Luke, the First Year

Today is Luke’s first birthday, and Katherine Morrison wants me to spill the beans:

Paul Jaminet, we know you’re so very busy with work and family but if you have a moment, we’d love a photo update of your sweet boy (or the whole family!) and an update about how things are going generally; how long it took for him to get have more organized circadian rhythyms; how and when he took to solids; what he’s eating now. If there’s anything else you’d like to share about your parenting journey, we’d love to hear that too.

That’s a lot of ground to cover. Here’s a little photo and video update, and a recipe for PHD baby food.

Luke’s growth

Here’s a photo of Luke at age 1 month:

Luke at age 1 month

You can see photos of Luke at age 3 months in my previous post about Luke’s baptism. Here’s one from February, age 6 months:

Luke Jaminet in his hat 2015-02-22

The hat was knitted by a guest at our October 2014 Perfect Health Retreat. (Thank you Deidre!).

Luke has gotten his teeth in earlier than the other babies he plays with. He started getting teeth at 4 months, had eight teeth by age eight months, and teeth 9 through 12 have sprouted up this August. Here’s a photo from the May Perfect Health Retreat, age 9 months, showing off his teeth:

Luke at May 2015 Perfect Health Retreat 07

Luke is lean and strong, athletic and venturesome, and quick to smile. He rarely crawls on hands and knees – he’ll occasionally crawl on one or two knees when on a very smooth soft surface, but much more often he bear crawls, keeping his knees off the ground. Recently, he’s begun walking. Here’s a video from last weekend, showing him walking, bear crawling, and babbling:

Luke’s circadian rhythms

We’ve had no problems here. He’s always slept very well and kept a regular schedule. When he was very young, he had a clear 4 hour cycle. At night he would sleep 3.5 hours, feed for half an hour, and go immediately back to sleep for another 3.5 hours. In the day he would be awake 3 hours and sleep 1 hour.

For some time now he’s been on a two-nap schedule. He sleeps at night from about 9:30 pm to 6:30 am. Sometimes he sleeps through the night, sometimes he gets up to feed once. In the day, he naps from about 10:30 am to 11:30 am and from 4 pm to 5 pm. He generally goes outdoors to play for an hour before each nap, then comes home, feeds, and falls asleep.

We didn’t do anything special except keep him on our own rhythms — including 12 hours of orange-red light at night and 12 hours of bright natural light in the day — and take him outdoors for 2 hours of sun, people watching, and activity each day, one hour in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Luke’s night waking seems to be driven almost entirely by hunger. A large feeding before bedtime, or better yet a meal rich in carbohydrate and glycine (from collagen), helps his sleep. We give him a soup with rice, fruit, and bone-and-joint stock before bed, flavored with a bit of coconut milk or egg yolks, vinegar, and drop of fish sauce.

Most other parents strike me as fearful of nature. Children are bundled up and shielded from the sun. We would take Luke out in a diaper and onesie, so he would get sun on arms and legs, carry him to get exercise ourselves, and let him crawl barefoot; the other babies would have layers of clothing, hats, and shoes, and be pushed in strollers with sunshields for further protection. In this aspect, we are much more ancestral in our parenting.

Luke’s food

Luke was exclusively breast fed through age 3 months, after which we started using formula. To make up for some of the deficits of formula, we supplemented it a bit:

  • To make up for the missing milk oligosaccharides, a form of fiber that is fermented by gut bacteria to produce short-chain fatty acids, we added a bit of vinegar to Luke’s formula.
  • To make up for the missing nucleotides, we added a drop of fish sauce.
  • To make up for missing cholesterol and other lipids, we added some egg yolk.

We tries to minimize egg protein in his food by puncturing the yolk sac and draining the insides into the milk, rather than adding the whole yolk to the milk.

At age 5 months or so, we introduced solid food in the form of chicken rice congee, but within a few weeks we developed a recipe that will be given in a followup post. We made up a PHD meal suitable for infants, pureed it with a blender, and mixed it into his milk. He soon came to love this “PHD milk” and started to refuse plain formula.

Luke has never had cheerios, rice puffs, or any of the other processed foods that pediatricians recommend. He eats our food or his “PHD milk”. White rice is our equivalent of cheerios.

At about age 6 months, we started sharing our food with him as we ate. Feeding him this way is a little slow and when he gets really hungry, “PHD milk” is always the best option.

We introduced new foods gradually, out of concern that he might react badly to something. For example, he tried avocado for the first time at his 7 month birthday. But so far, Luke has enjoyed every food we have given him, and there has been no sign of any sensitivity or adverse reaction. He loves chocolate – so much so that for a while he would root in the trash for old chocolate wrappers in the hope of finding chocolate inside – and is not very interested in cucumber, but has never refused to eat any food. His favorite everyday food is Daddy’s lunch, typically rice, meat, and vegetables drenched in egg yolks, coconut milk, vinegar, and fish sauce. After every meal, we give him fruit for dessert.

When he was just beginning to eat solid food on his own, I had a surprise. Sitting on the sofa working on my laptop, I gave him a banana to play with. He became very quiet and I didn’t pay attention to him for about ten minutes. Then I looked over. The whole banana was gone, but for a few shards of the peel, and Luke had brown banana peel fragments smeared over his face and clothes. He had eaten the whole banana, peel and all! He looked at me a little nervously, as if fearful he had done something wrong, then gave me a big smile.

Luke after eating whole banana 2015-04-09

That was in April, at age 7½ months.

Luke was very pleased when we first gave him beef fat – we gave him trimmed fat from a sirloin steak before giving him the meat. He loves to eat ribs and will gnaw the bones for quite a while:

Luke with a bone

He’s been out to restaurants several times. Here is his first taste of restaurant sushi – salmon roe and avocado with rice:

Luke sushi July 2015 03

We recently let him try dairy for the first time. Here he is having sampled yogurt:

Luke after first yogurt

Coming up next: our recipe for “PHD milk”. This is still the dominant food in Luke’s diet.

Melanie M. on the Perfect Health Retreat

Melanie is a lovely young lady who didn’t want to record a video, but gave us a written testimonial. She wrote at the end of the retreat:

If this was simply a seaside vacation it would be well worth the price, but it also gives you the ability to become healthy again, no matter how severe your health problems, or how long you have been suffering from them. That is priceless.

There is a saying that “not all doctors are healers, and not all healers are doctors.” I think anyone who has been on this retreat will agree that our friend Paul is a healer in the true sense. It is going to be difficult for me to go home to my situation and do everything I now know I need to do to get healthy again, but I am going to do it.

This August, ten months later, I asked Melanie for an update. She wrote:

Sadly it turned out I was only able to do the diet off and on since coming home. My main difficulty has been in generating the extra effort it takes to care for myself while also being the caregiver for my grandfather, who has dementia and terminal cancer.

Recently my mom and I have been trying very hard again at the diet part of it, and have been successful for a full month now. When we are able to maintain the diet, we do notice a great improvement in mental fog, and we visibly lose inflammation in our faces (and in Mom’s ankles). My skin also clears up on PHD, and my mom has less digestive trouble, which I think is a sign that it could help cure her GERD over time. I am really happy with my brain function right now, I feel like my ADD symptoms are vastly improved, and I am dealing with stress much better lately. Remember the awful sciatic pain I had during the retreat? That pain is gone after doing PHD this past month. That is motivation to keep going for sure!

I have not lost weight yet, which is my own fault, but the longer I can keep doing PHD, the better my quality of life becomes, which is equally important.

Thank you, Melanie. I believe weight loss generally follows upon health improvements, so I suspect you’ll be losing weight soon.

We are taking reservations now for the next Perfect Health Retreat to be held October 10-17, 2015; and for the following retreat, April 30-May 7, 2016. Don’t miss this opportunity for a luxurious vacation combined with a week of learning that will pay a lifestime of dividends.

To learn about the retreat, visit the various web pages under the Perfect Health Retreat tab, starting here. To reserve a room or for more information, please contact Paul Jaminet at paul@perfecthealthretreat.com or Whitney Ross Gray at whitney@perfecthealthretreat.com.

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New Event: The Keto Kids Club, October 22

I’m pleased to announce a new group and an upcoming event, at which I’ll be speaking. The Keto Kids Club is a support group for families with children who suffer from neurological disorders. The Club aims to help parents find healing diets for their sick children.

The Keto Kids Club is holding their first annual family event on October 22 this year at the St. Barnabas Ambulatory Care Center, 200 S. Orange Avenue, Livingston, New Jersey. The goal of this event is to bring together a community of families to meet, discuss and learn new strategies to implement successful dietary therapies for neurological disorders, such as the ketogenic diet for epilepsy.

The tentative program:

  • 4:00-5:00pm Mingle and introductory remarks by Dr. Rina Goldberg, MD of Saint Barnabas Medical Center
  • 5:00-5:30pm Open Panel with Kids, coordinated by Courtney Schnabel Glick, RD, Coordinator of the Ketogenic Diet Program, NYU Langone Medical Center
  • 5:30pm-7:00pm Speakers:
    • Orrin Devinsky, MD, Director of NYU Langone’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center
    • Eric Kossof, MD, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
    • Paul Jaminet, PhD, author of Perfect Health Diet (Scribner, 2012)
  • 7:00-8:00pm Reception

For more information about the event, visit their website, www.ketokidsclub.com, or Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/ketokidsclub. It’s a great group of people and a good cause.

Keto Kids Club Invite

Sue R. on the Perfect Health Retreat

Sue R., of Liverpool, New York, was a guest at the October 2014 Perfect Health Retreat. Sue kindly recorded a video for us discussing her experience at the retreat.

Some highlights:

  • “It was very helpful to think that someone could show me what it was that I needed to do. … I thought maybe this is going to help, I hope this is going to help. So I chose to come. And I am so glad I did. It was so helpful. I got everything I needed and more.”
  • “I really appreciated hearing the science behind it … It all made a lot of sense.”
  • “We exercised three times a day. I never in a million years thought I was going to be able to exercise again, much less exercise three times a day. And I was doing things I didn’t think I could do.”
  • “Everybody was so compassionate and patient and helpful with me.”
  • “I appreciate this whole week because now I have hope.”
  • “The cooking classes were very enjoyable.”
  • “The number one thing for me was to be able to exercise and to do it without pain…. I had never dreamt of running.… I actually went out again today on my own and ran. I’m so tickled, I’m so tickled. I can’t wait to go out and do more.”
  • “I would definitely recommend the retreat to other people…. Everybody is so helpful, all the staff, Paul. Compassionate, caring, and it’s very personalized … Almost all of us had our own laundry list of problems, and we all got personalized help, exactly what we needed. That’s just so helpful, you can’t get that kind of help in a medical office.”
  • “I would strongly recommend it.”

Thank you Sue!

We are taking reservations now for the next Perfect Health Retreat to be held October 10-17, 2015. Don’t miss this opportunity for a luxurious vacation combined with a week of learning that will pay a lifetime of dividends.

To learn about the retreat, visit the various web pages under the Perfect Health Retreat tab, starting here. To reserve a room or for more information, please contact Paul Jaminet at paul@perfecthealthretreat.com or Whitney Ross Gray at whitney@perfecthealthretreat.com.

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