Search Results for: blessed feeding

blessed feeding

Breastfeeding an infant

Image via Wikipedia

It was one of those mornings. One minute I am simply getting dressed for work, the next I am hopping around with only one leg in my tights, trying to find pen and paper to grab what I can from another nutrition-related radio story.  On that particular day, it was an NPR story entitled, Some Baby Formulas May Cause Faster Weight Gain.

The story which ran on January 24, 2011, starts out by saying that breastfeeding can be challenging, so most babies are on formula. It was about a small study comparing cow’s milk formula and predigested protein formulas– which are very expensive and used mainly for babies with significant digestive issues including cow’s milk allergies. The research suggested that at 7 months of age, the cow’s milk formula babies weighed two pounds more than breastfed and predigested formula babies. The study only observed that the babies drinking the cow’s milk formula took a longer time to be satiated and therefore drank more. There was no explanation given for this.

Interviewed for the story was Dr. Nicholas Stettler, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. He starts out by saying that formulas have been proven safe and effective, and if infants like them and eat them, they’ll maintain their health and weight.  He then goes on to say that babies who gain too much weight in the first weeks and months of life are 5 times more prone to obesity and its inherent health risks by age 20–and that formula babies often gain too much. He concludes by advising that, “Parents should work closely with their pediatricians to make sure their babies don’t gain too much or too little. In this case, average is best.”

All in all, it wasn’t worth the hopping. None of this was exactly news to me and if anything I was surprised at the limited analysis of the results. However,  it touched on an issue that I feel quite strongly about–the dismal state of affairs regarding breastfeeding in this country and its many implications.

Ironically, on January 20th, just four days before, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin announced the “Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding“.  Outlined clearly in the announcement and its accompanying report are the many benefits of breastfeeding and the attendant health risks of not doing so. Clearly known in the medical and nursing community is that there are many physical and emotional benefits for both nursing moms and their babies and that babies who are not breastfed are at increased risk for diarrhea, ear infections, more serious lower respiratory infections, SIDS, childhood leukemias, asthma, diabetes, and obesity. Lactation experts and women who do breastfeed understand that human milk is species-specific for human babies, and its composition perfectly designed for proper and progressive growth. Mother’s milk changes composition during each feeding as well due to differences in the foremilk and hindmilk and naturally provides nutritional, immunological and satiety factors.

In the introduction to the report, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius writes, “For much of the last century, America’s mothers were given poor advice and were discouraged from breastfeeding to the point that breastfeeding became an unusual choice in this country.” I appreciated the admission. Tucked in the report amongst the many reasons for our pathetically low breastfeeding rates  was this paragraph:  “A recent survey of pediatricians showed that many believe the benefits of breastfeeding don’t outweigh the challenges that may be associated with it and report various reasons to recommend against it.”

This seems pretty shocking given the following. Comparing formula-fed babies to those who were breastfed exclusively for four months, the rates of hospitalization for lower respiratory tract infections are 250% greater; for GI infections including diarrhea are 178% greater; and, for necrotizing enterocolitis in premature babies 138% greater for the formula-fed babies. The economic impact of just these three illnesses that breastfeeding can prevent, costs this country 3.6 billion dollars per year. In cultures where babies have unlimited access to the breast and constant maternal contact, the prevalence of psycho and sociopathic behaviors are very low. What is the economic cost of those disorders?

Though the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, this recommendation does not translate into proper education, promotion, and support. Hindering the promotion of breastfeeding in this country is the perpetuation of the idea that the decision to breastfeed is a personal one and we should not make women feel guilty for not breastfeeding. Also, as a non-breastfeeding society for a few generations now, the cultural belief system is that most babies are raised on formula and they are fine. Additionally, like nutrition, obstetricians, and pediatricians– who are best poised to promote this clearly biologically superior milk–may not receive much training on breastfeeding and there is an awkwardness about women and breasts–even in the medical community.

The moment that baby opens its little mouth and receives artificial milk, it is unwittingly committed to a different path than its breastfed nursery mate. Immediately, that baby becomes a consumer of a highly and often deceitfully marketed corporate product; is more vulnerable to various illnesses and diseases with short or long term health implications; compromises its innate ability to self regulate feedings, and now in this weighted world, must work with its pediatrician to strive for average.

The Health Center where I work serves a large and diverse international clientele. I feel very fortunate to encounter daily a multi-cultural perspective. Last week, as I was walking past the main waiting area, two young women were nursing their babies. One woman was Mexican and the other was Burmese. This was not shy, covered up nursing. Both, were one breast exposed unabashedly doing what women have been doing for thousands and thousands of years. Confidently nourishing their young. How challenging can it be?

Thank you for listening, sharing, following and supporting my writing. Please subscribe in the sidebar to receive notice of new posts. Comments and greetings always welcome.

In health, Elyn

Related Posts: To She Who Loves Us Before She Meets Us; Breastfeeding Redux; Oh MotherA Winning Goal; First Food

 

breast feeding redux

Poster advertisement for Nestle's Milk by Théo...

Image via Wikipedia

So, here is what happened. Last week I wrote about breastfeeding. On one level I was addressing the possible connection between most babies’ first food and the increased incidence of weight issues in children. On another, I was speaking to the very low rates of breastfeeding in this country and the implications of that as well.

Right after I posted, my friend who is a wonderful adoptive new father responded that breastfeeding was not a viable option for his baby. I felt bad. I know a lot of adoptive parents. And, having worked in maternal and child health for many years,  I know there are some real situations that make breastfeeding not possible for some. There are many women who have really tried but for different reasons have not been able to nurse. I hope I did not appear insensitive. As a health counselor, I am very sympathetic to one’s personal experience– but I also know that our low breastfeeding rates are not caused by these exceptional types of cases.

In my discussion, I had decided to not make apologies or to outline the contraindications to nursing in the limited words I afford my writings. Most materials related to breastfeeding already do so. I had wanted to challenge the oft-repeated message that breastfeeding is challenging, but mainly I wanted to bring the topic of breastfeeding to the table. As a nutritionist, I consider breast milk a quintessential component of the human diet. Once I did, I  thought  I was ready to move on–but as I lingered in the post post aftermath and received some thoughtful responses, I considered that how we feed our babies is a way too overlooked issue in this huge conversation about food, culture, and weight. Breastfeeding is discussed in breastfeeding circles among women who are nursing. Beyond that, not many people ever think about this very important topic–even some parents to be. Most people in our culture have never really seen a baby nursing at the breast. I am highly attuned to watching for nursing babies–and I rarely get a sighting (except for my multi-cultural workplace that offers pre and postnatal care.)

I worry about what a world would look like that really no longer knew how to instinctually nurse its young. So, during the past week, I thought a lot about recent natural disasters where water and food supplies are not available–what happened to the formula-fed babies in the wake of Hurricane Katrina;  I considered the tragedy of the melamine-tainted formula in China that affected 300,000 babies; I wondered about the plastics that every formula feed involves through either bottle or artificial nipple; and, I lingered on antibiotic resistance and even genetic modification of formula. As I was doing all this a few things happened.

Firstly, quite coincidentally, I came upon an article called Cows Genetically Modified to Produce Human Milk. Writer Erika Nicole Kendall in her blog, the Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss does not seem to miss much regarding our confusing cultural cuisine–and one need be neither black, young, female or overweight to appreciate the topics she very thoughtfully explores and exposes. Here, she tells about a recent exhibition in China where technical achievements are touted as part of the country’s five-year plan.  Fascinatingly, in ancient China, emperors and empresses drank human milk throughout their lives. Apparently, presented at the exhibition were a herd of cows that have been genetically modified to produce human milk–which apparently contains the anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory agents and the hormones and digestive enzymes particular to the real stuff.  The milk purportedly will preserve and improve the immune systems and central nervous systems of children and will address decreasing breastfeeding rates in that country. Must I explain the irony here?  http://blackgirlsguidetoweightloss.com/news-feed/cows-genetically-modified-to-produce-human-milk/

Then, mon cher French ami who is always on topic in spite of mothering three young children–who she nursed in succession–sent me an article on breastfeeding in France. I learned that France has the lowest breastfeeding rate in the Western world. Mon Dieu. I was shocked and rather nauseated by the story. The nationwide gist is that breasts are for your husband–not your baby. French doctors apparently are in collusion with this imperative of preserving the sexual function of its countrywomen rather than supporting their maternal inclinations. Accompanying comments mocked those who promote breastfeeding as the breast police. Really? Does fighting tobacco advertising and helping people to quit smoking make one the lung police?  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/01/france-breast-breastfed-baby-death

And, lastly, just Tuesday night, I watched the first episode of Jamie Oliver‘s second season of the Food Revolution. As he was stymied by the Los Angeles City School District to get into their schools for filming, he invited the public to bring him samples of the foods that the kids are being served there. In the opening scene, he is shown surrounded by a group of people who are presenting to him all types of horrific-looking junk that is splayed out on a table. A woman in the group is carrying a few month old beautiful baby girl. He reaches for the baby who gently accepts his arms. He reminds us how totally pure and perfect our babies come into this life. Seeing this gorgeous little being surrounded by this landscape of low-quality food was a powerful juxtaposition–it is the way I also see the situation.

Before school food, infant formula is the ingredient template that constitutes most of a child’s diet for most of its first year. Aside from added vitamins and minerals, the following are what milk and soy formulas are made of in some variation:  non-fat milk, lactose, vegetable oil, whey protein, high oleic safflower oil, soy oil, corn syrup solids, soy protein isolate, sugar, and coconut oil.  Interestingly, as most formulas now try to mimic the beneficial lipid profile naturally found in breastmilk–mortierella alpina oil and crythecodimium coluni oil are what are used to make them closer than ever to breast milk.

So, I decided, it was a worthwhile effort to pursue this conversation a little more–in the name of restoring, reviving, encouraging a resurgence–a redux of what I consider to be our natural birthright. The right of babies under most circumstances to be sustained on the foodstuff designed for their biology, presented in a form supportive of their neurological wiring and physiologically and hormonally consistent with that of the other member of the feeding dyad–their mother. The rest of the population may benefit as well–even the men.

And, in case some shared wisdom on this motherly art is sought, please check out this very thorough Breastfeeding Tips and Guide lovingly prepared by Sara Spencer. It contains some nice videos including a great one on feeding twins.

I am just wondering, were you breastfed?

Thank you for listening, sharing, following and supporting my writing. Please subscribe in the sidebar to receive notice of new posts. Comments and greetings always welcome.

In health, Elyn

Related Posts: Blessed Feeding; To She Who Loves Us Before She Meets Us; Oh MotherA Winning Goal; First Food

first food

Yesterday, while I was leaving work, my friends wished me a nice weekend, acknowledging that I was taking today off in honor of my birthday. Happy Birthday they chimed while sweetly presenting me with a sunflower plant. As I have for the past twenty-seven years when asked about birthday plans, I am apt to explain that it is also my son’s birthday. Though my day’s celebration is no longer actively intertwined with his as it was when he was young, I cannot extricate my birth from his.

When I mentioned this, Josie commented on how for every parent, the birthday (or receiving day) of their first child marks their own re-birth as well, no matter the confluence of dates. It is the day that changes profoundly everything that may have preceded it. This is quite true. Cathy added that she birthed her first child exactly at the moment Mount St. Helena’s volcano erupted in 1980! While distanced by an entire continent, for her the event was no less spectacular.

Image result for midsummer night's dream images

Midsummer Night’s Dream

Still, I remain as tickled and surprised by my calendrical coincidence of blazing glory incarnation as I was the mid-summer night it occurred. And, as I have mentioned in previous posts, I enjoy that the date I first brought babe to breast coincides with World Breastfeeding Week/Breastfeeding Awareness Month. As a matter with so many implications for health, nutrition, and societal well being, and one rife with dilemmas, I try to bring attention to this important activism each year. Thanks to Mary Ellen, here’s a nice little video from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation about Growing a First Food Movement Naturally that helps give perspective to the story of infant feeding.

This year’s theme for World Breastfeeding Week is Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s Make it Work. Its focus is on furthering support for nursing women working in formal, non-formal or home settings so as they can continue to breastfeed their babies and maintain their right to breastfeed. The need to return to work–exacerbated by the lack of mandated and satisfactory maternity leave policies–is one of the main factors why women stop nursing. The initiatives associated with this year’s campaign highlight and advocate for improved national and state labor laws and practices; employer awareness and compliance with existing laws; and ways to create clean, comfortable, private and safe areas for women to nurse or to express breast milk in the workplace.

It is encouraging to witness that some real strides are being made. Government agencies, global health organizations, national groups, and local coalitions have been working hard so that women do not have to stop nursing their babies in order to keep food on the table for themselves and their families. Lactation spaces are becoming available in various public and private settings. Closets and storage areas in offices, factory buildings, schools, and daycare centers are being transformed into comfy lactation rooms; and creative and caring entrepreneurs are designing nursing pods for women working, recreating, or relaxing in various field and outdoor settings.

In the fall of 2013, I attended a Nets basketball game at the then newly anointed and crazily crowded Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Navigating the many corridors along with throngs of people was not easy. Having made it up to our seats in the nosebleed section, the female contingent of my party had to then descend back down a few levels to find a bathroom. Literally relieved to find the facilities, we were also quite surprised to find a door marked ‘lactation room’. A burly guard stood by the entrance. Our supportive interest piqued, we asked him about the room. As though protecting a highly paid all-star, he tersely informed us that there was someone in there. Though I probably wouldn’t bring my baby to such a noisy environment–unless it was a nursing toddles or if a family member was playing in the game or singing the national anthem–but if I did, I’d be nursing in my own seat, jumbotron cameras and all. But, for those mamas and babies who deserve a modicum of privacy and quiet dining, having such an option in such an incongruous setting is quite incredible. I wonder who there is to thank for that.

My own awareness of the many aspects of this year’s Let’s Make It Work campaign was heightened yesterday as well, when I was fortunate, as in previous years, to watch SUNY Albany’s School of Public Health/New York State Department of Health’s Bureau of Supplemental Foods annual webcast presentation of Breastfeeding Grand Rounds. This was, as always, an excellent program and it highlighted many great examples of breastfeeding-friendly environments. Though it left me feeling inspired, it also reminded me how amazing women are and how damn hard they work.

Stories and images of women shlepping breast pumps and accessories to work, utilizing break and lunchtime to sit in secluded rooms listening to the whir of mechanical pumps, rushing into daycare centers in the middle of the workday to nurse a baby, sequestering into hidden spaces to feed their young, and negotiating with employers individually for their own rights–god bless them all.

My mixed reaction to the situation also was evident as I attempted to find an image for my new Lifeseeds Nutrition Instagram post to honor the week and encountered some difficulties. The breastfeeding photos I most easily found depicted either beatific, blissed-out industrialized world mothers posed in pristine settings or somber-faced traditional world mothers huddled in sparse environments. Though I appreciate the beauty of both, neither captured what I was looking for– a reflection of how working mothers often feel in our modern society–weary from its many demands and yet comforted in the respite of feeding their child. I hope the one I finally chose came close.

As for my birthday, I wished really only for a little quiet me time. Though no longer tending daily to my children’s needs, with one child still in college I am still a working mom. The memories of running from babysitter to job to various activities with a baby in tow are still pretty fresh and my plate continues to feel pretty full. Thankfully, I got what I wished for. It is a perfect sunny day and my little village is exquisitely tranquil. My front porch cradles me, and I have some time to write. Soon I will have the phone conversation with my son where we simultaneously say, Happy Birthday.

Until then, wishing all the hard-working mommas, and all who support them, good nourishment of both body and soul.

Thank you for listening, sharing, following and supporting my writing. Please subscribe in the sidebar to receive notice of new posts. Comments and greetings always welcome.

In health, Elyn

Related Posts: Blessed Feeding; To She Who Loves Us Before She Meets Us; Breastfeeding Redux; Oh MotherA Winning Goal

My Plate Plate

Momma’s My Plate

 

My Plate Haiku

Hard toiling mamas

Hear their hungry babies cry

Breastfeeding and work–let’s make it work

by Elyn

a winning goal

I would feel a little remiss were I to not make mention this year of World Breastfeeding Week (WBW). In previous years I have always made a point to do so. But, it is late. I should already be in bed. Besides, I have to get to work early tomorrow in order to partake in a webinar that is celebrating the week and its important mission. So, I will be brief. wbw2014-logo-hd

Perhaps after tomorrow’s webinar, I will have something more inspiring or informational to offer with a larger perspective. Tonight, I sit quietly with only my personal experience–the one that reminds me that twenty-six years ago at this very time I was deeply in labor, nestled in my midwife’s quiet birthing room in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. On the other side of midnight, in the dark of night of the day of my own birthday, my son would make his way into the world. Our breastfeeding relationship would begin immediately thereafter.

But, during that time, the practice of breastfeeding on a larger global scale was diminishing with serious consequences for maternal and child health, with societal and environmental implications as well. In 1981, the World Health Assembly adopted the International Code of the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, to remediate the malnutrition suffered by infants and young children due to the inappropriate marketing of commercial formula. And, then in 1990, exactly two years after my own bond was formed in connection with the dying art of breastfeeding, the Innocenti Declaration was signed by government policymakers, WHO, UNICEF and other organizations to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. It designated the first week of August as World Breastfeeding Week.

Twenty-four years later, though there have been significant gains made in reversing the declining trend, there is still work to be done. There are also newer nutritional impacts of breastfeeding being investigated as we begin to better understand the myriad functions of the gut microbiome.

This year’s WBW slogan is Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal for Life. I suppose it relates to this year’s Football World Cup. Could that be? That’s a little funny to me because my son has been a soccer player and is a devoted fan of the sport. Though no longer on the field much, he is hoping to be working in the field of professional soccer someday. May I also parenthetically add, that throughout and since the World Cup games, I’ve noticed that I have had an almost daily blog reader from Brazil–so apparently not everyone in the country was focused on the sport. A special hello to that reader(s).

The objectives of WBW 2014 are strongly linked to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), set by governments and the United Nations to fight poverty and promote healthy and sustainable development in a comprehensive way by 2015. A description of how breastfeeding is linked to the MDGs can be found here. The connections are quite profound.

I am interested to see what I will learn in the course of tomorrow’s session. I will let you know if there is anything particularly interesting. In the meantime, please take a moment if you will and have a look at these powerful photos. They will say much more than my usual thousand words.

Thank you for listening, sharing, following and supporting my writing. Please subscribe in the sidebar to receive notice of new posts. Comments and greetings always welcome.

In health, Elyn

P.S. The webinar session was yesterday. It was sponsored by the SUNY School of Public Health and entitled, International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and Promoting and Supporting Exclusive Breastfeeding. I applaud the school’s long term commitment to this topic and recommend the session highly. I believe it will be available soon for viewing online. Dr. Ruth Lawrence, an international breastfeeding authority, and author of Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession, whose pioneering work and advocacy for breastfeeding dates back to the 1950s, is on the panel.

The webinar described some examples of successful applications as well as egregious violations of the International Code of Marketing, and also shared some exciting outcomes in regard to increasing initiation and exclusivity of breastfeeding in some NYC hospitals and in the Vermont WIC Program due to some dedicated efforts. It also discussed commerciogenic malnutritionin this context, referring to the marketing of breastmilk substitutes and its impacts on babies, but I may ponder some wider implications as well.

Thank you for listening, sharing, following and supporting my writing. Please subscribe in the sidebar to receive notice of new posts. Comments and greetings always welcome.

In health, Elyn

Related Posts: Blessed Feeding; To She Who Loves Us Before She Meets Us; Breastfeeding Redux; Oh Mother

Today’s My Plate is the beautiful watermelon cake prepared for me by my office “birthday angel”.

Related Recipe: Watermelon Fruit Cake 

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Cathy’s My Plate

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Plate Haiku

Hearts are not just reserved for romance

Every living thing

Is in love.

by Kat

oh mother

I was hoping not to have to work today. It is Sunday and I promised myself a little repose. So there I was actually lounging on the couch this morning when the news of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s announcement of the New York City Health Department’s Latch on NYC breastfeeding initiative filtered into my airspace from an NPR podcast.

breastfeeding

breastfeeding (Photo credit: sdminor81)

Clearly, the launch of this voluntary program for New York City’s hospitals was timed to coincide with World Breastfeeding Week. The story started off nicely enough with a rational presentation of the benefits of breastfeeding and informed that 27 out of 40 New York City hospitals have already signed on to the recommended policy. But, it then whacked me with a tirade of the backlash (and responses) to the initiative–bemoaning that women do not want to have their parenting decisions enforced, especially by a man–and specifically not by health policy promoting Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

I rolled over and groaned into the cushions. My hopes for a relaxing day were shattered. I intended to glue my attention to the Olympics–one of the rare times I surrender to watching TV– but this report was going to interfere. Having discussed the topic of breastfeeding previously, I had no choice but to respond to this in a timely manner. Water polo and volleyball could wait, but this must be addressed before track and field and gymnastics takes to the screen.

In brief, Mayor Bloomberg did not make up these policies, and in fact, they are not mandated. These are recommendations consistent with the guidelines of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. Other larger jurisdictions have already implemented these policies. The intention is not to take choice away from women or to impound life-giving nourishment. It will not send women back into the kitchen chained to the stove with babes pulling on the teat as some editorials that I read implied.

Instead, it is a long-overdue remediation of a situation that separated the human species from their species-specific milk and compromised in both subtle and profound ways the health of many moms and babes. The superiority of human milk, as compared to artificial milk or formula, for human babies is not disputed and its immuno-protective properties are well established. There are many other benefits as well of mother’s milk as a substance and breastfeeding as a method.

What is not as well-known is that formula companies have participated in the disruption of this mother and child feeding relationship for many years and that this has promoted a cultural ignorance about the benefits of breast milk and a communal lack of wisdom regarding supporting women in this most natural of human behaviors. Big corporations have been the beneficiaries of immeasurable profits by influencing infant feeding using extreme measures by literally getting invited right into the hospital.

Pregnant women are wooed with coupons, samples, and free merchandise. New moms are given goodie bags with loyalty promoting formula brands. What formula a baby is started on has nothing to do with the baby or the doctor, but by whatever company got their hands on those tiny sucking lips first. Where else does this marketing intrusion occur so blatantly in matters related to health?

Women’s efforts to nurse have been sabotaged in hospitals for decades by babies being given sugar-water or formula without consent. Birth attendants including doctors and nurses not educated in lactation have also impeded the mother’s success at nursing. The result is a society that for decades has been led to believe that nursing is difficult, inconvenient and an impediment to maternal freedom. What has created barriers for mothers choosing to nurse is not nursing, but a lack of education, limited support, pathetic maternity leave policies, lack of comfortable places for nursing and pumping and a prudish culture that has turned to feed at the breast into a lascivious act aggravated by laws that even make nursing in public illegal in some places.

If you wish to discuss enslaving factors as regards women’s choices, this is what people should be concerned with–not the new policies. Of course, there will be some situations where babies will require formula, and there will be women who will choose formula feeding for a multitude of reasons. But, I am pretty sure the locked cabinet that the policy suggests will not be in the hospital basement by the janitors’ supplies and that women won’t be found dragging their IV poles down the hall in desperate search of a contraband formula to sate their starving babies. And, I strongly doubt that nursing staff will be utilizing methods of intimidation to enforce breastfeeding.

This is just an opportunity to fully educate and inform and to take the profits out of our babies’ bellies. It is one of a long series of efforts by many health care professionals to enhance the health of women and children in both the short and long-term. This is not rocket science nor is it evidence of a nanny state. If we as mothers have to choose our battles–this is not the one to wage.

Thank you for listening, sharing, following and supporting my writing. Please subscribe in the sidebar to receive notice of new posts. Comments and greetings always welcome.

In health, Elyn

Related Posts: Blessed Feeding; To She Who Loves Us; A Winning Goal; Breastfeeding Redux

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Cathy’s My Plate

My Plate Haiku

Blueberry bushes

Three children with empty pails

Pluck, pluck, crunch, exhale.

by Michael

To she who loves us before she meets us

To she who loves us before she meets us. Inscription on the Monumento a la Madre in Ciudad de Mexico.

The story of how women birth babies in this country has many chapters. In brief, it is a story that begins with essentially all births being attended to by midwives from various traditions in women’s homes or designated places and leads to the current paradigm of almost all births being managed according to a pathology-oriented medical model in hospitals.

The change was effected by the professionalization of obstetrics at the end of the 1800s; the advent of charity hospitals that lured women with the promise of improved care but essentially were intended as training grounds for a profession that had no actual experience–and that resulted in a significant rise in maternal and infant mortality; and the influence of physicians who changed labor and delivery from a natural process to one that required the routine use of a series of interventions. By the 1940s, the vast majority of births took place in hospitals. This trajectory was not the same in most other industrialized countries.

The introduction of “twilight sleep” which used morphine and scopolamine defined mid-20th century birth. The combination of these drugs left women powerless, with no memory of their labor or delivery. Problems associated with this cocktail led to its discontinuation but gave rise to other substituted interventions.

The late 1960s and 1970s saw a counter movement with women recreating options for more natural births. This resuscitated the profession of midwifery and ushered in the establishment of free-standing birth centers, more comfortable birthing rooms in hospitals and even expanded possibilities for women to deliver their babies back in the sanctity of their own homes. However, the persistent culturally held belief system that medically guided births are safer and the seduction of pain-free birth–promised now by the wide-spread use of epidurals–has maintained the predominance of a medical model. A midwifery model of care is still marginalized–though it is quite alive and kicking.Image result for monumento a la madre

In Attacking the Causes of Obesity, Really?, I discuss how I believe some very powerful influences regarding our current health situation including the weight problem have been seriously overlooked. To me, dismissing the consequences of dissociating women from the birth of their children is a glaring oversight. It seems rather obvious that as women were lulled into surrendering their most primal potent power that there would be other negative sequelae. Try not to interpret this on a personal level but rather on the larger societal level where these insidious changes occur.

Birth is a very divinely tuned natural process where a precise cascade of hormones allows for a woman to orchestrate the birth of her baby. It benefits from attendant security, guidance, and support. Right after a normal delivery, a woman is alert and aware, able to hold, bond, nurse and care for her infant. Imagine, coming out of an induced stupor to find yourself alone with no baby to immediately see–let alone to hold. With medications and fear impeding the ability to breastfeed, it is also no coincidence that formula feeding quickly obliterated nursing at the same time that these interventions were implemented. This period of medically controlled birth was also marked by weight gain fear being instilled in women and the withholding of food during labor. Those practices are still the norm today.

Over the course of a few decades in this country, we abruptly dissolved the innate wisdom of women on how to trust their instincts in the care and feeding of their young. Ironically, it happened just as women were gaining other rights. It has now been about seventy years since that big SNAP, CRACKLE  and ultimate POP of male-dominated modern obstetrics felled the tree that rooted women to their maternal wisdom. Our infant and maternal maternity rates are abominably high–along with our C-Section rates, and, our breastfeeding rates are pathetically low. Chronic illnesses are common and increasing in our children.

With a few generations of women now lacking communal wisdom and thereby, confidence in their ability to give birth; and, with doctors who are not trained in nutrition and the motherly art of breastfeeding conducting our obstetric and pediatric care, is it any wonder that we no longer know what to do? That we no longer know how to cook and prepare real food for our children, that drugs are offered like candy, that a huge percentage of our infants and young children have hardly ingested a morsel of non-processed or non-adulterated food and, that we barely know and trust how to nourish our own selves?

In that prior post, I state that I want to be an impressive expert–a paid one. Here, I will boldly lay claim to my area of expertise. I have had the very unique experience of providing nutrition care in clinical and community settings for almost thirty years. In my next post, I will share my observations and experiences.

Until then, as always, I welcome your thoughts and comments. And, I share my deep gratitude for all the incredible midwives, many of whom I know personally, some who have birthed my own children, others who are out there fighting for the rights of women and children on a daily basis.

A special thank you to my midwife Helena who brought me boxes of organic vegetables the summer I was pregnant with my daughter. And to Leslie and Jennifer.  Please check out BirthNet and Every Mother Counts.

Thank you for listening, sharing, following and supporting my writing. Please subscribe in the sidebar to receive notice of new posts. Comments and greetings always welcome.

In health,  Elyn

Related Posts: Blessed Feeding, Breastfeeding Redux, To She Who Loves Us; Oh Mother

My Plate Haiku

Craving for pickles

And German chocolate cake

My friend is pregnant.  By Gretchen

where has all the produce gone?

Perhaps it is due to the recent one year anniversary of the passing of Pete Seeger that has this title coming to mind–but this is something I have been thinking about for a while.

I have had a few experiences lately, where a brilliant idea of mine that I have kept gestating in some corner of my mind, waiting for just the right labor to bring forth, is birthed by someone else–and I read about it somewhere. I hate when that happens, especially as brilliance is not my forte and such ideas are few and far between. And, so now I must act quickly to share–and thus take credit–for these rare flashes of genius. 

As you may know, I have been swimming around in this primordial soup for many years–somewhat akin to, um, yes, let me see, ah yes, the great Soviet biologist Alexander Oparin–father of the primordial soup theory–seeking answers to some of life’s most pressing questions. While Mr. Oparin had been searching for the origin of life on Earth, I am anxious to find a solution to this little problem of sanely feeding the carbon-ignited populace of whom he divined the spark.

I was already concocting my own brilliant idea when a friend sent me this article, Can America Learn to Love Misshapen Veggies? by Elizabeth Segran. It is about the vision of Doug Rauch–the former president of Trader Joe’s– to create markets for oft misshapen produce and other food that might otherwise be headed prematurely and unnecessarily into the waste stream. Having seen the high degree of such waste and the exorbitant cost of such a loss while hunger is rampant in our country, he is experimenting with opening grocery stores that would sell such abandoned produce at low-cost in high-need neighborhoods. He seems to know a thing or two about the grocery business, and I am glad to learn of his concern and his efforts. Maybe he’ll like my idea–it is along the same lines.

You see, kind of like Sisyphus, I am among those dedicated to rolling a giant Hubbard squash up to the top of a mountain, only to have it roll back down again–ceaselessly repeating the effort. Sisyphus’ fate “as much through his passions as through his torture”–is similar to the plight of the modern-day nutritionist. “Eat your vegetables!”, we implore. “Three cups a day!” “Eat all the colors of the rainbow!” We beg, we cajole, we try to be cute. We strive mightily to bring the veggies to the people, but we can’t make them eat. (Horses, on the other hand, accept them rather well.) Undaunted, like Sisyphus, we perforce keep trying.

Albert Camus, in The Myth of Sisyphus, states that the gods had condemned Sisyphus to his labor, reasoning that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor. But, he continues, “If one believes Homer, Sisyphus was the wisest and most prudent of mortals.” Ah! My personal interpretation of the text provides some vindication for our insanity.

Vegetables can be daunting to buy, prepare and cook. They can be expensive. When they go bad they look quite sad. Certain vegetables require strong muscles, a good set of sharp knives, and a certain finesse to commandeer properly. As a food group they are complex and complicated, and many times a relationship with them must be carefully nurtured. Some challenge the taste buds with a propensity to be bitter or earthy. Plus, they often carry baggage from our collective childhoods.

But, they are so gooooood! And, rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, Omega-3s, enzymes and phytonutrients to help our hearts, bones, skin, hydration, and mood–they are good for us! The benefits of a plant-rich diet are well established, and with so many different types, including what I might like to think of as a starter kit vegetables for the disinclined, there are plenty for all to enjoy and benefit from–in spite of early experiences. But, with so many real and perceived obstacles, to the chagrin of Mr. Rauch and myself–many march needlessly to their unconsumed demise, after much time, love, care, and commitment were dedicated to their growth by hard-working farmers. Some, just because they do not meet the standard definition of beauty.

So, my basic idea is this: In an effort funded and supported by health care collaborations, corporate and/or governmental subsidies–grocery stores, and other appropriate establishments should create space for the preparation of freshly made, nutrient-blessed vegetable-based juice–oh, and yes, soup–for sale to the public at an affordable cost. Incentives for purchase by SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formerly known as food stamps) recipients could be implemented, similar to those being offered at Farmer’s Markets. These products can be available year-round in frequented food environments.

Vegetable juices and soups (made with well-prepared broths that can also utilize other ingredients that might otherwise be wasted–such as meat bones) are perhaps the simplest health-promoting and disease-preventing foods available. Increasing the exposure to and ease of access and consumption of these may be a powerful antidote to the scourges of our chronic health ills. Call me naive, but my experience informs me that many appreciate the taste of health–particularly when health has become an elusive concept. Returning health to our food establishments is mildly becoming a not so foreign idea. In my nearby city, a local health insurer and the YMCA have partnered with a food chain–and health classes and services are offered right in the grocery store. And golly, our supermarkets often house pharmacies–so, why not grandma’s penicillin?

The benefits of my little “Primordial Soup and Juice Program” include opportunities to expand vegetable education, improve the visibility of nutrition specialists, eliminate barriers to vegetable purchasing and intake, and affirm the age-old wisdom of food as medicine. Plus, it can contribute to the reduction of food waste and spare the feelings of those poor misshapen vegetables. What well-intentioned juice or soup maker would not warmly welcome them? Right, Mr. Rauch?

Oh, and Pete, Where has all the produce gone? Thirty-one percent of it into the waste stream, everyone. When will we ever learn? When will we ever learn? New verse: Assimilated well into our cells, everyone. Any thoughts to help embellish this vision?

Thank you for listening, sharing, following and supporting my writing. Please subscribe in the sidebar to receive notice of new posts. Comments and greetings always welcome.

In health, Elyn 

Update March 8, 2015. Just elaborating by suggesting that this idea can be implemented in our schools as well as in all of our subsidized food programs serving both young children and adults in group care facilities

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Mock Turtle’s  My Plate Plate

My Plate Poem

Beautiful soup so rich and green

Waiting in a hot tureen

Who for such dainties would not stoop

Soup of the evening beautiful soup. by The Mock Turtle

 

beatific untrodden twelvemonth

Beatific untrodden twelvemonth! This is my alternative greeting for the advent of the new year. Besides doubling the number of syllables, I think it also increases the intensity of possibility, suggests that we can go somewhere never before ventured, and adds a sprinkle of Shakespearean flavor.

As we reckon time in yearly increments, here are a few basic numbers as concerns annual dietary matters. At a minimum, given a structure of three basic meals per day, or two and a snack, we eat 1,095 times between the beginning of January and the end of December. If we bring that up to five times per day, influenced by a meal plus snack pattern or a small frequent meal philosophy, we are up to 1,825 intimate interactions with placing food in our mouths as we are buckled in for our celestial journey. Add in the multiple nibbles that usually enhance our existence, and the number grows even higher.

Each food encounter also reflects a commitment of time in regard to food procurement, preparation, consumption, digestion and usually some cleanup. Hmmm, let’s see. If I take an estimated average of 1,500 feeding encounters per year and multiply that by some unscientific number of minutes per encounter of sixty-four, we spend 79,500 minutes, 1600 hours, 66 days or 2.4 lunar orbits per year keeping ourselves alive (or killing ourselves) with food.

This, of course, does not take into account how much time we spend thinking about food and thinking about what we think about food. To figure that out would require some advanced calculus, but I can tentatively say it even exceeds the number of times men are purported to think about sex. My recent inquiry into the matter seems to debunk the every seven seconds or 7,200 times per day oft-quoted in scientific or urban myth circles with newer research suggesting that it may be as low as one time per day. Whether there is a direct or inverse relationship with food thoughts is still open for investigation.

In my own role as homo sapiens eater blessed with options and plenitude, I have to acknowledge my own challenges, decide which I wish to or can address, and stop and make adjustments to my own way and style of eating as well. My decisions are based largely on environmental or sustainability concerns and maintaining health. Not everyone needs to be inclined toward putting their attention to matters of diet, but it seems like many are ultimately forced to do so when our mortal coils doth protest too much.

As I remain vigilant observing the cultural messages about food and eating that bombard us, the food environments that surround us, the toxic insults to our planet, the stressful eating habits of the masses, the angst and agita that accompany us and the consequences associated with the whole gestalt, my dilemma that is sensitive to the complexities of human behavior and the realities that define our lives, feels an increased compunction to guide towards increasing the capacity to nourish in a way that we all deserve and that serves us individually and as a society.

In the spirit of the beatific untrodden twelvemonth, I would like to give you an opportunity to share a glimpse of your internal dialogue. This is not an exercise in divulging deep secrets, but more of an inventory of the challenges, barriers, that confront us or positive intentions or actions that may be available to us all. May it be a chance to shed an ounce of the burden of our thoughts which often goes unspoken and becomes an insidious mantra that gnaws away at our nexus of well-being; or to be a way to gain a pound of insight to inspire personal (or community) action for change. Might it just make one of those 1,500 feeding encounters or 79,500 food-related minutes a little better for you, and maybe for those you love too, in this new year.

Here is one for me. (There are no formatting rules.) I give myself permission to sit and smell the (matcha) tea as a reminder to hydrate more, inhale and ingest the gifts of the plant world, worry less and allow for grace to happen with more trust and less force.

I give you good morrow, and well be with you.

Vous souhaiter une bonne et heureuse annee remplie de peche et une bonne sante.

Thank you for listening, sharing, following and supporting my writing. Please subscribe in the sidebar to receive notice of new posts. Comments and greetings always welcome.

Wishes for a happy new year filled with peace and good health, Elyn

susan plate

Oriental My Plate

 My Plate Haiku 

Deep scarlet red beets

Reveal your sweetness to me

Slip out of your skins.

by Elyn

summer’s end

Before summer goes leaping into fall, as it can tend to do in these parts, I want to offer homage to it and to those who tend its landscape.

In early June, before the sun had reached its northernmost point in the sky and summer’s arrival in this hemisphere had not quite yet been heralded, I was lamenting in “Obesity, oh wait a minute“, about the “collective abdication” of societal nourishment due to the blurry division between culture and corporation. This was written in response to my learning about a local community sacrificing its citizenry for some petty reward from Arby’s–the fast food roast beef chain. The insidious mutiny of our taste buds and natural hungers by corporations who have invested deeply in behavioral psychology, flavor and gene manipulation and marketing in order to usurp our birthright of health, always makes me feel pretty yukky.   

susan fowler's friendship garden

The Friendship Garden

I quoted Dr. David Katz who asked, “If you know it’s important to control your weight and attend to your health, but almost everything in your environment and your culture conspires against such efforts- how responsible are you, personally? Are you truly personally irresponsible if you go with the prevailing flow?

When one is swirling about in the prevailing flow, it is hard to either remember or to imagine a different current of possibility. For context, I remind that my work entails helping those who have not just gone with the flow, but who are drowning in it. While much about our modern food situation lurks in shadow, thankfully the enlightening sun continues on its ecliptic journey along the celestial sphere in spite of ourselves. When it reaches the right ascension: 6 hours; declination: 23.5 degrees on June 21st–the longest day of the year, the light shifts, the air warms, and we are blessed with the advent of summer. This is the season that offers the opportunity to paddle over to the river bank and to rest for a while.

At the solstice, the denizens of summer appear. Having spent months in preparation for this precious moment, this is when the sowers and reapers take to the fields, playing midwife to the earth’s fertile bounty that the warm sun beckons forth. One must move slowly and sit quietly to see them. Like little gnomes, hunched low to the ground or up in the trees, they are busy with their work, often in the early hours of the day. They tend to be wary and shy of the noise and bustle of the big cities and crowded highways. Sometimes they commune better with their animals than with people.

But, they are gentle and caring folk, and eventually, they step through the veil of the misty morning and come forth with their beautiful harvest–raspberries, blueberries, currants, peaches and plums, big bunches of leafy chard, heads of tender bibb lettuce, peas, and beans, luscious tomatoes, beets, and carrots pulled from the dirt, melons of many varieties, eggs laid from happy chickens, cheeses curdled from the milk of frolicking goats and tiny bundles of fragrant herbs.

As if awakening from a midsummer’s night dream, when we behold these offerings we are a bit uncertain at first about what is real–are we truly enamored of the jackass or are we brought to our senses by being reminded of what is truly beautiful and deeply nourishing? Can we actually claim this amazing food for ourselves and for our children as well? May we feel more resolute to decry the fodder that misrepresents itself by masquerading as food? It is possible.

Summertime provides me with many wonderful examples that creating new paradigms of food and feeding exist. Two urban, youth-focused programs include the Student Produce Project run by my friends at the Capital District Community Gardens; and the magical school-based Friendship Garden fertilized by many years of hard work and the amazing love of my dear friend, Susan Fowler. Susan is also a wonderful teacher and a whole lot more. Her students call her Mrs. Flower. With her corps of elementary students in her heart and at her side tending the crops, she has been an early crusader in the school gardening movement.

CDCG Produce Project

CDCG Produce Project

Farmer’s markets also always inspire. This summer, a day trip led me and Pete to the Saugerties Farmer’s Market in the beautiful and bountiful Hudson Valley. There, near the wonderful assemblage of growers, bakers and jelly makers I came upon an educational and artistic display about the health effects of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food. Later, I kept wondering how did science meet such creative expression, so I traced my way to the work of the person responsible, Claudia McNulty. Claudia is a painter, designer, sculptor and seemingly, environmental activist as well. Her work is beautiful and thought-provoking. Claudia has provided some links to very important information through her Corn Porn GMO project. These include the Seralini GMO Rat Study and a video interview with an MIT scientist on the effects of the increased use of the herbicide RoundUp required by GMO crops. To appreciate our current health crises, it is essential to understand the influence of GMOs.

But, the earth tenders who most personally influenced my own summer were my friends Justine and Brian Denison, and their crew, the farmers at Denison Farm, providers of my Community Supported Agriculture share. They not only grew but also delivered the amazing produce that graced my own table and fed my family. The film, Radical Roots: Reawakening the Local Food Movement, by Patricia Lane, features their farm. The elements captured in this story really colored my thoughts and inspired me through these long sunny days. I hope it may do the same for you.

So, to all of summer’s tenders who work so hard as stewards of the land and take care to feed us all, I offer deep and profound thanks, and hope that the fall provides some well-deserved rest. And to summer itself, it is always sad to see you go, but thanks for giving respite from our busy year and for illuminating the ways we can re-route the prevailing flow that permits corporate control of our health and environment.

Thank you for listening, sharing, following, and supporting my writing. Please subscribe in the sidebar to receive notice of new posts. Comments and greetings always welcome.

In health, Elyn

Related Baker: Tess Beatrice at Sow Good Bakery--creatively conceived and beautifully presented delicious morsels all gluten-free, refined sugar-free, sometimes raw confections laced with unusual spices and topped with tender flower petals.

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Farmers’ My Plate Plate

My Plate Haiku

Strawberries are too delicate to be picked by machine. The perfectly ripe ones even bruise at too heavy a human touch. It hit her then that every strawberry she had ever eaten — every piece of fruit — had been picked by calloused human hands. Every piece of toast with jelly represented someone’s knees, someone’s aching back and hips, someone with a bandanna on her wrist to wipe away the sweat. Why had no one told her about this before? by Alison Luterman, “What They Came For” (from The Sun magazine)

of poverty and light

Amid all of the celebrations of the holiday season it sure is easy to overindulge and to gain those few–oh excuse me for a moment–my dilemma is tugging at my sleeve. Sorry, it seems to be interrupting me to say something about property. Property? Puberty? You know, despite its omnipresence in my life, I don’t even understand my own dilemma sometimes.

It is like when my son was little and (prematurely) learning to talk, he would get so frustrated when his word was misinterpreted. When I would repeat the statement to make sure I had heard it correctly, like, “You want some bed?”,  he could only surmise that his mother must be severely limited and he would implore the heavens for some relief. Who on earth he would beg says, “I want some bed”, and even if they did, why would they say that when standing in the kitchen after nap time? What part of “bread” does my mother not get?027

My dilemma is reacting the same way now. So, with a deep breath, I will take its sweet little face between my hands and ask it to calm down and try to tell me again. Oh, I get it now. Poverty. My dilemma is asking me if I could please not write about holiday eating, but instead about poverty.

Oh, poverty. “Right now?” I ask, in the midst of this season of tinsel-tinged holiday cheer? Yes, it replies. Write about it on this darkest day of the year when we most crave the light to illuminate all that should be revealed. “Can you just try?” it says in that adorable little voice. “About poverty and nutrition?”

What do I know about this topic and what credentials do I have to write about it? Well, I do work in a Federally Qualified Health Center that serves the economically poor–the uninsured, the underinsured, those who sit at the bottom of the economic ladder, those lacking in many of the resources that others easily possess. And, I do educate on nutrition. Yet, I am still nervous to presume that I have the right to tread here. My own perceptions are actually a bit blurry.

Though every day I am deeply privileged to have my clients share the stories–somewhat intimate–of some parts of the realities of their lives, I cannot claim to really know what their impoverishment feels like. And, though yes, the majority of my clients are poor, some poorer than others–they all mainly go to sleep with some roof over their head and some food in their tummies. Furthermore, they possess a richness that nourishes and inspires me as well–whether it be of spirit, honesty, feeling, fortitude, resilience, wisdom, story-telling, family and community connection, self-reflection, humility or appreciation.

Yet, I am still perplexed, so I look back at my dilemma and ask, “But, don’t people already know about poverty and nutrition? That it is complicated but it has something to do with the cheapest (hunger-slaying) food often being the least healthy; the battered economy; governmental food subsidies; food deserts; reliance on convenience and processed foods; income inequality; the history of supplemental and commodity food programs and the lack of a just and sustainable food system?

And, haven’t I already discussed things like food addiction and the impact of excessive sugar-sweetened beverages on emotional and physical health? And, I probably have already ranted about even bigger, more amorphous issues like lack of breastfeeding, TV advertising, health disparities, a stress-based society and may I now even add environmental toxins and gun violence which disproportionately affects our poorer neighborhoods–and how I believe all these things affect our bodies and who we are as eaters.

My dilemma nods and whispers, “Well, is there anything else you’d like to add?” I sigh. Maybe it is on to something. There are many disparaging assumptions made regarding how the poor feed themselves. Maybe what I can do for today is to shed some light on how poverty in modern-day America infringes upon the hunting, gathering, and metabolic fundamentals required for normal human nutrition–a process that has become quite enigmatic for many, but more profoundly for those who must often do with very limited resources. In the daily conversations that I have about this elusive, ill-defined quest for proper eating–oft imagined as being as simple to prescribe as popping a pill–I am perpetually filtering many realities that are probably rather obscure.

So, here it is. Most of my clients would like to eat better. They would–but there are numerous hindrances. Many are tired. Very tired. Those who work, often work very exhausting types of jobs. Many of them–the home health aides, the certified nursing assistants, the truck drivers, the cleaners, the warehouse stockers, and even the retail workers–work variable hours, often with overnight shifts which distress the natural circadian rhythms and thereby the sleep and eating patterns. Those who don’t work are often depressed or in chronic pain. Food provides easy relief. They live in neighborhoods where people get shot and murdered. They forget how to use and move their bodies. Many over their lifetimes have cared for so many others that self-care is just an amusing oxymoron. Often, just the physical requirements that cooking entails become difficult.

Additionally, when money is tight for food, so commonly it is for all the things associated with food preparation and eating. This includes appliances like stoves, ovens, dishwashers, refrigerators, and freezers–and even the kitchen table and chairs. Some of my clients live in accommodations where not all of these are provided or where they are not properly working. Some only have a microwave to cook their food. Some live in settings where they have to share a kitchen with random roommates. Some people keep food in their bedrooms to prevent others from eating it. Those who live in group programs have no control over the type of food that is provided.

And, then there are the even smaller things like a set of good knives, measuring cups and spoons, pots and pans, a blender, a cutting board, a steamer or a food processor. For many a modern cook, one could not imagine even basic food preparation without most of these accouterments, if not even more. Yet, for some, these are downright luxuries. Just recently, I did a display on winter squashes to promote these nutritionally blessed, fiber-dense and delicious denizens of the food kingdom–but even so, I was cognizant that unless one buys them pre-cut and frozen these pretty gourds demand a whack of a proper, well-sharpened knife to reveal their inner gifts.

Each person has their own circumstances. Though I must serve my clients quickly and effectively I have to obtain some information before I venture in with suggestions. I cannot assess for all of the above. I must pry for information with the utmost gentleness and respect to get a quick sense of where we are starting from. Depending on the person, sometimes it is obvious, sometimes not. The foods that are now commonly touted to be required for a healthy diet, I sometimes must ask permission to utter. I say things like olive oil, brown rice, walnuts, almond milk, and on a good day, quinoa, preceded by “may I?” and followed by “thank-you.” What might seem like a molehill of a price differential could quite truly be a mountain.

Thankfully, there is usually space for an appropriate conversation about food and eating when the context is understood and appreciated. And, fortunately too, the realm of health-giving foods contains some low-cost and readily available options. My clients are glad to be reminded of them. Usually, they learned of them from their grandmothers as well. But, most importantly is when that light goes on that says that they are worthy of nourishing themselves in the best way that they possibly can. That they matter. Then this abstract matter of nutrition begins to make some sense.

So, I guess, my main observation is that bottom line, despite our economic differences, we are foremost eaters–doing the best we can with what we know and what we have at the moment. And, that somewhere, somehow, it is always about love. I look back at my dilemma for some confirmation. Oh well. It has fallen fast asleep.

Thank you for listening, sharing, following and supporting my writing. Please subscribe in the sidebar to receive notice of new posts. Comments and greetings always welcome.

Read below on the new My Plate Invitational

In health, Elyn

ChooseMyPlate

USDA MyPlate Plate

My Plate: In honor of the New Year, I invite you to submit a photo of your own beautiful plate to be placed in the rotation along with the My Plate Haikus. My Plate (your plates) will offer a prettier and more personal representation of the MyPlate put forth by the USDA as a model of how Americans should feed themselves–which replaced the MyPyramid. I can’t wait to see your plate. It can portray whatever nourishment, pleasant eating, or mealtime means to you. It can contain a meal you have prepared or been lovingly served, a depiction of feeding, or just some beautiful dishware. My Plate Haikus always welcome too.

You may include it in a comment or submit to zimmermanelyn7@gmail.com/Subject Line: My Plate Photo