Hi All! This is the first in a series of monthly parenting
related posts. I hope you enjoy it!
While I was pregnant, I started researching first foods. I learned some great stuff from Chris Kresser’s Healthy Baby Code and articles on the WAPF site. Then, in
my 8th month of pregnancy, I received an email from Kelly Genzlinger asking
if I would like a copy of her new book, Super Nutrition for Babies that she co-wrote with Katherine Erlich, MD. This book was a godsend for me. Although I had already been reading up on first foods, this book took all that information, plus more and packaged it in a way that new parents can easily follow. It is educational, it provides a step-by-step guide, and it provides recipes. Indyanna has been eating solids for a month now, and we refer to this book constantly. I gift Super Nutrition for Babies to all new parents & parents to be, because I believe that one of the most important things we can do as parents is give our babies a fair chance at being healthy.
I’m excited to share my recent Q&A session with Kelly Genzlinger. This interview is loaded with great information! Kelly has also generously offered to GIVEAWAY a copy of her book to one Rubies & Radishes reader. Check out the end of the post for more details!
1.Why did you decide to write this book?
I pursued this book deal with Fairwinds, and happily embarked
on one of the most challenging, yet rewarding initiatives in my life (writing
this book) because I see, professionally and personally, the degradation of
health, mental capacity, and emotional well-being in children. This scary
upswing in dysfunction, disease, and defects can be directly improved by
nutrient-dense foods and the reduction in industrialized foods (sugars, white
flour, trans fats and vegetable oils, and toxins like colorings, flavorings,
pesticides, insecticides, etc.). Having received a complement from the
publisher that she’d never seen an author work so hard, I am proud of the
months and months of research that went into this book. As a mother
myself, I wanted to double and triple check my information so that I could
fully stand behind this book and parents could trust it.
The driving reason I wanted to write this book is that there is not another
book like it on the market today. Sadly, there is no other book that
guides parents in the traditional wisdom of feeding their children to protect
and provide optimal development and health. This book, however, is a
central resource for just this information, and if followed by the masses will
reduce the plague of autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, allergies, asthma,
emotional disturbances, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes in children.
If followed at least 6-12 months before conception (see the pregnancy and
nursing chapter) you are less likely to have physical defects in your baby, as
nutrients are key to proper development (think folic acid (B9) which is
necessary for proper neural tube development to avoid spina bifida, and vitamin
A – shown in studies to be integral to eye development). I wrote this
book for this generation of children, and the next. As I told my 10 year
old daughter, “This is the book you will read when you have a baby.”
The information within is traditionally sound, and the newer and newer
science backs it – as such solid information, it will never change. I
have no doubt, this would be the best book for my great-granddaughter to read
when she is having children. My co-author, Dr. Erlich, wrote this book to
help a wider audience than her patient-base, and for the same reasons mentioned
above – for the greater good of children far and wide.
2. In your book, you mention that “babies are functionally grain intolerant”. Can you share why this is?
The way we digest food is via the mechanism of digestive enzymes.
We produce them in our pancreas, but before the industrialization of
food, we got them in our foods (by fermenting and culturing foods, which
enhances their enzyme content). Foods that are “living” contain
enzymes; foods that are “dead” do not have any. You can think
of a banana compared to a fast-food hamburger. The banana on your counter
goes from green to yellow to brown spotted – through the actions of its own
enzymes, which break it down from polysaccharides (the starchy taste of a green
banana) to the disaccharides of a yellow banana (simpler sugars, somewhat
sweeter taste), to monosaccharides in the brown-spotted banana. The
fast-food hamburger will sit for days or weeks unchanged (what other foods you
eat or feed your family are “dead”?). All this talk about
enzymes is necessary to answer your question. When we eat food, the bonds
that tie the molecules together must be undone. Basically, when we eat a
banana, we need to break apart the B6 from the potassium from the glucose in
order to use each of these separately in our bodies as needed (to convert an
amino acid to a neurotransmitter, as B6 does, or to lower blood pressure
through a mechanism of maintaining cellular fluid balance within and outside
cells as potassium does, or to provide cellular energy as glucose does).
If these remain intact as they are in a banana, they are only suited to
be or build “banana” – not what we need as functioning, growing human
beings. Therefore, all food we eat must be digested (broken down into its
tiniest building blocks) to be useful to us. And, ideally, only these
tiniest building blocks will get through the intestinal lining.
In a healthy gut, as food, toxins, virus, etc. travel from one end to the other
(ending in diaper or toilet) the body digests and allows the helpful nutrients
to cross the intestinal lining and reach the bloodstream, where they are
ferried to where they are specifically needed. Unless we have leaky gut,
undigested proteins, and other harmful things, shouldn’t reach our blood, but
should be excreted as waste. However, when we have leaky gut (intestinal
permeability, or holes/wounds in the gut lining, many dangerous things get
access to the bloodstream, and then have a possibility to cross the blood-brain
barrier and impact the brain and nervous system).
Allergies are a result of this mechanism. When food proteins are not fully
digested and enter the bloodstream through leaky gut, the body cannot use the
individual building blocks, and in fact, doesn’t recognize them, as they are
bonded together as a whole – as in a peanut protein. The body then tags
this protein as a foreign invader, puts it in the immune memory bank, and
attacks next time – possibly resulting in anaphylactic shock. In order to
avoid allergies, leaky gut should be avoided (avoid all sugars, white flour,
inflammatory trans and processed polyunsaturated oils [soy, vegetable, corn,
cottonseed, safflower, sunflower, and canola], and ensure that the diet is rich
in many minerals, digestive soothers [fermented, cultured foods and gelatin in
bone stock]) and foods should be provided with enzymes (living, fermented or
cultured) or with side dishes that are fermented (sauerkraut, yogurt, etc. –
all condiments seem to trace back to a fermented root – such as ketchup – which
according to Sally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions began as fermented fish
brine – only recently were tomatoes added, and of course only very recently has
the food become industrialized and laden with high fructose corn syrup, etc.).
In short, a healthy gut lining and serving digestible foods (note: avoiding
harmful foods is part of this) will absolutely protect from allergies.
Don’t worry – I am not forgetting the original question. If
allergies are result from undigested proteins crossing the intestinal lining
spurring an immune attack, what are food intolerances? A common way to
define an intolerance is the absence of the enzyme to digest that food.
The best known intolerance is lactose intolerance. This results
when the body doesn’t make lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose (the sugar
in milk). It is then said that the person is intolerant of lactose. If
you do not make the enzyme to digest a certain food, you are intolerant.
(The solution in this particular case is to consume raw dairy – from a
clean, trusted, WAPF-endorsed farm (www.realmilk.com) –
because unheated, unpasteurized milk has all of its enzymes intact, including
lactase. Lactose intolerance is different than a casein allergy, which is
where the body has developed an immune-mediated response to the protein in
In babies, their digestive capabilities are immature at birth.
They develop enzymes as their digestive systems mature, and they also
develop a coating of friendly flora along their intestinal walls, and those
“probiotics” supply digestive enzymes and support overall digestive
health – but they take time to build up. From what studies have shown,
the enzymes that digest starches (carbohydrates) are slower to develop than
those for protein and fat. Also, babies young digestive systems expect
mom’s milk – which contains probiotics, enzymes, and “predigested”
food (that mom has first consumed). The only carbohydrate young babies
can digest is lactose – a special disaccharide found in milk. This double
sugar is digested into two monosaccharides: galactose and glucose. Galactose
has important brain-building abilities. Other carbohydrates
(sugars) as in high fructose corn syrup and table sugar break down into
fructose and glucose – supplying a sugar that taxes the liver (fructose) and
not providing a source of galactose. (Hence, homemade formula is
recommended as a second choice to mom’s milk, as opposed to commercial,
When it comes to grains (polysaccharides, or many sugars and
fiber), a baby’s body isn’t yet equipped with amylase, the enzyme needed to
break down grains. Studies show that synthesis of this enzyme doesn’t
develop until at least 1 year, and in some, may not come until 3 years of age.
For these reasons, we classify babies as functionally grain intolerant
until at least one year. Hence, we warn against the common practice of
feeding grains as first foods (oats, rice, wheat) in rice flakes, oatmeal, o’s
cereal, teething biscuits, baby crackers, etc. Their bodies cannot
well-digest these foods, setting up digestive upset, malnutrition, allergies,
and an unhealthy gut ecosystem (from the sugars in these grains and undigested
food particles). As evidence of this problem, the incidence of Celiac
disease (an autoimmune disease that results from undigested grains containing
the protein gluten) as well as non-Celiac gluten intolerance are rising.
Not surprising when we consider the industrialized weaning diet of
developed countries in the last few generations (all those grain-based baby
foods on grocery store shelves).
3.Why is it important to feed
animal foods to babies?
It is important to feed babies animal foods because their bodies
expect and need the nutrients in these foods. Animal foods provide
complete protein (that is all essential amino acids, from which the body can
make other amino acids, enzymes, antibodies, neurotransmitters, hormones,
connective tissue, muscle tissue (like a growing heart, or muscles needed to
crawl and walk), and more. Grain, bean, and green-sources of protein are
always lacking or deficient in one or more of the essential amino acids,
therefore, the body isn’t fully equipped to make what it needs for a growing,
functional, healthy body. Animal foods uniquely provide these amino acids, but
that’s not all.
They also provide nutrients in a key form that is bio-available to
the human body. Let’s take beta-carotene for example, often called
“pro-vitamin A”. Beta-carotene is found in orange, red, and
green colored vegetation. When a body takes it in, it is used as an
anti-oxidant, but is converted to the more powerful and important nutrient:
retinol (true vitamin A). The body needs saturated fat to absorb and convert
beta carotene, as well as enzymes, thyroid hormone, and other nutrients.
If you consume 100% of your “vitamin A” in beta-carotene, you
must consider that your body has to convert it to retinol to be truly useful
(retinol is key to mineral absorption and use, fighting infections, visual
acuity, skin-health, and much more!). The body will not convert at a rate
of 100%, so when beta carotene is your source of vitamin A, you are likely not
getting enough. In babies, if you provide even more beta carotene (more
and more carrots), their immature ability to convert to retinol can result in
orange skin, from the unconverted beta carotene. Why not feed the bio-available
retinol, instead of the vegetable pre-cursor to vitamin A? In short, let
the rabbits eat carrots, and we’ll get our vitamin A from eating rabbit (their
bodies will have done the conversion for us). Hence, we find true vitamin
A in animal foods (highest source is in liver).
Other examples of bio-available nutrients in animal foods include
B6 (which comes in many forms, but the form best absorbed and used by the body
is that in animal foods), zinc and iron. Zinc and iron are particularly
important nutrients for growing babies. When zinc and iron come from
vegetation, they are absorbed at a very low rate. Iron from animal
sources is bio-available (as heme iron) at an absorption rate of 30-40%, where
as in supplements, and non-heme form, it is only absorbed 4-7%. What that
means is that the bottle or package might indicate a certain amount of iron,
zinc, B6, vitamin A, etc. but your body (or your baby’s body) cannot really
absorb and use it. This has potential to lead to malnutrition, or at
least sub-par nutrition for optimal development, function, and health.
Thirdly, animal foods have nutrients that vegetation does not have.
These include carnitine, carnosine, coQ10, B12, as a few examples off the
top of my head. These are key nutrients for heart and brain health. There
have been devastating stories of parents putting infants on vegan diets (mom’s
milk is of course an animal food), resulting in death. Human beings
require complete protein, bio-available nutrients, and nutrients uniquely found
in animal foods.
Finally, animal foods have special fatty acids and cholesterol.
Fat and cholesterol are key to building a healthy and optimally
functioning and developmentally-able brain (the brain is made of 60% fat).
Science cannot refute this, despite the very vegetarian-driven pop culture of
today, and therefore US states no toddler under the age of 2 should be on any
kind of diet that restricts fat; yet the popular baby foods are grains, fruits,
and vegetables – a naturally low-fat diet. In the UK, they say no fat
restriction until after age 5 (perhaps because 80% of brain development occurs up
to age 5). Healthy fats for babies include the fats in grass-fed meats,
poultry, wild-caught fish and fish roe, organ meats, raw and grassed dairy
(butter, yogurt, raw milk), coconut and coconut oil, red palm oil, and lard
(though maligned, lard is mostly monounsaturated fat, like olive oil, and if
from pastured pigs, is an excellent source of vitamin D). Fats and
cholesterol allow for mood and hormone regulation, metabolic conversions,
thermo-regulation, satiation (not overeating), absorption of nutrients (E, K,
D, A, coQ10, lutein, beta carotene, etc. are fat-soluble), and more. (As
described in the book, fat and cholesterol are not to be feared.
Cholesterol does “clog” arteries, but is sent there when damage
or wounds occur in the arteries, and is in fact an internal “scab” to
allow healing and block further damage. The villain is not cholesterol,
but is the cause of the arterial damage to begin with: sugar, free-radicals,
and inflammation. To avoid heart disease, you want to fight these, not
cholesterol (which is an antioxidant, meant to go up with age, and a helper).
Saturated fat is the preferred fuel of the heart, and is no fattier than
vegetable oil or olive oil (some studies suggest that polyunsaturated fats in
mass quantities as consumed today are instrumental in the inflammatory cycle
that leads to weight gain – which makes epidemiological sense because we are a
fatter nation and have obesity in children even more than before we adopted the
“low-fat” way of eating, which inherently avoids animal fats in favor
of polyunsaturated vegetable oils).
4. In your book, you &
Katherine Erlich, MD recommend introducing egg yolk, liver & Souper Stock
as baby’s first foods. What is important about these foods?
We recommend egg yolk as a perfect first food because it has brain
building components like omega-3 fats (DHA, for example), choline and lecithin,
fat to absorb the fat soluble vitamins and nutrients, and it is a protein
closest to mom’s milk. As discussed earlier, enzymes in foods are very important
to help babies digest foods until their digestive systems mature. For
this reason, the egg white should be avoided, as it is often allergenic.
When you soft-boil an egg, you can easily separate the white, and the
still soft/liquidy yolk has active enzymes to support digestion. Heat
above 118 degrees damages / destroys enzymes. And, a fully boiled egg
yolk is very chalky. Soft-boiled egg yolks are an ideal nutritional and
digestive first food.
Liver is the most nutrient-dense food on Earth. When from a
pastured, grass-fed source, liver is a healing, and powerhouse of nutrition.
When my own children have too much grain, or have the rare treat for
holidays or a good friend’s birthday, I always “treat” this toxic,
sugary onslaught to their systems with a slice of liverwurst. What the
sugar and toxins have taken away, I hope the strong nutrition in liver will
repair. Better yet to have no onslaught to the system, and indeed we
avoid sugar and industrialized food at all costs, but at least on the very rare
occasion my children are exposed, they have an otherwise nutritionally
fortified diet (and therefore, body). Liver contains more B12, suite of
other B-vitamins, true vitamin A, and several other nutrients (amino acids,
etc.) than any other food. Close seconds are other organ meats (offal).
When we consider how nutrients are necessary for proper mental,
emotional, and physical growth and development, why wouldn’t we want to provide
our babies with the best source of these nutrients? Simply said: nothing
nutritionally beats liver.
Souper stock is essential for a truly health digestive track,
collagen, cartilage, and joint tissue, and is a source of a suite of minerals
and amino acids. Stock is a digestive aid, tummy soother, and builds a
strong and well-“oiled” (joint-health) body. It can improve
enzyme activity, helping to stave off allergies and maximize the digestible and
therefore absorbable nutrients in food. It is a perfect complement to
cooked meat, and is an extremely digestible, nutritious, and important food in
5.You also recommend
introducing beef stock before chicken stock. Why should beef stock come first?
Beef stock or chicken stock can be used, and should be used, as
early foods, for all the reasons stated above. Be aware that chicken or
poultry stock should be cooked for at least 24 hours, where as beef or red-meat
stock needs a minimum of 12 hours. Either is fine, and both should be
consumed. When we think about the euphemisms for chicken soup: Jewish penicillin,
elixir of the gods, and the series of books: Chicken Soup for the Soul, it is
indicative of something quite powerful.
Broth, or soup, has historically always been made from the soaking
of bones. In so doing, the minerals are leached from the bones they built
into the liquid (in the presence of some acidity, like vinegar added to the
soaking water), the connective tissue softens, and depending on the bones,
marrow is also freed and available for consumption in the soup. When we
are sick, we lose minerals – through the action of fighting the infection, or
literally from vomiting, diarrhea, or lack of eating (and resupplying them).
To a sick body, with/without an upset digestive system, soup made from
bones (or “stock”) is the best possible remedy. The concept of
Pedialyte, a sugared, dyed, electrolyte solution, was built off of stock – the
original, and best, electrolyte (mineral) solution. Making stock on a
regular basis, and having it on hand to drink warm from a mug on a cold day, or
to use as a soup base, or as main ingredient in a savory sauce is a great idea
to support your family’s health.
In conclusion – I want to thank-you for sharing this book with
others, and letting them know that source of important feeding and dietary
guidelines now exists to help parents protect and develop optimal health in
their children. I am confident in the “mommy-network” to spread
the word to other parents who so desperately and instinctually want to protect
their children and who will use their love, time, and the knowledge in this
book to ensure that we change the course predicted by statistics (based on
babies who eat the Standard America Diet) for our children. With
traditional foods’ feeding (guided by the precepts of
nutrient-worthiness, immune-boosting ability, digestibility, and purity) we can
reclaim the natural right of optimal health, witnessed again and again in
pre-industrialzed societies eating toxin-free, nutrient-dense, digestible foods
– who were then able to experience life without mental illness, heart disease,
cancer, diabetes, infertility, deadly allergies, etc. We can do it; we
owe it to our children and their children to stop the senseless degradation of
development and health in the innocent. What better gift to give your
child: the opportunity to be fully healthy and experience all life has to
offer. To quote Weston A. Price, “Life in all its fullness is Mother
Kelly Genzlinger has dedicated many years to the study of
nutrition and foods’ effects within the human body. She is a
traditional-foods advocate in her community and is dedicated to promoting
wellness for her children, family, and nutritional clients. An
author, speaker, and certified nutritional consultant, Kelly is proud to have
changed the lives of countless children and adults with her teachings,
guidance, and counsel related to whole, real, traditional foods. With
a business background and three professional certifications in holistic health
and nutrition, she is an avid researcher. Kelly’s first book, Sugar
… Stop the Addiction, addressed the national crisis of excessive sugar
consumption. She has been a featured speaker at wellness
symposiums and a guest on cable shows such a Diabetes Countdown and The Bottom
Line. You can learn more at www. FoodTherapeutics.com
To enter the Super Nutrition for Babies GIVEAWAY:
The contest will close on Sunday, January 27 at 11:59 PM PST.
- Like the Super Nutrition for Babies and Rubies & Radishes facebook page.
- Add a comment below, letting me know you did the above. Or leave a comment below letting us know if you are a parent, a parent-to-be, or know a parent that could benefit from this book.
*Note: This giveaway is open to US Residents only. One winner will be randomly selected and notified on Monday, January 28th. I will announce the winner here and on Facebook. You will have 48 hours to claim your prize, or a new winner will be selected.