I got back from the dentist with a huge feeling of relief a couple months back. He told me that all 3 of my kids don’t need braces, and if I did want them, they wouldn’t be covered under insurance because they are considered cosmetic.
As I’ve been on our journey to reverse autism by healing the gut and brain with food, I have heard over and over that people with good nutrition have cavity-free teeth and their face develops wide enough to accommodate all their teeth without crowding. I believed this was true for cultures that had generations of good nutrition, but I never expected that I could prevent my own children from needing orthodontia work since we didn’t eat *perfectly* and processed foods do sometimes creep into our diets!
Not only is this a relief because we get to avoid the every-few-week appointments to tighten and adjust braces, but we also get to avoid that enormous expense! Even if insurance did cover them, we all know that dental insurance covers some stuff at best.
I am stoked to be able to eliminate the ‘I should be saving for my kids’ braces’ thought from my mind.
Meat & butter connection with proper physical development
How does proper facial development relate to eating meat? Stay with me here- I know this sounds totally far fetched but it’s not at all!
When you research on nutrition, and I mean really research it by looking into cultures that eat lots of dairy and meat and avoid processed foods, over and over it’s shown that people eating a very nutrient dense diet, develop broad faces that easily accommodate all their adult teeth without crowding, and have an appropriately developed jaw that has a proper bite.
Books that document this
Dentist Weston A Price showed this over and over as he traveled the world in the 40s to find what distinguishes healthy cultures from unhealthy cultures. He found as he traveled that money and industrialization did not improve the body’s condition, and the more people ate processed foods like refined sugar and flour, the more their faces were too narrow to accommodate their teeth, the more cavities they had, and the more they were susceptible to both physical and mental illness.
He wrote about his findings in all different cultures in the book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. His documentation includes what they ate, what foods are prized, and what happens when some children from a family (so similar genetics and upbringing) go to a modern diet while others remain on the traditional diet. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration has hundreds of photos illustrating this, and is well-worth the price of the book.
Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon, gives hundreds of recipes, antidotes, and nutritional information to help put the principals Dr. Price’s book into practice. This book started a shift that occurred in our culture as I was pregnant with my first child, where we stopped fearing the fats, and embraced fermentation and live foods.
The GAPS Diet by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride combines the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for severe digestive issues with the principals of Nourishing Traditions to solve still another modern problem – leaky gut. Leaky gut is a product of processed foods, antibiotic and medication over use, and toxin exposure and is responsible for many of our modern illnesses.
If Nourishing Traditions isn’t enough for the modern sick person due to messed up digestive system and toxic load, the GAPS diet fills in the gaps (literally!) and offers a healing protocol so that you can digest the healing food you need for good physical and mental development.
Genetics and Need for Braces
I know what you might be thinking no way, it’s not the meat, it’s good genetics, right?
No not at all – genetically everything points to my children needing extensive orthodontia work to fix bite and eliminate teeth crowding. Yes, genetically both sides of the previous generation got braces and extensive work for years!
Nutrition in Cultures that Eat Whole Foods
If you look into Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A Price, you see example after example of cultures as they are eating their traditional diets avoiding processed foods, and most of all, including loads of extremely nutrient dense animal foods. Why is this? Because animals grow where agriculture doesn’t. But that’s another topic for another video.
It’s not that I didn’t believe that people on traditional diets didn’t need braces and still had beautiful teeth, but I didn’t believe that I could correct generations of poor nutrition, especially since I’m not even that strict with how my kids eat!
Eczema seemed like one thing, but could I really make my kids’ jaws develop differently than my own did, just by making burgers and sneaking butter into everything I could? I really do think that we did!
Nutrient Density for Facial Development
How does this work? It works on nutrient density. A nutrient-dense diet is a diet that is different than what the standard American diet is. Meat, butter, dairy, and eggs all happen to be extremely nutrient dense. And know what else is awesome? They also are super easy to prepare!
The nutrition in meat, butter, dairy, and eggs, as long as none of them are triggering an allergy, is all highly usable by the body.
What we did to prevent the need for braces and encourage proper midline development:
I didn’t even feed my kids as perfectly as you might expect. I’ll talk more about how we *really* eat, and chances are, you can easily replicate this in your own family and see the health results that come from solid nutrition.
- SAD with Hannah’s pregnancy, but ready Nourishing Traditions before starting solids
- Found raw milk and was eating lots more grass-fed meat while pregnant with Sam. We bought 300 pounds of grass-fed hamburger from an old milk cow with our tax refund that year, and that’s what I cooked with.
- My baby’s first foods were meat. My 3rd baby’s first food was liver.
- All 3 kids got fermented cod liver oil, which they craved (!) as babies and toddlers. In the video you can see my 2nd as a toddler dancing with cod liver oil as it came out of the box – babies LOVE cod liver oil.
- Sam and Hannah (my older 2) did low-carb GAPS, along with me, for the most part
- Off and on – probably an average of 10% of their lives, we did return to a carb-heavy slightly-better than standard American diet. I never shunned the meat, and I always included lots of butter.
My top foods for encouraging healthy physical development in young children
- Grassfed Beef for protein, fats, and versatility.
- Chicken Liver Pate for vitamins A, D, Bs, and iron in a soft texture.
- Cod Liver Oil – yes, your young babies will like this!
- Ghee for delicious high-temperature cooking.
- Seafood for omega 3 fatty acids. Scallops and Salmon Patties are favorites here.
- Sauerkraut and homemade pickles for probiotics to ensure good digestion.
- Not food-related, but I encourage nose-breathing, which I talk about here.
- Child spacing- while it wasn’t exactly a product of planning, I did have 5 years between Sam and Levi. 5 years is thought to be a good spacing, giving the mother’s body a time to replenish nutrients. And during this time I was eating a few treats a month, but for the most part keto/GAPS along with my children.
- Why did Sam still develop well? Usually the second child is the largest of the family, comment down below if you’ve seen this in your own family, due to something called ‘proven placenta’. The second child, even if he closely follows the first, gets that sweet spot of the body already knowing how to be pregnant along with a mother who is still has not had too many nutrients depleted from many pregnancies.
Other family’s success stories
How to get your kids to eat more meat and butter:
Hamburger (ground beef) is the easiest for little mouths to chew, and is delightfully inexpensive for the family. See our ‘how to meal prep ground beef’ video and article for suggestions on easy and delicious ways to prepare.
Don’t be surprised that your very young babies enjoy things like liver, cod liver oil, and salmon as they are weaning! So often our bias is that our babies will only like sweet things. If you start your little one off on stewed peaches, that might become the case. So if you’re fortunate enough to be the parent of a child who has not started solids yet, when you do start start with liver.
Focus on the animal products, not the fruit and veggies. As we do in our Picky Eating Solution, it’s important to serve your little ones (and yourself!) your meals in courses. Get the nutrient-dense stuff in first: Fats and meats, and then follow with veggies and fruit.
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