Toxins, motherhood and “shopping your way to safety”

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Regular readers of this blog know of my ongoing interest in natural parenting as both a function of privilege and a marker highlighting privileged status. It seems that many people have a need to signal their privileged status to others by adopting lifestyles and routines that require substantial steady incomes to support.

It’s pretty obvious when it comes to conspicuous consumption of expensive cars, designer clothes, and monstrously large homes. It is less obvious, though no less important, in never ending task of avoiding “toxins” involving the purchase of organic foods, supplements, homeopathic remedies, etc. etc. It turns out to be very expensive to avoid “toxins.”

The concept of natural parenting as a visible marker of privilege raises an interesting and ironic possibility. Is natural parenting, often viewed as a rejection of contemporary consumer culture, merely a niche form of the very same consumer culture that is purportedly being rejected? In other words, just as the women who feed their children McDonald’s take out, let them play with plastic toys, and allow them to watch TV are obviously responding to rampant consumerism, are natural parenting advocates who hire doulas, treat everything with homeopathic remedies, and wear their babies in slings unwittingly responding to the exact same consumerism they claim to deplore, albeit consumerism carefully targeted specifically, at them?

Is natural parenting about health or is it just a giant marketing tactic created to sell worthless products to gullible people? Do purveyors of natural parenting goods and service promote “shopping your way to safety”?

Rutgers sociologist Norah MacKendrick raises this disturbing possiblity in her paper More Work for Mother; Chemical Body Burdens as a Maternal Responsibility published in the September issue of Gender and Society.

… This article advances … the effort to mediate personal exposure to environmental chemicals through vigilant consumption as a new empirical site for understanding the intersections between maternal embodiment and contemporary motherhood as a consumer project. Using in-depth interviews, I explore how a group of 25 mothers employ precautionary consumption to mediate their children’s exposure to chemicals found in food, consumer products, and the home. Most of the mothers in the study situate their children’s chemical “burdens” within their own bodies and undertake the labor of precautionary consumption as part of a larger and commodity-based motherhood project…

MacKendrick firmly situates attachment parenting [intensive mothering] as a consumer choice:

The ideology of intensive mothering infuses spaces of consumption by urging mothers to buy with the best interests of the child in mind. Consumption is therefore entangled with other routine activities that parents—and mothers in particular— view as integral to securing a child’s future outcomes. Indeed, women’s transition to motherhood is marked by the consumption of specific material goods. As a form of daily provisioning, foodwork is gendered labor, as women do most of this work …

Mothers create elaborate rituals around shopping for and purchasing items that they believe are necessary to avoid “toxins.” For example:

Megan, a middle-class woman with an infant, has a complex precautionary consumption routine … She consults books, magazines, and websites to find information about chemical avoidance and organizes her shopping list according to what items should be
organic and nontoxic (e.g., meat, dairy, produce, cleaning products). …

So Megan peruses magazines and websites (filled with ads for products she might purchase), then makes specific product choices in areas ranging from food to cleaning products. What’s the difference between Megan and the woman who peruses Vogue and then makes specific product choices among designer options? Nothing, really.

And, of course, like most natural parenting, the conspicuous consumption is traditionally gendered.

Megan explains that her husband “is on board with it, but he definitely doesn’t initiate. It just wouldn’t enter his realm of thought.” When he does the grocery shopping, she “send[s] him out” with a list of specific brands of items to buy for their child, as she
would not trust him to make the “right” choices. This contrast of her knowledge against her husband’s relative ignorance rationalizes the gendered division of precautionary consumption within her household.

Living a privileged life in a privleged neighborhood is almost a necessity:

Megan lives in a neighborhood with stores selling free-range chicken and discount organic foods. During our interview, she shows me a baby chair that she bought at a local store, and speaks enthusiastically about the natural wood and organic cotton. Megan clearly feels that shopping in a precautionary way is enjoyable. She talks positively about the range of choice of organic goods in her neighborhood: “It’s great . . . it’s a foodie
neighborhood for sure…” When Megan frames precautionary consumption this way, we see the privileges afforded by her social class position, where buying green commodities is easy,
enjoyable, and affordable.

Moreover, shopping your way to safety offers women an unmerited sense of superiority, as another mother demonstrates:

Cara considers precautionary consumption as an expression of vigilant mothering that protects against health problems: “I want it to be organic, to be as pure as possible—you know, they can put a lot of crazy ingredients in there . . . that’s why all these kids are medicated, they’re eating all this crappy stuff and then they can’t behave themselves and what’s it doing to them?” Her approach to precautionary consumption evokes both
a natural mothering and an intensive mothering ideology… By pointing to “all these kids,” Cara furthermore situates herself in relation to a hypothetical, careless parent who fails to connect a child’s ingestion of chemical additives to behavioral problems.

While Megan and Cara claim, and probably even believe, that they are protecting their children’s health by avoiding “toxins,” they’ve actually been tricked into paying top dollar for products they doesn’t need, don’t make their children safer, advertise their privilege, and provide no additional value for the additional expense. They are no different from the less privileged women they look down upon for responding to the consumerist culture in which we live. They, too, has been manipulated into buying stuff in response to aggressive marketing campaigns, just different ones.

Simply put, “toxins” aren’t a health threat, they’re a sophisticated marketing tactic designed to trick privileged women who imagine themselves as “educated” into buying an endless array of consumer products in an orgy of conspicuous consumption that they don’t need, don’t work, and merely enrich charlatans.

  • KBCme

    Yes! I could not agree more. Whenever I suggest that the organic, gmo-free, homeopathy stuff is a marketing scam (which I fully believe), I get the evil-eye. People look at me aghast, as if I were feeding my children lead-laced, deep fried twinkies for lunch. Despite what some people think, it is possible to feed children a well balanced diet that is not organic and does include some ‘junk food’ from time to time. One of my friends has taken to supervising and micro-managing every bite his kids eat. God forbid they have a juice box or a Cheeto.

  • Daughter of Achelous

    What kind of wood is unnatural.

    • demodocus

      Particle board. 😉

  • MLE

    Of all the insulting, inflammatory, and insolent things you’ve written, you’ve finally gone too far. I am not responding to rampant consumerism when I’m letting my kids play with plastic (toys or otherwise) and watch TV. I am responding to shutupsoicangetsomethingdoneism, thankyouverymuch.

    • Zen

      Way to miss the point of the entire post…

      • MLE

        Joke Zen. It was a joke.

  • deafgimp

    I just saw this: ultrasounds can be dangerous to your bay-bee! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2876704/Why-rethink-keepsake-ultrasound-New-FDA-report-warns-against-fetal-scans-non-medical-reasons.html

    I wonder how many women are now going to avoid them completely.

    • sdsures

      Sadly, woo is not a new concept in the RCOM. The Daily Mail also is about as right-wing as it gets.

  • Puffin

    When my oldest was born, I got caught up in this nonsense and I was constantly terrified because we couldn’t afford “safer” stuff.

    With my second, I knew better and was much more secure in my choices as a parent, and now that my second is four years old, I can brush off the ignorant nonsense people spew constantly. Having a science degree now certainly helps.

    I did wear my babies (in a handmade sling I was given as a gift,) and I breast fed each for two years, I made my own baby food, used simple prefold cloth diapers. My kids eat small-farm food grown or raised within bike ride distance of our home and we grow a lot of our own food. This is because these choices save money and we never had much.

    For a while, I thought these choices made me a “better” mom. I did them in response to the stereotype of the uneducated teen mom, as a way to prove that I was able to be a good mother, and I have a feeling a lot of the women crowing about this stuff are really just very insecure in their parenting. I do know better now, and the chip on my shoulder has long since been cast away, and I can look back and see what a “sanctimommy” I was. When we have a third, I will still baby wear and breastfeed and cloth diaper… because they save me a lot of money. I won’t be buying the $60 organic bamboo velour cloth diapers so many attachment parents buy as a status symbol – I’ll be using the same old bleached cotton prefolds my other kids used.

    • Trixie

      I think everyone should have some high quality bleached cotton prefolds around. They are seriously useful for so many household tasks. I wish I had more than two dozen. We use them for everything.

      • Puffin

        Yup. There are a couple we kept aside with one corner clipped to indicate they are for cleaning. Great for everything from burp cloths to spilled drinks and windows.

        • MaineJen

          No kidding! They were the best for burp cloths. And easily washable. This is one of my go-to supplies for the new-mom gift basket.

  • Elizabeth A

    I wonder if part of the appeal of this kind of consumer control is that it allows the shopper to feel that s/he has actually made a difference by doing something.

    It appears to me that much of parenting is repetitive. Some days, I feel like I could be replaced by a recording of the five things I say all day. Some days, I would really like to be replaced by that recording, because reminding people to chew their food is not my idea of a good time. Honestly, though, I think that kind of is the vital work of parenting. You stand between the child and the wider world, being both patient and demanding, in the hopes that by the time you can no longer mediate the child/world interaction, your child and the world will both have developed the skills to cope with each other. It takes a really long time. Almost any other task would provide more immediate and obvious rewards.

    Product research is a great example. Institute a set of standards for what’s okay to buy, research what complies, and then reward yourself with a shopping trip. If you are the family expert on what things to buy, you can designate a whole realm of necessary work that absolutely must be done by you, and no one else. If you can’t grocery shop, the household might well grind to a standstill, which makes you powerful and important.

    That kind of power and importance can be a major impediment to the functions of the household, but loads of people seem to chase them anyway.

    • sdsures

      A type of slacktivism? You bet. But it only counts if other crunchies see you doing it.

  • Kathy

    Just as there is variety with mainstream parenting, there is also variety of so-called natural parenting. If you spent any time at Mothering mag’s forums, which I know you do SOB, then you would see how much variety there truly is. Some mamas are actually very poor, eeking by, but trying not to raise consumerist children in a consumer oriented world. Yes, toxins are not as much a threat as some people make them out to be. But they are still an issue. Some poor people in my city live in an area near a former smelter and the ground they use to grow their food is contaminated. They are not supposed to be growing food in that ground but if they want to live a healthy lifestyle and keep their budget down, they might try to do so anyway, not knowing the ground is contaminated. Some people have contaminated ground water. There are toxins around us that we should be aware of but yes, some people in the natural family living world do over-use the term and misunderstand it. However, putting them down does not help them. It just makes you and your circle feel better than them. I wish you would employ the adage “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar” in your writing style.

    • Elizabeth A

      From experience (at MDC, no less) I can attest that people find it much easier to ignore honey. Annoy them and they pay attention.

      There are a huge number of real problems involving toxic substances, and industrial or incidental pollution. These problems cannot be solved at the grocery store.

      Incidentally, poor people in my city who grow food on contaminated ground are usually well aware of the contamination. They aren’t ignorant. Frequently, the people doing subsistence gardening of this kind on property they don’t own are recent immigrants from places with far worse pollution problems than the U.S. People who’ve been here for a few years understand that it’s hard to justify the outlay of time and money for waste-ground gardening when you could lose the whole crop because a bunch of college kids threw a rave in a “vacant” lot, or someone got zoning clearance to put in a parking lot, or the DPW came by with a lawnmower.

    • Trixie

      There are lots of bloggers who write in a super nice style about this. You’ve never heard of any of them because they don’t get hits.
      Why do women always get told they have to be nice? Either debate her argument or don’t.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      I wish you would employ the adage “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar” in your writing style.

      And you catch even more flies with manure.

      • sdsures

        Very true.

    • Medwife

      And some of them waste money they can’t afford to waste, trying to save their children from chemical bogeymen. Some wouldn’t have to eke so damn hard if they bought conventionally farmed fruits and vegetables and rinsed.

    • DiomedesV

      These people would be better off trying to find other sources of income.

    • Guestll

      I’ve lurked over at MDC for years. Some of those very poor mothers would be better served by finding gainful employment, and so would the lives and well-being of their children. They are very poor because they choose poverty over living in the workaday world. That’s not about making good choices, it’s about making self-serving ones.

  • Ardea

    I think it was Naomi Klein writing about her reasons for writing No Logo that helps illuminate the problem: essentially she said that consumerist, capitalistic culture is so pervasive that it is hard to avoid. Her adulthood seems to be one of ever growing awareness. (Although how someone of her intelligence didn’t pay attention to climate change is interesting to me: we are the same age, and I started learning about climate change 30 years ago.)

    In contrapoint to your post, I think my sister-in-law exemplifies natural parenting without consumerism. She was a teen mother (she herself the daughter of a bipolar mother and an alcoholic father), dyslexic, didn’t finish high school, left home, didn’t get much support through young adulthood… yet she isn’t like the women you describe here, other than that she chooses to grow food and chickens in her yard and had two home births.

    She and I diverge on many points (I got into enormous trouble half a year ago when she posted a woo woo Russell Brand video on my wall and I said, “Uh, I’m not a very spiritual person but I think what he’s saying has all been said before…” – she was very offended – my husband told me I went “off script” – she told me my intellect shoves people away – I was all, “What just happened? – she really went to town with a wall of text). But she is not the stereotype presented here.

    • Dr Kitty

      Russell Brand…
      He means well, but, bless him, I think I’d rather get my political theory from people who aren’t bipolar recovering sex and heroin addicts who have joined the Hari Krishna movement, because…well I think you know why.

  • I confess I’ll check a label to see whether a product has some form of sugar, because I’m diabetic, and if “no preservatives” are used, it is generally a plus, in my thinking. BUT, anything listed as “ALL NATURAL!” or “organic” raises red flags in my mind. I really do think the entire organic industry is a scam. And as for “GMO” — every domesticated hybrid has been genetically manipulated, even if the science of the time was completely unconscious of what was being done. Our wheat isn’t wild emmer wheat, for example, and hasn’t been for thousands of years.

    • deafgimp

      Heck, even in pet food “all natural” only means that non-artificial preservatives are used (like vit. E and rosemary extract). It means nothing else.

    • Medwife

      My favorite is “evaporated organic cane juice”. Surely that wouldn’t have the same effect as “white sugar” on your blood glucose level.

      • SporkParade

        Oh my G-d, I just had this argument last weekend. Apparently honey and agave are healthier than sugar because they are sweet due to a different molecule, just like stevia. Fortunately, Ayurvedic diets do not apply to special occasions or holidays.

        • Medwife

          Gluten intolerance comes and goes that way, too.

        • Box of Salt

          SporkParade “Apparently honey and agave are healthier than sugar because they are sweet due to a different molecule,”

          Do the folks making this argument know that the “different” molecule is fructose? Or do they think fructose is only bad for you if it came from corn?

          • demodocus’ spouse

            Sometimes, I suspect the latter

          • sdsures

            *headdesk*

  • moto_librarian

    We are in a position where we could afford to buy organic food, but I simply fail to see the point. Nutritionally, organic vegetables and fruits are identical, and you need to wash all produce whether for pesticides or animal feces.

    I grew up on a farm. In the 70s, pesticide and herbicide use was far less regulated. I remember aerial spraying being done in the fields adjacent to our house. Do I sometimes wonder if I’m going to get cancer as a result of these exposures? Yes – particularly after having a deep excisional biopsy in October to rule out lymphoma. But I acknowledge that this was simply the way things were back then, and I am glad that there are more regulations regarding the use of pesticides and herbicides. Cleaning up the air and water in this country would be far more beneficial long-term than eating organic.

    • Ellen Mary

      I generally feel that modifying home pesticide use (like going with IPM spraying outdoors instead of blanket spraying indoors) is a better way to reduce individual pesticide/herbicide exposure than simply buying OG veggies, but in no way are aerial sprays a relic of yesteryear. My son’s school had several aerial sprays nearby just last year . . . I buy Organic because I would rather work on an organic farm than a conventional one. Certainly some disagree & then truly they should but conventional but I do think if you can afford to consider the whole life cycle of your food, there is a point to that, albeit a somewhat academic one.

      • moto_librarian

        I did not say that aerial spraying had been completely eliminated, but you will be hard pressed to see it done routinely on small farms anymore. My father has to be certified to use herbicides, and he (along with many others) have adopted practices like no-till farming that reduce runoff and other dangers. GMOs are helping as well – corn that does not require nitrogen applications, for instance.

        The other problem with organic farming is that there is no way that it is sustainable for the population as a whole. It is far better to look at ways of using genetic technology to create plants that are naturally more resistant to pests and weeds.

        • Ellen Mary

          So far that has not been what GMO have done though. Round Up Ready corn & soy can allow for blanket applications of RoundUp & they can reduce tilling, but there are actually SuperWeeds emerging as a result.

        • Fuzzy

          Glyphosate is not foot for any of the critters that may contact it before it dries, in the plants themselves, or in any such which manages to get into the water. It has a significant impact on fish, salamanders and other amphibians. Also, conventional farming steadily reduces soil organic matter, decreasing the ability of the soil to hold water.

          • Trixie

            Which is why farmers are required to take steps to not apply it at times when it could run off into waterways.
            If you love topsoil, you should love Roundup. Roundup also allows farmers to go low- or no-till, vastly reducing erosion of topsoil. In my watershed, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, we’ve been mandated to reduce soil erosion and fertilizer runoff in order to reduce nutrients flowing downstream into the Bay. “Organic” farming has had 300 years around here, and the result was lots and lots of streams spoiled by topsoil erosion.

      • KarenJJ

        From a family of conventional farmers, I’d have to wonder what the advantage of working on an organic farm would actually be? I’d work for any of my uncles (and spent a lot of holidays sitting on the back of a ute pushing off food for the sheep, hand feeding orphan/rejected lambs and hypnotising chooks).

    • sdsures

      I grew up on a farm, too, and did my share of gardening chores. Played in the dirt, too. Turns out my immune system is a little TOO enthusiastic: I have Raynaud’s disease and Erythromelalgia. As my husband would say, I don’t do stuff in moderation.

  • LibrarianSarah

    The first thing I thought when I read this is “Cara’s kid is fucked if he/she turns out to be neurodivergent in any way shape or form.” Parents like that are the worst for ND kids because to them their kids behavioral/social/educational status is a point of pride for them. That means, just like in a homebirth, if anything does not go to plan they go in denial mode and the kids miss out on vital resources and treatments. Sweetie pie can’t have autism/ADHD/dyslexia/etc. I breast fed, and we only eat organic food and keep them away form all chemicals!

    She is also probably a dick to the parents of ND kids which means her kids are dicks to those ND kids. I know this is a small point in a much larger article but we all have our personal buggaboos and this is mine.

    • Medwife

      The restricted diets some of those poor kids get put on…. Ugh

      • Mishimoo

        One of the parents that we don’t really see anymore put her son on a very strict diet because her naturopath insisted that he was sensitive to almost everything as evidenced by his behaviour issues (aka being a normal 4 year old). At one point, he was only ‘allowed’ to eat potatoes!

        • Dr Kitty

          Because *nothing* improves the behaviour of a preschooler than being told that all they can eat is potatoes…

          • Sarah

            I think my toddler would be pretty pleased to be placed on that particular diet!

      • Trixie

        I’m on an internet forum with someone whose kid is “allergic to vinegar” as determined by a chiropractor. She has a huge list of foods he must avoid and she home schools him so he won’t have interact with people eating unapproved foods. He’s 7 and under 40 lbs.

        • Box of Salt

          Trixie “allergic to vinegar”?
          What? Apple cider vinegar, balsamic, or *all* vinegar? Specific proteins in specific types of vinegar? Or has this chiropractor convinced this gullible mother than her child cannot tolerate acetic acid?

          I’m far from an expert on the immune system or allergies, but I don’t think it’s physically possible to be allergic to a molecule as small as acetic acid (the acid component of vinegar, chemical formula C2H4O2).

          And if you were: you’d just be dead. The conjugate base (this term just means the proton H+ which defines the acid as an acid is not attached at the moment) of acetic acid is the acetate ion. Acetate (yes, often linked to larger molecules such as Coenzyme A) is involved in just about every metabolic process in a living cell.

          I don’t suppose it would help if you pointed this unfortunate lady to read up on the basics of biochemistry. Or maybe just some basic terms from organic chemistry.

          • Young CC Prof

            You just reminded me of this:

            http://www.gomerblog.com/2014/05/epinephrine/

            (For the overly literal folks, the link leads to a satire site.)

          • Trixie

            I think she means acetic acid, because it’s all vinegar, even distilled white vinegar.
            The chiro determined this through applied kinesiology. You know, having the kid sniff vinegar and then pushing down on his arms. So you know…science.
            I’m pretty sure she keeps him small so he can still rearface in his car seat. The poor kid.

          • Medwife

            Then there’s NAET, in which the person holds a glass tube in one hand and the practitioner pushes down on the other arm. You can charge to do this. That is amazing to me.

          • Ash

            I’ve always thought practicing Reiki would be a decent gig…you don’t need a license and there’s low overhead!

          • sdsures

            Uh, that’s abuse if she’s starving him.

          • Wanda

            This has kinda perplexed me, since for years we’ve thought that my grandfather has a genuine allergy to all vinegars. When he consumes a product containing a form of vinegar, he comes out in a blotchy red rash and has an increase in asthma symptoms.

            To complicate things, he’s also been diagnosed (by an ENT surgeon, who didn’t seem particularly woo-y) with a salicylate (sp?) allergy. He had asthma and nasal polyps, and supposedly they’re “classic symptoms” of a salicylate allergy. So he’s been on a salicylate free-diet for a few years now, which has to be one of the most boring diets in history – the only safe food seems to be potatoes, sans peel. Frankly his weird and varied allergies confuddle me.

          • sdsures

            I don’t have any background in organic chem, but I can sure tell an “allergy to vinegar” diagnosed by a chiropractor is BS.

        • Fuzzy

          I just had a patient who listed an allergy to dextrose…umm, what?!!?

        • sdsures

          Gah! I fear for his social skills development.

      • Anj Fabian

        I’m in a group for parents of picky eaters.

        I was hoping to avoid woo and orthorexia, but it’s there. We have children on the spectrum (notoriously picky) and children weaning off tube feeding and children with GI issues. Some children have actual medical allergies.

        We have children whose parents have been to their local quacks and have a list of dozens of “food allergies”.

        It’s meant to be a supportive group so I don’t call out the orthorexia when I see it, but I definitely see it. You know the meme by now… “How do you know someone is on the paleo diet?”.

    • DebraB

      These are the sorts of mothers who would subject their “damaged” children to therapies and treatments that are useless and expensive at best, but can be actively harmful (bleach enemas, for example) to bring their children “back.”

      • Jeannette

        Dear Lord. Bleach enemas are a thing? I’m afraid to google that…

        • LibrarianSarah

          The keywords to Google are Miracle Mineral Solution if you have the stomach for it. It’s some sick shit.

          • sdsures

            Very.

        • DebraB

          I’m very much afraid so. http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/bleaching-away-what-ails-you/

          Oh. Hi. I’ve been lurking on this blog for several months now – it provided an oasis of reason, humor and compassion during an emotionally trying time and then I just liked it.

          I’m an unemployed chef, who has never been a parent, so I don’t have much to add to the discussion, but I’m passionate about science and evidence.

          • Bugsy

            Welcome, Debra!

        • sdsures

          Urgh…

    • Mishimoo

      One that I know claims her ‘unvaxxed’ son show signs of being neurodivergent because he has low copper levels, and can’t possibly be on the spectrum.

      (Sidenote: His behaviour didn’t change at all when I talked him into getting the DTaP shot after stepping on a nail.)

    • namaste863

      I agree. Someone please explain to me how an autistic kid or a kid with ADHD is worse than a dead kid. I have pretty severe ADHD and am profoundly Deaf. Neither one are the end of the world. Can they make certain things a bit more difficult? Hell, yes. Can they be worked with? I have, if making the Dean’s List in college for 6 semesters out of 8 is any indication. (Oh, by the way, I also travel extensively, so I’ve been vaccinated against everything under the sun, including typhoid and yellow fever. Never had any complications of any kind. These anti-vaxxers can kiss the darkest part of my Lily white ass.)

      • sdsures

        I have moderate cerebral palsy and use a mobility scooter for long distances. People have told me “they’d just DIE if they had to be confined to a wheelchair for life”, I facedesk so hard I almost give myself a concussion.

  • Cobalt

    Completely and totally off topic, but I had to share this:

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/archive/news/dentist-jaw-and-order-for-her-toothless-ex/story-e6frf7lf-1226342185353?nk=4a93d6da66f352f3934079c32dd02189

    Man dumps girlfriend (who is a dentist) for another woman. Three days later, he has a toothache so he goes to his ex-girlfriend/dentist. She knocks him out and then pulls ALL his teeth.

    • demodocus’ spouse

      Well, that was very wrong of her, and not too bright of him.

      • Amazed

        “I had no reason to doubt her. I mean, I thought she was a professional.”

        Dude, she was a woman scorned. Watched too many movies of polite separations and no bad feelings? It doesn’t work so in real life. Things might get polite after a while but in the beginning, usually the best course of action is staying well away. And certainly not letting her any say in your healthcare.

        I don’t know, a polite separation is just so weird to me. I guess it might happen if the partners are both so fed up with each other that they can only feel relieved to be free. But in most cases, it isn’t so, right?

        • Elizabeth A

          What movies show polite separations with no hard feelings? There’s no plot in that.

          • Amazed

            It isn’t the main plot. It’s just thrown in, with secondary characters and so on. The implication is that people “can separate civilly” and “stay friends” and being civil is what people of worth just do. Hysterics and plans for ugly revenge are just so low.

            Disclaimer here: I’m totally unworthy on this account. Anyway, I do believe things are more like they are presented in an old song here. It ends with (WARNING: A bad translation with no rhythm and no rhymes): We can’t be good friends because in love, there’s no middle ground. We were so close and that’s why, from now on, we’ll be strangers to each other.

          • Box of Salt

            Two words:Fatal Attraction.
            Oh, wait….

          • Elizabeth A

            I think he misunderstood her position on the Miranda Lambert Breakup Song Spectrum. She was not, as hoped, to the right of “All That’s Left,” but rather to the left of “Kerosene,” doing a duet with Carrie Underwood.

    • Young CC Prof

      That story just strikes me as very human. Awful, but human.

    • Anj Fabian

      But did insurance cover it?

  • Bugsy

    I’ve been perusing the “Things Anti-Vaxxers” Facebook group for a bit, and this post relates perfectly to the current discussion on toxins and motherhood: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=955075807841155&id=656716804343725&substory_index=0 The mother has the child on all sorts of supplements, detox baths and chiropractic visits…all in the name of detoxifying based on a chiropractor’s recommendation.

    (The Things Anti-Vaxxers Say group is worth a visit, for those who haven’t seen it.)

    • Cobalt

      I’m laughing and crying all at the same time.

    • Amy M

      It’s like a train wreck, I can’t stop reading….

    • Young CC Prof

      If I actually needed to detox, I sure wouldn’t do it with supplements! Who knows what might be in that?

      • Siri

        If you needed to detox, your best bet would be a liver and a kidney or two.

    • Mishimoo

      The main thing that concerns me about the anti-vaxxers is all of the clay! Though, I guess lead and arsenic ARE natural.

  • GiddyUpGo123

    Oh my, I really don’t like Megan and Cara. We are not underprivileged by any stretch of the imagination, but if I had to buy all organic groceries every week I’d be bankrupt.

    • Siri

      No, GUG123, if you had to buy all organic groceries you’d be stupid! 🙂

    • toni

      Most of the people I know who are into this lifestyle and preachy about it are on government assistance and manage to buy all or mostly organic with their EBT. My husband’s half sister and her best friend are vaccine delayers, APers and extremely fussy about what they feed their children. they’re both on WIC, Medicaid etc. I’m not disgareeing with the post, I know that having disposable income can play a big part in making these choices (I’ve seen a couple of episodes of Portlandia) but it’s certainly not just middle class people who worry about pesticides and GM food. Also the only vegan I know, who is not vegan for religious reasons, lives in social housing and is not what most in the west would call privileged.

      • SporkParade

        I was thinking about this. The biggest toxicophobe in my family is also one of the least educated and therefore least well-off of my relatives. The rest of us are just praying she chooses the delayed vaccine schedule so that we don’t have to refuse to allow her child around our children. It’s really awkward.

      • GiddyUpGo123

        It boggles my mind how that’s even possible. I coupon, I stock up, I rarely buy full-priced items and I plan my menus around what’s on sale every week, and it still costs me $230 a week to feed my family of six. And that’s without a single organic or non-gmo item, unless for some reason that item happened to be cheaper that week than the one I usually buy.

        • StephanieA

          I was thinking the same thing. There’s only 4 of us, but we spend so much money on food. And I buy generic and store brands, no organic food at all. There’s no way we could afford organic, free range everything.

      • Who?

        I wonder if it is sometimes part of a whole alternative lifestyle, which is exactly the opposite of the Megans and Caras, whose lifestyles, apart from their obsession with what they wear, sit on and put in their mouths (I wonder what and how many they drive btw) is entirely middle class.

        Assuming being on welfare means not in employment, there is certainly more time to pursue alternatives (particularly if it is a couple or whole community) and if you’re not into keeping up with the Megans and Caras, a lot less need for money to spend on other things.

        • toni

          yes, apart from the organic, whole food fixations they are not at all extravagant, very frugal in fact. No strollers, no cribs, second hand clothes, make a lot of their own cosmetics, detergents etc. recycle everything.

    • Young CC Prof

      Actually, there are ways to do it that aren’t quite so pricy. My mother bought one of those organic farm share contract things, and she says it costs about as much as regular grocery store, because they cut transaction costs to the bone.

      The farmer delivers boxes to a drop-off site, usually a volunteer one. Then the customers take the veggies and give back the boxes.

      It’s more work, because the veggies are basically fresh out of the ground and haven’t been at all washed or had the ugly bits cut off. And you don’t get to choose what you want, it’s just what got harvested that week, and sometimes there’s so much of one thing you have to do extra work to preserve it. But you can get organic produce without paying a bundle.

  • KeeperOfTheBooks

    Gah. Yes. All of this.

    I lost one of my oldest friends over this toxins nonsense while I was pregnant with DD. Why? Because I said that a) I occasionally (read: once every month or two) ate sushi while pregnant, and b) said that no, I was not going to order some sort of wild fish that was supposed to be lower in mercury (at $20/pound, it had damn well better make me bikini-ready while pregnant!) to eat regularly. In fact, I *gasp of horror* said that I planned on following my OBGYN’s recommendations about how much fish I ate, though if anything I planned on eating rather less than he allowed–see above about once every month or two.

    Clearly, this meant that I didn’t love my baby and was deliberately, through willful ignorance, cursing her to autism and mental retardation because of The Toxins. (Yes, I know mercury in fish is a concern for pregnant women, and no, I don’t think that eating a single serving of fish every 6-8 weeks would have carried an unreasonably high level of mercury to DD.) I was also placing mere money above my baby’s safety by being unwilling to drop that kind of cash to have fish from this Special! Nontoxic! Supplier! delivered to my door.

    My rather dry remark–I swear, it was meant to be humorous and defuse the situation–about how I’d kept tabs and that if I followed everyone’s diet advice while pregnant I wouldn’t eat fish, meat, dairy, eggs, vegetables, fruit, or grains while spending nine months in an organic-cotton-padded-room drinking naught but thrice-filtered water was not appreciated.

    • Bugsy

      I attempted to follow all of the dietary restrictions during my first and second trimesters, and it made me miserable. The only saving grace were a healthy dose of carbs…which went out the window with my GD diagnoses in my third trimester. The last three months of my pregnancy were absolutely horrible – unwilling to eat the foods that I saw as potentially dangerous, and unable to eat carb-based foods that were otherwise safe for pregnancy.

      Pregnancy was the longest 9 months of my life.

      Dr. Amy, perhaps there’s a post there (toxins and playing it safe in pregnancy)?

      • demodocus’ spouse

        I did okay, mostly because the only thing I could stomach for months was toast, oranges and apples, the occasional yoghurt, and well cooked chicken. 🙁 It was a long 9 months for me too.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Ugh, that does sound dreadful. 🙁 I was in a similar position with nursing vs FF for DD’s first few months: terrified of stopping nursing and going to straight FF, but also very, very resentful of nursing because
        a) I wasn’t comfortable doing so in public (I don’t care if anyone else does, I just wasn’t comfortable with it *for me*) and HATED running off to another room every couple of hours for 45 minutes at a time if we had friends over or were at a friend’s house;
        and
        b) she wasn’t getting much anyway; although she took forever to nurse, I’d still give her a bottle at the end and she’d inhale the thing like she was starving;
        and finally
        c) even though I wasn’t producing much, if I didn’t nurse (or she just refused to nurse, which wasn’t infrequent) I’d be in a lot of pain, probably get a plugged duct, and have a general feeling of constant panic over my supply (not that there was much) and the fear of being in discomfort for another day or two from a plugged duct, and fear of another abscess.
        Oh, such fun. Such lovely, lovely fun. How I don’t miss that…
        I’d LOVE to see a toxins-in-pregnancy post. I second that vote! *proffers Dr. Amy Christmas cookies* Pleeeeeease?

        • Bugsy

          I’ll chime in with another set of Christmas cookies…and because I’m not pregnant, don’t have to make diabetic-friendly ones. Yay!!

          I completely understand your troubles. It’s hard to figure out just how to be a mom and balance all of our needs, isn’t it?

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            No kidding.

      • Dr Kitty

        I attempted to stop drinking coffee when I was pregnant.
        I still have the “I am not a morning person” cup that my colleagues bought me as a helpful hint that they much preferred me to be caffeinated.

        Seriously, if you have people, who are doctors, bringing you lattes when you’re pregnant, you should probably take the hint and drink them.

        I spent 16 weeks eating cheesy baps, pear flavoured ice lollies, ginger ale and pineapple, because it was all that stayed down.
        I figured I got a pass on the coffee.

        • StephanieA

          I want to cry because I’m 15 weeks and coffee is still so unappealing. I’m terrified that I’ll have an aversion to it the whole time!

    • Nik

      I ate raw oysters while I was pregnant, same with eggs with runny yolks because Eggs Benedict is my jam. I read a book called “Expecting Better” that helped me navigate the whole “DON’T DO THIS WHILE PREGNANT!” scares. Like, apparently one listeria outbreak was due to cantaloupe, but funny how we don’t advise pregnant women to microwave their cantaloupe.. A lot of stuff I just put the statistical likelihood in check with other statistical likelihoods. I think the only thing I didn’t do was change the cat litter and I was more careful than usual with cleaning supplies. But once I saw the statistical likelihood of so many of the food-restriction scares happening, I figured out that I was endangering and risking my unborn child’s life a lot more every time I got into a car than when I had some salmon sushi or a cup of coffee.

  • Ellen Mary

    The Body Burden is real, mothers can meaningfully reduce harmful consumer chemicals in their homes. I don’t own a sofa for this reason. I also had to work hard to find a house free of Lead & I am proud of that. I could easily pay the same amount for a house with lead. In my house it is NOT just a maternal responsibility: my husband took his clothes off outside the house in the garage when he worked as a contractor. We also maintain a shoeless house to avoid tracking in lead, etc.

    Childhood lead exposure is the best example of a real toxin that mothers play a real role in reducing & yeah, more money = less lead & yk what? If my husband & I work hard to provide a life where my children aren’t adversely affected by their immediate environment: I am NOT ashamed of that & I won’t be made to be. But I know plenty of mothers who actively add toxics to their home with their consumer dollar (Febreeze, scented candles from China, PlugIns, etc). So is there Eco Consumerism? Sure, but it is not worse than regular consumerism & could be called ‘harm reduction’.

    • Young CC Prof

      Lead is serious, and yes, studies show that when parents have occupational exposure, changing clothes after work reduces children’s blood levels to a significant degree. You should not be ashamed of working to avoid lead.

      Febreeze may be an irritant to some people, but it sure isn’t a toxin.

      • Ellen Mary

        I’ve never seen evidence that Febreeze reduces allergens. If someone posts some, I will look @ it & possibly accept but I find it a real stretch to call it beneficial on a health level. I guess my point was that an EcoConsumerism I engage in is an area where I already would be making a purchase: Dish Soap, Toilet Paper, Laundry Detergent, bathroom scrub . . . As I am frugal, it needs to be equal or less in cost to the conventional equivalent AND the products I am replacing mostly contain either fragrances, chlorine or ammonia, the latter two do have demonstrated ill effects upon inhalation. Actually SAHM has some occupational risk & most of the issues come from consumer chemicals used in the home.

        • Young CC Prof

          Some might point out that the time involved to do that sure isn’t free and could be spent enjoying life…

          • Ellen Mary

            IDK, the time spent avoiding or understanding industrial exposures? First, I actually enjoy it some & it is way better than dishes/laundry. Second, most define ‘enjoying life’ as watching Netflix or some other thing I really find sorta tiresome. It is just more interesting to me to say ‘hey are there any SuperFund sites where my kids are going to live?’ than ‘what is up with House of Cards this week? ‘

          • Young CC Prof

            Or misunderstanding chemical exposures…

          • Jeannette

            I honestly can’t tell if you’re trolling or being serious. Either way, you made me laugh, so thanks!

          • Guestll

            Watching Netflix, reading blogs, commenting…

          • MS

            Well, what’s Netflix without a sofa….?

          • atropos_of_nothing

            On this, I absolutely agree with you. I’m a research junkie as well, and while the harmful exposures I’m seriously obsessive about protecting my children from are cultural rather than chemical, I grok that it’s not a tiresome burden when you’d rather be researching than vegging out in front of the TV in the first place 🙂

          • Elizabeth A

            Everyone has their random fascinations. I’ve long since learned that the thrill I get from MMWR’s annual human rabies rundown is far from universal.

            That said: when I think of enjoying life, I think about interacting with people I care about. The reason I enjoy watching television is so that I can talk to people about it. Even my human rabies thing connects to a set of relationships.

        • Guestll

          Do you use chlorine bleach at all?

          • araikwao

            I don’t think I own any – is that bad?

          • Mishimoo

            Same! I use Pineocleen spray or some surface wipes depending on what I’m doing, because they don’t make me feel sick. I really can’t stand bleach.

        • Elizabeth A

          I’ve never seen evidence that Febreeze reduces allergens.

          Febreze in general doesn’t, but they have some specific allergen-reducing products. I apply strategically (after dusting and vacuuming), and the people in our lives who are allergic to dust and cat hair seem to be less sneezy in our house as a result.

          This conclusion is not scientifically tested, but some Febreze does at least claim to reduce allergens.

        • Trixie

          Consumer products that contain chlorine and ammonia are not dangerous when used as directed.

      • Ellen Mary

        I just mentioned Lead because the author Dr. Amy cited had an issue with avoiding enviro exposures being an additional maternal task. I would contend that in the case of serious exposures it is some of my most vital mothering work & the work I am most proud of. Not only have I had to be vigilant against lead when we live in the NE &/or older housing, we used to live near a bellowing factory because of temporary circumstance. I used state Resouces to find out what they were emitting (it was a fiberglass factory), determined the extent of the hazard by consulting with scientists & set a timeline for moving. In our new location there was also a factory, so I called the owner to discuss his EPA data.

        When my Husband has a new job offer, I use EPA data to determine if the local pollution is acceptable for us. In quite a few places, even in the US, it really is not.

        • Siri

          You can’t call yourself a caring mother until you only let your kids breathe air that you’ve already breathed ) to check it’s safe and b) to use your own lungs to filter out any toxins.

          I’m sorry to have to write Must Try Harder on your report card.

          • Siri

            Should read a) to check it’s safe.

            Siri: Must Try Harder to get spelling right when Making Stupid Jokes.

        • Bombshellrisa

          You know, that is good to be proud of something but you are still illustrating Dr Amy’s point perfectly. It’s still privilege that allows you to be able to choose housing and other accoutrement sans lead. Try being a welfare mother and telling the housing authority you can’t accept the places available to you because of your EPA research.

          • baileylamb

            Yes, unfortunately there is a three year wait in my metro to abate low income housing. Unfortunately shone children have actually gotten sick while waiting. I wish all moms would advocate for all children lead effects us all (crime rates and perhaps even teenage pregnancy numbers). People think they can live in a bubble but they can’t. But really besides the soil, it isn’t that hard or expensive to abate a house for a middle class family. Heck we were going to put it in our purchase contract.

        • Guestll

          And here I thought I was doing some of my most vital mothering work in making my Dad smoke on our deck.

          What would you have done if in your new location, the factory’s owner had provided you with EPA data that was beneath your standards?

        • Elizabeth A

          It’s interesting that the thing you describe as “the most vital mothering work” is work that involves NO interaction with your children.

        • Trixie

          Doing things like avoiding lead and checking radon levels and using smoke and CO detectors are important things for all parents to do. I’m not sure why you think this falls specifically under the category of “mothering” though. It doesn’t take a pair of ovaries to do that.
          But honestly, beyond that, you’re just wasting a huge amount of time worrying about things that are basically insignificant.

      • Trixie

        Febreeze is pretty thoroughly tested. I’d trust it over an essential oil diffuser any day.

    • MS

      Just looked up “The Body Burden.” All of your posts make so much more sense now.

    • Elizabeth A

      I have to ask – what furniture *is* acceptable? No sofas – why? Are easy chairs okay? Bean bags? Where’s the line here?

      I hate scented candles, but I love me some allergen-reducing Febreeze. We maintain a shoeless house, and do our patio gardening in containers, because the county ag extension has bad things to say about our lead levels. (My husband bought the house before we met, and the location’s great, and real estate kind of crashed since then – we aren’t selling out to move.) I have been forbidding the kids to eat the apples from our apple tree (planted by a previous owner), but then – funny story – last summer the neighbors told me that every fall, these people come by in a van, pick all our apples, and drive away. She thinks she’s seen them at farmer’s markets.

      • Siri

        I want my kids to have sky high lead burdens, so I make them eat their shoes.

      • FormerPhysicist

        Our soil lead levels are such that gardening is okay, but not root crops or leafy greans (spinach is a bad culprit for not washing clean).

      • Ellen Mary

        I am sure that was not a serious question, but Sofas are the worst offenders, in terms of BFRs & PolyUrethane foam. There is also Scotchgaurd on the seats/or materials used in leather tanning. We do have beds, of course. Two of them were secondhand (one is a cotton futon) & our mattress is Latex. Obviously tables & chairs are no real issue, because they are not stuffed. I mostly try to avoid PolyUrethane foam because of what it does in a fire, actually. But I am also generally thinking some about the people who work with these materials for a living. We don’t always succeed but we have a goal of not buying plastic unless it is secondhand. I would check out statements made by those living near plastic factories before scoffing at that.

        • Elizabeth A

          It was genuinely a serious question.

          The answer turns out to represent a higher level of dedication than I can put together. No new plastics is just not remotely achievable for us (toys, which the kids buy with their own allowances, the zippers in their sweatshirts, toothbrushes), and we’re committed to keeping latex out of the house as much as possible because the nanny (without whom we would not) is badly allergic to it. Given the choice between long-term effects of suboptimal plastics and my backup childcare dude going into anaphylaxis, well, suboptimal plastics it is.

          • Siri

            Ain’t you never heard of 2nd hand toothbrushes, Elizabeth A?

          • Elizabeth A

            I am not sure how being second hand makes it better, but I suppose that I could work out a deal with the neighbors where they “overbuy”, and I pay them for the extras, and voila, our plastics are now secondhand.

        • baileylamb

          You havent heard of an upholster? Tip, find an old klin dried couch frame (often you can get these free). Get it reupholstered in the natural materials of your choice.

          • Siri

            Kale covers stuffed with cloth diapers.

          • baileylamb

            I snorted.

    • Trixie

      Avoiding lead is a great thing to do, especially with small children. But you should know by now that you’re going to have to produce some sort of evidence that sofas are harmful.

  • Mishimoo
    • Who?

      What utter crap she talks-I’m sure schools must go crazy with this stuff.

      Painful and dull.

      • Mishimoo

        I feel sorry for the poor kindy teachers that she tried to ‘educate’.

        • KarenJJ

          That said, there have been some nutty policing of kids school lunches etc where I live. My SIL was out of fresh fruit (her kids love fruit and and had eaten it all before she’d had a chance to go shopping) and so she sent her 5yo to school with a small tinned fruit box to eat for “fruit time” morning recess. He was not “allowed” to eat it and had to go hungry until lunch break. She was furious.

          • Mishimoo

            Oh, there certainly is! I find it really frustrating too, because my kids school also enforces no junkfood, no bought bakery goods (other than bread), no icing on homemade cupcakes, no cakes except on birthdays, and so on. Also no peanuts, nuts, or other legumes as well as no fish and no eggs. I find it hard enough to put an interesting lunchbox together and I’m a stay-at-home mum so I have the time to do that. The working parents would have it so much harder.

          • KarenJJ

            I’m so relieved that my kids school doesn’t have those rules. Except for peanuts (a few kids with allergies) they’re fine with whatever. My kids treat cupcakes as an icing delivery mechanism so they wouldn’t even eat a cupcake that didn’t have icing on it.

    • Allie

      She obviously has no problem exposing her kids to all the chemicals in spray tan and cosmetics. I find her appearance disturbing. She doesn’t look healthy, she looks like someone who has a very skewed idea of what “healthy” means. $10 says her kids are sneaking Big Macs and Cokes behind her back and snickering about it.

      • Samantha06

        She looks very plastic, fake-looking. I bet she’s also had a boob-job and a few shots of botox too.. and, I bet not only are her kids sneaking junk food, I bet she’s doing it too!

        • Mishimoo

          It’s the sanctimony that gets to me. If she’s happy looking that way; great! More power to her, but insisting it’s the only way to be healthy is just not cool.

          (Also have lost that amount of weight, where’s my bookdeal for eating chocolate while doing so?)

          • Samantha06

            Yes. And the “fake” look is so opposite to the so-called “healthy lifestyle” she is advocating.

            I need to lose weight about 50 lbs, what worked best for you? I’m thinking of weight watchers, it seems reasonable.

          • What Weight Watchers basically does is to educate you to eat differently without going into vast detail about dietetics. You can eat a modified WW diet forever once you’ve lost the weight you want to lose and keep a stable weight. And — this is important, it provides a great deal of support.

          • Samantha06

            I did do it for a brief time, but I got impatient and stopped! Bad habit of mine! But I’ve realized since then, it’s quite sensible and losing it slowly will work better in the long run. I did lose about 8 lbs in 3 weeks or so, but I think I got fed up with recording everything I ate. Although, I think the point system works very well in terms of awareness and accountability. It’s more of a lifestyle thing too and I’ve realized I can’t think of it as a “diet.”

          • Samantha06

            Thank you everyone for the great advice and tips!! It certainly helps to know I’m not alone in the struggle! And when we “mature” as my doctor says, (he’s so diplomatic, I love him!) it’s definitely a different ball game!

          • Who?

            Amen to that. I’m so fortunate that I had reasonable eating and exercise habits, and I’ve had no big illnesses or injuries, but yes things change as you get older.

            Which is the long way of saying it’s great to get good things happening in your twenties and thirties, as starting in your late forties or fifties, as a result of an injury or illness, is a much harder path.

          • Samantha06

            That’s for sure! I’ve always struggled with my weight but for the most part, I’ve maintained a decent weight and always worked out. I started taking a low-dose beta blocker a couple of years ago for mild hypertension, and I think it slowed down my metabolism because I put on weight fast! I would change meds, but it’s had an unexpected beneficial side-effect. When I started menopause in my early 40s, I started having panic attacks, and they have all but wiped them out! Apparently beta blockers block epinephrine so they can help with anxiety too. They certainly have worked for me!

          • Who?

            I’ve not done any plans but portions-which weightwatchers is great for-is I think critical. When you’re used to eating too much or too often it takes a while to get used to eating less, and that can be a hungry time, but after a couple of weeks it gets easier.

            And in my experience losing by eating the food you will be eating for the rest of your life when you are a healthy weight makes it easier to maintain.

            I don’t count calories, I do eat chocolate and icecream (though not a lot and not often), pasta, full fat dairy, small glass of wine with dinner most nights. For some reason I get quite wobbly if I eat a lot of added sugar, up to a headache if I have too much, so I avoid it for that reason. My weight now is the same as it was twenty years ago in my early thirties, so I’m pretty happy with that.

            For exercise I walk some local hills for just over half an hour three times a week, and do two yoga classes each week. And I walk the dog a gentle circuit twice a day, which gets us out to meet the neighbours.

          • Samantha06

            Yes, it does take getting used to. I think once you get over that initial hunger phase and the cravings, it improves. I think if you completely deprive yourself it doesn’t work. I do love my chocolate too!!

          • Mishimoo

            I’ve heard good things about weight watchers.

            Personally, I count calories and exercise regularly. I also make sure that there’s enough room in my calorie budget for a treat each day. My best results, exercise-wise, have come from using a stationary bike at home in front of the tv most evenings. It seems to also have a positive effect on my migraines, and I can take a break whenever I need one. I did have a little bit of a giggle when I saw an article on the “hot new diet!!” which was the ‘New Nordic Diet’, as between picky eaters and our shopping preferences that’s how we normally eat (except for the fish, because of picky eaters and I won’t cook two separate meat dishes)

            I have Joint Hypermobility Disorder and Fibromyalgia so I rest when I need to. When building back up after being sick, I tend to exercise until I start to feel tired one day, do 20% less the next day, break on the 3rd day, and back up to the 1st day’s level on the 4th. Keep repeating until I don’t feel crappy and slowly increase.

          • KarenJJ

            I love dance and aerobics classes for the music and variety (although when I’m really unfit, like now, I start with something like walking, yoga, pilates or gentle swimming). Mostly the idea of an exercise “routine” bores me witless so I like to mix it up. It’s so hard to get over that early hump of feeling unfit – the routine side helps get past that – but after that I really need variety and fun.

          • Mishimoo

            Yoga is lovely and relaxing, especially when I need some me-time. Same with walking in the early morning, but my husband has been trying to lose a little weight so we walk together in the afternoons when we get a chance.

          • Amazed

            For me, the Scarsdale diet worked just fine. I did it two times in 15 years. Both times, I lost weight and I didn’t gain it back. But then, I eat basically healthy, my unfortunate love for ice cream and chocolate (Lindt, you here? Read below. Pretty please!) notwithstanding.

          • Cobalt

            Finding something active that you enjoy really is important, and she does say that in the article. It’s not going to make you look like her (unless you really enjoy bodybuilding and have an appropriate support system and a cooperative body), but any exercise can improve your overall health.

            But it has to be something you actually enjoy and can fit into your lifestyle. Then it’s recreation, not “training”.

          • Poogles

            “Finding something active that you enjoy really is important […] it has to be something you actually enjoy and can fit into your lifestyle.”

            It makes perfect sense, so long as you aren’t incredibly lazy like I am, lol. The only “active” thing I actually enjoy doing is walking (NOT jogging) in nature (walking on a treadmill etc. doesn’t count). I hate dancing, hate running/jogging (being well-endowed is a big reason), hate classes, hate gardening/yard work, can’t swim, etc. I get extremely irritable when I am hot and sweaty, which only makes it harder to find something I can enjoy. Blegh.

          • Cobalt

            It’s definitely harder if physical activity just isn’t your thing. Walking in nature is good for you, but not available everywhere. And you have to like whatever it is your doing, or your overall quality of life doesn’t actually improve.

        • FormerPhysicist

          Her lips do look injected. And if you are worried about toxins, botox is *actually* a toxin. Right there in the name.

          • Samantha06

            Yep. Good ole botulism!

      • Sara Lucy

        Those pics of her in “competition mode” are not what she looks like most of the time. Figure competitors have seasons and during competition season they get ridiculously lean and do the spray tans and all. It’s like a pageant. Not a full time thing.

  • Alternatively we could collect monies from all households in a progressive way (the more money a family makes, the more money could be collected) to support organizations to protect the interests of consumers and freeing them from the need to be supported by industry (thus avoiding conflicts of interests). Oh wait, is that not what taxation and organizations like the “Food and Drug Administration” are about? I guess that would be completely useless to adequately resource and trust such an organization, because then the interests of poor moms would be on a par with the interests of rich moms. Babies regardless of background would be protected regardless of the consumerist choices of their parents.

    • Ob in OZ

      My wife always says she is happy to pay taxes for reasons as you’ve just stated. Good on you.

  • DiomedesV

    My personal take on financial matters is that people are allowed to prioritize their spending. As long as they’re “solvent” (without defining that term), it’s not my problem.

    Yes, the toxin-free movement is another form of consumerism. For me, though, the harm is not in the price tag. The harm is:

    1) Personal opportunity cost: People who think they can deal with real health problems this way may be missing out on actual cures for their health problems. This is especially problematic if children are involved. Example: not treating your kid’s severe allergy with the steroid prescribed for it. It’s both cruel and can have real negative health consequences for them.

    2) Social opportunity cost. People with the most time and money (ie, the upper classes) advocate “solutions” to the world’s problems, particularly the challenges faced by the poor, that merely serve as reflections of their own superior life choices, but are not actually helpful or may even be detrimental.

    3) Harm associated with the continued misappropriation of science to support what are actually lifestyle choices. This has gotten really bad lately and in the long run, it actually degrades the public’s respect for science. Many scientists actively participate in this process. Example: Center for Science in the Public Interest.

    • fiftyfifty1

      “”solutions” to the world’s problems, particularly the challenges faced by the poor, that merely serve as reflections of their own superior life choices”

      Let them eat (organic, artisanal, high-fructose corn syrup free, gluten-free, non-GMO) cake.

      • DiomedesV

        Mark Bittman is the ultimate offender here. Seriously. Practically every week it’s a discourse on “why can’t those poors just act rich?” or “why can’t those ladies who work full time just come home and cook up some organic, locally-grown non-GMO food and ENJOY it?”

        • Amazed

          Haha, that was the way things were supposed to be in my childhood. Only, very few mothers enjoyed it but they had to do it anyway. You want meatballs? You make them from scratch because there isn’t a place you can buy ready meatballs. Kid has a birthday? You cook everything from scratch, except for the birthday cake that can be ordered from a sweetshop, thank God. You want to have a sweet for desert for Sunday lunch? Something other than (imitation) chocolate? You make it because… you get it. After you come home from work, of course. Damn it, you forgot to tell the kid to buy a loaf of bread this morning? Well, happy breadless dinner to you, dear family, cause the shop closes doors at 7 p.m. and you can’t reach home before 7.01 p.m.

          Soooo fun, To top it all, my mom was never the healthiest of women.

          This guy should try and live somewhere where those ladies who worked full time did cook up because they couldn’t NOT to. It just wasn’t an option.

          What an asshole.

          • During my early years in Israel, virtually the only way to go was “from scratch”. I think I might have starved if Mom hadn’t given me her “Joy of Cooking”.

            I remember the first time I baked a Duncan Hines cake, when the mixes were first imported. My family (all born here) did not like it at all.

          • Amazed

            I am not surprised. I still think most of the shop variety has nothing on my mom and grandma’s receipts. I love cooking from scratch from time to time when I feel like it.

            It’s just that I looooove the choice I now have. The choice not to. It’s so nice to work full time but ONE shift!

    • Liz Leyden

      Slate had an interesting piece last month about Whole Foods opening in Detroit. It didn’t solve the food desert problem or draw that many people away from Aldi.

      http://www.slate.com/articles/life/food/2014/11/whole_foods_detroit_can_a_grocery_store_really_fight_elitism_racism_and.html

      • Trixie

        Aldi has lots of fresh produce at good prices. I think Aldi is great.

  • sdsures

    It’s always easier to make woo-ey decisions about food when you never have to worry about where you or your children’s next meal will come from.

    • demodocus’ spouse

      Exactly. Its been a few years (thankfully) but I don’t recall ever seeing even a whole grain pasta come to us from the local food bank. And those are preferred even by the least woo-susceptible of doctors.

      • Allie

        It’s funny you mention that. I’ve been pondering the form of my contribution to the local food bank this season (yes, I know the need is all year round and I do it at Christmas – guilty as charged). Anyway, they say they can do more with your cash, but the standard selections of non-perishable food (pasta sauce, mac & cheese, tinned soups) are so high in sodium it concerns me. I was thinking of looking for some lower sodium options. I’ll have to read the labels carefully. I’m not worried about “toxins” and GM foods, but I am (I think reasonably) concerned about the levels of sugar and sodium in commercially prepared non-perishable goods.

        • Young CC Prof

          Quite a few of the folks stopping at the food bank may have family members with heart disease, diabetes or kidney disease. It’s a very reasonable concern.

        • Cobalt

          If you do send food that isn’t ready to eat or heat and eat, keep an eye on the ingredients list of what needs to be added. It’s really frustrating to go to the food bank and not be able to eat half the stuff because you can’t afford the rest of the ingredients.

          Many food banks don’t do milk or eggs (either policy or lack of donations), for example.

    • CCL (Crazy Cat Lady)

      Recently my provincial government increased the social assistance food allowance by $17 per month (for an adult; slightly more for a family) and somebody I know started making comments about how that money should be used to make healthy food choices. When I suggested that while perhaps well intentioned, her advice was misguided when we were talking about people who often didn’t have enough food to eat for the whole month, she got all pissy and started ranting about how cheap it can be if people would just start couponing, cooking from scratch, and caring about what they put in their bodies (blah, blah, blah). She couldn’t/wouldn’t recognize her privilege as a person who can drive around In search of sales, doesn’t live in a food desert, has time/energy to cook from scratch, etc. When her equally dense husband compared making healthy choices after coming home from vacation at a resort to the challenges of living on social assistance, I decided to ignore both of them.

      Just thinking about it now makes me angry all over again.

      • sdsures

        Me, too. I have chronic fatigue, so cooking from scratch isn’t something I get to do often. I do like making a big salad at least once a week. That is at least something nice I can make, and it’s healthy.

  • DiomedesV

    Exhibit A: My daughter’s daycare, which requires the parents to provide snack for all the children in the class once or twice a semester. A notice was sent out last year that several of the parents wanted only organic food to be included in snack. I went along with it once, but given the bill and more importantly, the need for me to make a separate shopping trip, I quickly decided not to oblige in the future.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Fuck yeah. They can opt out if they have a problem.

      I’m happy to accommodate allergies. We do it all the time. But if our contributions aren’t good enough for you, then fuck off.

      • Bahahahaha. I love f-bombs.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          I know, that’s pretty extreme but this type of thing just pisses me off.

          Remember the poster-who-shall-be-not-be-named who brought his own food to his sister’s house because whatever she was serving wasn’t good enough for him? Yeah, that’s pretty insulting. But that’s effectively the attitude. Oh, my kid is too speshul to be participating in the things that your loser kids are doing.

          • Siri

            If A=1, his name is 28. How many aeons shall pass before it will be safe to invoke his nomen?

          • Bombshellrisa

            Do we really want to test that one and find out the hard way? If I remember right, he packed beans and rice in a cooler and then his wife proceeded to offend the inlaws by insisting on breastfeeding at the dinner table without a cover.

          • Dude. I’m with ya. But I still really love f-bombs. You know, they say peeps who drop f-bombs are more intelligent and emotionally stable. At least that’s the excuse I like to use. And no, I don’t cite sources. : )

    • Who?

      Who on earth do these people think they are? The teachers must roll their eyes, since I doubt on teachers’ salaries they are filling up on organic whatever.

    • Roadstergal

      Send them the graph showing organic food consumption increases autism, and explain that you don’t want to have any untoward effects on others’ kids.
      http://boingboing.net/2013/01/01/correlation-between-autism-dia.html

    • Bugsy

      You’re kidding! What’s next? I can’t help but wonder if next year, organic alone won’t be good enough…they’ll need GMO-free products served in glass containers.

      Heck, no.

      • KarenJJ

        I think that’s becoming a thing. Another thing I’ve noticed is people asking about glass baby bottles on a mainstream baby forum. Not sure if that’s going to be a new thing as well..

        • Bugsy

          Yeah, I know people like this. Going organic wasn’t extreme enough for them, so they topped it off with growing all of their own GMO-free produce and using glass for everything.

          I avoid playdates w/ them.

          • Allie

            For a second there I thought that said “I avoid phthalates w/ them” : )

          • Siri

            I want to marry your sense of humour!

          • FormerPhysicist

            See above. How many of these grow-your-own all-organic got their soil tested?

          • Bugsy

            That’s what I’ve always wondered…particularly when they live in a pretty industrial area.

          • Siri

            I have glass sofas.

          • Young CC Prof

            People on glass sofas shouldn’t throw stones.

          • MLE

            Seems like it would be difficult to break a glass sofa with a stone while sitting on it.

        • guest

          What about the bottles’ nipples!

          • Mishimoo

            All natural latex! It’s natural, it’s got to be safe, right?

            To be fair, I have seen them with silicone teats too.

          • Bugsy

            You never know if latex could contain pesticide contaminants or chemtrail residues! Your best bet for your child’s health is to breastfeed on demand until little John is 10 years old. If it means that you have to quit your job so that you can join his school lunches for a daily nursing session, then, well, so be it. An even better choice is homeschooling – it will ensure that your child has non-stop access to chemtrail-free and latex-free milk. 🙂

          • Siri

            Only if you lose that sofa, Bugsy. Homeschooling kids in an environment high in sofa toxins? Are you mad, you murderous wench?!

        • Smoochagator

          I don’t think it’s new… it’s been a thing ever since people started freaking out about BPA. When I was deep in the woo, I did consider buying glass bottles, but honestly, I am much too accident-prone. Plus, what did it matter since I was already feeding my child “poison” (aka formula)?

    • sdsures

      Insanity.

    • Kelly

      We provided snacks for our three year old kids at church and the family that wanted organic gave us an organic snack. This is what I think those parents should. The burden should not be on the rest of parents.

    • Elizabeth A

      My kids have both aged out of daycare (*sniff*), but I loved loved loved the down-to-earthness of the place they went to. They didn’t care about organic snacks, they cared about making sure kids didn’t go hungry at daycare.

      • DiomedesV

        The staff at my daughter’s daycare are a treasure. Their perspective is invaluable: they simply have more experience with kids from ages 0-5 than I do, and that experience gives them insight that, as a parent to one child, I just don’t have.

    • Elizabeth A
      • Liz Leyden

        Please tell me that’s a parody.

        • Elizabeth A

          That is 100% absolutely a parody.

    • Liz Leyden

      How will they know it’s not organic?

      • DiomedesV

        They wouldn’t if it were just produce, I suppose. But organic dairy is pretty obvious.

  • Amy M

    http://thegreenmama.com/blog/the-mommy-wars-how-moms-are-blamed-for-what-goes-wrong-what-we-can-do-about-it/

    Here’s another blogger’s take on it. She takes it for granted that we are all full of toxins and that world is a billion times more dangerous now than 30 or 40yrs ago, but most of her post is about mother-blame (and how that is wrong) and how the poor get even more mother-blame than everyone else. So, if we focus only on the idea of “mothers are responsible for the health of children and every single disease and disorder is blamed on mom doing something wrong,” then this woman basically reached a similar conclusion to Dr. Amy. (That this idea only leads to huge rifts between classes, and puts moral value on SES.)

    But here’s what she has to say about flu shots:
    http://thegreenmama.com/ask/what-are-you-doing-about-the-flu-shot/

    After poking around that blog, I can see that even though this woman recognizes the “natural parenting as a privilege,” she is clearly privileged and swallows the “shopping your way to safety” hook, line and sinker.

  • Elizabeth A

    just as the women who feed their children McDonald’s take out, let them
    play with plastic toys, and allow them to watch TV are obviously
    responding to rampant consumerism

    I do all those things, and I don’t see them as responses to consumerism. Some days, I have time to cook, and energy to argue with a seven year-old about the comparative advantages of grilled cheese and roast chicken with baby field greens. Some days, I just want to get everyone to swim class on time, and not have to fight about who eats what.

    Some days I have the time to read stories and play Go Fish. Other days, I have to work after dinner. Still other days, I want to see the looks on my kids faces when they first encounter Captain America , or Firefly (which were *awesome*, by the way). And then there are the days when we use fine family viewing (like, say, Kitchen Nightmares) as a way of encouraging one child or another to talk about feelings, families, expectations, plans, and values.

    I am not enough of a grinch to rule toys out of court entirely, so we have some. Some are plastic.

    • Kq

      Yes!! My son gets plastic toys and McDonald’s because 1) sometimes it’s convenient, 2) sometimes I don’t feel like fighting about it and 3) sometimes I indulge the child and let him have a thing he especially wants. And also 4) sometimes I’m broke.

      Don’t lump me in with bowing to commercialism! I only do that for techie gadgets, geek toys and skincare products! And sometimes craft supplies!

      • Elizabeth A

        I bow to commercialism all the time (I bowed especially low at Rhinebeck) but that is absolutely not what I’m doing at McDonald’s.

        The greater cultural tendency to shit all over McDonald’s works my nerves. Is it the best nutrition possible? Surely not. Is it any worse (nutritionally) than the emergency chicken nuggets in the freezer? Again, surely not. (It is also probably nutritionally preferable to the hippie kind of granola bars stocked at my office, which say on the label that up to 2 bars a day can help maintain a healthy weight.)

        If you take the EXACT same nutrition upscale it becomes a normcore hipster foodie experience.

        Can’t we all just praise moderation, recognize that the modern family is often in a permanent time crunch, and lay the hell off?

        • Kq

          Word. 🙂

  • Alexicographer

    I don’t know, there does seem to be pretty good evidence that e.g. fire retardants in furniture may have pretty unpleasant, albeit diffuse, effects. I’ll admit I mostly deal with this by trying not to buy any furniture (etc.) or, if I need something, trying to buy used rather than new.

    And I did find the organically-fed-fruitflies-live-longer (and reproduce more!) study reasonably compelling (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23326371), though I haven’t “gone organic.”

    Is the ability do so a marker of privilege? Sure. Is obsessing about this stuff potentially a symptom of nuttiness? Sure (and if it leads to a no-vax decision, absolutely). But all the same.

    • Young CC Prof

      You know, a lot of pesticides are toxins specific to reproductive pathways of insects that have no analogues in mammals, and have no documented harms in mammals except at doses orders of magnitude higher.

    • Trixie

      Meh, I usually don’t eat my furniture.

      • Young CC Prof

        To be fair, Baby Prof does chew furniture. And drop his food on it, rub it in, then pick it up again and eat it.

    • Bugsy

      I struggled with whether to find a couch sans fire retardant for our house…and then remembered that our couch sits a whopping 12″ from our fire place. While I’m not sure of the long-term risks of fire retardants, I surmise that its location certainly makes it a fire risk.

      It probably goes without saying that we’re happily holding onto our fire-retardant couch.

    • DiomedesV

      Do you not realize that fruit flies are agricultural pests? Let me guess, you think they’re just these little annoyances that show up in your kitchen in the summer….

      http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Plant-Industry/Pests-Diseases/Exotic-Fruit-Flies

      It’s not at all surprising that an agricultural pest would live longer on food not sprayed with pesticide. That is the point of a pesticide: to keep the insect pests from consuming the food. Just because some level of pesticide use is effective in reducing the incidence of an insect pest doesn’t mean that it will have negative effects on mammals, including humans, especially if the food is WASHED like it is supposed to be.

      But thank you for illustrating the general ignorance of biology, genetics, evolution, and agricultural practice that is par for the course for the “Green Movement.”

    • Who?

      Fire has some pretty nasty and immediate side effects too.

  • Zoey

    I think the comparison of purchasing “natural” products with designer products is apt. Although, natural product marketing is so much more insidious because no one will tell you that you’re a bad parent if you don’t buy a designer stroller or diaper bag, but you will find of people that will tell you that you are a bad parent if you can’t or won’t pay for expensive “natural” products.

    I remember a woman telling a group of mom’s at a playground a story about how devastated that she was that her family could no longer afford to buy 100% organic and non-GMO foods and expensive supplements since her husband was laid off. She was saying that she was sobbing in the grocery store buying “garbage” food, knowing that she was poisoning her children. Some of the other moms were telling her to go into debt to buy organic because you can’t put a price on health. It was pretty unreal.

    I feel so angry on behalf of these women and families that have fallen for this marketing without even realizing that is marketing. Most of us wouldn’t feel guilty giving up designer products if we could no longer afford them (assuming we were privileged enough to afford them in the first place), but it’s different for natural products because their marketing is so tied up in selling an image of being a good or better than average parent that it’s natural to feel the opposite (that you are now a bad or worse than average parent) when you can no longer afford to buy these products.

    • Guesteleh

      If the only way to be perceived as a good mother in our culture is if you’re upper middle class or higher on the social scale, we have a serious problem. And that’s what the woman was really crying about. Not the literal poisoning but the metaphoric poisoning and taint of falling down the socioeconomic ladder.

      • Faith Bavonese

        That’s exactly what it is. I have a friend who was sobbing when her husband got laid off and she had to buy regular milk instead of the $11 per half gallon milk she had been buying for her children. She wasn’t mourning for her children’s health, she was mourning the loss of class that the purchase signified.

        Raising children has always been an exercise in class consciousness, it’s just gotten more involved in recent years.

        • Elizabeth A

          See also: http://www.howwemontessorishop.com/

          Under “Infant Montessori” you can find organic cotton training pants for $10.20. Each. They’re sold out. The $25 infant/toddler hairbrush is still available.

          I am, however, relieved to see that when I put the crib mattress on the floor, I wasn’t just cheaping out on toddler furniture and hoping we could skip some head injuries. It was a Montessori bed!

          Okay, it was a set of organic cotton sheets away from being a Montessori bed. If DCFS stopped by, I was gonna say it was a Montessori bed. Except I think they get it about cheaping out on toddler furniture and skipping some head injuries.

  • Amazed

    OK, I’m as “protect yourself by evil toxins!” girl as it is reasonable in my opinion. I see no reason not to peel my carrots (I’m the Amazing Rabbit, nice to meet you) in advance, just in case it’s better. I don’t even remember where I read it. But the thing is, I peel them anyway, so it doesn’t take any additional effort, unless you count peeling carrots before drinking your first coffee of the day a self-inflicted torment.

    But drive or even walk (I love walking, by the way) somewhere off so I can leave an indecent amount of money for organic carrots? Not gonna happen. No buddy. Just forget about it.

    • Who?

      And this is exactly it.

      Driving all over the countryside or urban jungle to pick up your organic bits and pieces-often imported from places which can’t get decent water to their own population-is plain madness.

      Fresh fruit and veg is delicious. Most organic in big cities has been hanging around and is less fresh than the regular stuff at the fruit shop. How less fresh is better is beyond me.

      I don’t peel carrots for cooking or salads just give them a good wash and pop them through the magimix for slicing or grating, according to my whim. To julienne them for a dip I’d peel. Weird?

      • Mishimoo

        “often imported from places which can’t get decent water to their own population”

        That is exactly why I don’t usually buy fruit and vegetables from those countries regardless of organic status – I can’t do it in good conscience knowing the conditions of the workers. The exception being frozen blueberries, because my munchkins go through about 1kg a week and I can’t afford ~$63 p/kg for fresh local ones.

        • Who?

          Quite so. We’re importing frozen spinach from China now, which is mostly water. I buy the NZ one.

          I ate myself almost to death on blueberries last year but there is hardly any at the moment, though we are getting very reasonable (in the scheme of things) fresh raspberries at the moment and the peaches are fantastic. And the mangoes, and cherries…

          • Mishimoo

            The cherries are amazing this year, I have most of a bag to myself because the kids are more interested in apples, mangoes and blueberries.

            I also have to wonder how moving all of the organic food compares chemical-load-wise with local non-organic food. Not to mention that we’re lucky enough to live in a country where you can normally take it for granted that the food is safe.

          • Who?

            Raw milk-which is not for humans and is never safe anywhere-aside.

          • Mishimoo

            That really annoys me. Especially the “I drank direct from the cow and I’m still here!”

            Well, this isn’t direct from the cow. This is bottled, packed, shipped, stored, and sold. Plenty of time for things to grow AND you don’t get to see the conditions in which it’s produced (not that it really matters because you can’t see bacteria). Also, the cows my friends drank from weren’t organic, so their bacteria/viral load would probably have been lower.

          • Amazed

            Raw milk. My, raw milk!

            I’d like to introduce them to my farmer grandfather who would roll his eyes and ask, “Why on earth did they drink direct from the cow? Didn’t they have a stove? Or at least a fireplace?”

          • Mishimoo

            Like shaking breastmilk, pasteurising milk destroys all of the magical sparkles.

          • Klain

            A headline in the national media today is about a 3 yo who died from drinking raw milk. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-11/child-dies-after-drinking-unpasteurised-milk-in-victoria/5959246

          • Mishimoo

            And a few others are/were sick, the poor darlings. 🙁

          • Amazed

            Poor, poor child. Terrible.

          • Who?

            Just heard on the news that 4 children were really sick last month after drinking raw milk. This really needs a lot of publicity to help people make informed choices.

            The reporter said raw milk has been banned for sale for human consumption in Australia since 1940.

          • Amazed

            I am not surprised on either account. This stuff is bloody dangerous. But then, with people not realizing that the greatest danger of infection during birth is mother herself, we should expect them not to realize that the cow they’re drinking from might not be as pure and clean as a bunny.

            Hope the kids recover soon.

          • Jennifer2

            Have you ever had a bunny? Cute, soft, and fuzzy-wuzzy are good words to describe them. Pure and clean are decidedly not. Those things are poop factories!

          • Amazed

            *I* know this. But people who think raw milk is clean are usually the ones who think bunnies are pure and clean. If they happen to be white, they are just the Most Clean Cleanliness That Had Even Been Cleaned.

          • Fuzzy

            They are, however, delicious.

          • SporkParade

            Where did your grandfather live? My husband, who spent his earliest years in Eastern Europe under Communism, also reports that farmers always boiled the milk before drinking it.

          • Amazed

            Eastern Europe. No longer has cows, sheep, or goats but still drinks milk. Buys it from his neighbours, boils it, drinks it.

            My grandmother, though… When she was a child, she was very ill and lived for months on milk and honey alone. Emerged healthy at the end. And a milk hater. I’ve heard that when mom dislikes something, kids won’t eat it either. So far, so true: my mom doesn’t drink milk. We doesn’t drink milk. But if it’s up to us, all the pigs in the world will go around skinny and hungry. If left to do as I please, I’ll account for the corn production in all Europe.

          • Amy M

            I really drank fresh from the cow–squirted by my hand from her udder into my coffee. (the other milkmaids and I did this occasionally, when I worked on a dairy farm briefly in college) But I’m pretty sure the raw-milk enthusiasts are not doing that.

      • Amazed

        Of course. Everyone is entitled to their own weirdness. Your carrot model is just as weird as my delight in hearing my first coffee sizzle, drop, spead the aroma of heaven while I peel the carrots.

        For the record: for my next coffees, I just turn the machine on and leave the room.

        I also love dipping the edge my piece of white chocolate into my coffee and eat it. Not so with brown or dark chocolate.

        All in all, I think Baby Prof and I might make best buddies.

        • Who?

          Little rituals make life special.

          And I do love white chocolate. Lindt used to do a stunning one with toffee almonds in it which is discontinued. Hate it when they do that.

          • Amazed

            I know the one you’re talking about *sniff, sniff*

          • Who?

            Why would they do that????

          • Amazed

            To torment their innocent customers, no doubt.

            Or maybe they WANT to go bankrupt.

            But then, what do I know about chocolate? I hate chocolate with chillis but at one time, it was the rage…

          • Who?

            My husband loves it.

            Is anyone from Lindt reading???? Can we have the white choc with toffee almonds again?

          • Amazed

            Yes! Please! And you can do something else with almonds while we’re at it. I think white choc with almonds, coffee, and a drop of rum would be lovely. I’ll love you forever and ever. Please!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Mmmm, Lindt. DH–then DBF–bought me some for our first Christmas we were dating. I knew immediately that he was a keeper. (no pun intended from my username)

          • Kq

            My mother once got a severe lecture from a chocolatier about how white chocolate ISN’T CHOCOLATE, it’s a COATING. She mentions this factoid every time the topic is mentioned. It’s almost (ALMOST) ruined white chocolate for me.

          • araikwao

            I thought it was only when it lacked cocoa butter or something…?

          • Kq

            No idea. It’s delicious, that’s as much as I care… but it does pop in my mind EVERY TIME so I ought to find out one of these days.

          • Amazed

            Please share!

          • Young CC Prof

            White chocolate is cocoa butter. It lacks the other parts.

          • araikwao

            Yeah, I didn’t think that sound right..

  • no longer drinking the koolaid

    Have you seen the price on some of those carriers? $2-300. Privilege, for sure.

    • attitude devant

      I was recently an observer to a long FB thread where a bunch of mothers describes their $$$ carriers as investments. I wish I were kidding.

      • MLE

        I have seen the same with cloth diapers. I guess they could be appreciating in value somehow, and I should dump my West Texas Intermediate and dive in.

        • Young CC Prof

          Man, I was so dumb for doing a 529! Baby carriers, that’s what I should have done!

          • MLE

            Seriously YCCP, would you rather be cashing that out or listing your Ergo on eBay when the tuition invoice shows up?

            (Never mind that the Ergo will probably be illegal at that time due to fluctuating safety guidelines.)

        • Hannah

          Okay I can see how cloth diapers would be, if you’re planning on having loads of kids. Otherwise I don’t get it.

          But carriers? Aren’t you supposed to chuck those things after a single car accident, no matter how minor? Seems like a pretty danged risky investment to me!

          • Amy

            Carrier =/= carseat. Koolaid means things like slings, mei tais, and maya wraps. If you are planning on several kids, they can average out to not-that-much per kid, but they can also get VERY expensive.

            I had one mei tai. It was $50 or $60, which I considered a lot when I had but. But it was about the same as the higher end Baby Bjorns.

          • Roadstergal

            I keep reading that as “mai tais.” Which seems like a reasonable investment, if your kids are anything like I was.

          • FormerPhysicist

            I kept my mei tai and it’s in the first-aid kit. Useful for girl-scout hikes. So much easier use a wrap/carrier if you have to hike out a girl with a sprained ankle. Helps leave a hand free so you can use a broken branch as a walking stick to take some of the weight.

            Of course, after using it at 2-3 times the recommended weight limit, it’s not really best for regular baby-wearing.

          • Hannah

            Ooh… That makes… actually I have no idea whether that makes more or less sense. Carriers are not inherently valuable, and if people are buying them used, I guarantee they’re not going to want to spend it’s full worth on a worn or worn out carrier.

          • Mishimoo

            I had a Snugli, which worked well for supporting their hips and back safely, but wasn’t a Name. It was expensive for us when we had our first bub even though I got it on sale, but worked out to about $16.67 per kid.

          • Bugsy

            We purchased an Ergo. Never would have considered one, but found one at a garage sale for $5. For that price, it ranks up there among our best garage sale finds.

          • Mishimoo

            That is a really good find!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Niiiiiice!

            I got the Infantino version of the Ergo at a kids’ thrift shop for $15. I never liked babywearing before, and I’m still not at all crazy about it, but it does make things like trips through airports much, much easier, and is pretty comfy.

          • Bugsy

            Nice! How do you like the Infantino specifically? We’re also not super into baby-wearing, but it did have its value at times.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I’ve found it to be remarkably comfy, actually. DH and I took DD on her first plane trip a few weeks ago. I didn’t think of it on the way out, but I used the Infantino on the way back, and found it made things a lot easier. I didn’t have to take her out for security, so both my hands were free while dealing with the inevitable extra screenings of her formula, water, and snacks, plus wrangling with all the bags and so on. I actually use it sometimes now to take her for walks in the neighborhood because carrying the extra weight increases my core strength, and again, she enjoys it, though she also likes the stroller.

            The heavily padded straps and the waist belt really help with comfortable weight distribution. After 5+ hours of wearing her (getting to the airport, security, flight, getting luggage, getting to the car, etc), I wasn’t at all stiff or sore even though DD is over 20 pounds.

            I do not ever intend to become a hard-core babywearer, but this thing definitely has its uses. It can also be used in a back carry with bigger kids, so if we go on vacation when she’s older, it’ll be nice to have for those areas that aren’t as stroller-friendly (Washington DC’s monuments, I’m looking at you).

            One last thing: I’m very short, and DD is very tall. Because she’s kind of squatting in it–ie, thighs up by her butt–I can wear this for a front carry. I can’t wear most front-carriers because they have her sitting high enough that her face is in my face, which isn’t comfortable for either of us. She also seems comfy in it.

          • Bugsy

            Yay! I’m so glad you’re enjoying it. I swear that we got the most use out of baby wearing when we were in the process of a large move that required flights/travel/hotel stays. It was so handy just to put the little guy in the carrier!

            I’m impressed that you’ve gone for 5 hours carrying her. My little guy weighs about the same as your daughter – he’s 22 lbs – and we gave up most baby-wearing 7 lbs ago. 😛

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Well, I’m not planning on doing it as a regular thing, believe me. 😉 For a trip, though, that carrier is worth its weight in gold, especially when you’re by yourself in an airport with bags and whatnot.

            Oh, and I forgot to mention one of the best things about it: you can pee while wearing it! Because the baby’s legs are kind of spread across your front, their feet can’t get onto/into the toilet etc. Ordinarily, DD’s fine playing near me while I use the bathroom but in an airport…well, call me overprotective, but DD crawling through the stalls in an airport bathroom sounds like the stuff of nightmares.

          • MLE

            Even so, it doesn’t qualify as an investment, since it must be able to appreciate as well as depreciate to qualify. I won’t dispute the savings of cloth diapers, in certain situations.

          • Amy M

            This is where having multiples really screws things up. They use everything at the same time, so we needed two car seats, and twice as many diapers. And we had no more children, so there was no handing on down (though we did actually hand on down to family and friends.) (and we didn’t do cloth diapering)

        • Bugsy

          From 18 months of experience with cloth diapers, I’ve learned that those things only depreciate in value. Ewww!

          • MLE

            Hopefully that’s true of anything that is literally shit on!

        • Elizabeth A

          You shouldn’t consider it an investment if you’d be unwilling to sell it off to diversify your holdings.

          I had one pricey baby sling – in a moment of hormonal irrationality, I ordered the Exact Right Color of a PreMaxx pocket sling off a website from Europe and had it shipped. $80 total. Completely dead now that DD has thoroughly outgrown it.

          • MLE

            Exactly, you should be watching the market and tearing them off your child’s bum mid-use to sell to the highest bidder once they reach your desired price.

        • I think cloth diapers ARE a worthwhile investment, actually. There wasn’t a lot of choice when I had my kids — disposables were pricey and not easily available in Israel then — but a one-time purchase lasted through three children, and supplied me with cleaning cloths for another dozen years. My daughter uses disposables, and the monthly cost is not small, but I admit they are more convenient.

          • MLE

            The definition I’m using is of an asset that can appreciate as well as depreciate. Obviously people are fooling themselves if they think they will be selling their diapers for a profit when they are done, but I have seen conversations to that effect. As a $ saver, I agreethat in certain circumstances they are.

      • Elaine

        I paid something like $100 for a carrier that I have used heavily with both of my children and plan to continue to use. For the number of days I have used it, I am probably down to 50 cents a day or less at this point. It’s not an investment in the sense that it appreciates in value, but it is an investment purchase in the sense that I put a decent chunk of money into something that I use a lot, will last a while, and will provide me with a lot of value. My shoulders tend to be a little wonky and I was willing to pay for the item I found most comfortable. It was definitely $100 well spent.

        By a similar token, I would classify a high-end stroller or a car seat as a similar sort of investment purchase. (Not our stroller so much, which we bought for something like $20 at Once Upon A Child and don’t like all that much… but then again, we don’t use/want to use a stroller all that often anyway.)

        • attitude devant

          You misunderstand me. The prices of some of them (and these were cloth carriers, not car carriers, approached one thousand dollars, and they were assuming they could sell them at a PROFIT when they chose. It was BIZARRE.

          • Elaine

            That is bizarre. I can’t imagine spending that much on a carrier. The priciest ones I’ve seen hover around $200 (for a long hemmed piece of fabric? I don’t get the wrap carrier thing. But whatever.)

        • Liz Leyden

          I actually wish I’d spent more money on my car seats. The advice I got was to buy the cheapest seats available, since they all meet the same safety standards. I bought 2 cheap convertible seats, which I didn’t get to install before I went into labor.

          When we were getting ready for discharge, we found out that my son was still too small for the seats we had (which were in our living room, 250 miles away). The hospital sold appropriate seats for about $300 (my local hospital sells infant seats for babies as small as 4 lbs for $55).

          My son ended up spending an additional day in the hospital while Hubby and I went on The Target Run from Hell. This was just after the big Graco recall, and the seat we got was probably the last available car seat in the Greater Boston area.

          Once we got home, it became obvious that the convertible seat was very impractical, especially since our babies were still too small for our double stroller. I bought a cheap bucket seat and a double stroller frame. The $60 bucket seat has been a huge pain in the ass, while the $130 bucket seat has been much easier to deal with. The convertible seats are in the basement until the kids to outgrow the bucket seats.

          When we needed to buy yet another double stroller, I spent $150 on a model that will last a while, and works for the kids and hubby. I’d discovered our local Used Kid Stuff shops, but they had no double strollers. Live and learn.

          • Elaine

            We have 2 car seats we did some degree of research on and 2 we bought cheap because we needed something in a pinch. The researched ones are better. And the spendiest of our seats is definitely quite nice and can be used for a long time. For something that will get used multiple times a day, it’s nice to have ease of use.

          • Elizabeth A

            Liz, I live in Boston and I have a very clear sense of how you get from most of the hospitals with NICUs to the nearest Target. If they sent you to South Bay Center the traffic patterns are nightmares.

            Combine with carseat recall, and I’d have been crying in Target. I cried in that Target several times while my daughter was in the NICU, and I knew how to get there before I had the baby.

            I agree that cheap carseats are something of a false economy. My mom got us a rather nice baby bucket carseat that we used on both babies, and got extra bases for. It snapped into all kinds of things, and was very helpful given our parking situation. We then went to Britaxes, which are huge and heavy, but a snap to install correctly. We didn’t get a whole lot of use out of strollers, for which I blame our front steps and our frequent use of public transit. I took a stroller on the T once – just enough to make a $35 sling my best friend.

    • Allie P

      some of them have 10-20 worth $400 a piece. I had a bunch of carriers (from a $20 ring sling to a $90 ergo) because my tot was only happy when she was worn, but when I see the thousands of dollars of wrap stashes I get scared.

    • Liz Leyden

      I bought a used Snugli and a used Infantino carrier at an outdoor store’s consignment section for $15 each. I also bought a new Boba wrap ($40!) and got a Moby Wrap as a gift. The wraps were really convenient when the kids were very small because they left my hands free. The Snugi is also much easier to deal with on public transit.

  • Mel

    Obssessively focusing on “toxins” and “green living” has a lot in common with choosing to give birth at home: You can only indulge in this game when you live in a fairly healthy, clean, low-toxin environment.

    Think I’m kidding? Consider:

    How much pesticide residue on non-organic kale would a child have to eat to get the same amount of brain damage as a child who was exposed to lead from paint chips in infancy?

    Which is worse: VOC’s given off by a non-organic baby high chair OR growing up in a house where the heating and cooking are done by incompletely burned dung?

    • Young CC Prof

      In Britain during Victorian times, lung disease was the leading cause of death. Sure, a lot of that was TB, but quite a bit was the direct or indirect effects of continuous exposure to coal smoke.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      This reminds me of a periodic rant of my DH’s. He sometimes goes on business trips to very-third-world Africa. When he hears about people here not vaxxing/being vehemently anti-GMO/etc he’ll rave for a good ten minute about the people he meets through work who would consider themselves some of the luckiest people in the world if their concerns were GMO vs non-GMO food, much less if they were offered the opportunity to protect all the kids in their village from measles. *snort*

      • Samantha06

        Yes, exactly! That’s what irritates me the most about the NCBers and the way they defy conventional medicine and obstetrics. They only do it because they can have access to it when they want.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Indeed! It really wants me to have them go to Africa and see what my DH sees every time he goes. *snarl* Of course, it probably wouldn’t change their minds anyway.

          • Samantha06

            Maybe not change their minds, but it might be a reality check for them!

      • Liz Leyden

        My state has the lowest vaccination rates in the country, and has had whooping cough epidemics for the past 3 years. It’s only a matter of time before we experience a measles outbreak. I used to work in a school district with a significant, mostly African refugee population.Those parents had either seen vaccine-preventable disease close-up or experienced it themselves. Those parents would move heaven and earth to get their kids vaccinated. Only American parents worried about toxins in vaccines.

  • Vg2010

    I feel conflicted about this post. I understand there is no science supporting the arguments of the green movement – but for me, it is about trying to give your body the best chance. (by avoiding pesticides, antibiotics on your food, etc). It’s a bit like people who follow a paleo diet – it may not be scientifically sound, but if it makes them feel better, does it really matter?

    100% agree that since it is expensive – you are privileged to be able to afford it. But is that a bad thing? or something to be ashamed of?

    I guess my conflicted feelings come from, enjoying this kind of green approach (even if I dont follow it obsesively), but not seeing it as something that needs to be attached to an anti-establishment perspective…

    • Roadstergal

      The thing is, I’m a super-greenie environmentalist/health nut/animal rights person/yadda. I just think that decisions should be based on rationality and science. If something makes you feel ‘green’ but is actually not any better for or actually worse for the environment/your health/etc., I think it’s a negative in many ways – as gateway ‘woo,’ as a source of needless stress, and as a waste of resources that could go to activities/choices that actually benefit the environment/your health/etc.

    • Young CC Prof

      I am definitely pro green. What I don’t like is how the green movement has been hijacked by both an anti-science strain and a consumerist strain. So many things supposedly green aren’t.

      • Young CC Prof

        To clarify, really being green HAS to be about using less. “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without,” as our grandmothers said. Sometimes it means just not buying anything. Other times it means taking advantage of the highest technology to do things more efficiently. And it always means considering externalities and downstream effects, which is HARD.

        • Amy M

          Sure, I think GMO technology could enable us to “go green” by reducing pesticide use, maybe less fertilizer use, maybe crops that grow “out of season” so everyone everywhere could eat fresh produce…all sorts of stuff. It costs money right now, and of course is owned by private companies, but that doesn’t mean it has no earth-friendly value.

          • Cobalt

            Being able to feed more people on less acreage with less labor, less resources, and less negative impact on the environment beyond the farms’ borders is a very possible outcome of GMO crops, and especially beneficial in third world countries.

          • Roadstergal

            And drought tolerance, critical as the climate continues to change.

            Not to mention golden rice, which is right up there, IMO, in terms of practical and implementable public health interventions.

          • Trixie

            I can tell you this — the GMO corn grown in the field behind my house requires only 3 tractor passes per year. It allows the farmer to go low- to no-till, thanks to Roundup, which vastly reduces runoff of valuable topsoil into the Chesapeake watershed. It uses less petroleum and has a higher yield.

        • Roadstergal

          I remember having a conversation where a friend and I mentioned that the mantra “Reduce, Re-use, Recycle” was the order of importance. We were talking about how to increase the first two, because we’re only really good at the third one and it’s the least important one…

        • Ceridwen

          What’s being lost of the people who have bought into this toxin reduction version of the green movement is that the woman who is using a hand me down plastic high chair that her sister gave her is being infinitely more green than the one buying the $400 wooden high chair made with low VOC varnish and “organic” wood.

          • Young CC Prof

            What’s being lost is the actual point of the green movement. The green movement is about making sure EVERYONE’s children grow up unpoisoned, about slowing the current mass extinction event, about trying to stop climate change, about preserving the planet for the next generation and the one after that.

            People who think the green movement is about buying expensive products to keep themselves pure of toxins and looking down on those who don’t, have missed the boat just as thoroughly as those who think Yom Kippur is about losing weight.

          • DiomedesV

            All I need to notice is the uncanny tendency for much of the “green” movement to be reflexively opposed to GMO. GMO has enormous potential to lift much of the developing world, which is increasingly crowded into not much space and has long subsisted on arable land of poor quality. These are areas where critical nutrients have been degraded through poor practice or where the soil quality has been low for centuries, and often suffer from water stress.

            Do you work for free? Why should the companies that devote immense resources to creating cotton, rice, sorghum, corn, etc that can be grown all over the world not profit from their products?

            Honestly, the anti-GMO movement is the Luddism of the Left and it is deeply tinged with racism and privilege.

          • Who?

            Yes I did this with my yoga teacher the other week. GMO bad, organic amazing says she. For who? Mainly her. What about everyone else? Oh well, basically, sucks to be them. For one with buddhist tendencies she is quite self-absorbed.

            You know you have them when they do goldfish pose with the mouth-open, close, open, close, no sound coming out.

    • Amy M

      Yeah, its all well and good to wash your bathroom with white vinegar instead of Clorox. It’s another thing to decide that vaccines are full of toxins and fail to vaccinate your child. Unfortunately, a lot of the people who “go green” become anti-science or fear science, and/or do it as a counter-culture political thing, rather than a health thing. Then you get the ones who refuse to take their kids to the doctor at all, let alone vaccinate, and then they give each other tips on how to deal with CPS on mdc. That’s not a healthy community.

      • Vg2010

        I won’t even touch the vaccination thing. IMO, going green and rejecting the medical advances that have increased and extended our quality of life is just dumb.

    • Melissa

      For me, the mainstreaming of the “fear of toxins” is dangerous because of the people who don’t recognize it as a marketing message and believe that it truly must be avoided. The story of a woman who would only feed her infant almond milk because she believed that formula was dangerous as was anything that wasn’t vegan. The uptick in people getting raw milk (often illegally) and then getting sick because of bacteria. I have a friend who became deathly afraid of toxins after having a child. She’s since quit her job because she couldn’t find a daycare that was green enough for her and because of how labor intensive it is for her to keep up the level of vigilance.

      I like shopping at farmer’s markets and shopping at a food co-op. But if I can’t get to that side of town I’m also okay running into the local super market and getting the regular chicken breasts to make for dinner. My friend isn’t since she has bought into the idea that even one slip up will infect her child forever. And I don’t know if she would have been this way if there wasn’t a larger consumer movement sending out messages about toxins.

      • Samantha06

        I agree with you. I like buying local food at the farmer’s market too. Some of the people I work with keep chickens (free range) and bring in fresh eggs. They taste so much better than factory farmed eggs, the yolks are a deep gold color and they are so flavorful! I don’t buy organic veggies or fruit though.

        • Cobalt

          The market probably has duck eggs, too. They make better baked stuff, like cake or brownies. Just fine as scrambled eggs or whatever, and taste about the same as long as the ducks don’t eat a lot of water food. But duck eggs really improve boxed cake mix.

        • Sarah

          Oh, it definitely tastes better. I don’t buy organic either, but no fruit or veg from anywhere is a patch on the stuff my dad grows. Or the blackberry bush in our garden. I find market stuff is often nicer than supermarket- generally cheaper too in the UK- but yeah, hand reared is particularly delicious. But I make this decision because I’m greedy, not toxin averse.

          • Samantha06

            Me too! And there are blackberry bushes everywhere here too. When I walk my dog in the summer, I take a bag and just pick them as we go. I do try to eat local meat too, if I can.

        • fiftyfifty1

          “They taste so much better than factory farmed eggs, the yolks are a deep gold color and they are so flavorful!”

          I used to keep chickens. It was incredibly fun. Their eggshells came in gorgeous shades of brown and green and blue. And the yolks were deep yellow (almost orange in the summer.) But the taste being different? There I don’t agree. I did a blindfolded taste test on a couple of different occasions with my hens’ eggs vs. store bought ones. I couldn’t tell the difference and neither could my husband.

          • Who?

            Maybe a freshness thing? Rather than a homegrown thing? So if your local shop has high turnover, they taste better than the ones sitting on the shelf for a week?

          • fiftyfifty1

            Tried that. Compared fresh eggs from my hens to both store bought eggs with weeks to go before expiration and eggs right at their expiration date. Couldn’t tell a difference blindfolded.

            Now that doesn’t mean I didn’t prefer to eat my own backyard eggs. They were so beautiful that they *seemed* to taste better. As a matter of fact I would love to have one now. Perhaps a dainty sky blue pullet egg softboiled and served from one of my pink antique egg cups.

          • Samantha06

            And I can tell a big difference. I was at my sister’s this past weekend and she made scrambled eggs from regular store-bought eggs and I found them tasteless. Maybe it is a mental thing. The people I work with say they notice a difference too.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Ever do a blindfolded taste test?

          • Samantha06

            No I haven’t! But now I’m curious, so i’ll give it a try and let you know!

          • Who?

            Sounds fantastic-what time do you want me?

            Fresher eggs do hold together better though, esp for poaching.

          • Young CC Prof

            Protip: Older eggs peel easier for hard boiling.

          • Zaire

            Truth.

      • KarenJJ

        Raw milk death of 3yo in Australia. The company is getting around the legal issue of selling unpastuarised milk by having a disclaimer that it is “for cosmetic use only”…

        http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-11/child-dies-after-drinking-unpasteurised-milk-in-victoria/5959246

        • Young CC Prof

          That’s horrible.

          And someone out there convinced this child’s mother that it was the best, safest, smartest thing for her child to eat.

        • Mishimoo

          I saw that just a few minutes ago, it’s terrible. (And yes, I sent it to my best friend in the hope that she’ll finally give up on raw milk and not give it to her nearly 2 year old again.)

        • Who?

          I was surprised to see it is packaged similarly to and sold next to milk for human consumption. They should be made to put a skull and crossbones on it in future.

          • Who?

            And I also heard that a group of cheesemakers are trying to have the ban on making cheese out of raw milk lifted, to allow them to compete with overseas makers.

          • Fuzzy

            Well, raw milk cheese aged 60 days or more is fine. All the possible pathogens can’t survive. And raw milk isn’t by definition a death trap: commercially produced stuff may well be, owing to the difficulty of sanitizing a production line. Modern milk is filthy and cooked to kill the bacteria inherent in modern dairy farms. Small scale raw milk, tested and carefully produced, can be safe.

            Remember that the milk which prompted the development of pasteurization was shipped without refrigeration and milked into non-sterile or even clean containers under conditions that were beyond filthy

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      The issue is that “giving your body the best chance” is a marketing pitch no different from the marketing pitches of conventional products. Avoiding “toxins” is no more likely to keep you healthy than brushing with a specific toothpaste is to make you popular. Both rely on marketing pitches to sell products. Both offer something the consumer desires. Neither actually delivers.

    • Guesteleh

      Here’s why it’s problematic (from the paper): as the sphere of responsible mothering expands, women without financial resources, time, and family stability
      are pushed to the margins of normative motherhood.
      In other words, green consumption is conflated with morality so that women who can’t afford to shop green are viewed as bad mothers. Yet another way to marginalize the poor.

      • Liz Leyden

        I’m on WIC, which provides a small monthly produce allowance every month. Local Farmer’s Markets love to shout about the fact that the will double the WIC produce allowance; you can get $20 worth of produce for $10. That doesn’t change the fact that Farmer’s Market produce is hideously overpriced, it only reduces it to extremely overpriced.

        • Fuzzy

          Where do you shop farmers markets? I get a good amount of produce for my money, and decent prices on grass fed meats and such. A giant bag of organic oranges for $2-3, avocados $3 for a big bag, zucchini 4/$1….

          • Liz Leyden

            I live in Vermont. Farmer’s Markets in my area are great for organic heirloom produce and artisanal bread, but really expensive for regular produce. The one time I went I saw organic heirloom tomatoes for $4 per pound (in June) and organic Nieman Ranch pork for $9 per pound.

          • Fuzzy

            Ah. Vermont explains it all, though that price is right for organic grass fed meat. It’s just pricy. I buy organic liver, because I love liver, and I figure the less it has to filter the better it is, but it’s cheap. Here in socal, I get tons of super cheap produce by waiting until the end of the market. I used to grow my own, and so canning and all that suff come easily. Kills me to pay someone over $100 to slaughter and butcher a sheep, tho.

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

      When people read in magazines and on blogs that following “fad diet of the moment” can pump up their immune system, or cure their kids eczema, or whatever, yes it can be dangerous. Some people have life long dietary issues that need to be managed, for instance one of my daughters classmates was diagnosed with diabetes at age 2. Her diet needs to be carefully managed. My brother was diagnosed with Crohn’s as a young adult, a lot of high fiber foods and a lot of fresh fruits make his disease flare up.
      When people think that they are being bad parents becuase they can’t afford the fad miracle food or diet of the moment, that’s harmful. I know people who live in food deserts and who take the bus everywhere, they would like to have ANY affordable fresh fruits and veggies in their neighborhoods.
      When people think one certain type of food is a mircle cure, that can be harmful.

      • DiomedesV

        Believing in food as cure also often entails rejecting actual cures and, in the case, of children, keeping them miserable when they don’t have to be. Food as Cure entails real opportunity cost.

      • Vg2010

        It’s interesting for me – because I have someone who is very close that has a completely unmanaged health “challenge” that modern medicine could have completely under control but the constant search for miracle cures and completely ignoring common sense and modern knowledge has turned it into a life threatening situation with all the bookcase complications.
        So I see where you are all coming from when you look at organic from that perspective.

        I see it more like – try to buy local, pesticide-free if possible, try to avoid food with ingredients you cannot pronounce and make your own food to make it healthier

        PS: Just want to clarify that just because I would like to live like that 365 days a year, it doesn’t mean that I do. I eat out, I eat at McDonalds every now and then and I’m pretty sure that won’t be what kills me

        • fiftyfifty1

          ” try to avoid food with ingredients you cannot pronounce ”

          Yet another good reason to take Organic Chemistry! I doubt there is a single ingredient in any food sold in the USA that I could not pronounce.

          • Young CC Prof

            I can’t pronounce jicama. Does that mean I don’t have to eat it?

          • fiftyfifty1

            Make the following refreshing, gorgeous, hot-pink salad and you will be motivated to both pronounce and eat jicama:

            Peel 1 medium jicama.
            Using the peeler, continue to whittle down the jicama into a pile of flakes (about 5 cups total)
            Mix in a generous number of cilantro leaves.

            Mix up following dressing ahead of time and toss right before serving:
            1/3 c lemon juice
            1/3 c minced red onion
            1/3 c canola oil
            1 tsp salt
            3 Tblsp honey

          • Vg2010

            Mandatory in my homecountry and I barely passed it 😉 weird names and I dont get along

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Yeah, I find that concept (avoid foods with ingredients you cannot pronounce) to be really stupid. All it does is beg the question of your level of education.

            My kindergartener has problems with big words. However, at some point, we grow past that.

            I remember vividly the old Breyer’s Ice Cream commercial that was using this approach. Someone reading the ingredients list on ice cream trying to pronounce “carrageenan.” Aside from the question of what’s hard about the pronunciation (it’s sounds just as it’s spelled), what’s wrong with it? It’s a carbohydrate isolated from seaweed (IOW, perfectly natural) added to ice cream to help it hold its texture. I like smooth texture-non-ice-crystally ice cream, and so a little starch is a great approach for doing it.

            Breyer’s, of course, was nothing but cream, sugar and fruit, so it’s not like it doesn’t have it’s share of carbs. Why are milk and sugar carbs ok but starch is not? Actually, I don’t even know if carrageenan is a digestable starch. Many starches aren’t.

            Of course, the problem with my comment is that I know what I’m talking about. It’s easier to say, “ooo, it’s a big complicated scary word!”

        • DiomedesV

          I’m sorry about your friend. It’s hard to see people do that to themselves. I have a family member in a related situation.

          • Vg2010

            I am sorry you have to go through that too. I guess that is why I emphasize the whole “if it makes you feel better”. This person feels worse every day and the situation becomes more wild and unmanageable every single year but at the same time, accepting that what they are doing doesnt work will never happen since it would involve accepting errors in judgement and that would make their identity collapse. I wish you strenght dealing with your relative

          • Who?

            I see that in people around me too, it’s hard to watch on a number of levels. So sorry you are experiencing that, I find it very hard supporting the person while respectfully responding to their dangerous and ill informed views. In this case the person is only hurting himself, though I know it upsets his parents and children, so at least there isn’t that to worry about.

          • Vg2010

            It is very hard to talk or discuss (complete denial, reluctance to discuss medical opinions or experiences, etc) so lately I simply hope that the last miracle cure will actually work and give them some respite. Complete disrespect for mainstream modern medical opinions, which means that sadly they get better care in alternative medicine than the few doctors they do approve of (those that corroborate their findings).

            I think sadder than the deterioration, it is the isolation that they experience. Nobody to share or support them because people either dont understand and:or this person doesnt share enough.

          • Who?

            Yes the one in my world had a total meltdown when a mainstream treatment he was boxed into using actually worked. It really upset his whole world view, his view of himself and what caused his problems, rejected it and now is going further backwards.

            It’s a lonely space for the sufferer, no question, and frustrating for the rest of us.

    • Trixie

      If eating organic actually meant avoiding pesticides, maybe. But it doesn’t. Organic just means they have to use older,less effective pesticides that require heavier application, and therefore more petroleum, runoff, etc..

    • Bystander

      I spent quite a bit of time working in a contract lab and one of our clients would send us organic cherries for testing for residues of organic-approved pesticides, which are copper-based. In my current role, we use copper to poison cells, which it does very, very well. It’s far nastier and more toxic than any modern pesticide.
      The bad rap pesticides have gotten is more for their role in upsetting the balance of insects in the environment (which is a problem), than for their effect on people.

      When it comes to safe, organic isn’t a standard of safety, just a standard of practice. I’ve seen far more organic food fall below the requisite standard of safety than non-organic. Not that I have any problem with buying organic, but I refuse to fetishize it.

      • Young CC Prof

        Copper? Seriously? Now THAT is toxic and persistent, and incredibly nonselective.

    • KarenJJ

      I think it affects farming practices and may not be better for the land because of it. Organic isn’t really a big thing in Australia though. My relatives are all farmers (sheep, wheat, barley, canola mainly) and until safer handling practices were used, they were pretty much doused in pesticides etc regularly and are living long and healthy lives 🙂

      • Who?

        I’m in Oz and in my bit it is big. Two organic shops within a couple of kms of home. Not that I frequent them, I think the whole thing is grotesque self absorption gone totally mad.

        I have a theory that organic food not only causes autism it makes people who eat it obnoxious.

        • Bugsy

          ‘ it makes people who eat it obnoxious.’

          Beautiful.

    • Who?

      Thing is, organic isn’t necessarily that green to grow, and if it has to be hauled hundreds of km to be sold, and people drive long distances just to buy it, how is that green?

    • DiomedesV

      You want to give your body the best chance? 1) Get enough sleep; 2) exercise regularly, and 3) don’t eat too much. Anything else is basically out of your control. The sooner you accept it, the better.

      • Young CC Prof

        Let’s not forget 4) Don’t smoke 5) Buckle up, 6) If you do get sick, seek appropriate medical care in a timely fashion.

        But yeah, the only stuff that really makes a difference is the stuff that everyone from the CDC to your mother already agrees on.

        • DiomedesV

          Yeah, then I realized that for the past month, I have failed to do #1 and 2. Sigh.

          • Young CC Prof

            They’re easy to know. Hard to do, which is why people keep looking for shortcuts.

          • KarenJJ

            Same. New year’s resolutions for me: sleep more and walk more.

      • DiomedesV

        And #7: get vaccinated. I probably should have put that as #1.

    • Who?

      Are you a white or passes for white person in what we used to call a first world country? Did you finish high school?

      If the answers to both of those are yes, your body has the best chance of any body in the history of the world of leading a long and reasonably physically comfortable life. Don’t squander that focussing on trivia.

    • Tosca

      I agree that people should be free to eat whatever they choose. The issue arises when they try to convince others that their food choices are *morally superior*, and that others are bad parents for not making the same choices.

      • Vg2010

        I think the problem is that as a society we simply LOVE to judge others based on anything (AP, babywise, cry it out, political views, religion, eating habits). The problem isn’t that I choose to pay 5$ for 3 peppers locally grown in a rooftop in a city – the problem is if I preach that’s the only way to go and the only priority to have.

  • Young CC Prof

    I’m not taken in by the lies of Big Pharma! I buy all-natural cures, marketed by exactly the same corporations, manufactured with no oversight at all!

    • Samantha06

      Speaking of “all-natural cures,” two RN’s I used to work with posted something on FB about some “newly discovered” rain forest plant that “cures cancer without chemo!” I was thinking, WHAT? You’ve got to be kidding me!

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Kind of like taxol…

        • Young CC Prof

          Exactly what I was thinking. If it’s a chemical that fights cancer, doesn’t that make it chemotherapy by definition? And didn’t a lot of chemo drugs come from plants?

          • Roadstergal

            Cancer treatments come from everywhere – plants, clothing dyes, chemical weapons, variants on nutritional necessities… I think it’s beautiful.

            But yes, it’s the Food Babe Fallacy – thinking there’s a difference between ‘chemical’ and ‘natural.’ Nature is chemistry. We’re all chemistry.

      • Liz Leyden

        It’s amazing how many nurses believe in woo. One of my nursing school classmates was adding coconut oil to everything before it was cool, used natural cures for everything, and refused to vaccinate her kids. She also drank like a fish and smoked like a chimney, but that was okay because she was a vegetarian .

        • Samantha06

          And I was really shocked when I saw this from these two nurses. They are so smart, well, in most things anyway! I’ve always wondered about health care professionals who smoke too. Especially respiratory therapists… you would think that seeing the bad effects of smoking every day would sort of turn you off to that, but I guess not!

  • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
    • Amy M

      If you don’t want those GMOs, give them to me. 😉
      Seriously though, I imagine that scientists somewhere, perhaps at Monsanto, are working on GMO crops that would be so resistant to pests that they wouldn’t even NEED pesticide applications. If that comes to pass, those would be the cleanest crops to eat, but the anti-GMO freaks would be losing their minds: pesticides or GMOs? Which is the lesser of the two evils?!! I hope this happens in my lifetime.

      • Roadstergal

        That’s already the case – BT+ GMOs don’t require the same amount of pesticide, which is better for the consumer and the environment. That doesn’t change the minds of the anti-GMO folk one whit.

        • Amy M

          What do they think will happen? If someone were going to grow wings, it would have happened by now. Do you think there will be crops developed that will require NO pesticide?

          • Roadstergal

            I think it’s within the realm of possibility, but I’m not an agriculturalist. 🙂

            The thing that gets me is that everything we eat is massively, almost unrecognizably genetically modified. The only difference with “GMO”s is that we actually know what change we’re making. The degree of WTFery there makes my head hurt.

            I remember getting into one of those infamous Facebook arguments with an anti-GMOer. I asked him why on earth it was preferable to bombard a plant with radiation and select the daughter plants for a given phenotype, with any other unknown genetic modifications that might have come along for the ride, versus making a single targeted change. He said that radiation was ‘natural.’

            Well, so are restriction enzymes.

          • Young CC Prof

            Radiation is totally natural. I invite him to spend a couple years beyond the ionosphere, basking in the all-natural cosmic radiation, before fathering his children.

          • Samantha06

            That’s for sure!

          • Amy M

            That’s a bizarre argument.

        • Trixie

          Also, “organic” corn is all sprayed with BT, too.

      • DiomedesV

        Actually, 99% of improvement in crops still comes from straightforward artificial selection– but on a MASSIVE scale. Thinks thousands of fields sown with millions of genotypes to find the one you want… but you can, because your sample size is immense. GMO is like the super awesome icing on top.

  • Amy M

    Hahahahaha! If they only knew…Poor Cara and Megan, duped by the man.
    Just yesterday a friend of mine at work (we both work in science) stumbled across “the thinking mom’s revolution.” She thought it was a riot, she couldn’t stop laughing at the crazy things that blogger was saying. I thought it was heartbreaking.

    The thinking mom loves to ramble about toxins and what you should and shouldn’t eat. She might be Cara, for all we know. If Cara and her ilk want to waste their money on products that make them feel better about themselves, that’s their problem. But when they manage to get an audience and convince other people that there are TOXINS everywhere and doctors, Big Pharma, and the government are all working in cahoots to kill us, and then measles starts coming back…well, that’s not harmless anymore.

    I’m all for free speech, but how do we keep giant dangerous lies from spreading wo/censorship? The truth is just as available as the lies, but it just doesn’t get through to some people.

    • Young CC Prof

      I think part of it is to incentivize the actual media companies to pay a little attention to science, in particular, the differences between well-established facts, probable hypotheses, plausible hypotheses, rampant speculation, and crap debunked dozens of times already.

      • Roadstergal

        The thing is, the latter two really seem to sell, given the popularity of Oz et al… fear (this common household thing can kill you!) gets a lot more traction in a FB post or a TV news blurb than reality (generally speaking, this thing is awfully safe). I don’t know how to fix that.

        I really enjoyed the book Voodoo Histories; the author was interested in why conspiracy theories, that are not only easily debunked but, from the get-go, offend both historical perspective and Occam’s Razor, are so pervasive and popular. He hits on some interesting thoughts, including a need for a narrative that makes sense of the world, and a sense conspiracy theories confer that there is a reason for everything. “Shit happens, often to good people” is the way the world works, but it’s not _satisfying_.

      • demodocus’ spouse

        My town paper just had an article by a massage therapist who claims to be able to “support” fertility. She works out of the local chiropractic office. Ugh. On the other hand, giving one’s spouse a massage might lead to an increased chance of having a baby.

        • Kq

          I had reiki treatments weekly from a very dear (at the time) friend from preconception to birth. She also did “sound eave therapy” with a didgeridoo in the third trimester.

          Bless her heart. I didn’t believe in it then and I don’t now, but my reasoning remains that an hour of stillness and quiet, spent in the company of someone who loved me and my baby to be, who was demonstrating that love openly and passionately – that could only be a good thing. I was open about that belief and she remained one of the only crunchy friends I stayed close to after the social group shunned my skeptical self – until she floated off to Hawaii and we more or less lost touch.

  • Bugsy

    “Are natural parenting advocates who hire doulas, treat everything with homeopathic rememdies, and wear their babies in slings unwittingly responding to the exact same consumerism they claim to deplore, albeit consumerism carefully targeted specifically, at them?”

    From personal experience, yes. The all-natural parent I know decries consumerism and capitalism, but has no problem shelling out thousands of dollars on organic furniture, water purifiers and other goods recommended by Mercola. Pretty ironic, if you ask me.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    Is natural parenting about health or is it just a giant marketing tactic created to sell worthless products to gullible people?

    Yep, that’s the question. And the latter is the answer.

    Gotta love Megan and her “natural wood and organic cotton” baby chair.

    It’s a friggin baby chair!