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Brewer Diet?

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Re : Brewer Diet?

Postby annegarrett » Wed Jul 30, 2003 10:14 pm

by annegarrett (2525 Posts), Wed Jul 30, 2003 10:14 pm

Well said Erin.

Anne
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Re : Brewer Diet?

Postby sarahedgcomb » Thu Jul 31, 2003 05:57 am

by sarahedgcomb (19 Posts), Thu Jul 31, 2003 05:57 am

Okay, this is my last posting to this topic - I promise!

All I did when I responded to a posting by Fiber about if anyone had heard of the Brewer Diet, was say that I had heard about the Brewer Diet and that I was following it. I'm not a doctor and I don't play one on T.V. I was just giving my humble opinion! In response to Erin's posting, I never said in any of my postings that the Brewer Diet was THE ONE diet to follow when you're pregnant. All I said was that it's very similar to what you read in other pregnancy books about pregnancy nutrition. I do think that a midwife, doctor or nutritionist might come up with a very similar plan to follow while you're pregnant. In fact, in Dr. Brewer's book, he has vegetarian plans and vegan plans to follow if you're opposed to eating animal products - so you'd never have to touch liver if you didn't want to.

I'm very surprised that a topic about nutrition, the Brewer Diet, specifically, could evoke so much negativity. What's the deal with that? Are we all looking so much for the high-tech solution to our problems? I mean, after I ruled out all of the serious medical situations that might have caused my preeclampsia... and I believe everybody should do this before they decide to have another baby... (diabetes, high blood pressure, clotting disorders, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease), I turned inward to see if there were any changes I could make to be a healthier person and to have the healthiest pregnancy possible. I don't know why this has caused people to react so negatively. I find it very strange.

Sarah







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Re : Brewer Diet?

Postby deerhart » Thu Jul 31, 2003 07:44 am

by deerhart (3282 Posts), Thu Jul 31, 2003 07:44 am

You may not have said it, but HE does.

I think its the implications on his website
its things like this

When you understand what a good pregnancy diet is and how important good foods really are, you will be able to protect yourself and your baby from many complications.

That imply that woman who get PE don't understand good nutrition and didn't eat well.

or this
A good diet will protect you and your baby from MTLP. A good diet will protect you and your baby from Abruption of the Placenta. A good diet will protect you and your baby from miscarriages.

That implys that if you eat well you don't need to worry about PE and other complications which hasn't been proven at all imo and gives woman a false sense of security who then might ignore warning signs because they ate well they can't POSSIBLY get these.

and this
Every day of the week, you and your baby must have:

This statement alone implys that if you don't eat what he states then your not eating right which isn't true.
Looking at the items he has you eating and the portions they would make me sick
Your drinking 2x's the daily recommended amount of milk for an adult, your eating 3 pats of butter (which I do beleive that a pat = 1tsp which 3 pats equates to about half a stick a butter a day), plus 2 eggs (anyway, but eggs are typically fried which adds more grease and fat typically)
Not only is this diet high in protien, but it is also high in things like fats, calories, and can adversaly cause you to gain weight that you may not be able to remove easily because its not baby weight but true fat because of the calories.
You only need 300 more calories a day while pregnant.

Its alot less about the diet, but alot more about how he presents the information as imp misleading, granting a false sense of security, and trying to scare woman to do something that I think is not as healthy for them as he makes it out to be.

It does make me wonder though if anyone has followed the brewer diet to a T, had something happen and then sued him. I do know woman who followed the diet and had PE reoccurance, but I am not sure how closely they followed it and I guess that would be the hardest thing to document (this person also gained 80+ lbs before PE set in).

I question alot of the information that he provides because it rings so against everything else I have read/seen, etc.. I am also by nature wary of ANYTHING that is a catch all. Reminds me so much of the magic syrups that used to be sold back in the 1800's that cured everything from headaches to pneaumonia, to colds, to stubbed toes.

But I also have the knowledge that I ate extrodinarly well in both my pregnancies and still got PE, so the thought that its caused by a lack of nutrition and that eating right will protect you 100% I know is bull.
Thats like saying if you eat extremely well you will never get sick nor will you ever get cancer, or if you exercise you will never get sick nor will you ever get cancer.
It leaves out several important things.
Genetics
Environment

These 2 items when dealing with conditions and diseases of the body are very important.
Diet is important and a good diet does help reduce illness etc, but it does not prevent it.
So yes, some of us are oversensitive to the idea that someone makes promises that you will not get PE based only on part of the picture, I for one feel that woman are being lulled into a false sense of security, might ignore symptomns, and might miss something that leads to a bad outcome. His site and wording also implys blame on the woman who suffered from this which just adds to the guilt we naturally feel when we have this condition.

In other words, the diet may be great, but the presentation is ALL wrong, it makes unfounded promises and it blames.
Thats enough for me to be more hostile to it.

Erin


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Re : Brewer Diet?

Postby laura » Thu Jul 31, 2003 11:20 am

by laura (5139 Posts), Thu Jul 31, 2003 11:20 am

I agree with Erin- it's not the notion that nutrition is important that riles us- it's THIS MAN SPECIFICALLY. Most reputable scientists don't have promotional websites that look and sound like an infomercial. Still, despite his shoddy, outdated science, and ridiculous hyperbole, a certain segement of the "unhindered living"/labor to the sound of the whales/doctors are butchers contingent takes his word as gospel- and endanger women's lives by underestimating the origin and complexity of the disease.

In my opinion- 'malnutrition' theories like this (perhaps specifically this one, I'm not sure)helped my first midwife nearly kill me by blowing off my hypertension and swelling until I was nearly in kidney failure. And I'm not the only one- I've read where midwives, referencing this Brewer diet, advise each other to modify sick women's diets by adding protien instead of running 24 hr urines or monitoring their blood pressure or refering them to a perinatologist- after all , it's not illness, it's malnutrition. Well, people die from that attitude.

Now, if the nutrition theory was accurate- why are preeclampsia rates constant throughout the world- and places where they have healthy diets and ample food have comparable preeclampsia rates as places of famine?

Preeclampsia is primarily a disease of first time mothers. 85% of cases of PE are in primagravidas- since the 'cause' of preeclampsia is malnutrition and a starved liver, does that mean that the low rates of recurrence are indicative that the women involved drastically improved their diets in subsequent pregnancies?

Does Dr. Brewers "0%" rates include women with lupus, kidney disease, or clotting disorders? No? Well, how can he tell? A great number of women with underlying disorders are asymptomatic during their childbearing years, as the illness will emerge later. How is Brewer able to screen these women out, since for many of them, there are no clinical indications of their underlying disorders? You said that perhaps my salt sensitivity made me a "special case" but really, 0% doesn't permit for "special cases"

And most importantly- why is Dr. Brewer so resistant to follow the normal channels of scientific/academic inquiry? Anyone can write a book or set up a website declaring that they have the "answer"- it's the ability of other people to replicate your results in a controlled setting that establishes proof. Now, for whatever reason, he is unable or unwilling to do this.

YOU are not saying his diet is one size fits all- but HE is. And 0% is not negotiable- he's either right, or he's wrong- HE hasn't permitted himself much leeway. Well, the problem is that I just don't believe 0%. And if he's wrong about that, he's wrong about it all.

It's great that you have good enough medical care that you can dabble in this- if this guy is wrong, then you're still covered. Well, I'd say a huge part of the problem is that many of us are having a hard time finding providers with sufficient knowledge about the disease competent to help us. We're not covered to begin with.

If you have a personal belief that this may help, then go for it- but as far as I'm concerned it has too little scientific proof backing it up and too many unanswered questions for us all to blithely jump on the bandwagon with you. And the problem is, if you follow what he says, and he's wrong, the potential loss is not face or ego- it's life.

Laura-28
DH Jack-30
Allie 5-13-98 (35 weeks-pre-e)
Baby Camille 4-17-03 (36 weeks- htn and oligo)
http://www.babiesonline.com/babies/c/camilleandallie/
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Re : Brewer Diet?

Postby sarahedgcomb » Fri Aug 01, 2003 00:41 am

by sarahedgcomb (19 Posts), Fri Aug 01, 2003 00:41 am

Okay... this is the last posting, I really promise this time!

I'd just like to quote directly from Dr. Brewer's introduction in his book - not cheezy website.

"I want to make it clear that not all pregnancy problems are related to diet, but in this book I want to make clear which ones are... because these problems have solutions. In my view this is the best part of the Brewer Pregnancy Diet: it empowers you to do the best possible for yourself and your baby."

Sample menu plan - 3,300 calories

Breakfast: orange juice, corned beef hash with an egg, bran muffin w/pat of butter

Mid morning snack: yogurt with fresh fruit

Lunch: salad nicoise, whole wheat or rye crackers or bread, milk

mid afternoon snack: peanuts, almonds, salted, milk

Dinner: spinach salad, moroccan chicken (with almonds, prunes and apricots) cous-cous, milk

Dessert: honey sponge cake

Middle of the night snack: piece of cheese, hard boiled egg, slice of meat, something left over from dinner, to keep your blood sugar up and avoid a lightheaded feeling first thing in the a.m.

So, that's a sample menu he gives for a day on the Brewer Diet. I've been subsituting the hash with oatmeal and fruit and a hard boiled egg for breakfast. There are also vegan and vegatarian options. It doesn't sound that over the top to me. Doesn't sound like too much food to me either. Maybe I eat more than other women on this chat board, I don't know. I'm not overweight though, and I haven't gained much since I've been pregnant - 8 weeks now.

I also resent a little bit (not a little bit, but a lot) being referred to as the "unhindered living/labor to the sound of whales/doctors that are butchers contingent that take his word as gospel" that's just rude and untrue. I'm follwing a diet, that's all. One that doesn't differ much from any other pregnancy nutrition guide that you would find in any other pregancy book. I went though the same horrific illness that is preeclampsia that everyone else on this site has suffered.I was extremely sick with preeclampsia, was swollen beond recognition, had extremely high blood pressure and kidney failure. I had a c-section at 32 weeks and gave birth to a 2.5 pound son who was in the NICU for 3 months. Do you think I don't understand what the illness is all about? What women's suffering is like who have this illness? The fear and trepidation of embarking on another pregnancy and what might happen? What it's like to be the mother of a preemie? You're very rude, wrong and angry to imply that I don't understand and that I think doctors are butchers.

Jeez, I think the next time I have something to say on this board, I'll keep my mouth shut! [:(!]







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Re : Brewer Diet?

Postby laura » Fri Aug 01, 2003 02:29 am

by laura (5139 Posts), Fri Aug 01, 2003 02:29 am

Sarah, If you read carefully, you'd see that the comments I made were not directed at you- I am concerned about the element of providers-- in my personal case midwives- who underestimate the causes of preeclampsia and do not refer sick patients to doctors because they read stuff like Dr. Brewer. That's who I was talking about. I was not talking about you- quite honestly, I don't understand how you got that. I said there was a militant contingent that takes his word as gospel- why on earth would you think that group includes you?

Now, if you were a provider, who had a patient who had preeclampsia, and you didn't run tests, and blew off concerns and told her that she should eat better because that's why she's sick, and didn't refer her to a doctor, and made disparaging comments about the doctor's decision to intervene, then yes I am referring to you. Unabashedly and unrepentantly. I doubt it though, unless you're the person who helped muck out my first pregnancy and tried to sell me protein supplements as I got sicker instead of treating me.

Obviously, you're not a provider. You're seeing a perinatologist. You're educating yourself about the disease. You're doing what you can not to get sick. You're not who I'm talking about.

This thread started because someone asked us what we thought of the diet- and some of us don't support it for various reasons, and we tried to leave it at that, and in the past have been able to do that. I think it's ok to carefully examine the available evidence, and disagree with something without being at risk of narrowmindedness- which, (I'm sure you'll correct me if I'm wrong)- seemed to be your implication.

I personally have very strong feelings about the diet-- I developed them a long time before I ever came here, and I try to hide that vehemence (poorly at times) until someone forces the issue. My opinions don't necessarily have a thing to do with the opinions of anyone else here but myself. If we have come to any kind of consensus, it was unintended.

This has certainly been a learning experience, and I know now to avoid the subject completely when it comes up in the future. I am sorry if you felt that my comments were personal to you-- they were certainly not intended as such.

Laura-28
DH Jack-30
Allie 5-13-98 (35 weeks-pre-e)
Baby Camille 4-17-03 (36 weeks- htn and oligo)
http://www.babiesonline.com/babies/c/camilleandallie/
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Re : Brewer Diet?

Postby sarahedgcomb » Fri Aug 01, 2003 03:35 am

by sarahedgcomb (19 Posts), Fri Aug 01, 2003 03:35 am

Even though your comment was directed at health care providers, it was pretty strong language and seemed to imply that if I agreed with aspects of Dr. Brewer's diet, that I also was in that category. That's how I could possibly think that that group included me.

Narrowmindedness runs both ways. I'm just exploring the possibility that nutrition might have something to do with preeclampsia. I seem to be in the minority on this site. I'm trying to combine nutrition (maybe in your eyes, an alternative practice) with seeing a high-risk specialist and following his orders.

This has been a learning experience for me as well. Dr. Brewer seems to stir up a lot of passion in people on this site and maybe it's better if I avoid the conversation in future as well.

Sarah
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Re : Brewer Diet?

Postby laura » Fri Aug 01, 2003 08:29 am

by laura (5139 Posts), Fri Aug 01, 2003 08:29 am

Sorry, I won't apologize for the strong language- but I will reiterate that it was not directed at you- I have a profound disregard for people who place the quality of the birth experience over the safety of it (in high risk pregnancies alone), and when the people we count on to tell the difference between the two cannot because of personal agendas. Honestly, those words are mild compared to what I really think.

If anyone else still takes issue with my phraseology, they are welcome to email me personally to discuss it, as my personal take on that contingent really has little to do with preeclampsia, and is distracting from the discussion at hand.

I never argued that nutrition wasn't an important part of pe- we weren't discussing nutrition in general, we we were discussing the Brewer Diet specifically.

I've said for months that I think there might be something in the oxidative stress theory and I am watching the antioxidant supplement use with great interest- and have myself been taking them with my multivitamin...

I also deliberately eat a diet heavy in green leafy vegetables rich with the B family of vitamins, and try to limit my carbohydrates and refined sugar intake in a futile attempt to corral the PCOS/insulin resistant link to preeclampsia. Again, I think diet is important (which I've been saying all along) just not this one.



Laura-28
DH Jack-30
Allie 5-13-98 (35 weeks-pre-e)
Baby Camille 4-17-03 (36 weeks- htn and oligo)
http://www.babiesonline.com/babies/c/camilleandallie/
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Re : Brewer Diet?

Postby deerhart » Fri Aug 01, 2003 10:26 am

by deerhart (3282 Posts), Fri Aug 01, 2003 10:26 am

HOLY COW 3300 calories a day!

Thats around 2x's the recommended intake for an adult and well over 1000 more calories then recommended for a pregnant woman (1600-2200 is avg for adult woman 1900-2500 is avg for a pregnant woman).

Heck i didn't eat that many calories a day when I was playing basketball and averaging 3-4 hous of strenous exercise daily, and I ate a ton (about 2500-2700 calories a day)

http://www.usda.gov/cnpp/DietGd.pdf
The recommended daily calorie intake and servings are on page 16-17 of the PDF

I think when you look at the brewer diet there is a lot more you have to take into consideration. What about your health AFTER the pregnancy. Every 10 calories a day you don't burn equates to adding 1 lb a year (so 3650 calories unspent =1 lbs). We also know that the body likes to hold on to fat versus dropping it.
Thus if your body uses 2300 calories a day pregnant, and you eat an extra 1000 calories over that, you are gaining 1lb ever 3.6 days. If you start the diet preconception (because you never know when its going to happen) so your on the diet for a full year (3 months preconception, 9 months of pregnany) you have 365000 unspent calories for that year that results in pure added weight in the form of fat.
That is 100lbs that you gained purly from your diet and doesn't include the natural weight you gain in pregnancy.
Thats 100lbs you will need to lose after the baby's born that will not just fall away because its not weight from excess fluids, baby.
Gaining that much weight can be just as unhealthy to your body as not eating well. Even if your eating all the right foods, if your eating in excess of what your boy needs your still eating unhealthy.

Erin
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Re : Brewer Diet?

Postby annegarrett » Fri Aug 01, 2003 06:32 pm

by annegarrett (2525 Posts), Fri Aug 01, 2003 06:32 pm

Okay--I think I will step in here. First of all--this is one thread on a site with some 4000+ postings--so it would be entirely inaccurate to say that "we" (I use that term to include all posting here) are opposed to a healthy diet. I think that has been said over and over again. The opinions of three women do not represent the whole website. I am not saying any opinions are wrong--just reminding us all to get some perspective here.

I feel terrible that Sarah feels attacked. That is not what we are about here. The strong feelings expressed are concerns about the doctor who is stating them. There are also concerns about the diet. Both of these concerns are valid. We do not know if the diet helps women or not--but several good points on both sides were raised.

I want to say that I hope neither Sarah, nor Alutiq or others at any time will feel that they cannot voice their opinion here. This is why we are here--to share ideas--some of them are going to be contentious. I think it is a mistake to personalize these feelings as an attack--women here, Sarah, you should remember, have lost their babies. Those women are going to feel very attacked when someone says (like Brewer does--and I know he does--he has written me this) that "if you just ate right, you would not have had this disease." Without even really realizing it that is what women read when we hear of this amazing diet. OR they think--"if I had only known." The fact is--we don't know.

The diet is really high in calories--exceptionally high in protein--and this disease compromises your kidneys. As obesity is a risk factor--as you gain weight, it could add to the risk of the disease. It is not a risk I personally would take--but that doesn't mean I know enough to argue the merits of the disease, or think Sarah is wrong. I would be very interested, as I said before, to know how it goes. I certainly don't like that anyone feels attacked.

That said--what I know--and some of the women posting here know--is that this particular doctor has been very very unkind not just to us, but to others who work with us. I personally have received hundreds of letters from him---they are scrawled on with various colored pens, every margin filled with incomprehensible comments--including calling myself, and several of the doctors whom I personally know and who donate their time to our work--terrible names and inferring that they think they are God or Christ, and are responsible for killing women. The man is willing to say for ex: that a particular woman who died died because of her own failure to eat properly. THIS kind of burden to that poor woman's family and her motherless infant--is reprehensible and THAT is where the hostility you are getting is coming from. It is inappropriately being aimed at you because you innocently came here and said--"hey--I am going to do this diet."

I have to be honest--I don't think it is a safe diet for a women with a history of preeclampsia--whether you have had all the screening tests or not. It is a disease that compromises your kidneys... Maybe my personal disbelief is colored by the man. He has been so unprofessional and questionable in his personal judgement that it makes me question his professional judgement. I cannot even share with you or this board the kinds of things specifically he has said--but trust me--they are not professional, and definitely not kind. I question his judgement. THAT said--I still defend your right to try this. We don't know if it works or not--and so I am eager to hear how it goes for you. My personal opinion is NOT the opinion of the Foundation and we would be happy to hear it is successful. Most importantly though--Laura is very right--this disease occurs across the board in the world--if diet was the issue--it would occur at different rates depending on the region. Presumably the US would be less likely to have preeclampsia--as opposed to someplace where there is famine and starvation is an issue. Women in poverty in the US are NOT protein deprived--quite the opposite, witness McDonalds. In fact, there is apparently even some research that preeclampsia went down during the war--when women had less protein due to rations.

I don't know. This is the whole big Atkins diet argument that is so contentious in the rest of the world. Still--I am sorry you have felt attacked. I think we all want to have this be a safe place for women to express their opinions. I for one--as I mentioned about my mom--started out with the desire to do a home birth. I am a vegetarian, and am very open-minded about diet and exercise. Of course we want the women here to eat well and get their weight under control. There is no question that making sure everything you can do is being done. There is a big difference though between his high calorie, high protein diet that is not what OBs recommend, and a normal pregnancy diet that is.

So you know, my best friend delivered her four in the tub at home (separately, thank god!) and if I could have--I would have. I took classes in hypnobirthing and followed a diet like Brewers during my third pregnancy. Twelve hours into my labor--with my hypnobirthing working fine--my kidneys started to fail and I nearly died--I had the Brewer book and was following the Brewer diet. I cannot encourage women to take the risk that I did. What you must appreciate is that we all want something to be "it" and for those of us--who walked, did yoga, ate all the eggs, butter, and protein, etc...and then had this fail...it makes it hard to hear someone say--this is what I think will work for me. I hope it does. That's what we all want--for this NOT to happen. What I do want you to appreciate is the anger you are picking up is the anger of loss--and the frustration that someone inadvertantly suggested we had failed. About 25% of the women who post on this forum have lost a baby. The hostility is at the man who suggests that we have done something or failed to do something that had such an incredible price. I know you certainly don't mean that--I really get that. I hope you all can appreciate that we are all fighting the same evil--not one another and our various theories--but this damn disease.

This is an important and really valid debate. Don't let some contention prevent you from exploring the truth behind one another's arguments.

Take care and please feel free to email me privately about this--if you wish.

Anne
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