Happy Healthy Homestead

Book Review: The Better Baby Book

This month I read: “The Better Baby Book” by Dave and Lana Asprey m.d.

Favorite Quotes:

“Countless factors can cause any of a baby’s genes to turn on or off during the time in the womb. Even a mother’s thoughts and feelings during pregnancy can play a significant role in determining what personality traits, characteristics, and behaviors her child may inherit. The three most common things that affect gene expression are the mother’s diet and nutrition, her environment, and her emotions.”

Main Takeaways:

I have to admit I almost didn’t read this book because I didn’t like the title. Why would a baby need to be “better”. However, that is not how the authors were intending to come across. They are passionate about new science coming out and how it relates to health and especially around conception and pregnancy with the goal of having a very healthy baby. Like most books there is always something I learn and that’s helpful along with other things that I either already knew or I don’t agree with. While I think all the suggestion accumulatively are a bit much for the average person to actually apply and think about, I do like how the authors laid out things in a way that is very practical and detailed. Check out my notes below.

My Summary of Notes:

  • New research (only last 15 years) shows many factors will turn on certain genes that will be passed down to our children. The turning on and off of genes and expressing them is called “epigenetics”.
  • Countless factors can cause any of a baby’s genes to turn on or off during the time in the womb. Even a mothers thoughts and feelings during pregnancy can play a significant role in determining what personality, traits, characteristics, and behaviors her child may inherit.
  • The 3 most common things that affect gene expression are: diet/nutrition, environment, and emotions. Having a healthy father also has s big effect on baby’s genes.
  • 4 principles in this book are:
    • Eat the right foods
    • Take the right supplements
    • Detoxify your body right before, during, and after pregnancy
    • Minimize stress
  • More than 50 million children have of cognitive problems because of lack of basic vitamins. If mother is deficient at birth it can effect baby. Once/day prenatal are not enough.
  • We are now able to link certain toxins with specific symptoms in babies and mothers. Detoxing is important before, during, and after the pregnancy.
  • Mycotoxins are produced my molds and found in human and animal foods. These toxins resemble estrogen and disrupt the estrogen receptors and lead to early puberty in young girls, fertility problems in women, and low sperm count in young men. There is no government testing required for these toxins. The current levels of them in processed foods are far too high for pregnant women to be eating.
  • It’s also important to spend time and money ensuring that you’re free of low-level undiagnosed pathogenic diseases (like Lyme) before coming pregnant.
  • The fetus second level of consciousness comes into being as the organized central nervous system forms, including the brain and its neurological networks. Once this happens, a fetus is constantly tuned into its mothers thoughts, feelings, and actions.
  • Science on sensory communication in the womb:
    • at 5 months fetuses have been seen reacting to loud sounds by raising their hands or covering their ears
    • they also react to light flashes at their mothers abdomen
    • at 22 weeks fetuses who tasted bitter poppy seed oil that was introduced in the womb grimaced and fetuses who tasted sweet substances swallowed twice the usual rate of amniotic fluid
    • fetuses have responded to gentle pricks on their heels with grimacing faces and clenched hands
    • a fetus can hear and remember the sound of their mothers voice
    • a groundbreaking study by a psychologist in university of north Carolina showed that fetuses could remember the sound patterns by mother. The mothers would read a specific book and sing a specific song while pregnant. After the baby was born they performed a test with a suckometer with 3 different books/songs playing and the babies would change their sucking pattern in order to hear the familiar book/song. This test was done within just a few hours of birth.
    • listening to classical music in the womb promotes growth programs in baby
  • Molecular communication:
    • maternal emotions and thoughts are communicated to the baby through hormones.
    • Hormone levels change dramatically when women experience different emotions and these hormones cross the placenta and affect the fetus similarly.
    • If a mother is stressed more adrenaline reaches the baby and tiggers defense mechanisms in baby at the expense of growth.
  • Intuitive communication:
    • many mothers say they “just know” what is happening with their babies.
    • there is recent science that shows emotional development starts at conception
    • it’s important for mothers to not be anxious or depressed but rather peaceful and low stress to make the best womb environment for their babies
  • The most important thing you can do as a parent is to consciously show your baby – from the moment you’re pregnant- that they are wanted and loved.
  • The better baby diet:
  • physical building blocks of baby’s body and brain: water, healthy fats, proteins, minerals, and a few carbohydrates.
  • staying hydrated with purified water is essential during pregnancy.
  • minerals performs certain functions in the body and must be kept in balance (not too little and not too much)
  • it’s much easier and healthier to deal with hypertension by increasing magnesium and potassium intake instead of decreasing salt intake. Salt is vital for our bodies.
  • table salt is a mix of chemically extracted pure sodium and toxic aluminum anticaking agents. Pure sodium can cause problems.
  • high quality sea salts are great for the body
  • the best salt is pink salt mined in Utah or Himalayas. They come from ancient seabed’s that don’t contain modern contaminates.
  • drinking 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt in a large glass of water when you first wake up is a great way to raise your energy level. (Why on of 36)
  • avoid frying or grilling foods to where there are black charring (see why pg 42)
  • eat raw and lightly cooked food or food cooked on low (instead of on high)
  • About GMOs:
    • typical GMO crops: canola, corn, cottonseed, and soybeans
    • 60% of corn is GMO and 91% of soybeans
    • GMO sugar beets are used in the U.S.
    • GMO foods linked to: toxic and allergic reactions as well as damage to nearly every organ
    • GMO foods are linked to autoimmune disorders
    • Due to the large body of research, Some countries have banned GMO farming and foods including: France, Germany, and New Zealand
    • If a food is labeled as USDA organic then it must be GMO free
  • About Fats:
    • saturated = fat is very stable in air and heat, won’t turn rancid easily
    • Unsaturated = easily becomes rancid when exposed to air/heat
    • Polyunsaturated = (like canola and corn oil), known as omega-6 oils, extremely unstable.
    • Monounsaturated fats = like olive oil, are great for you but break down easily when cooked
    • Hydrogenation = industrial process of chemically turning any oil into one that is heat stable but damaged. This is the process to make trans fats.
    • Bad cooking oils include: canola, corn, cottonseed, peanut, safflower, soybean, sunflower, and vegetable.
  • A lot of science around why sugar is bad (didn’t take notes on this section)
  • MSG is a chemical flavor enhancer that makes food seem to taste better than it really does. Has negative affects on brain.
  • About Grains:
    • With the exception of rice all grains including wheat, barley, oats, Millet, rye, spelt, and quinoa contain anti-nutrients like phytic acid and gluten-like proteins that are bad for growing baby.
    • 2 most important ones to avoid are: wheat and corn
    • Reasons to avoid wheat: 1) mycotoxins: mold forms on wheat because of modern industrial farming techniques 2) gluten: 80% of worlds population can’t digest it properly. 3) lectins: linked to autoimmune inflammation and intestinal imbalance. Many food allergies are reactions to lectins
  • About Corn:
    • Very Susceptible to mycotoxins
    • Often GMO
    • The only corn they eat is locally grown, organic, non-GMO corn on the cob in the summer but not frequently because it’s so high in sugar
  • About Legumes:
    • difficult to digest
    • Traditional cultures soaked, sprouted, and fermented these
  • Unfermented Soy:
    • Dangerous amounts of anti-nutrients
    • Lots of phytoestrogens
    • Contains lysinoalanine, known toxin
    • Harmful levels of aluminum
    • Mycotoxins high risk
    • Most always GMO
  • Most soy in Asian cuisine is different because it’s been fermented. Fermentation greatly decreases the anti nutrients and phytic acid levels. Fermented soy products include: tempeh, miso, and natto
  • Peanuts are not healthy because of:
    • mold contamination
    • high omega 6
  • Bakers yeast and brewers yeast both prevent the liver from detoxing your body as well as it can. Helps candida to grow.
  • Section on avoiding milk products (did not take notes)
  • Why butter is ok:
    • Milk proteins (including casein and BCM-7) which are the most harmful parts of milk are present in butter only in very small quantities and that very tiny bit gets removed during the enzymatically modified during the butter fermentation process, so it’s not unhealthy anymore.
  • Safe fish not usually contaminated with mercury:
    • Flounder, haddock, pacific sockeye salmon, petrale sole, sardines, wild tilapia, and wild freshwater sport fish like trout
  • Buy food in glass jars or bpa-free cans
  • They recommend not eating old food/leftovers because of the harmful bacteria that can develop on it.
  • Eggs:
    • eggs are beneficial
    • contain 6 grabs protein per egg
    • prevent muscle loss
    • supports eye health
    • essential amino acids
    • high in B vitamins
    • rich in iron
    • contains choline, an essential nutrient
    • Over cooked eggs are oxidized and alters to where they are not healthy.
    • When they eat raw eggs they wash them with few drops of iodine or grapes SEF extract in a bowl of water before opening them
    • They add raw yolks to smoothies
  • About Coconut oil:
    • Eat 4-6 tablespoons per day. When you first start out do 2 tablespoons per day and work your way up. Use in smoothies and when cooking. Appropriate at high heat but not frying.
    • When buying choose organic cold-processed or expreller-pressed. These forms preserve the most MCTs. The difference is that cold pressed carries a strong coconut flavor and expeller pressed has very little flavor.
  • Don’t eat cows dairy (except Grassfed butter) because of the negative effects of casein. Butter has hardly any casein at all. Sheep and goat dairy has less allergenic proteins and has more butyrate (a type of day that helps your brain).
  • A study by Linus Pauling institute at Oregon state university found that the mothers intake of cruciferous vegetables may provide her baby lifelong protection from cancer.
  • Eat vegetables high in sugar and high in carbs less frequently. Carrots are the only exception because of their well documented health benefits. They are efficient colon cleansers and reduced unwanted estrogens.
  • Eat 75% of veggies raw and 25% cooked. Bake or lightly steam them. Don’t cook in oil because heated oils oxidize easily. NOTE: then why not use avocado oil?
  • Not only is avocado good source of potassium and regulate blood pressure but when you eat them on a salad they make other veggies more bioavailable and absorb more carotenoids, especially spinach, lettuce, and carrots.
  • Eat low sugar fruits like berries, grapefruit, and passion fruit regularly. Eat average sugar fruits only a few times a week such as apples, stone fruits, cherries, oranges and pears. High sugar fruits for special treats such as grapes, bananas, dates, melons, and dried fruits.
  • Nourishing Nuts to eat: almonds, pecans, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, and walnuts.
  • Nuts are particularly susceptible to infection with molds so it’s best if you can buy them whole, shelled, and that have always been refrigerated or frozen if possible.
  • Nuts should be eaten raw as roasting them alters their nutritive value.
  • Consume collagen which is important for your bones, ligaments, and skin.
  • Soy lecithin and sunflower lecithin are actually good for you because it’s high in choline. Lecithin has the ability to transform smoothies, salad dressings, and homemade ice cream into a creamy delight.
  • Super healthy / important to consume:
    • cilantro
    • ginger
  • White rice is the only grain the recommend eating.
  • Healthier sweetener choices: xylitol and stevia
  • Dark chocolate 80% or higher
  • Women’s contraceptives / fertility:
    • the pill has a ton of evidence supporting its harmful side effects
    • since the pill comprises the immune system women who take it are more likely to develop food allergies
    • iUDs also have a long list of associates problems and side effects
    • pre-seed is a safe, non toxic lubricant that won’t harm Sperm or the womb environment
  • Prenatal supplements:
    • start 6 months before pregnancy ideally
    • goes through details of each vitamin
    • glutamine
    • ALC
    • coQ10
    • glutathione
  • Water:
    • drink filtered water either from reverse osmosis system or from a countertop carbon filtration system.
    • most tap water has been found to contain many types of drugs and antibiotics in it.
    • plastic water bottles contain BPA which becomes harmful when exposed to heat or sunlight which usually happens during shipping.
  • Air:
    • use hepa air cleaner in your bedroom
    • many contaminants in the air that affect our health
  • EMFs:
    • long term exposure to EMFs is linked to cancer, infertility, miscarriage, and more.
    • overuse of cell phone source of EMFs has been linked to brain tumors, DNA damage, and more
    • airplane mode reduces the amount of EMFs from your phone substantially. When carrying in your pocket ensure it’s on airplane mode.
    • illuminate cordless landline phones
    • never set laptop directly on lap
    • try to use laptop unplugged as it has way more EMFs while charging
    • replace plug in alarm clocks that are near your head with battery ones
    • use hair dryers less often
    • turn off WiFi at night (or block bedrooms from it)
    • install affordable plug in EMF filters on some outlets in the house
  • Endotoxins: produced inside our bodies either by our own cells or bacteria/fungi living in us.
  • Keeping a balanced GI tract:
    • probiotic supplements
    • avoid antibiotics unless absolutely necessary
    • low stress
    • diet low in sugar and carbs
    • avoid sulfite and sulfate containing foods such as dried fruits, packaged fruit juices, white bread, and alcohol
  • Activated charcoal:
    • it’s used at poison control centers and ERs around the globe because it’s such an effective detoxifier.
    • they suggest taking between 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon 3x day for 1 month to detoxify before getting pregnant
  • Bentonite clay:
    • also helpful detoxer
    • can take 1 tablespoon liquid form per day
  • Chlorella:
    • microscopic algae that grows in fresh water
    • taken in little tablets
    • choose one that has “broken cell wall”
    • contains a lot of iron so only use temporarily
    • don’t use in combination with vitamin C as that facilitates iron absorption
  • Detoxifying your home:
    • remove artificial fragrances
    • reduce plastic
    • remove nonstick and aluminum cookware
    • use fluoride free toothpaste
    • buy natural personal care products
  • Other important factors:
    • reduce stress
    • improve sleep
    • exercise
    • breathing exercises
    • meditation
    • heart rate variability training

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