Thursday, January 31, 2008

Eli Stone Tonight

Everyone remember to watch Eli Stone on ABC tonight(or at least record it for later). There's lots of press about it, in case you didn't know that because you've been busy preparing for an IEP or something else. It's a new show, and the topic is vaccines and autism. Yeah! I'd prefer to form my own opinion instead of reading later what other's think.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Why Won't They Label? Consumers Wonder...

An article in the 1/27/08 Chicago Tribume states that food safety groups and polls say most Americans won't knowingly buy food from cloned animals. Two bills in Congress are asking for labeling. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) asks the question.

Why won't they label? I think the answer is obvious, because most people won't buy it then! Duh people! Ignorance is bliss. As we know, the FDA claims that cloned products are "no different" thus not requiring a label siting their difference. Are you freakin' kidding me? Not different? Is the American public that dumb to buy that excuse for profit? For now, 89% of Americans want cloned foods labeled, and 69% said they have concerns. We've seen the outcome with hormones and dairy. So this is the next showdown. I am hopeful that the American public will demand their info so they can make informed choices.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

USDA versus the FDA

USDA Recommends That Food From Clones Stay Off the Market

The U.S. Department of Agriculture yesterday asked U.S. farmers to keep their cloned animals off the market indefinitely even as Food and Drug Administration officials announced that food from cloned livestock is safe to eat.

full article

I've found myself in agreement with the USDA? I guess stranger things have happened. The thing one must ask yourself is this: What's in it for US, the consumer, to buy cloned meat? Will it be cheaper? Healthier? Doubtful, but I can guarantee we'll see some serious bullshit spin on this one. What about the downsides? We need a hundred years to determine that. No chance my friends.

When you think you've heard it all, especially when we see numerous solutions around us to our farming woes, our chronic health issues, an economics.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What is an Endocrine Disruptor?

One of my new year goals is to pay more attention to products and their ingredients. Particularly, endocrine disruptors. What is the endocrine system you may say? Hormones baby. All of the organs that excrete and regulate our lovely hormones and neurotransmitters. Something us Autism parents have to pay special attention to, not to mention parents like me that are in their early 40s. Not to mention those like me that struggle with depression, anxiety, or other seratonin sounding ailments.

The endocrine organs are: hypothalmus, pineal gland, pituitary gland, all in your brain. The parathyroid and thyroid are in your throat. They thymus is in your chest. Adrenals live on top of your kidneys. You got your pancreas. Then the male and female sex organs. Enough said. Sorry, I just had to put that out there to demonstrate how many things are involved.

Certain chemicals,additives, and toxins can disrupt the flow of our hormones and neurotransmitters flowing from these organs. Take the stuff in sunscreen - it blocks transmition of the sun. If it gets into your system as they do, they can disrupt normal transmission and do nerve damage. Excitotoxins like MSG are endocrine disruptors - they activate the brain's taste centers which is why companies add flavor enhancers to food. They make them taste better! But not without the price of neuron disruption.

Here is my list of things I'm trying to avoid in products this year:

1) Soy ingredients, unless it is fermented organic soy. Soy is the number one GMO (genetically modified ingredient). My scientist friend says it takes at least 100 years to know if genetically altered soy, cloned meat for that matter, is safe. Other than being an endocrine disruptor, it's also an estrogen mimicer. No thanks.

2) Dairy and meat products that are not hormone free. Again, I'm totally covered on "extra" hormones, but thanks anyway Purdue.

3) Shampoos, soap, cleaning products, and sunscreen that have parabens in them (like methylparaben propylparaben), along with incredibly long, horrible sounding names.

4) Avoid processed foods with these ingredients. Look out, Betty Crocker.
hydrolyzed vegetable protein
hydrolyzed protein
hydrolyzed plant protein
plant protein extract
sodium caseinate
calcium caseinate
yeast extract
textured protein
autolyzed yeast
hydrolyzed oat flour

May have MSG
malt extract
malt flavoring
natural flavoring
natural beef or chicken flavoring
soy protein concentrate
soy protein isolate
whey protein concentrate

Monday, January 14, 2008

Links to the New Articles

In reference to my last post....the links are now posted on my main website homepage. Top right corner.

Have a great day!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Articles about Leo

Hi all (all two of you, ha ha). It's kind of weird sharing this and I'm not sure why, but two articles that I've written have been published in January. Why should I not share it? Or why should I? I'm not embarrassed, and I don't feel like I'm boasting. Perhaps some may think so, which I'll just have to get over. What I do know is that sharing our experience has inspired other parents. So, to that end, I wanted people to know about these other writings. One is the Autism Asperger's Digest, and the other is a contribution piece (from a parent's perspective) that I wrote for an early intervention book.

At some point I'll add the final edit to my website so they can read it there.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Snapshot of Recess

Yesterday was a good day. I had lunch duty at school for Sydney's 1st grade. Outwardly, this entails me helping kiddies with their milk boxes,straws, spreading cream cheese, and hard to open usually unhealthy "snacks" (highly processed junk). Secretly, it's a cover for helicopter moms (me), competitive PTAish moms, and special ed moms (like me again). Yesterday, I had two kids and two agendas. I was happy I had an excuse to take a peek at how things were going, as Sydney's sick BFF started back to school just one day before. So far so good. She's quite a celebrity (the BFF), she received an excellent reception and the kids got a solid education about what she's going through. Couldn't ask for more as a mom. Sydney's recess life hasn't changed much, and I'm relieved. They aren't in the same class, and they can't play together indoors until the BFF can get re-vaccinated. The mom "said all the right things" about avoiding Sydney, that she's probably one of the healthiest peers she has, but has to listen to her doctors. Who am I to judge.

As I talk about this, it still amazes me how social groups and the pecking orders exist no matter what age or where you are. Currently, Sydney is a group "leader". Last year, it was her BFF. She was very content doing everything she said!

This year Sydney tells me stories about her and Rebecca, another "leader", join their groups together to chase boys or for some other important 1st grade agenda. Once, I picked up Sydney early for a dentist appointment. She casually mentioned that she and her group worked out who would be the leader when she was absent, and when that person was absent who would be it, and so on. A true pecking order that I only really believed existed in fiction. I can't remember much from my own experience, as I switched schools every 6 months and didn't get much of a chance to experience this.

I see her across the playgournd, arms flying, talking excitedly, and amazingly, the girls all do what she says and scatter to execute some plan. Later, they performed a "dance show" they ala High School Musical 2. They all seem fairly comfortable in their black and white roles. Scary.

Leo shares the same kind of stuff with me. In Kindergarten, it was "Carey's team" which consisted of mean kids that scared him. He belonged in the group that "played family or superheros", where boys and girls played together. In 1st grade, he called the cliques, "teams". They consisted of "Bad Kids", "Tough Kids", and the "Super Hero Kids", and girls were just girls and irrelevent. Today, Leo says there's the "Football/Wall Ball Group" the "Pokeman Group", the "Super Hero Group", and the Star Wars Group". Girls continue to reside in the background.

It seems the boys float around from group to group more often, more activity driven rather than person driven. Leo reports that he decides, along with his preferred friend, on what to do. Mostly they play ball, but sometimes they join the Super Hero group. For a while, the leader was "too bossy" so it temporarily disbanded. A week later, another leader emerged, and now they play every day. Leo plays with them on occasion. He was a little anxious about coming up with a super power, but then figured something out that he was happy with.

Leo also compared this year to last year. He said last year, his class had a larger group of friends, but that this year it's smaller. I see this to be the case. Last year, there were about 8 boys that were in the same class and played together at recess in a couple of the groups. This year, they have all scattered, and Leo now plays regularly with 3 different boys, and often not at the same time. They are his old BFF, and two new boys from his class. This is the first year he's had these boys in class, so they are new friends. They are both sporty, so Leo mostly plays some kind of ball game during recess. Leo seems to prefer sports at recess over anythign else too.

I've had both over for play dates so I could really see what was happening. It seems like natural, good friendships. Pretty even - not one really dominant over the other. One is a really nice boy all around. The other has some issues, he seems a little insecure and isn't so nice to Sydney. Leo is always over accommodating at home, letting the guest lead, while at school he seems to lead every now and then. All activity driven with these boys it seems. One will walk off, alone, to find something else to do, without saying a word sometimes to his friends. That would never happen with girls! As far as Leo's role in his group(s), he seems to be more of a follower when it comes to large groups, and a leader when it's a small group, but not always. It seems more fluid with boys, depending on who has the best idea of what to do, stuff like that. The social landscape continues to amaze me.

In case you are wondering, I am posting these details for two reasons:
1) To document my kids' elementary years so I'll never forget the details, very therapeutic.
2) For those that are interested in what play grounds can be like. It can be helpful to read about older children if some readers have little ones.

I should also stress that I really don't care if Leo or Sydney are leaders or how many friends they have. When I do my observations, what I always look for are smiles and fun, typical reciprocity and self monitorization. I still can't believe that Leo can attend a regular school after what we've been through.

My post is not to boast, as some of you (and you know who you are) may incorrectly infer. Every one has different experiences, and these are mine. Just as valid as anyone else's. Happy children with choices, always has been my goal. I will continue to monitor Leo as I do in the event he needs support. Or if Sydney does!

Every play ground is different, but what unites us all is being human. Humans are social creatures that do, well, human things like make groups. No matter what we do or say, it happens.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Shades Of Soylent Green

FDA to clear cloned livestock for consumers:
report Thu Jan 3, 10:58 PM ET

The U.S. Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) is expected to declare as early as next week that meat and milk from cloned animals and their offspring is safe to eat, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The FDA had previously asked producers of cloned livestock not to sell food products from such animals pending its ruling on their safety, the Journal said on its Web site.

The decision would come after more than six years of wrestling with the question and would be a milestone for a small cadre of biotech companies that want to make a business out of producing cloned farm animals.

(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)
Copyright © 2008 Reuters

I know. I have to get past the fact that this is how the world works. Economics supersedes commonsense, and as we've seen in all categories concerning Autism. The biotech companies have won. I look around me and I see illness or disorders. This generation, generation D as some say, isn't enough of a wakeup call to the problems with our food supply and environment. We all know the stats - 1 in 6 kids born today have a delay or disorder. But that doesn't get to me anymore. What is most disturbing is what I see right in front of me. In the classroom (I am a teacher), at the grocery store, everywhere. Kids getting inhaler shots in public with no one even pausing. Medications, creams, special tables, special food. Kids with chronic ezcema and food allergies everywhere I turn. Parents don't seem concerned since they have so much company. It's not alarming, this new normal. 6 out of 22 kids in Leo's class have issues.


All I have to say is they better fucking label it.