Preconception Diet: The Secret to life is in the Gut

What you eat

In order to give yourself the best chance of producing a beautiful, healthy baby it is important to start thinking about it before conception. If you are already expecting a baby, it is best to start making changes right away.” Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride

It never occurred to me to prepare for pregnancy with diet. Yes, I had come across the idea in books but the paramount importance of the subject did not sink in. It seemed to me to be an extra little thing you could do with not much barring, like rubbing cocoa butter on your expanding stomach to prevent stretch marks, apparently stretch marks are genetic (you’ll hear what I think of this later).  So when I was told by my healthcare professional that miscarriage is a mystery, that no one really knows why or it could be genetic, I wanted to ask for my $500 back. Why send me for ultra sounds and weeks of blood testing only to not stop my miscarriage but to also give me such a lame answer as to why it happened in the first place.
aban791_webI do not blame my healthcare professional for my miscarriage, I blame myself. I should have been more educated. The problem today is that people are lazy and stressed because they are busy and they put all their trust in doctors and healthcare professionals who are too busy or have their hands tied by medical organizations stuck in the 1950s. When I hear that something is “genetic” that automatically translate to me that the “victim” (or the parents) of the “genetic” disorder is lazy (there’s that word again).  My understanding of genetics translates to this: a preprogram code passed down thru generations. People act like we are stuck with this code but there are studies, stories, and anecdotal evidence that people change their preprogramed codes “genetics” all the time. It just takes understanding and effort.

So, if for 100’s of years your family has lived in the same region and had relatively the same standard of living whether farmers or city folk, passing down treasured family recipes, wouldn’t you agree that you eat the same diet as your ancestors or at least your parents? That seems to me to be like a preprogramed code of sorts. Enter the age of Nutrition-as-a-Cure.

Scientists, as well as the common man, were challenged to adjust and change their view of the physical world. For the late 19th-century, early 20th-century scientist, living and non-living organic substances could no longer be kept in separate research categories. Instead, the discovery of “vitamine” verified centuries of observations, that food and life (of humans and animals) were interactive.

Even the concept of “nutrition” was abstract, something intuitively known, but not understood.  Benjamin Thompson wrote in 1795, “…our knowledge in regard to the science of nutrition is still very imperfect”.  In 1803, physician Thomas Christie, speculated that the cause of beriberi might be the “want of stimulating and nourishing diet” with the difference between disease and health dependent on “…some nice chemical combination”.

Nutrition-as-a-cure was on-track until Pasteur’s germ theory side-tracked scientists. Microbes, living-matter, trumped vitamins, a non-living organic compound.

It took another fifty or so years for biochemists to get back to the business of contemplating centuries of observations which pointed toward nutrition as the cure, and not modern pasteurization.

Beriberi, a thiamine nutritional disease, is a great example of how nutrition as our medicine, trumps Pasteur’s germ theory.

Happy Birthday Vitamines! – Pickl-It Blog

Let me if I may pose the idea of Nutrition-as-a-Cure as the answer for miscarriage and genetic disorders in pregnancy.

Let me back up to the beginning for a bit. I’ve have been researching diet and traditional methods of food prep and gardening since my Aunt Betty delivered boxes of back dated copies of Mother Earth and Organic Gardening magazines to our house when I was a teenager. I had limited resources for my experimenting but did the best I could. Now a days, it’s the time I need to continue my learning. But it was not until a twmagazineso years ago in my early thirties that symptoms in my digestive tract had me digging for my old books and magazines. I began feeling ravenously hungry and when I ate, I filled up quickly and was hungry again within the hour. I had continuous gas that made dance class an embarrassing ordeal. I woke up some mornings in a fog that had me feeling “hung over” all day. And trips to the bathroom were never an easy time. I began to notice when I ate sugar things would get worse. Something had to give. I looked up candida symptoms and found a
supplement called Candistroyer that gave me relief. It is made up of mostly garlic and some other herbs. I smelled like garlic all the time but after the third day of taking it and avoiding all forms of sugar, I was feeling human again. Shortly after, we decided to have a baby and got lucky on the first try. I kicked my new food habits into high gear and strictly followed the diet of low low sugar and no gluten. At 9 weeks I lost the baby and fell off the deep end of my diet, consoling myself with the comfort sugars I use to crave.

Now I’m ready to get serious and start again. I am going to prepare properly for our next try at creating a family and a healthy gut for baby and me.

 The baby’s gut

While in the womb, babies have a sterile gut; their guts have not been populated with bacteria.  As a baby is being born, it ingests some fluid from the mother’s birth canal. This means that the bacteria in the birth canal actually begins the process of populating the baby’s gut. 

In our modern age of widespread antibiotic and pharmaceutical use, it is common for women to have abnormal bacteria in their bodies, and thereby in their birth canals as well. For instance, birth control pills “devastate beneficial bacterial flora in the gut leaving it vulnerable to colonization and dominance from pathogenic strains.” As described in Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS), improper gut bacteria can lead to small problems such as allergies and eczema, as well as big problems like autism, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and cancer. Because the baby’s gut is populated by fluid from the birth canal, women who have improper gut bacteria can unknowingly pass serious problems onto their newborn babies. 

Nourished and Nutured Blog

I believe that a healthy gut and proper spine alignment are at the core of living a happy, functional life. For the last 3 weeks I’ve been recording my food choices in an App called mySymptons – food & symptom tracker by StarGazer labs. It’s helped me to see that I am not as on point as I’d like to be to get my energy back. Below are the following changes in my diet that I am going to strive for weekly to encourage and support a healthy digestive tract so I can continue to dance with my family till I am 200!

My diet choices

No processed foods

No white flour, wheat, barley, rye, oats

No sugar other than limited amounts of green stevia

No oil except for use in skincare

No fried food – cooking at high temperatures – baking over 350F, frying, broiling, etc.) play a role in acrylamide production (i.e. cancer loving environment).

No carbonated drinks – closes off digestion

No peanuts

No fruits except grapefruit and berries which are low in sugar

No water in soft plastic bottles

No alcohol

Yes to:

Eggs: soft scrambled in butter, boiled, or poached

Butter, lard, and salt

Grass fed/ Free range meat and eggs

Lots of Vegetables

Beans and lentils properly prepared

Limited Potatoes properly soaked before cooking

Rice, millet, corn, quinoa

Full fat kefir, butter, and cheese

Nuts properly soaked or sprouted

Butter Oil/Cod liver Oil supplement

Lacto-Acid Fermented foods daily


Recommended Resources 

Stretch marks 411 – Preggie Pals Podcast

Epigenetics: The Death of the Genetic Theory of Disease Transmission

Pickl-it. Good. Made Easy. Blog – Recipes and information on fermenting foods from a GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) perspective

BBL 038: How to Give Baby Healthy Gut Flora

Dr. Peter Glidden explains the 10 Bad Foods

JJ Virgin’s Sugar Impact Diet Cookbook – Recipes and meal plans without sugar or gluten

Weston A. Price Dietary Guidelines

Difference Between the Weston A. Price Foundation Diet and the Paleo Diet

Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats

GAPS Pregnancy Guide For Mom and Dad – A must read if you are pregnant or preparing to be pregnant!

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