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Okay, I give up. I was raised in California in the seventies, surrounded by crowds of self-indulgent Boomers who were neurotically engaging in every single health fad known to mankind. Except colon cleansing. Seriously, I think that the whole colon cleansing thing is *so* eighties.
My mother didn't use chocolate for years, sweetened with honey, used only whole grains, and haunted the local health food store like a ghost looking for the meaning of life.
And for almost my entire adult life, I despised "special eaters." I never quite descended to the McDonald's level, but I got seriously burned out on the whole "I'm special and my diet proves it" stuff.
As a parent, however, I've had to get over it. For one thing, things are very different now. We've literally screwed our environment up so much that there are toxic substances in everything surrounding us and our children are paying the price.
And secondly, my child had terrible eczema, which the medical profession just tried to treat with increasingly strong creams, until one day the pharmacist came out from behind the counter and told me not to use the current cream below my 10 month old's belly button, because it "could harm developing testes." On that day, I became a special diet convert. We threw the cream away and I began removing items from my son's diet. On a wheat, dairy, egg, nut, chocolate, tomato, and pineapple-free diet he was totally eczema-free for three years. (Amazing that our medical profession doesn't follow simple logic sometimes, isn't it? But I digress.)
Why are there so many allergies now - so many more than when we were children? I went to a seminar given by a doctor called Ann Wolfe from Redwood City recently. She had compelling, sourceable proof that the upsurge in autism is affected by toxins and by a sensitivity to elements and food. Also, that children who end up with autism are more sensitive to their elements than other children. For more on Allergies, see my allergy page.
That's not a cure-all observation. But it's enough to really start all of us thinking - and acting defensively with regard to the environment and our children.
Oh. One other thing. While I'm putting this together, I'm seeing an interesting article on Environmental Threats to the Aging, so this is something we should all start to be concerned with - no matter what our age. And, as the article points out, it's no longer just about changing our lives - it's about changing our farm bills and reforming our chemical policies as well.
What's going on in the world.
I have no idea how to stay on top of all of the issues, but I strongly suspect that there are some wonderful parents groups out there who can help, and I will find and link to them.
Want to see something terrifying? Check out the Mental Health and Environmental Exposures fact sheet for parents, teachers, and doctors, which discusses the connections between environmental exposures to phisical and chemecal agensts with mental health symptoms and conditions.
Here are programs sponsored by the Institute for Chidlren's Environmental health. The Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative (LDDI) is a working group of the Collaborative on Health and the Environment (www.healthandenvironment.org). The primary mission of LDDI is to foster collaboration among learning and developmental disability organizations, researchers, health professionals and environmental health groups to address concerns about the impact environmental pollutants may have on healthy brain development. LDDI currently has over 150 organizational and individual members engaged in educational and policy efforts.
To start with, I'd like to introduce you to the
The Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE) is a diverse network of 2900 individual and organizational Partners in 45 countries and 48 states, working collectively to advance knowledge and effective action to address growing concerns about the links between human health and environmental factors. Institute for Children's Environmental Health, which is currently sponsoring two programs:
The Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative