Sally Fallon Morell, founder of Weston A. Price Foundation will discuss how to have a healthier, smarter and happier baby through a prenatal diet.
Full Interview Transcript
Kelly: Okay, so thank you so much for being here. I want to talk about prenatal nutrition because most people don’t realize how important that really is. What is the importance of eating well, when you’re pregnant, or even before you’re pregnant?
Sally: Right, we treat pregnancy so casually and then when things go wrong, I say we blame the three G’s, germs, genes and God, but we never think about what the diet was like and yet in traditional cultures, they had a whole program that started six months before conception of special foods for the parents to eat and then the mom to eat while she’s pregnant and nursing and while the child was growing, because this is a time that the baby needs extra nutrition and the mom needs to prepare so that the moment she becomes pregnant, all that nutrition is available. So, these cultures had what we call say, sacred foods or special pregnancy foods, and they were all the foods that were told not to eat and some cultures it was butter, liver was kind of universally a sacred food for pregnant women and also fish eggs, very nutrient-dense seafood and so, We do have a special pregnancy diet. We actually have a fridge magnet that you can put on your refrigerator to remind you of the diet and I can tell you that the babies born to the moms who had the wisdom to prepare for pregnancy and eat this way during pregnancy, they are just gorgeous babies, birth is easy, they nursed easily, mom has lots of milk and the babies are really strong and healthy.
Kelly: So, about all those women that think, I’m pregnant I can eat four pieces of cake because I’m eating for two. why is that not the right way? And why do you disagree with that?
Sally: Well, the cake is just empty, there’s nothing to nourish you in the cake. And it’s what Dr. Price would call a displacing food in modern commerce; it is pushing out your appetite for the nutrient-dense foods. There’s no nutrition in a piece of cake, or in a cookie, or in commercial French fries and so, these definitely need to be out of your diet, but you shouldn’t wait till pregnancy to start this. I mean, it takes quite a preparation period of eating the right way and that means no processed foods, of course.
Kelly: So, you’re saying that eating what you eat six months before you become pregnant is very important?
Sally: Absolutely. And we had a lot of moms who really had a bad diet, or they’ve been vegetarians or vegans and we tell them to prepare for two years before they become pregnant.
Kelly: Two years?Sally: Yeah. Most of them are really grateful that we told them that because they were worn out, depleted anyway, and they need time to kind of build up your nutritional stores again.
Kelly: Is that the same for the dads then too? As to what they’re eating.
Sally: Dad needs to do this too because the quality of his sperm is highly dependent on his diet and he needs to eat these nutrient-dense foods. By the way, one of the foods we highly recommend is eggs, especially the yolks and they should be two egg yolks a day and these pre-conceptual diets along with liver and raw milk and butter and all these good old-fashioned foods. Yes, and then well, you say the dad’s not carrying the baby. That’s true, but the dad needs to be healthy and, once the baby’s born, he’ll be relied on to be healthy and calm, good-natured all those things that this diet gives you.
Kelly: if you’re pregnant, what are the most important things that you should be eating?
Sally: Well, you do need to eat some organ meats because they’re really nutrient-dense foods and this is hard for some people, they have to get used to this. So that could be liverwurst, liver patte. It could be learning to make meatloaf with a little bit of added liver, so you don’t even know you’re eating it but scrapple is another really great mid-Atlantic food that’s easy for people to eat, it’s really delicious. So, this is just the utmost importance, liver is the most nutrient-dense food there is and it’s very high in vitamin A, which is going to be critical for the development of the embryo.
Kelly: how does the food that we’re eating impacting the unborn baby?
Sally: In many ways, just reading an article about glyphosate and Roundup now impacts the unborn baby, soy foods impact the unborn baby in very negative ways. So, all that needs to be gotten out of the diet.
Kelly: In what ways?
Sally: Well, the soy foods disrupt hormonal development and even behaviour. If the fetus is exposed to just small amounts of the disrupting chemicals of soy, shows alterations in behaviours, a lot more stress in social situations, a lot more just think these rats, of course, but they do see disruptions in their behaviour.
Kelly: And behavior of the child after they’re born.
Kelly: It’s a hormonal thing.
Kelly: So, now you said that so there’s an exponential increase and, Spectrum Disorders and ADHD and do you think that has anything to do with the environmental impact on some of the food that we’re eating?
Sally: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. We forget that the brain and our emotional biochemistry are all dependent on good nutrition and one of the key things for brain nutrition is animal fats like butter. They contain something called arachidonic acid, which is essential for your brain to work, brain and nervous system and also for the gut to work and if these are not in the diet, there’s going to be real compromise in all.
Kelly: Are there things that people think are really healthy or they eat during pregnancy that maybe they’re?
Sally: Well, one of the things that people do that they think is healthy is to take protein powders, weight powder, protein drink in the morning, and we are concerned, of course, you need good protein, you need good animal protein, but people are getting too much protein with these protein powders very hard on the kidneys, which are additionally stressed during pregnancy but the key point about the protein is it depletes the body of vitamin A, and vitamin A is so essential for healthy growth of the fetus in the child. So that’s one thing we would definitely warn against any kind of soy food, which is full of estrogen, all processed foods, all the vegetable oils, all the, you know burgers and fast food and everything. I mean this you need to get used to this new diet before you become pregnant because by then it’s too late.
Kelly: So, you mentioned the protein powder, but a lot of pregnant women are recommended to take supplements. What is your view on that?
Sally: Typically, when a woman gets pregnant, she goes to the doctor and he puts her on a prenatal and we’re very concerned about these prenatal. For one thing, they don’t have the right kind of vitamin A in them, they don’t have a good balance of AMD. They have folic acid in them when it really should be folate, so they can actually end up with a deficiency of folate. They’re just artificial vitamins, they are all made in China. There’s no quality control, and we really think you should be getting your nutrients from food, from nutrient-dense food.
Kelly: So, the vitamin A is one of the key foods you’re saying and that’s through liver and organ meats
Sally: Yes, yes and all the nutrients and animal fats, then you do need some good dairy products for calcium phosphorus, your requirements are going to go way up. Unfortunately, it’s very hard to absorb these nutrients from pasteurized and ultra-pasteurized dairy products and a lot of people are very allergic to these products too. So, we do recommend, at the very least a lot of cheese. Preferably raw cheese and raw cheese should be digestible for everybody and if you can we recommend the raw milk like a glass of raw milk every day.
Kelly: Every day?
Sally: Yes. Lots of eggs, eggs are brain food.
Kelly: So, I know you talk about how it’s important for you to eat meat and people who are talking about the vegetarian. Why is that not an optimal diet for pregnancy?
Sally: This is going to sound really harsh, but I would not recommend that vegetarians have children. Either get off your vegetarian diet or just decide you’re not going to have children because it’s just not fair to this child to bring it into the world so nutritionally depleted, there’s so many nutrients that you’re not getting in a vegetarian diet, especially a vegan diet and we hear about these cases, and in fact, there have been parents sent to jail for child abuse, who are vegans, who are bringing a child up on a vegan diet
Sally: I just It’s a terrible thing. These vegetarian groups are telling parents that they can have a completely healthy baby on a vegan diet or vegetarian diet and it’s a terrible falsehood and of course, who suffers? It’s the child.
Kelly: In what way?
Sally: Okay, so they’re going to be deficient in complete protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin K, they’ll be deficient in B12, which is so critical to development, the nervous system, possible B6, zinc, calcium, possibly phosphorus and iron and, iron deficiency, anaemia is another terrible thing to impose on a child.
Kelly: And so, what are the implications for the child and if they’re deficient in these things?
Sally: The brain function is not going to be right though, digestive disorders, they won’t grow properly, they’ll be very weak, they’ll be way behind in their milestones, they’ll always be small and fragile. It’s a very unfair thing to do to a child.
Kelly: Right, and that goes in through the pregnancy diet that’s so important.
Sally: Exactly, and that’s when they need these nutrients, just a calcium and need a source of absorbable calcium and all through the growth period in utero and then when they’re born even more so because that’s when the bones really start to grow and your bone density is determined when you’re young, your baby and when you’re a toddler, and that’s when you need the really good calcium source.
Kelly: So we talked about the fats and protein but are they all created equal because if you go and buy a meat at the store, there’s lots of, obviously want to get a grass-fed but not many people are aware of it. Most stores don’t even sell 100 cent grass-fed meat, though we know how it sounds. So, what do you think about that? Is it worse to eat like some meat that has lots of grains and different hormones or not eat meat at all?
Sally: I still would eat it. I mean, you still need meat, or you need animal foods. And so, let’s just say that you want to get pregnant, shop the edges would be meat, eggs, fish, if you can, shellfish, poultry, cheese. That’s what I would recommend. However, at the Weston A Price Foundation, we have a whole system for putting you in touch with local farms, joining food groups, there are farmers who deliver every two weeks to a drop off point all these wonderful grass-fed foods those soy-free eggs, raw milk, good cheese and that’s what we recommend. We try to make it as easy as possible for prospective parents. Our big emphasis is on healthy pregnancy and having healthy children.
Kelly: And is there statistics on people who have eaten maybe the Weston Price
Sally: We did one short study that showed very positive for people who had prepared for pregnancies in our diet, less tooth decay, fewer things like asthma, allergies and so forth and we’re right now taking part in a very large study, over 1,000 families. Well, we’re looking to this in more depth, but the study that we have done just shows very positive results and we also have what we call a healthy baby gallery. We publish photographs every month, or every quarter of these healthy babies.
Kelly: What do you think is the most important thing for a new mom to know about their diet?
Sally: To continue this pregnancy diet, needs to be a nutrient-dense diet and I promise you all the trouble of going to find these foods, preparing them, doesn’t take a lot to prepare them, but it will pay off in a lot more time for you in the end because your baby will be much easier, be less crying. That’s one of the things we here are my baby doesn’t cry much. Very healthy and cheerful and sleeps well.
Kelly: So happier and smarter
Sally: They don’t have this frenetic couple of years with a really unhealthy baby.
Kelly: So, you’re saying that the babies are eating from the parents who have the diet overall are showing that the babies are happier, they sleep better, cognitively they’re performing better.
Sally: Yes. One of the things that I’ve heard from dentists is, in the baby’ of vegetarians, even vegetarians who are fully breastfeeding their babies, the baby teeth come in rotten
Kelly: their teeth are rotten?
Sally: All the baby teeth. Yeah. So, we definitely don’t hear that. But teeth come in nice and white and strong.
Kelly: Well, where can people go for more information on the diet?
Sally: Go to WesternAPrice.org there’s a man’s name w e s t o n a p r i c e.org. And under health topics, we have a topic of category called Children’s Health and we have lots of articles there to help you. We also have a special issue of our journal called children’s health, we just actually reprinted it and that’s a nice thing to start with.
Kelly: Well, thank you, Sally. It’s a vast subject. I do have a book called, The Nourishing Traditions, book of baby and childcare and that would be another good place to start.
About Sally Fallon Morell
Sally Fallon is the founder and president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, which promotes wise traditions in food and farming. They are the co-authors of the self-published Nourishing Traditions, which has sold 120,000 copies in the US. For more information, visit: www.westonaprice.org.