Thursday, May 21, 2009

Little Girls with Grown Up Cancers

As I went through my RSS reader today, I found two disturbing articles. One was about an 8 year old with ovarian cancer. The second was about a 10 year old with breast cancer.

The 8 year old is expected to be ok, and even to go on to have children, someday, with her other "good" ovary's eggs. The 10 year old has had a mastectomy. Can you imagine doing middle-school P.E. with mastectomy scars?? God, it was bad enough for me, and I didn't have a scar on my body. These poor girls!

We made the decision to feed our kids only organic milk and beef because we'd read reports that female children are entering puberty ever earlier, in some cases as young as 5!!! I can't imagine finally getting my kids potty trained, only to have to worry about Kotex a year or two later. Organic milk is about three times the cost of plain milk, but we feel that it's worth it.

See, in regular dairy cows, farmers (or factory farms, to be more precise) use hormones to cause the cows to produce more milk. They also use prophylactic antibiotics - in other words, they treat the entire herd with antibiotics as a preventative, rather than only treating cows that are sick for diseases they have. We did a little reading, and it wasn't long before we concluded that we didn't want this crap in our kids' bodies.

From this website:
There have been no long term studies of the effects of this in our bodies or in our children; like HFCS, we are walking experiments. ... We know that the milk has very high levels of a natural growth factor (IGF-1) which is quite similar to the natural growth factor in us humans. It is an insulin-like growth factor and the IGF0-1 of rBGH treated cows is more bioactive than natural (and this is increased with pasteurization) so the effects on our biology is unclear but there is sound reason to believe that it does something to our bodies, especially to growing children. When we drink milk contaminated with rBGH, it is absorbed into our bloodstream where it can effect other hormones. Excess amounts have been suspected in cancers of the breast, colon, and prostate.
With the sheer volume of milk that kids consume, along with their small size, we decided that it was worth the extra cost to buy organic milk and to avoid these cancers as much as possible in our children. One of BJ's uncles is a dairy farmer about 45 minutes south of here, and we get 1/4 of a beef from him every winter. If we wanted to, we could go down to the farm and meet next year's steaks right now. We know that they're grass fed for the better part of the year, that they live in a pasture instead of in a steel building, and that they're only given medications that they need. Plus, the quality and taste of the meat is better than anything you can buy in a grocery store, and it's cheaper, too. I think we pay about $1 a pound.

On a scale of one to crunchy granola parents, I'd say we're about a 4. Our kids still eat sugar and have the occasional soda. We got them vaccinated, but we refused a lot of the stupid stuff they do to babies in the hospital at birth (vitamin K shots, eye drops, etc.). We wore our kids in slings when they were babies, but we also have (and use) strollers. We co-sleep, but only because I'm lazy and not because of some political agenda. We strive for balance - moderation in all things.

I'll tell you what, though, after reading these two articles this morning, the $3.50 a half gallon we pay for organic milk is going to sting a lot less. Our kids may be the last in their middle school classes to grow breasts, but they also have a good chance of being the only women at their 20 year reunion who haven't had breast cancer!

This stuff wasn't in the milk supply when we were growing up, folks. They started using the synthetic hormones they use now around 1994 - that's the year I graduated high school. In other words, the world has changed, and I hope that you will consider using organic milk and meat in your own homes, my darling readers. Our kids' bodies and reproductive futures are just too precious to waste.

(Please note that I am not blaming the parents of these children for the cancer their children are suffering - there are plenty of other cancer-causing agents in this world that may have caused the childrens' conditions, or it may be genetically based. I only hope to use their stories as a platform to encourage you to carefully consider what you're feeding your kids).


Sarah Victor said...

For those who can't afford $7 a gallon for milk (and I am one of them). Check your store brands for ones that don't contain the growth hormone. I buy milk at Aldi's or Meijers for $2 something a gallon. It is not organic, but it does not contain the growth hormone.

Anonymous said...

We drink organic at our house. Mostly because my husband doesn't like the taste of the other kind. But also because there is so much that we DON'T know about what they pump into the non-organic dairy cows.
When my daughter gets old enough to drink it we will still be buying organic milk, not organic everything, but chicken, beef, and milk seem to be worth the extra money in price and conscience.

Cate said...

Organic food is pretty much where my money goes. Food is so expensive here that it's pretty much the same if I were eating from the local store or shipping things from the organic store in Anchorage, which is what I do. I basically follow the year's Dirty Dozen list for fruits and veggies, and I try to avoid hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, colors, additives. It's a simple list, but you'd be surprised how much food in an average supermarket would get cut by that list. It's frustrating that I am alternative, or that I eat an alternative diet, just because I want to avoid those things.

Oh, and by the way, milk here in Hooper Bay, which is not organic but thankfully labeled hormone-free, is $6.95 a HALF GALLON.

Kathryn said...

For anyone near VAlparaiso, there is a fabulous local organic farm - Creme de la crop. they partner with other organic farms and have great produce as well as fruit (from other farms) and they offer other organic products also. You buy shares in the farms and they reap the benefits at harvest time. They have a website - go chek it out.

Anonymous said...

We do organic milk too. We used to do raw milk but got tired of driving to pick it up so we are back to store bought.
Dont forget about BPA's and plastics. Those have been linked to early puberty and acting as synthetic hormones. I purged the kitchen of most plastic a few years ago. Not tupperware, no stack of plastic sippy cups, no plastic drinking cups, no plastic kids dishes. It actually wasn't as painful a transition as I thought it would be.