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Fertile Food Friday– Red Meat

By Tracey Minella

July 12th, 2013 at 10:24 pm


recipe and photo courtesy of

Fertile Food Friday– Red Meat

Welcome back to Long Island IVF’s “Fertile Food Fridays”*! This is our third week of focusing on foods that can potentially boost male or female fertility. If you missed them, be sure to check out our first two featured foods…avocados and blueberries…covered the past two Fridays.

Next up to the plate…Red Meat.

Step outside at dinnertime most summer evenings and you can smell something good on the neighbor’s grill. And chances are it’s some kind of red meat.

Red meat is a great source of iron. Iron deficiency is common in women of bearing age and also can contribute to ovulatory infertility. In fact, a large study found that “women who consumed iron supplements had a significantly lower risk of ovulatory infertility than women who did not use iron supplements” . More precisely, they had a 40% less risk of ovulatory infertility than those who did not use supplements.

If you are trying to conceive, and suspect you may be iron deficient, ask your doctor to check your iron level. This is done with a simple CBC blood test to see if your red blood cell count is adequate. Red blood cells deliver oxygen to all the cells and tissues of your body, including your ovaries and uterus**. If your red blood cell count is too low, you may be anemic, and may be instructed to take iron supplements or make dietary changes. Never take any supplements without your doctor’s approval since too much iron can be harmful.

Symptoms of anemia** may include:

mild to severe fatigue
• chronic headaches
• dizziness
• brittle or weak nails
• decreased appetite
• low blood pressure

According to the Mayo Clinic, some iron-rich foods include red meat, leafy green vegetables like spinach, beans, eggs, dried fruit, and other items. In addition, eating foods rich in Vitamin C, like peppers, helps your body absorb iron.

So this week’s recipe is a winner because it provides iron from steak and spinach, plus Vitamin C from the peppers to help you absorb the iron. Give yourself a break from those boring old burgers and try this amazing Stuffed Flank Steak, courtesy of Kelly over at Primally-Inspired. <<<Get the recipe here. And while you are over there, check out Kelly’s other great recipes for those with a primal palette. Or here it is below:


4 or more servings


1 ½ – 2 lb flank or skirt steak

2 – 4 T olive or coconut oil

4 – 6 oz mushrooms, sliced thin

1 shallot, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

5 – 6 pieces prosciutto

2 roasted red peppers (from a jar or make your own), cut into thin strips

1 bunch of fresh spinach

1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles (omit if you cannot eat dairy)

salt and pepper, to taste

½ tsp smoked paprika

kitchen twine


Preheat oven to 350.

Starting with the long side of your flank steak, cut it in half carefully, but don’t cut all the way through to the other end (butterfly it). You want to cut it and open it like a book. Once it’s cut and open like a book, place a piece of plastic or parchment over it and pound it to uniform thickness – about ¼ of an inch thick.

In the largest skillet you have (must fit the rolled up steak), pour 1 – 2 T oil in the pan over medium low heat. Add your shallot, garlic, and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Season them with salt and pepper.

Add the mushroom mixture to the flank steak, leaving 2 to 3 inches of open space on one of the long ends.

Add the red peppers on top of the mushrooms. Then add the prosciutto slices all over the red peppers. Then add your spinach all over the prosciutto. Next sprinkle the blue cheese all over the spinach.

Starting with the long end (not the end that you left 2-3 inches of space), roll up carefully.

Now tie kitchen twine around your roll about every 2 inches. Salt and pepper and sprinkle the smoked paprika all over the outside of the roll.

Pour 1- 2 T oil back in the skillet and turn the heat to medium high.

Sear your roll on all sides until browned – it takes about a minute each side.

Transfer your skillet to the oven and cook for 20 minutes (for medium).

After the 20 minutes is up, take it out and tent your steak with aluminum foil. Let rest for 10 minutes. For steak done more than medium: cook in the oven for 30 minutes, tent steak and let rest for 10 minutes.

To serve: cut off the twine and slice in ½ – 1 inch slices and enjoy!


Once you make it, come back and tell me how great it was!

*Disclaimer:Any recipe we offer is only meant for those who aren’t sensitive or allergic to the ingredients. Recipes are shared simply for fun only and nothing contained herein constitutes medical advice or a guarantee that eating any particular food will have any affect on your fertility.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * **

Do you know your iron level? Have any recipes high in iron-rich foods that you’d like to share? If so, please share it here. And if you try this one, let us know what you thought.




Photo credit: Primally-inspired

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Forget the Bikini! Are You in Good Reproductive Shape?

By Tracey Minella and David Kreiner MD

May 5th, 2011 at 12:00 am

It’s that time of year when your unused gym membership begs for renewal. I used to fall for that. Now I just scope out someone larger than me to sit near on the beach. So lame, I know.

Alas…the trim, fit body of my youth is but a memory. I remember summers on the beach sporting the darkest tan and the smallest bikini I could sneak out wearing on my way to the ocean. I had no body issues back then. Um…way back then.

Then came the “freshman 15” from eating dorm food and doing midnight pizza runs. A pre- wedding diet wiped them away, only to find the same fifteen pounds creeping back during law school. Add a few more the summer of cramming for the bar exam. And BINGO… I was not in the best physical shape when we started TTC. Then, throw some more junk in my trunk from fertility meds and depression bingeing as each cycle failed. Suffice it to say, I didn’t give myself the best chance for fertility success.

But you can learn from my mistakes and Dr. Kreiner’s advice. Being physically fit is important, but there’s so much more to making your baby dreams come true than being able to fit into that itsy bitsy teeny weenie yellow polka dot bikini.

Dr. Kreiner of East Coast Fertility shares his tips for getting in fighting reproductive shape below:

How do you get started building your family when it isn’t happening on its own?

First, if you are thinking about getting pregnant get a check up! Get your pap done – go to the dentist – have your blood pressure and lipids checked. I’m not an expert on the art of motorcycle maintenance, but our bodies, like machines, go through wear and tear and, as a result, occasionally are not operating at optimum capacity.

Here’s what needs to happen for a life to be created. Millions of sperm need to traverse the cervix (which needs to have adequate watery mucus for the sperm to swim through to get to the uterus) and, from there, to the fallopian tubes where, en masse, the sperm gang release digestive enzymes that help bore a hole through the egg membrane. Your egg needs to be healthy and mature, picked up by the fimbria, the fingerlike projections of the fallopian tube and swept along the length of the tube by microscopic hairs within the tube. The environment of the tube needs to allow for fertilization with penetration by only one of the sperm, followed by division of the fertilized egg into a multi-cellular embryo. While the embryo continues to grow and cleave and develop ultimately into a blastocyst containing the future fetus (inner cell mass) and placenta (trophoblast) the tubal micro-hairs continue to sweep the embryo ultimately into the uterine cavity.

The lining of the uterus, the endometrium, must be prepared with adequate glandular development to allow the now hatched embryo to implant. Yes, there is a shell surrounding the embryo that must break in order for the embryo to implant into the uterine lining. Inflammatory fluid, polyps, fibroids or scar tissue may all play a role in preventing implantation.

Oy, it’s amazing this ever works!

In fertile bodies of good working order, this all works an average of 20% of the time!

So . . . how do we get our bodies in optimal shape to maximize our chance of conception?

Check on medications that you may be on. Can you stay on them while trying to conceive? Guys need to do this too! Some medications may affect ovulation or implantation. Prostaglandin inhibitors found in common pain relievers can affect both ovulation and implantation. Calcium channel blockers commonly used to control high blood pressure may affect your partner’s sperm’s ability to penetrate and fertilize an egg.

How is your diet? Is your weight affecting ovulation and preparation of your uterine lining either because it is too high or too low? Do you have glucose intolerance that is leading to high levels of insulin in the blood that affects your hormones and ovarian follicular and egg development? Perhaps you would benefit from a regimen including a carbohydrate restricted diet, exercise and medication to improve glucose metabolism.

Make love. Sex is critical to reproduction, obviously but I am often asked how often and how to time as if it need be a schedule chore. This is a bit tricky as it is vital that while we reproductive endocrinologists are assisting our patients to conceive we want to preserve the relationship that provides the foundation on which we want to build their family. I try not to give patients a schedule until they are in an insemination cycle where we actually identify the precise day of ovulation. I recommend spontaneous lovemaking that in cases of normal sperm counts (which should be analyzed as part of that check up) should average at least every other day in the middle of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Ovulation typically occurs 14 days prior to the onset of her menses. Sperm survive anywhere from 1 day to 7 days in a woman’s cervical mucus varying both on the sperm and the quality of her mucus which for some women is optimal for only hours if at all. Eggs survive 6-8 hours. Therefore, when we perform insemination it is better if we inseminate prior to ovulation rather than after as the sperm have more time to sit around and wait for the egg than visa versa.

See an RE. When all else fails, it is recommended that you consult with a reproductive endocrinologist if you have not conceived after one year before age 35 and six months if you are 35 or older. The treatments available to the specialist are extraordinarily successful today and should ensure that for the great majority of you, you may happily retire that teeny weenie bikini for a maternity swimsuit.

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