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October Unprocessed 2012
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Archive for the ‘Debates & Dilemmas’ Category

In Support of the Most Real Food There Is…

English: lactancia, breastfeeding

English: lactancia, breastfeeding (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On March 28, 2013, bloggers from around the world came together in a show of support for breastfeeding mothers. New mothers have enough challenges without having to feel guilty for how they feed their baby.

Over the last few days there have been a lot of heated debates, controversial posts, and social media outcry against the position that the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) takes on breastfeeding.

While they do present sound information on the ideal diet for breastfeeding mothers, they do so in a manner that brings about guilt, fear, and confusion.

I was particularly sorry to see many of my favourite ‘real food’ bloggers supporting this message through the support of The Village Green Network’s recent Healthy Life Summit, where blogger and spokesperson for the WAPF Sarah Pope presented a seminar entitled: Is Breast Always Best? (followed up by the answer – only if mother’s diet is nutritionally dense).

I want to emphasize that behind that messaging is not just the thought of a mother who survives on a diet of pepsi and doritos – but vegetarians, vegans, people who follow a middle of the road conventionally healthy diet – essentially anyone who does not follow the strict WAPF protocol of only traditional, real foods.

In fact, they believe that The diet of modern American women is so appalling, and their preparation for successful breastfeeding so lacking, that their breast milk provides no better nourishment for their infants than factory-made formula.Read the rest of this entry »

Does Your Diet Affect Breast Milk?

Welcome to the Breastfeeding Support Blog Party! Bloggers around the world have gathered together to share posts which provide current or soon-to-be breastfeeding mothers with a wealth of well-researched information, personal stories, and statistics designed to help you have the most successful breastfeeding experience possible. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to learn more about this movement as well as to link to and read more informative breastfeeding support posts.

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Under Pressure

Under Pressure (Photo credit: Forty Two.)

There is a lot of pressure on us as women and as mothers in particular. High expectations of looking a certain way, eating a certain way, being on top of everything while being pillars of support are placed on us every single day.

I think this is part of why it’s so easy to get both defensive and judgmental when it comes to parenting.

Particularly as new mothers, we are barraged with information and criticism from every corner, all while trying to figure out this totally new role of parenting on less sleep than we’ve ever gotten in our lives. Not. Easy.

Among the topics that come up for the most controversy, you could hardly pick a more prevalent one than breastfeeding. And the pressure here is multiplied tenfold – you’re constantly told it’s best for your baby while at the same time stumbling through minefields of ‘booby traps’ or obstacles to breastfeeding.

I traveled through that minefield and crashed and burned. Lack of support, misinformation, pain and agony and more – the reasons I gave up on breastfeeding were many – and sneaking in right along with them were feelings of inadequacy. I wasn’t healthy enough. I didn’t eat well enough. I was too fat.

I wasn’t a good enough mother to do the best for my baby. Read the rest of this entry »

The Lesser of Two Evils – How the Food Industry Wins

Granola Bar

Granola Bar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently had the opportunity to sit in on a workshop given by a registered dietitian of many year’s experience on the topic of healthy eating.

Her talk began with some good advice on shopping for food, meal planning, making ahead and freezing, etc. So far, so good.

But it was when she started talking about what we should actually be eating that I started feeling stabby.

First, the example of the Fibre One granola bars – brought to the workshop as a ‘healthy snack’ option.

Let’s check out the ingredients for the 90 Calorie Chocolate & Caramel Pretzel bar:

Chicory Root Extract, Rice Flour, Sugar, Whole Wheat Flour, high Maltose Corn Syrup, Whole Grain Oats, Vegetable Oil (palm kernel, canola, corn and/or soybean), Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (sugar, chocolate liquor processed with alkali, cocoa butter, milkfat, soy lecithin, natural flavour), Puffed Wheat, Glycerin, honey, Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Maltodextrin, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Malt Extract, Cellulose Gum, Reduced Minerals Whey, Milk, Fructose, Nonfat Milk, Baking Soda, Natural Flavour, Yeast, Ammonium Bicarbonate, Colour (yellows 5 & 6 lake, red 40 lake, blue 1 lake and other colour added). Mixed Tocopherols Added to Retain Freshness.

That’s about 39 ingredients in one little granola bar, not counting the twice listed ‘natural flavours’, which could potentially include hundreds more ingredients.

There was talk of eating more veggies, fish, fruits – but a lot more emphasis was placed on counting calories, avoiding fats and piling on the healthy whole grains encouraged by the Canada Food Guide. Fat was vilified over and over again – butter and whole milk in particular – at one point grave surprise was expressed at the idea that anyone even still drank whole milk.

She did admit though that eggs are now actually considered to be good for you (shocker), but overall processed, low fat ‘foods’ were touted as the most reasonable options.

If you’re into real food, you’re probably feeling a bit stabby by now too. If you’re not into real food, you may find my frustration confusing. But as someone who has finally discovered the importance of eating real food after a lifetime of filling my body with processed crap (much of which I believed was good for me and all of which has affected my body in terrible ways), I couldn’t in good conscience keep quiet. Read the rest of this entry »

The Cost of NOT Greening Your Period

pads and tampon garbage

pads and tampon garbage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2 disclaimers to begin this post…

#1 – It’s late! I meant to have this as a wrap up to the posts of the week before last and just didn’t get to it in time. My apologies! :)

#2 – I plan to share in this post (among other things) some great reasons for ‘greening your period’ – or switching to reusable menstrual products. On the flip side of that I will be sharing some of the not-so-great things about disposable products. While I believe what I’m sharing has merit and sincerely hope that it may help provide a few answers for anyone on the fence or new to the whole idea, I am absolutely not judging you if you disagree with what’s expressed here. If this post comes as the right one at the right time for you, great! If it’s totally not your bag, feel free to ignore it!

OK – now we can get started!

I want to re-post something I shared last year:

  • Over 20 BILLION disposable pads, tampons, and applicators will
    be added to landfills every year in North America alone. The disposal of
    these products releases dioxins and other toxic chemicals into our
    rivers, lakes and oceans and pollutes our soil.
  • A woman will use on average 13,000 disposable menstrual products
    in her lifetime. ONE cloth pad has the potential to replace 140
    disposable pad/tampon products.
  • ONE cloth pad can last up to 5 years.
  • Disposable pads and tampons used in an average woman’s
    menstruating life will cost her $4500 compared to $200-$750 for reusable
    pads and tampons.
  • Many pads and tampons are chemically treated to whiten, perfume,
    and make them more absorbent. They are also made of synthetic fibers.
    Given the sensitivity of the vaginal area to chemical absorption and the
    number of disposable menstrual products a woman uses in her life, this
    is a really big issue.

Sources: http://www.naturalmenstrualproducts.com/, http://lunapads.com/about-us/media-info

This list is why I titled this post as I did.

First off, the contribution I was making to landfills with all those tampons and pads was something I never even considered. For far too long I was of the mindset that when you throw garbage ‘away’, it just goes into that nebulous ‘away’ that most of us never have to think about or deal with.

But when you do think of it…what a terrible burden to place on our earth! Don’t get me wrong – I still use things that are disposable. But I have come to see that we do WAY more disposable than we need to in so many things, where it takes surprisingly little effort to use something that will last for years.

Ultimately, whether it’s pads and tampons or paper plates or diapers or plastic spoons or whatever, we need to start counting the cost with these things. We need to start seeing the numbers – envisioning the disaster we are creating – and acting accordingly.

Moving on to actual financial cost. Read the rest of this entry »

How Well Do You Know Your Body?

Detail from Birth of Venus by William-Adolphe ...

Detail from Birth of Venus by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1879. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since I had my daughter (not many months before turning 30), I’ve become much more aware of and attentive to the way that my body works, reacts and rejuvenates.

It’s been a process, like any other change – but since it’s begun I’ve been rather surprised to look back and realize what a huge gap this has been in my experience over my entire lifetime – especially when it comes to my reproductive health.

I simply hardly paid any attention to my own body in that respect. Periods were always an unwelcome surprise – I didn’t know how long my cycle was or where I was at in it on any given day. Though I understood the basic biology, I didn’t really have any deeper knowledge of how it all worked or was meant to function.

When I became sexually active I started birth control with no research whatsoever – just took what the doctor gave me. I ultimately ended up switching to the depo-provera injection (in spite of many, many warnings that it was a bad idea from various individuals around me) because it was easier than trying to remember to take the pill every day.

And really – what could be better than not having to have a period? (That’s what depo does, in case you’re wondering). Periods were a nuisance – a big crampy annoying mess – something to be endured and got through with as quickly as possible (which was never quickly enough).

It amazes me now to see how incredibly detached I was from the entire process – not knowing or caring about the way my body was meant to function.

But in another way, it’s not so surprising – that is our culture, after all. We are not raised to be proud of the unique ways our bodies work, but to be ashamed of and disgusted by them. We are not given the opportunity to relax and reflect on ourselves when we are meant to, but expected to continue on as usual no matter what. We are not given credence when it comes to how the different points of our cycle affect us, but dismissed as bitchy, moody, PMS’ing. Our bodies are most frequently not a joy, but a nuisance to us.

Even now, loving my body is a place I haven’t yet reached – but I have learned to get to know it – and value it – quite a lot more than I used to. Read the rest of this entry »

The Thing You Don’t Know

Welcome to the February 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Respectful Interactions With Other Parents

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have focused on how we can communicate with other parents compassionately.

***

At the Baby Loves Disco party Sunday afternoon.

“The most important thing about a person is always the thing you don’t know.”

This quote is one of the central ideas of the book The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver; it is a statement made by artist Frida Kahlo to fictional protagonist Harrison Shepherd, following a mutual revelation of previously undisclosed tragedy to one another together with the realization that both had judged the other wrongly.

The idea continues as a theme throughout the book and is one of the meanings of the word “lacuna” - a gap or missing piece of the story.

Shepherd ultimately becomes a famous author during the infamous McCarthy era in the US - first judged wrongly by most everyone who fawns over him, and finally judged even more harshly when the tide of public opinion turns against him.

Having recently read this book (twice – it is a really good one), this idea of ‘the thing you don’t know’ was one of the first that jumped out at me when I thought about the concept of respectful interactions with other parents that is the subject of this month’s carnival.

As most of us know, parenting is a pretty darn personal subject for a whole lot of people. Essentially, criticizing (or even gently communicating) a ‘lack’ in someone’s parenting skills amounts to criticizing or calling out who that parent is as a person – probably because when you become a parent, it becomes a major part of how you define yourself as a person. If someone has a problem with your parenting style, they have a problem with who you are. Read the rest of this entry »

What Size Will Our Family Be? It’s a Mystery!

Welcome to the first Family Size Blog Carnival!

This post was written for inclusion in the Family Size Blog Carnival hosted by Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling and Patti at Jazzy Mama. Today our participants share their decisions on family size and whether or not to grow their families. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***

I was very intrigued to see the invitation to this blog carnival, as the size of our family has been something I’ve been contemplating a lot lately!

The reality is - I have NO idea where we will end up in the question of choosing how many children to welcome into our family.

It’s kind of funny – up until about 6 months ago, I was completely certain of the answer to this question. My husband and I agreed – we wanted 4 children, ideally around two years apart in age. We wanted to have our first child before the age of 30, which happened (just barely), and begin trying to conceive again when Bean turned one.

I know to many people that whole paragraph may sound like the craziest of crazy, but we were completely secure in our plan and knew it was what we wanted.

As I’ve thought about it more over the past months though, I don’t think this is what I want anymore. And no one is more surprised about this than me (though you’d think having been a parent for the past 18 months would have taught me by now that you kind of can’t really “plan” anything).

There are so many factors rolled into this change of mind, but I’ll try to be brief…

1 – I don’t know if I could handle any more! Read the rest of this entry »

Co-Sleeping Barriers – What’s Stopping You?

Welcome to the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival

This post was written for inclusion in the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival hosted by Monkey Butt Junction . Our bloggers have written on so many different aspects of cosleeping. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***

English: A sleeping male baby with his arm ext...

Image via Wikipedia

Bean is sleeping upstairs right now in the middle of our queen size bed. It’s fairly chilly in our room so she’s got a few layers on, along with a halo sleep sack we found awhile back on Babysteals that helps keep her toesies warm.

In a few hours we’ll be joining her, as we have for the past 15 months, sharing a family bed.

I never imagined what a meaningful effect bedsharing would have on our family before Bean came along. I gain so much peace of mind from having her right there next to me where I know she is OK and can respond immediately if she is not.

I know I get a lot more sleep – she’s always been one to wake relatively often during the night to eat – and I literally can hardly imagine actually getting out of bed and going to another room to feed her. Having her right there makes that part of parenting much easier!

The husband gains a lot from it – he had to return to work basically right away after she was born, while I had her most days every day for her entire first year. Sharing a bed was a way for him to maintain a very strong bond with her for more hours of the day than he might normally get. Now that I’ve returned to work, I feel the strength of that bond as well.

In many ways for me, bedsharing has become a cornerstone of the trust my daughter has for me. She knows that I will always be there for her – no matter what time of the day – especially when she is at her most vulnerable. The dark doesn’t matter because mommy and daddy are always right there next to her. There are many ways to gift one’s child with that trust – and it is a powerful and much to be desired gift for them to have. I am thankful that we have found such a way of giving it to her.

I could go on and on about the benefits we’ve found in our co-sleeping arrangement, along with the other benefits that studies have shown will last throughout her lifetime.

But what I want to touch on here is the fact that I came very close to missing out on all of this, for two reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

Supporting Food Freedom

Support Michael Schmidt!

Image by cheeseslave via Flickr

Yesterday I posted a picture of Canadian farmer Michael Schmidt in my Wordless Wednesday post. He is currently in the fourth week of a hunger strike – his call to get Canadian Premier Dalton McGuinty to meet with him in regards to food freedom.

I wanted to talk a little bit more about what he is doing and some simple ways you can show your support for someone I’ve come to view as one of our modern day heroes.

Michael Schmidt has been battling with the Canadian government for over 17 years to legalize the sale of raw milk (Canada is the only G8 county that completely bans the sale of raw milk). In the meantime, Michael has worked to establish programs like cow shares – a group of people buy shares in a cow, so when they get the milk it is technically from their own cow.

Michael was recently found guilty of 15 of the 19 criminal offences charged under Ontario’s Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Milk Act – basically, for selling and distributing raw milk and raw milk products.

Ultimately, Michael Schmidt is fighting for our freedom to choose what we eat – something I consider to be a basic liberty – especially within our culture.

Ever since I started learning about real food and the benefits of raw milk (and coming to a greater understanding of the fake food I’ve consumed for most of my life) I have longed for the opportunity to reap its benefits, but as a resident of Canada, I cannot. Read the rest of this entry »

World Breastfeeding Week

Doula (L) with newborn and mother

Image via Wikipedia

This week is world breastfeeding week, and I am so thrilled today to be guest posting at the Natural Parents Network – a very near and dear to my heart post that is co-written with fellow blogger, Krista of Think Mama, Think.

Krista came to me with the idea of writing a post together when she came across my own breastfeeding experiences on my blog and realized how incredibly similar they were to her’s. She wanted to explore together why our stories ended so differently – in hopes of helping other moms – and I was very happy to do so.

I wasn’t able to make breastfeeding work for me, but it is continually my hope that my story will help other moms move forward where I did not.

I’ve also become very determined to make it happen next time around!

I wrote 2 posts a few months back that I entitled ‘My Breastfeeding Mistakes’ Part 1 & Part 2. They were areas where I could see, with the benefit of hindsight and the perspective of several months, where I had ‘gone wrong’.

A commenter gently corrected me on calling them ‘mistakes’, and I am happy to quote Justine’s comment here as she is so right on, and this is the message I hope gets passed on: Read the rest of this entry »

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