Monday, May 22, 2006

What Are We Doing To Ourselves?

A couple of news items this week made me sit up and take notice. First off, comes this item from the AP:
Pills Rendering Menstrual Period Optional

Associated Press Writer

May 21, 2006, 8:53 PM EDT

TRENTON, N.J. -- For young women with a world of choices, even that monthly curse, the menstrual period, is optional.

Thanks to birth control pills and other hormonal contraceptives, a growing number of women are taking the path chosen by 22-year-old Stephanie Sardinha.

She hasn't had a period since she was 17.

"It's really one of the best things I've ever done," she says.
Oh really? Want to rethink that, Steph?
Dairy diet the natural way for mothers to conceive twins

Sarah-Kate Templeton, Medical Correspondent

FOR decades, doctors have blamed the rise in the number of women who give birth to twins entirely on the widespread use of fertility treatment. But now they have found a much more natural cause — a glass of milk.

Scientists have discovered that drinking milk and eating cheese stimulates a protein than prompts the release of eggs and makes women five times more likely to give birth to twins.

The findings have been made by researchers from the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York who wanted to know why the rate of twin births in the United States rose by more than 75% between 1980 and 2003.

[....]They suspected changes in diet may have contributed to the change, and compared the records of more than 1,000 vegan women with mothers who ate animal products. They found that the twinning rate in vegans is one fifth of that in vegetarians and meat-eaters.

The research, published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, says eating animal products, in particular dairy foods, boosts the production of a protein called insulin-like growth factor (IGF) in women. The scientists say the protein promotes the release of eggs by the ovary, increasing the chance of two or more eggs being fertilised at the same time.

In America there has also been an increased use of growth hormones in dairy cows. The growth hormone is banned in British cattle.
Reading between the lines, we can see that a link can be drawn between the growth hormones used in cattle feed, and twinning, even if the Times (UK) refuses to make that explicit.

So in truth, you are what you eat, and if you eat a lot of meat and dairy, you're a breeding reactor.

What concerns me, what ought to concern all of us, is what exactly is IN these hormone therapies (in this case, I'm going to lump in the deliberate ingestion of food products that contain hormones passed through in the production process) and how exactly it affects us. How many chemicals do you really eat in a day, and how does your body process them? Pesticides, toxins, pollutants, vaccinations (both your own as well as those given to the animals you ingest), your body absorbs a lot of things, and who knows how it deals with them?

Remember, our evolutionary process was based on finding nuts and berries, and hunting game with spears and clubs. While we developed more efficient ways of providing food, such as agrarian societies and the bow and arrow, our bodies could keep up. But now we're mass producing consumable, and not all of them are that good for us. We're moving faster than nature can keep up, in so many ways.

And then, comes this story: even when you want to eat healthier, you may not be. When granola contains more calories than a bowl of Cap'n Crunch, when yogurt is laced with Reese's Pieces, and who knows how many additives or preservatives, you're not going to find a healthy way of letting your body recover.

But what's really odd about all this, the majority of Americans want to eat a healthier diet, even as we become more obese and less healthy. "According to a survey by the Washington-based Food Marketing Institute, 59 percent of shoppers were trying to eat a healthier diet last year, up 14 percent from 2000. Forty-two percent of those shoppers said losing weight is a health goal that influences their purchases."

Now, I'm no vegan, even if my doctor says I would benefit from it. I drink my cheap American beer (not going to endorse the product here, mostly because they're not paying me, but it's the one that always advertises with horses during the Super Bowl) with its formaldehyde and preservatives, and I eat the occasional candy bar (rarely) and buy prepackaged foods from time to time.

I have to balance a busy schedule with my health concerns. I understand that. But look at how much harder I have to work to eat healthy when I do. Now compound that by the fact that I have more choices: I live in a reasonably upper middle class area, which means that people can afford more organic and more healthy foods, which means stores provide them. I can drive to my supermarket, and am not forced to munch down a Whopper on my walk from the subway. I can handpick from a large selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, as opposed to grabbing a tired banana off the top of the short stack at the local delicatessen, right in front of the "fruit-containing snacks" display.

And I'm in the home stretch when it comes to raising a kid, so I have much more time than a harried mother (or father) of two or three, trying to schedule shopping around school, work, band practice, Little League and getting out of the house for a movie.

How is this happening? WHY is this happening?

Oh yeah. I forgot. Our President doesn't give a shit.

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