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Magnesium for fertility and pregnancy

I started my baby making journey at 35, just 1 month before Covid-19 hit. With limited knowledge and access to fertility clinics, after 6 months of trying, I decided to REALLY focus on how to achieve optimal hormonal health. My nutrients were somewhat depleted from many Covid afternoons of beer and wine drinking, coupled by morning filled with coffee, and an inconsistent unfocused diet. My stress levels were high from being under-employed with little vision of how my future would unfold. And all I really wanted for my future was to become a mom. So, the studious part of me started cracking the books.

There are several several factors that affect fertility, your menstrual cycles, and I truly believe you need to get the basics right first before you rely on “magic pills”. However, my clock was ticking so I simultaneously made attempts in spiritual, behavioral, stress, diet and supplements to help boost my fertility. To see breakdown of the basic MUSTS of fertility, see my article on: Lifestyle changes for fertility 35+.

I read several different articles and books and even scientific journals to try and self-diagnose my fertility issues. I’ll include a list of my favorites and references at the bottom or in the text as necessary. And really I do believe you should have a very healthy, varied diet to achieve optimum nutrition, and in addition to taking supplements, I have focused on improving my diet to include more of these specific nutrients, but I’ll save the food lists for another article.



Magnesium is a “miracle nutrient”. It supports so many bodily functions necessary to achieve balanced hormone levels meaning, an optimum menstrual cycle. And 80% of people are deficient in magnesium.

  • Magnesium supports sleep and relaxation. Taken before bed, it helps you to achieve a restful night’s sleep and combats stress.
  • Magnesium balances your sex hormones: it 1) balances Estrogen and controls FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) which stimulate the ovaries to release eggs, 2) balances low-progesterone – a common symptom of short luteal phases (which I was having problems with) 3) relieves PMS symptoms because magnesium naturally drops before your period.
  • It reduces inflammation – increasing chances of successful IVF
  • Magnesium is necessary in several cellular processes that combat the effects of aging (like lowered fertility)

My story – I listened to a podcast on Fertility Friday called, “The Magnesium Miracle” by Dr. Carolyn Dean, which is also a book. Since I was having problems with short luteal phases, I decided it was worthwhile. I had a supplement in the house called MegaMag by Trace Minerals that my husband bought but never took because he didn’t like the taste. Every evening sometime after 7pm or so I put a dropper full of it mixed in with a splash of juice, soda water and stevia. And couldn’t taste a thing other than my yummy drink.

I think Magnesium reduced my changes of morning sickness

When I ran out of MegaMag I bought Sun Warriors Magnesium. I liked them both equally. I did this for about 2 months before I got pregnant. Of course, after successfully conceiving I had to look up all my supplements and decide along with my midwives, which ones I should still take. And to my very very big surprise, I had ZERO morning sickness. Upon researching this a little, magnesium is actually indicated to help reduce nausea in early pregnancy. So – I decided to thank my lucky stars that my magnesium levels we so high from taking the supplement.

Magnesium for Constipation (especially in early and late pregnancy)

Magnesium is also known for being a laxative (think epsom salt). However, most dietary supplements are now made to avoid this side effect. In the case of constipation (like in pregnancy), you may want to try a type of magnesium that helps relieve constipation (like magnesium citrate). Magnesium citrate helps pull water into your intestines from other areas of the body. So make sure you are getting extra water and electrolytes to prevent dehydration. It is also recommended by some to only take it as needed (try not to become dependent or take it every single day).

My story – In early – mid pregnancy, I became constipated. When my caregivers put me on Ferrous Sulfate – Iron pills, this became worse. Right away, I started taking liquid Calcium Magnesium Citrate with Vitamin D3, available at my local health food store, under the brand name Solgar. They have a few different flavors like blueberry and strawberry which are pleasant. I take 1 tablespoon at bedtime most nights. This specific combination of nutrients is great for pregnancy since Calcium is a key nutrient your baby needs to grow bones. The magnesium citrate helps with the transportation of calcium. It also stimulates a hormone called Calcitonin, which aids in the flow of calcium into the bones. Vitamin D3 also helps with the body’s absorption of calcium. So this supplement is 3x – helps you sleep, relieves constipation, and increases calcium stores and absorption.

Non-constipating iron supplements:

I’m going to write a quick post of avoiding & treating constipation in pregnancy, but quickly let me mention the wonders of taking Floradix. This was recommended to me by my homebirth midwife instead of my midwife at the clinic. It is a liquid, highly absorbant and non constipating iron supplement safe for pregnancy. I switched to Floradix Iron & Herbs in the middle of my second trimester and was no longer regularly constipated. On my follow-up iron level tests, my midwives said I was doing great iron wise for pregnancy and to keep doing what I was doing. Although floradix is more $$ than the iron supplements prescribed to me ($25/month v. free) I would gladly pay $1 a day to be regular! I’m now in my 3rd trimester and starting to get constipated again – so the magnesium is circling back into my weekly routine. Hope this helps!


Magnesium and Fertility

Magnesium and male fertility

Magnesium and morning sickness:

Magnesium citrate:

More articles to come on the benefits of:

Zinc 8mg/day

Vitamin C

Fish Oil (Krill Oil)





Vitamin B Complex

Green Drinks 1-2x a day – Spirulina, Chlorella

Yellow Maca


CQ10 – sperm motility 100mg 2x/day

Vitamin C

Fish Oil

L-carnitine – 2g/day

L-acetly carnitine 1g/day


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My sourdough starter journey

I’ve caught the sourdough bug. But the problem is, I still haven’t wrapped my head around it completely. So I’ve been doing some experimenting. And this is basically my notes, journal, blog. Hopefully at some point, I’ll re-write this all to be instructional but for now. It is what it is.

How do I feed my starter?

At the moment I have a starter my friend gave me, which I keep in the fridge for a week at a time. It needs to be fed (which you can do when you bake a batch of bread) reserving some active, fed starter for next batch. But this week I still have bread left over from last week. So I’m trying to figure out how to just feed it enough to make sure it retains it’s activity enough to hibernate in my fridge another week. There are far too many conflicting ideas on the internet. So, I’m documenting my journey, my dough ups and downs. And I know soon I’ll figure it all out.

What is discard, when do I get it and what do I do with it?

To try and get the hang of it, I’m feeding them 2x a day, and observing them until they obviously double in size within a 4-8 hour window. Which is when they are supposed to be “ripe” for leavening bread. Each feeding so I can keep the amount of starter in the jar manageable, and not just growing exponentially, I have what is called “discard”, or less than fully active sourdough starter. Meaning, it contains wild yeast, it is sour, but it’s probably not in the state where it can leaven something by itself. Which is where – sourdough discard recipes come into play! You need to “discard” some of this flour & water mixture, so that you can replenish the remainder of the starter and keep a manageable amount of material in the jar, with minimal flour waste. Once your starter is active enough, and you use most of it for your recipe, you don’t really need to discard anymore. Unless you have too much to store.

How often and how many times do I have to feed my sourdough starter that was refrigerated?

What happens with different types of flour?

Feeding #1: Monday AM: My first step was to take the starter she gave me out of the fridge and separate it into 2 starters, one fed with equal parts by weight whole wheat flour and another fed the same ratio 1:1:1 with plain white flour. I did this because I’m curious how it reacts to whole wheat, and also because I want to make more whole wheat breads. After feeding them both, I noticed that they were active, but using the rubber band method, they rose, but didn’t double in size. Now I thought maybe it’s because I fed it 1:1:1 when the recipe she gave me calls for about 1:4 (flour):6 (water). This larger ration is supposed to give the starter more food for a quicker rise. Also maybe it didn’t double because I didn’t let it come to room temperature first? But there were no starter maintance articles I saw that talked about letting it come to room temperature before “counting” the hours to doubling.

Feeding #1.5 so after about 8 hours, discarded all but 1/2 cup of each (and made blueberry sourdough muffins with the discard). The strange thing was the whole wheat starter was more active than the white starter. So I decided to just add a little more water and flour to the white starter (feeding 0.5) but not the whole wheat starter – and I let them sit out over night (in the draft free oven) to see if they would rise more. It looked like they had, but they caved in over that time period and we’re back down in size.

Feeding number 2.5 Tuesday 8 AM: So in the morning I feed them again 1:1:1 by weight, but I always add a little extra water just because it the starter seems really stiff when do 1:1:1. This time they rose again nicely, but again didn’t quite double in size by the time 8 hours went by.

Feeding # 3.5 Tuesday 4pm: So I discarded all but .5 cups or about 100 grams of each again. And then fed them again 1:1:1 by weight. At this point I have almost 2 cups of discard. So I made up a delicious banana bread recipe (based on this recipe) to use the discard in. I put them back in the oven with the pilot light on intermittently and a thermometer. It’s between 70-80 degrees in there. After about 3 hours it rose to almost double, but not quite, and then fell back down again. Does this mean it peaked? Should I feed one more time?

This article talks about needing to feed up to 3 times every 8-12 hours to reactivate a refrigerated starter enough to leaven bread. But, the recipe my friend gave me, just has me remove 1/2 cup from fridge, has me feed it 1:4:6 (or 1/2 starter, 2 cups water, 2 cups flour) for 6-12 hours until that doubles or triples, and then has me build up a bread recipe from that the next morning. And it worked fine.

Observation Tuesday 9pm – after 5 hours into the 2nd feeding… Both failed the float test. They havent risen again. Do I leave them over night? It’s too early to feed them again? What are my next steps.

I left them out overnight Tuesday, fed them again first thing Wednesday around 8am. By about 11:30 they both passed the float test. 1 teaspoon in warm water! Hallejuah! I finally get it. It looked like they had risen almost half but not exactly. So I realized, “double” is not an exact. Almost double works too. I left them out, this time for 24 hours (since this is all an active starter needs) before the next feeding. The next morning, Thursday, I fed them one more time, let them sit out fot 1-2 hours and them put them in the fridge because I knew I couldnt keep up with feeding schedule for this weekend.

Saturday night, I took them out of the fridge to get ready to bake with them the next day. Within 1 hour of warming up they were already showing signs of life with no feeding! Hopefully I wont have to reactivate them with 3 feedings before they are ready to leaven bread. I am having a hard time with all this discard. I just want to keep baking!

So tonight, Saturday, I discarded all but 200 g from my white starter and 150 from my brown starter and fed again. Tomorrow I am hoping they are active and I have enough volume to make whole wheat buns and bread. (hopefully I have enough flour). And then I experimented with discard again.

I’m trying to make this recipe for cinnamon buns, but 1/3 discard is all it called for! That’s crazy because I am swimming in discard from my experiments last week. I doubled the recipe, and then replaced some of the flour and milk with more discard.

I am using this rule of thumb from King Arthur on substituing flour for starter in a specific recipe….

I’m using 8 ounces of ripened sourdough starter. So that means I need to reduce the flour by 4 ounces (to 8 3/4 ounces); and reduce the liquid by 4 ounces by eliminating the water (2 ounces), as well as 2 ounces of the milk

So for the double cinnamon bun recipe, I used these proportions. I will write out the recipe later if it is bomb.

So instead of 5 cups flour and 2 cups milk, in addition to starter, I used 3 cups white flour (18 ounces), 1/2 cup whole heat flour, 1.5 cups milk, 10 ounces whole wheat starter discard. well see how it turns out!

Sunday 4/11

Fed starters at 8pm Saturday night. For buns need active starter by 7pm, a total of 2 cups stater, feed white starter again at 3pm. For whole wheat bread recipe, need active starter around 2:30pm. Feed whole wheat starter around 10.

How long does discard stay good for?

up to a week in the fridge, indefinitely if frozen.

My goal is just to intellectually and tactically understand this process so I can use any recipe with confidence.


Sourdough banana bread

This is a delicious recipe using active sourdough discard, ripe bananas, wholewheat flour, oat flour, flax eggs and coconut sugar. With stevia sweetened chocolate chips and farm grown macadamia nuts, this recipe is addictive. I made two loafs pans, and 3/4 of one was gone the first night, just me (6 months pregnant) and my husband.
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Bread, Dessert, Snack
Servings 2 loaves


  • 4 flax eggs each "egg" is 1 tbsp ground flax with 3 tbsp water,
  • 500 g ripe bananas about 10 small, 5 medium/large
  • 1 large splash vanilla
  • 2 cups hydrated, active sourdough starter
  • 2 cups oat flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil melted, or liquid
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • macadamia nuts and chocolate chips to taste


  • In a large bowl or stand-up mixer break apart bananas by hand. Add sugar, vanilla, and flax eggs and cream until well combined.
  • Add starter, oil, flour, salt, baking powder and mix until well combined.
  • Fold in nuts or chocolate chips.
  • Pour into 2 oiled loaf pans
  • Bake in preheated oven at 350° F for 60 minutes until knife comes out clean. If the tops start to get too dark, cover with foil.
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Vegetable and Salmon Chowder

salmon and veggie choder

This Garden Vegetable and Salmon Chowder is an excellent way to use up some of that gallon of milk in the fridge. It is also tasty way to incorporate affordable and nutritious frozen salmon, and use up some of those garden veggies! I used to think making chowder was sort of… hard and that chowders had to be unhealthy because they contained lots of cream. But I’ve recently discovered that I can make a yummy chowder with just a little flour and milk. The flavor comes from the butter and the fresh herbs.

Is there any such thing as too many veggies?

Whenever I make soup, I have this tendency to want to throw in as many vegetables as I can in. As much celery, corn, veggies, and onion as possible, and peppers and and and! I always ask my husband, “am I allowed to add in red pepper to the salmon, now corn chowder?” I meant to add our green beans in this one too but I forgot! If my leeks were ready I would have included them too. And if he let me, I’d sliver some kale in there, but I know I’d get complaints. In short, I have to fight myself to fit more veggies in, but still honor the delicate balance of ingredients.

Will this salmon chowder recipe be good without fresh dill?

I love that I’ve finally figured out it is easy to grow fresh dill here in Hawaii. And now it just self-seeds in my garden, I don’t even have to keep a rotation. I’m sure this recipe would be good without the corn, or the peppers, or the onion, leeks, etc. But I don’t know how rounded it would be without the dill. Dried dill should work ok. If you don’t have either, my next step would be to try it with fresh thyme (or dried). Without those two, I’m sure it would still be yummy, lots of black pepper and make sure your broth flavor is robust.

Can I make this gluten-free?

Of course you can! Try whatever gluten-free flours you have on hand for thickening. BUT, thicken at the end instead of making a “roux”. Remove some of the broth (1/2 – 1 cup strained with slotted spoon), and add a 2 or so until mixture becomes a loose paste, add back to soup. I would try the finer flours first as opposed to grainy gluten-free flours. I’d start with potato starch or flour. If I didn’t have that my next bet would be tapioca starch, rice flour, cassava flour. Just be careful to add less than you think because sometimes gluten-free flours can be “gluey”.

So how is this recipe healthy?

I’m 6 months pregnant this week and in my opinion this soup is the PERFECT way to spend my calories. It is full of the 3 most important nutrients: Protein, Calcium and Iron. The omega-3 fatty acids from the salmon, the protein and calcium from the milk, along with vitamin C from the red peppers. Add in some fiber from the celery and corn and you have a really nutritiously packed meal. I could eat 3 bowls of it (and I sorta did!)

salmon and veggie choder

Salmon and Garden Vegetable Chowder

An easy and delicious soup made with several ingredients you are likely to have on hand. Pair with some yummy homemade bread for a filling and delicious meal.
0 from 0 votes
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people


  • 1 large onion
  • 4 medium celery stalks
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped red pepper about 1 large or several small
  • 2-4 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 ½ cups corn frozen or garden fresh
  • 4-6 cups broth whatever you have, fish, veggie or chicken
  • 1 – 1 ½ pounds Wild Caught Salmon cut into 1/2 in pieces
  • 2 cups milk skim, 1%, 2%, whole, whatever you have on hand just not dairy free in this recipe.
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh dill chopped about 3-4 tablespoons and extra for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Heat large pot to medium and melt butter
  • Add celery, onion and pepper and saute about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile peel and chop potatoes
  • Once the veggies are soft, add broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer until potatoes are soft. ~15 minutes
  • Add corn and salmon cut into 1/2 inch pieces (be careful of bones)
  • Simmer for 5 minutes or so until corn and salmon are cooked.
  • Add milk and dill, bring back up to a hot but not boiling temp.
  • Strain some of the liquid off (about a cup or so) into a bowl, add 2 tablespoons or more flour and whisk until you get a thick liquid without clumps. Add back into soup and stir to incorporate.
  • Adjust salt and pepper to taste, and turn to low or remove from heat (once flour is added you need to make sure you still frequently to avoid it sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Serve hot with a piece of fresh sourdough bread!
Keyword Corn, Milk, Salmon
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Moist, oil free, healthy zucchini muffins with walnuts

I used to make zucchini bread when I lived on the East coast. Unfortunately, zucchini doesn’t grow well (at least for us) here in wet Hawaii. But Costco has organic ones every once in a while so I get them to augment my garden veggie harvest. The recipe for zucchini bread my step-mom and I used to make called for 1/2 of the amount of usual oil in applesauce. It also called for a fair amount of zucchini as we always had a bumping harvest in CT. (I hate those veggie muffin recipes that call for 1/2 cups!)

I adapted this recipe for muffins and replaced all the oil with applesauce as an experiment. Why? Because I’m really trying to hone in on my diet. I get a lot of healthy fat from avocados, nuts, and coconut. So I figured not all my muffins need to add refined oils. Super moist muffins that are reminiscent of the taste of zucchini bread but with texture of moist banana bread. These are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber with whole wheat flour, oats and omega-3 rich walnuts. Perfect as an addition to a whole-foods well balanced diet.

Healthy Zuchinni Muffins with Walnuts (oil free, dairy-free, vegan option)

0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Servings 15 jumbo muffins


  • 4 small apples cooked and blended to make 1 cup applesauce
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 cup almond milk unsweetened, or other milk of choice
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2⅔ cups whole wheat flour
  • cup coconut flour
  • 1 ⅓ cup quick oats
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 4 cups shredded zuchinni
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


  • mix the wet ingredients in medium bowl (eggs, apple sauce, maple syrup, vanilla, milk)
  • mix dry ingredients in large bowl (flours, coconut sugar, salt, cinnamon, baking powder and soda)
  • mix wet into dry, without over mixing
  • fold in zucchini and nuts
  • bake in an oven preheated to 375° F for 30-40 minutes, and let it cool for 5 minutes. Enjoy warm but my favorite is cold.
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Blueberry muffins with Greek Yogurt and Oats

This is a quick and dirty recipe dump! Looking for creative ways to satisfy my sweet tooth while getting healthy carbs and protein! It is also low in fat (comparatively) and has whole grains! I based this recipe off of Cookie & Kate’s Healthy Blueberry Muffin Recipe. Hope you enjoy. IF you like this recipe you may also like my Gluten-free chocolate Yogurt Muffins or my Blueberry Banana Spelt Muffin recipe.

Blueberry Muffins made with Greek Yogurt and Oats

0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Servings 12 jumbo muffins or 24 small muffins
Calories 271 kcal



  • Mix flours, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and bone broth powder
  • Mix eggs, oil, yogurt, maple syrup and sugar.
  • Fold in blueberries
  • Baking in line or greased muffin tins, or in silicone muffin molds for ~30 minutes at 375° F


Vitamin A 1% DV
Vitamin C 2%
Calcium 55%
Iron 3%


Serving: 12jumbo muffinsCalories: 271kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 12gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 398mgPotassium: 141mgFiber: 4gSugar: 21g
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Gluten-free Chocolate Yogurt Muffins

This was one of my best muffin recipes yet! Super moist muffins, slightly sweetened. While warm the tasted like a blend between brownies and cake. Yum! I’ll finish the instructions soon!

Chocolate yogurt muffins

0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American


Dry Ingredients

  • 1 ⅓ cup oat flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup baking cacoa powder

Wet ingredients

  • 2 medium eggs
  • 2 tbsp ground flax (mixed with 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup almond milk (unsweetened) or any milk
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar or more to taste for sweeter muffins.
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 small bananas mashed
  • 1/3 cup cacao nibs


  • Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl
  • Mix the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl
  • Add the wet into the dry and stir until combined
  • Bake in an oven preheated to 375°F for 20-25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes and enjoy warm, cold or reheated.
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Hāmākua Mushroom, Eggplant, and Big Island Beef Lasagna with ricotta, parmesan and fresh mozzarella

This recipe was my first ever lasagna. I was looking for a way to use a lot of Hamakua mushrooms we were gifted along with a large container of ricotta, and of course get my iron fix in with fresh Big Island Beef. I am running out of time in general but trying to at least keep note of the basic of my recipes along with nutrition info so I can track how much protein, iron etc. I am feeding this growing baby oven. So this is a quick and dirty post. Hope you get inspired to make your own Italian creations!

Mushroom, eggplant and beef lasagna with ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella

0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian


  • 1 32 oz container ricotta cheese or less
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella chopped
  • 4 oz Parmesan cheese grated fresh
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 25 oz jar marinara sauce
  • 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 pounds eggplant sliced thin
  • 1 12oz package lasagna noodles about 14 noodles
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  • Cook mushroom well in a small amount of oil, set aside
  • Slice eggplant, salt, leave for 20 minutes and soak up the salt with a towel.
  • Roast in the oven on baking sheets sprayed with oil for 30 minutes at 350°F, set aside
  • Brown beef in large skillet with chopped onion and garlic. Drain fat. Add mushrooms, diced tomato and 3/4 of the jar of marinara sauce. Cook and add salt and pepper to taste. Add any fresh Italian herbs you have like parsley, basil, oregano, thyme.
  • Boil water for lasagna noodles, preparing them like the package as you do the next step.
  • Mix ricotta, 1/2 the parm and 1/2 the mozz, the eggs, salt and Italian seasoning.
  • Once all ingredients are prepared pour a little of the jar sauce on the bottom of a large baking pan. then over lap with noodles (About 4). Then add meat sauce, eggplant slices, and ricotta.
  • Make another layer with noodles, and repeat meat sauce, eggplant, ricotta. To use up all the ricotta and noodles I made another small baking dish with 2 layers because my large pan isn't that tall. The final layer should end with noodles, a little be of the jar sauce (no meat on top) and the rest of the sprinkled cheese.
  • Bake in oven at 350°F for 45 minutes, let sit for 5-10 minutes and enjoy!
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Fluffy Yogurt & Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Oat Flour

3 cottage cheese and yogurt pancakes served with raspberry jam

This recipe for yogurt and cottage cheese pancakes with oat flour is surprisingly so satisfying. It doesn’t weigh you down in the morning, or leave you still wanting more. They are naturally gluten-free – even if you like wheat it is good to mix up your carbs!

Have you ever bought cottage cheese thinking, this is a good idea for the family, but then struggled to figure out how and when to use it? When I was little I remember my mom feeding me cottage cheese. I can’t remember what she had me eat it with. I don’t mind eating on its own as a small snack. Sometime I sprinkle sunflower seeds and tart cherry syrup on it. Other times just have a spoonful at a time. I tried mixing it into a salad once. It was ok but my coworkers look at me like I was crazy. And your husband, might do the same when you tell him he’s getting cottage cheese pancakes for breakfast. But he will probably thank you later for the excellent boost of protein to start his day.

These are also a great way to enjoy pancakes, without the starchy guilt. Add a dash of dark organic maple syrup. Yumm!!! They are also a great way to get protein in your diet without making your whole family eggs for breakfast (our usual).

I am 4 months pregnant so I am on a mission to get my most important nutrients… calcium, protein, and iron. This recipe is very rich in calcium and protein. And the egg yolks are a good source of iron but of course, calcium inhibits iron absorption so for dinner I’m having sausage and lentil stew – no dairy!

This recipe for cottage cheese and yogurt pancakes is also really quick to make. I whip it up in the morning while I am waiting for my coffee to brew. Then, I let it sit while I sneak in a quick work out. When I return to it 30 minutes later it is pleasantly producing a few air bubbles ensuring that it will fluff up a little bit.

I hope I have convinced you these are worth trying. I found the recipe and it took my a while to build up to making them. I waiting until my cottage cheese was right at it’s “Best buy” date staring me in the face. And told my husband, I don’t care what you think I am trying this concept. Lol. He couldn’t get enough. And I found him talking about them a few more times throughout the day.

stack of yogurt and cottage cheese pancakes

Yogurt and Cottage Cheese Oat Pancakes

This is a marriage between Greek yogurt pancakes, cottage cheese pancakes and oatmeal. Packed with protein, gluten-free and delicious.
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Servings 7 3-4 in diameter pancakes


Wet ingredients

  • 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup full fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 medium eggs beaten
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil for cooking

Dry ingredients

  • 1 cup oat flour about 1.25 cups blended into powder.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2-1 tsp cinnamon optional


  • In medium bowl, whisk eggs, add yogurt, cottage cheese, vanilla, maple syrup and stir well
  • In blender, blend 1.25 cup quick oats (to achieve 1 cup oat flour). Add salt, baking powder, and any spices.
  • For extra fluff, let pancake batter sit for 10-30 minutes depending on your timing.
  • Heat large pan on med-low heat. Melt 1 tsp coconut oil.
  • Add pancake batter about 1/4-1/3 cup or so at a time, and with a spoon gently round out the pancake a little. I do about 3 or 4 per pan so I have room to flip.
  • After about 1 minute, gently pry a stiff spatula under the pancake loosening it from the pan. After about another minute or 2 add more coconut oil as you flip the loosened pancake over to brown the other side.
  • Let that side cook for a minute or 2, and loosen it again. Wait until it is golden brown (you want to give the egg time to cook). Transfer to toaster oven on about 300°F until other pancakes are done.
  • Serve with jam, maple syrup, butter or just snack on them plain.
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Fertility lifestyle changes for 35+

A bit of context for my fertility advice for late 30s:

A few years ago I decided all I wanted out the next portion of my life was to have a child (or more). I was no longer focused on a specific career or income goal, I was recently married and living in the location of my dreams. Luckily, my husband and I both wanted children, whether or not we were ready for them. Married at 33, by 34 I knew I was tick-tocking. Although we lived a pretty healthy lifestyle I had some poor habits. So after our honeymoon I decided to start taking this whole pre-conception thing a bit more seriously. The first thing I had to do was quit smoking weed. I am a medical marijuana patient, using the herb primarily for a reoccurring knee pain and menstrual cramps, but I really liked to smoke a little weed with a little tobacco. A poor habit for a mom. And I really liked to drink multiple coffees a day and multiple alcoholic beverages at night. So, I decided to do a preconception cleanse called Purium Lifestyle Transformation. You can read more about this preconception cleanse in this article I wrote. As a note while I do advise the transformation for pre-conception cleansing, I don’t think the “lifestyle” program was what I needed for conception itself.

This definitely helped me kick the most important bad habits. But I still had work to do. After a few personal hurdles I started drinking again. I worked late managing and serving at a bar & restaurant. My coworkers and I would stay after work socializing and having a few drinks. I ate dinner late, then drank beers late, and then went to sleep late. Etc. So I kinda took off time from trying to be a good girl. But regardless my husband finally agreed to start trying to conceive with me.

That was Feb 2020. Then covid hit us in here in Hawaii on March 2020. It took a little time for him to come around again and we tried again for months, during what we thought was our “fertile” window based on the “Glow” App, you know the magic day 14. But months went by and I kept getting my periods. Then I took some advice from my OBGYN and a friend and started tracking my ovulation and my cervical mucus in August. Which by the way was a really bad month for me. I was under a lot of emotional stress. My summer babysitting gig just ended, my bar was no where near reopening and a friend I went to graduate school with was brutally murdered by her boyfriend leaving me in shock and wondering what I was doing with my life. I wanted to run home to Connecticut. I wanted to hide in my room and drink wine all day. And the only thing I really motivated me at all was wanting to have a baby. I didn’t care about anything else. In fact, one of the reasons why I didn’t go home to CT was because I knew my chances of getting pregnant there was zero.

So I stuck around, planned an anniversary staycation with my husband and used those ovulation strips I had been meaning to try. I had already been pretty good about updating my Glow App when I got my period. But I was bad about tracking how long it really lasted, how heavy the flow was, when I was spotting etc. But I knew my cycle was usually around 26 days. Of course, those past months I was trying to get pregnant I was using the “rhythm” method of my app which said my fertile days are right around the 14th. But when I used my ovulation strips, that August, It showed I was ovulating more like day 17,18. Which at first I thought that was fine, “yay! I’m ovulating”. But then bam! I got my period “on time” of my 26 day cycle. After some thinking, and research I realized this meant my luteal phase that cycle was only 8 days!!! Way too short to have successful implantation. Now, this could have been exacerbated by my unusually stressful month leading up to ovulation or it could have been this way all along. I wish I had started tracking when I first tried to get pregnant.

For the rest of August and September I began to research the hell out of fertility and try everything I could. I specifically looked into lengthening my luteal phase and increasing progesterone. As well as increasing cervical mucus and uterine lining. I read books (sometimes 2-3 times), I looked up lay articles, peer-reviewed articles, I listened to podcasts. I took notes. Whenever I saw a lot of crossover in my research I decided it was something worth trying.

Then, in September, I ovulated a little earlier day 16 or 17 with a 10 day luteal phase. So by this time, I am still pretty worried but it felt like maybe somethings I was trying were helping. Although there are varying definitions, a general one that I kept seeing was that Luteal Phase Defect (LPD) is an infertility issued defined by more than one luteal phase 11 days or shorter in a given year, and insufficient progesterone. At this point, I really wanted an infertility check up. But, I was now on MedQuest insurance, trying to switch providers, and waiting for all my records to be transferred from 3 different offices before they would schedule an appointment. So i really had no choice, but to believe my self-diagnosis with luteal phases problems, possible progesterone problems, scared my uterine lining was insufficient as well. Furthermore, I read in a scientific article that LPD only occurs in 3% of women my age. Great.

So I continued my investigative mission. I read more. I changed several things in my daily routine, diet, psyche, After really ramping up my fertility routines with dogmatic behavior and lots of supplements, finally in October I tested positive for ovulation on day 14. Meaning in my 26 day cycled I’d have at least 12 days luteal phase. Enough to have successful implantation, if my uterine lining was thick enough and hormones balanced enough.

Basically, I’m sharing this personal story to set the stage for why I sought the answers and went after the possible solutions I did. So for you reading that don’t know me, as I write this I am 13 weeks pregnant. I successfully conceived that last cycle in mid-October which still seems like a miracle to me given how messed up I thought my cycles were. Below my goal is to share with you everything I learned and believed to make a significnat impact. A lot of these things seems too basic to be true but I believe them to be soooooo important.

Now to the FERTILITY MUSTS! I call these MUSTS because I believe there are NECESSARY to put your mind and body into gear. After, I’ll talk about additional supplements I highly recommend and then other supplements and activities that I encourage.

While really all these things should be considered pre-conception. Before you start trying, these first 2 steps I recommend immediately if you’re even close to thinking about having a baby.

1. Stop hormonal birth control

As soon as you start to think you MAY want to conceive you should stop hormonal birth control. Duh. It is anti-fertility . During my quest for knowledge I listened to several podcasts on the show Fertility Friday by Lisa Briden, Author of “The Fifth Vital Sign“. There was a plethora of information on fertility and she is especially passionate about coming off of birth control. I hadn’t been on birth control since I was 20 so I skipped this research but there is a lot of information you should learn about. Hormonal birth control of course mixes up your hormones but it also nutritionally depletes you. Do your homework!

2. Track your menstrual cycle in detail

A second immensely important pre-conception step – Understand your body, your menstrual cycles, your hormones. Empower yourself and learn about how your amazing system works. “Taking Charge of your Fertility“is the best book I came across for this. I read it 4 times. You should start tracking your cycle before you think you want to conceive. There are a few important points here that are worth mentioning. The easiest way to track is with an smart phone app. But there are definite downside to that. I used an app and falsely believed for 6 months that I was within my “fertile window”. The app doesn’t account for how all women’s bodies are different and relies on the “rhythm” method that cycles are predictable and stable. You can also download paper charts, I always intended to try that but it just wasn’t practical for me.

  • The first day of your period is the first day of significant bleeding. If you are spotting before your period (or any time) note this in your chart or app. But do not count it as the first day of your period. If you are spotting for more than 1-2 days before your significant bleeding, this could be a sign that progesterone is low. You body wants to shed the uterine lining too soon. This was what I was experiencing in the few cycles I tracked in detail. I’d spot for at least 2 days and on top of that my luteal phase was short. So I started to assume I was having a progesterone problem. More on that later.
  • Mark how long your period lasts. If you period is too heavy and too long or too light and too short this could also clue you into potential difficulties. I noticed that my period was only lasting 2-3 days. So again, I thought crap! Maybe I don’t have enough uterine lining. Maybe it is thin, maybe (in the eye of Chinese medicine) I was blood deficient, meaning I didn’t have enough BLOOD and needed to build my blood. Of course, more on that later.
  • Take note of your cervical mucus starting around day 10 of your cycle. Pay attention to your underwear, when you use the toilet, when you wipe, the vaginal sensation (dry/sticky/clear/egg white/wet/lubricative). Sperm need cervical mucus. Your PEAK ovulation day is the last day you experience fertile quality mucus (slippery, clear, stretchy, egg white) OR have wet lubricative vaginal sensation. Again the Fertility Friday podcast and of course Lisa’s book are easy ways to learn more about how to track your cycles. But the holy grail of books on this subject with a LOT of instruction on how to track your cycles, determine when you are fertile and troubleshoot is “Taking Charge of Your Fertility“.
  • At least for a few months track your ovulation using ovulation tests. There are a lot of tests out there. Big range in prices. I opted for a test kit of 20 strip from CVS, generic brand for about $20. This allowed me to track starting on day 8 up to the beginning of my period if I needed. Or 2x a day if I really wanted. Sometimes the kits with just 5 or 7 may not be enough if your cycle is very irregular. The generic “cheap” one’s I chose shows 2 dark pink lines when you are ovulating similar to pregnancy test. For some people this may be too ambiguous. The line gets darker and darker as your luteinizing hormone (LH) levels rise.
  • I’ll admit I was confused several times because I would test positive 3 days in a row. And there was little literature out there about this. Basically, I chalked it up to catching the LH rise, peak and descent. The Glow app actually lets you take a picture of the strips and analyzes them for you. While this is kinda of amusing it can also falsely predict when you are ovulating. I noticed if it was a slightly lighter shade it would automatically mess up my predictions for ovulation and future periods. So I had to figure out how to turn off the predictions on my app. Basically with me, my ovulation days changed over the 3 months I tracked, but my period always came “on time”. Meaning my luteal phases wasn’t stable. (It is supposed to be in most fertile women). It is the follicular phase that more commonly varies. Again, if you have no idea what I’m talking about check out the book “Taking Charge of your Fertility” from the library. Or just buy it. I ended up borrowing it 3 times over 1 year and lending it out to friends.

3. Keeping your stress in check makes your body feel safe enough to conceive.

I honestly don’t have too much to say about this other than it is really important! If you are in fight and flight mode, your body is not going to allow you to take on the extra added stress of building a baby inside of you. You body will naturally try to reserve everything it has for your body. Not procreation. Learn how to manage your stress. We’ve all heard it before but exercise, sleep, fun, eating well, relaxing activities, getting toxins and toxic relationships, situations etc. out of your life is a must. For me, I actually started seeing a therapist on facetime. He helped me focus on my goal (having a baby), worked with me to relieve my stresses in a practical manner (fix my house to make it baby ready, examine my finances and my relationships with others and myself). We focused on real-time things I could do to feel better and not worry without diving into my childhood trauma or poor adult decisions.

The next portion are my MUSTS when your trying to conceive (TTC).

4. Getting 8 hours + of sleep in a completely dark room

Your body needs sleep to produce hormones at the correct levels. Without sleep, your hormones are imbalanced, without balanced hormones, you cannot sustain life in the uterus. Not just any sleep, here are some important sleep guidelines:

a) you need deep restful sleep with an average of at least 8 hours. Ideally your in bed by 9 or 10 at night, rising with the sun in the morning.

b) Practice good sleep hygiene. Stop using electronics at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before bed to keep your eyes away from the bluelight which disrupt your circadian rhythm.

c) Keep your iphone, ipad etc. out of the bedroom or at least on airplane mode while you get ready for bed and sleep. Years ago I thought this was silly, then, I starting thinking its probably not a bad thing. But when I got serious about getting pregnant, I got serious about EMFs. No phone after 9 or before 6. Especially not in bed. I even put our wifi router on a timed outlet to turn off at 10pm and on at 6am to at least have part of the day free from some EMFs. You can read more about EMFs in this article on EMFs and TTC.

d) For me I think it made a huge difference to sleep in complete darkness! Black out curtains all the way. It took a lot of convincing my husband that it was essential because he doesn’t care for curtains and like the fresh breeze of an open window. But of all the things I changed to increase fertility I really feel like this one had a huge impact. This is because the hormone melatonin has an impact on your fertility, egg quality, and fetal development. In fact there is darkness/light therapy that systematically exposes women to darkness or light at certain phases of their cycles to improve cycle irregularities. I specifically became dogmatic about my sleeping in the dark routine because I read about how successful it is at increasing the luteal phase length. Here is a good podcast episode on Fertility Friday interviewing Joy De Felice about the important of light on the menstrual cycle.

5. Get regular exercise, but not too strenuous.

Now, again this has to do with stress. Exercise helps relieve stress but, if your body is under a lot of stress it will use its reserves for you, not for conception. If you are used to strenuous training, long distance running, etc., then continuing with the same exercise should be fine. But if you are just starting to try to conceive, starting a diet and a strict intense work-out routine may not be the best bet. Continuing with your current level of activity, and adding gentle strength training and walks, yoga, etc. Another fact I re-learned, is that you need enough body fat to produce hormones at correct levels. In my research I found some conflicting numbers for ideal body fat levels for conception, but 17%-19% body fat being at the low end of what experts considered ideal. Of course they always admitted that everyone’s body’s are different), which explain why gorgeous thin women have the cutest baby bumps.

To have more “fertility points” I realized I had to be ok with keeping on the extra pounds. This one was hard for me. I’ve always had body image issues, wanting to weigh and look a certain way, but not always attaining that in balance. But this past fall, I was definitely packing some extra pounds from my Covid world of decreased activity. I really wanted to lose 5-10 pounds, but because of my research on the subject I just left myself stay a little fluffy and kept those extra pounds. So I would consider your diet and workout goals if what I am saying resonates with you. I’m in the “normal weight/BMI” category and can only speak for myself. But, I realized starting a intense workout regime is not the condition my body would perceive as safe to grow a baby. Even though I felt chubby, my impedance body weight scale told me that at 132 pounds, 5″5″, my body fat was 17%. So I decided it was not the time to diet and try to loose weight. Instead I focused on getting my 15,000 steps a day, learning yoga and eating healthy.

6. Nutrition is really important.

First off, detoxing from conventional foods is important. I recommend a wholefoods diet, organic as much as possible, that is low in refined grains and sugars and high in vegetables, protein, and fat. One really big change that I made however, was from switching from a Western Diet culture view of raw fruits and vegetables, salads, low fat, low carb; to a Eastern Diet cultural view point. This was specifically focused on building my blood, in case my uterine lining was too thin, and balancing my hormones. In Eastern medicine, warm meals unlock the nutrients, as opposed to big cold salads, smoothies and raw vegetables. Also, animal fats are highly valued in moderation for providing the building blocks for hormone production. So I went off the Purium lifestyle diet style of shakes and salads, and endless cucumbers and celery and starting incorporating more cooked meals, warms soups, animals fats instead of shying away from them in choice of “healthier” alternatives. A few types of foods I included to specifically build my blood:

  • dark green leafy veggies
  • dark red and black foods like beets, molasses, prunes, berries, cherries, purple kale, purple bok choy, anything dark!
  • Probiotics in pill form as well as sauerkraut and kefir
  • Fats: butter,eggs, avocado, coconut
  • Proteins: red meat, fish, beans, eggs, lentils, organ meats (think Pate)
  • Other boosters: Bone broth, Bone Broth Powder, apricots, raisins, almonds, black sesame, dates, maca, chia, Bee Pollen

Also, it is important to decrease caffeine intake (yes, I’m 35 and I switched to decaf) and alcohol intake. This was hard because I really like beer and wine but really important to balancing hormones and replacing those “empty” calories with nutrition.

My top fertility supplement…

I do really believe you need to have the previously listed things in check before you even think that supplements will “fix” your cycles. But hell, I went for all of it all at the same time. Tick Tock Tick Tock.

The NUMBER 1 supplement I believed helped me get pregnant and lengthen my cycles is VITEX.

Chaste Tree berry. Every book, and every major article I read about fertility and short cycles, short luteal phases, fertility issues recommended vitex. Check out this article on the benefits of vitex on fertility. There is a lots of research on vitex – keep googling and be inspired. Vitex is known for regulating cycles, lengthening luteal phases, increasing progesterone production, and many more things.

The only thing I will say is that after 1.5 months on vitex I got pregnant. Yay! And I’m assuming it helped with my progesterone BUT because of this I was unsure if I should continue or stop it. Like everything else in pregnancy, it was not proven to be safe for pregnancy itself. The morning I took my pregnancy test, at 5 am alone in the dark, then popped my vitex, and then got a positive. And then I freaked out, looked it it up online for safety during pregnancy and tried to make myself vomit the pill up. Then I relaxed, convinced myself it wasn’t going to harm me or baby. But it was still really hard to get answers. The first OBGYN I saw had no idea what it was. The next midwife neither. And there were horror stories online forums of women who stopped vitex abruptly and miscarried. So I opted to slowly wean my self off it. Taking 1/2 pill a day. Then finally I spoke to the midwife who will probably deliver my baby and with confidence she told me to wean myself off as I had planned. 1/2 pill a day for a few weeks, then 1/2 pill every other day another few weeks , then 1/2 pill every 3 days etc. up until 12 weeks when the placenta takes over hormone production.

A few notes about Vitex. There’s different ways to take it. Some say during just the luteal phase. Others say from the end of your period to the first day of your next period (taking a break during your bleeding so that your body doesn’t get too used to it). Yet others take it all month long. They also say to start taking it before you try to conceive. And that you should know in 6 months if it is working. If you still want to keep taking it, they say to take a month off. It is a powerful herb. Obviously it is best to take under the guidance of a doctor/naturopath who knows what they’re doing. I choose to take it during my whole cycle except for 4-5 days during my period.

Ok – more to come. I have lots of other really beneficial supplements to try and a lot of editing to do.

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Double chocolate chip bean cookies with macadamia nuts and banana

Yum! My husband is always lovingly calling me cookie, talking about cookies but when it comes down to me making cookies, he won’t really stand for the traditional cookie recipe. Mostly, the large amounts of butter and sugar that make him feel “dirty” when he eats more than 2 at a time. This double chocolate chip bean cookie recipe is so delicious and is packed with nutritious ingredients that is almost more dangerous because you almost feel like you can eat them for dinner.

Dessert for dinner?

Desserts almost so healthy you can have them for dinner.

In fact, lately we have been having dessert for dinner. Over the holiday season (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years 2020) this was our schedule: Later than normal healthy standard egg breakfast, mid-day green smoothie, “early” large holiday dinner at around 2pm or so. And then generous helping of our alternative, or “healthy” desserts. On Thanksgiving I made an apple pie with coconut oil crust and and maple syrup apple filling. Christmas Eve, this double chocolate chip bean cookie recipe, Christmas Day we made a blackberry and apple bar/crumble with a oat/yogurt crust and a oat cinnamon crumble on top. And for New Years, another bean experiment, a twist on my beet brownies meets this double chocolate chip recipe — double chocolate beet bean brownies. YUM! Can we repeat the holidays please!

Just kidding, as I write this is it New Year’s day morning 2021!! FINALLY! Sipping my cup of decaf coffee I am trying to focus on forgetting about the holiday sugar rush where I used an entire jug of organic maple syrup within approx one month and those 3 desserts. But hey!!! Maple syrup has trace minerals and its delicious!

Really though, my holiday dessert recipes we all on the “less sweet side” and if I felt like the batter still wasn’t sweet enough, I added drops of stevia. Which I’m sure helped sweeten them up more.

Anyways! These bean cookies are great for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert as long as you remember that as healthy as they are they still have a fair amount of sugar. Moderation (my arch-nemesis) is the key to feeling great about eating these. I started modeling this recipe on several existing bean cookie recipes, none of which included all the ingredients I wanted but this recipe by clean cuisine was the closest…

Double Chocolate Chip Bean Banana Cookies

These cookies are almost guilt free. Modified from traditional cookie recipes to include garbanzo beans, oats, bananas, coconut oil, and maple syrup.
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Servings 48 cookies


Wet ingredients

  • 1⅓ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 medium or large eggs
  • 2 15.5 oz cans garbanzo beans rinsed well
  • 2 medium bananas
  • cups coconut oil refined or virgin
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Dry ingredients

  • 2 cups instant oats
  • cups white flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup cacao powder

Added ingredients

  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts chopped
  • 1 ½ cups chocolate chips


  • In a high speed blender pulse wet ingredients until smooth
  • In a large bowl, mix wet ingredients
  • Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well
  • Add in optional nuts and chocolate chips
  • For ease in baking drop by the spoonful on parchment paper lined baking sheets, about 12 on each sheet
  • Bake in preheated oven set to 350°F for 15-20 minutes until bottoms are starting to harden
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!