Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fish Oil and Stretch Marks

My husband and I received a meat grinder as a wedding gift and we finally got all of the materials together to try our hands at making sausage! It was really fun and surprisingly easy. We bought pork casing from the butcher at Whole Foods (which cost us maybe $2), some extra pounds of pork from our CSA farm and some unfamiliar peppers to come together to make Chorizo! haHA! Now I have a stash of chorizo that I'm getting a little tiny bit tired of eating. Nonetheless, here it is in all of it's glory.

And my husband makes his first appearance. Hope he doesn't mind. I have so many other pictures of meals that I have really been enjoying over the last couple of months. I will add that I haven't had any issues with food since my mentions of it during the beginning of my pregnancy. Anything goes! That is, anything primal/paleo containing no dairy, grains, legumes, caffeine, chemicals, or otherwise and very little starch and almost no sugar. All of this being said, I apologize if you aren't into looking at my food because this next little bit may annoy you.

From top down: 1 & 2) pear-berry tart, 3) broccoli slaw and lamb chili with liver in it, 4) sautéed cabbage, broccoli and roasted salmon, 5) chicken thighs with mushroom/white wine gravy, 6) shrimp salad stuffed avocado
Below: 7) quick cereal - nuts, raisins, shredded coconut in coconut milk, 8) cauliflower rice and roasted halibut, 9) fish burrito and side salad, 10) giant meatloaf (before entering the oven), 11) ground beef tacos and side salad, 12) seafood gumbolaya (I'm not really sure what gumbo or jambalaya are, but this is my version) with side salad, 13) meatballs on zucchini pancake with roasted acorn squash and spinach

 Almost 100% of the ingredients in the above meals are either organic, grass-fed, wild, pastured, or antibiotic/hormone free right down to the very seasoning. This is how we do it.
On to the real meat of this post...

Fish Oil and Stretch Marks
I can't quite remember what brought me to this line of thinking, whether it was a spa offer on Groupon, some beauty product add, or possibly a post from another blog I follow. However, it all started with collagen. For some reason I've been hearing the phrase collagen and elastin in my head every once in a while. I began to think about special skin care products that people use for anti-aging properties, special expensive serums and creams.
In the beginning I wanted to try a couple of different products to help me fight off stretch marks. In this post I listed them. The only one I didn't actually purchase was the bio-oil. What I ended up using most of the time was just a standard bottle of tourist coconut oil that I bought in Hawaii for $8. I just rub some on my belly, breasts, thighs, side to lower back and arms almost every time I get out of the shower or every-other time. I couldn't tell you if this is what is doing the trick or not. The reason why I didn't really use the Mother's blend oil is because I didn't care for the smell. The main ingredient was coconut oil, so why bother. I had the coconut oil itself.
Back to collagen, the component that is "vital for skin elasticity." I decided to look into what foods the highest amounts of collagen. The answer I found that interested me the most listed Omega-3 fatty acid as being an essential building block of skin rebuilding and renewal. Aha! Fish oil! I take a ton of the stuff. I have at the very least 4000 mg each day and some days I remember to take an extra dose which gives me another 2000 mg.
Well, you be the judge... does it look like it's working?

At 33 weeks pregnant I have not yet discovered one stretch mark. Some people might say that it could be genetics, that if my mother didn't have them I wouldn't either, etc...  During my high-school years my breasts developed quite rapidly and I got my fair share of stretch marks "up top" to prove it. So, I know that I was "pre-determined" to get them during pregnancy. To my joy, this hasn't happened. Yet.
This became so obvious to me when I finally thought about it. You really have to take care of your skin from the inside for it to stay youthful and healthy. I am almost certain that my skin looks the way it does because of the amount of fish oil I take.

Collagen plays another important role during pregnancy or more importantly, labor. 
"Collagen is also present in all the smooth muscle tissues, blood vessels digestive tract, heart, gallbladder, kidneys and bladder holding the cells and tissues together. Collagen is even the major component of the hair and nails." "Collagen is the main component of connective tissue, and is the most abundant protein in mammals, making up about 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content."
Something that I learned over the weekend in my "Out of Hospital Childbirth Preparation" class was that the cervix, the opening of the uterus, is made up mostly of collagen. This page has really in depth information about this fact, but here's a quote from the site: "The human cervix consists mainly of extracellular connective tissue. The predominant molecules of this extracellular matrix are type 1 and type 3 collagen, with a small amount of type 4 collagen at the basement membrane."
Wouldn't it make sense that dilation of the cervix during the first stage of labor would be more efficient within a person who regularly supports their body's collagen renewal? This is my thinking. If the fish oil I take is truly helping the elasticity of my skin, then it should help with the elasticity of my cervix during dilation in labor.
I'm so proud of my possible discovery and will have more to report once I've gone through labor.

After I got pregnant my eyesight went to shit. Now that 4-5 months have passed since the birth I am excited to report that not only did my eyesight return to normal but it also improved! My prescription went down from (- .75) to (- .5). My optometrist asked me if I take fish oil. Of course I bragged about the copious amounts I ingest. He said it is very good for the eyes. Obviously! After mentioning this to fellow CrossFit gym members, two of them reported the same results. One girl's prescription improved by 100 points! I definitely credit this change to my fish oil intake and overall change of diet. I believe it will continue to improve too. It's amazing what we can do for our bodies when we give them the right nutrients!


  1. Hi, what a great web blog. I usually spend hours on the net reading blogs on various subjects. And, I really would like to praise you for writing such a fabulous article. I honestly believe there is a skill to writing articles that only very few posses and yes you got it. This is really informative and I will for sure refer my friends the same. Thanks.

    1. Thanks so much! I am very flattered. I believe that it is easiest for me to write the way I speak to people... Much more comfortable and forgivable!
      On a side note - I have recently been to the eye doctor and found my eyesight has improved. He asked me if I take fish oil because it is great for your eyes. I said - Boy do I!

  2. Oooh Im so glad I stumbled on your blog! Im interested in eating primal but have always struggled with recipes and the food you show looks so good. I especially like the cereal idea, just use nuts and berries! Why didnt I think of that!?

    1. Thanks! I also have a few recipes on http://www.theprimalpantry.com
      I've been eating this way for almost 4 years now and feel like an old pro at this point. I am always learning too though!

  3. Hi! I am pregnant, Due next month. We have friends who want to cook a meal for us but we want to stick with out diet. Did you have this happen? What did you do about it?

    1. Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I hope you had a wonderful birth experience and are now enjoying your little one! I know it's a little late for you, but for others I would suggest making some of your favorite foods and freezing them for when you will really need it. Otherwise, I would recommend that you give specific recipes to the people interested in cooking for you explaining that it is because of your limited diet that you are only to eat specific things. I think they would understand and be grateful for a recipe instead of being left to figure it out on their own. Keep it simple of course. You can always just tell people you don't eat starches but only meats and veggies.

  4. Okay, so I know this is an old post, but I've just now stumbled upon your blog and have a question for you when it comes to fish oil and pregnancy - do you prefer capsules or liquid? My little lady is pregnant and can't stand the gelled cinnamon flavored cod liver oil I take. Any recommendations?

    Additionally, I have found that since she got pregnant, her ability to "stay on track" so to speak, with primal life has dropped significantly. She still enjoys some of the meals she or I cook, but 75% of the time eats pancakes and fast food when she's at work (even if she takes a lunch with her). I've kind of attributed it as a temporary state of being, and more or less let her eat something if she is really craving it, as I do not want to stress her out by correcting her during this sensitive time.

    1. Chris,
      Good questions. I take both. My main supplement is made by Pure Pharma. They are pharmaceutical grade fish oil and about 2000 mg of Omega 3 in a serving of 3 capsules. When I was pregnant, I took them 3 times daily if I remembered to. I like this brand because I have never had any issues with burping up or tasting or smelling the fish oil. My husband did the research and really liked the numbers with this brand. Because of that, we also carry it at our gym. When we happen to run out of these capsules we supplement with Carlson's brand liquid fish oil. When my husband first told me about liquid fish oil I basically told him to go to hell. When I tasted it (the orange flavor) I was totally shocked that it tasted like nothing but oil that had been infused with orange peel or something. My breath probably smelled like orange and if I burped, it was like orange tic-tacs. Honestly, it was never an issue. I still cringe a little when I tell people liquid fish oil... but it's something you have to try to believe. Just don't get the lemon one... I feel it can be nauseating how powerful the lemon is.

      As far as food goes: My story is that I made an agreement with my husband that if he would give me babies I would eat a very strict clean diet until after they were born and I was done nursing them. His reasons go into the realm of epigenetics and other such things...
      I do agree with his reasons in that we are what we eat and we can change things in our bodies by what we put in them. That being said, I am totally the person who would eat a big mac without even blinking. I love fast food just as much as the next guy.... for it's convenience, for it's greasy sloppiness, it's questionable smells and strangely addicting taste. However, I respect and love my husband enough to comply with his wishes and for that reason I guilt myself into self-discipline. And I'm "doing it for the kids." Don't be surprised that I have a computer file on my desktop full of pictures of rice and italian subs and bricks of cheese and doughnuts and all the things I plan on consuming when the baby machine retires (after I have and nurse number 2). So, I know about cravings. I like to think of it in this way. "A habit is something you don't know you are doing. As soon as you know you are doing it, it is no longer a habit. It is a choice." Craving-schmaving.... right?
      I don't know if I was just blessed with an easy pregnancy, but I like to credit my eating habits with sparing me from morning sickness. I won't know if this is true until number 2.

    2. My suggestions:
      First, really discuss the reasons why you think she should be more careful what she puts in her body. If it is really as important to you as it seems (seems to be if you're doing the research and finding me... (Yay! Thanks!)) then she should understand why you feel the way you do. After all, if you wouldn't put it in your body, why would you want it in your baby's?
      Second, pregnancy is really not that fragile of a state... Some women use it as an excuse to do whatever and get whatever they want. Women like that gain 120 lbs. in pregnancy. It's unnecessary and not doing either mom or baby any good. You are sweet to be so compliant... save that for when she's up all night feeding him/her. That's really when she's gonna need pampering.
      Lastly, find out what she likes so much about fast food and recreate it at home. If you find ways to fulfill those cravings primally, she may lose interest when she's at work. Make sweet potato chili fries (with cheese if you eat dairy). I have a recipe on www.theprimalpantry.com Make burgers and fish tacos.... If you put a pinch of cumin in with your ground beef before you make the burgers it gives it that fast food flavor (you can also add ketchup, mustard and onion powder to the mix). Make a batch of paleo muffins that taste like pancakes and have her take those to work. Really make it so that she's able to pass on the fast food because she's excited to eat her paleo version. If you need help coming up with substitutions, let me know.

      Have her look into the books in this post: http://primalandpregnant.blogspot.com/2012/07/here-we-go.html
      Not only do we change ourselves with what we eat but we effect our unborn child's reproductive system and the lives of the children they will have. The thought that I am possibly sparing my future grandchild from some affliction just by eating cleanly is enough to motivate me.

      I really hope this helps. I wish you luck and hope you both have an amazing pregnancy and labor!
      Thanks for the questions. :)