Good Looks are More Than Skin-Deep, or Why You Want Attractive Kids

5 Mar

Turns out that the way you look, from the width of your face to the spacing of your eyes to the prominence of your brow or chin, might be more than a matter of simple aesthetics. In other words, rich people aren’t good-looking simply because their fathers before them could afford to entice the most beautiful women into the backseat of the family Rolls Royce. Rich people must tend towards good-looking because they’re rich. Dammit, right?

The reason for this is probably what you assumed, to a degree, anyway. THEY HAVE MONEY! So they can afford the best hairdressers, makeup, zit creams, and so on, maybe. I used to think to myself while in grade school, why does the biggest spoiled brat in school have such perfect skin? Life is so not fair. And it’s true – life’s not fair. But the reality is even less fair than all that, perhaps. If someone’s mom can afford to feed herself well, and then later her growing fetus, then there’s a much greater chance that her offspring’s genes will work to his or her advantage. This translates to fully and correctly formed skulls, skeletons, organs, and teeth. However! – rich or poor, everyone can find, make, grow, or create foods that will create super-healthy fetuses who will later have increased chances of becoming superhumans.

There are valid reasons that we are drawn to particular facial features, and those reasons are completely intertwined with the seemingly magical formula that dictates how all living things form and grow. This magical formula is literally a code of proportional growth, and it silently guides the creation of virtually all of humankind’s most recognized works of art, architecture, photography, and music. This “golden ratio” – 1.61803398 (and so on) is the Fibonacci sequence. In the late 1970′s a plastic surgeon named Dr. Stephen Marquardt, faced with a difficult reconstruction of the badly-damaged lower jaw of a girl involved in a car accident, wondered how he could give her results that she’d be happy with. Exactly what would constitute a jaw that would be attractive on the proportions of her face in particular?

The book Deep Nutrition states, “In his pursuit of the perfect face, Dr. Marquardt discovered that the golden ratio is uniquely capable of generating a special kind of symmetry, called dynamic symmetry. According to the theory of perception, there are two ways to create harmonic balance within an object or space. One is to divide it into equal parts, creating the symmetry of balance. The other is a division based on the golden section, creating the perfect form of asymmetry–perfect because the ratio of the lesser part to the greater part is the same as the greater part to the whole. This is dynamic symmetry. Interestingly, dynamic symmetry characterizes the growth of living matter, while static symmetry characterizes the growth of crystals.”

Contrary to widely-held belief, the popular media doesn’t truly dictate the overriding standard by which we pick our most beautiful people. Even babies stare longer at people whose faces are formed according to the same proportions that shape not just the growth of ferns and the formation of the nautilus shell, but the dendritic connections inside of our brains. This baby gaze implies that our brains seek recognizable patterns in order to draw more rapid conclusions, like, “Oh, that’s human (or not).” As Dr. Catharine Shanahan, the author of Deep Nutrition says, “every time the brain is presented with an image or sound it is, in essence, being posed a kind of mathematical riddle. The more pleasing the image or harmonious the sound, the fewer the barriers standing between the beholder and the pleasure of the epiphany of the solution. The Fibonacci sequence may facilitate this process, enabling us to solve these visual or acoustic riddles faster by serving as a template that helps order our minds and orchestrate our thoughts.” So basically, all this means that beauty is more than skin-deep, at least when we’re talking epigenetics. Epigenetics tells us that our environment dictates somewhere between 80 and 97% of our gene expression. The most direct and consistent way we interact with our genes is via the food we eat.

The child who in the womb had a steady diet of nutrition-packed fetus food will enjoy the fruits of her parents’ dietary investments for her entire life. Not only will she have a healthy brain inside a spacious skull, she’ll have muscles and bones that are built to perform, rather than slowly assuming the same dimensions as her beanbag video gaming chair. Even if she squanders these genetic gifts by spending years eating crappy food, drinking soda, and playing World of Warcraft for 18-hour stretches, she will still suffer fewer negative effects than someone who does all those same things without the same inheritance (however, her kids would be screwed – parents, stop parking your kids in front of the TV or your grandkids could wind up not-so-hot). Interestingly enough, while prenatal vitamins can aid in proper fetal development, those vitamins would do far more good if they were administered in the months before mom ever becomes pregnant, creating an environment that’s rich enough to prepare for the baby’s first ten weeks of development, when fetal formation is most able to be influenced. So, if you or someone you love is thinking about getting pregnant, make sure you’re doing everything within your grasp to give those future babies a leg up. In that same vein, it’s important that every mother give her body at least three years between children to recover fully so the next baby will be offered all the same advantages.

Another important factor to consider as a mom is that no matter how little you have to offer of yourself to that growing baby, he will find it and take it for himself. Not eating enough quality saturated fats and grass-fed animal products? Your brain will actually shrink as a result of pregnancy because, no matter what, your baby will get what he needs in order to form arms, legs, fingers, toes, eyes, organs, and so on. He will harvest your vitamin, fat, and mineral stores from your bones, your central nervous system, your organs, anywhere they can be found. So if you’re interested in having not only a healthy kid but staying healthy enough to take care of it, EAT WELL. The investment you make in quality food now could save you countless dollars and heartache down the road. I’m not talking only about saving on orthodontic braces. Think about how much money it will cost to treat allergies, spinal or facial deformities, asthma, chronic illness, or digestive problems. Think about how much suffering any of the above could put your child through, much less you.

Here are some basics:

  • READ! Find as many sources of information as possible on nutrition. Try Food Rules by Catharine Shanahan for great guidelines.
  • Take a high-quality prenatal vitamin starting NOW if you’re interested in baby-making anytime in the near future. (Studies have shown that this can also cut autism rates in half.)
  • Avoid vegetable oils and sugars. These block signals that control our metabolism, adding to fetal growth issues in the womb that deprive your fetus of what it needs to build nerves and bones, and even develop sexually. (While it’s come out recently that high-fructose corn syrup behaves the same as regular fructose in the body in terms of insulin reaction, HFCS is still an industrial toxin to your baby’s and your systems. Avoid it especially.)
  • If you’re a vegetarian, and especially if you’re a vegan, do some serious research. It is incredibly important that you not sacrifice your baby’s long-term success to your dietary choices, no matter how rooted in ethics or distaste they may be. Find out which vitamins, minerals, and fats that fetuses need to thrive, and assume that any RDA woefully under-represents realistic demands pregnancy will make on a mother’s body. Consider introducing organ meats, particularly liver and other pasture-raised meats, dairy, and eggs, as well as purified fish oil into your diet ASAP. Here’s a website that is acutely devoted to making babies as well-built as possible.
  • Know that today’s veggies have not nearly the nutritive value as those grown even a few decades ago due to how drastically generations of commercial agriculture have depleted our soil. If you can, grow as much as possible in your own organically fertilized and composted garden, shop at your local farmer’s market, and eat massive amounts of quality veggies from the full color-spectrum (particularly of the leafy green variety). Green smoothies are a great way to load up on all the goodness of several typical servings of veggies along with all the necessary fiber to keep them in your system long enough to absorb the goods.
  • Eat healthy, stable fats. This is necessary for a million reasons, not least of all being that to use many of the most vital nutrients from your food, your body needs fat to synthesize them.
  • Find a good probiotic so that you absorb more nutrition from the food that you eat.

Building a person is the most important job you will ever have. Treat it as such and hopefully by the time you’re old enough to be in diapers again your child will still be fit enough to change them for you.

Feel free to pass on any other recommendations you have in the comment section. Thanks for reading! – Lydia

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4 Responses to “Good Looks are More Than Skin-Deep, or Why You Want Attractive Kids”

  1. Ethan Moses March 6, 2012 at 2:09 am #

    Great article! It pains me to always see the WoW references when it comes to conversations on poor health BUT my fellow gamers don’t always take the best care of themselves, which means that future generations of gamers will suffer the consequences of both the “fat and lazy” stereotype and the physiological effects that poor nutrition can cause. Healthy babies for the win!

    • ForkYes! March 6, 2012 at 6:02 am #

      Haha, sorry, buddy! If you have a better suggestion than WoW, feel free to pass it on and I’ll replace it. You did a good thing with your suggestions on your blog, though, and feel free to send other friends my way. You cracked me up with your response earlier.

  2. Eleanor April 10, 2012 at 3:31 am #

    Yes it’s true! It’s more than just genetics. This is actually the realm of nutrition I want to go into- preconception, prenatal, and then, breastfeeding, b/c it is crucial to forming a healthy happy human. Have you read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price? He was a nutrition pioneer and his findings have been a huge influence. The reason my child is so beautiful and healthy is precisely b/c of what you write about here, and what Dr. Price found in his studies of the healthiest people (all non-industrialized societies) in the world. You can learn more about him and the foundation that continues his work at http://www.westonaprice.org.

    • ForkYes! April 10, 2012 at 3:38 am #

      Hey, Eleanor! So glad you stopped by. :-) Yeah, I have lots of links to that website in my blogs and Nourishing Traditions is my favorite reference/cookbook. I’ve read a good bit of Dr. Price’s book, too. Good to hear that you’re into it. There’s so much fascinating stuff to learn on this subject.

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