Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Is Formula just the first McDonalds?

Well, it has been a while! I can't even begin to explain or make excuses. Every time I start with the self-inflicted guilt I know so well, "see...just one more thing you can't get done" I start to wonder if anyone even reads this stuff. Then I remind myself that I write this just to process my thoughts and feelings on a topic that has basically consumed me for the past six years - breastfeeding. From the first time I struggled through it to sitting for my IBCLC exam to continuing to nurse my third and last baby I still marvel at how the struggles of breastfeeding parallel so many other issues or reveal internal struggles in my life. This month is no different so here goes... I recently read a wonderful book entitled, Anticancer, by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber (Dr. S-S from now on). I have also watched Food,Inc in the past year or so. These two works have really upset something deep inside of me. I am disturbed. I grew up expecting that what I ate had substance. I understood that eating fast food would probably mean I was choosing a higher fat meal and would need to keep that in mind when choosing the rest of the day's menu but I NEVER thought that what I was eating could be made from harmful chemicals, pesticides, hormones, even particles from inorganic materials at times! The Western diet is a mess to begin with but to make sense of that many of us try to do things like Weight Watchers, sugar busters,and don't forget about calling Jenny. These have been our main sources of contention when trying to lose a few pounds but what if the problem is deeper? What if we are not just making high calorie choices but that the food we can easily access is made of poor quality and hogwash that makes it fit our busy lifestyle and budget? Ahhh!!! Now comes the link to my world - wait for it- breastfeeding! This same line of thinking is why formula has such a presence in our culture. It is fast, others can help, it doesn't require the pulling out of the boobs, and if you are on WIC you get some for free! Hmmm.... That all sounds legit to me! I followed that line of thinking with my first baby once she got to the six month mark. Formula was enticing to me because it didn't hurt (breastfeeding never should by the way!), Dad could do it when I was at work at night, I didn't have to pump at work, she was going to get teeth soon, and mainly because I felt more in control. Oh, how little I knew!! ;) The question really is though what do we control in our food supply? For infants or for us? It is honestly scary. From after school snacks to the chemicals used to scrub a toilet I feel I have been majorly misled. Anyone out there hear me? I am mad about this. Some enlightened/informed Proverbs 31 wives and mommas learn about how toxic our food supply and environment is and go out there and change their "terrain", as Dr. S-S puts it, and they go write cute blogs about how to cook,clean, organize and do it all within their budget. Then there is me. Just mad. I liked Wendy's cheeseburgers and Chick-Fil-A. Now if I go I will feel that dreaded guilt again and especially if the kids eat it. I spent a fortune today at Earthfare and I'm mad about that too. Come on Trader Joes!!! So I guess that is really the heart of the issue here. Do we care enough to change? Do we eat McDonalds and give our babies formula and just stick our heads in the sand because it is a temporary fix that doesn't require much? (I do know that formula is not cheap nor the devil. It has a much needed place in the absence of mom's milk. Just sayin'). I do feel like formula is a baby's first McDonald's. Think about it. They trust that what they are eating, and the are "lovin' it" by the way! Ha!ha! Had to. Just like we all did when we ate our happy meals in ignorant bliss. I mean did you know that someone did a study on a McDonalds's chicken nugget(that I lived on as a child btw) and the preservatives kept it intact for an insane amount of days? Like 200 or more??? Really? That may explain why they always look "normal" when one finds a piece of an old one in your car or something. I mean not that ever happens to me but ya know! Ha! Dr. S-S did the best job explaining how we got here that I have heard. While Food, Inc. makes the food industry out to be a money-hungry monster, and it may be, Dr. S-S explains it differently. He says this all came about after World War 2 when women needed to work and "keep house." preservatives came on the scene to help women out in the home. Kind of like cigarettes there were no known side effects at first. Ignorant bliss of the TV dinner emerged. The cattle and poultry industries found that their animals would grow larger faster and make more product if they streamlined the type of animal they bred and gave them corn, soy, and grain instead of grass. Then came the hormones. This all seemed genius and was done to help out but we didn't know we were gonna end up in the age of GMO's and McDonalds as a mainstay in the American diet. Can we go back and do we want to? I think this helped me gain perspective on why women choose formula. It is the same as why I have always eaten fast food. It is what I knew and I trusted it. Those days are gone and I am mad about it. Need some help from those over-achieving moms I referenced earlier. I'll post some of their blogs as I research them. If you have any ideas speak up!