by Sean Croxton
Where do babies come from?
Ever since the books I read as a child led me to believe that I was delivered into this world dangling from the beak of a stork, I’ve been fascinated by that critical question. The idea of soaring through the sky wrapped in a tiny blanket to descend upon the outstretched arms of my jubilant mother and father on cloud nine left an indelible impression on my young mind. Made with love. Delivered by bird.
At some point, the birds and the bees took over for the stork. Exactly why sex and reproduction always had something to do with winged creatures still has me stumped. But eventually, the metaphors passed and the miracle of life turned real. There was no flying this time, just a whole lot of swimming. One lucky sperm penetrates a single egg, a union begetting new life on the horizon.
Conception to delivery was a complicated journey. Cells divided and differentiated; mitosis, meiosis, the stuff I learned in eighth grade science class and still don’t fully understand. It’s no wonder they made up that stork story. Reproduction can be rocket science.
Just a handful of generations ago, it was a cultural science. The wisdom of procreation passed like a baton from the elders to their young. This wisdom was based not on research, but on practical knowledge and experience. They knew the foods to consume for optimal breeding. Mothers- and fathers-to-be were prepared for mating by way of specific nutrient-rich diets prior to conception. Babies were breastfed for as long two years. Maybe more. And to ensure that mother’s body was strong enough for her next pregnancy, she waited 3-4 years before conceiving again.
Reproduction did not begin in the womb. It began in the soil. From the rich earth sprung crops teeming with nutrition. Naturally, animals consumed the crops. Humans consumed the crops and animals. The upward movement of those nutrients essential for life gave rise to generations of healthy babies, who would one day become men and women possessing great strength and immunity to the diseases of civilization. The baton was theirs to pass.
The baton has been dropped.
The soils are depleted. The crops carry chemicals. The animals are sick. The people are sicker. In just three generations, many thousands of years of genetic wealth have been squandered. Momentum is grinding to a halt.
To say that we have lost our way is an understatement. From the advent of processed food and toxic chemicals spawned a new breed of human, one that turned a blind eye to tradition and common sense. The idea that unhealthy parents can produce healthy babies quickly crept into collective thought. Primitive ways became primitive as better living through science intervened.
Today, prenatal vitamins have superseded pre-conception diets, as if a tablet can replace the numerous body building enzymes, minerals, essential fats, and cofactors needed to produce offspring of a similar quality to generations past. Just the idea of consuming fish eggs, organ meats, and fermented foods in the name of one’s lineage doesn’t cut it anymore. Instead, we build our bodies (and those of our descendants) with sugary cereals, hormone-ridden animals, rancid vegetable oils, 200 pounds of sugar per year, and a Diet Coke to boot.
Am I the only one who realizes that sick kids make sick adults and that sick adults make sick kids?
This isn’t that hard.
Modern diseases and conditions are in fact modern. The native people Weston A. Price visited and studied in the 1930 and 40s knew nothing of ADHD or autism. Despite no floss or toothbrushes, their young (and old) were free of cavities and had no need for braces. Most cultures did not have a word for cancer and all were free of heart disease despite diets of raw whole milk, fatty meats, egg yolks, and butter.
Fast-forward to present day, a strange place where fat-free is in vogue while breastfeeding is out. Somehow we surmised that a can of pasteurized powder can provide the same nutritional and immunological benefits of mother’s milk. We run scared from ImmunoDeficiency Syndromes, while setting up our young to Acquire deficient immune systems. Backwards, I say.
Breastfeeding is inconvenient. Warming up infant formula mixed with fluoridated water in a bottle manufactured with BPA isn’t. Wow…
Parents no longer space their children, popping out babies back-to-back. Mother’s malnourished body may have made it through the first, but the second and third took their toll. The turn her health took for the worst after baby number 2 was really no mystery, just ignorance of a basic principle of procreation. And despite being only a year apart, the fact that her first child will enjoy more superior health than the next is no more than the manifestation of Second Sibling Syndrome. The first child robbed Mom’s nutrient stores blind, leaving only crumbs for his siblings. If only Mom and Dad weren’t in such a hurry, her depleted body unfit for fit offspring.
This is where babies come from.
And how we love to point the finger. Our current state of infirmity would have nothing to do with us.
The drug companies made us sick. They prey upon us with drugs that would be useless were it not for our foolishness. They offer relief from the symptoms most of us are too lazy to fix on our own volition through diet and lifestyle modification, proper rest, and stress reduction. The basics can be so demanding.
No, the vaccines are guilty. Never mind that we’d rather give birth by Caesarian than inoculate our babies with the trillions of immune-enhancing bacteria lining the birth canal. The immune system is there to protect us from the very diseases we are vaccinated against in the first place. If we start our children off with compromised immune systems, aren’t we partly at fault?
This is inexcusable. We need to spend less time looking for someone or something to blame and spend more time looking in the mirror. Sick people don’t make healthy babies. It’s not a difficult concept to grasp. The choices we make today will have a genetic impact on not only our children, but our great-grandchildren. I can only imagine the impending health catastrophe lurking just three generations down our collective family trees.
We’re encouraged to respect life. Yet at the same time, our centrism lends disrespect to the lower life forms that build us and disregard for the lives we build. Unfortunately, the solutions are likely too primitive for such sophisticated beings. An ancestral awakening has never been more critical.
Wake up, people.
The stork’s not coming.
Author, The Dark Side of Fat Loss
Sean, all I can say is YES, you nailed it on the head. We don’t make babies like we used to. It’s really sad…you look around and you see a (de)generation of children and parents. I have a friend whose kid plays soccer but is always getting injured (sprained knee and then ankle). Yet, she continues to feed him low fat or skim milk and cold cereals for breakfast. I’ve told her what the problem was, but she (and among others) refused to listen.
This is a very well-written blog post! Thank you so much! We all need to go back and learn from our past (I mean waaaaay back!).
AMEN, brother…LOVE this article so much it’s going on my Facebook wall this AM! I, too, read Deep Nutrition for my WAPF book club last month. Good stuff!
Very nicely written Sean!..and way to lead by example, that’s about all we can do individualy – it’s the best sermon (next to this great article, ha ha)!
That is one of the most intelligent and thought provoking pieces I have read and is totally on the money. Nice.
Beautifully written!!! I enjoyed it…I wish my family would understand why I am such a picky eater…..diabetes may take two of my favorite people…..:( Thank You for all you do in trying to spread this information!!!
You had me right up until you got into vaccines and childbirth. Not that I completely disagree but as a new mom with a small child there is a crazy amount of information floating around and its terribly confusing.
I’ve read both sides of the vaccine argument and neither has completely convinced me to their side. That being said I can’t help but look to our history and see diseases that are now vaccine preventable that would disfigure and sometimes kill both children and really healthy adults and the potential consequence of the vaccine versus the consequence of the disease for me is a no-brainer. Now maybe I wouldn’t feel this way if I didn’t have some experiences outside of the US but we traveled to Indonesia and saw a lot of how great we have it here. I think we take our modern medicine for granted because we can. We don’t have polio outbreaks and rarely do we have measles or whooping cough thanks to those vaccines. I’m pretty sure that no amount of diet or exercise will save you from diseases like that.
On the childbirth thing, it used to be that many women died in childbirth or more often the child would in situations that now are saved by c-sections. Yes, sanitation plays a role too. No denying that. However there are modern day countries where midwives are the primary caregivers for pregnant women and OB doctors are scarce (and if I can find the blog of the midwife I’m thinking of I’ll come back and link it) and women die…from eclampsia, from exhaustion, hemhorrage, clots, etc. but even more frequently the babies die and their skulls have to be crushed to remove the baby or the baby might have a cord prolapse and suffocate while being delivered. This is the risk of childbirth without a the option of a c-section (the same could be said for inductions which really belongs in the same line of argument).
I guess you can argue survival of the fittest because that’s exactly how it was before c-sections, vaccines, medicine, etc. but try telling that to your neighbor or your mother or best friend. I’m not trying to say that vaccines have done all good, nor has our ever rising c-section rate in the US…but as you criticize these things please keep in mind how we got here.
I’m a big supporter of whole unadulterated foods and trying to live healthy, I just hate it though when we make a muddy mess of it.
really well said! Bravo!!!!!!
I just finished reading Price’s Physical Degeneration, very powerful!
@Melody – The way I read it, Sean was actually not criticizing vaccines per se in this article. He was actually saying that, perhaps instead of (or in addition to) blaming vaccines for part of the mess we’re in health-wise, that we look to ourselves and our diet habits. Vaccines are understandably a charged, emotional issue. But the fact is that if our nutrition was as complete as that of the 14 healthy groups Price discovered in his travels, we would have no need for vaccines. Those groups simply did not contract illnesses like their western-diet counterparts.
As an example, during the time of Price’s travels, tuberculosis was ravaging Europe. But in the relatively isolated Leutschenthal valley of Switzerland, not a single case was recorded – despite the fact that individuals would travel back and forth to more populated areas and certainly would have been exposed to the virus. It was their diet and its immune-enhancing properties that largely protected them from this disease. It’s not a case of “survival of the fittest” as you say – implying a sort of game of genetic chance – but “survival of the wisest” (those who stayed true to their ancestral diet benefited from the protection it would impart). We can learn from them.
As for C-sections, we could definitely have quite the discussion about the presumed benefits vs. costs of medicalized, institutionalized birth. (Having had 4 homebirths with a midwife myself, I am firmly on the other side of the fence on that one.) The point that Sean was making, though, was to call attention to some of the real but ignored costs of bringing a baby into the world in that manner. Sure, saving the life of a child is one thing, but scheduling a C-section for convenience is quite another – and no matter how you look at it, elective C-sections have gone up dramatically in this country in recent years. Nature has designed babies to enter the world in a prescribed manner, giving them the best opportunity to prime their bodies (and immune systems) for life in the outside world. How much are we cheating them by shortcutting that process? And how much more damage do vaccines do to immature immune systems that have not even had the opportunity to develop normally from the beginning?
Not to mention the fact that, if we were eating a more nutrient-dense diet, and building up prospective parents’ nutritional stores with the same determination as traditional, healthy people have done, we would have virtually no need for C-sections. Women’s pelvises would be naturally wide and ample, fetuses would develop normally and optimally, and birth would proceed as a smooth, natural process rather than one verging on trauma. As much as I dislike the medicalization of birth, I must admit there is a need for it today. Technology has come to the rescue of a people who have destroyed their health eating industrialized foods. Eerily fitting, don’t you agree?
Super powerful stuff, Sean.
You are absolutely spot-on.
I’ll be starting my own blog soon, and one of the posts I’m going to do is about fertility. We hear a lot these days about the “epidemic of infertility.” If you ask me, we actually have an epidemic of *fertility.* When you look at what people are eating (and I thank you for mentioning the diets of both prospective mothers *and* fathers — we tend to only think of the health of the mother for healthy, natural conception), all the processed foods, dead, canned, and pasteurized foods, rancid vegetable oils, manufactured fats, additives, preservatives, not to mention all the environmental toxins we’re exposed to, it’s a mystery why anyone gets pregnant, not why they don’t!!
Truly, when you look at things through the lens of the lessons of Drs. Price and Pottenger, it’s a miracle anyone can still conceive.
I’ve also been giving a lot of thought to the increasing numbers of children being born with compromised immunity and mental function — specifically ADD/ADHD, autism, allergies, sensory processing disorder, and other “new” psychological conditions. I’ve read Dr. Campbell-McBride’s Gut and Psychology Syndrome, and it’s just mindblowing. (You alluded to this with what you said about babies getting a healthy dose of good intestinal flora when they swallow it as they pass through the birth canal during a vaginal delivery.) Not only is the condition of the gut and the balance of gut flora fundamentally important to the physical and psychological health of children, but if you ask me, so much of what’s behind the children who struggle so much with everyday tasks and situations is that we’ve created an entire generation of women who are *terrified* of fat. They’re terrified of fat, red meat, whole eggs, whole milk, butter, and cream — the very things many people need to thrive and have robust health.
They’re afraid of the most helpful foods, but are only too quick to load themselves up with Special K, Nutri-Grain bars, fat-free yogurt (loaded with HFCS), soy milk, canola oil, low-fat margarine, etc. We have an entire generation of women who eat these things their whole lives — including prior to conception and during pregnancy, PLUS while breastfeeding. Again, if you ask me, the puzzler is how anyone *can* conceive on a diet like this, not why they can’t.
We have a generation of women who’ve become so obsessed with getting and staying thin (through UNhealthy means, like extremely low-calorie diets, overexercising, reliance on garbage foods, and strict avoidance of anything with one scintilla of saturated fat and cholesterol), and the result is a generation of children who can’t sit still, can’t make eye contact, can’t learn easily, can’t control their verbal outbursts, need braces, have asthma, multiple allergies and other chemical sensitivities. Like you’ve said here, Sean, we keep looking for an answer. For some “solution” to these big “mysteries.” Well, I think what we have here is the canary in the coal mine, only the canary died a looong time ago, but we ignored that ever-important signal. So we continue to go deeper and deeper into the mine, not realizing that the poison gas is all around us.
So not only are our children at a disadvantage from the get-go in utero, but they’re brought up on the same diets — low-fat, high refined starch, highly processed, DEAD food. Most definitely NOT what would support a return to robust health, robust physical structure, and strong immune systems — natural saturated fats, fermented veggies, raw or cultured dairy, meat from animals raised on species-appropriate diets, a mix of raw and cooked vegetables and fruits, etc. And most families’ busy weeknight menus just don’t include organ meats or soups and stews made from homemade bone broths — some of the most healing and nourishing stuff there is!
Instead of returning to diets that would increase the chances for natural conception, healthy pregnancies, and relatively easy childbirth, we’ve turned to medication. To exogenous hormones. To women taking their temperature at different times of the month, to keeping their hips and legs elevated after making love — every little trick in the book that might take a body that is unhealthy and physically unfit to procreate, and get it to bring a baby into the world. This is going to be very politically incorrect, but I have to say it: We have couples who are conceiving only through the miracles of modern science. We have methods to force conception in women whose bodies are not nutritionally primed to sustain the development of a human life. (I’m not saying there aren’t reasons to be thankful for IVF and other technologies. Of course there are. And I’m not saying that a return to more traditional diets is *the* answer to *all* cases of infertility. But I really, REALLY wish more OBGYNs were familiar with the teachings of Dr. Price. How many couples spend their life savings on IVF treatments or hormonal therapies, when they might see stunning changes in their ability to conceive (and have healthy, robust babies!) by very simply eliminating the garbage from their diets, and replacing it with nutrient-dense foods. Their grocery bills might go up, sure, but it’ll cost a heck of a lot less than those treatments!
Please note I don’t mean to indicate that poor diets are the sole explanation for any or all of what I’ve mentioned here. But I do believe diet is certainly *a large part* of it. And I’m not blaming any parents or prospective parents. It’s not their fault. They’re not malicious, stupid, or ill-intentioned. What they are is *misinformed.* We’ve *all* been misinformed for decades — by the food manufacturers, by our healthcare professionals, and worst, by the government agencies that are supposed to be the watchkeepers of all this. Talk about dereliction of duty. Talk about asleep at the wheel.
Nowhere is the concept of cultural relativism more striking to me than with health. I’ve known there are problems with modern nutritional advice for quite a while, but it wasn’t until I read Price’s book that I understood the stark contrast between the health of modernized and primitive groups. Almost everyone in modern society assumes our current level of health is normal.
“Today, prenatal vitamins have superseded pre-conception diets, as if a tablet can replace the numerous body building enzymes, minerals, essential fats, and cofactors needed to produce offspring of a similar quality to generations past. Just the idea of consuming fish eggs, organ meats, and fermented foods in the name of one’s lineage doesn’t cut it anymore. Instead, we build our bodies (and those of our descendants) with sugary cereals, hormone-ridden animals, rancid vegetable oils, 200 pounds of sugar per year, and a Diet Coke to boot.”
Sean, you talk about not placing blame but that is what the above paragraph sounds like, although I’m not sure where you’re placing it. It’s my impression most people above 30 are pretty health obsessed, but just have pretty poor information. They drink soymilk instead of whole milk and put in an extra hour on the treadmill instead of getting the down-time their bodies really need. Sounds like people trying to be healthy to me. I guess my main concern here is that the tone can come off as judgmental.
Excellent article! Well written and highly relevant. I’m impressed with your writing but I probably shouldn’t be given the quality of your videos.
I’d be curious to find more sources on traditional practices. I noticed there is a lot of talk in the paleo/WAP sphere about traditional foods and such, but for some reason finding good comprehensive sources, you know, actual facts regarding lifestyles of peoples past and primitive is spotty at best.
Ever since I read Animal, Vegtable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, I have been thinking about how we have factory farmed the “fuck” out of our food. Most of the animials that we eat have been artificially impregnated. We have a rise in infertility, and we all eat meat that has no vital force running thru it. So I have a mind to create a t-shirt that says: put the fuck back in meat!!! My other t-shirt idea is Agribusiness has stollen my culture!! Anyway, good-ay! ~R
Right on, Sean! Being a relatively newly married woman, I will not try to conceive until I have eaten the WAP way for at least a year…my husband, too. Unfortunately, I have done much damage to my body already due to the SAD, raw vegan, low calorie, and low fat diets through my earlier years.
This is actually my very first time i visit your blog. I found lots of interesting points in this site specifically it’s discussion. From the tons of remarks in your posts, I guess I’m not alone having all of the enjoyment right here! keep up the nice work. Thank you
A friend loves your blog and often shares her favorite posts with me. First let me say I am a Mommy of two, naturally born breastfed babies. Although I am in agreement with many of your points here, I am overall quite offended. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW HARD IT IS TO BE A MOTHER!!!??? Only a Mother could know the sacrifices made for their children. From before conception, we do give all we can to ensure that our children only get the best. Which is why I am disgusted by the thought that I have a man telling me that I fall short as a mother because of the choices that I made/could not make for my family. Instead, why don’t you try to praise those Mommies that are working so hard to make changes for their families where they can. Sure if I had a magic wand, I would change my whole lifestyle into a natural organic life… eat, wear, teach, grow, play… everything would change. But I am not sitting on a million dollars and a time machine here and am quite frankly offended by your article since I am giving blood sweat and tears to keep my family happy, healthy and smart. And here you are without a uterus, so you could never know what it is like, yet you are happy to send shame my way instead of the kudos I deserve.
Agree on the role that nutrition plays before and during conception and the need to build up the body before every new pregnancy – but you forget to mention that in the old days many women died at child-birth, often completely exhausted after several pregnancies. Large families did not always mean stronger mothers and more often than not, babies were not planned or timed by their parents – there were also cultures that basically saw women as breeding machines. The idealized image you paint is very far from the real history of (wo)mankind.
While I am not a feminist and I personally am quite strongly opposed to the artificial hormones and hormonal contraceptives, it is largely doe to those methods that have given women the chance to plan and time the arrival of their offspring. Not to say that those decisions are always wise – but at least the option is there…
Natural birth control or family planning works for some people, but the knowledge has not necessary been there for everyone – and even if it was, women in most cultures have been subjected to the wishes and demands of their husbands…
It used to be normal in my country (northern Europe) to have very alrge families up to the beginning of the 1900’s. I know because that was the case in my family tree as well. Many women went through more than ten pregnancies, often dying as a result. And, in the agrarian society, they were supposed to work at the field up til the time of the delivery … So much for the good old days and natural child births 🙂
I just recently discovered this website, been listening to the podcasts and reading a few of the articles on here . I have not read the books and so far this is my only source of info of this type. After reading this article I think of my grandmother (1st generation immigrant from germany) who raised 9 children by herself after her husband a native american was killed in a car accident.They lived in a rural area (the large centre is 4 hours away by car now no idea how far then) farmed, raised animals and gardened to survive. She is now in her mid 80’s and still sharp as a tack , remembers everything , even lots of things her kids have forgotten. I think of her as superhuman. I know her’s is not the only story like this , but after reading this article I am allready convinced there is a lot of truth to this . It just makes sense anyway you look at it . I can see the genetic momentum grinding to a halt in my own extended family.I have cousins that are quite overweight , nearly blind , and their offspring have even more disadvantages , nearly deaf from birth , tremendous learning disabilities etc. I see this and I wonder what has happened and why . This article has opened my eyes to some ugly truths about modern society that I would almost rather not face , but have no choice . I just wish this type of info was pushed on us rather than having to be found almost by chance . Thanks for doing what you are doing Sean.Please keep up the good work.
Amy B, I loved your comment! Spoke every single thing I have been thinking in my head. I think you are spot on!