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How Much Time Do I Have Left?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Rebuttal About Butter - Time Magazine's "Realization"

Hi.

As everyone can see from the pregnancy ticker that's still ticking, I'm officially over my due date, no matter which date you're looking at. This baby has decided to be like his parents and prove everyone wrong... the last predicted due date by anyone was yesterday. So here I sit, typing yet another blog post before labor, in hopes to both distract myself and entertain all of you.

First, some pregnancy news. By now, some of you know my status. I'm about 2-3cm dilated, 90% effaced, and the baby is sitting at 0 station. For those of you who don't know what any of this means, I will elaborate briefly. Those three bits of information are indicators as to how close you are in the labor process. Dilation is the number most people know and understand, the opening of the cervix, ranging from 0cm (closed) to 10cm (fully dilated). Active labor, the labor that I will be in the hospital for, starts around 6cm, give or take (depending on whether my water breaks or not and other factors). So while I'm not very dilated, I have shown signs of progression. Effacement is the thinning of the cervix, which is very important because the cervix is normally fairly thick and if it stayed that way, labor would be even harder than it already is. Effacement ranges from 0% (none) to 100% (complete). Since I'm sitting at about 90%, that essentially means not much is in the way of the baby exiting. Now the most interesting part, station. I've seen a variety of numbers to determine the "station" of the baby, which is basically where the baby is sitting in relation to the hole of the pelvic bone. I'm going to use -5 (not at all dropped) to +5 (crowning) as my numbers. Zero means that the baby is literally sitting right in the hole of the bone, on the line between birth canal and uterus. As many of you have probably deduced from this information, I could go into labor at any moment. I have a biophysical profile tomorrow to check on the status of the baby, which basically means they're going to ultrasound me and make sure the baby still has everything he needs. Oxygen, enough amniotic fluid, etc. Of course if I go into labor before then, it's not really necessary, is it? I'm playing the waiting game.

Speaking of the waiting game, while I was in the waiting room at the doctor's office, there was a copy of June 23rd's Time Magazine sitting on the end table. I had actually already seen the cover of the magazine because it's also sitting in our laundry room, but it didn't stop my thoughts. It's really a perfect example of what I was talking about in my "Gripes About Grapes" post from last week. Here is a picture of the cover:
Alton Brown covered this issue years and years ago in his show "Good Eats" in the episode entitled "The Case for Butter." Why was butter ever labeled the enemy in the first place? Because "science" swooped in and did some "analysis" that said it harbored this scary substance known as cholesterol? Are we as a society just afraid of big words? Eggs were seriously injured by the science industry as well for similar reasons. Remember the 1940's and 50's? Those people lived forever eating not only butter and eggs but also lard, red meat, unpasteurized milk, and plenty more. But of course science came along and to "protect us" from bacteria and other "harmful" substances they preached about fat, diabetes, and cholesterol scaring everyone into "eating healthier." Now, suddenly, it's revealed that margarine has these horrible things called "trans-fatty-acids," milk digests the best when it's in its entirety and not altered, eating eggs actually lowers cholesterol, and to replace some of the things removed from our food for the sake of health is shown to be more harmful. Like how sugar is now consumed at a rate that is sickening for our country and carbohydrate intake is also up as not only a filler but as an "energy source" causing problems because they are not high in other nutrients for the body to work off of. So instead of eating whole foods that no one ever  complained about or had issues with and having a complete diet, Americans in particular are suffering from an incomplete diet being fortified with artificial vitamins and minerals which the body doesn't know how to effectively process. Using margarine never made any sense.

What's funny about the butter issue is quite simply the responses I've seen on the internet about it. I saw someone comment that maybe we should eat butter in moderation. Hmm. Does anyone know how old Julia Child lived to be? 91. How much butter did she use? A lot. I'm all for the usage of butter but we need to be aware that the butter this is being commonly consumed in America today is not the butter your grandparents or great-grandparents actually grew up on. With the advent of artificial growth hormome (rbgH) and antibiotics that are routinely given to cattle today our milk supply (as well as our meat supply) has been tainted with these additives, not to mention that oftentimes the conventional butter you will buy at the store will have other ingredients listed in it besides cream and salt. On the Land O'Lakes website itself is a great example. The unsalted butter they have has two ingredients: sweet cream and natural flavoring. What is wrong with the cream that makes it so you have to add additional flavoring? What unfortunately is happening that no one wants to talk about is that the addition of rbgH and antibiotics have not only filtered through to our meat and dairy but is also affecting the taste. On top of that we are what we eat and what we eat, eats. So if our cattle is being forced to eat corn (genetically modified at that), a substance they do not naturally eat and living in sloppy, tight conditions what we consume off of the cattle will show through us in taste and in health. (Note: they noticed that once cattle were switched from corn to grass that the prevalence of e. coli virtually disappeared. Why then are we not grass-feeding all of our cattle? Corn is way cheaper.)

Before you read this blog post and think that I'm going on a "convert to organic" rampage, I'm not. What I'm saying is quite simply the truth. Whether or not you choose to eat organic or whole foods is completely your choice. In our country today each aspect of the food industry, organic and conventional, has been tainted somehow and what it boils down to is power and money. I choose not to eat additives and pesticides as much as possible and eating locally sometimes helps with that, although many local farms will still use chemicals. Finding a local organic farm is ideal but let's face it, it's not always an easy find. Do your research. Learn about what foods you're eating. You might be surprised how you feel if you make a dietary lifestyle switch. And in my opinion, organic butter is a whole food.

On a completely different last note I did finally do a craft project that has turned out shockingly well. It's a wolf made from strips of magazine pages with my child's name on the bottom. I have to do two or three quick things to it before it's completely done, but then I will share a picture of it with you. In the meantime hopefully I go into labor soon!

Give me rebuttals about butter!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Gripes About Grapes (And Other Things)

Hello Everyone,

I'm aware that I just posted an entry about three days ago but since my time of pregnancy is rapidly running out I thought I'd post another quick entry for fun.

First off, I am "in-between" due dates as I was give both the 7th and the 9th as possible due dates. My doctor says everything looks good though so I'm just playing the waiting game... same as eight months ago.

But I'm not here to talk about pregnancy today (not really anyway). I'm here to talk about some quirks in our society that bother me in some fashion even though we live with many of these things without thinking about it. My first example takes care of my blog post title. What about grapes?

Imagine yourself going to the store and wandering into the juice aisle (organic or otherwise). Take a peek at your basic grape juice options. What do we have? In short and in the most basic form we have white grape juice and Concord or purple grape juice right? Let's start with the Concord grape juice (my favorite). If we had the time and juicer we could wander over to the grapes in the produce section and juice our own (provided your local grocery store carried them, Concord grapes are not a standard in most stores). Now let's go back to the white grape juice. What do we buy to make our own? No, not white grapes, green grapes. Green. But no one calls it "green grape juice" or "white grapes." No. We have to make it confusing. I imagine, I'm not taking the time to look it up here, that when the first person juiced green grapes they saw that the resulting liquid was not green but in fact clear/yellowish probably leading up to "white grape juice." And let me mention, by the way, yellow is the color that would make the most sense but no one would drink "yellow grape juice..." that just sounds weird.

My next "gripe" if you will is actually two completely different products that have the same exact problem. Razor cartridges and printer ink cartridges. I went to the store yesterday with my fiance and on my list was "razors." I, being eco-friendly and all that, was going to pick up a refill package. (Note: they have specifically eco-friendly razors. However, part of being eco-friendly is knowing what makes sense and what doesn't. These razors do not seem to work well and if we're talking about efficiency and waste, going "conventional" with razors may actually be more eco-friendly.) Anyway, I found myself staring at the razor section, baffled. Why exactly does a brand new razor with a brand new razor blade cost about $6.50 and a package of four cartridge refills cost $17-something? To do some basic math, if the refills were, let's say, $17.50 that would make each cartridge $4.38. A brand new razor with two refills was $11-something. Not only is that mark-up NOT financially friendly, it's ridiculous marketing and manipulation of the consumer. We, as consumers, purchase a new razor with cartridges thinking it will save us money to buy in "bulk," if you will, when we need new blades for our razors. But when we buy a new razor we hardly ever look at the cost of the refills because we already have one or two in the new package. So when we go back to the store we don't want to buy the refill because it's so expensive but if we already have a perfectly good handle it doesn't make sense to buy another one. Now you're stuck with what you have. This exact same concept applies to printers and ink cartridges. It is technically cheaper to buy a whole new printer with the ink included than to buy just the refill ink cartridges. Not only is this frustrating, there doesn't seem to be any potential solution. AHH!

Let's move on to another consumer/society issue. I was thirsty so I went into our local grocery store before my doctor's appointment to buy a bottle of water. I figured I just go up to one of the cases near the check-out line and pick up a bottle and walk out, since I only had about five minutes of spare time. I spot a bottle of Aquafina. Not my personal favorite, but I was thirsty. (My personal favorite? Fiji water. Can't get any better than that.) But I stopped myself mid-way to the grab of the water bottle. $1.79? For water? Since when? I went up the little coolers at the end of the check-out aisles to either find soda, typically $1.29 or less for a bottle, to Dasani water, which I refused to buy (that's another story). Finally, I saw a VitaCoco for $1.39. Now, I enjoy coconut water but as far as quality and taste goes, VitaCoco is on the bottom rungs for that. But considering my time restriction and the fact that I was dying of thirst, I bought it. Thinking back, I could have probably wandered down the bottled water aisle to find a cheaper bottle of water, but really? $1.79 for Aquafina? If my doctors office had a water fountain I would have just waited until I got there but they don't (odd for an OB/GYN place) but I was thirsty. This is another perfect example of being taken advantage of as a consumer who is just thirsty for a glass of water only to be charged an obscene amount of money for "cooler water" instead of remembering to go down the water aisle. And besides, since when is soda and juice cheaper than water? How does that even make sense? Don't believe this price mark-up is really happening? Check out your local grocery store. You'll be surprised.

We've all heard the "scientific" research about how whole fruits are better than juice and/or dried fruits. We need the water and fiber for our body to properly digest and absorb the nutrients. This makes sense, of course, however I don't think we really needed science to tell us that. Where's the gripe in this? Let's look at something else that I believe follows the exact same "scientific" mindset: protein powder. Now, how on Earth do you think that consuming mass quantities of protein powder is good for you when it lacks all of the essential vitamins that the protein used to work with to be effective in your system? Ah but what about vitamin fortified protein powder? Okay so now we'll just put artificial vitamins back into the already altered protein structure. That sounds healthy. Not to mention any protein that is not used within the body gets excreted as waste. So how much are you wasting by buying these products? Drink some milk or eat a steak for crying out loud. How about some cashews? Edamame anyone? Lentil soup? Every food on this planet that contains protein, or any other vitamin for that matter, was structured in a way that allows for the body to more easily absorb those nutrients by using other vitamins, minerals, water, and fiber so that your body can process it easily. Altering these nutrients and isolating them does nothing. So instead of a multi-vitamin, how about a smoothie? Need vitamin D? Go outside and get some sun. Calcium? Spinach and kale are great. Whole foods are the best foods.

My last gripe of the day is about the phrase "take a shower." We always say it: "I'm going to go take a shower." I say it too. But it bothers me as a person who speaks English. When my fiance says he's going to take a shower, I've started asking him if he's going to put it back. Or when he says he's going to jump in the shower I'll tell him not to slip. Why do we say these kinds of things in our language? No wonder it's so hard for people to learn English. We have COUNTLESS expressions that don't make any real sense. "I ran into so-and-so at the store." Did you really? Are you two okay? Why were you running in the store? My fiance gets very annoyed with me when I start on this. But if you listen, you'll here a lot of these odd expressions being thrown around. You'll start saying crazy things in response too... until someone either punches you or stops talking to you. People have no sense of humor. (I always loved the Amelia Bedelia children's books, they surround this kind of word play. For example, when told to draw the curtains, she sketches them on a pad of paper.)

Do you have any "gripes about grapes?" Comment if you wish. I'll be sure to post about labor and deliver when it happens.

Enjoy your day!