This is going to be a little controversial, but I will share it anyway because I think it is important for parents to read & since March is MS awareness month it is relevant for anyone with MS too.
Our son, Blake, turns 13 years old this week (the photo of him and I was taken last week on the Clean Cuisine cruise) and I will say that raising him on our whole foods “Clean Cuisine” diet was one of the best things I think we could have ever done for him.
When I had Blake I was only 24 years old and I had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) just 2 years earlier. I had radically changed my own diet after my diagnosis and got very into nutrition. At this time Andy was in surgical residency and by the time Blake was born we had learned so much about nutrition because of my MS that there was no way we could feed him processed foods or given him formula for that matter. I’m going to veer off topic for a minute but since milk-based formula is what so many parents give their babies I feel I have to point out that a number of studies point to the idea that the proteins in milk can cause the body to have an immune reaction and make antibodies to the milk protein? The link between milk consumption and type 1 diabetes is well documented in respected medical journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine.(1) In the medical literature, when autoimmune diseases are studied in relation to nutrition, the consumption of animal foods, especially cow’s milk, is associated with increased risk. Milk consumption is also linked with various cancers. For example, nine separate studies have linked prostate cancer with high consumption of milk, including a 2010 study in the journal Prostate, showing more than a doubling of risk.(2) Cow’s milk consumption has also been linked to multiple sclerosis.(3)
Anyway, Andy and I didn’t know nearly what we know today about nutrition but we knew enough that we were going to raise our son on real food. And this was in 2001 before it was really popular and before there were all these natural living mommy blogs and healthy food websites—we were definitely not “on trend” and we felt a bit isolated with our decision because it seemed like nobody else was doing it. But I am so glad we stuck to our guns…
Today Blake enjoys incredibly vibrant health. He has only been on antibiotics once in his life (after an ear infection he got from swimming in a murky pond.) He doesn’t have asthma, allergies or ADD. And he certainly isn’t obese.
But one thing we notice that we want to point out for other parents who might be considering transitioning their kids to a whole foods “Clean Cuisine” type diet is that compared to other children eating the standard American diet (S.A.D.) your children will undoubtedly grow and mature slower if they eat clean. But this is not a bad thing! It simply means they are aging slower, which ultimately will be much healthier for them (trust me, one day they will thank you.)
The average age of puberty has dropped several months since the 1990s to just under nine years old for African American girls and nine and a half for white girls, according to a new study published in Pediatrics. Researchers found that girls who weighed more started developing breasts earlier. When we get a bit more time on our hands we will do an in depth article that explores this trend a bit more and Andy will weigh in from a medical perspective. But for now, just know that as a doctor, Andy would be much more concerned if we had a nine-year old daughter entering puberty than he is about our 13-year old son growing slowly. There should be no rush towards getting children to grow and mature quickly; the faster they grow the faster they are aging.
We know for a fact that our son is younger than his chronological age because we had his hand bones x-rayed and sure enough his bones were shown to be about 2 years younger than his years. When I had my major hip surgery in 2012 we had my IGF-1 levels tested and as expected they were low (this means I am aging slower) —and like me, our son’s IGF-1 levels are also low, which means he is aging slower too. But again, this is not a bad thing!
In just 2 years I will be celebrating my 40th birthday and one thing is for sure, I certainly am not trying to see if I can grow and age as fast as possible. And we shouldn’t be trying to get our kids to do so either.
**If you have MS or know someone who does be sure to download our free MS guidelines report here: http://bit.ly/1i98RbU
- M. Knip, S. M. Virtanen, K. Seppä, et al., “Dietary Intervention in Infancy and Later Signs of Beta-Cell Autoimmunity,” New England Journal of Medicine 363, no. 20 (2010): 1900–08.
- S. Raimondi, J. B. Mabrouk, B. Shatenstein, et al., “Diet and Prostate Cancer Risk with Specific Focus on Dairy Products and Dietary Calcium: A Case-Control Study,” Prostate 70, no. 1 (2010): 1051–65.
- D. Malosse, H. Perron, A. Sasco, and J. M. Seigneurin, “Correlation between Milk and Dairy Product Consumption and Multiple Sclerosis Prevalence: A Worldwide Study,” Neuroepidemiology 11, nos. 4–6 (1992): 304–12