Catherine Shanahan MD and Luke Shanahan
Producing Healthy and Beautiful Children through Traditional Foods
I, like many people, had resigned myself to the fact that I had not won the genetics lottery for beauty. And like many people, I had truly believed that external beauty was mostly due to random selection and wasn’t something I (or my parents) could do too much about.
Catherine’s book really opened my eyes to a completely new way of understanding beauty and what causes it. In short, Catherine advises that “there are nutritional choices you can make to help ensure that your baby be born healthy and beautiful if that is what you desire.”
There is a symmetry in all of nature that we typically associate with “beauty,” and a healthy embryo will develop according to those same rules of symmetry that allows the baby to be truly beautiful both inside and out!
Most Mothers-To-Be Are Deficient in Nutrients
A 2006 study that is cited in the book states that “[o]verall, 74% of women are falling short on nutrients from their diet.”
And so the body draws on the woman’s own nutrients in order to grow her baby. “If mom’s diet is deficient in calcium, it will be robbed from her bones. If deficient in brain-building fats – as horrible as this sounds – the fats that make up the mother’s own brain will be sought out and extracted….Studies show maternal brains can actually shrink, primarily in the hippocampal and temporal lobe areas, which control short-term memory and emotion.”
This was definitely the part of the book that worried me the most since I haven’t started to have children yet – how awful would it be to harm my own child and myself just by not eating well before and during and after pregnancy (before pregnancy is just as important as during), and as Catherine explains later in the book, eating well after pregnancy can significantly affect the health of your second child. Most mothers have lost so many nutrients after their first child that a second child following in quick session will result in a much more sickly child (and often, less beautiful as well!).
Eat Like Our Recent Ancestors
The nutritional guidelines Catherine suggests differ slightly from Paleo (her recommendations follow more of a Western A. Price approach). In particular, Catherine recommends sprouted grains and raw diary as both these foods are common to many of our near-ancestors across the globe. She also places great emphasis on offal (organ meats) and fermented foods, which many people new to Paleo fail to realize is a huge part of Paleo!
Eat Tons of Healthy Fats
No good nutrition book can be complete without a section on healthy and unhealthy fats, and I thought the chapter on fats was explained extraordinarily well (especially how unhealthy fats can cause heart attacks). The history of why polyunsaturated fats became associated with “heart-healthy” despite tons of evidence to the contrary is a fascinating read!
Who is Dr. Cate?
I’m lucky in that Catherine is actually my primary care provider (her office is up in Napa, California, and I’ll happily make the 2 hour drive just to see her!). She’s spoken at so many conferences across the world and provides excellent care for all her patients.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book, and the links to the book are Amazon affiliate links.