All of us want to have happy, healthy children. Diet makes a difference in our own health; naturally, it makes a difference for our children’s health, as well. But can what we eat before we even become pregnant affect our baby’s health? What about our diet during pregnancy and while breastfeeding?
Sandrine Perez addresses all of the above in today’s discussion. Sandrine is the founder and head of Nourishing Our Children, a project of the Weston A. Price Foundation. Established in 2005, the mission of Nourishing Our Children is to educate and inspire parents to return to the whole, natural foods that have produced generation after generation of healthy children.
Sandrine sets forth exactly what foods help the babies develop well in the womb, and which foods should be avoided. The information she shares is based on the research of Dr. Weston A. Price that showed a strong tie between the diet of the mother and the health of her offspring.
Over the years, Sandrine has seen proof of the efficacy of this diet, with mother after mother in her community birthing and raising healthy, happy children following the guidelines set forth in today’s episode. Whether you are a mother now or hope to be one at some juncture, this show is for you. Learn now what to eat pre-conception, during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding for the sake of future generations.
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Listen to the episode here:
Within the below transcript the bolded text is Hilda.
This is episode 55 and my guest is Sandrine Perez. Sandrine is a fascinating and enthusiastic person. Among other things, she has worked as a family therapist, a teacher, an art therapist and an educational therapist. In 2005, she established Nourishing Our Children, a project of the Weston A Price Foundation. Its mission is to educate and inspire parents to return to the whole natural foods that have produced generation after generation of healthy children.
In this episode, we discuss what Sandrine calls The Motherhood Diet. It’s all about what to eat before conception, during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. This is super critical information that you won’t hear anywhere else. Before we get into the conversation, we want to thank you for a phenomenal year. The Weston A Price Foundation is a member-supported nonprofit organization. This means that your support is invaluable.
It has made possible all of the efforts of the foundation from protecting your rights to real food including raw milk, to reaching out to Maasai Villagers in Kenya. As the year comes to a close, please consider a donation of any size to keep the work going. You can go directly to the foundation’s website, WestonAPrice.org and click on the Donate button or go to our Patreon account, type Wise Traditions in the search bar, and our show will come up.
Welcome to the show, Sandrine.
Thank you so much, Hilda. I’m delighted to talk with you.
It’s a critical time for parents. Many children struggle with health issues from chronic conditions to asthma and ADHD. It feels like there’s always something. Is this why you have created Nourishing Our Children?
Yes. I was observing what you referenced when I was working as a learning specialist in private practice for the better part of a decade. Kids would come to learn with me, and they were exhibiting signs that I thought were not ideal for a child, fatigue, canker sores, even acne, dandruff, skin conditions and flatulence. They would sit next to me and you could see the evidence of digestive distress, burping, putting their heads down on the table and fatigue. I concluded that children were largely malnourished rather than learning disabled. They weren’t getting the nutrients needed for the brain to function optimally.
I wanted to teach parents about optimal nutrition. I had discovered The Weston A Price Foundation’s dietary principles. I established Nourishing Our Children in order initially to have some educational materials that I could pass along to the parents in my practice about how to support their children’s learning and behavior. There was also evidence of instability there.
It’s all tied together, isn’t it?
It is. The mind is not separate from the body and emotions. They are all one. They are tied together. In any case, this little educational initiative has now grown far beyond the parents in my practice at that time. I have since closed that practice and have moved on to another focus but we now have over 72,000 followers on Facebook. These educational materials have grown. We continue to educate a much larger audience about how to nourish rather than merely feed our children.
It’s critical what we have on our plates and are serving our children. Tell me, when does this Nourishing Our Children begin, is it about six months when they start solid foods?
No, it starts at preconception. Even before a baby is conceived, we are setting the stage for nourishing our children. A parent’s diet will impact their fertility. Once a baby is in the room, a mother’s diet will greatly impact the development of the child. Long before we put something in a baby’s mouth in terms of solid foods, we are already nourishing our children through preconception, prenatal diet and breastfeeding.
I remember I didn’t have any special dietary guidelines from my doctor. I remember taking my prenatal vitamin and go into town. Is that not what the foundation recommends? What do you recommend, Sandrine?
I will back up since you mentioned the foundation to clarify that nourishing our children is an educational initiative of The Weston A Price Foundation. I established it in 2005, and I had already served as a chapter leader in San Francisco since 2004. We essentially mimic the recommendations made by The Weston A Price Foundation. Any recommendations I make are essentially one and the same that they would make.
Interestingly, you mentioned that you weren’t given any guidance on what you should be eating. There’s a popular website geared toward parenting and breastfeeding that says that the quality of a mother’s diet has little influence on her milk. We could not disagree more passionately. That website states that there are no foods that you should avoid simply because you are breastfeeding.
It is generally recommended that a nursing mother eat whatever she likes, whenever she likes, the amounts she likes, and continue to do this unless the baby has an obvious reaction to a particular food. We have looked toward traditional diets and discovered that this wasn’t the case in terms of how they prepared for nourishing their children. There were a lot of intentions around what the parents say, what the mother ate and how she fortified herself to have nutrient-dense breast milk.
Traditional cultures had specific advice and recommendations before conception and when they were expecting. There were definitely traditions that they upheld to improve the mother’s health and then the baby’s health.
While you were given little to no advice about how to prepare yourself nutritionally, historically, traditionally parents were given advice and we certainly give advice. We have published recommendations for an optimal diet for pregnant and nursing mothers. We would consider that to be the same diet for preconception. We don’t recommend pre-natal. You said that you were advised to take a pre-natal and you go to town.
In our case, we don’t recommend pre-natal vitamins because the body knows what to do with vitamins, minerals and amino acids when they come as food. When they come as supplements, the majority of which are synthetic, they don’t come with the right kind of co-factors, the right kind of friends, holding hands so to speak. The body doesn’t recognize them. For most of the common supplements on the market, the absorption rate is very low.
We recommend food as a pre-natal, utilizing whole foods traditionally prepared to fortify one’s prenatal diet. This can have an impact on children’s development and their evolution throughout their lifetime. It can have an impact on, whether or not they will develop diabetes, stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, and even memory loss later in life.
It also will impact the development of their body, especially their face, and whether or not they will have enough room in their face to house all 32 teeth as intended. Now we see many children with crooked teeth and poor eyesight wearing glasses. This is not the way that children are intended to develop. They are intended to have plenty of room for all 32 teeth without the need for any orthodonture.
It’s so funny that you say this because we take it as a matter of fact that, “My kid is going to get braces at eleven years old. My kid needs glasses. That’s how it goes. I had bad eyesight too,” but you are saying we don’t have to take the status quo and believe that’s how it’s going to be. You are saying that we have options and can help our children improve their health so that they won’t need these things.
We would assert that it isn’t a genetic issue. In fact, I can point to my own experience and experience of Sally Fallon Morell. My mother grew up on a traditional diet in Morocco. She came from a family of eleven children. She was number eight. All of them had all 32 teeth, a wide palette, plenty of room for their teeth to grow in, and no need for orthodonture, yet her four children, including myself as the first, all needed orthodonture.
I had eight teeth pulled from my mouth, including wisdom teeth and eight adult teeth. My tongue is too large for my mouth. My three siblings also needed orthodonture. My mother had abandoned her traditional diet in favor of a low-fat diet and modern convenience foods thinking that was somehow better. Conversely, Sally Fallon Morell grew up needing orthodonture and had poor eyesight. Her four children did not. She ate a very nutrient-dense diet during preconception pregnancy while she was breastfeeding, and they have all their teeth. None of them had orthodontics. None of them wear glasses. We can reverse the trend on either side.
I would have inherited a rich genetic tradition with all my mother’s family members having these excellent wide palettes. When you see a picture of my mom and me next to each other, you can see that her face is clearly more round and mine is narrower because the nutrition that I received didn’t fortify my body. It didn’t allow for strong bones to develop and hold the face.
This is something that goes in line with Dr. Price’s book, which is Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. This is not something that you anecdotally and Sally Fallon Morrell have experienced but this has been documented in research that when the nutrition of the mother is strong, solid, and keeping with traditional foods and whole real foods, the baby is born well-developed with space in their face for all their teeth and all this, and very strong of the constitution. When the diet changes and is more “modern” and westernized with refined sugars and flour, the child’s health is compromised.
Yes. It’s not just Westernized. I wouldn’t use that term because it’s all over the world. People are eating processed modern foods. I think of it more in terms of modern diet and traditional diet. Traditionally, there were no processed foods of any kind in any of the diets. No can, boxes, additives or preservatives, just real food traditionally prepared. We are looking toward the research of Dr. Price. Seeing that his research is still true now because here I am, Sally’s children and I are evidence that this theory can be replicated.
I bet all those followers of your Facebook group also have stories to tell along these lines.
We do have series on our blog called Nourished Families. There are testimonials about how parents changed their diet and had a big impact on the facial structure of the child. That’s true. To clarify, we don’t have 72,000 in our group. We have that on our public page. We also do have a support group called Nourished Children, which has about 10,000 members.
Between all of our community followers, we do have a series on our blog, Nourished Families that include some testimonials. One mother wrote a blog post called The Tale of Two Brothers. The first one, she did not eat a nutrient-dense diet. Her first son’s face is quite narrow. The second, twice the width, ate a nutrient-dense diet. Even from one child to the next, she was able to impact his development. That blog post shows pictures. That’s worth looking up on our website, NourishingOurChildren.org, The Tale of Two Brothers.
I was thinking about how Dr. Price said, “The teeth tell the story.” In other words, we are not like, “We want our kids to look beautiful.” The facial structure tells the story of the overall health of the body. That’s why we want to see that the teeth fit in perfectly because that’s how they were designed to be.
When you start pulling them, we don’t know the full impact of that. Depending on the framework that you are looking through. Traditional Chinese medicine will say the teeth are connected to meridians. When you start pulling them, that’s going to impact the flow of the energy through the body. Each tradition will have its own way of viewing the impact of those teeth being pulled. I consider it a loss.
As an adult, I only have 24 teeth in my mouth. When I first heard Sally Fallon Morell present these principles, I wept. When I brought my mother to a conference in subsequent years, she also regretted that she didn’t continue with her traditional diet. At the time that I was growing up, that was standard care. When my mouth was overcrowded, they pulled teeth.
Now, they expand the teeth. They don’t pull them. They expand the palette and encourage it to widen. I want to mention that a pre-natal diet is critical to the structural development of the face. What a mother eats when she’s pregnant greatly influences how the baby is going to develop. Not to say it’s too late once they are born but the development is largely decided in the womb. That’s why we don’t agree with the notion that you can eat whatever you would like and it doesn’t make any difference.
Thanks again for your support. It means so much to us. When we get your feedback, we love it. Olivia Baldwin 2014 had this to say on iTunes, “I adore this show. I look forward to it every week. I relistened to most of them. The info is so good.” Follow her example and give us a review on iTunes, everybody. We would appreciate your financial support as well. If you become a member of The Weston A Price Foundation, it’s $25 for students and seniors $40, for everyone else, you will have the joy of partnering with the foundation. You will get a journal every quarter, which includes a transcript of some of our shows, by the way, and amazing in-depth articles on a variety of topics. You will also get a free Shopping Guide. This is a resource that the foundation provides that helps you identify which products are best for your health and where to get them. Check it out and do what you can. Thanks.
You have wet my appetite. I want to know. Please tell us some specifics of what you and the foundation recommend would nourish a child in the womb.
We would recommend that your readers follow along on our website, NourishingOurChildren.org. If you look at the blog, we have an article called The Optimal Diet for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers. Even if you search for the word pregnant, it will come right up. The listed diet is cod liver oil. There are specific recommendations about cod liver oil and different brands that one can follow the link to see.
1 quart or 32 ounces of whole milk daily. It would be a preference that it’s raw from pasture-fed cows. Each of these recommendations is linked to further information about raw milk, for example, and where to obtain it. Four tablespoons of butter daily, preferably from pasture-raised cows. We recommend raw or cultured butter. Two or more eggs daily, again, preferably from pasture-raised chickens and soy-free. We don’t recommend the consumption of soy. When a chicken consumes soy, it will be present in the flesh and the eggs of that chicken as well. I don’t know if you want me to go over the reasons that we don’t recommend soy or has that been well covered in your show?
No, it hasn’t been.
I can mention a couple of quick reasons. High levels of phytic acid in soy reduced assimilation of Calcium, Magnesium, Copper, Zinc and Iron. Phytic in soy is not neutralized by ordinary preparation methods, such as soaking, sprouting, long slow cooking of grains or legumes, and then high phytate diets have caused growth problems in children. Another relevant concern is that soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and promote breast cancer in adult women.
Lastly, soy phytoestrogens are potent anti-thyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cost thyroid cancer and an infant’s consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease. A few of the many reasons we don’t recommend soy. We not only recommend that people avoid soy products but also avoid soy in their animal foods. Looking for food that comes from animals that were not fed soy.
A lot of animals are fed soy because it’s so abundant. We grow it abundantly in the US, and it’s genetically modified. It’s cheap for farmers to get it and feed it to their animals. We had to be careful.
The government subsidizes soy but it’s not the natural diet for an animal either. They are often unwell as a result of eating soy cows, dairy cows in confinement, who are fed a predominant diet of soy and corn will live four years whereas dairy cows on pasture could live fifteen. They are unwell. It’s not the natural diet for a cow. We are eating their milk and butter or eating the chickens that have the soy. It’s not healthy food, to say the least.
I said two or more eggs daily, additional eggs yolks daily that can be added to smoothies, salad dressing, scrambled eggs, etc., 3 to 4 ounces of fresh liver once or twice a week. We recommend putting that liver in meatloaf if one doesn’t enjoy the taste or paté. We have lots of recipes for that. When one follows this list, there are links to how one gets these foods into their diet.
Fresh seafood, 2 or 4 times per week, particularly white, wild salmon, shellfish and fish eggs or caviar, fresh beef or lamb daily, always consumed with the fat and preferably 100% grass-fed, and then oily fish or lard daily for Vitamin D. For oily fish, we are talking about sardines or mackerel. I linked to how to render lard, which is essentially pig fat.
Two tablespoons of coconut oil daily used in cooking or smoothies, and then Lacto-fermented condiments and beverages such as sauerkraut and beets kvass, bone broths used in soups, stews and sauces, soaked whole grains. We link to directions on how to do that to make them more digestible, and then fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic. You will notice that this is a diet predominantly of animal foods, wild-caught, and pasture-raised animal foods because that’s where the nutrients are.
The most nutrient-dense food is animal food. No vegetables or fruit compare to nutrient density in terms of the nutrient density of animal foods. It’s a powerhouse of nutrients, especially the liver. If someone does not enjoy the taste of liver and can even detect it in a meatloaf, there are powdered forms. One can take in capsules and we have links to that as well. Not to say, as a matter of clarification, that we’re not recommending fruits and vegetables we are but the main focus in terms of nutrient density is animal foods.
I think Sally said to me one time, for example, if you wanted to get iron and spinach, you would have to eat so much of it to get the equivalent of what you find in the liver. That’s why, when we talk about nutrient density, vegetables have nutrients but they are not as dense as some of these other foods you mentioned.
There’s also a list to avoid. We recommend that parents, especially mothers who are growing a baby in their womb avoid trans fatty acids. That’s hydrogenated oils and they are in many industrially processed foods that come in packages, cans, and boxes even if labeled 0% because of labeling laws because it says 0% trans fatty acids, it doesn’t mean that’s true. As such, we recommend that you stick to foods that have a single ingredient such as apple.
When you have foods that don’t have labels, with listed ingredients are real foods, one ingredient food, then you are assured that there aren’t any added trans fats or trans fats that have been created as a result of hydrogenated oils. By the way, trans fats can be cleared from a mother system in about two weeks if she avoids eating them and consumes traditional fats instead.
One can always clear them out of their system. By traditional fast, I’m referring to butter, tallow and suet from beef and lamb, lard from pigs on pasture, chicken goose and duck fat, coconut palm and palm kernel oils, whole pressed olive oil, cold-pressed sesame and peanut oils, cold-pressed flax oil in small amounts and marine oil such as cod liver oil. That’s what I’m referring to in terms of traditional fats.
We say that one should avoid junk. We don’t consider any junk food because there is junk, and then there is food put the two next to each other as an oxymoron. If it’s junk, it isn’t food because food nourishes and junk does not. Junk is what we throw away. Commercially fried foods we recommend one avoid, sugar, white flour, soft drinks, caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, to the extent possible drugs, even prescription drugs. Soy imitation foods such as soy hotdogs, soy milk or yogurt and the like, and vegetable oils, canola, corn, soy, and so forth in place of those traditional fats that I had listed.
Is that the full list of the avoids?
That’s the full list of the avoids that we have it’s also listed on the Optimal Diet for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers, which appears on our website. One can easily see that and refer to that, print it out if they would like, share it widely. It’s yours for reference.
Sandrine, I wanted to ask you a couple more things before we close up. One is, this diet you are recommending produces healthy babies, which is what we all want, would a nursing mom continue eating this way? Do you have different recommendations for nursing moms?
I called this diet, The Motherhood Diet. A nursing mother would continue. This is also the diet we recommend before conception, during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Speaking of breastfeeding, I do want to clarify that not all breast milk is created equally. Diet can influence the quality and quantity of a mother’s milk. Due to the fact that we are so often told that breast milk is best. Some are surprised to learn that the quality of breast milk can vary depending on her diet.
The crux of Dr. Price’s teaching is the need for extra nutrition during the baby’s formative period to ensure optimal development. That is definitely true when the mother is breastfeeding. I liked this quote that we list from Kristen Michaelis, the author of a book called, Beautiful Babies. She says, “No matter what you eat, they say your breast milk will be perfect.” There’s no other way to put it in the bunk. It’s pure myth. The more nutrient-dense the mother’s diet, the more nutrient-dense the mother’s milk. We also know the opposite is true. The less nutrient-dense the mother’s diet, the less nutrient-dense her milk.
Assuming that the mother is assimilating and digesting these nutrients, it ensures that the mother is fortifying herself to the extent nutritionally possible or the highest top quality breast milk, essentially. In this post that I’m referring to, The Optimal Diet for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers, we also link to some studies that have been done that conclude that there’s a wide range of fat content in breast milk.
Depending on the mother’s diet, some babies get 2% milk and others will get 9% milk, which is the equivalent of table cream. The fat in the milk is where a lot of the nutrients are stored, so to speak. Consider the difference between the nutrients of 2% milk and whole milk. They fortify those low-fat milk with vitamins and minerals because they have been removed with fat. One can click on this blog post and see that study that we are not making this up and verify that what you put into your mouth is going to impact the quality of your breast milk.
That same, what you put into your mouth affects the health of your baby before it’s born. I’m glad you are taking us through. You have taken us from preconception when the baby is growing to when we are nursing the child. We are going to need part two because I know people are going to want to know what’s next. How do you introduce solid foods? What do you recommend there? How do we nourish our children as they grow up?
Let’s definitely do a part two. I wanted to also put out, as we are coming to a close, that we have free communal resources available to anyone interested in learning more about our dietary recommendations and how to nourish a child. As I mentioned, we are on Facebook, where we have a public page with some 72,000 followers.
We have a closed group where we offer peer-to-peer support, meaning that those who have been utilizing our recommendations support those who are newcomers and questions are posted daily. I’m in that forum very often. It’s called Nourished Children and anyone is welcome to join us. It is a closed group so that we can eliminate spam and unwanted solicitations. There, one can get well supported from mothers nourishing their babies and children exactly as we are recommending. That’s our exclusive focus there.
I have one final question that I often ask my guests. If the reader could only do one thing to improve their health, what would you recommend that they do?
We are speaking specifically for mothers, this is a tall order but to remove are industrially produced and processed food from their diet. That’s a very large sweeping statement. Eating real food traditionally prepared, so avoiding cans, boxes and packages. I don’t know if that would be considered one thing because there are lots of steps to get to that. That’s at the crux of all of our recommendations.
Sandrine, this has been very informative. I know the readers are going to love it and pursue some of these resources you have set forth. Thank you for the conversation. I look forward to part two.
Thank you, so do I.
Our guest was Sandrine Perez. To get started with Sandrine and her amazing groups, go to NourishingOurChildren.org. A huge thank you to Podcast Village for your support week after week. We appreciate your studio. Editing team, you have been a gift to Wise Traditions. Thank you.
- Nourishing Our Children
- Facebook – Nourishing Our Children
- Nutrition and Physical Degeneration
- Nourished Families
- Nourished Children – Facebook Group
- Shopping Guide
- iTunes – Wise Tradition
- The Tale Of Two Brothers – Nourished Families Series Blog Post
- The Optimal Diet for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers
- Beautiful Babies
- Cod liver oil
- Top-quality breast milk
- Podcast Village
About Sandrine Perez
Sandrine completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication at the Art Institute of Southern California, since renamed The Laguna College of Art and Design, some thirty years ago. She subsequently completed a Master’s Degree in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling with an Emphasis in Art Therapy at the College of Notre Dame since renamed Notre Dame De Namur. She worked in the field of art therapy for a number of years before eventually transitioning to serving as a learning specialist in private practice.
Today, she offers visual communication in the form of studio and environmental photography, and design for print, web and presentations. She also leads Nourishing Our Children and Nourishing Ourselves.
She lives in Portland, Oregon, and works with clients all over the country.🖨️ Print post