Click on different food types to learn what to eat (and what to avoid) in each category or scroll down for full food guide

Introduction
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Drinks
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Breads & Bakery
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Milk & Dairy
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Fruit
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Vegetables and Legumes
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Cereals, Grains, Seeds & Nuts
Click here to go to Cereals, Grains, Seeds & Nuts
Meat, Eggs & Tofu
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Fish & Seafood
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Pasta & Rice
Click here to go to Pasta & Rice
Ingredients
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Sauces & Spreads
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Ready Meals & Eating Out
Click here to go to Ready Meals & Eating Out
Snacks & Sweets
Click here to go to Snacks & Sweets
Diet Supplements
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INTRODUCTION

As for every diet, success will require and depend on your perseverance, commitment, discipline and awareness for what you should eat and what to avoid. This guide should help you with it – when in doubt about a specific drink or food, please consult the provided tables. Be aware of hidden intakes, e.g. medicine you have to take or the toothpaste you are using (some are very high in sodium). Only consider this diet if you don't have any fertility problems and are generally healthy. Seek your doctor's advice to assess if this diet is right for you and stop it if you experience any discomfort. 

 

RECOMMENED DAILY MINERAL INTAKE:

Normal recommendations for calcium intakes vary between 400-500 mg a day (WHO) to 1000 mg a day (in the USA even 1,500 mg for women over 50). In this guide, the guidelines for the girl diet from Dr.med. Wilfried Feichtinger are used. He suggests to increase the daily calcium intake to 1,500 mg per day for the girl diet. For magnesium, he recommends to increase the daily intake from around 320 mg to 450 mg per day. It is often said that too much magnesium can cause diarrhoea, but you would need consume a single dose of over 1000 mg to have a laxative effect. If you increase your calcium / dairy intake suddenly, you might also experience some diarrhoea, so it might be a good idea to increase levels slowly. There is some indication that a high calcium intake may impact the absorption of iron, so check that your iron levels are ok.

 

According to the WHO, adults should consume around 3,500 mg of potassium and less than 2,000 mg of sodium. For the girl diet, a daily intake of 3,150 mg of potassium and 650 mg of sodium is recommended.

CALCIUM: 1500 mg

MAGNESIUM: 450 mg

POTASSIUM: 3150 mg

SODIUM: 650 mg

More generally, your diet should contain at least half as much calcium and magnesium (combined) as potassium and sodium (combined). While you need to be careful not to decrease your potassium intake too much (your body still needs it!), you can decrease your sodium levels without much concern. Most people consume too much salt – so decreasing your sodium intake will likely have a positive effect on your overall wellbeing. The National Heart Lung and Blood Association reports that 500 mg is a safe daily minimum intake of sodium. This amount will be enough to maintain the bodily functions that require sodium. In an average temperate climate, a normal adult may be able to thrive with as little as 115 mg of sodium each day.

 

When going on the girl diet, it helps to keep a daily notebook, especially in the beginning, to learn about the different foods and have greater control.

 

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS:

There is also evidence that a higher calorie intake, especially in form of sugar, favours boys, so try to reduce sugars and calories (while still making sure your body gets what it needs of course).

 

TIMING

Start the girl diet a couple of months (at least 10 weeks) before trying to conceive to allow your body to adjust mineral levels. 

PARTNER: 

There is no evidence that suggests that the father needs to change his diet too. He might chose to in order to support you and make cooking easier (maybe he can add some salt to the dishes you make). 

 
 

DRINKS

 

For the diet, everything that you put into your body counts, including of course drinks, especially as many drinks have a high amount of minerals. 

 

TAP WATER: Can be consumed. Avoid softened water as softeners might decrease the amount of calcium

 

MINERAL WATER: The mineral content of mineral water varies widely, based on where it is from, so check the bottle information or research your preferred mineral water minerals online. Evian, Vittel and Perrier are ok. Sparkling mineral water often contains more sodium and potassium than non-sparkling

 

FRUIT JUICE: Is usually high in potassium, so to be avoided unless highly diluted

 

COFFEE/TEA: Coffee is rich in potassium, especially instant coffees, so try to limit consumption. A cup a day is fine, or more but heavily diluted. If tea, chose a coffein free. Peppermint tea is a good choice

 

HOT CHOCOLATE: Rich in potassium and sodium, so try to avoid and drink pure milk which also has less sugar and calories

 

WINE/ BEER / CIDER: High in potassium, so, unfortunately, to be avoided or enjoyed heavily diluted

 

SPIRITS: Contains low amount of minerals but causes elimination of minerals through kidney so limit consumption

 

MILK: YES - it's the ideal food for the girl diet! Have at least 3/4 of a litre a day (don't overdo it as too much calcium is harmful too, max. 2 litres a day)

 
 

BREADS AND BAKERY

 

FLOUR: You can have as much flour as you like, it depends what you mix it with.

 

BREAD:

When it comes to bread, focus on the amount of sodium that is included – unfortunately most breads are full of it. Search for one with minimum salt – you might have to bake some bread yourself if you eat a lot of it.

 

White bread has normally less potassium than wholemeal bread – however the levels of potassium in all breads (unless it includes fruit) are still moderate. Wholemeal bread has generally more magnesium than white bread. So if you don’t have many other sources of magnesium, take wholemeal over white bread. However, it may contain phytic acid, which can lower the amount of calcium absorbed by the intestine.

 

During my girl diet I was lucky to discover a light wholemeal toast bread without added salt in an organic supermarket. Bread that only contains wheat flour and water (no yeast – unleavened bread) is a good pick too.

BAKERY:

Unfortunately, most pastries include a lot of sodium and can be higher in potassium too, so minimise the amount of baked goods you eat. See also under Snacks & Sweets.

 

Pretzels are full of sodium and should not ever be touched. Bread & Bakery are generally not a supplier of calcium. 

MILK & DAIRY

 

Yes, yes and yes! This is full of calcium and a must have in the girl diet.

 

MILK:

Milk is rich in sugars, proteins and vitamins, it also contains phosphorus, vitamin D and lactose, which ensures an easy absorption by the intestine. It does also contain potassium and sodium but this is outbalanced by the calcium advantage. Have at least ¾, but max. 2 liters of milk a day. Too much can be harmful (also, if you normally don’t have much milk, introduce it slowly to avoid diarrhea). It doesn’t matter how much fat the milk has or how it has been treated. Evaporated, powdered and lactose free milk are fine. Buttermilk contains twice as much sodium than normal milk so avoid it. Sheep milk has even higher calcium than cow milk so is a good choice.

 

Rice milk is a good option as similar to cows milk but with lower potassium.

Coconut milk is a good source of magnesium but not of calcium. Potassium is similar to normal cows milk with sodium being low.

Oat milk is low in calcium, high in magnesium, low in potassium and has acceptable sodium.

Almond milk is also high in magnesium and lower in potassium, however has normally high sodium.

Soy milk is lower in calcium and has high potassium, so not a good choice.

CHEESE:

Cheese has normally lower amounts of calcium than milk but still contains a high amount. The issue of cheese, however, is the generally high amount of sodium and thus should be avoided. Absolut forbidden are the following: Feta, Sheep cheese, Gorgonzola, aged Gouda, Green cheese, Parmesan and Roquefort.

Mascarpone and Ricotta are ok.

 

YOGHURT:

The mineral content of yoghurt is similar to the one of milk, so consumption is recommended. Note that fruit yoghurts might have high potassium, stay with plain yoghurt – see how you can sweeten it under the Ingredients section.

 

BUTTER:

Butter is ok to use (only watch the calories of course) as long as the amount of added salt / sodium is low, so only buy butter & oils without salt. Chose butter over margarine as margarine is generally lower in calcium and higher in sodium.

 

OTHER DAIRY PRODUCTS:

Kefir, Quark (curd cheese), sour cream are allowed unlimited. 

 

FRUIT

 

Some people say ‘eat unhealthy and you will get a girl’ – maybe the reason for that perception is that fruit and vegetables are generally high in potassium so need to be consumed moderately in the girl diet. The good news is that you don’t have to worry as sodium levels are generally low – unfortunately that also applies to calcium and magnesium. So, with fruit, it’s all about the amount of potassium. Generally, try to eat not more than 150g a day, if possible from Category A:

 

CATEGORY A – OK (a portion has <5% of your daily potassium intake): Maraschino cherries, Cranberries, Lingonberry, Lime, Lemon, Blueberries, Jambolan, Litchi, Fig, Cherries, Tangerine, Stewed plums, Clementines, Starfruit, Açai (frozen pulp), Nashi-pear, Grapes, Gooseberry, Longans, Loquat, Apple, Pineapple, Canned: Cherries, Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Fruit salad

 

CATEGORY B – IN MODERATION (a portion has >5% but <10% of your daily potassium intake): Watermelon, Pear, Quince, Coconut, Rasperries, Mirabelle plum, Kumquats, Plum, Grapefruit, Kiwi (green or gold), Prickly pear, Tamarillo, Peach, Strawberries, Pesimmon (Kaki), Blackberries, Mango, Nectarine, Papaya

 

CATEGORY C - AVOID (high levels of potassium, a portion has >10% of your daily potassium intake): Sapodilla, Red, white or black currants, Blood orange, Orange, Honeydew melon, Rhubarb, Pomegranate, Durian, Apricot, Pomelo, Soursop, Elderberries, Breadfruit, Jackfruit, Banana, Guava, Plantain, Yam

 

DRIED FRUIT:

As dried fruit contains concentrated amounts of minerals, they are forbidden in the girl diet.

 

Note that cooking fruits will decrease the amount of potassium but of course also the amount of vitamins you still need to get. 

VEGETABLES & LEGUMES

 

Vegetables are similar to fruit – normally low in calcium, magnesium and sodium with different levels of potassium. As fruit, vegetables should be part of a balanced died. Boiling of the vegetables will decrease the level of minerals (the longer you leave it in the water the less minerals it will have) but also decreases other minerals and vitamins.

 

CATEGORY A – OK (low levels of potassium; a portion has <5% of your daily potassium intake): Ginger root, Garlic, Wasabi root, Onion, Alfalda sprouts, Shallot, Bamboo shoots, Spring onion, Lemon grass, Cucumber, Lettuce (all kinds), Rocket salad, Water or garden cress, Ramsons, Celeriac, Radicchio, Sugar snap peas, Mung bean sprouts, Cabbage, Endive, Escarole, Wax gourd and green beans (also a source of magnesium so go for it!)

 

CATEGORY B – IN MODERATION (a portion has >5% but <10% of your daily potassium intake):

- Some vegetables in this category that include a considerable amount of magnesium too (so should be consumed rather than others in this category): Corn, Okra, cooked Broccoli and red Lentils, Water spinach & peas (watch out for sodium with these two); Others in Category B: Cherry tomato, Pak Choi, Napa, Enoki or Porcini mushrooms, Capsicum / Pepper, Jerusalem artichoke, Chicory, Leek, Pumpkin, Radish, cooked Kale, Shiitake

 

CATEGORY C – AVOID (high levels of potassium, a portion has >10% of your daily potassium intake, try to avoid / eat only in moderation): Raw broccoli or Kale, White turnip, Morels, Asparagus, Tomatoes, Horseradish, Mushrooms, Zucchini, Eggplant, Water chestnut, Baked beans, Winter squash, Tamarind, Red cabbage, Lotus root, Rutabaga / Swede, Taro, Salsify, Brussels sprout, Kohlrabi, Parsnip, Avocado, Potatoes

 

Absolut NO GOES are: Pascal celery, White turnip, Broad beans, Cauliflower, Beetroot, Fennel, Sauerkraut, Carrot, Sweet potatoes, Mashed potatoes, Spinach; Everything out of cans (tomatoes, mushrooms, corn, chickpeas etc.), pickled (olives, cucumbers etc.) or processed (e.g. commercial guacamole).

 

LEGUMES:

Legumes (dry beans, dry broad beans, dry peas, chickpeas, black and black beans, lentils) generally contain some magnesium and moderate to high potassium, so should be consumed carefully. Red lentils are your best pick within this category. Avoid Pinto beans. 

CEREALS, GRAINS, SEEDS & NUTS

Cereals, grains, seeds and nuts are your main source of magnesium – so go nuts (all without salt of course!)

 

Category A – PERFECT: Contains calcium and magnesium but low in potassium and sodium: Sesame, Poppy seeds, Chia seeds

 

Category B – YES, high in magnesium (>10% of your daily intake) while moderate in potassium (up to 5% of your daily intake) and low in sodium and calcium: Cooked milet or millet flakes, Pine nuts, Cashews, Brazil nuts or Almonds, Sunflower seeds, Barley flakes, Cocoa powder, Flax seeds. Very good are pumpkin seeds, with one portion (20g) delivering >25% of your target magnesium intake while only having 5% of your max. potassium intake.

 

Category C – OK, high in magnesium (>10% of your daily intake) while potassium is <10% of your daily intake) and low in sodium: Multigrains, Amaranth, Oats, Wheat, Spelt flakes, Quinoa (cooked), Hemp seeds, Rye flakes, Teff, Barley

 

Category D – IN MODERATION: Couscous (cooked), Coconut (desiccated), Pistachios (unsalted), Gojis, Edamame

 

Category E  - AVOID: Corn flakes and most other breakfast cereals (check the label for sodium), Chestnuts 

CEREALS, GRAINS, SEEDS & NUTS

Cereals, grains, seeds and nuts are your main source of magnesium – so go nuts (all without salt of course!)

 

Category A – PERFECT: Contains calcium and magnesium but low in potassium and sodium: Sesame, Poppy seeds, Chia seeds

 

Category B – YES, high in magnesium (>10% of your daily intake) while moderate in potassium (up to 5% of your daily intake) and low in sodium and calcium: Cooked milet or millet flakes, Pine nuts, Cashews, Brazil nuts or Almonds, Sunflower seeds, Barley flakes, Cocoa powder, Flax seeds. Very good are pumpkin seeds, with one portion (20g) delivering >25% of your target magnesium intake while only having 5% of your max. potassium intake.

 

Category C – OK, high in magnesium (>10% of your daily intake) while potassium is <10% of your daily intake) and low in sodium: Multigrains, Amaranth, Oats, Wheat, Spelt flakes, Quinoa (cooked), Hemp seeds, Rye flakes, Teff, Barley

 

Category D – IN MODERATION: Couscous (cooked), Coconut (desiccated), Pistachios (unsalted), Gojis, Edamame

 

Category E  - AVOID: Corn flakes and most other breakfast cereals (check the label for sodium), Chestnuts 

CEREALS, GRAINS, SEEDS & NUTS

Cereals, grains, seeds and nuts are your main sources of magnesium – so go nuts (all without salt of course!)

 

Category A – PERFECT: Contains calcium and magnesium but low in potassium and sodium: Sesame, Poppy seeds, Chia seeds

 

Category B – YES, high in magnesium (>10% of your daily intake) while moderate in potassium (up to 5% of your daily intake) and low in sodium and calcium: Cooked milet or millet flakes, Pine nuts, Cashews, Brazil nuts or Almonds, Sunflower seeds, Barley flakes, Cocoa powder, Flax seeds. Very good are pumpkin seeds, with one portion (20g) delivering >25% of your target magnesium intake while only having 5% of your max. potassium intake.

 

Category C – OK, high in magnesium (>10% of your daily intake) while potassium is <10% of your daily intake) and low in sodium: Multigrains, Amaranth, Oats, Wheat, Spelt flakes, Quinoa (cooked), Hemp seeds, Rye flakes, Teff, Barley

 

Category D – IN MODERATION: Couscous (cooked), Coconut (desiccated), Pistachios (unsalted), Gojis, Edamame

 

Category E  - AVOID: Corn flakes and most other breakfast cereals (check the label for sodium), Chestnuts 

 
 

MEAT, EGGS & TOFU

MEAT

Bad news for meat lovers who are on the girl diet: Meat is generally low in calcium and magnesium and high in potassium and

especially sodium. Studies show that vegetarians are more likely to have girls, so cutting down on meat makes sense, as long as you ensure you are getting your protein through other sources such as eggs and milk. If you can’t live without, try to keep it to a maximum of 150g per day – chose from any fresh meat (look at table when in doubt which one to pick).

If you cook meat in water (e.g. in a stew) the amount of minerals reduces, so chose this over grilling or roasting.

 Very high in sodium and absolute no goes are: Bacon, Corned beef, processed meat and all sausages (Salami, Mettwurst, Hot dogs etc.)

 

EGGS

Eggs are low in calcium, magnesium and potassium but have some sodium to watch out for. As meat needs to be consumed in moderation, eggs are a good pick. The sodium is in the egg white, while the egg yolk is low in sodium and high in vitamins. Especially Omega-3 enriched eggs are also a great source of folic acid. When preparing eggs, do not use any salt.

 

TOFU

 Tofu includes calcium and magnesium but also some potassium, so enjoy in moderation. 

MEAT, EGGS & TOFU

MEAT:

Bad news for meat lovers who are on the girl diet: Meat is generally low in calcium and magnesium and high in potassium and especially sodium. Studies show that vegetarians are more likely to have girls, so cutting down on meat makes sense, as long as you ensure you are getting your protein through other sources such as eggs and milk. If you can’t live without, try to keep it to a maximum of 150g per day – choose from any fresh meat (look at table when in doubt which one to pick).

If you cook meat in water (e.g. in a stew) the amount of minerals reduces, so chose this over grilling or roasting.

 

Very high in sodium and absolute no goes are: Bacon, Corned beef, processed meat and all sausages (Salami, Mettwurst, Hot dogs etc.)

 

EGGS:

Eggs are low in calcium, magnesium and potassium but have some sodium to watch out for. As meat needs to be consumed in moderation, eggs are a good pick. The sodium is in the egg white, while the egg yolk is low in sodium and high in vitamins. Especially Omega-3 enriched eggs are also a great source of folic acid. When preparing eggs, do not use any salt.

 

TOFU:

 Tofu includes calcium and magnesium but also some potassium, so enjoy in moderation. 

FISH & SEAFOOD

 

Fish and seafood contain a high amount of minerals, especially potassium and sodium and should be limited. If consumed, cooking will help decreasing the amount of minerals.

 

Tuna, cooked squid, oysters and scallops are ok in moderation. 

 

No goes are: any dried, salted, smoked or canned fish, shellfish.

 
 

PASTA & RICE

 

Green light for pasta and rice.

 

Have as much rice and pasta as you want – as long as it doesn’t have any ingredients that contain sodium (e.g. ravioli) and is prepared without any salt. Rice is pretty much mineral neutral, pasta contains some sodium.

If you want to support your magnesium intake (and for all the other good reasons) chose whole meal / brown rice and pasta over white.

 

Do not eat gnocchis or cellophane noodles. 

 

INGREDIENTS

 

The number one rule when preparing food is to completely cut out the usage of salt or any stock!

 

SPICES / HERBS:

If you don’t appreciate spices and herbs yet, you will when following this diet as they need to make up for the forbidden usage of salt. They are low in minerals and can be used without limitations, e.g. Basil, Bay leaf, Borage, Caraway seeds, Chives, Coriander, Garlic, Ginger, Mint, Nutmeg, Rosemary, Saffron, Sage, Tarragon, Thyme, Turmeric, Parsley, Pepper, Vanilla. Green light also for Seaweed.

 

SWEETENER:

Can also be used unlimited – just keep your calorie intake in check: Sugar, Syrup, Fruit sugar, Glucose, Honey, etc.

 

THICKENER:

Starch, Yeast, Sago, Gelatine and Cornmeal are ok to use.

 

OILS:

All oils are allowed, including coconut oil, ghee, cocoa butter and schmaltz. 

 

SAUCES & SPREADS

 

SPREADS:

When cooking fruit to jam, most minerals get lost. So if a jam is without any additives, it can be consumed, just be aware of the sugar.

Peanut butter and Tahini include both calcium and magnesium and should be low in potassium and sodium (check the label if in doubt) – so a good choice. Most vegetarian spreads are high in sodium and thus forbidden.

 

SAUCES:

Are normally full of sodium. Absolut no goes are Teriyaki sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Cocktail sauce and dressings, Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Mustard, Oyster Sauce, Salsa, Soy sauce, Tabasco sauce and Wasabi paste. 

READY MEALS / EATING OUT

 

Unfortunately for the busy to be mum, ready meals are not a good option as they generally contain high amounts of sodium (see some examples in the tables). This also applies when going to restaurants (e.g. a portion of pizza can contain 300% of your allowed daily sodium).

 

You will need to cook yourself (without any salt) and when going to restaurants, stick to simple meals, e.g. pasta in butter without any salt or parmesan. It’s a tough one as obviously you don’t want to burden your social life while being on the girl diet. 

 
 

SNACKS & SWEETS

 

SWEET:

While keeping calories down, the following can be consumed (mineral neutral): Fruit gum candy, Ice pops, Jelly beans, Dulce de leche, Vanilla sauce, Ice cream. Chocolate can also be consumed (in moderation) – the higher the amount of cocoa, the more magnesium it includes. Unless home cooked without salt, stay away from muffins, cookies and cakes.

 

SAVORY:

Stay away from savory snacks as they are generally full of sodium. No goes are Potato chips, Onion rings, Tortillas and all kind of salted nuts.

A good snack is popcorn without salt (high in magnesium).

 

SUPPLEMENTS

 

Supplements will support your efforts (they will not substitute them - it's the balance of the diet and not the pure quantities of Calcium and Magnesium that will make the difference) - take about 800 mg of Calcium supported by Vitamin D for absorption and 300 mg of magnesium a day (as always, check with your doctor first).

Be careful if you take any other food supplements as they might include potassium and/or sodium. 

 

Also, as you're trying to conceive, don’t forget to take folic acid!

 
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© 2016 by Dr. Julia Carless