Sunday, January 30, 2011

Organic Milk Companies Abiding by the Letter of the Law...Barely

Although getting back to a nourishing, clean diet is essential for our health and wellbeing, I think it is imperative that my readers know there is an organic industry. Simply labeling a product "natural" "organic" or "____-free" does not guarantee the product will nourish your body or that the product is even safe. In the organic business, marketing can be as unethical and misleading as other companies.

This article here: breaks down some of the ways organic companies can mislead us. But adding another twist to the confusing array of misinformation, the author made an inaccurate assertion about antibiotics in cows and the milk they produce.

The amount of antibiotics in our livestock (and thus, in our water, soil and food) has becom so alarming that even the FDA released statements on it. These articles will fill you in on the situation:

Here is a comment about antibiotic use in milk-cows:

 "I am a mother of 7, and am always on the alert for frugal tips. Our family also produces organic grass fed beef at Alderspring, so I'd like to comment about organic production from an organic producer's point of view.

1) Antibiotics: under the organic rule, animals cannot be given antibiotics at any stage. If an animal must be treated with antibiotics, it is removed from organic production. Under commercial production, antibiotic residues do show up in milk. Here is dairy webpage (not a pro-organic one) that discusses the reasons for this:
There are other reasons for wanting to avoid antibiotic use in animals, the primary one of which is the loss of antibiotic effectiveness from overuse, which causes the production of "superbugs" or antibiotic-resistant organisms.

Use versus non-use of antibiotics is a substantial difference in organic production, requiring a completely different production paradigm to grow organic that involves a comprehensive health care, immune-building, stress reducing approach. Organic producers use these other approaches because their primary goal is health, not the treatment of disease through antibiotics. You are right that big producers simply ship those sick cows and write off the loss; but small producers like us try very hard to maintain the organic status of each animal because it is profitable and because it is right.

Antibiotic use is not occasional in typical farm production; it is rampant. I'm not sure about the rate in dairies, but in feedlots it is not uncommon to treat 100% of the beef animals with antibiotics.
2) Hormones: Commercial dairies are allowed to use recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) in production, which increases the efficiency of feed conversion to milk, and increases the amount of milk each cow produces; organic dairies are not allowed to use rBGH (similarly, most commercial beef is raised with growth-promoting hormone implants, organic beef is not). The Eastern Union and Canada have both banned rBGH. You can Google rBGH and learn quite a bit.

3) Pesticides, herbicides, etc. Commercial production allows for the use of these chemicals, both directly on the animal (insecticides and parasitides) and on the feed they eat (herbicides for weeds, pesticides for bugs, fertilizers for growth promotion). These are all regulated by the USDA, but as someone that has been involved in agriculture all my life, off-label and mis-label applications occur. In organic production, none of these things are allowed (although I know "cheating" occurs). Neither the animal nor the feedstuffs may be chemically treated under organic production.

Now, that said in support of organic, as an organic producer myself I think Horizon abides by the letter of the law (barely) rather than the spirit. Therein lies the reason for their high shipment/slaughter rates (a local organic dairyman here has an average age of 10 for his cows--more than three times the average age in the typical dairy, either commercial or large-scale organic--because his cows are healthy and long-lived). The access to pasture is a huge and important issue. Horizon primarily produces in big dairies, and the access to pasture is a joke (your squash court example is apt). Many of these dairies are in deserts--they may have access to pasture, but there's not a green blade on them."

Remember that most baby formulas are manufactured using typical cow milk. I write about it here:

Friday, January 28, 2011

How Far Would You go to Reject Your Child? Circumcision is Bullying at Birth!

How far would you go to NOT accept your child?
Do you think dangerous and unwarranted surgeries are good enough for your child?
"Ok guggie so scenario a boy gets picked on his whole life for being uncirc'd from other boys in the gym. It's emotionally traumatic. Say he makes that decision to self circ as an adult. Do you think that takes away all the past pain of his adolescence? No it does not. So how about HIS BODY, HIS EMOTIONS AND HIS CHOICE, maybe he didn't want the choice...I do have an uncirc'd friend, he didn't want the choice. But each person/child/situation is going to be circumstantial that is why YES WE as parents just do the best we can and hope teach then not to spew hatred. Your very much entitled to spread your no circ love but I don't think your going about it in a very effective manner and with me your barking up the wrong tree."

I had to reply:


I had small breasts, A cups, and was brutally teased my entire teen period. Brutally. I could have decided to get a boob job, would that have taken away all the pain of my adolescence? No, definitely not. 

I guess now we have to start giving boob jobs to baby girls, following your logic?

How about parents do what my parents did and PARENT their children. My parents stood up for me, made it clear that I was a human with rights and dignity and brainstormed comebacks. They walked me through the complaint process. My mom encouraged me to have a healthy body image and respect for my body. They made it clear that I was loved and accepted for ME. They didn't consent to cosmetic surgery on me. They didn't say I was defective or ugly. 

Parenting means being involved in your children's lives and providing life skills to your children so they can grow up into well-adjusted, healthy and happy adults. Parenting should not involve cutting off parts of their bodies to preemptively avoid bullying. That's a horrible life lesson to teach a person, that his body was defective and needed surgery to be "normal" and "accepted."

And where is the line drawn? Parents openly discuss circumcising their sons to "prevent bullying" but what about girls? Shaking your head? Tight vaginas and trim vulvas are all the rage lately. They have to be the right color, the right length and the right spread. Vaginoplasty and labiaplasty surgeries are in high demand. If you think it's right to circumcise your son at birth to protect him from bullying then it's only right to circumcise your daughter at birth to protect her from bullying, too. Her future husband will thank you!

Or maybe her breasts will be too big, or start blossoming too soon. Are you going to iron her breasts to protect her from bullies? What if his eye color is at fault? Will you make him wear color contacts so the bullies like him? What if he's too short, will you make him take hormones to encourage growth? What if she's too fat, will you take her in for surgery on her stomach?

Let's cut to the chase here: forcing the victim to change is catering to the BULLIES, not protecting your child from the bullies. And forcing surgery onto the child IS bullying for that matter. Nothing screams out defeat and victimhood more than, "Mommy and Daddy had my penis shortened at birth so the bullies would pass me over in highschool."

Perhaps cosmetic surgery forced onto healthy baby boys explains the cultural phenomenon of men being "shallow" e.g. caring only about how women look, if their breasts are big enough, if they are skinny enough and if they are sexually appealing enough. Of course men have license to be shallow, since that is what society demanded of them, first. They are only being consistent.

What a confusing message, to force someone to experience surgery on his genitals so he doesn't get teased or bullied or rejected. But then turn around and tell him he is loved just the way he is and that he should love his partner for who she is and not how nice her genitals look.

Since he had to have part of his penis amputated to meet your standards, why should he accept his future partner as-is?

Learn all about circumcision here:

10 Most Common Circumcision Myths: 

"I want him to Look Like Daddy"

Parents share their stories about circumcising their babies: 

How to properly care for your intact baby: 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Toddlers and Twiddling

Twiddling is an age-old phenomenon! 
I have an embarrassing question. My son breastfeeds, but recently he started grabbing my other breast while eating. I always pull his hand away and then he tries to put it back. What do you do, I am very uncomfortable with him doing this, but don't want to stop breastfeeding yet until he is at least 2years of age...Have you dealt with this??”

Don't feel embarrassed! It's very common, especially in toddlerhood. Mamas call it "twiddling." Toddlers do this to increase the milk flow, or also because they are bored. You can see some toddlers doing this in the public service announcement here:

If it makes you uncomfortable (it personally hurts me) you can try redirecting to a toy, holding his hand or offering a nursing necklace.

I just recently bought a nursing necklace made of Maplewood. I found it on clearance for $4 and thought what the heck, I'll grab it. It really made a difference for us! Both my toddler and my baby hold it, and my baby uses it for teething, too.

If you think your little one is doing this because he needs a smoother milk flow or letdown, I've found that drinking a cold beverage while nursing helps with a letdown. Sometimes we have to stop and think about what our toddlers need, since they are still learning how to communicate with us.

But if it seems that he is just being a toddler or bored, has a whole article on ways to develop nursing manners:

A nursing necklace can redirect fidgety hands, provide teething relief AND look stylish.

I hope this information helps! Since breastfeeding is a relationship between the mother and child, each stage has its own joys and pains. Our culture has promoted premature weaning for so long that mamas are having to rediscover all the details of nursing past 9-12 months. Some of the toddler peculiarities require consistent and gentle parenting, but the trade off is being able to comfort and nourish your toddler for hopefully a long time.

Don't Fear the Fever; Fear the Fever Reducer

Update! A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics found that if mothers used acetaminophen during pregnancy, their children were more likely to have ADHD symptoms or be diagnosed with severe ADHD.

Did you know that the practice of administering Tylenol before or after vaccinations is not supported by scientific evidence? If you choose vaccines for your child, read this:

“Giving babies Tylenol to prevent fever when they get childhood vaccinations may backfire and make the shots a little less effective, surprising new research suggests.
It is the first major study to tie reduced immunity to the use of fever-lowering medicines. Although the effect was small and the vast majority of kids still got enough protection from vaccines, the results make "a compelling case" against routinely giving Tylenol right after vaccination, say doctors from the CDC.”

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is known to deplete glutathione, (this is why an overdose will kill you. It exhausts the body's supply of glutathione, and the liver can no longer excrete it). Glutathione is the body's "master antioxidant" and is essential for eliminating toxins, including mercury, from the body. Studies are showing that many autistic kids are deficient in glutathione, and also have abnormalities with sulfation.  Gultathione is important to the immune system. It helps break down toxins, especially heavy metals, and excrete them from the body.

Learn about Glutathione:
"Glutathione is also critical in helping your immune system do its job of fighting infections and preventing cancer. That's why studies show that it can help in the treatment of AIDS.(i)Glutathione is also the most critical and integral part of your detoxification system. All the toxins stick onto glutathione, which then carries them into the bile and the stool -- and out of your body."

Tylenol (Acetaminophen) depletes Glutathione:
"The danger is that there isn't much difference between a safe, effective dose, and a toxic dose. Just a doubling of the maximum daily dose can be enough to kill, warns Dr. Anne Larson of the University of Washington Medical Center.”

"An overdose of acetaminophen can cause depletion of glutathione and land a
person in the hospital. "Acetaminophen toxicity is the number one cause of
hospital admission for liver failure in the United States," he said. "

"Most experts believe Tylenol causes its damage by depleting glutathione.
If you keep your glutathione levels up, the damage from the Tylenol may be
largely preventable. Even conventional medicine recognizes this, as anyone
who overdoses on Tylenol receives large doses of NAC in the emergency room."

"Glutathione detoxifies acetaminophen, but once glutathione is depleted there can be significant cell death in the liver [THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF MEDICINE; Flanagan,RJ; 91(Suppl C):131S-139S (1991)]. AIDS victims can suffer severe liver and kidney damage by using acetaminophen or alcohol, which severely deplete glutatione [PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES (USA); Herzenberg,LA; 94(5):1967-1972 (1997)]. "

"Glutathione, another antioxidant, also prevents cataracts. In fact, lenses with cataracts contain one-fifteenth (1/15th) of the normal amount of glutathione and one-tenth (1/10th) the normal level of vitamin C. Abel notes that metabolizing and excreting acetaminophen
(Tylenol) depletes glutathione. "Tylenol is probably not the best long-term pain reliever for anyone concerned with eye health."

This article is one of the best articles I have seen on Glutathione. It talks about the numerous things that Glutathione is involved with. It also talks about Acetaminophen & Glutathione.

Authoritative study showing that acetaminophen depletes glutathione:
 "Acetaminophen overdose is a leading cause of drug related acute liver failure in the United States. Glutathione, a tripeptide antioxidant protects cells against oxidative damage from reactive oxygen species and plays a crucial role in the detoxification of xenobiotics, including acetaminophen."

Many parents wrongly think they need to give Tylenol to reduce fever and prevent febrile seizures. There are a lot of myths surrounding febrile seizures. Please read this:

If a child has a fever most parents will use fever-lowering drugs such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to make the child more comfortable, although there are no studies that prove that this will reduce the risk of a seizure. “

This study shows that giving acetaminophen is risky for febrile children:

"Conclusions In febrile children, treatment with repeated supratherapeutic doses of paracetamol is associated with reduced antioxidant status and erythrocyte glutathione concentrations. These significant changes may indicate an increased risk for hepatotoxicity and liver damage."

What is the connection between Glutathione and Thimerosal Neurotoxicity?

//Thimerosal neurotoxicity is associated with glutathione depletion: protection with glutathione precursors.

Thimerosol is an antiseptic containing 49.5% ethyl mercury that has been used for years as a preservative in many infant vaccines and in flu vaccines. Environmental methyl mercury has been shown to be highly neurotoxic, especially to the developing brain. Because mercury has a high affinity for thiol (sulfhydryl (-SH)) groups, the thiol-containing antioxidant, glutathione (GSH), provides the major intracellular defense against mercury-induced neurotoxicity. Cultured neuroblastoma cells were found to have lower levels of GSH and increased sensitivity to Thimerosal toxicity compared to glioblastoma cells that have higher basal levels of intracellular GSH. Thimerosal-induced cytotoxicity was associated with depletion of intracellular GSH in both cell lines.
Although Thimerosal has been recently removed from most children's vaccines, it is still present in flu vaccines given to pregnant women, the elderly, and to children in developing countries.\\

You can learn more about Thimerosal and which vaccines contain it here:

Acetaminophen is less effective at reducing fever.
//CONCLUSIONS: In children, single doses of ibuprofen (4-10 mg/kg) and acetaminophen (7-15 mg/kg) have similar efficacy for relieving moderate to severe pain, and similar safety as analgesics or antipyretics. Ibuprofen (5-10 mg/kg) was a more effective antipyretic than acetaminophen (10-15 mg/kg) at 2, 4, and 6 hours posttreatment.//

Ibuprofen and acetaminophen have similar complication rates.
//The risk of hospitalization with any diagnosis in the 4 weeks after enrollment was 1.4% (95% confidence interval, 1.3%-1.6%) and did not vary by antipyretic assignment. No children were hospitalized for acute renal failure, anaphylaxis, or Reye's syndrome. Three children were hospitalized with gastrointestinal bleeding; all 3 had been assigned to treatment with ibuprofen. The risk of hospitalization with gastrointestinal bleeding among children randomized to ibuprofen was 17 per 100 000 (95% confidence interval, 3.5-49 per 100 000) but was not significantly greater than the risk among children given acetaminophen. The risk of hospitalization with asthma, bronchiolitis, or vomiting/gastritis did not differ by antipyretic assignment.//

Overdosing is common and easy to do (accidental).
//From 1998 to 2003, acetaminophen was the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States, with 48% of acetaminophen-related cases (131 of 275) associated with accidental overdose…Individuals with increased susceptibility may experience toxic effects at lower acetaminophen doses than others—rare cases of acute liver injury have been linked to amounts lower than 2.5 grams per day.10 More research is needed to understand whether ethnicity, genetics, nutrition, or other factors might play a role in
making some individuals more prone to liver injury. //

Liver damage can occur even when taking less than the recommended amount.
//A study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) showed that about 20% of people with acetaminophen-related liver toxicity had taken less than the recommended daily amount. For other people, a dangerous dose is not much higher than the recommended dose—that is, the “window” between a therapeutic dose and a toxic dose is smaller for acetaminophen than it is for many other drugs. Some experts also believe that taking acetaminophen for several days in a row may cause a dangerous build-up of the drug in the body.//

Acetaminophen is linked to asthma in children.
// The researchers found that children who were given acetaminophen for fever during the first year of life had a 46 percent increased risk of developing asthma when they were 6 to 7 years old.

In addition, children who were given high doses of acetaminophen within the past year had a more than three times increased risk of asthma. Those who were given medium doses had a 61 percent increased risk of developing the condition, Beasley's team reported.

Acetaminophen use was also associated with an increased risk of severe asthma of about 22 percent to 38 percent, the researchers found.

Moreover, acetaminophen increased the risk of eczema by 18 percent and rhinoconjunctivitis by 32 percent. Among children given high doses of acetaminophen, the risk for eczema almost doubled, and the risk for rhinoconjunctivitis increased by almost threefold, Beasley's group found.//

Using Tylenol during pregnancy increases asthma in children. Many of the medications that are given to women during and after birth contain acetaminophen (Tylox, Darvocet, Lorcet, Lortab, etc).

“A growing number of studies show that regular use of acetaminophen (paracetamol) carries a dose-dependent risk of developing allergies in general and asthma in particular and of worsening other respiratory diseases and lung function. The most disturbing finding has come from the population-based Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, in which use of paracetamol-but not aspirin-in late pregnancy was positively associated with asthma when comparing children whose mothers took paracetamol "sometimes" and "most days/daily" with those whose mothers never took it. Assuming a causal relationship, the percentage of asthma attributable to paracetamol use in late pregnancy was 7%. In this review, we present data from the most important studies published since 2000. Although the pathophysiology remains unclear, the available data justify a warning to the general public that the uncritical use of over-the-counter acetaminophen can lead to the development of allergies and asthma, even in utero.”

More asthma info:

“The prevalence of asthma has increased worldwide. The reasons for this rise remain unclear. Various studies have reported an association between acetaminophen, a widely used analgesic, and diagnosed asthma. In a prospective cohort study, the rate of newly diagnosed asthma was 63% higher among frequent acetaminophen users than nonusers in multivariate analyses. Studies of patients with asthma suggest that acetaminophen challenge can precipitate a decline in FEV(1) > 15% among sensitive individuals. This article reviews the existing literature and evaluates the epidemiologic and pathophysiologic evidence underlying a possible link between acetaminophen and asthma.”

More on asthma:

//INTRODUCTION: A link between regular paracetamol intake and asthma in adults has recently been postulated. Detoxification of paracetamol may deplete stores of glutathione, which is one of the major antioxidants present in the lung. A reduced source of glutathione in the lung may lead to increased oxidative damage to the epithelium and hence increased frequency and severity of asthma attacks in susceptible individuals. CONCLUSIONS: Chronic ingestion of maximum therapeutic doses of paracetamol depletes serum antioxidant capacity in healthy volunteers in as few as 14 days, possibly by a reduction in glutathione. This may have implications for analgesic use in asthmatic individuals. Further studies are now required to assess the impact of paracetamol on antioxidant defences in the lung.\\

 Ear infections respond to GSH treatment:

“BACKGROUND: The inflammatory cells documented in chronic otitis media with effusion (OME) spontaneously release oxidants which can induce middle ear (ME) epithelial cell damage. Glutathione (GSH), a major extracellular antioxidant in humans, plays a central role in antioxidant defense. PURPOSE: To evaluate the effects of GSH treatment on chronic otitis media with effusion (OME). SUBJECTS AND INTERVENTION: Sixty children with chronic OME were enrolled, 30 of whom were randomly assigned to the treatment group and 30 to the placebo group. Patients in the treatment group received 600 mg glutathione in 4 mL saline per day subdivided into five 2-minute administrations given by nasal aerosol every 3 or 4 waking hours for 2 weeks. Patients in the control group received 4 mL saline per day following the same procedure as for GSH treatment. RESULTS: Three months after therapy improvement had occurred in 66.6% of patients in the GSH-treated group and in 8% of the control subjects (P <.01). CONCLUSION: On the basis of these results, GSH treatment could be considered for the nonsurgical management of chronic OME.”

Notice that these studies show Tylenol causes mitochondrial damage:

“Since the first mitochondrial dysfunction was described in the 1960s, the medicine has advanced in its understanding the role mitochondria play in health and disease. Damage to mitochondria is now understood to play a role in the pathogenesis of a wide range of seemingly unrelated disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disease, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, migraine headaches, strokes, neuropathic pain, Parkinson's disease, ataxia, transient ischemic attack, cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetes, hepatitis C, and primary biliary cirrhosis. Medications have now emerged as a major cause of mitochondrial damage, which may explain many adverse effects. All classes of psychotropic drugs have been documented to damage mitochondria, as have stain medications, analgesics such as acetaminophen, and many others.”

Study Shows Link to Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Children With Autism
According to a study published in Molecular Psychiatry by Dr. Daniel Rossignol and Dr. Richard Frye (University of Texas), children with autism are more likely to have abnormal function of a key part of the cell called the mitochondria.”

Here is an article that sheds light on Tylenol’s association with autism and mitochondrial disease. Keep in mind the glutathione depleting properties of Tylenol.

// We found very clearly that the glutathione levels were low in our mitochondrial disease patients," says Gregory Enns, a pediatrician and geneticist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. and coauthor of the study published this week in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. By measuring blood levels of glutathione, researchers may be able to assess the severity of a patient's disease and gauge how well therapies are working, Enns notes.

Mitochondrial diseases stem from gene defects in the cells' mitochondria, which convert energy from food into energy the body can use. These genetic errors lead to the production of dysfunctional proteins that spew toxins into the cells. "It's a little bit like a car engine; if it doesn't work well, it produces smoke," Enns says. In mitochondrial diseases, that "smoke" consists of free radicals—unstable molecules such as hydrogen peroxide that damage the cell's DNA, proteins, and lipids (fats), preventing them from functioning properly and causing them to die prematurely.

 Among the most famous cases of mitochondrial disease: nine-year-old Hannah Poling, whose mitochondrial disorder caused autism-like symptoms that were exacerbated by routine childhood vaccinations.

This study suggests that glutathione blood levels might serve as a good indicator of how large a toll these diseases are taking on the body, which could come in handy in drug trials, Enns says. "Before we can give drugs to patients in a clinical trial," he says, "we need to establish the biomarkers [such as glutathione] to see if treatments are working.\\

What is happening on a cellular level?
"...Professor Peter Piper of the University of Sheffield claims that sodium benzoate by itself can damage and inactivate vital parts of DNA in a cell's mitochondria. Mitochondria consume oxygen to generate ATP, the body's energy currency. If they are damaged due to disease, the cell malfunctions and may enter apoptosis. There are many illnesses now tied to DNA damage, including Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases, but above all, the aging process in general.[9][10][11][12][13]"

Remember Hannah Poling, the little girl who developed autism from vaccines, (at least according to the federal government)? It was noted that she had an "underlying mitochondrial disorder" which pre-disposed her to developing autism from her vaccines. (If you google Hannah Poling and mitochodrial disorder, you'll come up with tons of stuff.)

So the question at hand is: does the administration of Tylenol before, during and after vaccination interfere with mitochondrial function? Does it interfere with immunological and neurological function? Does this trigger Autistic symptoms?

//Since sulfur intake is low, and its oxidation is slow in many autistic children, sulfate is low, and PST activity is slower than it would be otherwise. It would seem that this sub optimality of sulphotransferase activity is a function of low plasma sulfate levels rather than of deficits in the actual enzyme. Cellular level enzymatic effects of mercury's binding with proteins include blockage of sulfur oxidation processes and of the neurotransmitter amino acids. These have been found to be significant factors in many
autistics. Thus, mercury, and any foodstuff that requires or uses up sulfate ions during its metabolism, will make the situation worse. These foodstuffs include foods that supply neurotransmitters, like bananas (serotonin), chocolate (phenylethylamine), and cheese (tyramine), apple juice (and one mother reports her child drank a quart a day!), citrus fruit juices, and paracetamol (Tylenol™). For instance, one or two minutes after a dose of Tylenol™, the entire supply of sulfate in the liver is gone!"

I've also learned that autism rates are much higher in those with Down Syndrome, possibly because they are already deficient in glutathione due to their genetic makeup.

Overdose is common in part because acetaminophen is in such a variety of products. The following is a list of some of the drugs that contain acetaminophen:

Actifed Plus

Anacin (all products)

Benadryl (Plus and Plus Nighttime)

Comtrex (all products)

Dristan (all products except Room Vaporizer)

Drixoral Plus

Excedrin (all products)

Nyquil Nighttime Cold Medicine

Pamprin (all products)

Panadol, Children's and Infant's


Sinutab (all products)

Sominex Pain Relief Formula 1 Tablets

TheraFlu (all products)

Tylenol (all products)


This site is biased, but presents some interesting history on how Tylenol has been marketed and in turn, how aspirin has been smeared, merely as a marketing campaign.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Who You'd Be Today

Sunny days seem to hurt the most.
I wear the pain like a heavy coat.
I feel you everywhere I go.
I see your smile, I see your face,
I hear you laughin' in the rain.
I still can't believe you're gone.

It ain't fair: you died too young,
Like the story that had just begun,
But death tore the pages all away.
God knows how I miss you,
All the hell that I've been through,
Just knowin' no-one could take your place.
An' sometimes I wonder,
Who'd you be today?

Would you see the world? Would you chase your dreams?
Settle down with a family,
I wonder what would you name your babies?
Some days the sky's so blue,
I feel like I can talk to you,
An' I know it might sound crazy.

It ain't fair: you died too young,
Like the story that had just begun,
But death tore the pages all away.
God knows how I miss you,
All the hell that I've been through,
Just knowin' no-one could take your place.
An' sometimes I wonder,
Who you'd be today?

Sunny days seem to hurt the most.
I wear the pain like a heavy coat.
The only thing that gives me hope,
Is I know I'll see you again some day.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

End the Best Campaign

Can you help me end the Best Campaign?

The truth is, breast is not best; it's normal. It's the normative, expected way to feed our offspring. A whole penis is not best; it's normal. It's the normative, expected way for the male genitals to develop and function. An intact immune system is not best; it's normal. It's the normative, expected way for the body to develop immunity and regulate disease. An intervention-free birth is not best; it's normal. It's the normative, expected way to give birth, which is nothing more than a positive control mechanism of the body. (I could go on, but for the sake of brevity will just toss out the most common examples).

If we measure the above situations as best, then we make formula, vaccines, birth interventions and circumcision the average. Why is this damaging? Because human nature is to strive to be the best but settle for the average. The Best Campaign is a call to failure!

What if we aren't doing our best, but merely functioning as expected by our bodies and babies? They expect to receive human milk when they are hungry, to be comforted to sleep and through the night, to be whole and not amputated or marked, to have their cries responded to throughout the day, to be raised free of violence, fear and separation. What if these are basics and not ideals?

Does it sound a bit shocking to say human milk is normal and therefore, milk  from another animal (or plant) falls below expectations? Does it sound strange to you when you hear, "Formula feeding decreases IQ" as opposed to the common twist in our society, "Breastfeeding increases IQ?" If breastfeeding is the biological norm expected for our species, then those who are breastfed are developing normal IQ levels. Not better ones.

What would we sound like if we went around to people in wheelchairs and told them, "Did you know legs are best? Walking is best for the body! I chose to walk because I want to do what's best for me and my health. I made the best choice." I think that deserves a rare, "HOLY SHIT." Sounds pretty weird and messed up, right?

Now what about when mothers go around to other mothers and tell them, "Did you know breasts are best? Breastfeeding is best for the baby! I chose to breastfeed because I want to do what's best for me and my baby. I made the best choice." You've heard that before. Probably thousands of times. Maybe you've even said it.

This is why the "I did ____ and my child is fine" movement came into existence. Yeah, well, I have a friend who lost both legs in a car accident and his life is more fulfilling than many other people I know who have legs. That doesn't mean we should fall all over each other in our desperation to cut off our legs. Legs aren't best, but as long as we frame the issue in a best/worse light, that's how the fight will end. "Well, I'm fine! My child is fine!" The discussion turns from a useful one to a personal judgment.

In the context of the "breast is best" campaign, then, we see why mothers focus on judgment. To claim breast is best is to subtly say, "I'm better than you." Is this what we want to say? Is this our goal? Parenting is not a chest pounding contest. Although defensiveness will still exist, moving to the correct verbiage will help with a paradigm shift.

The thing is, it's normal to breathe air, normal to have a whole body with ALL organs, normal to use your legs, etc. If human milk has the benefit of lowering your risk of cancer, then breathing air has the benefit of lowering your risk of asphyxiation. Yes, some people can't breathe air, don't have all their organs or full use of their legs. We don't get in their face and say, "LEGS ARE BEST!" We accept that they needed additional intervention and we stay out of their business unless they discuss it.

You're saying right now: But, Guggie, some people didn't need that intervention! I know people who are just doing all this stuff willy nilly! Circumcising their healthy boys! Formula feeding because they didn't want to try breastfeeding. It'd be like using a wheelchair instead of learning how to walk!

If we use our words correctly, we achieve two things at the same time. First, we give respect to the informed mamas who needed intervention. Their hard work or careful decisions are reduced when others make light of "formula is a choice" and "formula is comparable to breastfeeding" or "my circumcised son has a nicer penis" and  "I got a tummy tuck with my c-section" etc.

Suddenly something very difficult such as having your legs amputated due to a car accident or choosing a c-section after over 60 hours of hard labor (as one of my awesome friends just did) is reduced to a "lifestyle choice" AND THEN juxtaposed as not best and therefore worst. How devaluing is that?

Second, though, by changing our words to reflect the biological default, we take a stab at the slick marketing and bias for interventions in our culture. A mama who hears that breast is best might think she isn't good enough for best. But formula is for the average so that's good enough for her. What if she heard that breast was the bare minimum, the default, the expected? Who wants less than the minimum? Suddenly, breastfeeding isn't an ideal.

 So watch your language!

For additional reading:
"The truth is, breastfeeding is nothing more than normal. Artificial feeding, which is neither the same nor superior, is therefore deficient, incomplete, and inferior. These are difficult words, but they have an appropriate place in our vocabulary."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Trip to the Bread Store

This is a post I wrote last year. 

I've always known that whole foods nutrition is important. I was raised on a very meticulous diet with healthy, organic foods, no HFCS, no crap, etc. My mom made most meals from scratch, made her own breads, forbade sodas and packaged treats from entering the house and tried her hardest to stay close to nature.  My dad loves organic gardening and keeps fruit trees, too. 

So sadly, I ask, what happened? Life, I guess. I took the good stuff for granted and after I left home, I gave it up with a lifestyle of working full time, starting a business, going to school and now knee deep in parenting...Well I sacrificed a lot in the food department.

Anyways, things have reached a level where I cannot tolerate the hypocrisy any longer. There are numerous abuses within the food industry that violate our human rights and our world, and also contradict my Catholic beliefs. 

This year begins with my little family going on a radical change. With radical changes, I know that improvement remains steadfast with an audience and cheerleaders (accountability), so I figure I will post my experiences here.

A couple days ago, we watched Food, INC together. It wasn’t anything new to us per se, but it helped with our resolve to change. I look forward to watching InGREEDients when it comes out, too.

Yesterday I cleaned out the entire kitchen and went shopping. 

Want to hear about my bread trip?

First I decided to go to Walfart. I know that Walfart is not the best company but we received a gift card there and the irony of buying healthy food from the company did not escape me. :-p

I began my trip in the bread aisle. I started from one end and reached the other end. I picked up every loaf of bread they had available. Some of the packages said things such as “HFCS free!” or “Whole Wheat!” but I was surprised to see other ingredients hidden in the list.

By the time I reached the end of the aisle, I had not found ONE loaf of bread that was HFCS, MSG free, made with whole wheat and free of other random scary ingredients.

I went to Target and did the same thing. Again, nothing.

I went to the grocery store and did the same thing. Nothing!

Finally, I ended up going to a small business bread shop and buying a loaf of bread for $5 because it had 5 readable ingredients in it. Hey, they even have a website:

Anyways, here are some of the ingredients I found in various breads while at the store:

Aspartame. This sugar substitute seems to be a huge thorn in our sides. It is in just about every product claiming to be “sugar free” or “reduced sugar.” (Something I did not know, Monsanto had a hand in pushing Aspartame). This article gives a very thorough and easy to understand history of Aspartame:

Azodicarbonamide. It’s a yellow to orange-red crystalline powdered chemical, C2H4O2N4. Its use in food products is banned in most parts of Europe/UK and in Singapore you can enjoy a hefty $450,000 fine if caught using it. The FDA allows it b/c there is currently no research on it. For more information on this ingredient, read this compilation here:

Enriched wheat. This was the first ingredient for almost EVERY bread I looked at, even ones like Pepperidge Farm who advertised whole wheat. (The whole wheat ingredient was #10 on the list for Pepperidge Farm). Enriched wheat means it’s been stripped entirely of any nutritious substance. It’s done to lengthen shelf life and make the texture more appealing. They then add chemical nutrients back to the food.

MSG (Monosodium Glutamate). Actually, even non-crunchy people are fairly aware of the dangers surrounding MSG. Even the Mayo Clinic admits that it can trigger headaches, stomach problems and other allergic reactions in some people. Unfortunately, too much MSG can lead to headaches, tightness in the chest, and a burning sensation in the forearms an the back of the neck. But that doesn’t resolve the fact that it happens to be in almost every food product available at the grocery store. MSG has many different names and forms; check out the second link to learn about them.

Olestra. It’s a fake fat recently approved by the FDA despite the objections of many scientists. 
“The additive may be fat-free but it has a fatal side-effect: it attaches to valuable nutrients and flushes them out of the body. Some of these nutrients -- called carotenoids -- appear to protect us from such diseases as lung cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, and macular degeneration. The Harvard School of Public Health states that "the long-term consumption of olestra snack foods might therefore result in several thousand unnecessary deaths each year from lung and ,prostate cancers and heart disease, and hundreds of additional cases of blindness in the elderly due to macular degeneration. Besides contributing to disease, olestra causes diarrhea and other serious gastrointestinal problems, even at low doses."

FDA certified olestra despite the fact that there are safe low-fat snacks already on the market. There is no evidence to show that olestra will have any significant effect on reducing obesity in America.
Despite being approved as safe by the FDA, all snacks containing olestra must carry a warning label (similar to one found on cigarettes) that states:

This Product Contains Olestra. Olestra may cause abdominal cramping and loose stools. Olestra inhibits the absorption of some vitamins and other nutrients. Vitamins A, D, E, and K have been added.
CSPI advises consumers to avoid all olestra foods, and urges major food manufacturers not to make olestra-containing products.”

Potassium Bromate. “This additive has long been used to increase the volume of bread and to produce bread with a fine crumb (the non-crust part of bread) structure. Most bromate rapidly breaks down to form innocuous bromide. However, bromate itself causes cancer in animals. The tiny amounts of bromate that may remain in bread pose a small risk to consumers. Bromate has been banned virtually worldwide except in Japan and the United States. It is rarely used in California because a cancer warning is required on the label.”

Most breads are also "enriched" or "fortified" with synthetic vitamins, particularly folic acid. You can read why this is dangerous here:

s Although "Whole wheat" has gained a reputation as a healthy choice, and certainly enriched or white breads have their own issues, it appears that traditional cultures did not eat whole grains as is, but rather altered them to make them more digestible. Read about this important dietary aspect here:

Friday, January 21, 2011

Circumcision Disrupts Breastfeeding

Did you know? Routine infant circumcision can disrupt the early breastfeeding relationship. The pain and trauma (psychological and physical) can make it difficult for the infant to suckle. Some infants will reject the breast, arch their backs and cry in pain. If anesthetic products were used, it can make the infant groggy or sick.

I commonly hear parents dismiss circumcision complications by claiming their son was gifted with the plastibell procedure.

What is the plastibell procedure? People wrongly believe that the plastibell replaces surgery on the penis or is somehow less traumatizing. It quickly became popular and if you debate online, you might notice parents bragging that, "My son was done with the plastibell so his didn't hurt" or similar statements.

You can watch a pro-circumcision plastibell procedure here:

Risks and complications related to the plastibell method:

This page is clearly "biased" but regardless of that, authoritative, medical citations are provided, divided by the type of disruption caused by circumcision.

You can find many more links related to circumcision on my big post:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Confessions of a Circumcised Son

My mom holds my intact son for the first time (2 days old).

© Sanfis Daly 2011, published with permission:

"Sometimes when I talk about circumcision, I find other people assume it means I hate my parents, or that I blame everything on my parents, especially my mom. If I say I hate that I was circumcised, people automatically assume I hate my parents.

Last night I read about Baby Joshua and Baby Jameson, two boys who were circumcised despite severe health conditions (Left Hypoplastic Heart Syndrome and Hemophilia, both posing extreme risks for any surgery). Baby Joshua tragically died the morning after his circumcision and news is pending on Baby Jameson. These stories hit me particularly hard because I was a heart baby and experienced open heart surgery, and additional surgery is in my near future. But the comments I read on my wife's Facebook made me stop and think about how people attempt to draw attention away from the victims of this human rights violation by focusing on the mothers.

Why is this a bad thing? Besides removing attention from the victims and their suffering, it sends a message to mothers who have already played a part in the circumcision of their sons. If they sense that others will condemn them, they might not have the courage or integrity to speak out against circumcision or to share their stories with other parents.

Also, even if they do become advocates for babies, they might struggle with guilt, shame and a lot of inner pain. My wife showed me comments from other mothers who had allowed their sons to be circumcised before they were informed. The guilt and worry I read is what prompted me to write this post.

To mothers who allowed their sons to be circumcised and are feeling scared and guilty and wondering what your son will think when he grows up, I want to share my story with you.

I was circumcised as an infant. It was "just what you do" and my grandma encouraged my mom to consent, despite being Catholic. (I would later learn that many Catholics are poorly informed on this aspect of their faith and wrongly believe circumcision is a non-issue, or even believe it is approved.) I had a vague idea that my dad and my brothers were circumcised, but I never once compared penises with anyone. I also had a vague idea what circumcision was, but I was so ignorant in normal male anatomy that I had no idea what was missing on my own body.

It was the beginning of puberty that shoved me into the issue. The doctor amputated so much of my foreskin that as my penis began to grow during puberty, the tight skin chafed and tore. I experienced tearing, painful skin with bleeding. My body pulled the skin from my scrotum up onto my shaft, putting embarrassing hair onto my shaft. I even started to experience chordee, where the shaft bends. Being a shy, embarrassed teenager and not knowing these were complications of my circumcision, I didn't ask my parents but instead began to search online for answers. What I found shocked and angered me. When I was a tiny baby, someone had stolen a piece of my body. They held me down and cut me. My parents let this happen. My own grandma said it was the right thing to do as a Catholic. I was speechless, broken, depressed. Literally, depressed. I am about 5' 7" but almost reached 300 pounds as a teen. I thought my Catholic faith was a sham. I had to realize I was going to live with painful, embarrassing complications for the rest of my life. I had to process that my own parents allowed this, my own family promoted this.

 Words caught in my throat. I wanted to call out for help, but I was too angry and ashamed to say anything. I suffered in silence until the complications slowly lessened as my skin began to stretch. The issues have never fully gone away, and new ones such as keratinization of the glans have appeared. I am considering restoration.

As time went on and I got older, I braved a discussion. I asked my parents, "Why?" So much more was behind that word. But I got a foot into the discussion by framing it as religious curiosity. "Why, mom, did you circumcise me? We're Catholic, not Jewish." She said it's because Catholics are an extension of the Jewish faith. I knew this didn't make sense to me, but I didn't have the right information at the time to delve into it. Her answer, however, was not the important part of the conversation. More importantly was the concern I noted in her behavior, her tone of voice. The look, the hesitation. No words were directly said about what she let happen to me, but that look was enough. It was one of regret, of concern. My mom didn't wish this upon me. She was as ignorant and hoodwinked as I was about the whole thing. I forgave her in that moment.

As I continue to learn more about the unethical practice and societal myths behind circumcision, I have come to view the parents as victims in their own way.

Today I remain close to my mom and my dad. I do not hold anything against them. I do not hate them. I speak to them as frequently as my busy life allows. I am happy that they are grandparents for my children. My fight against routine circumcision does not detract from my love for them, and in fact it is for my parents, and all the other parents out there, that I speak out loudly and clearly.

~Sanfis Daly"

My parents meet my intact daughter for the first time.

My parents meet my intact son for the first time.

Additional reading:

A compiled list of links related to circumcision:

Confessions of a Circumcised Man:

Confessions of a Circumcised Woman:

Baby Joshua's Story According to His Mom:

Circumcision and Religion (includes Catholic links):