Feeding Our Children

Monday, 01 July 2013 22:41


Author's Name Withheld

autism-little-boy-smI'm not qualified to dispense medical advice. I'm not a doctor, a nutritionist, or a dietitian. And yet, three years ago — when our son was struggling with autism-spectrum–style issues, worsening digestion, incredibly picky eating, autoimmune/allergic symptoms, and all sorts of behavioral and developmental challenges — my husband and I discovered a major problem: nobody else was quite qualified to treat him, either.

Our son was six at the time. I (and my children) had eaten a whole-foods vegetarian diet since birth. I was a vegetarian chef and taught classes on vegetarian cooking and nutrition. I thought I was doing everything possible to ensure the health of my offspring. My son never ate gluten or dairy, I selected whole grains and organic foods, and whenever possible I limited our exposure to environmental toxins. And still, despite holistic and conventional healing attempts, by 2010 his health was deteriorating severely and rapidly.

Sometimes it takes my breath away: my body co-created my child, and now his body re-makes itself, every day of his life, using the stuff we breathe and consume. It was three years ago when I truly began to grapple with the implications of this: Every time I prepare food for my family, I make choices that support or detract from our continual healing and rebuilding. Our bodies heal and rebuild for as long as we're alive. Even a broken femur can heal itself; why not a broken brain?

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Food for Thought, and Transformation

Monday, 01 July 2013 22:17


By Patrice Lockert Anthony

2013 Gail_AnthonyI love food. I am a foodie. My being a foodie is not the reason, though, that I am overweight. It is a common misperception that being overweight is directly related to how much food we eat. It is indirectly related. Everybody eats, yet everybody is not overweight. It is not about eating. It isn't even, necessarily, about what we eat. It is directly related to why we eat, how we eat, and where we eat. The food itself is ancillary.

I am not losing weight because I am eating less food. I am losing weight because I have shifted my focus. I am losing weight because I've decided some other things are weighted (pun intended) as being of more importance. I am losing weight because my body is not designed to give out at age fifty-three. Imagine living your life as a disciplined worker and achiever. You've gained all you sought. It's time to retire, but you can't enjoy the retirement you planned because your health is failing, or has failed. And it's your doing. Imagine living with that knowledge.

I believe in sweat equity. I put a lot of sweat equity into my company, my writing, and my teaching. Why should my body, my overall health, be of any less import? Many years ago, in a universe far, far away (Los Angeles), I worked for a bank. A couple of my colleagues had a very troubled relationship. One of the colleagues was quite heavy, and the other tall and lean. In yet another "set to" one day, the heavy colleague told the lean colleague to "go eat something" (I'm paraphrasing). With split-second timing, the lean one pivoted, looked the other dead in the eye, and said, "No, thank you, sweetheart. I'm built for speed, not for comfort." It was a stunning (and crushing) blow. At the time, I just thought it was a humiliatingly cruel thing to say.

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Postpartum Doulas Ease the Transition to Life with Baby

Friday, 31 May 2013 17:53


By Stephanie Haskins

woman-depressed-smWhile many people have become familiar with the role of a birth doula, they may not be aware of how a postpartum doula can assist in easing the transition to life with a new baby. Whether you're arriving home from the hospital or settling in after a home birth, you and your partner find yourselves alone with your baby. You may be tired from the birth. You may be recovering from a Cesarean or a particularly difficult delivery. You may have other children wanting your attention. However elated you are with this new little person in your lives, having a baby can be overwhelming.

In our culture of rugged individualism, we sometimes think we must shoulder our responsibilities on our own with little or no support from the outside. At no time is this expectation more glaring than during the postpartum period, when families begin the long process of birth recovery and learning how to care for a new infant on their own.

Statistics published by the Illinois Department of Public Health (http://www.idph.state.il.us/about/womenshealth/factsheets/pdpress.htm) in 2012 report that approximately 50 percent of new mothers experience mild depression; 10 to 20 percent experience postpartum depression, and 1 in 500 to 1000 suffer from postpartum psychosis. With new mothers left to fend for themselves, often spending hours alone with a new baby and possibly other children, little wonder that these numbers are so high. In other areas of the world, new mothers are cared for by their families and extended communities for 30 to 60 days postpartum. Typical in the United States is for a few meals to be delivered.

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