Trying for a Baby? – How you can give you and your partner the best chance to conceive.

If you and your partner are in good health, you will improve your chances of getting pregnant and of having a healthy pregnancy.  You can also help yourselves by taking fertility supplements.

76% of Irish women who are trying to conceive believe taking a fertility supplement can help them conceive*.

What factors can affect the chance of having a baby?

Medical issues

Medical issues such as diabetes, asthma and being overweight can affect your pregnancy.

Diet and Exercise

Being overweight – For women if your body mass index (BMI) is between 20 and 25 you have a healthy weight.  Women whose BMI is more than 30 or under 19 may find their fertility levels suffer.  If a men’s BMI is more than 30, his fertility may be lower than normal.

It is important to be active for general feeling of wellness.  Being active and fitter helps with stamina and ability to cope with the ups and downs of everyday life.

Alcohol and smoking

Excessive alcohol drinking may affect the quality of a man’s sperm and smoking may reduce fertility in women.

Age can be a factor

For women, the most fertile period is in their mid –twenties and fertility starts to decrease after the age of 35.

For men, sperm is strongest in their mid-twenties and starts to decrease after the age of 40.

The importance of taking a good quality fertility supplement with the right ingredients and dosage levels.

While it is so important to do the best you can by eating well and exercising moderately, you can also help yourself and your partner by taking a high quality fertility supplement when trying for a baby.   It is very difficult, in today’s environment to get all the nutrients we need from food.

Indeed, the latest research amongst Irish women trying for a baby show that 76% of them believe in the importance of taking a nutritional supplement to aid conception*.

PROCEIVE is the new Irish Fertility Supplement specially made for men and women who wish to have a baby. It contains 33 nutrients, vitamins and minerals, at high quality dosage levels.  Each nutrient performs a role in maximising the quality of the eggs (for women) and the quality of the sperm (for men).

proceive range

Talk to your LloydsPharmacy teams – we are trained extensively in the value of nutrition and can give you helpful advice, recommend the correct fertility supplement to take in a safe, discreet and caring manner.

Don’t miss our Fabulous Pharmacist Laura Dowling who will be part of a panel discussing Fertility on Ireland AM on Monday 24th July at 9.20am.

*Source Mummy Pages July 2017/ http://www.proceive.ie

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Barbecue Turkey Skewers with Tahini Dip

These Middle Eastern inspired turkey skewers are ideal for a summer barbecue or picnic, and can be packed into lunch boxes for a work week lunch served with grilled pitta breads, fresh leafy greens and gut-loving kimchi (fermented vegetables). The recipe makes between two and four servings as a light lunch or larger meal. Serving suggestions are optional of course so free to improvise. A big green salad, fresh hummus, and a bowl of tabbouleh (a herby salad made with bulgur wheat, tomatoes, lots of fresh mint and parsley) are great healthy options for a summer feast!

Serves: 2-4 | Cooking Time: 15 minutes | Rating: Simple

Nutrition: High Protein, Low Fat, Low Saturated Fat

Free From: Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Refined Sugar

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • Juice and rind of half a large lemon
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of dried or finely chopped oregano
  • A good pinch of sea salt
  • 3 large skinless turkey breasts cut into strips
  • 6 wooden or metal skewers

Tahini Dip

  • 2 tbsp light tahini
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Juice of 1 whole lemon
  • A good pinch of sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove peeled

To Serve:

Rocket leaves, diced cucumber, kimchi, grilled pitta pockets or flatbreads.

Method:

  1. If using wooden skewers, soak them in cool water whilst marinading the turkey (about 20 mins).
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, lemon rind, cumin, oregano and sea salt. Add the turkey strips and mix to combine. Cover and leave to marinate for at least 20 minutes (or overnight in the fridge).
  3. Preheat the grill or barbecue to a medium temperature. Remove the turkey from the marinade and thread onto the six skewers (you can discard the marinade).
  4. Place the skewers directly onto the barbecue grill and cook for about 8-10 minutes until cooked and slightly charred.
  5. To make the dip, put the tahini, water, lemon juice, salt and garlic into a small blender and pulse until combined (or whisk together with a fork, making sure to chop and crush the garlic into a paste with the back of a knife first). The dip should have a yogurt-like consistency.
  6. Transfer the dip to a bowl. Remove the turkey skewers from the grill and transfer to a plate lined with parchment.
  7. Serve with grilled pitta pockets or flatbreads (if coeliac or gluten-intolerant you can buy gluten free pittas in most supermarkets), piles of fresh rocket leaves, some fermented vegetables like kimchi or finely diced cucumber.

Nutrition Information

Created by: Pamela Ryan Qualified Nutritionist

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

Coconut Fish Fingers + Smashed Peas

This classic combination gets a healthy overhaul! Coconut, a hint of cayenne pepper, fresh lime, mint and sweet peas make for a light, summertime dish. Serve with a big salad of fresh leafy greens or stuff them inside wholegrain pitta breads for a great picnic lunch. We won’t mind if you add a little tomato ketchup on the side either!

Serves: 2 | Cooking Time: 25 minutes | Rating: Simple

Free From: gluten, wheat, cow’s dairy, refined sugar and meat

Ingredients:

  • 2 fresh cod fillets (about 250g – 300g)
  • 40g coconut flour, almond flour or gluten free plain flour
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • A good pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp Optima raw virgin coconut oil*
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 4-5 fresh mint leaves
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 2 tbsp water
  • A pinch of sea salt

To serve:

  • Fresh mixed leafy greens
  • A good quality natural tomato ketchup (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 C (400 F).
  2. Crack the egg into a small bowl and lightly beat. Lay out two small plates, one with the coconut flour and the other with the desiccated coconut.
  3. Slice the fish into finger-width strips.
  4. Coat the fish strips with the flour, dipping them into the egg and then coat them with the desiccated coconut.
  5. Lay each coated strip carefully onto a non-stick baking tray. Sprinkle the goujons with sea salt, cayenne pepper and drizzle over the coconut oil.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden.
  7. Meanwhile prepare the smashed peas. Place the peas into a large bowl and cover with boiling water until thawed. Drain in a sieve and plunge into cool water to stop the peas from losing their colour.
  8. Tip the peas into a blender or food processor. Add the mint leaves, water, lime juice and a pinch of sea salt. Pulse the peas a few times until crushed (you could also do this with a fork, just make sure to finely chop the mint leaves first).
  9. Transfer the smashed peas to a serving bowl. Remove the fish goujons from the oven and pile onto a serving dish with mixed leafy greens. Serve.

NutritionInformation

Created by: Pamela Ryan Qualified Nutritionist

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

Summer Vegetable Frittata

This frittata recipe is both a nutritious family favourite and easy to prepare. It stores incredibly well in the fridge so you can enjoy it during the week for lunch. I’m using some of the most delicious summer vegetables, asparagus and peas. There are so many benefits to eating in season from fresh and cheaper vegetables to supporting local Irish producers. Seasonal eating also provides variety throughout the year, so you benefit from a wide range of nutrients delivered as nature intended!

Serves: 4 | Cooking Time: 20 minutes | Rating: Simple

Free From: gluten, wheat, cow’s dairy, refined sugar and meat

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons Optima raw virgin coconut oil*
  • 1 shallot, peeled and finely diced (about 1 ounce)
  • 250g asparagus spears, trimmed (about 200g trimmed)
  • 130g fresh or frozen peas
  • 100g feta cheese
  • 8 whole free-range eggs (medium size)
  • A pinch of sea salt flakes
  • A good pinch of freshly ground black peppercorns
  • To serve: leafy greens such as rocket, watercress, baby spinach, lambs lettuce

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 C (390 F). Crack 8 whole eggs into a bowl, season with salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon of coconut oil on a griddle pan and add the trimmed asparagus spears. Fry on a medium heat until slightly charred (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a deep cast iron (ovenproof, non-stick) skillet over a medium heat and and add the finely diced shallots. Fry gently to soften before adding the peas (no need to defrost frozen peas if using).
  4. Arrange the asparagus spears on top of the pea and shallot mixture and crumble over half of the feta cheese.
  5. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the top of the vegetables and cook over a medium heat until the mixture begins to ‘catch’ the edges of the pan.
  6. Crumble over the remaining feta cheese and transfer the pan to the oven. Cook for 8-10 minutes (fan ovens will take less time – approx. 8 minutes).
  7. The frittata is ready when the centre of the mixture jiggles very slightly to touch. The residual heat will continue to cook the eggs.
  8. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Transfer to plates and serve with seasonal leafy greens such as rocket or watercress.

Nutrition Information

Created by: Pamela Ryan Qualified Nutritionist

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

Beef + Mushroom Celeriac Lasagne – Main

The final recipe in the Lloyds Pharmacy Change Your Health Direction program is a vegetable and protein packed twist on a traditional lasagne. For lasagne sheets I use finely sliced rounds of celeriac.  It’s a little ugly….a bit knobbly and odd shaped but it’s what’s inside that counts…lots of fibre and antioxidant vitamins.  I’m using beef mince for the ragu sauce, but this can be replaced with lamb or 2 cans of puy lentils if you’re plant-based. Good quality beef is rich in protein, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, niacin, Vitamin B6 and selenium. Even so, you won’t lose out if you use lentils as they are one of the best sources of plant-based protein, fiber, folate and iron.

Serves 6

Dairy Free | Gluten Free | Grain Free | Vegetarian Options

Ingredients

For the Ragu

  • 500g lean minced beef (for vegetarian option use 2 cups of cooked puy or beluga lentils)
  • 1 tbsp Optima raw organic coconut oil*
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato passata
  • 250ml beef stock (or mushroom stock)

For the Creamed Mushrooms  

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil*
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 200ml oat or almond cream

Celeriac ‘Lasagne’ Sheets

Celeriac x1 whole, peeled and sliced into very fine round pieces with a good knife of mandolin.

Spinach Layer: 300g spinach leaves (remove the stalks, chop finely and add them to your ragu… no waste!)

To Serve:  2-3 handfuls of rocket, 5-6 small vine tomatoes finely sliced

Instructions:

This is a lot easier than it might look. You can prepare and assemble this dish the night before and store in the fridge. It also freezes quite well and you can cook from frozen if time isn’t on your side.

  1. Preheat your oven to 160C.
  2. Start with the Ragu.
  3. Season the beef mince. Melt the coconut oil in a heavy casserole or skillet. Add the beef and cook until brown all over. Transfer to a place and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, add the onion, celery and garlic. Sauté over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until soft.
  5. Return the beef to the pan. Add the sage and bay leaves and cook for a few minutes before adding the tomatoes and beef stock. Cook gently for 20 minutes. If the sauce gets too thick, add more water.
  6. In a separate pan melt a little coconut oil and tip the sliced mushrooms, crushed garlic and thyme into the pan.
  7. Sauté for 10 minutes and then add the oat cream. Simmer gently for 10 minutes and season with black pepper and a pinch of sea salt.
  8. Whilst the ragu and mushrooms are cooking. Prepare the lasagne sheets. Peel the celeriac and use a sharp knife to slice into very-fine circular ‘sheets’. Set aside.
  9. Wash and dry the spinach. Remove the stalks, chop finely and toss into the ragu.

Assembly:

  1. Melt some coconut oil and use a pastry brush to spread it onto an oven proof dish.
  2. Start by layering the celeriac sheets in one layer onto the base. Top with half the ragu mixture, then a layer of spinach and pour over half of the creamed mushrooms.
  3. Add another layer of celeriac, ragu, spinach and creamed mushrooms (in that order). Finish with sliced tomatoes (optional) and some freshly grated parmesan (or vegan alternative such as cashew cheese).
  4. Transfer to an oven and cook for about 45 minutes until bubbling.
  5. Remove from the oven and top with freshly ground black pepper and rocket leaves. Serve!
NUTRITION INFORMATION (approx. per serving)
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
351 20.5g 21.5g 19.4g 10.4g 6g

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

5 HEALTHY + PORTABLE SNACK IDEAS

Because this is my last week of recipes I’m a little spoilt for choice as regards what to share next. I couldn’t, and didn’t want to choose, so I’m sharing a medley of my favourite snacks, from simplest to some more interesting options.  There are five in total which I hope will provide something for everyone’s tastes. All are dairy, grain and gluten-free, some are entirely ‘plant-based’. The common denominator is that they are all made from very simple whole-foods.  If you’re having guests you could make a ‘snack platter’…..otherwise just prepare them all as you wish and squirrel them away in your car / handbag / desk drawer / goodie-drawer for those afternoons when you just need a little nibble!

CRUNCHY APPLE WITH CREAMY PB + CINNAMON  (serves 1)

  • 1 apple
  • 1-2 tbsp Meridian peanut or almond butter*
  • A good pinch of ground cinnamon

Instructions: I hardly need to provide instruction but here goes! Slice the apple, dip or spread with peanut butter and sprinkle over the cinnamon. Simple.

Good For: Peanut butter provides protein. Apple provides pectin (fibre) for gut health and cinnamon can help to balance blood sugar.

HARD BOILED EGGS, SUMAC + AVOCADO (serves 1)

  • 2 eggs, hard boiled
  • 1/3 tsp sumac (a citrus spice made from red berries of the sumac shrub)
  • 1 small (or 1/2 medium) avocado
  • Pinch of sea salt

Instructions: Boil eggs in a pan of water for 5-7 minutes. Allow to cool before peeling off the shell. Store in a small lunch box or lunch bag. To serve slice open, sprinkle with sumac. Half the avocado, sprinkle with sea salt and pile scoops onto your egg.

Good For: Low carbohydrate (sugar) option. High protein + fat keeps you full. Egg provides essential minerals and amino acids. Avocado is rich in fibre, folate, potassium and vitamin E.

TAMARI ROAST NUTS + SEEDS (makes 10-12 1oz servings)

  • 5 cups of mixed raw nuts (brazil, pecan, almond, walnut, macadamia)
  • 1/4 cup of seeds (sunflower / pumpkin)
  • 1 tbsp Optima raw virgin coconut oil*
  • 1 tbsp tamari (gluten free, GMO-free soy sauce)

Instructions: Preheat oven to 180C. Melt the coconut oil with the tamari in a saucepan over a medium heat. Dump in the nuts and seeds and combine well. Spread onto a roasting tray and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Leave to cool and crisp before decanting into a glass airtight jar.

Good For: Nuts and seeds are some of the most nutrient dense foods in existence. Low carbohydrate but high in essential fats, protein and antioxidant nutrients Vitamin E, selenium and zinc. Consuming a handful of nuts daily is associated with lower body fat and BMI.

DARK CHOCOLATE + CHILLI MANGO (makes 4-6 servings)

  • 50g 85% cacao dark chocolate, melted
  • 100g organic dried mango (no added sugars, sulphites, preservatives)
  • 1 tsp dried red chilli flakes
  • A pinch of sea salt flakes

Instructions: Dip the mango into the melted dark chocolate (half-way) and set each piece onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper. Sprinkle the chocolate end with chilli flakes and sea salt and allow to set. Transfer to a jar.

Good For:  A quick energy boost. Mango (especially dried variety) is higher in simple sugars that your body can absorb and utilise quickly. Good for athletes pre- and post-training (if post training, add a hard boiled egg or a protein shake to optimise tissue repair and muscle growth).

CHOCOLATE NUT + GOJI BERRY BRITTLE (makes about 10-12 cupped handfuls)

  • 100g mixed nuts
  • 1 heaping handful of Nua naturals goji berries*
  • 1 handful Nua naturals cacao nibs* (optional)
  • 80g dark chocolate (85% cacao content or above)
  • Pinch of sea salt flakes
  • 1 Tbsp Nua naturals raw cacao powder*

Instructions: Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, reduce the heat and place a pyrex bowl on top. Break the dark chocolate into chunks and melt. When the chocolate is melted tip the nuts, gogi berries, cacao nibs and sea salt into the bowl with the chocolate and mix well to combine. Spread onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes until almost set. Remove from the fridge and dust with cacao powder. Place back in the fridge for 10 minutes. Break up the chunks of brittle and transfer to a large glass container. Store in the fridge.

Good For: Premenstrual symptoms such as low mood, anxiety and sugar or chocolate cravings. Cacao is a natural mood elevator and is an excellent source of iron, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins which are all particularly important for menstrual health. Nuts provide satiating essential fats, antioxidant vitamin E and selenium and zinc which are essential for male and female reproductive health.

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

MY BIG FAT GREEK YOGURT BOWLS – BREAKFAST

Greek yogurt or ‘the yogurt of the Gods’ is a superfood in itself with more than double the amount of protein and gut-friendly probiotics than regular yogurt.  It makes an ideal breakfast as the protein and fat content keep you fuller for longer.  I recommend using an authentic full-fat Greek yogurt such as ‘Fage Total’ which is simply milk and live active bacteria – no preservatives, no powdered milk or powdered anything!

For breakfast I like to customise my yogurt with a variety of toppings. Try fresh orange chunks with chopped 85% dark chocolate and chopped almonds, strawberries with pistachio nuts or walnut, fig and cinnamon.

Superfood Add-Ons: I don’t use the word ‘superfood’ lightly. Any food listed here has pretty hard evidence to suggest its particularly beneficial to our health. Here’s a line up of some evidence-based options….

  • Spirulina powder: a powdered blue-green algae that contains 55% to 70% protein. There is firm evidence that spirulina can improve fat (lipid) and sugar (glucose) metabolism, whilst reducing liver fat and protecting the heart! Spirulina has also been shown to reducing sneezing and stuffy nose. It can taste like pond water on its own but its great in smoothies or stirred into yogurt with a little honey and dried fruit.
  • Hulled Hemp Seeds: contain all the essential fatty acids (omega 3, 6 and 9), are high in fibre and contain about 33% protein. Because of their rich nutrient profile, hemp seeds may reduce the risk of heart disease, improve skin health and reduce symptoms of PMS or Menopause, making them a great little all-rounder.
  • Raw Cacao: I love when science justifies my love of a particular food! Cacao is rich in fibre, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorous and zinc. It is listed amongst the Top 10 most nutrient dense foods on the planet and is a powerful source of antioxidants. Dig in!
  • Blueberries: Dark berries are rich in anthocyanins that have antioxidant properties found to reduce damage to our cells. They have been shown to improve memory in older people and are rich in fibre whilst having low levels of natural fruit sugars.
  • Raw Honey: A tablespoon of honey contains about 17 grams of sugar but it hands-down beats refined table sugars when it comes to its antioxidant content and plant compounds found in high quality honey such as Manuka honey or unpasteurised raw honey that hasn’t been exposed to heat. Go easy on serving sizes, a teaspoon should suffice!

YOU WILL NEED: Full fat plain Greek yogurt (about 125g per person) or 100g dairy-free alternative such as CoYo; a selection of nuts, seeds, nut butters, berries and ‘superfood’ add-ons.  Featured bowls…..

MANGO + SPIRULINA:

  • 125g Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tbsp spirulina powder or Superlife Superfood Mix*
  • 1 tsp raw honey or Manuka honey
  • 1 ounce dried mango (I like ‘Crazy Jacks’ with no added sugar or preservatives such as sulphites)
  • 1/2 tbsp Nua Naturals hulled hemp seeds*

Instructions: Combine the yogurt, spirulina powder and honey to create a creamy-green consistency. Add toppings.

COCONUT YOGURT, MACA + BLUEBERRY (V)

  • 100g vanilla coconut yogurt (I use Coyo)
  • 1 teaspoon nua naturals maca powder*
  • 1 ounce coconut chips*
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Instructions: Combine the coconut yogurt and maca powder. Add toppings.

BANANA, CACAO + COCONUT BUTTER: 

  • 125g plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Nua Naturals raw cacao powder*
  • 1 tsp Nua Naturals raw cacao nibs*
  • 1/2 sliced banana
  • 1/2 – 1 tbsp melted coconut butter (or peanut / almond butter)*

Instructions: Combine the yogurt and cacao powder.  Add toppings.

CACAO-QUINOA-CHIA CRUNCH (more preparation required!)

To make the Cacao-Quinoa-Chia Crunch topping: in a bowl combine 40g quinoa pops, 20g chia seeds*, 35g cacao powder*, 2tbsp cacao nibs*, 40g coconut chips*. Melt 6 tbsp coconut oil* with 4 tbsp maple syrup and add to the dry ingredients. Mix well. Spread onto a baking tray and let set in the fridge until hard and crumbly. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 10x 40g servings.  Serve sprinkled over your Greek yogurt or as a cereal with your favourite nut milk (I like hazelnut milk for this).

NUTRITION INFORMATION
Option Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
Mango + Spirulina 275 7g 15g 43g 21g 1g
Vanilla Coyo, Blueberry + Maca 367 30g 5g 19g 11g 5g
Banana, Cacao + Coconut Butter 318 19.4g 13g 24.1g 14g 4.1g
Cacao Quinoa Crunch 278 18g 14g 17g 10g 3g

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores