For Valentines: 3 Rules for Fertility from fertility expert, Natalie Kringoudis. Rule 2: Weight

We asked fertility expert, Natalie Kringoudis, if she’d pass on her tips for conceiving a baby. She very helpfully wrote back a lot of information on how to tune your body for reproduction.

Natalie comments on the vital role of various hromones, and it has been noted that these may be regulated through the use of the herbal remedy Black Cohosh

I’m regularly asked ‘What can I do to be more fertile?’

It’s actually one of the main reasons I wrote my ebook – Fertilise Yourself.

There are many things that need to be addressed to gear you toward a healthier, more fertile you.  Here’s the second of 3 key points to have your reproductive organs raring…


To maintain a normal reproductive cycle, it is important that a woman have minimal body fat.  If you are overweight or underweight, at least read this.

Eating for fertility will help you get your weight to exactly where it should be. 

A loss in body fat in a lean person (as little as 10%) can be enough to delay menstruation or inhibit ovulation and this isn’t ideal if you’re trying for a baby.

Your menstrual cycle needs to be a certain number of days for it to be fertile.  Your follicular phase (the period of time from the start of menstruation right up until ovulation) needs to be a minimum of 11 days – this is so you have the right amount of hormones to ensure quality egg growth and release at the appropriate time.

The same goes for your luteal phase (from ovulation until menstruation). Again  – 11 days and no less for similar reasons.  If your menstrual cycle is short, it may very well be infertile.  If it is long, it may not be as problematic, but it’s important to establish why so.  Long menstrual cycles equate to less chances to conceive!

In underweight females, the secretion of hormones, specifically Gondrotrophin Releasing Hormone (GnRH) by the hypothalamus are abnormal in quantity and timing, leading to abnormally low levels of the hormone that stimulates the ovaries to make and release the egg. (Follicle Stimulating Hormone and Luteinizing Hormone).  Since these hormones are lacking, it means the follicles (or eggs) on the ovaries fail to develop properly and there is less secretion of progesterone and estrogen.

It’s a hormonal nightmare! Women with such conditions  may see their period arrive as frequently as every 14 days and as we have come to discover, this isn’t long enough for a ‘fertile cycle’.

Exactly the same goes for overweight women, where hormones are imbalanced and fertility is affected.  A loss of as little as four kilograms can be enough to set you back on your fertile track.  And men – your weight will also affect semen quantity and quality and affect the motility of your sperm.

It is vital that you gear toward your ‘fertile weight’.

For Valentines: 3 Rules for Fertility from fertility expert, Natalie Kringoudis. Rule 1: Sleep

We asked fertility expert, Natalie Kringoudis, if she’d pass on her tips for conceiving a baby. She very helpfully wrote back a lot of information on how to tune your body for reproduction.

One of the things she writes about is the overactivity of hormone prolactin which may be lowered with the use of the herbal remedy Agnus Castus or ‘Chasteberry’….

I’m regularly asked ‘What can I do to be more fertile?’ 

It’s actually one of the main reasons I wrote my ebook – Fertilise Yourself.

There are many things that need to be addressed to gear you toward a healthier, more fertile you.  Here’s the first of 3 key points to have your reproductive organs raring…

SLEEP – make it count!

Sleep is the elixir to wellness. We know how awful and depleted we feel when we are running on adrenaline and not resting enough.  The consequences of sleep deprivation are not just that you feel lousy. It’s a sign that your body is severely depleted.  When we fail to listen to our bodies talking, we can’t expect great health.

Sleep between the hours of 10pm – 6am.  

It will absolutely lower hormone levels to what they should be, which makes you fertile.

Prolactin is a hormone that assists with ovulation.  When we don’t sleep adequately, prolactin levels rise and disrupt the whole ovulation process.  This can halt fertility.  Sleep is also key for several other reasons.

Our bodies all have a 24 cycle known as the circadian rhythm.  It’s the body’s inner time-keeper responsible for the day to day (and night) body functions.  One of its main jobs is hormone production.  When light is decreased, our clock tells us it is time to rest and adversely when there is more light, we are stimulated to be awake.  Alteration to this cycle disrupts the normal body rhythm.  Regular disruption to these patterns will most certainly affect our body’s normal working order – fertility included.  Most of the secretion of hormones is controlled by the circadian clock and sleep is one of the major things that will affect this – we need to sleep at the right time.

Women who sleep less than 5 hours per night are more likely to be overweight and drink more coffee.

Both of these affect fertility.  Weight alone can lower fertility by up to 50%.  Lack of sleep will also make you more hungry (as our body craves the right balance of nutrients, so it tells you your hungry) and will do whacky things to hormones, to the point where it can lead to diminished fertile mucus.

Men are in just as much need to a quality night sleep.  Their fertility (specifically sperm) is also affected as the testosterone balance is skewed should they not get enough shuteye.  Undoubtedly men feel just as awful as a woman do without adequate rest – also falling way to being over weight – again affecting fertility.  Men who are fatigued have a lower libido and are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction.

Buying organic meat helps consumers make a confident choice

Statement on trustworthiness of organic beef products from The Soil Association

08 February 2013

With the news that the Food Standards Agency has ordered all British companies to test their processed beef products in the next week, after more horse meat contamination was found in lasagne, British consumers are increasingly faced with difficult choices when buying their food. One of the problems is that people don’t know where their food has come from or what’s in it and as a result of the ‘horsemeat scandal’ consumers are losing confidence in the food they are buying and the companies they are buying it from.

This sort of problem underlines the value of the integrity of supply chains and traceability of sources, such as those found in the organic system. A positive choice people can make to feel more confident in the food they eat and feed to their families is to buy meat and other produce certified as organic.

Organic supply chains are regularly inspected at every stage and the Soil Association provides rigorous certification standards, developed in partnership with experts across the country. We work closely with our licensees on their production and processing systems to maintain integrity and to ensure consumers are getting a true organic product.

Rob Sexton, CEO, Soil Association Certification said,

“Organic is a highly regulated food system. Any product sold as ‘organic’ must comply with strict rules assuring consumers they are buying genuine products that can be fully traceable back to the farm. Independent organic inspectors accredit every step of the supply chain, meaning buying organic offers consumers a more confident choice about the food they buy and eat”.

Love, love, love chocolate! Spoil your loved one on Valentine’s Day

Whether it’s a loved one of many years…

Valentine's Chocolate Hamper
Valentine’s Chocolate Hamper – can you think of a better way to say I Love You?

A new love you’re excited about….

Or  someone you just dream of…

Or maybe a really close friend you truly appreciate…  When you say ‘I Love You!’, you’ll want to do it properly and show them you mean it!

So, in order to help you show that special someone you love them, we have put together a special  Chocoholics Valentines Day Hamper!

We have hand selected some delicious chocolate products from the finest ranges stocked at GoodnessDirect and will deliver them together in a delightful, lidded wicker hamper, completed with a hand made bow.

A beautiful gift for that loved one!

In this wonderful hamper there is: Landgarten Chocolate Coated Cherries,
Montezuma’s Valentine’s Quad Truffle Box, Divine Fairtrade Cocoa, Green and Blacks Maya Gold, Milk Chocolate and Butterscotch, Divine Dark, Milk and White Strawberry Hearts.

Of course, you can put together your own hamper using our hamper service for a more personal gift suited specifically to your Valentine. Simply buy a gift hamper on the website and place in your basket all the things you would like in it and it will be hand wrapped with the same love and care as the ready made hampers.

Eat Natural photos by lots of devoted snack bar fans


It seems folk can’t get enough of the Eat Natural bars.

There’s lots of fan photos out there.

It’s not so surprising considering all those natural ingredients they insist on using.

And with flavours like Vanilla, Plum & Peanut or Almond, Apricot & Yoghurt it’s a wonder they’re not even more well known.

Thankfully, there’s loads of flavours available from GoodnessDirect, and most likely lots more photos of empty wrappers.


Buttermilk pancakes or Buckwheat crepes – gluten free pancake recipes for you

It’s the worst thing. Forgetting pancake day and having to do it all a day later.

So don’t forget, Pancake Day is Tuesday 12th February.

Be prepared and make sure you have all the gluten free ingredients you need in your cupboard.  There’s lots of extra toppings to indulge in too, such as maple syrup, lemon juice, chocolate sauce or natural sweeteners.

So now, here’s not one, but two gluten free pancake recipes for you…

buckwheatpancakesGluten Free Buttermik Pancakes

1 1/4 cups gluten-free flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp Gluten Free baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp olive oil
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and thoroughly blend through.
  2. Combine buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla in a separate mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
  3. Stir milk mixture into dry ingredients adding it gradually. Whisk until batter is smooth. If batter looks too thick, add more milk a teaspoon at a time until the consistency is ok.
  4. Lightly brush the frying pan or skillet with olive oil and heat on a medium ring. Pour a measure of batter into the pan an allow it to spread. Once bubbles have begun to form on the top and the bottom is golden brown, flip the pancake to cook the other side until golden.
  5. Serve with your desired topping!

Buckwheat Crepes

buttermilk pancakes3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 gluten-free flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk or dairy substitute
3 eggs
4 tbsp melted butter or olive oil

  1. Pour milk, eggs and melted butter or oil into a blender pitcher. Pulse until combined.
  2. In a small bowl mix gluten-free buckwheat flour, gluten-free flour and salt and add to liquid in blender, pulse until combined and smooth.
  3. Allow batter to rest for two hours for the best results.
  4. Heat a frying pan or skillet and lightly brush it with oil. Pour a measure of batter into the pan once it is hot enough and swirl it to cover the whole of the bottom of the pan. Cook for about a minute until the top is barely moist. Use a thin spatula to loosen the edges and gently flip the crepe to cook the other side until lightly browned. Repeat with the remaining batter
  5. Serve with what ever topping tickles your fancy!

Win the Meals That Heal recipe book

There’s a new book out that looks as beautiful as it does wise.

It’s called ‘Meals That Heal – Anti Inflammatory Healthcare & Free From Cooking‘.

Meals That HealIt’s a beautiful compilation of over 100 recipes that are free from gluten, grains, dairy, soy and refined sugar. All those tempting photos of delicious meals are accompanied by easy-to-read lifestyle recommendations, practical shopping lists, menu plans and tips for healing your body.

Author, Karen Maidment, writes from her own experience as a health & nutrition specialist, personal cookery coach and author. If you have gone gluten-free and are still feeling ill, or maybe you are just looking to become more healthy in general, then this book may well be for you!

You can purchase the book through the Pure Body Balance website or you can enter our competition to win a copy for yourself.

To enter the prize draw, simply email me your name and address and we’ll pick a winner at the end of a week. (UK addresses only, competition closes 7 Feb 2012)