DGP: Empowering Your Health and Pregnancy with Kelly LeVeque [Episode 4]

DGP-Episode4-KellyLeVeque-Interview

Welcome to this week’s Dirty Genes Podcast. Today I’m interviewing Holistic Nutritionist Kelly LeVeque about optimizing diet and fertility.

I’m Dr. Ben Lynch welcome to the Dirty Genes Podcast. I hope you enjoy the episode! If you do, be sure to give a thumbs-up, rate it, leave a comment, and Subscribe here

Table of Contents 

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Episode 4 Transcript: Empowering Your Health and Pregnancy with Kelly LeVeque

Dr. Ben Lynch: Welcome to this week’s interview with Kelly LeVeque, an intellectually curious woman, mother, and holistic nutritionist. I’m Dr. Ben Lynch, and this is The Dirty Genes Podcast. 

High blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, miscarriage, morning sickness, and a statement that puts it all together, “The minute you know the science and the education, then you are self-motivated.” 

Today on the Dirty Genes Podcast, I was discussing with Kelly LeVeque about the experiences that have empowered her to make changes based upon the science she’s gathered from her history of being a genetics researcher for eight years, pulled herself out of that field, and put herself into a different one that focuses on actual health optimization. She put what she learned into use in her own life: after experiencing miscarriage, she made some different choices that led to currently two beautiful children in her own family. So with that said, enjoy the discussion between Kelly and I on this episode of the Dirty Genes Podcast.

The Science of Self Motivation

Dr. Ben Lynch: So Kelly, you and I discovered each other through Instagram and you shared a quote with me, which I want to share with folks right now.:

“The minute you know the science and the education, then you are self-motivated.” 

I think that sums it up for those who don’t know you very well. I think this quote pretty much stands for the direction of where we’re going right now.

Kelly LeVeque: Absolutely. I would say, my whole goal as a holistic nutritionist and someone who shares online is just to make the science of eating to balance blood sugar really easy for anyone who doesn’t care about the science so that they can have a little motivation to go do it themselves.

Dr. Ben Lynch: Not many people say that. Not many people say that science and education improves your self motivation. And I think it’s a unique quote and it’s one that needs to be brought to the forefront, especially in this day and age where enabling is so rampant. And so what happened with you to create that statement?

Kelly LeVeque: Yeah. Well, I think for me personally, first and foremost, health in high school was my favorite class and it was my science elective. And then when I went to USC, Nature of Human Health and Disease was my favorite class. My thesis was on blood sugar imbalance, and it became such a motivating factor for me to take care of myself in a different way. 

I think growing up as a young woman, you have the magazines and Women’s Health and Cosmopolitan, and you see these beautiful people from the outside on the covers of these magazines. And vanity is one thing, but when it comes to vitality and energy and feeling our best and proper digestion, I remember having sinus infections my whole childhood. In college, having to deal with major constipation and not really knowing the cause of that to then learn that I have dairy and gluten intolerance and feel my best and feel really whip smart when I’m balanced and my blood sugar is balanced and I’m fat adapted.

And just really I think science is sexy. I think it’s really a fun way to take care of yourself when you understand how your body works and you’re fueling vitality and energy, and instead of thinking about vanity, it’s a way deeper why. And then fast forward, starting my business, helping others, getting pregnant, thinking about my children, thinking about my family. I want the people who follow me, the people who work with me, my family, my friends, my parents, I want them to care about their health not because of the way they look from the outside, but the way they feel on the inside. Even knowing to add leafy greens and veggies to your plate, you’re going to support your microbiome, and making sure that you’re eating enough healthy proteins can support your mineral levels, your B vitamin levels. I geek out on that stuff, and that’s way more motivating for me.

Internal vs. External Beauty

Dr. Ben Lynch: How do we shift the mindset of focusing on external us and start focusing on that there is tremendous beauty on the inside, and if you have the beauty on the inside, then the outside will follow, and not only that, but you’ll feel phenomenal! So what do you say to people who don’t really make any changes unless the pain is great enough for them to do so?

Kelly LeVeque: A lot of people that I’m working with will come to me with goals and pain points, but I will say…

When it comes to beauty on the inside, it’s showing up on the outside.

Dr. Ben Lynch: Yes.

Kelly LeVeque: I can see it in my client’s skin, for example. I know when there’s redness and dull skin and you just don’t see the vibrancy. And so that’s one of the things I actually get asked all the time is, “How can I work on having a little bit more of a glow, glowing skin?” And my whole thing, it always starts with the diet and the gut microbiome and teaching people to balance their blood sugar. Maybe their end goal is that they just want clearer, more dewy, glowy skin, but we’re working backwards and I’m teaching them the science of gut health and blood sugar balance for that increase in energy, for that glowing skin. And that’s the beauty of nutrition and taking care of ourselves is that it does show up on the outside, but it just isn’t going to happen as fast as some cosmetic or injection or bandaid.

Caring is Tracking: Monitoring Blood Glucose

Dr. Ben Lynch: Great point too, because once someone starts making that connection of supporting their gut microbiome or whatever thing that they are struggling with, and they do see the reflection on their skin, that is a motivating factor to go to the next level. And then you said something else. You said, “I want people to care about your health.” How do you do that?

Kelly LeVeque: For me? When I look at lifestyle diseases that are rampant in our society, that to me are preventable, reversible, and I’ve used my dad as an example recently, because it hit so close to home. My dad called me and said, “My doctor wants me to go on a statin, Kelly, and I have some pre-diabetic numbers.” And as someone who is obsessed with blood sugar balance, has written books on it and given my books to my parents, it obviously hit home. And what was important for me was that my dad understood that it was completely reversible if he understood what to do. So I got him a continuous glucose monitor. He had been using a glucometer prior, but we got a continuous glucose monitor and he tested his blood sugar about a month later, maybe it was five weeks, and all of his pre-diabetic numbers were down.

Kelly LeVeque: We saw it in the continuous glucose monitor. He was waking up with fasting blood sugar at 130, 140, and today he’s waking up in the 90s. He’s not in the 60s, 70s, or 80s. But for my dad, that’s phenomenal, and he’s lost close to 20 pounds. And my dad, he’s a teddy bear. He’s a dad of three girls, so supportive of us growing up and just the most amazing laugh you’ve ever heard, and all I want for him is health. I want him to care about his health, but this is where science can motivate people. He all of a sudden started seeing, “Oh, well, I’m making this choice at the Mexican food restaurant with my wife,” my mom, “to have the chips and have the burrito. And then I see the number spike up,” because it’s processed foods, bad oils, whatever, really highly palatable food he can’t stop. It’s not his fault. It’s that, that stuff lights up our brain. And so just for him to see it and say, “Okay, well, maybe next time I’ll get the fajita. I’ll hold the tortillas. I’ll have a few chips. Let’s see how high it goes.”

Kelly LeVeque: And what he started to learn was eating the fab four, it only took him years, but that eating high quality proteins or healthy fats and veggies really, it’s not rocket science, those foods help support blood sugar balance. They’re going to bring down that number over time. And that’s what we saw. It wasn’t saying, “What you’ve done in the past is bad.” It was elevating all these little choices, giving him the education and a diagnostic tool to say, “Oh, wow, this is what’s happening in my body. This is my bio-individuality and here’s the choices I can make. And I feel empowered. I feel educated. I can take hold of my own health and change it.” And not everyone can get their hands on a continuous glucose monitor, but a glucometer is something that I teach clients to use all the time. And that’s less than $40 at a Walmart or Target or Amazon, wherever you want to buy one.

Kelly LeVeque: And it can easily teach you about yourself. But you can also do test foods and see what creates more energy throughout the day. And just learn a little bit about what’s coming out in PubMed research around nutrition to support a healthy, vibrant life. So I love that, because my dad doesn’t love science. He loves business and finance and real estate. And so getting him to open his mind up to this side of taking care of himself was amazing.

Learn How Food Affects You

Dr. Ben Lynch: What I’m hearing over and over again is:

You have the ability to do it if you understand how.

Kelly LeVeque: Yeah.

Dr. Ben Lynch: And that first choice to implement is not an easy one, because you have doubts, it takes effort, it requires change. It’s a new thing for you to incorporate in your life, and we don’t like creating new lanes in our brain for something, because that’s a lot of work. We like just the quick and easy highway of have dinner, go get those Pepperidge Farm Cookies, because that reminds me of having Kelly as a young daughter in our home, and I want to cherish that moment. And having a Pepperidge Farm Cookie after dinner, what’s the harm?

Kelly LeVeque: Right.

Dr. Ben Lynch: Well, check your blood glucose meter. Oh, that’s the harm.

Kelly LeVeque: Right.

Dr. Ben Lynch: Oh, I’m overweight and blood pressure’s high. That’s the harm. Now I can’t succeed in my business and the things I actually like. So now I care about science more so I can actually enjoy the things which I like, which is business and real estate and travel and whatever the other things that you know he enjoys. But you did it, you mentioned a very, very important point. You said, “Learn how food affects you.” People eat food because, A, it tastes good, B, they’re hungry, or, C, that it fills an emotional void, unfortunately.” But the food that really nourishes you or your dad may actually really negatively affect me. Do you recommend avocados to your father?

Kelly LeVeque: I do.

Dr. Ben Lynch: Avocado is a very healthy food and the popularity of avocado has skyrocketed.

Kelly LeVeque: Totally.

Dr. Ben Lynch: But I love avocado. I love the fact that I could slice open an avocado and get some healthy fats and proteins. And it was sweet, but not too sweet. And I could just eat it almost like an apple after I peeled it.

Kelly LeVeque: Yeah.

Dr. Ben Lynch: But an hour or two, probably an hour later where I get hot, I get tired, my focus was off, and then I was like, “Oh, what the heck? I’ll do a food allergy test.” IgG from US BioTek. Avocado, five, IgG.

Kelly LeVeque: Wow.

Dr. Ben Lynch: What? Take a mental note before you eat how you’re feeling. Are you feeling hungry? A little brain fog, little lethargic? What are you craving? You eat whatever food that is, and then you check in. 15 minutes, 30 minutes. How am I doing? That’s all. It’s a quick check-in. Is your pulse rate elevated? Are you hotter? Is your tongue burning? And so on. So what little tricks like that are you recommending, or have you found?

Kelly LeVeque: So with clients and with myself or anyone interested in understanding how food affects them, things that I look for, you’ve mentioned a couple of them. Feeling really tired. Headaches can come up. Excessive bloating, that might be due to, a severe cause would be a small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, but there’s some dysbiosis there. Feeling brain fog. Absolutely. Do you immediately feel like you need to take a nap after that meal? That could be sugar load, carbohydrate load, but it also could be a food allergy. And then when people have the ability to, I love a food intolerance test, but also understanding what’s at play here. So you have an intolerance to this food. It may be because of leaky gut. We may need to work on pulling those things out, healing the gut, and reintroducing them. It doesn’t always have to be forever. But those are definitely things that I’ll work on with a client.

Kelly LeVeque: And if any time someone’s having a problem with, for me, personally, eggs and dairy do come up, and gluten, but I’ve been off gluten since my late 20s, and I think that’s a really easy thing to do now in 2021. But dairy, I don’t eat a lot of dairy. And then when I’m pregnant, it’s something that I crave and use during the first trimester when I’m nauseous. I love like a grass fed cottage cheese or a Greek yogurt. It’s a really plain, good way to get in protein and calcium. But it is interesting because I do notice that I have a little more mucus in my nose and I do notice that’s something to look at. Is your response, are you having more mucus? Are you feeling congested after you eat? That’s a major sign, Sore throat. There are little things that can come up for people. They may not even be attributing that to food. They might say, “Oh, I’ve had allergies my whole life,” and they’re thinking seasonal or dust or grass or whatever that may be, but it can absolutely be related to food.

Dr. Ben Lynch: And …

What becomes routine becomes normal.

Kelly LeVeque: Absolutely.

Intuitive Eating

Dr. Ben Lynch: If you eat something and you get tired, it’s like, “Oh yeah, it’s normal to become tired after you eat,” because what becomes routine becomes normal, and you need to be aware and mindful, checking in, tuning in, as I mentioned in the book, Dirty Genes, over and over again, tune in to how you’re feeling. And it just takes a moment, right, Kelly? It just takes a second.

Kelly LeVeque: Absolutely. And you’re touching on a subject that I think is really interesting and timely right now because intuitive eating is a really powerful movement where no foods are off limits, where it’s anti-diet, anti-weight loss, really like enjoy yourself, everything in moderation. And I love that to a point. It’s something I talked about actually on a news segment a few weeks ago, is that we have to have some basic understanding of science. We need to know what our bio-individuality is when it comes to allergies, when it comes to our genetics, and, really, we need to understand how blood sugar works. So many times I work with clients and they’re like, “I’m intuitively eating. I intuitively feel like having pancakes for breakfast. And I’m going to try to make a healthy choice. I’m going to use this lower glycemic paleo pancakes or something like that.”

Kelly LeVeque: But they might still, at a process level, spike glucose up for 90 minutes or two hours, and then that crash starts to happen where insulin is putting away that sugar, and all of a sudden they’re feeling like, “That doesn’t feel great. My cravings are increased. My energy is depleting and I’m not a fat adapted human. I can’t just dip into ketones. There’s too much insulin present in my bloodstream. And intuitively I feel like an apple, or I feel like a sugary yogurt, or I feel like some crackers.” Of course, you’re going to feel like that, because the way that your blood sugar is going up, and depending on the amount of insulin your pancreas is releasing it, you could be crashing, and that crash is inducing cravings. And so we’re really not intuitively eating at that point. We’re responding to what’s happening in our bloodstream and we’re not taking an educated approach.

Kelly LeVeque: So I’m absolutely all for if you feel like eating certain foods, but then just take a minute and say, “We went to the farm stand and I went to this amazing,” we buy our produce at this farm stand here called The Ecology Center and it’s amazing, I’m so lucky to have it. They don’t use pesticides. Everything’s grown on the property. You can go in, and I don’t care if Sebastian eats the berries right out of the box at the store, because I know it’s just dirt, if anything. But let’s say we both had a lot of fruit. Well, of course, people need to understand that fruit is sugar. So I may feel more hungry after that. I may need to think about what my body needs to rebalance and support that blood sugar balance in my next meal or in the next two hours. And then you’re taking an educated approach.

Kelly LeVeque: “I felt like having all this fruit. I enjoyed it. It was delicious. It was seasonal, but now I’m crashing and I either need to go burn that off and take a walk around the neighborhood, or I need to have something like protein, fiber, and a fat based snack of a handful of nuts.” Or if I’m rolling into dinner, how can I have some healthy protein?

Dr. Ben Lynch: And if you are a healthy person and you eat organic strawberries, hopefully, because they’re loaded in organophosphates, if you’re eating these things, you should not crash.

Kelly LeVeque: Absolutely, because they’re wrapped in fiber.

Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, they’re wrapped in fiber and your body has mechanisms at play. If your genes are functioning properly, then if you eat strawberries or even a donut, you should have metabolic flexibility. And Kelly, you keep saying over and over again the term fat adapted. And I want you to make sure that who’s listening understands that. You can choose any weight loss diet you want. You can be strict about the food that goes into your mouth. You can be strict about exercising and all that, but if you are not “fat adapted”, you try intermittent fasting, ketogenic diet, if you are not fat adapted, you ain’t losing weight.

What is Fat Adapted?

Dr. Ben Lynch: So in your words, what is fat adapted?

Kelly LeVeque: Fat adapted means that your body has the ability to burn fat as fuel. And so, in every single cell, we have mitochondria and we can either burn sugar or we can burn ketones, a fat substrate. And what is so amazing about being fat adapted, it means that you’re burning off your sugar, your insulin levels drop low enough to where all of a sudden, when you run out of sugar, your body switches over. I like to tell my clients, it’s like they’re a Prius and they have gas in the tank and they have a battery, and gas is glucose and battery is fat, and you can use both forms of fuel. But the key is, when your gas tank runs out, can you switch over to battery? And the thing is, I notice when people do keto, they intermittent fast, and you mentioned this, the side effects of not being fat adapted is feeling the keto flu, having a major headache, brain fog. And it feels really, really hard, because what’s happening is your little Prius can’t kick over to battery operation.

Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah. In glucose, you have an ability to store glucose as long chains of glucose. They all hook together in a compound, glycogen, and your liver can store some glycogen and then your muscles can store some glycogen and that’s it.

Kelly LeVeque: That’s exactly right.

Dr. Ben Lynch: So you cannot store a ton amount of glucose, and that’s why you get fat. You get fat because fat is a great storage compound for a lot of energy, a lot of fuel. But if you cannot access that fuel, if you’re not fat adapted because you cannot switch from gas to the electric in the Prius, you’re going to become overweight. When you eat strawberries or something and you get on a high, then you crash, or you eat a peach or you eat one cookie and you’re on this up and down all day long, you are not fat adapted most likely. And that’s a big, big issue.

What’s Your Pantry Fly-By?

Kelly LeVeque: I think one thing to leave with your listeners is that if you’re constantly filling up the gas tank, meaning you’re feeling low, and you reach for a carby snack to feel better, you’re constantly filling up that gas tank. And why would your body ever say, “I’m going to dip into fat and I’m going to start burning fat for fuel,” when we have this fast, quick energy of glucose from processed foods and sugar?

Dr. Ben Lynch: Yes.

Kelly LeVeque: Your body’s never going to do that, because why? It’s going to want to keep you alive. It’s going to want to keep fat stores on your body. But I think when you look back at the generations before us, the access to food and what we have available to us at any given moment in our pantry, I call it pantry fly-bys, clients are working Zoom hours in the pandemic, they’re teaching their kids in school, and then they’re doing a pantry fly-by emotionally, for energy, for whatever it is. But remember that if you’re constantly filling your gas tank, you will never give your little Prius a break and use that battery operation.

Miscarriage: Loss and Learning

Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah. And then I want to shift into your pregnancy, because pregnancy is something that is extremely, well, it’s an amazing moment for one, as a parent, but also as a health professional to support people to have a healthy pregnancy. Because if you have a healthy pregnancy, A, you feel great, B, you have an amazing, healthy child, and, C, you’re supporting your next generation in your family of grandchildren. It encompasses so much, and so you share with folks about your pregnancies and what happened and what you changed.

Kelly LeVeque: So I’ve had three pregnancies. My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. I was actually on my first book tour for Body Love, so one of the books that I put out. I was on my tour and I took a little mini-vacation with my husband. We went to Japan, ate a bunch of fish, flew many miles, and unfortunately, it was an early miscarriage. But around eight weeks, we lost that pregnancy, and it made me take a step back, actually. It made me realize that I wasn’t invincible, that just because I was a nutritionist and took good care of myself that I couldn’t take better care of myself. I also learned that the body’s an amazing thing because if there was a genetic abnormality here or something that wasn’t right, I think we’re pretty amazing human beings. And it was very sad for us, but we pulled ourselves up and we gave it another try.

Dr. Ben Lynch: It’s got to be heart wrenching.

Kelly LeVeque: It’s heart wrenching. I mean, you picture your child. I’m married to the love of my life. I’ve been with Chris since 2007. I felt like I knew he was my person on the first day I met him. We have a very special relationship and all we wanted to do was have kids. We changed careers and it took us a while. We got married and we didn’t have children until almost six years later, and my parents were like, “When are the grand babies coming?” We had some career stuff and we were so excited. I have two boys now. I’d love to have three or four. I want a rowdy house of fun human beings that I can learn from. So when I think about my family growing up in a family of five and having two younger sisters and just the energy of, I grew up actually in a Catholic family and I went to Catholic school, so I had friends who were from families of six or eight kids.

Kelly LeVeque: They learned to share and they aren’t so self centered. And I don’t know, I just love children. I can’t tell you. So it’s heartbreaking to this day. When Memorial Day Weekend rolls around and that was going to be our first child’s due date, I do remember it. It doesn’t go away.

Dr. Ben Lynch: Oh yeah. Right. I can imagine.

Kelly LeVeque: I’m grateful I’m always the kind of person that looks for the positive and tries to, Brene Brown says, “Resilient people tell themselves a story. They tell themselves a story as to why things are working out the way that they are,” and I would say that that’s something that resonated so deeply with me in my whole life. Why did I go to business school instead of pre-med, and then have to go back to school for nutrition? Why? And if I would have got out of school and been an RD right out of USC, I would have worked in a hospital. I would have followed traditional practices. I would have towed the line. And I learned a lot. I read dozens and dozens and dozens and dozens of PubMed research articles. I understood how to look at a study and say, “Does it have a significant P value? Is it community-based? Is it double-blind? What are we saying here?”

Kelly LeVeque: And that has informed my entire practice now and my ability to make science accessible to the lay person or to someone who doesn’t care about science. So I will say, having a miscarriage is a horrible thing, but the blessings that I’ve had on the back end of that, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Born from Pain: Success

Dr. Ben Lynch: That’s exactly why you and I are talking right now. From our pain, our biggest pains, come our biggest successes. And you see that when you hear about certain people who are just crushing it in various areas in their life, if you go back in their history, they were not doing that prior. They were really struggling with whatever it was they were struggling with that pushed them to succeed, because from such intense pain, that is a primary motivating factor to make some changes in order to obtain the things that you want. And we started this discussion, you and I, and with you listening, that some people are not motivated to feel great, they’re just motivated to feel good. But when it comes to pregnancy, it’s either 0% or 100%.

Kelly LeVeque: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ketones & Pregnancy

Dr. Ben Lynch: What changes did you make to make sure or to minimize your risk of having yet another miscarriage?

Kelly LeVeque: Well, first and foremost, I realized that the running and gunning, the airplanes, they weren’t conducive to me and my body feeling calm and relaxed. And we know that elevated cortisol can affect fertility. We know that oxidative stress, whether that’s radiation from an airplane or low-quality food.

Dr. Ben Lynch: Jet fuel.

Kelly LeVeque: Jet fuel, not a lot of antioxidants, fast protein bars, things like that. That’s not creating that vitality that we need to be really fertile. We know that connecting with your partner and not just like having sex to make a baby, but cuddling up on the couch and watching your favorite TV show, connecting and being present in your home, moving your body, all of those things that I was piecemealing together or not getting to when I was traveling so much, it all changed. I actually found out that I was pregnant not by taking a pregnancy test, but because post-miscarriage I actually worked to get into a fat adapted state. I was using a glucometer ketone meter to understand, “Okay, I’m burning glucose now. Okay, now my body is producing some ketones.” We know that beta-hydroxybutyrate is super anti-inflammatory and a really lower fasting blood glucose, a really balanced blood sugar curve. All of those things can be really supportive of fertility.

Kelly LeVeque: So I was just checking in and then I checked my ketones one day and they were way higher. I mean, it wasn’t just moderate, small to moderate amounts of ketones that are just healthy and anti-inflammatory, it was, “Whoa, I’m in full-blown ketosis. How did this happen? I’m still having fiber-rich berries and there’s some butternut squash, and someone would say starchy tubers still in my diet and ketones where I was showing them in the morning, and I was like, “Wait a second. Something’s happening. I might be pregnant,” and I took a pregnancy test and realized that I was pregnant. But it was really just going back to the roots. It was, how was I sleeping? How was I moving? How was I eating? And then, one thing, and one of the reasons why I found you was actually looking for functional prenatals. 

Fertility & Nutrient Levels

Kelly LeVeque: I’ve known in the past from blood tests like NutrEval that I’m low in B6 and I’m low in B12. And so I think when you look at the market of prenatal vitamins, you will find that people are putting sometimes improper forms of vitamins, like folic acid. But beyond improper forms, they’re at really low doses in comparison to if someone’s coming from a deficient place. And I was thinking, “Wow, I just had a miscarriage. I’m running and gunning. I’ve known in the past that I’ve had these specific deficiencies. I really want to up my nutrient levels, definitely be out of the deficiency zone, but really be in a place for optimal being at optimal functional level when it comes to these nutrients for my baby.” So that’s how I found Seeking Health, which is how I found you, was taking your prenatal. And, of course, working with clients now, I have a pregnancy nutrition course online and I recommend Seeking Health prenatals. And sometimes I get back from clients that they don’t want to take eight pills.

Dr. Ben Lynch: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly LeVeque: And I’m like, “I get it.” But let me tell you, coming from a place of feeling like you don’t have any deficiencies and you know that you have all the proper nutrients for your baby, knowing that things like choline and your folate levels, those are all so critical to neural tube closure, to IQ, cognitive development, that is my insurance.” And so that was also something that I brought in and something that I recommend to my clients. I’m so thankful that you started Seeking Health because you look out on the market, and like I said, improper forms and low values where it’s like, “That’s not going to get someone out of the deficiency state, and that’s not going to be supportive to fetal development.” So what can we do to think optimally from a functional perspective?

Pregnancy, Nausea & B6

Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah. Well, I’m glad you did your research on that and I’m glad that you realized that you weren’t in such a deficient state that you really needed to optimize your nutrient levels. And I’m glad that Seeking Health prenatals were able to support you in your pregnancy. And did the prenatals help you?

Kelly LeVeque: I feel a drastic difference when I’m not deficient in B12 and B6. And what was so interesting is that I was taking your prenatals about three months prior to getting pregnant with Sebastian. We had had the miscarriage and then I got on your prenatals after that. And this is just how I felt personally, I had zero nausea in my first trimester, and so much nausea research is being linked to a deficiency in B6.

Dr. Ben Lynch: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly LeVeque: And so I’m curious, because the second time around, I was taking my prenatals, I was nursing Sebastian, I nursed him until he was 18 months old. And, actually, I’d gotten a little bit bad about taking my prenatals there at the end. Not as often, not every day, and I could have easily, I’m breastfeeding, I’m giving all my nutrients away, and I don’t want to say postnatal depletion, but I was back to writing my second book, I was going back out on my second book tour. And I weaned Sebastian at his 18 month birthday and the next morning I woke up, I took a pregnancy test and I was pregnant.

Dr. Ben Lynch: Wow.

Kelly LeVeque: And I felt so nauseous my first trimester, and obviously people have theories as to why you might feel nauseous or not feel nauseous, but I’ll tell you, I am planning to have three or four children and there is no world in which I’m going to let Chris get anywhere near me without being serious about my prenatals.

Dr. Ben Lynch: Back off.

Prenatals Before Pregnancy

Kelly LeVeque: Because if that is the straw that broke the camel’s back, I’m going to be mad at myself for that first trimester with pregnancy. But I will tell you, I just think it’s insurance. For me, it’s insurance to know that my nutrient levels are high. It’s to know that I have everything that I need to give to my child. It doesn’t replace the whole food nutrient dense diet, but I mean, I think it’s made a world of difference for me personally and it’s life-changing and life-giving, in my opinion.

Dr. Ben Lynch: Life-changing and life-giving, I love that. And it’s multi-generational.

Kelly LeVeque: Absolutely.

Dr. Ben Lynch: A prenatal is for you, it’s for your developing baby, it’s for your developing placenta, and it’s for your developing grandchildren. It’s an essential component of your pregnancy and your breastfeeding and your pre-pregnancy planning as well, to get you optimized to have a healthy child and a healthy pregnancy.

Learning from Choice & Experience

Kelly LeVeque: Yeah. Well, I think we all can learn from our choices and we can learn from our experiences. I mean, that’s the best way to learn, in my opinion. I love when Sebastian learns that he can’t climb the highest tree because he fell and he makes edits to his behavior or learns from something like that, than need to tell him, “Don’t do this,” or, “Don’t do that,” or, “You have to do this,” or, “You have to do that.” It’s how I learn personally.

Dr. Ben Lynch: Yes.

Kelly LeVeque: And you just saw that throughout the progression of, I would say, the last three or four years, was me learning through what do I need to feel my best throughout my pregnancies? And how do I prepare myself? And, again, no blame, we’re elevating. How can we elevate? How can we elevate?

Dr. Ben Lynch: I really hope that you listening are looking and reflecting on your situation right now. It just takes a moment to look at where you are, think about whatever it is that you want to do or accomplish or feel better in whatever area, then you need to step backwards and say:

“What science do I need to know about this? What information do I need to acquire?”

Because you can, it’s out there, and find it. And then, “How do I track it? Do I just tune in and do a mental check in? Or do we need to buy some devices or some tools to help me to go through that?” So there’s a lot here. And, Kelly, I just want to thank you immensely for what you’ve shared, and I can talk with you for another four hours.

Kelly LeVeque: Same.

Optimizing Fertility

Dr. Ben Lynch: But Kelly, is there anything that we have not shared yet that you really want to share with folks?

Kelly LeVeque: Well, I just think that there is a lot of blame that can happen for people when they don’t feel their best. We’re talking a lot about pregnancy and there are so many women that are facing infertility right now, and doctors will call it unexplained infertility. And I think what we have to do as humans is be resilient, and like Brene Brown talks about is, tell ourselves the story and find purpose in what’s happening in our life. If someone is going through infertility, I just want them to know that my heart goes out to you. Obviously, I’m sharing my story and I do get pregnant easily, but I know so many people struggle with that. And so I would say, back to the theme is, how can you empower yourself and educate yourself?

Kelly LeVeque: I think testing is so important. I think nutrient values, knowing your nutrient status is so important. I think understanding how your blood sugar is functioning, how are you sleeping? If you’ve done everything to support that and it still is not working out for you, I think have faith and trust that this is part of your story, and just keep trying, keep educating. So I just want it to be really positive for people that are struggling too.

Dr. Ben Lynch: You’re like this person who is in constant optimization, which is exactly what Seeing Health was created for and why we say, “Optimizing life,” because you are always doing that. So my hats off to you for doing that, Kelly. Thank you.

Kelly LeVeque: Yeah.

Dr. Ben Lynch: I appreciate your time with us.

Kelly LeVeque: Thank you, Dr. Lynch.

Dr. Ben Lynch: Take care all.

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