One must prepare the soil before planting the seed: a guest post from Petra Joly

Petra Joly, author of The Fertility Food Map recipe book talks about her passion for educating and motivating others to eat better to optimise their fertility, plus a bonus recipe from the book for you to try. Enjoy!


(Petra proverb)

I am Petra Joly and I am the principal Acupuncturist and owner of Newtown Natural Fertility & IVF Support Centre in Newtown. From my very first day at College 16 years ago now, I knew fertility & gynaecology was the specialised field of health I would work in.  My dream was to create a space for couples to share their hopes, fears and desires to create a family.  Why was that? Because I always had this underlying fear that I wouldn’t be able to conceive myself, and I may need someone to support me one day. I had no clinical reason to suspect I would have difficulty, but the fear was there just the same and became my driving force to create my business.

I have always understood that to want a child and create a family is one of life’s most basic of desires, one of the most innate and driving desires one will ever experience. It is something that many people tend to assume will happen for them, we can feel it is ‘right’ and ‘normal’. However, with the harsh reality of statistics being 1 in 3 couples, over the age of 35, in Australia and New Zealand are infertile, we must be doing something seriously wrong. I am a concerned and passionate health care practitioner, but also a concerned and passionate member of our community.  If we can’t procreate, we don’t survive as a race. Which is exactly why I felt compelled to create this book: to aid you in some way towards creating a more fertile life for yourself and your children. Knowledge is power, something we can pass on to those we love.

I have been urged by many patients over the years to create an easy, affordable, balanced, delicious and nutritious eating plan. Well here it is. Information out there can be so varied and confusing.  What I find some ‘nutrition plans’ lack is an explanation as to why that particular food is good for me. “If we don’t know why we are doing something, then we lose desire and motivation to do so”.

There is so much talk about quinoa, why? Because it is grain-free so less inflammatory and easier to digest, it is a complete protein (containing all 9 essential amino acids) which is a building block for cells and blood, it is packed with nutrients such as Iron, Lysine, Magnesium, Vit B2 and Manganese; which are all necessary for cell development and follicular (eggs in our ovaries) development and will help thicken the lining of our uterus for the embryo to attach to. Now that means something. It gives us clear reasons as to why quinoa is a great fertility food yes?

I am not the most qualified nutritionist, I am not a food scientist, I am certainly not a celebrity chef or celebrity personal trainer.  I am however, a very passionate and caring health-care provider that wants to help couples be able to realise their dream of becoming parents.  I am also an advocate for better nutrition across the board. We all have a responsibility to create a better world for these children we create.  If I can impart any wisdom that will create healthier, more educated people, then my job is done and I am content.

Petra Joly, acupuncturist and owner of Newtown Natural Fertility & IVF Support Centre

Balsamic Snapper

– a recipe from The Fertility Food Map by Petra Joly


1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 to 3 tablespoons honey, depending how sweet you want it
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 snapper fillets (or any mild-tasting fish)


1. Whisk the vinegar, honey, oil, and garlic in a bowl. Arrane snapper in a baking dish. Pour marinade over the fish, coating it completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minsutes and up to 4hrs.

2. Preheat the grill (or BBQ) to medium. Line the bottowm and sides of a baking tray with foil. Sprinkle the foil with olive oil. Remove fish from marinade, reserving marinade, and pour the marinade into a heavy small saucepan.

3. Arrange the fillets atop the baking tray. Cook the fillets until they are just cooked through and caramelized on top, about 12 minutes.

4. Meanwhile bring the marinade to a boil and simmer until it thickens slightly and becomes syrupy, whisking often, about 15 minutes. Spoon off any excess oil from the sauce, if desired.

5. Transfer the fillets to plates. Spoon the sauce over and around the fillets, and serve with basmati rice (or quinoa) and Asian greens and snowpeas.