detox and Why You Need It To Feel Like Yourself Again ebook by Magdalena Wszelaki, Certified Holistic Health Coach and Josie Lincoln, UK Naturopathic Nutrition Advisor
To get access to these A.MAZE.ING freebies worth over $35.00, just email me at assistant AT naturallyknockedup.com (replace the AT with the @ symbol) with either your e-receipt forwarded from Amazon or Vintage Remedies showing you purchased this book in paperback OR a photo of the book in your possession. As an added bonus, this offer also applies to everyone who has previously ordered a paperback copy of the book!
Other posts in the series:
What Is Real Food? 
7 Foods to Avoid