04.22.14 9:45 AM ET
From ‘Clueless’ to Clueless: Alicia Silverstone’s ‘The Kind Mama’
Alicia Silverstone, the Clueless star and former Aerosmith video vixen, caused controversy in 2012 after posting a video of herself pre-chewing her son’s food and transferring it from her mouth to his. Now she has written a book urging you to do the same.
In The Kind Mama: A Simple Guide to Supercharged Fertility, a Radiant Pregnancy, a Sweeter Birth, and a Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning, Silverstone chronicles what might reasonably be called her unconventional parenting advice: Bananas are “a naughty food for a baby,” the diaper industry is “pseudoscience,” and vaccines are essentially shots of “aluminum and formaldehyde.”
But the book presents a laundry list of amazing promises. Silverstone will “show you the way to have a luminous, present, ailment-free pregnancy.” Why go to an obstetrician when a Hollywood star can “help prevent or even cure your PMS, insomnia, allergies, breakouts, weight struggles, thyroid condition, lupus, multiple sclerosis—while significantly lowering your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer”? Yes, Alicia Silverstone just offered to cure your thyroid condition and lower your risk of contracting cancer.
If you aren’t suffering from medical paranoia during your pregnancy, Silverstone’s book nevertheless will teach you “to listen to what your body really needs and then relax into the yumminess of it all.”
She wants to address the questions plaguing American woman, while assuring them that “nature’s already provided the answers” to pregnancy and the solution is to “get kind.” It’s unclear what any of this means, but we combed The Kind Mama for some of nature’s answers to pregnancy’s toughest problems.
1. Meat, dairy, and processed foods track ‘toxic sludge’ through your uterus.
Your uterus is your “baby house”—and it “needs maintenance, too. You wouldn’t want to bring your baby into a junk-filled house with a leaky roof and backed-up plumbing, right?” How does one maintain a uterus house? “Meat, dairy, and processed foods” should be avoided, she says, because they are “tracking toxic sludge through your baby house.”
2. Eating plants means you won’t need medicine.
Eating plants during pregnancy, writes Silverstone, “means not only boosting the odds of conceiving but also setting the stage for a transcendent pregnancy, a smoother birth, a healthier baby, and long-term protection from almost every disease there is.” By eating “kind foods”—plant-based foods—women can “supercharge fertility; reduce your likelihood of miscarriage; infuse breast milk with all kinds of nutrient goodness that make your kids smart and healthy; and help stave off diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes.” According to doctors vetted by Silverstone, kind foods “can demolish your need for pharmaceutical drugs, especially for the treatment of things like depression, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension.”
3. Breast milk has an ‘almost otherworldly power.’
Silverstone writes that “aside from giving your baby every single health advantage there is at mealtime, breast milk is also the ultimate cure-all for almost every ailment that might come up in baby’s early days. It’s a natural antibiotic and has almost otherworldly power to both soothe and heal.” The movie star advises non-movie star moms to enlist the help of a “lactation consultant” in the event that they have trouble breastfeeding. “The $100 or $200 you spend to help you establish a fruitful, long-term nursing relationship will ultimately save you money, whether on formula or medical costs down the road.”
4. If pregnant women bought this book, they wouldn’t be so depressed.
If only Brooke Shields, author of Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression, had listened to Silverstone and eaten more plants, she wouldn’t have been suicidal after giving birth. According to Silverstone, “though it’s less common among kind mamas, some women experience the blues after giving birth.” If you want to prevent crippling postpartum depression, just avoid eating certain foods, including processed sugars, “which makes us feel unbalanced.”
5. Stop using tampons.
Is there a class-action suit against OB on the horizon? According to Silverstone, tampons might be making you infertile: “[Y]our chichi is the most absorbent part of your body. Unfortunately, feminine-care manufacturers aren’t required to tell you what’s in their products, which means that no one’s talking about the potential pesticide residues from non-organic cotton and the ‘fragrances’ containing hormone-upsetting, fertility-knocking phthalates that are snuggling up to your hoo-ha.”
6. Babies should ‘leave their business in the grass.’
Silverstone’s child was potty-trained at six months, an apparently seamless process that involved reading his facial expressions and other “cues about his need to pee or poop.” She noticed that “when Bear looked like he was flirting with me, smiling sweetly, or looking deep into my eyes, he’d be peeing.” Another signal was when he would “stare off into space for a second.” She assures readers that it’s “not all guesswork” and if you’re really in tune with your maternal instincts, then you too may start referring to yourself as a “potty whisperer.” And there are myriad benefits for EC-trained babies, who are “much more content leaving their business in the grass than having to sleep and eat accompanied by their own pee and poo.” An added bonus? Kind mamas can avoid funneling money into the “multibillion-dollar” disposable diaper industry, which is “fueled by corporate-backed pseudoscience.”
7. Anecdotally, some babies are ‘never the same’ after vaccines.
Adding another misinformed voice to the debate, Silverstone offers this qualified defense of vaccine conspiracy theorists: “According to Drs. Roizen and Oz…While there has not been a conclusive study of the negative effects of such a rigorous one-size-fits-all, shoot-’em-up schedule, there is increasing anecdotal evidence from doctors who have gotten distressed phone calls from parents claiming their child was ‘never the same’ after receiving a vaccine. And I personally have friends whose babies were drastically affected in this way.” Anecdotal evidence from friends? Case closed.
8. Forcing a baby to sleep outside the ‘Family Bed’ is tantamount to neglect.
Silverstone knows what you’re thinking: Sharing a bed with your infant “sounds like some kind of trippy holdover from the peace, love, and barley casserole notions of the commune-happy sixties.” Fair enough, she writes, but the alternative—forcing your helpless baby to sleep “in a barred-in box completely alone”—may well amount to child neglect. “Sharing a bed with baby means you can tune in better to her needs, which in turn builds security and trust.” The worst thing you can do is leave a baby to “cry it out, self-soothe, or otherwise independently take care of himself before he’s ready.” This kind of neglect will foster an unhealthy parent-child relationship, ensuring that your baby “misses out on the trust building that’s crucial in infant development.” You might as well throw him out in the cold and tell him to come back when he gets a job, because letting him cry it out prevents him from “learning how kind and giving the world is.”
9. Stop planning to have a baby.
Ultimately, having a baby is pretty easy, Silverstone writes: “Eat well, get healthy, then ditch all the planning and trying and just let it flow. There’s no better way to make a baby than with yummy, soulful sex!”