As you know, if you’ve read this blog for any length of time, I live a “weird” lifestyle. You know, eating real food, not vaccinating, extended breastfeeding (yes, my 32-month-old is STILL breastfeeding), homebirthing, etc. Making these kinds of choices invites all kinds of criticism and curiosity, of course. But by far, the excuse/reason I hear the most often from people who are dismissing these “weird” things is:
But we turned out fine!!
If you say “Well, we don’t vaccinate, people are getting all kinds of crazy illnesses from it,” etc. then they will say “But we were vaccinated and we are fine!” The same thing with eating junk food vs. real food, homebirth vs. hospital and so on.
This argument is actually pretty ridiculous for two reasons. The first is because our population is not fine. More and more people have degenerative diseases. We have epidemic numbers of allergies, asthma, autism, learning disabilities, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune conditions and on and on. I don’t know how anyone else defines “fine,” but chronic illness is not it! And when many people are on too many pharmaceuticals to count, are depressed, overweight, pre-diabetic and so on…that is not fine! We’ll discuss that more indepth in another post, though.
The second reason is because things are just not the same today as they were 20 years ago. They are not. Let’s look at several differences:
In 1983, the vaccination schedule contained only 10 separate shots. Two at 2 months, two at 4 months, one at 6 months, one at 15 months, two at 18 months, and two at age 4. This consisted of only three different shots, including polio, DTP, and MMR. Children were vaccinated for polio, diptheria, pertussis, measles, mumps, and rubella — only 6 diseases.
In 2007, the schedule contained 36 separate shots. One at birth, six at 2 months, six at 4 months, seven at 6 months, five at 12 months, one at 15 months, two at 18 months, and three at age 4 (plus yearly flu shots). Babies are vaccinated for Hep B, Hep A, HIB, MMR, DTaP, polio, Rotavirus, varicella (chicken pox), PCV, and influenza. That is a LARGE number of diseases — 13! Many of these are not life-threatening by any stretch of the imagination.
So when you try to compare someone who was vaccinated in the mid-1980s (many of today’s parents) with the children who are getting vaccinated today, it is not the same!! The vaccination load is a lot heavier, and also more are administered at much younger ages. There is no possible way that this argument holds up.
Dairy and Beef Cows
If you tell someone you’re switching to only grass-fed cows which are not given any antibiotics or hormones, you might also hear this argument. But it doesn’t measure up here, either.
In the 1980s, rBST, the growth hormone that’s so controversial now had not yet been approved for use in cattle. It was not approved until 1993, and likely not in wide-spread use until past 1995. Without the use of this hormone, cows would not have needed as many antibiotics. Cows were also not fed any GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) feed because that, too, had not been approved or put into use.
So yes, cows were still given some antibiotics and unnatural feed (corn and soy), but it was not GMO, there were no growth hormones, and antibiotic use would have been lower. It’s not the same!
Corn, Soy, and GMOs
Eating too much corn, soy, and other grains was never a very good idea, despite what the USDA says. However, it wasn’t quite as bad as it is today. This is because Genetically Modified Organisms were not in use until the late 1990s.
GMO soybeans were first approved for use and planted in 1996. Since soy is widely used in processed foods (just look for “soy lecithin” on the label), GMOs are in nearly all processed food products. Corn, canola (rape seed) and cottonseed are heavily GMO as well. Potatoes and other crops are beginning to be GMO.
If you are eating processed food it is impossible to avoid GMOs. Early studies show that they are extremely detrimental to health. Although eating processed food has always been unhealthy, it is even worse now!
Although processed foods were certainly available in the 1980s, they weren’t quite as sinister as they are today.
In the 1980s, McDonald’s was still cooking their fries in beef tallow, a healthy fat. In 1990 they switched to partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, full of trans fats!
Earlier, companies used to use healthy coconut oil in their baked goods. By the 80s and 90s, they had switched to shortening and vegetable oils.
Companies also started coming out with more and more “low fat” and “fat free” items in the 90s and beyond, which are full of sugar. They began to use more and more fake sugars. Splenda was first approved for use in 1998.
Processed foods were never good, but there are far more additives and chemicals in them today than there were in the 1980s. There are also many more options today. It is possible (though not desirable!) to eat a diet of entirely processed foods now.
As you can see from these examples, things in the 1980s were not the same as they are today. Children are being exposed to many, many more toxic chemicals from their food (processed ingredients as well as GMOs), and vaccines. There are many more examples out there too (pollution, antibiotic use, hand sanitizers, increased pop consumption, etc.) but these are a few bigger ones.
So the next time you’re trying to explain your “weird” choices to someone and they say “Oh, c’mon, we did the same thing and we turned out fine” you can say “But it’s not the same and I can prove it!” Maybe it will open up a few more minds.
What do you think? What arguments have you heard against “weird” choices? Do you think it’s the same now as it was when we grew up?
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