Beautiful Babies Review: How Whole Foods Nourish a Growing Child

Occasionally, there comes information that, when you read it, you say to yourself, “If I had known then what I know now.”  As I flipped through the pages of Beautiful Babies, a new book by food educator Kristen Michaelis, that’s exactly how I felt.  While I’ve been writing about traditional, whole foods for nearly 6 years, for a every long time my diet was anything but nutrient-dense.

My Story: Low-fat Vegetarian Diet and Failing Health

Like many people, I grew up in an adamantly low-fat household.  We drank skim milk, used margarine and vegetable oil instead of butter, avoided sugar by eating artificial sugar, and ate plenty of vegetables and whole grains.  By the time I reached my teens, I became aware of the deplorable conditions in factory farms, and dutifully removed meat and fish (and later eggs and milk) from my diet, smugly telling everyone I knew that, “I don’t want my body to be a graveyard.”  Yes, I was that kind of veg*n. In college I’d bake tofu creme brulee, munch on soy nut butter and eat all sorts of other ghastly foods. I exercised. I ate a low-fat, plant-based, whole foods diet.  I was healthy, or at least, I should have been, for I followed the dietary guidelines provided by the government, my college’s health center and my doctors.

But the truth is this: I wasn’t healthy at all.  I couldn’t sleep, my menstrual cycles were erratic, and I started gaining weight.  I went to doctor after doctor and was told that lab tests indicated I was fine, and that I was probably just under stress.  After a few years, I stopped going to the doctors, I stopped asking questions and I gave up.  Later, a routine blood test and a series of ultrasounds confirmed that I suffered from PCOS, and thyroid disease.  At 24, I was told that I wouldn’t have children “without significant intervention” and that I needed to radioactively ablate my thyroid.  Later I found an endocrinologist who worked with me, and after adopting a gluten-free whole foods diet, I conceived.  I remained a vegetarian throughout my pregnancy, though, later I began to add wild-caught fish to my diet as I craved it so very much.  And then, then I found real food and the dietary principles of the Weston A Price Foundation, and my health has not only recovered, but excelled.  I had no idea how sick I was until I began to feel well.

If I had known then what I know now

I know now that low-fat diets can increase infertility by 85%.  I know now that fat isn’t something to be feared and avoided, but honored.  I know now that butter bests margarine, and that traditional fats should be embraced while liquid vegetable oils avoided.  I know now that soy can contribute to autoimmune conditions and thyroid disease.  I know now that the response to factory farming isn’t veganism, but conscious support of holistically managed ranches and dairies.  I know now that a nutrient-dense diet during pregnancy supports the optimal development of babies.  I know now that health is a birthright, won through nourishment prior to conception, through pregnancy and beyond.

If I had known that before, I might have saved myself years of failing health in my early twenties.  If I had known that before, I could have nourished my son better when he grew and developed within my womb.

bbabiessinglebookBeautiful Babies

With its emphasis on real nutrition for fertility, pregnancy, breast-feeding and baby’s first foods, Beautiful Babies is the type of book that could have changed my life had it been published 10 years earlier.  Instead, I hope that you might share it with someone you know – someone who struggles and who could benefit from the knowledge it contains.  In Beautiful BabiesKristen Michaelis throws modern dietary dogma out the window with a skillful, compassionate and well-researched embrace of traditional, nutrient-dense foods.  She takes a hard look at subjects surrounding diet and infertility, diet and pregnancy, and diet for growing babies.

Not only does Kristen outline how industrial foods and the current low-fat/plant-based dietary mantra negatively effects our health, our ability to conceive, and our children’s ability to grow and develop optimal health, but she also provides information on alternatives.  In essence, she teaches you how to eat for optimal fertility and nourishment.

How Beautiful Babies is Different

Perhaps what I loved most about Beautiful Babies is not her fact-based, well-researched take on nutrition for fertility, conception, breastfeeding and beyond, but her gentle wisdom as a mother.  This is not a rigid book written by an ancient OB-GYN, but it is intelligently written and compassionately approached book written mother-to-mother.  Kristen, essentially, teaches you the wisdom that would have been passed down from generation to generation had it not been forgotten under the overwhelming pressure and rise of the industrial food and pharmaceutical industries.  Beautiful Babies gives the reader once-lost knowledge, well-backed my current research, that nourished generation upon generation of healthy families.

Beyond the mealy-mouthed approach to nutrition for pregnancy and baby’s first foods you find in most pregnancy guides,  Beautiful Babies provides a concrete look at the traditional wisdom that supported humanity for thousands of years, and Kristen Michaelis makes a good case for recapturing that wisdom.

Preorder Beautiful Babies and Receive Free  Enrollment in the Companion Class

Beautiful Babies is on the presses right now, and will be released March 19th.  You can preorder the book through amazon today, where it’s available for 40% off the retail price.  If you preorder the book through March 18th, you will also receive enrollment in Kristen’s online nutrition course for fertility, conception, pregnancy and first foods.   Learn more about the Preorder Package Here.

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What people are saying

  1. says

    That’s a nice wrap-up of the experience of your dietary ups and downs.

    Have you read the “Better Baby Book” by Dave Asprey which has just been released in 2013? Or “Better Baby Code” by Chris Kresser? How is the “Beautiful Babies” different?

    It seems to me that the authors of books on getting better babies seem to love the linguistic usage of alliteration –> BBB!


  2. says

    I wish I’d had a book like this 5 years ago. After struggling with pcos, a bad diet and years of fertility medication and IVF we finally conceived through IVF. My diet has turned upside down for the better in the last year and hopefully one day we can conceive naturally.

  3. B says

    I spent 12 years as a vegan. I started feeling a little off once I hit about age 28 and after a lot of thought I began eating eggs, then some goat dairy (I can’t handle cow’s dairy at all, which is one of the reasons that going vegan made me feel so much better). Then I began eating fish. I tried meat but just don’t like it and never have. I am now eating mostly whole foods with some goat dairy and fish most days. I found eggs made me feel cruddy too, another reason going vegan made me feel so much better. Things may change, but for now a whole foods diet with just a handful of animal products is making me feel great.

    I really want to respond to this because both of my sisters have PCOS, and they both ate a lot of meat and dairy growing up after I left it behind. Out of the three of us, I was the only one to not suffer from it and I was the one who stopped eating meat at 12 years old and stopped eggs and dairy at 16. This is just anecdotal, but so is the story in the article. Some peoples’ bodies respond terribly to a vegan diet. Mine did not, and I felt amazing from age 16 to age 28. I was happy, biked everywhere, worked and played hard, had great friendships, and had fantastic health. When it didn’t work for my body anymore I switched it up, and I’m doing well again. My husband loves pasture fed butter and some other heavy animal products; I’ve tried them and they make me feel like crap. They make him feel great.

    We are trying to conceive and I sincerely hope what we eat will send our child into the world with the best possible start. Based on my experience so far, that probably does not involve heavy cream and beef for me…

  4. Alaina says

    Hi! I’m wondering if Beautiful Babies would be helpful for me. I’m not trying to get pregnant (still a college student!) but I’ve been struggling with amenorrhea for years and I think I should get serious about healing myself. It might be too late; I don’t even know if it’s possible for me to get my period (or fertility) back–ever. I’ve been following the real foods lifestyle, but maybe I should up the ante…? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated! My doctor’s solution is to put me on birth control, but I’m not comfortable with that. Plus, it wouldn’t really address the problem.

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