Fertility Food Friday: Healthy Homemade Granola

Want a great start to spring? Registered holistic nutritionist Krista A. Parr has a recipe for healthy homemade granola so you’ll have a delicious kick start to every spring morning!

Fertility Food Friday: Healthy Homemade Granola

Fertility Food Friday: Healthy Homemade Granola

Healthy Homemade Granola

Recipe by Krista A. Parr

Processed cereal is a popular choice for breakfast because it’s quick and convenient. However, when whole grains are forced into unnatural shapes like flakes, puffs, shreds, sticks, and o’s through a high-pressure process called extrusion, most of the nutrients are destroyed and the amino acids (proteins) are rendered toxic. This is how all boxed cereals are made, even the ones marketed as “healthy.”

So what’s the alternative? Make a large batch of this healthy granola on the weekend, and enjoy it for breakfast throughout the week! Because all of the ingredients are whole, unrefined foods, you will feel fuller for longer than you would with conventional cereal. From a fertility perspective, this delicious breakfast will not spike blood sugar levels like boxed cereal, meaning no inflammatory response will be triggered. Further, the zinc in the pumpkin seeds, raisins, and pure maple syrup is necessary for hormone production and utilization as well as sperm production, quality, and quantity. The antioxidants in the raw cacao fight to protect eggs and sperm from oxidative damage.

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Meet Us Mondays: Rachel Li, Finance Assistant Manager

Meet Us Mondays - Rachel Li, Finance Assistant Manager, Genesis Fertility Centre

Rachel Li, Finance Assistant Manager, Genesis Fertility Centre

I am Rachel. I came to Canada with my family 10 years ago to start a new life. In my first few years in Canada, I concentrated on my studies. A few months after I received my Financial Management Diploma from BCIT in 2009, I started working at Genesis Fertility Centre.

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Fertility Food Friday: Chocolate Kefir Smoothie

It’s Fertility Food Friday! Here’s a great recipe for a chocolate kefir smoothie, the perfect drink for the start of spring!

fertility boosting Chocolate Kefir Smoothie

Chocolate Kefir Smoothie
(Photo Credit: Foodista.com)

Chocolate Kefir Smoothie

Recipe by Krista A. Parr

The Harvard Nurses Research Study, the largest, most comprehensive, long-term study of diet and fertility tells us that full-fat dairy products should be favored over low-fat and skim milk for those trying to conceive. Further, the calcium and vitamin D in dairy both require dietary fat in order to be absorbed, so if you normally eat no-fat yogurt or skim milk you are not absorbing the calcium or vitamin D!

 Kefir, like traditionally-made yogurt, is a fermented milk product so it provides beneficial bacteria for promoting immune and digestive health. Amazingly, fermented dairy also has higher levels of nutrients than their non-fermented counterparts! This divine smoothie also features antioxidant-rich raw cacao, and essential fatty acid-rich chia seeds for supporting male and female reproductive health.

  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup organic full-fat plain kefir or yogurt
  • 5 pitted dates, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes or so
  • 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1.5 Tablespoons sesame tahini
  • 1 Tablespoon raw, unpasteurized honey
  • 1 Tablespoon raw cacao powder or nibs
  • Pinch of fine Himalayan sea salt

Blend with ice and water as needed until smooth. Makes 2 smoothies.

Krista A. Parr is a Vancouver Registered Holistic Nutritionist specializing in fertility and women’s health.

Root to Fruit Nutrition


Scientific Progress Often Involves Pushing the Envelope – Response to New York Times Article on New Fertility Advancement

The following post was written by our medical director and award-winning medical researcher Dr. Sonya Kashyap.

Wikimedia - Researcher_looks_through_microscope

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Sabrina Tavernise of the New York Times recently published an article on Dr. Shoukhrat Mitalipov’s advancement in fertility science – by replacing the nucleus from a human egg, the Soviet-born scientist has found a way to help women conceive children without passing on genetic defects in their cellular mitochondria.

But his technique has drawn the ire of bioethicists and the scrutiny of federal regulators.

As a medical practitioner and researcher, I can understand both sides of the argument. Some people view this as one step closer to genetic engineering for positive characteristics, which to many, is contentious. Although I cannot argue that there might be ethical issues surrounding this technique, it’s a giant step towards curing lethal and morbid diseases.

In medicine, many revolutionary treatments are initially scrutinized as they threaten known boundaries in science and ethics – this includes treatments for everything from cancer to HIV. But without pushing these envelopes, we would not be able to find cures for these deadly conditions. The fact is these scientific and often controversial breakthroughs save lives.

The same can be said of current fertility technology. Critics attack pre-implantation genetic diagnoses because they feel it would lead to designer babies. But with appropriate laws and regulations to prevent genetic engineering for positive eugenics, this technology would help families conceive babies who will not receive the often deadly conditions that their mothers might carry. It would also, from a financial standpoint, help reduce both the burden on parents and the health care system. By eliminating the root cause to a mitochondrial, genetically inherited disease, parents and their children would lead healthy, carefree lives.

As a physician in Canada where regulations restrict options for mothers who have mitochondrial disease, it is heartbreaking to see the parents’ faces when you tell them that there is no way to prevent this from happening again. The only option available to them is to use a donor egg or adopt, both of which are difficult in this country.

In medicine, the best solutions are often the most intuitive but they may be technically challenging. Although Dr. Mitalipov’s method has yet to be proven clinically applicable and successful, his technique is a very important gateway to saving potentially thousands of lives. One only has to see a child with mitochondrial disease to understand the potential impact of such a technological advancement.

It is up to us to utilize technology responsibly but not halt the progress of it.

Meet Us Mondays: Brenda Toyoda, Nursing Assistant


Meet Us Mondays: Brenda Toyoda, Nursing Assistant, Genesis Fertility Centre

Meet Us Mondays: Brenda Toyoda, Nursing Assistant, Genesis Fertility Centre

Hi my name is Brenda and I’m a nursing assistant at Genesis Fertility Centre, specializing in the egg freezing program.

My beginnings

In 1990, I graduated from the Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) School of Nursing and started working on a busy Medical Surgical Unit focused primarily on gynecology and oncology. After a few years of gaining valuable experience, I happily joined the BC Women’s Hospital’s maternity ward.  I loved my job but I was needed at home when my youngest child developed an immune condition. Even though I left the health care world, my passion for nursing and women’s health never faded.

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Fertility Food Friday: Sundried Tomato and Feta Cheese Quiche

Remember Krista, our lovely receptionist and a Registered Holistic Nutritionist specializing in fertility and women’s health from Root to Fruit Nutrition? For our Fertility Food Friday blog series, she will be providing great recipes that could help improve your fertility as well as your general health.

Here are her tips on making a tasty sundried tomato and feta cheese quiche:

Fertility boosting recipe Sundried Tomato and Feta Cheese Quiche

Sundried Tomato and Feta Cheese Quiche (Photo Credit: AddAPitch.com)

Sundried tomatoes are usually the shining star of any dish, and this quiche is no exception. They are bold, tangy, and also happen to contain very high levels of lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant that has been found to improve sperm concentrations in infertile men. Lycopene absorption is increased when eaten along with healthy fats. While eggs have earned an unfair reputation for containing too many ‘bad’ fats and cholesterol, this isn’t entirely true. Eggs are full of monounsaturated fat (the kind found in olive oil, praised for its support of the cardiovascular system), and ‘good’ cholesterol, the pre-cursor to sex hormones in our bodies. Additionally, eggs are rich in vitamin D, necessary for ovulation and hormone balance, and are a complete, high-quality, and relatively inexpensive source of protein.

*Please purchase eggs from chickens that enjoyed some time outside each day, eating their natural diet (worms, slugs, and other insects).
*A deep orange yolk is a sign of a good egg!

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Meet Us Mondays: Melissa Keen, RN

Meet Us Mondays: Melissa Keen, RN


Meet Us Mondays: Melissa Keen, RN at Genesis Fertility Centre

Meet Us Mondays: Melissa Keen, RN

My name is Melissa Keen and I’m a registered nurse at Genesis Fertility Centre and the owner of KeenMommy.com, a personal account of my fight against thyroid cancer. Although working at Genesis Fertility Centre has grounded me professionally, blogging was my avenue for getting through one of the most challenging and difficult times in my life.

My Personal Struggle with Cancer

The idea of blogging publicly was something that I never imagined doing. In April of 2013, as a mother to 21 month old Marcus, wife of Jeff, daughter, sister and registered nurse, I found myself having to go through my third fight against papillary thyroid cancer and in the hospital for yet another round of cancer treatment.  In the days prior to my hospital admission, I decided to start blogging as a means to help me heal during my journey and fight against the beast that is cancer. Having fought thyroid cancer twice before, I was determined that this time would not be any different. However, slowly I began to realize that this time, truly was, different – I now have a family of my own to worry about. I constantly have fears and worries about finances, putting meals on the table, keeping a household clean and functioning. I am also a wife, friend and mom while going through treatments. That said, I am eternally thankful to my healthy network of family and friends for being my strength throughout these difficult times.

How I Can Relate with Patients

Having worked at a neonatal ICU at one of Vancouver’s busiest hospitals, I bring the knowledge and experience from my previous post to my current nursing position at Genesis Fertility Centre.  Although I’ve learned medical expertise from my past employment, it was my personal experience that truly showed me the vulnerability and world of uncertainty that patients go through when they experience personal struggles such as infertility. As such, I will strive my very best to not only provide quality and safe care, but to also relate, listen and support my patients through their journeys.


We at Genesis Fertility Centre are honoured to have a cancer survivor among our staff. Melissa’s tenacity and courage in battling thyroid cancer is something we treasure everyday.  Her positive attitude in the face of such a difficult journey is best showcased in her blog post, “Why Cancer? Why Me?

Meet Us Mondays: Helen Ortojan, RN

Helen Ortojan

Helen Ortojan, RN, Genesis Fertility Centre

Hi, my name is Helen. I’m one of the nurses here in Genesis. My family and I came to Canada in 2005 (from the Philippines). I’ve worked so hard to become an OB-GYN but gave it up hoping to give my family a better future. I was asked so many times if I have regrets, my answer is always “no”. For us, Canada is a refreshing start of our journey. We had our share of struggles settling in but we are so blessed that transition has been quite easy and support is flowing.

My Journey to Genesis Fertility Centre

In my first few years in Canada, I worked as a nurse in a nursing home. Although I enjoyed the job and gained friends, I knew deep inside me I was looking for something else. I started searching for a job related to Maternity or OB specialty, and that was when I found Genesis Fertility Centre.

Since working at Genesis in April of 2013, my true journey has begun. I know that this is it, and I feel that I’m in the right place. The training period was quite challenging but working with people who value team work is helpful. Dr. Kashyap is a good mentor and is appreciative of each person’s worth.

How I can relate with patients

I’m happy that I have the opportunity to work in one of the best fertility centers in the country and helping patients to achieve their dreams of become parents. Having three miscarriages myself, I can empathize with them.  By being an Egg Donor/Surrogacy Program Coordinator, I am able to understand the whole essence of this job and am able to do it more effectively.

Lastly, being in an environment of dedicated staff who share the same vision as you is refreshing. I can say at the end of the day, being at Genesis doesn’t just feel like a job, but a personal life accomplishment.

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