If you go onto any birth board or baby forum these days, you are bound to find conflicting advice when it comes to vaccinating your child or keeping them diary and gluten free. There has however been studies to show the negative impact of dairy and wheat on our bodies. Many people reach adulthood only to find they are lactose or gluten intolerant. Louise Kane Buckley is one healthy mama who found eliminating dairy and wheat from her life made her feel better and this passion for nutrition led her to start Loula Natural which provides you with alternatives to living a healthier life. She also tackles the subject of vaccinations and how you can protect your children without vaccinating them.
NM: Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got into the field of health and nutrition.
LKB: I grew up in Hong Kong (ESF alum!). I then Lived in London for 16 years before returning here with my family. I have been in the health industry for almost 10 years. I started as a Personal Trainer and have always been fascinated with nutrition. I was experimenting with nutrition and started eliminating dairy and wheat from my life at the same time. I was feeling better. I also started looking at other ways of feeling better without the use of pharmaceuticals. I looked into becoming a Nutritional Therapist to enhance my services as a PT and it all snowballed from there and I ended up doing two diplomas’ (Naturopathy and Nutrition) at the same time to become a Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist. I absolutely love my job and have never looked back! I live the natural life and my second child was a planned homebirth here in Hong Kong!
NM: There is much talk these days for and against vaccinating babies and children. What is your view on vaccinations?
LKB: My view is that understanding the power of nature is key. We live in a world where we are sicker then we were even 20-30 years ago. Chronic illness is affecting our children and babies and I see more babies with digestive and immune issues than adults- a frightening situation. Your body is an environment- no illness or set of symptoms which we have grouped together and named as a disease can continue if the environment does not promote it. Microbes which occur naturally will never be eradicated. Trying to remove them from our lives by injecting ourselves with (sometimes highly toxic) chemicals does not solve the problem. I believe we are being misguided into believing it is the only way to keep our children well. Instead we should be working on giving our kids (esp. babies) optimum nutrition to change their internal environments, reduce toxins in their external environment, strengthen their body and immune systems and give them the tools within themselves to create and pass on true immunity (something vaccinations will never give). Hence I do not fear any ‘illness’ as I am prepared to help my body, my children’s bodies and my clients, to work out how to change their internal environment which is key to wellness. I have many links to articles written which help reaffirm my choice and beliefs here.
NM: A baby’s gut is such a delicate thing. When my son was a baby I often heard so many different opinions on weaning and the right age. The WHO states a baby should be weaned at 6 months but in the UK the NHS give parents the go ahead at 4 months. What do you think is the best way to build your child’s gut and immunity? And in your opinion, when should you start weaning your baby?
LKB: This is a very complex set of questions- each one can be answered with an essay in itself! The digestive system is the root to all heath. Without the digestive system you would be unable to unlock the tools from your food to produce a healthy cell, which then go on to make your body and thus begins a vicious cycle. Feeding yourself nutrient dense foods is half of the equation you need to be able to access the nutrients. A baby’s development starts long before conception. The parent’s health will determine the egg and sperm health and so on. Whilst forming within the mother the mother needs nutrients for both herself and her baby and once the baby is born (hopefully by natural vaginal unassisted birth) breast milk is paramount to the baby and its development and health. This is all becoming rarer these days to have all the pieces in place. So how do we try to repair the potential damage? Let me start with this – in Naturopathy we treat every person as an individual – this includes babies. Every situation is different and will need different approaches. There are no protocols, no right or wrongs and no straight answer to all of the above. I can say that fermented products, essential fats, good quality protein and nutrient dense carbs play a vital role during pregnancy, breastfeeding and in first weaning foods for kids. So if you want most of the answers to these questions I recommend a Naturopath to accurately be able to support your baby as an individual.
Babies should be weaned when they can sit up by themselves, have shown an interest in food and then shown that they are ready. The first stages of weaning should be in building the co-ordination to see food, be able to pick it up and get it into their mouths. They should then be allowed to play with the food and be able to move food around and out of their mouth. They should then be allowed to learn how to chew and swallow. If you allow your child to learn these key things you are giving your child the basic needs to begin digestion- as it begins in the mouth. For the first year breast milk will allow them all the nutrients that they need and if fed on demand to the amount they desire. Basic instincts of hunger and satiety should be dictated by the child. The first year of weaning onto foods should be regarded as providing them with tools to help the digestive function to begin to take place. By restricting any potential irritants to the digestive system such as; gluten, dairy (formula is considered dairy), nuts, egg whites (yolks are amazing first foods for babies) nightshades (potatoes, aubergines, peppers, tomatoes and courgettes), and meat (which is difficult to digest) for the first year will also greatly help the digestive systems development.
Feeding your child fermented products to provide bacteria will also help this transition to food from breast milk. By allowing the digestive system to thrive and develop you will be supporting their immune system at the same time. By eliminating potential irritants you are less likely to see babies and children with immune weakness such as food intolerances, eczema and even asthma. See my 5 Reasons to heal and strengthen your digestive system post.
NM: What is Kefir and why is it so important?
LKB: Kefir contains approximately 35 strains of alive bacteria and yeasts that occur naturally in the right proportions and ratios to take up residence in your body and help to balance your internal environment. Also see my 5 reasons to make Kefir post.
NM: When I had S I lost a lot of blood, my iron levels were extremely low and I was unable to successfully breastfeed. Are there any foods that can help with breastfeeding and what advice would you give to mothers who are trying but struggling with breastfeeding?
LKB: Get support. Never be afraid to ask for help. Also trust yourself and your baby to get through it together. You will always provide for your baby. There are only 5% of mothers who are truly not able to provide. Weight of a baby and volume of liquid expressed does not alone dictate heath. There are so many other markers of health and if a baby is thriving. Try to ask a range of professional’s advice too rather than always asking the same person. I have exclusively breastfed two babies and have had two very different experiences but I am limited to two – although I have helped many others. I asked around and went to many breastfeeding support groups with both situations. Nutrient dense foods full of essential fats like coconut oil, flax oil, avocados, eggs, fruit and vegetables rich in antioxidants will really help. As with all things quality will be better than quantity- a baby consuming nutrient dense milk may not need the same quantity as another baby. Every baby is individual and therefore it is best to again see someone who will assess all the signs of a thriving baby.
NM: I often hear conflicting advice with regards to dairy. Some say we shouldn’t be drinking milk past infancy while others advocate dairy as a great source of calcium. What is your take on dairy and how it affects our body?
Dairy is an unnecessary food in my opinion especially when it comes from grain fed cattle which are over-milked and full of synthetic hormones and antibiotics. When milk is then pasteurised it also then becomes ‘dead’ food. If you are buying milk from grass-fed, organic free to pasture cows which are only milked to their capacity and you are drinking the milk raw (not available to us sadly in Hong Kong), that is a different matter. If you consume dairy it should be grass-fed, organic, pastured, full fat (as most of the potentially available nutrients such as vitamin a and e is found in the fat) and if not raw then fermented. The calcium is only available (if at all) when it contains the necessary enzymes to help in its digestion and absorption (which are killed off in the pasteurisation process). Otherwise you can live perfectly well (both of my kids, myself and husband are dairy free at home – they consume small amounts when it is unavoidable, but then I always practise the 80/20 rule!). Please see my calcium post.
You can contact Louise on firstname.lastname@example.org for information on her classes and books. She also takes consultations at The Body Group every Wednesday. Her website is http://loulanatural.com/ and you can also find her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Loulanaturalhealthandwellbeing