Ok, now for the second part of my personal update. First, the good news. My pH has held steady at 4.5 with an occasional 5 throughout all my experimentation. pH may have a sort of inertia - it’s tough to get it started changing, and once it changes, it’s hard to change it back again.
My baby is suddenly less interested in nursing, and a little more interested in drinking from the cup. He does still nurse, but it tends to be for shorter periods of time, only a minute or two before he gets bored with it. Hopefully, this will help - I have talked to several women and for some reason, 13 months seems to be almost a magical age for getting AF back again regularly. He will be 13 months in three weeks.
I’ve been back on my ttc girl diet for nearly two weeks now, and even though I easily re-lost that 3 lbs. and am sitting back at 125 lbs again, I still am feeling the effects of higher testosterone. Remember how testosterone seems to be a self-perpetuating cycle; that is, the idea that personality factors cause you to produce more testosterone, and more testosterone stimulates the more aggressive qualities of your personality, in a kind of snowball? Well, this certainly seems to be the case for me. I suspect that when I first started on the TTC girl diet, it probably took some time for my testosterone levels to drop and it happened so gradually that I didn‘t notice until a couple of months had passed. It’s actually quite shocking to me how different I suddenly felt, just from eating a little meat and gaining a couple of pounds.
So what does this mean for a TTC pink sway? Well, if testosterone takes awhile to drop, we should take steps to lower our t levels as soon as we can. Even if you’re months away from starting your sway, start eating meat, eggs, and nuts only in moderation, or better yet, quit them all together. Quit any form of weight training and competitive activities, particularly ones you are emotionally invested in (you can still play Monopoly with your children, but entering the Pillsbury Bake Off that you have dreamed of winning since you were 3 is a no-no). Avoid stress, avoid conflict. You may even want to limit the amount of orgasms you have for a month or two before you begin to sway.
The devil is in the details -
I have been contacted my several people who are wanting specific foods that you can and can’t eat on both the ttc girl and boy diets. From the very beginning, I have been reluctant to do this - even the February post I made about the different types of girl and boy diets was really more than I wanted to commit to.
You see, I just am not convinced that there are any ‘magic’ foods that sway pink or blue for everyone, 100% of the time. I happen to believe that swaying hinges on the idea that, when your body ‘thinks’ that times are good/getting better and food is plentiful, women tend to have boys, and when your body ‘thinks’ that times are tougher and food is scarce, you tend to have girls - the Trivers Willard hypothesis.
If you are interested in the Trivers Willard hypothesis, and the hows and whys of swaying using the principles of TWH (warning, it‘s long), please continue reading. If you want the nutshell version, skip to the bottom where I talk about what I’m actually eating and what I ate when I ttc my sons.
The theory -
For most of our earliest years on this planet, humanity subsisted as wandering tribes of hunter-gatherers. We ate a meat-heavy diet, supplemented with berries, nuts, grains, and when we got lucky, an egg here or there. Dairy products were not on the menu for anyone other than babies, because who could milk a mastodon?? (Eating dairy products is actually quite a new idea for humans, that’s why so many people around the world are lactose intolerant.) Yet during these hunter-gatherer years, an ample supply of both boys and girls were born. Otherwise the species would not have survived. So the idea that eating a lot of meat always = boys and eating dairy always = girls simply cannot be true..
As humans began to settle down and embrace agriculture, our diets began to include more and more dairy products. Some cultures began to eat dairy as their primary food. But despite this dramatic change in diet, the female population didn’t begin grow entirely out of proportion. The human race didn’t die out, far from it. Both boys and girls continued to be born and the human population skyrocketed. Nowadays, our diets are more complex and varied than ever before; we have access to foods that our great-great-grandparents had never even heard of. Our diets contain more meat, fish, caffeine, bananas, and salt than ever before. We should be inundated by boys, and yet we aren’t, and there are now 6 billion of us.
We have gone through countless variations of diets throughout the world throughout history, yet overall, the gender ratio has stayed pretty close to 50-50. This doesn’t mean I don’t believe that diet has nothing to do with swaying, because obviously I believe it does, otherwise I wouldn’t have wasted my time writing this blog!! But it does mean that the idea of ‘magic’ foods that always produce children of all one gender has to be set aside, because it just can‘t be logically true.
Going back to our hunter-gatherers and their diet of meat, they had eaten the same foods for their entire lives, their body chemistry was used to it. But there would still be a wide variation between the amount and quality of food that the chieftain’s wife ate, and the food the lowest-ranking female would eat. The chieftain’s wife would likely get the best meat while the lowest-ranking female would have to live off of whatever scraps she could snatch. The chieftain’s wife was almost certainly bigger and stronger, so she could out-compete (maybe even going so far as physically fighting and driving them away) the low-ranking women to collect the best grains and berries - the low-ranking females probably had to wander for many miles to gather enough to feed her family. The low-ranking females would get less calories, less variety, and have to work a lot harder just to get by.
So even though the whole tribe was eating a meat-based diet, it made evolutionary sense for the chieftain’s wife to have a lot of sons, because her sons would have the best food, they would be big and strong, be able to protect their mates and the tribe, and be able to out-compete other males to pick the best mates and have the most children. She could have daughters as well, of course, but they would likely only have 1 or 2 surviving offspring (life was tough back then). Her sons could potentially father dozens.
If the lowest-ranking female were to have sons, they would be chronically undernourished and not able to compete against the chieftain’s sons - if they had children, they probably wouldn’t have very many, their mates would be less desirable as well, and they wouldn’t be physically as able to provide food and protect their mates and offspring from predators. But now if she had daughters, well, after all, the chieftain’s wife’s sons need someone to mate with (probably many someones). Even the smallest and weakest daughters would manage to find mates and some of their offspring would live, and probably benefit from the rise in status that might come from having a higher-ranking father.
Fast forward through time to our early agricultural society, people keep cows and goats and eat a lot of cheese, yogurt, and milk. They have hens and geese and eat eggs. They also grow fruits, vegetables, and grains. Again, this is what everyone in the entire geographic region eats, so everyone’s body chemistry is used to the diet.
The richest woman in town is married to the farmer with the biggest and most fertile plot of land. Her husband raises many cows, so many in fact that he is able to slaughter his extra bulls for meat. Their family eats meat, vegetables, dairy, and bread at every meal. He sells his excess goods at market and earns so much money that he is able to afford to keep his farm in good repair, enabling him to be even more successful. His wife does have to help him (life was tough back then), but her labor isn’t terribly taxing, she has warm clothes in winter and shoes on her feet.
It still makes evolutionary sense for the farmer and his wife to have a lot of sons. Her sons will have access to plentiful food and will grow big and strong. They would be able to help on the farm, and their wealth would allow them to pick and choose from any wife they please, so they’re more likely to end up with a healthy and strong wife who will have a lot of children. And since they are more likely to grow into strong, healthy, wealthy men, they will be able to provide for their children well and more of them will survive to adulthood.
The poorest woman in town is married to a man who’s plot of land is terribly small and not very fertile. They aren’t able to grow enough to feed themselves, let alone to sell at the market. They have one cow, but they must sell her calf every year in order to pay the taxes to their lord. The only thing that really grows well in their field is turnips. So their family lives on milk until the cow goes dry, cheese, and turnips. The wife must work alongside her husband from sun up to sundown but it still isn‘t enough, sometimes she even takes in laundry and mending so they have enough money to occasionally buy bread. She probably doesn’t have warm clothes, and she occupies a place of low social status in the community.
It makes more sense for this family to have daughters. Girls tend to eat less so they are more likely to survive to adulthood, and while a son would have nothing to offer a potential wife, it’s likely that at least some of their daughters will manage to find a suitable husband…maybe even a more successful man than her father. At least some of their offspring would have grandchildren who survived.
All this is very theoretical and some may even find it pointless, but remember, we are the end result of all these people. The biology that kept them alive long enough to reproduce is what we are made of. We are still subject to the same quirks of evolution…just like our appendix and tailbone, it’s still part of us, even if we don’t really need to use it any more.
Fast forward again to 2009. Two sisters have grown up eating the same All-American diet, cereal and juice for breakfast, PBJ for lunch, and hamburger casserole for dinner, day in and day out so their body chemistries were at one time the same, but circumstances have affected them differently.
The older sister is a doctor. She works long hours, but it isn’t hard physical work, and she‘s indoors out of the weather. She works out 3 times a week because that’s all she has time for, but she enjoys it a lot. She’s not too heavy or too thin. She is able to afford a lot of fruits and vegetables, whole-grain bread, and she can afford more expensive groceries like fish, cheese, and meat. Society is constantly telling her how amazing and successful she is. She has two boys, even though evolutionarily it no longer makes any difference for her to have boys and she would love to have a daughter, she is still subject to the same biology that her historical sisters were.
The second sister has had a harder time of it. She’s not well off at all. She eats mainly white bread, pasta, potatoes, processed foods, whatever she can afford on her limited food budget. She works two jobs to make ends meet, and since she doesn’t have a car she has to walk several miles every day in all kinds of weather. She sometimes has to skip meals and she is rather thin. Throughout her life, she has felt very inferior to her sister, and she feels as if their relationship was a contest that she lost. She has 2 children as well, both daughters. She would love to have a son, and in this day and age there’s no reason why she shouldn’t, but again, her body is interpreting the signals it is being sent.
The practice -
Keep these basic principles in mind -
1 - There is no such thing as a magic food. You will always find someone who ate straight off the girl diet and has boys and vice versa. That doesn’t meant that the diet won’t sway for the majority of the people.
2 - Your body gets used to whatever you are eating. Someone who never eats meat will almost certainly respond more strongly to eating meat than someone who eats it all the time.
3 - You must analyze your diet before you start swaying, because some foods will affect you more or less than they might other people. There is no one size fits all sway.
4 - For a girl, you want to eat less overall of everything, less calories, less protein, less variety of nutrients.
In other words, eat like a poor person. But you do not have to starve yourself, you just have to eat less overall than you were previously.
5 - For a boy, you want to eat more of everything, more calories, more protein, a wider array of nutrients. Eat like a rich person. But you do not have to stuff yourself with food, you just have to eat more overall than you were previously.
6 - Remember, the majority of women manage to have children of both genders with no effort whatsoever. Swaying may be complicated to understand, but it cannot be impossible or even very difficult to carry out. Most people stumble their way into it at least once no matter how many of the other gender they might have.
Foods I’m eating for TTC a girl - Here is what I am personally eating for my pink sway. You will have to look at these foods in the light of your own dietary history and decide if it would work for you, or if you would need to cut back more or could even get away with a less strict diet.
I am eating white bread in the form of buttered toast, and cheese sandwiches, salad topped with cheese, spaghetti topped with pesto/alfredo/marinara sauce and parmesan cheese, vegetarian pizza, vegetarian lasagna, a couple of rice-based vegetarian casseroles that I like, yogurt, ice cream, low-carb vegetables with hollandaise sauce (brocolli, cauliflower, asparagus) , berries every once in awhile, and on occasion when I’m really craving them I will have nachos, bean burritos, or something potato-based. I drink 2 tea bags worth of tea every morning, 1 small cup of coffee in the afternoons, and pop far more than I should, but I believe I am going to quit drinking pop and start Crystal Light, not for swaying purposes but just because I can‘t keep those extra calories in my diet and I have no willpower when it comes to pop. I am not totally deprived, but I am definitely eating differently than I did when I conceived my third son a year ago.
Foods I ate when I TTC DS 3 - It makes more sense to me to base my sway on my last conception, because my other two were many years ago and I think my blood chemistry is probably quite different now than when I was younger. Plus, I can remember my specific diet much better.
When I conceived DS 3, I usually ate ½ cup nuts, but occasionally I would eat 4 oz. of cheese. I drank 4 tea bags worth of tea every morning before work. Then I would have a dark chocolate Dove bar every day at work for a snack, a Lipton green tea at work. Then for lunch I would have a couple of sandwiches (cheese, tuna, fried egg, lunch meat, or peanut butter) and chips or fruit, an avocado mixed with salsa and corn chips, nachos, or leftovers from dinner. I often drank V-8 juice and orange juice daily and pop several times a week. For dinner I often had meat, chicken, fish, or red meat (probably had red meat 4 times a week on average). Sometimes I had pasta, pizza, stir fry, or Mexican food. For a bedtime snack I would have ice cream, cereal with milk, or yogurt and berries mixed together. I probably had fast food a minimum of once a week and sometimes twice.
So now, a much higher % of my caloric intake is coming from carbs. I am taking in way, way less protein than I was and somewhat less fat, and my fat intake is a lot less of the healthy fats. I’m eating less overall than I was and skipping breakfast. And I am trying to keep salt to a minimum, but I’m not doing very well at it. Could I cut a lot more out than I have, sure. But I don’t think I could without wrecking my fertility and drying up my milk supply.
Anyway, I hope this is helpful in shedding some light on what I’m doing and why!