Balanced Bites Podcast Episode #246: Paleo FX, Gut Bacteria & C-Sections

Topics:Paleo FX, Gut Bacteria & C-Sections - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites

1. News and updates from Diane & Liz [1:56]
2. Shout out: Mary Shenouda of Phat Fudge [11:17]
3. Diane’s PaleoFx recap [14:45]
4. The gut-brain connection and Dr. Perlmutter’s talk [27:10]
5. C-sections and normal healthy flora [33:03]
6. Try this at home: Cook with your kids [51:27]
7. #Treatyoself: Steve’s Paleo Goods Power Krunch bar [56:39]


Subscribe to Real Food Liz! 
Subscribe to
The episodes are also available in iTunes, Spotify & Stitcher.

 Show sponsors:

NTA | Podcast Sponsor | Balanced Bites Podcast | Diane Sanfilippo

You’re listening to the Balanced Bites podcast episode 246.
Welcome to the Balanced Bites podcast with Diane Sanfilippo and Liz Wolfe. Diane is a certified nutrition consultant, and the New York Times bestselling author of Practical Paleo, The 21-Day Sugar Detox, and co-author of Mediterranean Paleo Cooking. Liz is a nutritional therapy practitioner, and the best-selling author of Eat the Yolks and The Purely Primal Skincare Guide. Together, Diane and Liz answer your questions, interview leading health and wellness experts, and share their take on modern paleo living with their friendly and balanced approach. Remember our disclaimer: The materials and content within this podcast are intended as general information only, and are not to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Liz Wolfe: Hey everyone, Liz here with Diane, fresh off the boat from PaleoFx.
Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Or plane. In a couple more weeks I will be fresh off a boat.
Liz Wolfe: That will be fun. Let’s hear from one of our sponsors.
Liz Wolfe: Our podcast sponsorship today comes from Vital Choice, an online purveyor of the world’s best wild seafood delivered right to your door; because juggling a busy life shouldn’t mean you have to forgo healthy meals. At, you’ll find wild Alaskan salmon, halibut, tuna, sable fish, and cod, as well as prawns, crab, and scallops. You’ll also find grass-fed organic Wagyu beef, free range heritage chicken, fresh frozen organic berries, and dark organic chocolates. Make a vital choice by eating the highest quality food you can. Vital Choice; come home to real food. Use code BALANCEDBITES to save on your first order at
1. News and updates from Diane & Liz [1:56]
Liz Wolfe: Ok, Diane. So tell me what your updates are. But don’t tell me about PaleoFx yet; start with the other stuff.
Diane Sanfilippo: Ok. Because we are going to be talking about PaleoFx. So, quickly so that folks know that I will be on a boat. I will be on a boat for a couple of weeks coming up here; we’re going on vacation. Much, much needed. We actually have not been on an extended vacation since not this past Christmas but the one before, we had a short vacation probably about a year ago or a little less than a year ago. Or more than a year ago. We were in Mexico for a few days.
Liz Wolfe: You poor thing you mean you haven’t had a vacation in like 6 months, is that what you’re telling me? {laughs}
Diane Sanfilippo: No, last year {laughs}. No, it was a little more than a year ago. No, not March like a few months ago. I’m talking, last year. Early 2015.
Liz Wolfe: Oh, a whole year.
Diane Sanfilippo: Then we moved, then a lot of stress and trauma hit me from my grandma passing. Lots of stuff went on. Last year was a really hard year for me. I do a good job of not talking about that and just not really feeling it until I feel it. Anyway, so we’re getting a vacation which is nice. It’s not quite a honeymoon, since we won’t be on our own. We’ll be meeting up with our friends, Mira and Jayson Calton, who you guys have heard on the podcast before talking about micronutrients. They are micronutrient nerd experts. But we will actually be meeting up with them on vacation. They’re super fun to be on vacation with. So that will be nice.
We’ve got the Balanced Bites Master Class is probably going to be up for a beta release within the next couple of months here. I know we’ve been talking about it for a very, very long time, but you guys can stay tuned to hear about that.
I’ve got another secret project that I’ll be talking about soon enough, but I kind of need at least another, probably 5 or 6 weeks until I can actually talk about that. So we’ll just tease that, and then everyone can be wondering, “What is it?”
But yeah, that’s it for me around here. What’s up with you Liz?
Liz Wolfe: Well, we’re pretty much moved back into our house, which is wonderful.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yay!
Liz Wolfe: It’s going to take a while before I feel like I live here again.
Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}
Liz Wolfe: Because it’s; I mean, it exploded. We started out just moving everything out of one room and then ended up having to move everything everywhere else upstairs, downstairs, basement to pretty much tear apart and rebuild the first floor. So everything is everywhere and dust is everywhere and we’re just slowly trying to work through it. It’s just crazy how much crap we have, so we’re working on that.
Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}
Liz Wolfe: But it’s nice to be back, getting things organized. And my other update, this is a little bit random but it’s at the top of my mind because I just did this yesterday. I know a few people have been waiting for like a review on my part about a hair product called Hairprint. It’s basically; it’s not a dye, it’s really interesting, actually, and just the nerd in me is the reason I wanted to try it. It’s basically a product that uses pretty much natural, naturally derived ingredients, including, I think it’s bicarbonate, something like that, manganese. Some ingredients that basically reactivate the melanin in brown hair. So if you have brown hair…
Diane Sanfilippo: Interesting.
Liz Wolfe: Yeah, it’s very, very interesting. If you have brown hair and you’ve got some grays, you can use this to actually reactivate the melanin in the gray hair. And what it reports to do is return gray hair to its natural color. So, I kind of gave up doing anything with my hair for a really, really long time. I’d done henna for years via They sell just pure body art quality henna, no contaminants, none of those yucky things that make their way into actual henna and make people think that henna ruins your hair. It’s actually the bad stuff that ends up in it that contaminates actual henna that messes with people’s hair.
But what I had kind of gotten a little bit sick of was; well, number one I no longer have time to have a head full of mud all day long, which is basically what henna does. But I had actually gotten a little bit; I don’t know, I just wanted my natural hair color back. Henna dyes my hair a beautiful color, but it’s always got coppery undertones, and it’s just not all that close to my natural brown. I liked the idea of being able to just have my normal hair back with none of the grays.
So I’d been using it off and on when I have time. It takes a couple of hours to do yourself, once you’ve got the hang of it probably about an hour and a half, and I can carve out that time now at this point in my life. And, it does do what it says it does. It does turn gray hair back to whatever brown you are. It’s just such a process. It’s like, three or four steps. It makes a mess. I mean, unless you are really, really good at systematically and carefully doing these different steps and painting your head and not; when you dip the brush into the bowl and you bring it up to your head not splattering stuff everywhere, and you have a time limit to how long you can take to get it onto your head. So it’s just all of these factors together; it’s like, if you’re willing to deal with that, I would recommend the product. You can try it. I don’t really think there’s any harm in trying it, it’s just like; oh man. I’m tempted to go back to; I mean, I’m not going to, but I’m tempted, at some point, maybe after I’m done breastfeeding to just go back to the salon again because it’s just such a hassle at this point.
And also, do not rinse it off in the shower because whatever it is will adhere to the little hairs on your back and {laughs}.
Diane Sanfilippo: Oh em gee!
Liz Wolfe: It is not fun. You actually really have to; they tell you to use the sink, like the spray nozzle in the sink, but no. that’s just going to get stuff everywhere, and I just got a new kitchen, so I’m just not going to do that. I’ve done it in the bathtub, but we have a claw foot tub in a really old house, so that doesn’t work either. So I basically went outside and hosed myself down with the garden hose.
Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm.
Liz Wolfe: And doing that 4 time in the summer is one thing, but once it gets colder that’s just not going to happen. So I don’t know.
Diane Sanfilippo: So it’s a process you have to repeat a handful of times.
Liz Wolfe: Yes.
Diane Sanfilippo: And then how long does that last?
Liz Wolfe: You have to do a pre-treatment, which is pretty easy. Then you do three rounds with the mixing the components and then painting it on and rinsing it off. And it lasts just; I mean, once your hair grows out, it’s gray again.
Diane Sanfilippo: Oh, ok. So it’s a permanent thing.
Liz Wolfe: Yeah, it’s permanent. It fades; it will start out making your hair a little bit darker than it will end up in a couple of days, so after a while it kind of settles in and whatever. And it dyes your scalp.
Diane Sanfilippo: Does it look like it’s actually dyeing your hair at the time?
Liz Wolfe: Eh, it kind of does. I would say it kind of does. It just ends up a little bit darker. I’m not sure exactly how it works, but there is some; I mean, it turns black. It doesn’t dye your hair black, but it does, your hair is darker for a few days after that. And I have found that it kind of adheres to the skin on my scalp, so it takes a couple of days of really scrubbing my head to get that to go back to normal. It’s just one of those things that I’m not sure it’s worth it.
Diane Sanfilippo: I’m not sure this is a good sales pitch for Hairprint {laughs}.
Liz Wolfe: I know.
Diane Sanfilippo: If it were trying to.
Liz Wolfe: It does what it says it does, and it’s likely quite safe. One question that; their customer service is excellent. One question I did ask them, which I was asking on behalf of a couple of people I’m just kind of working with informally, was whether the product will manipulate the results of a hair tissue mineral analysis, and they couldn’t really give me a good answer to that. I would recommend probably not using it if you’re going to do an HTMA at any point, you probably need new, virgin hair growth for that.
Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Yeah.
Liz Wolfe: But it does what it says it’s going to do, and if you’re good at that type of stuff and up for a challenge, definitely go for it. It’s likely safer than anything that you would do in a salon, for yourself and whoever is applying it. There are people that apply Hairprint in salons. But I don’t know, that’s just kind of my take on it. And I know people are waiting for it, but I don’t like to do; I like to review things officially on the blog that I like a lot.
Diane Sanfilippo: Right.
Liz Wolfe: And I’m just still unsure about Hairprint. I’m still using it; I had it on autoship for quite some time so I’m going to use it. But it’s just; it’s a whole thing.
Diane Sanfilippo: It could be useful for somebody who really needs to make sure their avoiding as many toxins as possible.
Liz Wolfe: Yes.
Diane Sanfilippo: And that’s a priority, then that could be an option. Like someone with multiple chemical sensitivity or severe liver detox impairment, stuff like that. I think it would be useful.
Liz Wolfe: Very well could be.
Diane Sanfilippo: But it’s a commitment.
Liz Wolfe: It is a commitment. You’ve got to really be good at what you’re doing.
2. Shout out: Mary Shenouda of Phat Fudge [11:17]
Liz Wolfe: Alright, Diane do we have a shout out today?
Diane Sanfilippo: We do. We are going to shout out to Mary Shenouda from She’s got a preorder going for phat fudge. If you guys don’t know what phat fudge is; P-H-A-T fudge, it’s real ingredient performance food. It’s not sweet, so the name fudge sometimes implies a treat to people. I know a couple other women on my team thought that it was kind of a chocolaty or sweet treat, but actually it’s not. It’s really more of like a performance food. It’s a low carb performance food for people who want that, and we’ll talk more about the whole carb thing. Every episode I feel like it’s a super hot topic right now. But for somebody who wants some fuel that isn’t just loaded with sugar, it is available at You guys can check out the preorder. You can check out the story. Mary’s building this whole business from the ground up, not taking any investors or working with people. Really she’s been hand packing {laughs}.
Liz Wolfe: {laughs}
Diane Sanfilippo: She’s been hand packing fudge {laughs} for months on end. What’s in it; I think in the original formula it’s grass-fed butter, tahini, cacao, ground coffee, turmeric, cinnamon, sea salt, maca, I guess there is some raw honey, vanilla, and cayenne. So for people who are looking for, you know, kind of potent antioxidant foods, grass-fed butter obviously pretty nutrient dense. It’s a great option. It’s something that I know a lot of people who are looking for a snack on the go who maybe are allergic to nuts, for example, like a nut butter packet isn’t an option for me. But she’s got a vegan formula she’ll be coming out with; all that really means is that it’s not made with butter; I think it’s made with probably just coconut oil instead. The tahini, cacao, etc. So definitely worth checking out if you guys wants something for doing athletic endeavors that are keeping you in the fat burning place, something like lower intensity, longer distance for people who we know listen who do that kind of thing who are looking to feel differently than something like a junky goo pack. This is a good option for you.
Definitely check out It’s P-H-A-T fudge. And you can find her @phatfudge on Instagram and also @paleochef on Instagram.
Diane Sanfilippo: Pete’s Paleo is a friend of the Balanced Bites podcast. They’re bacon is insanely delicious, and sugar free, and their premade paleo meals make your life so much easier when everything is getting busy and getting real food on the table is still a top priority, as it should be. Pete’s Paleo is now offering a 30-day gut healing kit containing bone broth, gelatin gummies, instant organic soup packs, and an E-cookbook. It’s the perfect complement to any anti-inflammatory diet. Get yours today at Use code GRABACUPPABROTH to get $25 off; that’s an amazing deal. It’s GRABACUPPABROTH, C-U-P-P-A. And you can grab that code any time at to just read it and make sure you’re typing it in right. You can also use code BALANCEDBITES to get $5 off any of their regular meal plans. Check out today. Pete’s Paleo; bringing fine dining to your cave.
3. Diane’s PaleoFx recap [14:45]
Liz Wolfe: Alright, very good. So, today we’re going to talk about PaleoFx.
Diane Sanfilippo: Alright.
Liz Wolfe: I was not there, you were there.
Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Correct.
Liz Wolfe: You’re going to fill us in on what I might have missed, and give us a recap of your long weekend there. I want to hear about your business chat a little bit, too if you’re up for that, and some discussion points that were inspired by your favorite talk of the conference, which I think is going to lead to some lively discussion. So, let us know what went on at PaleoFx.
Diane Sanfilippo: Alright. I’ll kind of go in order of operations here. So actually, the entrepreneur talk I did was the day before PaleoFx kicked off, and I’ll just be really brief about that since I know a lot of our listeners are not entrepreneurs, but it was great. We definitely needed a lot more time to dig in, but it was great. We had a lot of great discussions. I think a lot of people left very inspired and motivated; had some great ideas and a little bit of direction on certain things that they were feeling a little unsure about how to go forward with things. I think a big takeaway a lot of our entrepreneurs got was; if you’re not great at something, instead of kind of fighting an uphill battle, focus on the things that you are really good at, and at the first potential opportunity to hire someone or partner with someone who’s better at something else, do that. It’s ok to do that.
I think there are a lot of things that I’m not great at business wise, when it comes to bookkeeping; making sure I was paying my staff once I had more than one person to pay, I was like, I need to have a bookkeeper to help me do this. And if that’s something that’s important to you and you have the money for one thing, then you figure out the thing that you’re really just kind of flailing with, and go ahead and use that extra income that you have when you have it to put in that direction.
So anyway, a lot of great discussions. Really, a big takeaway for me is that there is a desire and a need for more of that kind of thing, more of that kind of event. I’ll be doing an event in 2017 that’s probably going to be two days here in the Bay area; something that’s much closer to home for me, but people can come out to San Francisco and we’ll be able to put this together over more time, have more time for kind of breakout sessions and different talks from different people, and really keeping the event small but kind of diving deeper. So that’s going to be fun, but it’s not going to be this year {laughs} because I’ve got too much else going on. So that was kind of that.
And then heading into PaleoFx for the weekend, it was Friday, Saturday, Sunday. I thought the event seemed a little bit quieter this year. I think it’s because it was the holiday weekend that probably either folks had plans already or wanted to be home with family, you know kids being off from school and just I think it was quieter for that reason. It definitely felt less crowded. I definitely know that a lot of my friends and colleagues and a bunch of other bloggers and authors; you know, lots of folks were there, but I think lots of folks also weren’t. And I think with that, you know, lower number of bloggers and authors being there, and not talking about going obviously I think their audiences maybe didn’t come as much. I felt like there were about 20% fewer people there, but I know next year the event is being held, I think the weekend before Memorial Day, so maybe it will be more people again than it was this year.
It’s always a really fun event, it’s always great to connect with people. There are book signings, we come to your area, what have you. But to show up in one place and have 20 of the people you’ve been reading and following and learning from for the last however many years is always really fun. I know I had a lot of time to stand on the expo floor and chat with people one on one; that was really fun for me, because I wasn’t doing a talk at the actual event this year, and I got to just kind of mill around on my own time and not have to worry so much about when I had to be at a different stage and doing different talks or panels, what have you.
And you know, a bunch of people asked me why I wasn’t speaking. I just have a lot of kind of, I don’t know, personal reasons for not choosing to present this year. It’s an event that I like to attend because I know a lot of people are there and they come to meet us. I will probably be in Austin next year, whether or not I’ll choose to present is to be determined. But I likely wouldn’t. I feel like, especially for those of you listening to this now, if you want to hear my take on something you know where to find me.
Liz Wolfe: {laughs}
Diane Sanfilippo: Pretty much every week. And haven’t we all heard me talk enough by now? But I know just kind of watching the experience, people do like to see folks on stage giving their opinion on different things. But I’m just a little bit over myself in that sense. I’m like, meh. {laughs} Do I really need to be on that stage? So there’s that.
But there were a handful of talks that I went to. I was really disappointed; there was one talk I wanted to go to, I believe it was Cate Shanahan, I think it was Cate Shanahan was doing a cholesterol talk, and I guess it was a workshop because it was going to cost extra. I have a lot to say about all the extra costs involved once you’ve paid multiple hundreds of dollars to buy a ticket to the event.
Liz Wolfe: Right.
Diane Sanfilippo: What I have to say about that is not positive. I was really disappointed last year when people had to pay extra to workshops I was giving, because I did not encourage or approve that as an approach. I was actually kind of angry about it, which may help people understand why I didn’t want to speak this year {laughs}.
But yeah, I feel like you guys are spending hundreds of dollars on a ticket; you’re spending your time and money to fly and stay there, and charging extra once you’re there kind of pisses me off. And so when I discovered that this talk that I wanted to go to was actually a “workshop” and would cost extra money, of course I didn’t go because I was not happy with that.
So, I missed the first thing I really wanted to go to. But the three talks I went to; I did go to a couple of panels, or did I just get to one panel? I went to the Paleo State of the Union panel, which was like the Mark, Chris, and Robb show, as usual.
Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.
Diane Sanfilippo: And a couple of other folks on the panel there. Just kind of ideas and thoughts around where we’re at with the paleo movement, where it’s headed, and I think, you know…
Liz Wolfe: It was just Mark, Chris, and Robb?
Diane Sanfilippo: No, I can’t remember, I think Sarah Ballantyne was on that panel, and I can’t remember the last woman who was on the panel. I don’t have her name at the tip of my tongue. I think she was one of the founders of Barefoot Provisions. I don’t know. It was a good talk. I mean, I think hearing what folks think about where we’re at with the movement. I know there were a couple of thoughts around the fact that we’ve taken this movement really far without a centralized body of, I don’t know how else to explain that.
Liz Wolfe: You mean like a paleo board of directors.
Diane Sanfilippo: Like the way the Weston A. Price foundation is a foundation.
Liz Wolfe: Oh, yeah.
Diane Sanfilippo: And they move forward based on a couple of people’s concepts of what is right, and it’s kind of cool that we don’t have that.
Liz Wolfe: Yeah, absolutely.
Diane Sanfilippo: And then oddly enough, the conversation came back to; but sometimes it can be confusing for people to come into this stuff and they’re not really sure what to be following, and so then it was thrown out that we need some kind of organized approach to that, and I thought that was very {laughs} contradictory to say the least.
Liz Wolfe: Yeah.
Diane Sanfilippo: So that was a little strange to me. But I don’t think that’s an approach I’d want to take. I think allowing people to feel their way through is a much better approach.
Liz Wolfe: You mean allowing people to think for themselves, or forcing them to think for themselves where appropriate? {laughs} I think that is a much better approach.
Diane Sanfilippo: Indeedy. And not deciding so much what is paleo. I mean, I know you and I have talked about that a lot, and you know I think to the credit of the movement, there’s so much positive stuff that’s come through the movement in terms of figuring out how to; I don’t know, I guess go through an elimination diet and then add things back. To me that’s really important. It’s something that’s kind of at the forefront of what I want people to realize, that eliminating a lot of foods for your entire life is probably not necessary. I don’t know that it’s not healthy, but I think in terms of creating a lifestyle that’s manageable that people want to maintain, I don’t think a strict paleo diet for life is something that; I think it makes people end up feeling like they’re just failing because they don’t do it, and they don’t want to do it, and the reason for that is that most people don’t need to do it. Right?
Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.
Diane Sanfilippo: We’ve talked about that a bunch, and we’ve talked about that also with something like the autoimmune protocol. I think it’s a therapeutic intervention the same way I think personally a ketogenic diet is a therapeutic intervention. I don’t think all those things need to be for everyone for forever or for anyone for forever, necessarily.
But it just depends on the person and you know, unfortunately the way that a lot of folks like to take nutrition advice; people like it to be black and white, and the truth is that it’s not. And it can’t be. So that’s uncomfortable for people. It’s uncomfortable for us to say we don’t know, it’s uncomfortable for us to say it depends, it’s uncomfortable for people to hear “you’re going to have to try it and see what works because I can’t guarantee that this will work for you”, and that’s just how it is. This isn’t; nutrition is more of an art than it is a science. There is science that can help inform ways that we might want to move through things, but it’s just not black and white.
I think there are a few things that you and I can agree, and I think everyone on that panel could probably agree; things like vegetable oils; not a good idea. High fructose corn syrup; not a good idea. Refined foods stripped of the nutrients that would have come with them as a whole food; not a good idea. Industrialization of our food supply, and all of that. You know what I mean? I think there are certain overarching principals that we can agree on that are just not a good idea for human animals, but in terms of the individual experience, there is just not {laughs} not a need and not a desire on my part for an overarching governing, “this is paleo, this is not”. Because I don’t think it’s that important to do that.
I was trying to think if there were a couple of other points that came up during that talk, but it’s kind of blurring because I did hear Chris Kresser speak separately, I did hear Mark Sisson speak separately, so maybe I’ll just get into a couple of things that… well Mark Sisson’s talk was about primal endurance, and I went to it because I was just curious, but I’m not particularly interested in fleshing out a lot of what he was talking about. But I do think that a lot of it was probably in his book; I think he has a book called Primal Endurance, and the short story on that is he’s talking about getting athlete’s training in different heart rate zones lower than maybe they wanted to for better longevity, better performance, and that training doesn’t need to be lots of mileage if your goal is to run a marathon.
So I did like that, but he was talking a bit also of the low carb fueling, which I’m not experienced enough as an endurance athlete to really comment on that. And I think that; yeah, I think it’s probably best to check out his book to get more information on that.
Did you interview him about that book or was it a different book? I feel like you guys had an interview that I wasn’t on.
Liz Wolfe: I interviewed him about his practitioner program.
Diane Sanfilippo: Oh, ok.
Liz Wolfe: Or his certification. Not practitioner program, his certification program.
4. The gut-brain connection and Dr. Perlmutter’s talk [27:10]
Diane Sanfilippo: Gotcha. Yeah, that was probably a couple of years ago now. So, anyway. Another talk that I went to; Dr. Perlmutter. Poor guy had tons of technical difficulties; I felt really badly for him {laughs} but he was very gracious in how he moved through that. He was talking about leaky gut and why it’s so critical for us to look at, because even though he is a neurologist and he works with the brain, obviously he knows that gut health, gut bacterial balance, gut lining integrity, is super important.
He was kind of stressing the point that, you know, when we talk about leaky gut; we cover this a lot but it’s kind of a one-cell thick barrier between what’s not in our blood stream and what is. So we might eat something or something might come into our digestive system, and we either allow that to hit our blood stream and be exposed to an immune response, or not with this interaction with the epithelial cells, the one-cell lining when we say gut lining that’s what we mean. There are supposed to be tight junctions between them; often those tight junctions become loose for various reasons.
One point that he was making; a lot of times we talk about unbroken down food particles getting through that gut lining causing an immune response and causing problems from there. But what he was talking about was potentially more important than the food particles getting through would be lipopolysaccharides; we’ve talked about that before on the show. We’ve probably talked about it, I believe when we talked with Chris Kresser forever ago about digestive health. But you guys can search on the Balanced Bites website; LPS is the abbreviation for that, lipopolysaccharides. It’s the byproduct of bacterial activity in the gut that’s not something that we want; it’s known as an endotoxin, meaning a toxin that’s created within the body not something we’re exposed to outside of ourselves.
So, he was saying that the lipopolysaccharide getting through that gut lining and causing that immune response may be the bigger issue of inflammation. I’m thinking this is also a bigger issue for people who perhaps don’t experience autoimmunity but are experiencing a ton of inflammation. Because you can be very inflamed and not be experiencing autoimmunity. But that’s a guess on my part. I’m just, you know, I’m thinking one of the reasons why paleo can be so effective; we’re taking the first step of the protocol by removing foods that can be offending and difficult to break down, can cause some of these issues in the gut where we do have tight junction barrier breakdown and things are getting through. But other than those food particles, that was his kind of proposal that the lipopolysaccharide was a bigger issue, not perhaps his proposal based on his own research on the topic, but his research of the research, if that makes sense.
So I don’t know if there was anything that you want to say about that, Liz, if you had been looking into any of that stuff with the lipopolysaccharide. I know we have another topic here that he brought up that we’re going to get into more, but did you want to comment on that at all?
Liz Wolfe: It’s all super interesting, and I think we’ll tie it all together when you talk a little bit about what Chris Masterjohn was talking about, as well. It’s all; it’s so funny because all of my work in fertility and pregnancy for Baby Making and Beyond and all that, which we’re going to probably get into in a little bit as well, it, I mean fertility and pregnancy being the pinnacle manifestation of overall health and everything working together as it should is all of these little parts kind of relate in that arena and really interesting ways, so I keep seeing all of these things that people are talking about and I can kind of bring them into context like a fertility context.
But it’s interesting because a lot of what he’s talking about with endotoxin lipopolysaccharide, a lot of what you’ve said, I think is a little bit ray Peat-ish, and I keep hearing a bunch of kind of Ray Peat-esque stuff coming up in all of these discussions.
Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}
Liz Wolfe: Which is really awesome, because he’s just given a whole new spin to what I like to look at now in a fertility context. But tying that back to thyroid function and how thyroid function and hypothyroidism, which is something that a lot of autoimmune sufferers deal with as well; how that’s involved with regeneration of our gut and its ability to stay really strong and I guess maybe deal with lipopolysaccharide. It’s all really interesting, and it just turns out all of these things are connected; and fertility, overall wellness, and gut health it’s all kind of coming back to the same stuff. It’s really interesting.
Diane Sanfilippo: I think what you’re saying reminds me of the expression or the quote that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution, and I think when we talk about nutrition and health and optimal health; nothing in optimal health and nutrition makes sense except in the light of fertility, because really that’s our only job, right.
Liz Wolfe: Right, yeah.
Diane Sanfilippo: Our bodies job is to reproduce and keep our human evolution moving forward, and that is the optimal sign of sort of health and wellness in a sense.
Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.
5. C-sections and normal healthy flora [33:03]
Diane Sanfilippo: But there are so many factors that play into that and so many folks who we might say are not optimally healthy who are reproducing, so it’s a very curious topic. One of the things that Perlmutter was talking about; which you know, I don’t estimate he’s; look, he’s a neurologist. And I don’t think we need to put people in a total box just because that’s what he studied in medical school, and he might have curiosities and abilities to read papers on other subjects, right? I don’t think that just because someone is a neurologist you can say they’re not qualified to research and make hypothesis about other topics. But, he talked a ton about research regarding post C-section concerns relating to bacterial exposures. I think he’s got a lot of interest in gut bacteria now because he’s seeing how much that affects brain health, and how you know; there was a book years and years ago called The Second Brain and it was talking about the gut and gut health. There is so much that happens in our gut that affects our brain, and so many people know this from every day experience with healthier eating, lifting brain fog, better cognitive function, better moods. It’s not obscure and out there to kind of understand how that stuff works, but there’s way more to it than any of us know.
Anyway, so he really kind of went on for a while about a lot of research showing issues that crop up later in life with babies born from C-section. Which I know you and I agree, and this is kind of hopefully an obvious thing; these are not causative studies. You can’t look at this in a bubble because being born to C-section is not a single factor in a bubble. There’s always a huge amount of context there and lots of other factors. But in light of just this topic of bacterial exposure, my take on it based on what he was talking about was having some potential plan or potential option for moms who have a C-section birth, because I think the create any more fear or guilt or any more negativity surrounding it is really not productive. I just don’t think it’s productive to do that. Because it’s just happening in moments where, I don’t want to feed into anymore of that.
So if there’s a way to create any other solutions or options moving forward once the C-section has happened, or if it’s kind of; I don’t know, I don’t know what the birth plan typically looks like, and I feel like when something happens that perhaps is unplanned there’s not a lot of other plans to go with something that was already unplanned. So if there’s anything that we can learn about a way to perhaps expose baby to a certain type of bacterial balance after the fact; which we’ve talked about a bunch with probiotics and all kinds of things trying to give some options for that, and the best way forward. I just thought that was an interesting topic. I don’t think he has answers around it, but obviously more questions.
I asked a question at the end of his talk, because he was talking about a patient of his who was in her third trimester, had been on multiple rounds of antibiotics for something that she was trying to deal with, and perhaps really did not have a healthy bacterial balance in her body at the time when she wanted to give birth, and it got me thinking; what if there’s a mom who we know really does not have a healthy bacterial balance at that time; would it actually be better. I say this; who knows, for a baby to be born via C-section and then given an exposure of bacteria that is perhaps somehow known to be “better” than what they would have experienced with a vaginal birth from that unhealthy mom. I say that; it’s a curiosity.
Liz Wolfe: That’s you as a scientist. That’s one of those; let’s follow this out to its logical conclusion, without looking at other … yeah, I get where you’re going with it.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, but it’s in a bubble, right. It’s a curiosity; if this, then that. So in that situation, and in the context actually in this case of, we don’t have other context yet. Right? We don’t have future exposure context that I think you probably have a lot to say about. It was just a curiosity. It was funny because I asked this question; it was still at the time when it was the Q&A session right after the talk, and Dr. Perlmutter was like, that is the most insightful question I’ve had, and I was really proud of myself for having that question. And it is just a question, you know. It’s like; would that be possible? Would it be possible to have some kind of bacterial bath that could be helpful?
Almost the way. Look, you and I don’t think formula is the best thing in the world, right? It’s kind of a safety net for a lot of moms. It’s something, and at whatever point whether that’s something that’s made in a way that we don’t agree with or it’s something that’s maybe made with a better balance that we think is optimal, it’s something and it’s probably helped tons of babies not die from starvation, right? So I’m just saying, is this something that could be developed. And he was like, we don’t know, and I think there are some people who are trying to develop that. Who knows? I’m not like, here’s the answer. It’s just a question really. What are your thoughts on all of this?
Liz Wolfe: So I have a lot of thoughts. I’ll try and be reasonably articulate. So I’m an observer of all of this, right? Backing up. I’ve been talking about Baby Making and Beyond for like 2 years now. I don’t know, maybe more than that. But what I keep finding is that I have to back out farther and farther to look at things in context, and even more so when I had my daughter; I had an experience that completely changed the entire trajectory of the program. An experience where I realized that number one I was doing a disservice, because what I was doing was pretty much just parroting things that were being said in the natural birth community and in the evolutionary medicine community rather than really looking at the source material and bringing in I guess kind of a cross-disciplinary approach to everything.
I realized, and part of this is because I had a very, it’s still really hard for me to talk about a year later. I had a very surprising, unexpected, and unwanted C-section that I’m still grappling with, over a year later. If I could just gather myself a second. It’s really, really, really hard. But when that happened, I realized that there was so much more that I needed to look at and that I needed to understand on behalf of all the moms that are looking at these things from what is a much more enlightened perspective. To actually be thinking about gut bacteria and vaginal birth, and they call it vaginal seeding. Basically it’s kind of a new movement; when a baby is born via C-section, you take a swab of the mom’s vagina and basically kind of swab the baby’s mouth and nose with that bacteria that they would have missed on being born via C-section rather than vaginally. So it’s kind of a new movement.
But what I realized there is that there’s a lot more to look at than just, “huh. They’re not getting vaginal bacteria so we need to swab them and that’s all that’s involved.” We need to look at; “Oh, look at this study. It says that C-section babies have more allergies and asthma”, etc., etc. I was reading all of those things with a different light on the same material and realizing; hold up. A lot of this is really, we’re looking at it in a vacuum. We might be the only ones looking at it, and we might really be interested in things that other people hadn’t thought of before, but we’re still looking at it in a vacuum. And what I started to realize, in researching the research, is that there is so, so, so much more that is likely involved in these scenarios, and it’s wonderful that we’re talking about them, but I think we just need to make sure that we are still always trying to kind of give ourselves a birds-eye view of the other things that could be going on, as well.
So what I’ve discovered is that there’s a whole lot more in play than just not being exposed to vaginal flora at birth. And you know, my kid is incredibly healthy, we’re having no issues. I did a few things that I would have done anyway that I now realize probably really helped colonize her gut and keep her healthy, but I don’t know. What I want people to know is that there’s a lot more involved, but it’s good that we’re talking about it.
So I guess the points that I had that I wanted to talk about are; number one, the context around which C-sections occur. For example; the questions we really need to be asking aren’t like; how the exposure or lack of exposure to mother’s vaginal flora, this is probably the most we’ve ever said vaginal in one show.
Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}
Liz Wolfe: But how that exposure does or does not limit the child health wise in some way down the line. We need to be talking about; “Hey, is a mom that has a C-section more likely to have been induced? Is she more likely to have not experienced spontaneous labor?” We have evidence that a little bit of labor; as in going into spontaneous labor before a C-section happens is better as far as medium and long-term outcomes. I don’t know that people have kind of put those pieces together before this. But we need to be talking about, are these C-sections a result of stressful situations; say, in a hospital in labor. Were these C-sections elective, or were they the result of an induction that took place without any kind of spontaneous labor and a cascade of interventions; very stressful interventions, that led to a C-section. Which I think; I don’t even think. I feel like that I know those things probably are impactful on a baby just as much as their exposure or lack of exposure to vaginal flora.
Part of the reason I’m so, so convinced of this isn’t just because I want to make myself feel better. It’s because there are a ton of things that you can do to compensate for the fact that a baby was not born vaginally. So immediate skin to skin; suckling, having your shirt off, being topless, holding your baby a ton so they’re exposed to the bacteria on your body. And I say suckling because I know a lot of women aren’t able to breastfeed in the long term, but just trying is huge. Making sure your baby gets your colostrum, whether your hand express it or you’re actually able to breastfeed in the hospital. Getting outside, taking the baby outside. Things like that.
Another thing that we look at when it comes to C-section; it’s like, ok post C-section women are probably more likely to spend three or four days in the hospital with their baby. What are those three or four days in the hospital doing to the colonization of the baby’s gut? There are just so, so, so many factors that we’re really not looking at. We’re just saying; oh, crap. Baby was born via C-section, throw up your hands, there’s a gut bacteria problem waiting to happen. These are allergies waiting to happen, etc., etc.
So there are a ton of things that you can do that we should probably be doing anyway because it’s the right thing to do, evolutionarily and with the science that we have that we know about bacterial colonization. All of those things are working together in what creates a healthy child. And you know ,a lot of people will talk about the environment at home ,whether it’s overly sterile or whether the kid gets outside or whether the child was able to properly process any vaccinations they were given. Whether they’re on antibiotics early in life, what the mom was eating. And like you were just talking about; the mother’s gut health.
So a lot of women that have trouble breastfeeding end up; or whose babies have trouble tolerating their milk, these women end up eliminating dairy, and eliminating grains, and going on these major elimination diets. I see this a lot in the local mom’s groups I’m a part of. What they’re not looking at is how healthy their gut is. It might not matter how many foods you eliminate if your gut health is not good, which brings it back around to leaky gut that you were talking about in the talk with Perlmutter.
So we always, always just have to back out and just try and give this a bit of a birds-eye view to see what else might be involved. I think it’s great that we’re talking about it, but like you said, there’s so much guilt and you know, on my part just deep, deep sorrow. Because we feel like we knew the way things were supposed to go, and somehow we weren’t able to make them go that way. Somehow there was a personal failing or something that we did wrong or came out of our control or we were coerced, or something. Whatever it is, we have extreme guilt over these situations when really, it just; we don’t want people to feel that way. We want people to understand that there are so many different ways that we create healthy children. There’s no one thing that’s going to screw everything up for you, including C-sections. So I just really want people to understand that.
Again, it is a bit personal for me. I don’t think I’ve shared anything more than that about my birth experience because; as much as I know intellectually certain things about my experience, it’s still; emotionally, it’s still really, really difficult. And it always will be. But if I can save some moms from feeling like; oh, I started out enlightened, I knew that this was important, and it didn’t happen, and now good god just looking 20 years down the road to my kid not being able to, whatever. So I just want people to not feel that guilt.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.
Liz Wolfe: I got kind of far off field from the original question, but there you go.
Diane Sanfilippo: Very, no, very important, relevant, well said, and I mean super important. I’m sure I was breastfed for about a minute, and then was raised on formula.
Liz Wolfe: I was not breastfed.
Diane Sanfilippo: I was raised on formula. So I think it’s really important that we not go too far down the rabbit hole of, you know, this one element of pregnancy, birth, post… you know, childhood, all of that. I don’t think this one element is sort of like the smoking gun.
Liz Wolfe: Right.
Diane Sanfilippo: It’s not the one thing that changes everything. Because we know plenty of babies born to C-section who are healthier than babies who are not. So I think that’s super important. I think if we ignore the greater context in this case, it’s very akin to looking at cholesterol and heart disease. In a vacuum, we think we’ve found an answer you know. It’s, “Oh well it’s high cholesterol that’s doing it because there were maybe some correlative studies out there at some point.” And then we realize, oh no, that’s not it. And there are a lot more factors to consider and how cholesterol even works, we’re not quite clear on completely. It’s like; when we realized that correlation is not causation and we realized that, ok, that one exposure is not everything and even looking at a study that might say kids born this way experience more this, again it’s not causative; it is correlative. It’s interesting, and it can illuminate some things, but it’s certainly not the whole store, and it’s probably not even most of the story, and it’s probably just one small page of a hundreds of pages long story, right?
Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.
Diane Sanfilippo: So I think, yeah. I think that’s all relevant and important for our listeners to know, because I know a lot of them are also waiting for the program. Sorry, my earbud keeps dropping.
Liz Wolfe: I know. Join the parenthood with Liz Wolfe, NTP group. It’s like the Mecca for all of this stuff. And it will keep people, hopefully, filled.
Diane Sanfilippo: I think also the reason why the program is taking longer is because it’s becoming even more thoughtful than it would have been given your experience, and I’m sure it was going along a track of being amazing and very comprehensive before, and I personally think it’s going to be that much more amazing now. So for as many people that are curious and interested in what it will say, I actually think it will probably be valid for folks who have kids who are still pretty young and just interesting information for them to not even be still trying to have a baby or pregnant at the time, you know?
Liz Wolfe: Yeah.
Diane Sanfilippo: Probably valid for anyone with children or who are going to work with people who are having children. So anyway, thank you for sharing your insights and experience. I think our listeners are going to find that valuable and comforting.
Liz Wolfe: I hope so.
Liz Wolfe: The Balanced Bites podcast is sponsored in part by the Nutritional Therapy Association. The NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants, including me, I’m an NTP, emphasizing bio-individuality and the range of dietary strategies that support wellness. The NTA emphasizes local, whole, properly prepared nutrient dense foods as the key to restoring balance and enhancing the body’s ability to heal. Nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants learn a wide range of tools and techniques to assess and correct nutritional imbalances. To learn lots more about the nutritional therapy program, go to There are workshop venues in the US, Canada, and Australia, so chances are you’ll be able to find a venue that works for you.
6. Try this at home: Cook with your kids [51:27]
Liz Wolfe: Ok, how about the try this at home segment. We haven’t done this one in a few episodes.
Diane Sanfilippo: I don’t think we have. So I posted this on Instagram. I’ve been watching Cooked on Netflix; and I enjoy Michael Pollan’s books in general. I don’t know if anyone has ever heard this story, but I actually read the Omnivore’s Dilemma on a vacation. So let’s just back up with that one. I don’t read a ton, like reading a book on paper, there’s something that happens in my brain that typically puts me to sleep. I like to listen to books; that’s why I like podcasts, that’s why I like doing a podcast. I like to learn through pictures and sound. I am not ashamed of that; I think we all learn differently. If I hear something, and especially if I hear it more than once, I retain it really, really well. Often I can reiterate things I’ve heard that are just within a crazy amount of context of content.
So anyway, that being said, I actually physically read the Omnivore’s Dilemma on a vacation many, many years ago. I really like Michael Pollan’s approach. It was probably my very early years of learning about holistic nutrition, finally learned about high fructose corn syrup and how corn is in like everything. Anywho, Michael Pollan was on Here’s the Thing, a podcast with Alec Baldwin, a really enjoyable listen. And one quote really stuck out with me. Michael Pollan said; if kids cook, they’ll eat what they cook. He went on, and it was kind of in the context of a longer discussion. But he went on to say; this is Michael Pollan, this is not me saying this. Although, I might echo this a bit. He said, “I think it’s irresponsible parenting to send a kid out into the world not having a clue how to roast a chicken or how to make a basic meal. It’s a really critical life skill.”
So, on that topic, I know there are folks who have vehemently disagreed via Instagram; fine. That’s what people want to do on the internet, just air their agreements or disagreements. Fine with me. Saying, my kids cook and they don’t eat what they cook. Ok, fine. Your kid is not the norm, perhaps. I do believe that that is the best way forward to try and get your kids to eat better food. I don’t think there’s any other option that’s better.
So if your kid doesn’t want to eat the food, that’s your best chance at getting them to eat it. One of the things Pollan was saying was basically when they cook, they see that there’s not something being pulled over on them. A lot of times kids don’t want to eat things because they think you’re trying to trick them or put something into it that they don’t know about or like, and when they see; oh, it’s tomato, and I know what that is, and it’s this. All these ingredients that they put in on their own, then they’re just far more likely to eat that food, and I think in the vast majority of cases this is true. I think the vast majority of our listeners who are parents will find that this is true. It’s certainly true for me.
And look; this is not to make a personal attack on anyone that; you know, your parents didn’t teach you or you haven’t already taught your kids. But bottom line, it is a basic life skill that we know how to feed ourselves. I asked on Facebook what gets in the way besides time of following a healthier eating plan, and a lot of people said they don’t enjoy cooking.
And I’m going to kind of call people out on that one, because, I’m going on a total tangent here. But I think people don’t enjoy cooking because they’ve not found something that’s easy that’s been successful. Because the people say they don’t enjoy cooking; typically you do enjoy eating food that you like, and so if we can just find a way to help bridge the gap and show you how to make something very, very quick and easy that takes very little hands on time. Maybe spices on something throw it in the oven and you like it, then I think you can like cooking. You don’t have to like doing chefy, culinary things. That’s ok, but to say you don’t like to cook at all, I just think that’s; you don’t have to take a ton of pleasure in it.
Liz I know you don’t love to cook; that’s fine. But I think you do like the outcome of, I put this and this together, and now I get to eat something that tastes pretty good. That’s all we really need; right? We don’t need everyone to be chefing it up. It’s totally fine. We just need you to know how to cook something so that it’s safe and then it becomes nourishment.
So anyway, long story short, what we want to do with this weeks’ try this at home is listen; have you guys listen to that episode if you’d like, or not. But go ahead and have your kids start cooking with you. And if they’re really young, they can tear lettuce. They can help rinse off something that needs rinsing. Some kind of produce. There’s always something; so whatever young age you want to get them involved, you can go ahead and do that and let us know what happens. I think it’s super important that we do that. And you know, it struck me as blunt honesty and truth from Michael Pollan on that point, and you know, I like that he’s not afraid to say that. So there you go.
7. #Treatyoself: Steve’s Paleo Goods Protein Krunch bar [56:39]
Diane Sanfilippo: Alright, Liz. Do you have a treat yoself this week?
Liz Wolfe: I do actually. I just was the lucky recipient of a Steve’s Paleo Goods shipment, and they have, it’s kind of like a paleo crunch bar, but I guess it’s called a Protein Krunch. I mean, it might be a new thing, might not be a new thing. I’ve kind of been out of the loop for a while. But it’s called Protein Krunch; crunch with a “k” and it’s called the Everything Bagel. And it’s insanely good. I kind of was like; really? An everything bagel… No. Come on. Stick with; just keep it sweet, make it, you know. But it is; it tastes exactly like an everything bagel. And it is; oh gosh, I don’t have the wrapper right in front of me right now. But they also have a pizza one that does taste like pizza, and the ingredients are really clean. There’s shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds, dried onion, dried tomato, sea salt, pork rinds, it’s all very interesting.
So if you kind of need one of those clean snacks but you want something a little more savory, I definitely think this is something you’re going to want to look at. Steve’s Paleo Goods Protein Krunch, the Everything Bagel.
Diane Sanfilippo: Interesting. I’m actually looking at the ingredients, and it looks like they’re nut free. I could totally try those.
Liz Wolfe: This one has almonds. The Pizza one has almonds.
Diane Sanfilippo: Oh, ok. The Everything Bagel is; oh no. Ugh. The first ingredients was almonds, I just skipped right past it with my eyes.
Liz Wolfe: I’m sorry.
Diane Sanfilippo: Such a bummer.
Liz Wolfe: Yeah.
Diane Sanfilippo: Sorry guys. For, those of you who are like me. Can’t eat the nutso. It looks delicious though.
Liz Wolfe: It really is.
Liz Wolfe: Alright, so that’s going to be it for this week. You can find me, Liz, at and you can find Diane at Join our email lists please for free goodies and updates that you don’t find anywhere else on our website or on the podcast. And while you’re on the internet, please leave us an iTunes review. We’d really appreciate it. See you next week.

liz wolfe signature logo

Share this post!

More Posts

13 Responses

  1. Liz-
    Thanks for your open and honest sharing in this podcast. As I listened I wanted to just reach out and give you a big hug.
    It’s so hard to accept the unexpected in birth. For me I also had to forgive my body which felt so broken after my dreams of a perfect unmedicated birth were shattered.
    Your message needs to be spread. The BM&B will be an amazing resource to encourage moms no matter their situation. Thanks for the work you do!

  2. About 4 1/2 years since my unplanned and very unwanted C-section and I still feel extremely emotional about it. Like a failure. Like I failed my daughter and then a couple years later my son. And that my body must be defected. Even though it was brought on by an abruption. And the second by a stubborn breech. Mothers guilt is the heaviest kind of weight to carry. It never goes away, it just takes new direction as you inevitably feel like you have failed in some other way. I think over the years it lessons, the feeling that you are responsible for laying out the perfect path for your children. You start seeing that your life has never been nor will ever be perfect and that the same goes for them. And that it’s not all bad. It’s real life. And that the most important part of the story is that we LOVE them with everything we have. I can feel in my bones how much love you have for your daughter. It’s that shiny warm and yet fierce kind of love. Although it’s not the story you hoped to shared, I and I’m sure so many others thank you for doing so. We’re all in this together in some way.

  3. I’ve been trying to find more unbiased reviews about hairprint, so I was happy to find you talk about it in this podcast. Of course, I’m still not convinced about it. It sounds really complicated. I’ve been doing henna and indigo for years and am about 50% grey. Every month I question whether I want to continue with the henna/indigo, try hairprint or just go grey! I guess at least for this month, I will continue with the henna/indigo. Do you think you will go back to that? As in, is it better than Hairprint in your view? One thing I don’t like about it is that my long brown hair has gotten really dark (black) in places from the indigo – even though I only ever apply the mixture to the roots, and sometimes there is a greenish cast, too. Thanks for your unbiased insight into Hairprint.

    1. Hey Meredith! I don’t think I’ll go back to henna/indigo. I will probably either stick with hairprint or ponytails (and grey, blah) while I’m nursing and (gasp!) considering having my hair dyed professionally after I’m done nursing just so I don’t have to deal with the hassle of the whole process during my (limited, precious) spare time. I’d look for a salon that uses safer colorants, of course! As much as I loved henna, I just don’t see having the time to dedicate to the process on a reliable basis, and it’s a lot of work, and while I loved the color, I HAVE to keep up with it or else my head looks freaking ridiculous after a few weeks of growth, haha…2 inches of mousy brown roots, then vibrant deep brown with copper highlights down the rest of the length is not cute! I honestly don’t know if it’s better fundamentally than Hairprint. Probably? The process is a little easier because you’re not “on the clock” and you only have to rinse once, but ingredients-wise, I just don’t have enough knowledge of the Hairprint ingredients and how they interact with our bodies to truly understand whether they’re as benign as they say. I’m assuming they are, but they certainly aren’t as natural as henna and indigo.

  4. I wanted to thank you, as I think others have, for your honesty about your birth experience. I had a natural childbirth but some significant feeding difficulties which meant we had to start supplementing with formula at about 4 weeks. I was, and still am, crushed that my body has been unable to provide for my little one what she needs; and that I am putting something into her little body that I would never consume myself. All that said, my husband keeps reminding me that this is about her and she is a happier baby because she is well-fed. She is healthy, growing, and oh-so-precociously smart–trying to crawl at 10 weeks…terrifying! Thank you again for your honesty and for saying out loud what we all need to be telling ourselves: that we can’t and shouldn’t judge anyone’s unique experience. You are an amazing mom and an inspiration.

    1. Alexandra, my heart just goes out to you! It’s so HARD! It’s just so hard. Especially when you start out feeling like you failed. I thought I was going to start strong and gain some kind of confidence about motherhood based on those early days. And yet I didn’t have that, so I’ve felt like I started out shaky. Not the foundation I wanted. And honestly, I really put such fear into myself that if I didn’t have a vaginal birth, it would lead to x, y and z health outcomes for my precious girl…fear, fear, fear. I’m sure you did the same with breast vs. formula feeding…we can just be SO hard on ourselves! Yet these sweet babies are growing and thriving…makes me realize, like TRULY realize and accept, that there is much more to health than what we “know.” Lots of love, and thank you for leaving me this comment.

  5. I know I am a bit late to this party, but I have good excuses- full time working lawyer with 3 and 5 year old daughters! Your honest and open discussion about your unplanned c-section really resonated with me. I did not have the birth I wanted with my oldest daughter. While I did not have a c-section, my desire for a natural birth was thwarted by pitocin and an epidural, and then compounded by a judgmental friend who told me later that I was “weak” for not fighting harder against my OB. You are never more vulnerable than in the throws of labor, and all your best intentions for your children get wrapped up in the unknown and your concern for their safe arrival. And from that moment forward you worry about how you will shape their life. The birth experience is so personal and so demanding on a mother. I do not have a lot of profound thoughts for you, but I want you to know that you DO come out the other side and the guilt surrounding birth decisions fades when you watch in wonderment as the creature you created grows into an amazing human being. It still amazes me that we, mothers, create AND these little humans! I really admire all that you do for your daughter, and while your birth story with her is very much your own and deserves as much processing and time as you need, please know that you are amazing and are now creating a life story every day with your daughter. I had an entirely different birth with my second daughter- true to her nature, when she decided it was time to join the world, she did. We made it to the hospital’s triage room. Ironically, her birth was such a blur that I do not have many memories of that birth experience, which also makes me feel guilty (was it too stressful for her when she was born, I don’t remember being mindful of the experience, I screamed a lot as she was making her way out, so does that mean she’ll be an angry child etc etc). What I do remember so clearly from both of my daughter’s births, is how warm, comforting, and peaceful it felt when their skin touched mine for the first time (and then the second, third, fourth…). When I start to feel the guilt creep in, I remember the first moments of their lives on my chest snuggled up so close to me, connected. Liz, you are an incredible mom and a beautiful person.

  6. Liz – In regards to episode #246 and #261, I feel compelled to tell you “thank you” for sharing your birth experience which resulted in an unplanned and in my opinion, unnecessary, c-section. My daughter, who is now 6 years old, was born via an unplanned c-section, and while the birth of my son, who was born almost 5 years ago by VBAC, and time, helped to heal many of the sad feelings I had about my unplanned c-section, listening to you talk about your experience brought tears to my eyes. I am so grateful for my healthy babies who are now healthy,happy kids and grateful for learning to listen to my body and my intuition on the second pregnancy instead of the powers to be. I’ve been listening to Balanced Bites podcasts for about 2 years, and I can tell that you are a wonderful mom! Thank you, thank you for talking about the emotional and mental healing that may need to occur after an unplanned c-section even when the result is a healthy baby. Looking forward to your Baby Making and Beyond Book. I’m all done having children, but I have friends and family who could definitely benefit from your wisdom and wish that I would’ve had such insights when I was planning to become pregnant. Wishing you peace and comfort in knowing that you’re helping other moms and moms-to-be have the best pregnancies and birth experiences that they can have!

  7. Sorry for the mommy brain – the first sentence should read “In regards to episodes #246 and #261, I feel compelled to tell you “thank you” for sharing your birth experience which resulted in an unplanned c-section.” Also meant to say that my daughter’s birth was an unplanned and in my opinion, unnecessary, c-section. Didn’t mean to say that your c-section, Liz, was unnecessary.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get My Email Exclusives!

The number one supplement you need (but have never heard of) is HERE!

And sign up for my NEWSLETTER!