Tomorrow marks the first day of World Breastfeeding Week. In celebration of this, M.I.L.C. will be having another virtual nurse-in. Facebook is still removing pictures as "obscene" and frankly, they aren't even following their own policies- which is currently that nipple or areola = offensive. Pictures that don't show either are still being removed.
Anyway, with this going on, Facebook has made a statement which you can read here. My favorite part is, "The small number of photos we have removed are of naked women who happen to be breastfeeding."
Really, Facebook? Are you saying I was naked in this picture?
Let's see: pants, shirt, bra (which isn't pictured, but was there), shoes and socks even! If that's naked, then Facebook, there are a LOT more pictures you need to remove.
What bugs me most about their statement is that 1) There are pictures that AREN'T naked that are being removed and they are misrepresenting their position and demonizing the mothers. 2) Sometimes you show some skin while breastfeeding but that doesn't make breastfeeding lewd or indecent. And 3) They are still sexualizing women who are not doing anything sexual. Breastfeeding isn't sexual and a woman breastfeeding is not portraying sex in any form.
Facebook, stop sexualizing our bodies! It's breastfeeding, not a strip tease.
You can see many of the removed pictures here. None of the pictures are sexually explicit. They are all beautiful pictures of mothers mothering. If you scroll to the last picture on the page, you can't even tell if the body part the baby is leaning on is a breast or part of an arm. One picture is of a baby lying on a daddy's chest.
These next pictures are in the public domain, so I can post them. Of course, they are obviously too naked for Facebook, so they were removed. I wish my "birthday suit" was so extravagant!
Please join in with the nurse-in this next week.
Oh and a bit of cuteness: when I was at the tera site, Margaret was looking at the pictures with me. She pointed to them and signed "baby."
Friday, July 31, 2009
Tomorrow marks the first day of World Breastfeeding Week. In celebration of this, M.I.L.C. will be having another virtual nurse-in. Facebook is still removing pictures as "obscene" and frankly, they aren't even following their own policies- which is currently that nipple or areola = offensive. Pictures that don't show either are still being removed.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
So on Tuesday when I wrote up my post about how Red #40 affected me, I remembered another time where I had received a blessing that referred to doing things that are good for me and thought I'd write about it. That was the fall of 2007 when I was pregnant with Margaret. At the time I was around 15/16 weeks pregnant. I was thinking of interviewing midwives for prenatal care, but wasn't 100% on board with that idea. I was also having horrible migraines that caused me to lose the feeling in half my tongue and part of my right hand. Part of me wondered if I was having a stroke. I considered seeing a neurologist, but assume they'd send me to an OB and if I went to an OB, I figured I'd be sent to a neurologist. I decided to ask for a blessing.
I was told in that blessing that I would not be bothered by migraines for the remainder of the pregnancy- which was true and I haven't had one since the birth either. I was also told to "do only that which you know is good for the baby." I got the impression that if something was "neutral" I shouldn't do that: I had to KNOW it was good. For example, when I researched ultrasounds, I didn't find a lot of evidence against them, but I didn't find anything that said they improved the outcome either. It was something that was "neutral" and since I couldn't conclude that an ultrasound was "good," I didn't do one. I didn't do the gestational diabetes test because 1) I wasn't gaining weight too quickly or having symptoms of it, and 2) it didn't sound good for my baby to drink down a cocktail of sugars. This is also why I didn't get the free flu vaccine offered for people who worked for the Provo School District. After all the emphasis they put on not having fish because of mercury, it didn't seem good to get a shot that had mercury in it.
I don't know why, but it seems that Heavenly Father wants me to be an active participant in my health and nutrition. Maybe that's not something He emphasizes with everyone, but it's something He's asked me to do multiple times. Maybe I'm more prone to problems and so I need to be especially careful about what goes into me. Maybe it's that Margaret is prone to problems and she needs me to be an example of good nutrition and to supply her with breastmilk that isn't tainted with chemicals. Maybe it's that when I'm not on Red #40 I can feel the Spirit more.
So that's part of why I try to buy organic and eat whole foods, among other reasons. I'm trying to ask myself, "Is this good for me?" instead of "Is this bad for me?"
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
A couple of my friends have kids who are very sensitive to Red #40. It causes them to have more tantrums and have shorter tempers and become more violent. Because of this, I don't let Margaret have Red #40. While I don't know if she is senstive to Red #40, the reactions I saw in these other girls was strong enough for me to not even risk it with Margaret.
Essentially, we cut Red #40 out of all our diets. Then last week I bought a fruit punch. I knew it had Red #40 in it, but it didn't have HFCS, so I let it slide. I was not going to let Margaret have it- just us. We're adults, right? We can handle it. So last night at dinner I thought I'd try it. As I was drinking it I wondered, "Hmm. Will this affect me?" Then I forgot about that thought.
We spent the night pitting the 13 pounds of cherries we bought from the farmer's market last week so we could can them. As the night progressed, I got increasingly impatient with McKay. He's very "by the book" with recipes and directions and his "we have to check the directions for canning these every 2 seconds" was really getting to me. Really. Like I threw myself on the bed in exasperation and frustration with him.
Now while that usually does bug me, I don't normally get physical about my frustrations like that. I was on the bed thinking, "What the heck is WRONG with me? My cycle chart is not anywhere near my period! Why is this bugging me so much?"
Then in my mind, I was reminded of the 2 cups of fruit punch I had for dinner. It was like a light bulb went off in my head. It all fit. Red #40.
I still was fighting the effects of the dye for the rest of the evening- and I'll probably have some more effects today. Last night before going to bed I was thinking about this and I remembered a blessing McKay gave me about a month ago. I had been having a rough day and I asked for a blessing of comfort because I felt like the day was just going on around me and I had no grasp on it whatsoever. It was a very comforting blessing, but in it was a line that seemed out of place, "Put in your body only that which is good" I originally thought it was reference to the candy bars McKay kept asking me to buy at the dollar store. If I didn't feel like making up a lunch, I'd eat a candy bar: it had peanuts. That's protein, right?
Perhaps that counsel is a bit more broad for me. Perhaps it wasn't just candy bars. Maybe it means dyes, perservatives, pesticides, maybe even things like the flu shot, which still contains mercury.
Well, you could say that Red #40 won't physically kill me, but it's not particularly "good" for me either. The only benefit to Red #40 is that it makes food look red- it doesn't add anything to my diet or attribute to my well-being. If it's not dietarily beneficial and it might cause problems, why continue to use it?
Some things I found last night when I was thinking about this topic:
After warning parents of the effects of dyes in their children's food, the UK is phasing out Red #40 with other dyes this year because of emotional and behavioral effects.
Many European countries have banned Red #40.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Wow. I got a lot of questions last week. I'm only going to do a few and do the rest next week (sorry Jamie!). You can still ask more this week and I'll answer them in a couple of weeks. I really think it's great to have a couple of weeks buffer- just in case I suddenly become uninteresting and no one asks questions one week.
Jennie asked two questions
How soon do you plan on having more children?
Well, there's a word you use: "plan." We don't have plans for that- not because we don't want more, but because breastfeeding has proven to be a very effective form of birth control for us. Even if we'd like a new baby, my womb is still as barren as Antarctica- except they have penguins there and I don't have penguins in my uterus. In a quick version: my period came back at 5.5 months, but I didn't ovulate until Margaret was a year, and currently my luteal phase is too short to sustain a pregnancy, even if an egg is fertilized. Any mass of cells that might have been born 9 months later as a baby is instead being born just days later with my period. There isn't enough time for it to implant and give the "Hey! Don't have a period! You're pregnant!" signal. So right now, there is no plan because right now there is no choice. When it does become possible, we'll work up a plan, which would probably be dependent on when my full fertility returns (next month? next year? 5 years from now?).
Do you plan on homeschooling?
Margaret is currently being unschooled, and it's working out well. She's surprisingly good at grouping similar shapes. We have those magnetic letters and numbers on our fridge and they are put up randomly. A couple of months ago, we noticed that when Margaret went to the fridge to play with them, she would take only ones that matched in shape. We have found her many times with 3 eights in hand (her favorite). Yesterday it was ones. Once we found her with 2 sixes and a "nine." I've done nothing to encourage this- she just does it, which is what I like about unschooling. If we stay in Provo, we'll probably continue to unschool. I worked for the Provo School District teaching technology when I was pregnant with her, so I know first-hand what I don't like about the schools here (art class anyone?). If we move to California like we hope to, the choice would depend on the schools, but I really like the tenants of unschooling, so we may very well stay with that. McKay is on board with unschooling too.
Do you co-sleep?
Yes we do. Margaret has been sleeping with us from day 1. When she was a baby, she wasn't allowed a pillow and we were very careful about blankets and such. Now that she's a toddler, it's a little different. Last week, she showed a sudden interest in her daddy's pillow, so I let her have my extra one. She may start the night out with it, but has never woken up on the pillow in the morning. She sleeps in between us so she doesn't roll off the bed. While we have a decent sized bed (Cal King) it's amazing how much space a toddler can take up! She moves around a lot at night, but I'm one of those people whom it doesn't bother. Well, I'm one of those people who hated being touched at night and for the first 6 months or so of our marriage, it really bugged me that McKay was in bed, too. Then I got used to it, adapted, and now it doesn't bother me. I think the blessings of cosleeping are most evident when we aren't sleeping at home. We've gone on trips with Margaret and getting her to sleep in other beds is no more difficult than if we were at home. While the environment changes, we're still with her so there isn't extra anxiety or struggle to help her sleep.
And here's unflattering picture of me. McKay thought it was cute so he took the picture.
Friday, July 24, 2009
1. Your husband working on Pioneer Day is not the end of the world.
2. Sitting here, listening to the sound of rain falling, I am actually dreaming- we have no rain here.
3. Peach Cobbler tastes so good!
4. Sometimes, putting others first is not using your Friday Fill-ins passive-aggressively (though these ones were MEANT for that, seriously).
5. A good day is breathtaking, really.
6. Well, maybe there is time for another one.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to fajita pizza, tomorrow my plans include helping a friend move and going to SLC to see a choir and Sunday, I want to go to church!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
"The scriptures often refer respectfully but plainly to the body and its parts. There is no embarrassment and often there is sacred symbolism. It is the world that makes the divinely created body an object of carnal lust. For example, it makes the female breasts primarily into sexual enticements, while the truth is that they were intended to nourish and comfort children. It promotes male sexual aggression in contrast to Christ’s example of tenderness, long-suffering, kindness, and steadfastness in the home."
From A Parent's Guide, chapter 5, published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, emphasis mine.
Monday, July 20, 2009
So funkyhan was the only one who asked questions yesterday, so I'll address her questions.
What is your apartment like... layout-wise I mean... in the UK a studio apartment is like the size a postage stamp...
Just for you, I'll refer to our studio as a flat. This question is so timely! We just re-arranged our flat on Saturday when we bought a new bookcase! I actually love it more now. We have a pretty big studio(about 700 sq. ft if we measured correctly). The kitchen is nice and large with lots of cabinet and counter space.
This is the view from the door. The tall bookcase is the new one. You'll notice I organize the books by color. I think it makes it have a neater appearance. I made the lamp on the other bookcase in shop class in junior high.
Also from the door, but shifted. You can see the kitchen in the back there and our closet doors. The plaid couch and table and chairs came with the apartment. The big chair in front came with McKay. If we decide to keep it, it will need to be reupholstered. It's kind of on the hideous side.
View from the book case. You can see the bathroom door, desk space, entertainment center. The space that the bathroom door is hiding is my knitting corner and some drawers. It's hiding it for a reason.
The kitchen. Margaret is eating raspberries for breakfast. There's our dresser. See our lovely olive oven? It's the latest fashion. I made the dishcloths hanging from it, of course. :)
From the dresser you can see the fridge and pantry doors.
From the kitchen you can see the front: our front closet, the door our large south-facing window that sits at the perfect height for the headlights of our neighbors' cars to shine in.
It's a really nice flat. McKay and I love living here. I would like a washer and dryer and a dishwasher and a yard, but the cheap rent is so wonderful. We can get all those things when we buy a house next summer (cross your fingers!).
How many knitting projects have you got on the go right now?
These pictures are some of my WIPs and are found on infiknity.blogspot.com. Not much has changed for them since I first took the pictures.
Hair for this doll.
The Baby Surprise Jacket (I had to frog the project in this picture- I only have 2 rows of it done right now)
Fishnet stockings (I know they don't look like fishnets, but when I finish, they'll be awesome)
So why didn't I want to show you what it looked like in my knitting corner? It's horrendous. That's my WIP station and it's crazy. It's actually the last place I need to tidy, so here, I'll take it all down and show you my WIPs and then tidy it. Click on image to view.
I also plan on knitting Margaret a dress with some stash yarn (not shown here- you do NOT want to see my stash) and making something up for WBW, but not sure what it'll be yet.
Any other questions for next week's Inquisition Monday? It can be anything. Curious about my opinion of the Louisiana Purchase? I'm secretly hoping the housing market will drop to those rates. My favorite kid's names? Beatrice?
Also, I'd like you all to check out funkyhan's blog. She had a baby last week! UBAC! Congrats to her and her family!
Sunday, July 19, 2009
I've been thinking about journals lately. There have been times in my life where I'm great with regular journal writing, and there are times where you'll find months or years between entries. Lately I've been in one of those latter times.
I blog a lot- it's very much like a journal for me. If there's something I've been thinking about a lot for days or weeks, chances are good that sooner or later it'll become a blog post. These are things I'd normally journal about, but they get blogged, so I end up not journalling (Firefox is telling me that neither "journaling" nor "journalling" are words, but I'm going to ignore it).
There are also things I don't blog about and would be more suitable for my journal. Sometimes I start a blog post like that and then never publish it. Sometimes I work those thoughts and experiences over and over in my head until they become a post suitable for a public blog. I also sometimes wonder if I should just let go and put it all up here.
I think there's still room in my life for my "just myself" journalling. I have to put my junior-high like frustrations somewhere! :)
Anyway, this got me to thinking about my blog. It's mine and I get to decide what gets to be said here, but it's also allowed me to building relationships with people I've never met. It's not just me putting stuff out there; I get a lot from your blogs and comments, too. While I was thinking about this blog-relationship and was thinking about how to make it more interactive on my end. I try to respond to the comments and emails, but sometimes I'm just forgetful. So I was thinking I'd make "Inquisition Monday." If it works out well, I'd like to answer your questions. It can be simple or complex. It can be about things I've blogged about or things I've not. I won't guarantee that I'll respond to everything, but I'll try my best to give thoughtful responses to all that I can.
So ask away. If I don't get any questions, I'll just assume you all know enough about me or loath reading my blog, which is totally fine too, but why then are you reading this?
Thursday, July 16, 2009
1. Rice and vegetables make a quick and easy dinner.
2. Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes by Alfie Kohn is the book I'm reading right now.
3. July brings back memories of softball games.
4. The expression on her face was obvious.
5. They say if you tell your dreams right away in the morning, you're less likely to forget them.
6. Sometimes there isn't enough time to think it over.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to knitting, tomorrow my plans include something, I'm sure and Sunday, I want to eat a watermelon!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I think it's been 8 or 9 weeks- somewhere about 2 months that I've been going No 'Poo.
Observations at this point:
- Too much scrubbing of baking soda WILL frizz out your hair.
- Using too much bakingsoda will cause buildup. Need to find a happy medium there.
- Putting in curlers every time you do your hair will cause breakage.
- Unlike Shampoo, No 'Poo will not strip your hair of its oils. It will get it clean, but it won't be oil-free. An important acknowledgment: Oil in your hair does NOT mean your hair is dirty. Those oils are there to protect your hair.
- When you wash your hair and get those oils on your hands, water beads up on them in the shower and it's cool.
- I think I can go longer without washing- like 4 days now.
- I need to remember to comb out my hair BEFORE I shower. Knotty.
- The spray-on conditioners (ACV or lemon juice) are AWESOME. I love them more now than I did at the beginning.
- You can use baking soda for everything. It's magic.
We are once again back from a trip to see McKay's parents. Today is "Make Up For Being Gone All Weekend" Day with errands and chores and naps.
While the picture looks like Margaret wet herself- it's just water. We don't EC much on trips- she's mostly in a diaper. We were lucky enough that she only pooped in her diaper once on the trip; all the other times were in the potty. That makes it MUCH easier for us.
I'm also 6 hats richer, which is awesome.
Friday, July 10, 2009
1. The last thing I ate was cereal and it was the first I've had in a long time.
2. A new hat is something I recently bought.
3. When it rains, it smells good.
4. McKay was the first person I talked to today.
5. Hugs are oxytocin inducing.
6. After driving for 11 hours on the most boring stretch of highway in the United States, you'll probably need extra comfort.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to being here in California, tomorrow my plans include still being in California and Sunday, I want to go to church!
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
So this was going to be a Wordless Wednesday, but I like sentences too much.
One of the problems I've found with Bum Genius is that the microfiber inserts hold smells. They get to the point where as soon as your baby pees in them, ammonia will overpower your nose and any other in proximity. It is normal for cloth diapers to get to that point, but our microfiber has gotten there faster and stronger than any other. They say it's due to detergents clinging to the fabric. You can strip them in a few really hot washes. We don't own a machine so that gets expensive time and money-wise, so multiple washes was wasteful. I do own a large pot and a stove, though!
I boiled them multiple times and put a little tea tree oil in the water. While they boiled, I used flats for stuffing in the Bum Genius. Because of ECing Margaret hasn't gone through enough diapers for me to really tell if the stripping worked. I'll let you know. If it didn't work, I'll probably throw out the microfiber inserts and just use flats in the diapers. They are surprisingly absorbent, don't smell as much as the microfiber, fit any size depending on how you fold them, and they dry on the line in less than an hour. Prefolds and the inserts take a few hours on the line.
Line drying diapers view from the building:
Line drying diapers view from the parking lot:
I put the prefolds and inserts in the front because they take so long to dry. The flats are in the back because they are quick.
What are "flats"? Well, I got these from a friend who bought sheets, cut them into squares, and seamed the edges. That's all they are: glorified sheets. You can then fold them into little or big diapers, secure with pins or whatever you use, and then put a cover or soaker on them. Personally, I think they are easier to clean than any of the other kind. When I put them in the pocket diapers, I just fold them into rectangles and stuff the diaper pocket. When we use a cover, we have a fold that puts more of the diaper in the front to catch pee and makes a little pocket in the back to catch poop.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
I first heard about No 'Poo when I was pregnant. I was hesitant to go No 'Poo myself because I was a little worried about the transitional stage, but I had the thought, "If I start my baby with no poo at birth, there wouldn't be a transition stage!"
So that's what I mostly did.
Early on, her bathing routine was something on the lines of- maybe once a week I'd hold her for a few minutes while I was in the shower. She never seemed upset about the water around her, but I was also careful not to let it fall into her face. When she got older, we had family showers where the one of us who was not under the water spray at the time would hold her. During this early infant stage, we did shampoo- but only maybe once a month. Maybe? It wasn't often. Less than 10 times her whole life.
Margaret eventually was able to sit up on her own in the bath, so bath time changed into her playing while I showered. I would plug up the drain so a little bath would form for her. She was in the bath daily with me, but I only washed her once a week- maybe once every 2 weeks. How dirty does a baby get, really?
Eventually she became a toddler and started getting messy. This happened around the time I started No Poo. Her hair will get smelly when she's sweaty, so I've been washing her hair every 3 or 4 days with the baking soda spray. I haven't tried the conditioner, but I don't think she needs it.
Also I thought I'd throw in a quick EC update. Margaret is using the potty pretty regularly. When we went on our trip to Wyoming, we forgot her potty seat, so we didn't EC much there. It pretty much consisted of her refusing to use a potty she wasn't familiar with. However, we haven't had a poopy diaper since we've gotten back from the trip. It's part of her morning routine: wake up, sit on the toilet, poop. It's nice that she only goes once a day- I don't have to worry about her pooping in the pool or on the carpet during naked butt time. She also is VERY possessive about the toilet. If we are using it, she'll cry because she wants her potty seat to be on it. There are on average- 2 or 3 misses a day, but most of the time we remember to suggest the potty to her or she'll go into the bathroom on her own wanting to use it. She signs "Potty" and she signs "All done." If we think she's done and we try to get her off before she's really done, she'll say, "No" and shake her head. She also likes to read books while on the potty and will sign "Book" if she wants one.
Sunday, July 05, 2009
A couple of weeks ago in the comments, I was asked if I use a cover while breastfeeding in sacrament.
I don't. I've never used a cover up- and the only time I've left a room to nurse was when Margaret was around 4 months old and had a stage when she would only nurse lying down. I would leave to find a couch or bed- and a few times floor space.
Well because of that question, I thought I'd do a little post on what I do and wear for the ease of nursing. I'd like to first make it clear that I do NOT think that you should have to "do" anything about your clothes, position, etc. One of my biggest peeves is when I read or hear, "I think nursing in public is fine, but I always used a blanket/cover/etc," implying that anything else isn't modest/discreet/appropriate enough. I do not want to give that impression here at all. If you and your child are comfortable, then that is the "right" way. Period.
Most of the time I wear a belly band that I got at a maternity store. They are marketed for keeping your pants up, unbuttoned as your belly grows, which is why I bought it. Now it is a great breastfeeding accessory.
I wear it pulled up to the bottom of my bra.
Then I just pull up on my shirt and latch Margaret on.
You can see on the side: you see the belly band where you would otherwise see skin.
Of course at church, this limits you to skirts and shirts. What about those dresses? I happen to own a couple of dresses with a stretchy neckline. When I want to wear those, I'll pull down- because pulling up a dress to breastfeed is too involved and would have too much fabric at Margaret's face. Last summer, I cut a little tank top right under the breast and I wear it under my dresses. I just pull the dress down and pull the tiny top up and voila- coverage!
While not breastfeeding, it looks like I'm just wearing a shirt under the dress.
When McKay was taking this next picture, he commented, "Margaret's covering everything!" From my view, however, I saw around 4 square inches of breast. I point this out to show that as a mom, you're probably seeing a lot more breast than the people around you.
I don't own any nursing tops or dresses- though I probably should invest in one. I only just recently got a nursing bra, but the clips are too annoying and I just pull the bra down anyway.
I wanted to share these because I thought they would give some of you ideas and options. Have I gone to church without my belly band? Yes. Have I gone to church without the tiny top and just pulled down? Yes. The only "right" way to breastfeed is the way where you and your child are most comfortable.
Saturday, July 04, 2009
As I mentioned, we decided to eat local foods for one meal today as part of the Food Independence Day. We ended up doing 2 local meals- the third being our leftovers from last night for lunch.
Breakfast was simply eggs and spinach.
Dinner was fritatta and salad.
The fritatta had eggs, zucchini, onion, garlic, cilantro, and goat's milk mozarella.
Salad was greens, broccoli, baby carrots, and goat's milk feta. We had cherries for dessert.
Great thing about parades: when most of the town is at a parade, you get first dibs on produce at the farmer's market. We also bought some peas and Chinese turnips which we didn't have for dinner. The baby carrots will be great for church tomorrow. Margaret loves them and they can't be smashed into the carpet like crackers can, nor do they stain like cherries would.
Friday, July 03, 2009
THREE DAY WEEKEND!
1. When I heard that McKay gets today off I started making all sorts of plans for the day- doubt they'll happen though.
2. Relaxing and visualization is the best medicine.
3. It's late, but I'm gong to post this anyway.
4. Pray always.
5. My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord- now I'm going to have that song stuck in my head all day.
6. Help strongly.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to knitting, tomorrow my plans include the Farmer's Market and Sunday, I want to knit- how diversified my life is!
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Last week during our trip to Wyoming, McKay and I listened to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. I really enjoyed listening, and I think McKay did to.
It follows Barbara Kingsolver's family as they move from Arizona to Virginia to live a year solely on foods that are grown or raised locally. Each member of the family is given a splurge food that they are allowed such as coffee. They raised turkeys and chickens, grew vegetables and fruit, and frequented the farmer's market. It was very interesting to see how it all unfolded. Also, throughout the book, Steven Hopp and Camille Kingsolver contributed essays. In the audio version, they each read their own essays.
The book didn't stick solely to the act of eating locally, but also elaborated on why they thought it would be a good idea. The main argument is based on the idea that the cost and use of gasoline in transportation of food is harmful for the environment. They also discussed that buying from local farmers means that the food tastes better since it isn't bred for travel or for how it looks on a shelf. There is also the argument that local farmers are more likely to use less chemicals on the land and food. Other topics I found interesting were the nutritional value of organic and free-range foods, cheese making, lactose intolerance, turkey sex, canning, their trip to Italy, and recipes. This morning when we were eating some organic local (almost free-range) eggs for breakfast, I asked McKay if his eggs tasted less cholesterol-y because the book mentioned that free range eggs have less unhealthy cholesterol than the general large white supermarket ones.
This book has made me think about food differently. When I went grocery shopping yesterday and today, I felt more that my dollars were my votes- and what am I voting for? I made sure that more of my dollars were voting for local foods and for agriculture that replenishes the land instead of depleting it. Knowing that it would be ridiculous to suggest that all people eat only local food for the rest of their lives (we can't kid ourselves: Utah is a desert), there were suggestions in the book on ways to eat more locally for at least some of your food. For example, if you live here in the west, it is probably better to buy apples from Washington than from the eastern seaboard. While Washington isn't really our backyard- the apples travel less distance, limiting the carbon footprint. She also suggested, that when you go to the farmer's market and find a vegetable you'd like to can- say tomatoes- buy up all of the farmer's crop. That way, the farmer will be encouraged to plant more the next year and you'll probably end up with plenty to can into sauces and salsas. Don't worry that you're being selfish and hogging it all: the food is going to a good place, as is the money.
I read some criticisms of the book the other day. For example, some were saying that Kingsolver was being too pushy with her agenda. Since I'm used to reading books with agendas, I asked McKay his opinion. He responded, "Well, it's as pushy as I'd expect for a book like this." Maybe it was because we were listening to it and could hear the tone of her voice that it wasn't as upsetting as some people were suggesting. Other things that ruffled feathers include a fairly long argument against vegetarianism and that Camille's writing isn't as good as her mother's. So if you're a vegetarian and comfortable with your choice, ignore that part. As for Camille- maybe it was because her youthful voice gave away that she's simply a college freshman but the switch in writing styles and levels didn't bother me.
More criticisms included Kingsolver's attitude towards buying tropical fruit because of the distance it travelled. "I'm not going to stop buying bananas!" were the exclamations. I don't think she was trying to tell anyone what to and what not to buy, but was trying to give the eater more awareness of their food and where it comes from. Of course, throughout the book, I was able to keep a smug little smile on my face, "Well, someday we'll move to Califonia and I'll get all the local citrus I want, Ms. Kingsolver- HA!"
While listening to this book it occurred to me that perhaps my stewardship over the earth isn't limited to simply recycling paper and plastics #1, 2, & 3 or buying for cars with increasingly better mileage. We use stuff- and we should make sure our stuff is produced and shipped to us as ethically as possible: buy local or buy fair trade and organic products if they have to travel large distances.
I'd like to participate in a local CSA share, but McKay's not completely on board because of the upfront cost. I would buy one here next year if we weren't planning on moving next summer. When we move to California, I think it would be very worthwhile to join a CSA and I've already looked into some in the area we'll probably be living.
We have a few tomato plants; I'm interested in making salsa. I think I may at some point try my hand at making cheese. It doesn't sound all that hard- and I know there are dairies in the area that have raw milk. I know it sounds more expensive to buy organic and raw, but I think it's worth it to support responsible agriculture. Also, I am reminded of when I read 12 Steps to Raw Foods. The family in that book reversed chronic illnesses with their diet. Yes, the diet was expensive, but they were no longer paying for expensive health care related to those illnesses- they were really saving money in the end. In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Kingsolver worked out the math and found that they really did save, mainly from cooking from scratch. I look at Margaret, and I know if I'm willing to put forward the extra few cents to put good foods in her body, she will reap the benefits.