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Media that matters
Kindred takes great delight in offering the following media for sale, from our office, via phone (02 6684 4353) or mail (PO Box 971 Mullumbimby, 2482) or from www.kindredmedia.com.au Contact us for wholesale prices. The Future of Food There is a revolution happening in the farm fields and on the dinner tables of the world — a revolution that is transforming the very nature of the food we eat. The Future of Food offers an in-depth investigation into the disturbing truth behind the unlabelled, patented, genetically engineered foods that have quietly filled grocery store shelves for the past decade. The health implications, government policies and push towards
The Power of Community How Cuba Survived Peak Oil This film tells the inspiring story of the Cuban people’s hardship, ingenuity and triumph over sudden adversity — when their oil supplies collapsed along with the Soviet Union — through cooperation, conservation and community, told in their own words.
globalisation are all part of the reason why many people are alarmed by the introduction of genetically altered crops into our food supply. The Future of Food examines the complex web of market and political forces that are changing what we eat as huge multinational corporations seek to control the world’s food system. The film also explores alternatives to large-scale industrial agriculture, placing organic and sustainable agriculture as real solutions to the farm crisis today. A must-see film for anyone interested in food, health and the future of humanity. DVD: $40 plus $6 p&h
As the world approaches the peak of global oil production and the prospect of steadily declining energy availability and rising energy costs, Cuba, with 80% of its agriculture now organic, provides a valuable example of how to successfully address the challenge of reducing our energy use, improve our food and life quality and at the same time revive our communities. DVD: $35 plus $6 p&h
What Babies Want is an award winning documentary film that explores the profoundly important and sacred opportunity we have in bringing children into the world. Filled with captivating stories and infused with Noah Wyle’s warmth as narrator, the film demonstrates how life patterns are established at birth and before. The documentary includes groundbreaking information on early development as well as appearances by the real experts: babies and families.
Stolen Childhoods, narrated by Meryl Streep, is a feature length documentary on global child labour. The story is told in the words of labouring children, their parents and the people working daily to help them. Children share their experiences of exploitation and their hopes for a better life and future. Their stories are at once universal and particular. 241 million children under 14 labour at the bottom of the global economy.
Research is now showing us that our society is a product of how we welcome and raise our children. When babies are welcomed with love and warmth and given the immediate opportunity to bond with parents, they develop minds that are coherent and flexible, ready in turn to make compassionate and meaningful connections with others as they grow. Featuring interviews with some of the leading lights in the worldwide movement towards conscious parenting, this film is a must-see for anyone contemplating having a baby and for everyone involved in the birth process and in the birth industry in general. DVD: $35 plus $6 p&h
Filmed in seven countries, Stolen Childhoods examines the cost of child labour to the global community and recommends actions that can be taken to eliminate this human rights violation in our lifetime. ‘I also have a dream. I know that because I am poor, I am illiterate. The same way a rich child can do things, a poor child should be able to do them as well.’
Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour studies the effects of food additives and chemicals on children’s behaviour. Sue Dengate’s famous presentation about the effects of food on children’s health, learning and behaviour together with entertaining and insightful interviews, support and information, released May 2006. (See article, page 26, this issue.) Families from Cairns to Melbourne, from young children to grandmothers, were interviewed about their surprises, pitfalls, horror stories, cute kids, laughs, determination and triumph through tears in finding which foods affect their children. DVD: $30 plus $6 p&h
Interested in creating your own public screening of any of these films and foster discussion on these and other important issues in your local community or school? Kindred 2 Kindred makes it easy, with step-by-step screening packs for all of these films available. Call, visit our website or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Editor/Creative Director Kali Wendorf
Mullumbimby Herbals Jannine Baron Anna Jahns Lisa Reagan Susanna Freymark
Vo l 2 0 , d e c 0 6 - f e b 0 7
How we treat the child, the child will treat the world Pam Leo, author of ‘Connection Parenting’
Layout and Design
Kali Wendorf & Alok O’Brien
Photography Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar Michael Rose Christabelle Baranay Donatella Parisini-Lowry Moods Photography
4 • Sticks By Kali Wendorf
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Subscription orders and general inquiries Ph: (61) 02 6684 4353 email@example.com Kindred is published quarterly by Byron Publications Pty. Ltd. PO Box 971 Mullumbimby 2482 NSW Australia ABN: 68 097 298 103 Copyright 2006/7. ISSN 1447-3569
• Enjoying the Closeness — The benefits of baby-carrying By Marion Badenoch Rose, PhD
• Tips for Easy Baby-carrying By Marion Badenoch Rose, PhD
A Passion for Carrying By Marion Badenoch Rose, PhD
What’s Eating Them? — How food additives and chemicals affect children’s moods and behaviour By Sue Dengate •
Finding Your Way, Additive Free By Joanna Bryant, ND •
thinking global Redemption — Reclaiming our Communities Through the Local Economy 36 • Going Local By Helena Norberg-Hodge
The 100 Mile Diet
12 Reasons to Buy Local
• The ‘Green Revolution’ Goes to Africa — Another Recipe for Disaster? By Lisa Reagan • Christmas Gifts from the Heart By Tessa Hoffman
progressive parenting 50
• The Con of Controlled Crying By Pinky McKay
pregnancy, birth & babies
www.kindredmagazine.com.au Printer: Fergies Printers Distributed by Gordon & Gotch
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37 41 43
Nina’s Birth By Ann Boon •
health and wellbeing 64 • On the Run, But Going Nowhere By Dr. Peter Dingle
departments 9 letters & opinions 48 Kindred news 32 activities and games 62 Kindred books 63 health & wellbeing 33 great stuff 66 community market
No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the written consent of the publisher. All rights reserved. Kindred is a registered publication of Byron Publications Pty. Ltd.
Kindred welcomes unsolicited manuscripts and personal photographs. Please email any material. Content within this magazine is information only and not necessarily the views of the editor. It is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your healthcare provider if you are in any doubt regarding any of this information. Wherever possible permission has been sought from subjects for use of their photographs in this publication. All enquiries should be directed to the photographer concerned.
26 36 Kindred 3
I believe that women have the fate of the Earth in the palm of their hands. Some 53 per cent of us are women and we really are pretty wimpish. We don’t step up to the plate — and it’s time we took over. I think men have had their turn and we’re in a profound mess. Helen Caldicott, Australian paediatrician who was named by the Smithsonian Institute as one of the most influential women in the world.
elcome to the first edition of Kindred. I hope you love the new name and new look as much as we do! Lots of our readers have contacted us asking why we needed to change byronchild’s name and our response has been simply, ‘because the magazine is more than child and more than Byron’. The word kindred means community, family and the recognition that we are of the same substance. It recognises that we all, each one of us, exist as equals, and deserve love, respect and the right to thrive. It suggests that we work together for those ends. Kindred, in a sense, is a noun, an adjective and a verb. It implies who we are but also the means by which we can remain so — together as one, expressing as one, for the sake of the one. In many ways, the name heralds a new phase of the magazine — one of greater clarity and perhaps even, thanks to the years of byronchild beforehand, of greater wisdom and maturity. But in some ways, nothing has changed — what compels each of us who work in Kindred remains the same: a deep respect and love for humanity and for the earth that sustains us. So, I hope that in spite of the new look and the new name, you still feel like you are home and that you belong.
I’d like to thank in particular four amazing people who have made this edition of Kindred possible. Firstly, to my mother Peta. She flew all the way from Wales where she lives to be with my children and myself as I wrangled with the creation of the magazine at deadline time. She washed our laundry, made us dinner, kept the house clean, took the kids to the bus stop and kept me laughing. My husband Alok, who is a major part of Kindred, does everything, including the beautiful layout and keeps his head around the advertising and distribution. But most importantly, he keeps me sane and grounded. And to my children Arun and Sahaja — who are an inspiration every moment, and who compel me to become a better parent, a better person and to make this world a better place. It’s been an amazing few weeks leading up to the publishing of Kindred. And as with so many editorials, this one began to write itself as events shaped themselves over the weeks. This time it has been inspired by the airing of the October 22nd edition of 60 Minutes with a feature called ‘Being There’. ‘Being There’ was a 60 Minutes version of smear journalism on Attachment Parenting (see video part I and II on http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=Yv8itNc7cb4). In brief, the feature made a mockery of natural parenting, the producers bending over backwards to sell ridicule for ratings. Every scenario was tilted towards the fringe and the ludicrous. The summary: should you be unusually responsive to your child’s emotional and physical needs for her optimal wellbeing, you are a freak. In the end, breastfeeding, bonding and co-sleeping was vilified and anyone practising it, shamed. This, to me, is
serious business. It was a heartbreaking example of cheap media, and an indication of where most of our journalism is headed. The death of intellectual diversity and watchdog media will be attended by the likes of programs such as 60 Minutes, all the while keeping the public mind numbingly entertained so that we won’t notice. 60 Minutes’ Tara Brown could barely hide her contempt as she questioned breastfeeding mothers. Her silky groomed presenter’s voice outlined her interpretation of attachment theory, which was something like: ‘you can’t work or have friends, you can’t have a sex life, you can’t send your kids to school and you definitely can’t put nappies on your babies.’ Give me a break. What is interesting to note is that some months previous to the feature, the producers contacted me wanting to know if I ‘knew any mothers who were still breastfeeding their children at five years old or older and would be willing to show it on camera’. Naively, I at first thought this might be an opportunity to promote breastfeeding, and that in spite of their obvious tactics for ratings, it might be able to be turned around to something positive. A short conversation with the production assistant warned me away from the situation. But others less fortunate appeared on the show, probably thinking they too could use the opportunity to get out the message of natural parenting. We emailed our Australian subscribers about the feature after it aired and suggested everyone write letters to the producers. We received
Kali Wendorf, Editor
copies of many letters (some of which we feature in the letters section this edition). It was an inspiration to experience the response and to know there are so many out there willing to add their voices to the outcry. Yet one letter I received interested me very much. Instead of writing to 60 Minutes, it was directed to me and suggested that programs such as 60 Minutes were only trash media anyway. I was told I shouldn’t get ‘stuck into such media’ because they were not worth the fuss. Hmmm. It’s a point, but… While it’s true such programming is barely worth the air it transmits on, let alone the time and effort to respond to it, response to 60 Minutes is not for 60 Minutes’ sake. Our response is for all of those who are affected and will be affected by such programming. Yes, many who read this magazine would probably not watch 60 Minutes, though many do. But that is not the point. The point is that television, radio and newspapers shape culture. And trash programs, too, shape culture. [Independent publications like Kindred become even more important in the light of the direction our mainstream media is going. The ABC, formerly a bastion of honest journalism, is no longer able to challenge government programs so that really leaves Kindred as one of the few sources of real information on childrearing nationally.] Every day hundreds of thousands of people are tuning in to one of those ‘not worth the time’ programs. And every day, opinions are shaped, culture is formed. These opinions go on to forge our public policy, and dictate the tolerance, or lack thereof, for how children are parented, educated, cared for. It shapes how our relatives and family respond to us when they see us parenting, and how our children’s teachers respond to our children. This is why we must respond, engage with that with which we disagree. What struck me the most about ‘Being There’ was the shaming. All that was innately feminine — breastfeeding, nurturing, birth and responsiveness — was shamed. Never mind how long someone chooses to breastfeed, or that they choose to homeschool, the act of nurturing was shamed. This is misogyny at its most insidious. And I don’t feel I’m being dramatic by saying this. Let’s call a spade, a spade — we are a misogynous culture. Wow, let that one settle in a while. It started me thinking about how misogyny plays out in other aspects
Kindred continuum of principle and manifesto Kindred magazine supports and gives voice to the powerful movement towards conscious parenting and conscious living. It is in honour of that evolutionary movement everywhere that Kindred courageously addresses issues ahead of mainstream media. Its staff, contributors, photographers and contributing editors are drawn from an internationally diverse team of professionals on the front lines of their fields, exploring issues that impact our children, families and planet, ranging from education, optimal child development, medicine, psychology, healing, spirituality, politics, relationships, family dynamics and global and environmental issues. Kindred recognises the call of humankind’s biological imperative that we evolve and transform into our greatest potential. For our children, that potential is best supported by the practices of secure bonding and attachment.
The content of Kindred therefore, is selected upon its reflection of the following principles: • Children are the mantle upon which the future of our planet rests. Investing in their wellbeing is the ultimate sustainable and political act. • Every child is wanted and welcomed. • Pregnancy is a natural event (not a medical condition) and the importance of the mother’s emotional, mental and physical wellbeing is recognised and supported. • A natural birth affords significant benefits to mother, baby, father and family; therefore both the potential benefits and risks of any intervention warrant careful consideration. • Parents have the right and responsibility to be fully informed about pregnancy, birthing, health and education choices. • Optimal development for infants and children is fostered by full-term breastfeeding (two years and beyond), baby-wearing, co-sleeping, maintaining genital integrity (no circumcision), and plenty of skin-to-skin contact. • Children are by nature social beings, born with the drive to love and be loved, to learn about their world through spontaneous play, exploration, and participation/inclusion in the activities of their elders, to cooperate with others, and to contribute to their world. They are most able to develop their full potential when treated with care and respect. • Children are born with inherent physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs. • Children depend upon their caregivers to protect them from violence, abuse, being left to ‘cry it out’, shaming, toxic food and toxic environments.
• Children depend on their parents to demonstrate and model to them appropriate ways of setting safe, respectful boundaries and limits to inappropriate behaviour. • The role of the father and mother is profound and not to be underestimated. Also important are the multiple attachments outside the immediate family. • Optimal development includes supporting children’s growth towards healthy sexual maturity across the physical, emotional, social and ethical dimensions of sexual wellbeing. • Family-friendly political, economic, educational and social structures enhance parents’ opportunities and ability to nurture and sustain a secure bond with their children. • Community plays a vital role in raising children, both as a support system for this secure bonding and also as a source for secondary attachments. • Parenting our children means also re-parenting ourselves. Self-discovery plays a major factor in the art of effective parenting. • Imperfection is the lesson in how to be perfectly human. Allowing ourselves as parents to make mistakes, be transparently ourselves and emotionally alive in relating to our children, enables them to individuate and find their own separate and unique self. After bonding comes healthy separation, facilitated by our perfectly human inability to be everything to our children.
Understanding that there are immense and complex forces impacting our lives and shaping the choices we each make at any point in time, Kindred recognises that there is no single formula for meeting each person’s individual challenges, and respects parents’ innate ability to know and intuit what is right for their child. Kindred explores the realms of parenthood that reach beyond the bounds of sentimentality and cliché and into the arena of an ever deepening conscious understanding and appreciation of our relationship with life, each other, ourselves, our children and the world in which we live. Kindred is an independent publication and is neither controlled by nor beholden to any organisation — business, political, religious or institutional. Kali Wendorf Publisher/Editor The Kindred Manifesto and Continuum of Principle has been adapted in part from the Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children (aTLC)’s Blueprint of Principles and Actions. www.aTLC.org
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of Australian life. And yet the absence of outcry is deafening. The absence of womenâ€™s outcry is even more deafening. Take for example the ongoing trickle of reports about gang rapes implicating professional Australian sport. More than 20 rugby league and Australian rules football players have been accused in connection with at least eight incidents of rape and sexual assault since 2004. Now, this just really gets my goat. Thereâ€™s the newscaster, announcing yet another Bulldogâ€™s violent sexual exploit, and then when the sport is on, we see a stadium full of cheering women. â€˜Go Bulldogs!â€™, they shout! Hello!? And youâ€™ll even find it in the tourism trade. I live near Byron Bay, where the tourists stream in non-stop all year round. Many come in shoddy rented vans from a company called Wicked Camper Vans. Youâ€™d know these vans if you saw them â€” spray-painted for effect, they come in groovy colours and have a kind of retro urban-hippie look. Young tourists like the rental price, and the fact that they can drive them all around the country, and, I guess, look cool at the music festivals. The only problem is that many of them feature sexually exploitive language aimed at women and their body parts. You almost canâ€™t believe such language can be seen driving around the Woolies car park, there for everyone (including my seven-year-old daughter) to read. Driving past, I see a young girl in the vanâ€™s passenger seat. Her eyes are vague, but hey, sheâ€™s cute. â€˜Girl, what are you doing in there?â€™ I want to ask. So, whereâ€™s the outcry? Why is it so quiet? Whereâ€™s the rage and the letters to the editors? Why arenâ€™t those vans seen in a mangled blazing pile in the centre of town for all to see? Forget bra burning â€” how about van burning! And why arenâ€™t those stadiums empty? Why havenâ€™t we spray-painted vans
with ball-playersâ€™ names to let everyone know what they did? I have a story to tell you. Many years ago, after the â€˜Green Revolutionâ€™ made its way to India, the introduction of GMOs soon followed in the nineties (see story on page 43). It was good business for the agri-corporations because not only could they sell their patented seed to the desperate farmers, but they could sell them the toxic pesticides and fertilisers as well. After some time, and some decent yields, the crops began to diminish. The farmers also became ill from the chemical exposure to the pesticides and fertilisers. In addition, these farmers owed money to the companies and their situation became desperate. It is estimated that over twenty-five thousand Indian farmers committed suicide since 1997 as a result. Some estimate much more. In response, two friends of mine started a company called Organic India. They approached about five hundred farmers in the village of Azamgarh and offered to pay them well for their produce if they would farm it organically. Certifying so many farms under one company was cost prohibitive, so Organic India negotiated what was called a â€˜group certificationâ€™ â€” one certification for many farms. However, under group certification, if one farmer deviated from the program, say by planting GM seeds or spraying their crop, then they ruined the certification for all of the farmers and the entire company. The farmers agreed to the program and the partnership, and they began to see their lives turn around. Their work had been returned to the earth, to a right relationship to it and as a result, they were beginning to thrive again. But the corporations caught wind of this and sent their men into the village to bribe one of the farmers to sabotage the program. He sprayed his crops with DDT, and thus ruined the certification
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for every other farmer. The farmers’ lives had been stolen. The farmers went to my friends and pleaded for help. Surely there was something they could do. But my friends did not have a solution for them, so the Indian farmers decided to handle things in their own way for themselves. So when the corporate men came to the village again, they were met at the end of the road by a mob of villagers with sticks and stones, and told that if they entered the village, they would not come out again. That was the beginning of the end of corporate agriculture’s stronghold in India. Now Organic India has over ten thousand organic farms all over India. The transformation has been immense and at the same time simple, because the farmers have seen for themselves the gains for their stewardship of the earth. I tell you this story, because I am struck by the image of the villagers meeting those suited men with their sticks — taking a stand for their lives. We today have a few suited men at our village entrance. They come in the form of Tara Brown, Wicked Vans, the media, public policy and globalisation. They come in the form of shaming relatives, and most importantly, in the form of our own collective denial and complacency. We need to meet them at the road, with our proverbial sticks and shout, ‘No! Leave from here!’ We could probably do with a healthy dose of stick-raising anger at the moment — anger at what has become so allpervading that we no longer even see it any more: the hatred for and fear of the feminine. Because misogyny is not something that should be tolerated. And remember, misogyny doesn’t stop with women — it is reflected in how we treat the planet and children. And how we treat ourselves, man or woman, when we are vulnerable.
And every time a van drives through town with spray-painted references to a vagina, or a footballer violates another woman only to be cheered on later that day, or a news show shames breastfeeding — we are collectively saying, ‘it’s OK that the planet is exploited and that mothering is violated’. And every time a woman remains quiet about it, the message is even louder. Watch out for the spiritual misogyny that will attempt to talk you out of your anger and stick-waving — implying that such responses are unevolved, unnecessary, or worse, ineffective. Perhaps instead, tap into that feral nature that instinctually knows what is happening to our world and to our society is dangerous for babies, children and mothers. And then, speak up. Every voice is important, no — essential. Because if we don’t speak up for ourselves, who will? And if we don’t speak up now, when will we? When the last ice cap melts? By the way, recent Internet posts reveal that 60 Minutes is out on the prowl again, for more ridicule-based rating-raising. Note this from producer Glenda Gaitz: ‘Be on 60 Minutes: If you believe smacking your children is the best form of discipline, please contact Glenda for a possible story on 02 9965 4614 or email@example.com.’ Beware when they come looking for you. When they discover you ‘don’t spank’ they’ll tie you up in the village square, ridicule you and burn you at the stake. And when they come, will we meet them at the road with our sticks?
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behind the scenes Kindred support crew
Michael Rose enjoys capturing those magical unguarded moments where a child is in full flight, utterly absorbed and alive to the moment. Such pictures celebrate the mysterious force that runs through us when tension melts away. Michael also teaches Tai Chi in the Byron Shire. firstname.lastname@example.org
Donatella Parisini-Lowry has a passion for photography, and the emotion and inner beauty that are exposed in the process of taking photos. A true follower of her own heart, she moved to Byron Bay to become a mother to her two children. www.donatella.
Inspired by serendipity and ‘the decisive moment’, Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar has been photographing the world since she was in high school. Currently, she specialises in black and white pregnancy and family portraiture in Sydney. Visit her online gallery at www.birthofvenus.com.au
Michele Dennis has been dedicated to supporting families since she started volunteering with young children as a teenager. She has a degree in philosophy and is constantly learning new things about family life and a parent’s role in society. Michele lives on the far north coast of NSW with her husband and two sons.
health & wellbeing
US contributing editor
Jacinta McEwen and Elvian Drysdale have a wealth of experience in all aspects of conception, pregnancy, birthing and childhood health. Jacinta is a naturopath, nurse, herbalist and yoga teacher and is currently studying Ayurvedic medicine. She facilitates ongoing ‘Heart of Woman’ workshops and weekly groups and has a passion for spiritual and emotional health as well as physical wellbeing. Elvian is trained as a naturopath, herbalist and homoeopath and is a core group facilitator of ‘Pathways to Manhood’.
Lisa Reagan is the president and co-founder of Families for Natural Living, a 501c3 nonprofit organisation that facilitates a (US) national network of self-directed community groups and learning programs for parents. She is the parent representative on the board of directors for the Holistic Paediatric Association and lives with her family on their organic farm in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Anna Jahns is a freelance writer who has been actively involved in homeschooling since the birth of her daughter Tara, and in learning, her whole life! She is involved in creating learning communities wherever she and her family are living, which is currently Goa (India). Anna also researches the internet for Kindred, and is largely responsible for the vast array of weblinks featured on www.kindredmagazine.com.au
Until she had her children, Jannine Barron worked and travelled as a teacher, human rights advocate and writer. Her life changed with the birth of her two sons. The abundance of disposable and plastic products on the baby market was so abhorrent that in 1999 she started Nature’s Child, that specialises in earth-friendly products for pregnancy, babies and the whole family. www.natureschild.com.au
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letters and opinions Thank you notes Firstly, I would like to say a big thanks for putting together a great mag issue after issue. I first started reading byronchild [now Kindred] a couple of years ago when I received a subscription as a baby shower gift and I am hooked! If nothing else, your magazine makes me stop and think about the choices I make about the way I like my life and raise my children. And for that I thank you. Christie Fowler Email
As a single mumma of a one-year-old, I managed a rare moment the other night to really read a few of your magazines and I was really blown away. I have worked in media in Sydney for 14 years and I was truly impressed. You should feel really proud of your publication and the quality you are consistently producing. You’ve got me. Hats off to the byronchild [Kindred] team! Michelle Dooley NSW
Circumcision — keeping boys intact Excellent article [on circumcision — ‘Intact’ June – Aug 2004, #10]. One of the best I’ve come across in a long time. I hope it reaches many throughout the world. I was one of the pioneers in the ongoing concern against infant circumcision. Two of the quotes in that article — the one from Elizabeth Pickard-Ginsberg and the one from Dr. Howard Marchbanks, M.D. — both came from interviews that I personally conducted back in the 70s, both of which appear in my own book, Circumcision: The Painful Dilemma, c. 1985, Bergin & Garvey, S. Hadley, MA. (currently out of print). I am quoted several times in Goldman’s book so the author may have taken them from there. It is delightful to know that stories and insights collected several decades ago are still out there reaching others today. However, I would appreciate being given credit for them. I hope that Callander’s article will reach and touch the hearts of many, many people throughout the world. The following is the link to my own website. Please feel free to use it for your own references and for referral to further
resources. I hope to get my own book updated and back into print one of these days. www.peacefulbeginnings.cjb.net Rosemary Romberg USA
Dad is a safe place to cry I read the ‘Mummy Do It’ article (byronchild Sep – Nov 2006, #19) with interest. Father and family therapist Jeremy Shreider wrote of his distress when his twins cried and tantrumed as they asked for their mother. Viewed from an ‘Aware Parenting’ perspective, an experience of this kind can be welcomed. Why? All babies and children need to express their feelings, ranging from confusion, hurt, disappointment and frustration. But many of us wellmeaning mothers want our children to feel comfortable, so we may feed our babies when they are upset rather than hungry, distract our toddlers when they are having a healing tantrum, and pacify our children when they are needing to cry. When this happens regularly, babies and children learn to repress their feelings when they are with their mums. This is where dad comes in. Many times I have heard a dad say, ‘the baby cries as soon as I hold her’, or, ‘only her mum can settle the baby’. But through the Aware Parenting lens, this observation can be reframed. As long as the baby is attached to her dad through regular loving connection with him, and all her present needs are met, she is probably feeling safe enough to express her backlog of feelings. As he holds her in his arms, she can cry and heal from the daily stress and over-stimulation that all babies experience, despite the most attuned parenting. Once she has healed from that portion of feelings, she will regain a sense of calm. She will look deeply into his eyes or will fall into a peaceful sleep, her body freed from stress hormones and tension. Similarly, a child may be crying for her mum, for example when her dad is putting her to bed. But if dad is not authoritarian, and the child’s here-and-now needs have been met, it is likely that his child is using the opportunity of one-on-one time with him to heal from a past hurt. Perhaps she is reminded of the times mum was busy with something else or was helping a sibling. As she calls out, ‘mummy, mummy’, she can express all the feelings of grief, disappointment and hurt that she
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letters has been holding inside. The tears may be accompanied by sweating and vigorous movement, or with words such as, ‘I don’t want you, I want mummy’. If dad can find compassion, and not take the crying and words personally, the child can let out all the feelings in a safe space. When she has finished healing from this chunk of hurt, she will cuddle her dad and tell him how much she loves him. In this way, a dad can welcome his child’s feelings, knowing that his presence is giving her the gifts of acceptance, healing and intimacy.
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Marion Badenoch Rose www.awareparenting.blogspot.com NSW
Chemicals compromise health I just came across your site while I was searching for the potential hazards of propylene glycol which I had heard can cause problems for some. I was experiencing a lot of dental issues, especially sensitive teeth due to gums receding leaving teeth nerves exposed. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and I am more vigilant about what I come in contact with now, especially via the mouth as it is one of the most absorbent parts of the body. My dentist has recommended more potent fluoride toothpastes and GC tooth mousse to help with easing the sensitivity. I did start using them but my sensitivity and pain got worse instead of better, so after investigation on the net and elsewhere, I stopped using them because of controversy with petroleum-based products and the fluoride in the ingredients. I switched to a brand called Natural Toothpaste which does not contain these chemicals including SLS,fluoride and propylene glycol, and my teeth sensitivity symptoms have decreased by avoiding the ingredients that are supposed to help. Interesting hey? Children are especially more prone to these chemicals as they have a ‘growing’ immune system and have much thinner skins than adults so chemicals (including the MSGs and food colourings — see Sue Dengate’s website link below) at an early age possibly would be long-term problematic. Anyway there are websites that still say these ingredients are safe, so what do you believe? I guess believe yourself, and what does and does not work for you. The big issue that these ‘It-is-safe’ people don’t say is the accumulative long term effects (using these products for years) has on you as no studies long-term have been done. CFS can be the result of the long-term use of these chemicals and the addition of every-
day pollutants in the body that affect your immune system. Just thought you might like to follow up about the long-term ‘unknown’ use of these chemicals and ‘diseases’ like the little recognised and understood CFS, Fibromyalgia and especially multiple chemical sensitivity syndromes such as sick building, etc. Suggested websites: Sue Dengate www.fedupwithfoodadditives.info [see Sue Dengate’s article in this issue] and another interesting one for research w w w. b e t t e r l i v i n g r e s o u r c e s . n a m e / site/708446/page/45029 Peter Owen email
Home is where the birth is As a new subscriber I read my first copy of byronchild [Kindred] with enthusiasm to have finally found a magazine that fits with my beliefs and my parenting style. As the editor of the Homebirth Network SA newsletter, I was really pleased to read the article by Phoenix Arrien, ‘Home is where the birth is’, in the September 06 edition. My first child was born at home and I too believe that the safest, gentlest and most effective place to birth is at home with a compassionate, caring midwife that I have formed a deep and loving relationship with. But I was totally impressed that the gist of the article was not about the place of birth (since she actually ended up having a caesarean in hospital) but about having an independent midwife by her side through the pregnancy, labour, any birthing complications, the birth (whatever type!) and following care. For this is what our home birth mothers believe and all of them have experienced the joy and empowerment of such a process. It is sad that so many women see ‘home birth’ as a hippie or new age option that is full of risk and fear. This is just not what it is about. Birthing is a ‘passage of honour’ for a woman and a great journey and accomplishment. I am so proud to have chosen myself to be the one in charge of my journey and to share the whole journey with two amazing midwives who provided expert skill, encouragement and never ending love (and birth photos!). This kind of loving service, for myself and my baby, is just not possible within the public or private hospital birthing systems. Thank God for Independent Midwives! Heidi Robins Adelaide, South Australia
60 Minutes (Australia) displays irresponsible journalism, Kindred readers respond. Editor’s note: On Sunday, October 22nd, 60 Minutes aired the feature ‘Being There’ about their version of Attachment Parenting. Of course, not only was the illresearched feature completely misleading, it made a public mockery of any parent who might choose to parent their children with empathy, connection, intelligence and instinct. While such ignorant tactics are par for the mainstream media course these days, the misuse of journalistic power must be confronted — not for their sake, but for the sake of all those who are manipulated by such bullying. We emailed our Kindred subscribers who responded with a sleu of letters to the producer. Below are a sample of some we were copied: To 60 Minutes: Your recent feature on Attachment Parenting was as biased and poorly researched as I can recall. I was appalled at Tara Brown’s consistent disapproving and condescending manner towards parents who advocate the best start to life for their children — not only in these parents’ opinions, but in the views of many decades of researchers supporting the importance of effective infant and early childhood attachment. While Ms Brown claimed critics of this parenting style said that spoilt brats were likely to result from it, her arsenal against attachment parenting comprised only one child psychologist and, evidently, herself. As a psychologist working with young children and parents myself, I was mystified by Dr Irvine’s inaccurate and inappropriate opinions. He bases his views on so-called ‘evidence’ in his clinic where he sees such families. I find it hard to believe that anyone advocating attachment parenting would go to someone with such narrow views. Dr Irvine appears to have also unfortunately forgotten the importance of being non-judgemental in the profession, and any parent he claims to have seen surely would not return after this public performance. In addition, Dr Irvine’s prediction that in five years’ time these children will have social adjustment problems is unfounded. In fact, the contrary is more likely. Research actually suggests a major link between insecure infant–parent attachments and the development of a range of problematic behaviours in adulthood, including sex offending. In other words, if a strong bond is formed between a child and the caregiver(s), the child is more likely to be well-adjusted, emotionally stable, and less likely to display a range of inappropriate behaviours in adulthood. Despite what Ms Brown’s limited and
incorrect research would have us believe, attachment parenting does not necessarily require both parents to not work and be at home all day every day, homeschool, have no discipline or the children not wear nappies. It is unfortunate that this story completely failed to convey the many ways that the principles of attachment parenting can be employed. The feature also unfairly highlighted incidents when mishaps occurred, such as when a young child was feeling frustrated, or another didn’t manage to get to the toilet on time. These occurrences are not restricted to families involved in attachment parenting; they are simply child-rearing issues and par for the course for any parent. Tantrums? Upon watching this story you would think that it is only the children of these parents referred to as ‘socially negligent’ that have them! Are Ms Brown and Dr Irvine unaware that every child has tantrums at some stage? Perhaps they need to get out in the real world a bit more and visit the supermarket, witnessing the reactions of youngsters who have been denied lollies placed strategically in front of them at the checkouts while they wait in the queue. Surely this duo are not proposing that all these tantrum throwers are solely the offspring of attachment parenters! With the increasing trend towards both parents working and the placement of children in childcare from early ages, it is imperative we do not forget the importance of establishing a close bond between child and parent. Attachment parenting — in its many forms — is an effective method of establishing this crucial connection. It is indeed a pity that your biased and inaccurate story so blatantly ridiculed it. I only hope that some viewers were able to see through the scaremongering and make up their own minds.
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Max Yffer Melbourne To 60 Minutes: The feature story on Attachment Parenting was a shocking example of poor and biased journalism. It is a well-known fact that failure to establish a strong, loving connection with a primary caregiver is a major cause of depression, violence, eating disorders, substance abuse and many other common problems of adolescence and adulthood. Not to mention a lack of empathy which allows children to be abused, women to be raped, people to be murdered, millions to live in poverty and wars to continue. In short, if all parents practised attachment parenting perhaps we would be a lot closer to world peace. Furthermore, your program simply
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reinforced Western society’s cultural abhorrence of breastfeeding, which does great disservice to our children and the health of our nation. It makes no logical sense for it to be culturally acceptable to breastfeed a baby but not a child. Across world populations, the average age of weaning is 4.5 years. Attachment Parenting remains the only style of parenting in recorded history that is backed by a large and highly respected body of research. It is one of the few solutions to the pandemic of challenges facing humanity today, as it produces children who are confident, intelligent and empathetic.Your shoddy treatment of this evidence-based style of parenting, which promotes healthy bonding in infants and young children, is inexcusable. Catherine Flynn Wall Counsellor/Psychotherapist
To 60 Minutes: Australia has appalling breastfeeding rates — such a small percentage of children are lucky enough to be fully breastfed for six months and beyond. The World Health Organisation, UNICEF Rights of the Child, the Baby Friendly Health Initiative, The Australian Breastfeeding Association and the Australian College of Midwives all advocate breastfeeding for as long as mother and child want to. The negativity I gleaned from your reporter Tara Brown was not about attachment parenting but about mothers breastfeeding their children. It is exactly this kind of negativity in mainstream media that undermines women and the vital role they play as mothers. The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) was developed in response to several international declarations in 1990, which called for the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding worldwide. UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognised that hospitals and maternity facilities are extremely influential in the process by initiating such practices
as rooming-in (having your baby with you in your room), eliminating non-medicallyindicated artificial feeding and providing a new mother with much-needed support by informed health care workers. Who benefits from breastfeeding? The family: • The relationship between the mother and baby is protected, as the mother better understands and responds to her child, and is more likely to be satisfied in her role as a mother. • Health and development of the infant are enhanced. • Health of the mother is also protected. • Cost saving is both immediate (artificial baby milks are costly) and long-term (artificiallyfed infants have a higher incidence of illness): breastfeeding is the ‘best investment’ a family can make. The community: • Recognition of the importance of breastfeeding flows on from the family. • There is an increased level of respect for human rights of both women and children, in ensuring access to a normal standard of health through support of breastfeeding. • Environmental considerations: alternatives to breastfeeding have waste products and contribute to environmental degradation in their production. • Economic considerations: there are increased costs to employers from parents required to care for ill children who are artificially–fed, as there is a higher incidence of illness and disease in these children. • There are also increased costs to scarce health funding due to higher incidence of illness and disease in non-breastfed children and higher incidence of certain cancers in women who have not breastfed their babies beyond the early weeks. There are extremes everywhere; just because not all women are supported to, or even want to, breastfeed their children should not give you licence to degrade those who do. And she is right, breast milk
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is a wonder drug and no drug company has even come close to replicating it. Shannon Morris Midwife To 60 Minutes: What a pity you used sensationalism and your ability to cut and mould film and words in people’s stories to downgrade the transmission of love and respect in families. What a pity you add to the growing alienation of babies and parents with all the resultant social ills we are seeing. The work of Dr James Prescott, amongst many others, shows clearly that societies who carry and breastfeed their babies long term are societies who are more peaceful, more loving and those societies who don’t are warlike, aggressive and hostile. Take your pick, 60 Minutes, you are creating our future. Think about it. ‘Whoever controls the media — the images — controls the culture.’ Allen Ginsberg Carolyn Hastie To 60 Minutes: As a Johns Hopkins-trained preventive medicine specialist who was featured on 60 Minutes (USA) in 1979 for opening the first wellness centre in the United States, I’m shocked that you would run such a poorly researched story on attachment parenting (AP). An astounding body of scientific evidence over recent decades highlights AP as the best approach for promoting the optimal development — physical and emotional — of children. The evidence is so strong, in fact, that after 20 years in adult wellness, I turned my focus to infant wellness once I realised that most of the problems we were seeing in adults were the result of the poor attachment they experi-
enced as infants and young children. I’ve named this phenomenon, ‘normative abuse’. In 2000–3, I co-ordinated a team of 20 world experts on birth and child development, who spent 10,000 hours collecting the available research and publishing it as the evidence-based Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children’s Blueprint for Optimal Development (www.aTLC.org). As this evidence continues to accumulate, by contrast, most parenting practices today continue to have no scientific basis and cause untold harm to the adults they produce. Please do your research and produce an accurate program soon.
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John W. Travis, MD, MPH To 60 Minutes: Why do we need to label parenting styles? Or to offer such exteme definitions? This is about as much ‘attachment parenting’ as saying that people who are environmentally conscious must grow all their own food, make all their own clothes, build their own homes, and live in isolation. Attachment isn’t about what kind of nappies parents use (or don’t!), and it doesn’t require both parents to give up their day jobs, nor does it require adults to ‘earn’ children’s respect or never say ‘no’. Surely all people deserve to be treated with respect, including children. We CAN have happy, creative children AND encourage mutual respect however long we choose to breastfeed or share sleep with our children or whether we send them to school or not.
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Enjoying the Closeness The benefits of carrying babies, and how to do so with ease By Marion Badenoch Rose, PhD
esearch and anecdotal evidence indicates carrying babies brings many benefits for babies and their families, as well as the wider community. Carrying your baby in the first year and beyond promotes secure attachment for your baby and helps you bond with him more easily. This closeness brings a cascade of other advantages such as ease for parents, healthy emotional development and reduced crying. While carrying your baby as much as possible throughout the day, and as long as possible in the first years is recommended, everyone has their own flow with baby carrying. Some people carry their babies everywhere, using a sling, wrap or carrier. Others carry part-time. Regardless of your style, carrying allows for the entire family to be involved in the bonding process. And most of all, it allows mum and dad to be hands-free, still immersed in family life, while baby comes along for the ride.
Benefits for baby Vital need for closeness and touch is met Closeness and touch not only stimulates the developing brain, it provides a safe continuum from the womb environment into the big world. ‘It is especially necessary for the parental generation of the human species to fully understand what the immaturity of its infants really signifies: that the infant is still continuing its gestation period… Among the most important of the newborn infant’s needs are the signals it receives through the skin, the first medium of communication with the outside world.’ Montagu (1986) Aletha Solter, founder of Aware Parenting, also describes how the newborn infant thrives on experiences similar to those in the womb. ‘Postnatal life should ... be considered a direct extension of prenatal life.’ Needs of
newborns include warmth, touching and holding, gentle movement, a heartbeat sound, and the mother’s (and/ or father’s) voice. These and the other essential needs are met optimally when a baby is carried. Carrying a baby in a sling or wrap resembles the ‘carrying’ inside the womb (enclosing, comfort, warmth etc.). Meryn Callander, of the Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children, stresses the prime importance for babies to experience the ‘rocking and jostling’ that a baby experiences when carried on the caregiver’s body. Maria Blois, author of Babywearing, says, ‘Babywearing allows for the continuation of a womb-like environment, giving the baby a chance for optimal brain and nervous system development.’
Promotes secure attachment The closeness and responsiveness that comes with carrying a baby means
Photo by Michael Rose
Rather than being the centre of attention and apart from the flow of life, carried babies are an integral part of life, able to experience the fullness of the world within the safe closeness of being in arms.
physical strength, balance, greater coordination, and easier digestion. The baby’s motor skills develop as he uses his muscles to adjust to the movements of the person who carries him. The straddling position of the baby that happens with certain types of carriers helps promote healthy hip development. Jean Liedloff, author of The Continuum Concept, discusses carrying as a way an infant can discharge energy, through the body of the person carrying him. ‘In the infant kept in constant contact with the body of a caretaker, his energy field becomes one with hers and excess energy can be discharged for both of them by her activities alone. The infant can remain relaxed, free of accumulating tension, as his extra energy flows into hers.’ She compares this to Western babies who are held much less, and how they stiffen, kick, arch, or flex to relieve themselves of an uncomfortable accumulation of energy.
Promotes cognitive development Since a baby is at voice and eye level, he develops more quickly socially and cognitively.
The baby learns about his culture and is included in it
that the baby is more likely to be securely attached. Secure attachment is associated with positive developmental outcomes. These include enhanced emotional flexibility, social functioning and cognitive abilities. Babies found to be securely attached at 12 months have been found to be more confident, independent, socially competent, curious, self-reliant, empathic, with more friends at four to five years of age. Unlike the notion in popular culture that babies who are left alone become independent, research indicates that babies who are carried often become independent at an earlier age. Martha Sears and William Sears, authors of The Baby Book, suggest that the contact that comes with baby carrying means that the parent becomes more aware of the baby’s needs, and the baby becomes able to more clearly tell his parents what he needs.
Leads to healthy emotional development Being carried on the body of the mother or a close relative, throughout the day for the first year of life, has been shown as highly predictive of the levels of peace or violence in a tribal culture. Dr. James Prescott describes love as a ‘brain gestalt that is formed primarily from sensory stimulation: body movement, body touch, and body smell... I have concluded that the single most important child rearing practice to be adopted for the development of emotionally and socially healthy infants and children is to carry the newborn/infant on the body of the mother/caretaker all day long.’
Promotes healthy physical development Carrying allows a child to develop more
Rather than being the centre of attention and apart from the flow of life, carried babies are an integral part of life, able to experience the fullness of the world within the safe closeness of being in arms. Liedloff also describes the importance of the in-arms phase because it lays the foundation for all later experience. ‘The baby passively participates in the bearer’s running, walking, laughing, talking, working, and playing. The particular activities, the pace, the inflections of the language …. and the sounds of community life, form a basis for the active participation that will begin at six or eight months of age with creeping, crawling, and then walking.’
Babies who are carried cry less When cultures where babies are carried almost continuously are compared with those where babies are carried much less, less crying is found. Decreased crying happens even when babies are carried for a proportion of the day. One
study asked one group of mothers to carry their babies an extra two hours a day and another group to provide extra visual stimulation. At six weeks, carrying mothers reported that their babies cried 43 percent less overall (about 1 hour on average) and 51 percent less during the period of 4pm to midnight. There was also less crying reported at eight and twelve weeks. From an Aware Parenting perspective, frequently carried babies cry less because their primary need to be touched and held is met. In addition, carried babies are protected from overstimulation. Aletha Solter says, ‘Overstimulation occurs when the infant cannot make a meaningful connection between new information and familiar experiences. Most of the information that young babies take in is of this nature because of their limited experiences.’ When stimulation is reduced, so is infant crying. When we see things from a small baby’s perspective, we can see how washing machines, telephones, shops, cars, and strangers, can all be overstimulating. Not only that, but simply getting used to the physical sensations of their body outside of the womb provides lots of stimulation. ‘Much of the crying that occurs in the early months may be due to over-stimulation. As a general guideline, the younger the baby, the easier he is to overstimulate.’ When a baby is carried, particularly in a carrier and where he is facing inwards, the familiarity of the sensations of body closeness and heartbeat, and the decreased amount of input he receives, protect him from more over-stimulation.
Benefits for parents Getting on with the other things in life Doing the things you want to do and need to do (shopping, working, cooking, caring for the home, caring for other children, meeting with friends, gardening, dancing, going for a walk, having fun) whilst contributing to your baby’s need for closeness and stimulation is a sure fire way of being a satisfied parent of a contented baby.
Ease In many situations, carrying a baby in
a carrier is much easier, particularly compared to getting heavy strollers out of the boot of the car, in places with lots of steps, and on buses, trains and aeroplanes. Baby carrying also makes breastfeeding easier — it is possible to breastfeed a baby in a carrier whilst caring for an older child or on an outing. Baby can also sleep in the carrier, which means more freedom and flexibility — and not needing to go home when the baby is tired.
Gives more support to the parent’s body If a parent wants to help their baby be close but does so without a sling or carrier, their arms get sore and not much else gets done! A carrier means extra comfort for the parent’s body. Carrying a baby from birth means our body gets stronger and fitter as the baby grows — no need to go to the gym for weight training!
Helps mum, dad, and other carers bond with the baby The frequent closeness when carrying a baby helps the adults bond with the baby. This is particularly so when the adult was not securely attached with their own parents. Baby carrying promotes levels of the mothering hormone prolactin. Mothers who use a carrier may feel closer to their babies, which can enhance the ease and joy of breastfeeding. Mothers who work outside the home reconnect with their babies more easily if they carry them when they are at home. Carrying a baby can help dads connect with their babies and feel empowered. The bonding process also happens much more easily with other carers if they too carry the baby.
Helps siblings adjust to a new baby When a parent carries the baby in a soft carrier, her arms are free to play with and care for an older sibling. Older siblings can also have their own carriers to carry their dolls, and some older siblings can carry the baby this way too.
Helps in special situations Baby carrying can have a significantly positive impact with twins, adopted babies, special needs babies, ill babies, premature babies, and special needs parents.
Tips for easier baby carrying In our modern nuclear family culture, baby wearing has its challenges. One (or even two) parents carrying a baby can sometimes be tiring for the muscles. Babies in other, community-based cultures, are carried by many different people. Barbara Wishingrad’s pioneering observations show this. ‘I saw the Indian babies in rebozos (slings) all day, but first a little cousin might be wearing the baby, while the mom tended the fire, or did handiwork; and then a young aunt was holding the baby, bringing her to mom when she wanted to nurse: and afterwards the mother helped secure the little one on her aunt’s back… ‘Yes, babies had close and constant human contact, but not exclusively with their mothers.’ Jean Liedloff saw this too. ‘He may then be passed to someone else and feel himself losing contact with one person and coming into the new temperature, texture, smell and sound of another, a bonier one perhaps, or one with the reedy voice of a child or the resonance of a man’s.’ Sarah Blaffer-Hardy’s book Mother Nature describes the Agra foragers of the Philippines, a hunter-gatherer society where women hunt alongside men and dogs. The mother may leave her infant to be cared for by an older sister, grandmother, or the father. The baby will be passed from caretaker to caretaker about eight times an hour, to as many as 14 different ‘allomothers’ (carers) in a day. So how can one or two parents carry their baby much of the day and still feel comfortable? One way is to carefully choose a carrier or carriers, researching which ones suit your needs. Having more than one carrier (or a carrier that can be used in different positions) can also improve a parent’s comfort as different muscles and pressure points may be used. Make sure you are using the carrier correctly — often discomfort occurs if the baby is not pulled in close enough to the parent’s body or if she is carried too low down their body. Carrying an older baby on your back can be more comfortable, especially when doing tasks that require bending over or carrying things. Talking to other parents who use baby carriers will help garner information and recommendations. Carrying a baby from early on also helps, since as the baby grows, the carrier’s muscles grow in strength and endurance. Having times
of closeness without carrying gives rest for the muscles — such as cuddling up together during a naptime. Parents can enjoy the closeness and ease that carrying their baby brings. Many of the challenges of baby carrying may be overcome through researching carriers and getting support from others. When parents feel overwhelmed or tired, they can avoid the guilt-trap by reminding themselves that in other cultures, there are many people around to pass a baby to. When I carry my baby son close to my body I feel the warmth of his skin, his breath rising and falling, and his calm or agitated movements. I love to look upon his little face in sleep, his smiles and his intent gazes at the world. Carrying him brings an intimate knowledge of him that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. n Marion Badenoch Rose lives with her husband, four and a half year old daughter, and four-month-old son in Northern New South Wales. She has been studying infant and child development for the past 19 years. This includes a degree in psychology and a Ph.D. on the mother-infant relationship from Cambridge University. She has diplomas in Psychosynthesis counselling and psychotherapy, and has worked in a university in England as Research Fellow in infant development. She is a certified Aware Parenting instructor. She offers consultations, courses and workshops for parents. She is planning a national ‘Carry Your Baby Day’. Her articles can be read at www.awareparenting.blogspot.com. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
References Anisfeld E, Casper V. Nozyce M., Cunningham N. (1990) Does infant carrying promote attachment? An experimental study of the effects of increased physical contact on the development of attachment. Child Dev. 1990 Oct; 61(5):1617-27. Blaffer Hardy, S. (2000) Mother Nature – Maternal instincts and the shaping of the species. Vintage, London. Barr, R. G., Konner, M., Bakeman, R. and Adamson, L. (1991) Crying in Kung San infants: a test of the cultural specificity hypothesis. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 33, 601-10. Brazelton, T. B., Robey, J. S., Collier, G. A. (1969) Infant development in the Zintandeco Indians of Southern Mexico. Pediatrics, 44, 274-290. UA Hunziker and RG Barr (1986) Increased carrying reduces infant crying: a randomized controlled trial. Pediatrics, Volume 77, Issue 5, pp. 641-648. Lee, K. (1994) The crying pattern of Korean infants and related factors. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 36, 601-7. Blois, M. (1995) Babywearing.The benefits and beauty of this ancient tradition. Pharmasoft Publishing, Texas. Bonnet, E. (1998) Krankengymnastik 50 Jg. English translation at http://www.didymos.de/english/
html/didy.pl?http://www.didymos.de/english/html/ bonnet.htm Callander, Meryn. (2000) Myth: Carriers, Strollers, and Playpens Are a Harmless Means of Carrying and Containing Infants. http://www.thewellspring.com/ TWO/8carry.html Fagot, B.I., and Kronsberg, S.J. (1982) quoted in Solter, A. (1998) Tears and Tantrums, what to do when babies and children cry. Shining Star Press, Goleta, California. Hoppediz website (2006) Worth knowing: The art of carrying - http://www.hoppediz.de/ Kikilionis, E. (2006) A Baby Wants to be Carried (Currently only available in German: “Ein Baby will getragen sein.”) http://www.storchenwiege.com/babycarrierresearch.htm Konner, M.J. (1972) Aspects of the developmental ethology of a foraging people. In N. Blurton ones (Ed.), Ethological Studies of Child Behaviour. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Liedloff, J. (1988) The Continuum Concept. Penguin Books, London. (first published in 1975) Liedloff, J. (1989) The importance of the InArms Phase http://www.continuum-concept.org/ reading/in-arms.html Lucassoen, P.L., Assendelft, W.J., Gubbels, J.W., van Ejik, J.T., van Gedrop, W.J., Neven, A.K. (1998) Effectiveness of treatments for infantile colic: systematic review. Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine, Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Marni Co Collection. 43 reasons to carry your baby. www.instinctiveparenting.com Montagu, A. (1986) Touching. HarperCollins. Nurturing Magazine, 1998. www.nurturing.ca Sears and Sears (1983) The Baby Book. Everything you need to know about your baby – from birth to age two. Little, Brown and Co., London. Siegel, D. (2001) Toward An Interpersonal Neurobiology of the Developing Mind: Attachment Relationships, ‘Mindsight,’ and Neural Integration. UCLA School of Medicine. Infant Mental Health Journal, Vol. 22(12), 67-94 (2001). Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health. Prescott, J.W. (1996) The Origins of Human Love and Violence P. 156-157, Spring 1996, Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Journal Small, M. (1998) Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way we Parent. Anchor Books, New York. Solter, A. (1991) The Aware Baby. Shining Star Press. Goleta, California. Sroufe, L.A., Fox, N.E., and Pancake, V.R. (1983) Attachment and dependency in developmental perspective. Child Development, 54, 1615-1627. Wanandi, P (2006) Babywearing: A Dad’s Experience h t t p : / / w w w. t h e b a by we a re r. c o m / a r t i c l e s / WhatToO/Dads.htm (with lots of pictures of dads carrying babies, toddlers and children) Whiting, J.W. M. (1981). Environmental constraints on infant care practices. In R. H. Munroe, R. L. Munroe & B. B. Whiting (Eds.), Handbook of cross-cultural human development. New York, Garland STPM Press. Wishingrad, B. (1986) Reflections on Constant Carrying http://www.rebozoway.org/articles/rwpcarry.htm
Types of slings and carriers By Marion Badenoch Rose, PhD
• Hug-a-Bub • Moby Wrap
Slings A sling goes over one shoulder and around the torso of the adult. It is usually tied with a couple of rings that allow the sling to be tightened or loosened and worn by different adults. Baby can be carried on the front, hip or back. Small babies can recline in the sling, whereas older babies and toddlers are often carried sitting upright on the hip. Slings are easy to get on and off and baby can change positions without getting him out. Parents can choose between padded or unpadded; which affects pressure, warmth, adjustability and bulk.
Unpadded • Maya wrap • TaylorMadeSlings • Amaryllis Pocket Sling
Padded • EllaRoo Sling • Comfy Carry • Baba Sling
Pouches Like a sling but without a tie, ring or clip. The fabric is sewn together into a loop. Can be used for front, hip and back carries. They are usually lightweight and easy to get on and off. Most pouches are not adjustable which means that exact fit is important. Photo by Michael Rose
Wraparounds or wraps A wraparound is a length of fabric tied around the parent and baby in many different ways — on the front, side, and back, with either one- or twoshouldered carries (the latter gives comfort for the adult’s shoulders and back through weight distribution and means they have both hands free). The baby can be positioned in an almost unlimited number of positions with plenty of support for their posture. They can be used to carry newborns to young children. Their use requires some practice, but makes up for it in versatility.
Woven (many tying options; stable for older children with back carries) • Rebozo (a short wrap) • Storchenwiege • Lana • Didymos • Never Fail Back Wrap • Freedom Sling • Hoppediz • EllaRoo Wrap Stretchy (easy to get baby in and out; mainly used for front carries)
• Hotslings • New Native Baby Carrier • Peanut Shell • Kangaroo Korner (adjustable) • The Slingset (multiple pouches)
Asian-style carriers These are formed of a rectangle of fabric with straps that come from the corners. They are made of either two straps, developed from the Korean-inspired Podaegi, and the more commonly known four-strap carriers, which have developed from a Chinese-inspired Mei Tai, which means ’to carry the beautiful’. They vary in whether they can be worn on the front, hip and back, and whether they have padding on the straps. They are easy to get on and off.
• Cwtshi Evo • Kozy Carrier • Ellaroo Mei Tai • Ellaroo Podaegi • GoGoBabyTotes
Doll slings for children Storchenweige, Didymos, Maya Wrap, TayorMade slings, New Native Baby Carrier, and Cwtshi
What to consider when choosing a carrier
Structured soft carriers These generally use clips or Velcro for easy fastening. Some are designed just for the front, others for front and back, others for front, hip and back (thus for different age ranges). Some of them are extremely comfortable, most are easy to get on and off. A few of these types of carriers do not provide adequate support for a baby’s spine and place too much pressure on the baby’s pelvis, because the material under the crotch is too narrow, so the baby’s legs dangle down.
Structured soft carriers which provide adequate support for spine and pelvis: • ERGO Baby Carrier • Patapum • Wilkinet
The age of your baby • Newborns to pre-sitting infants: Front carries using stretchy and woven wraps, slings, pouches, Asian-style carriers and, some soft structured carriers. Back carries are possible too, as long as there is head support. • For 5 or 6 months onwards: Back carries and hip carries using woven wraps, soft structured carriers, Asianstyle carriers, and slings.
Do you want to choose between lots of different carrying positions? Then a woven wraparound has most choices, followed by an unpadded sling.
Consider the climate you live in: In hot summers, cotton, mesh, linen, and hemp feel cooler. For cold weather, woven wraps made in Europe are
Backpack style carriers These often have a metal frame, with the baby being held slightly away from the adult’s body.
Hip carriers • Ellaroo Mei Tai Hip Carrier • Hippychick Hipseat
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special feature usually warmer. Or you may choose a carrier that fits under your coat or even buy a specially designed coat or poncho.
Comfort of baby and wearer: Consider whether you want padding, and whether your shoulders get tense (wraparounds and podaegis might be a choice here). Some people prefer twoshouldered carriers and woven wraps for comfort and weight distribution. Wearing older babies on the back helps too.
Do you want to be able to breastfeed with it on? Many carriers enable you to do this, especially stretchy wraparounds and slings. Is organic and fair-trade manufacture important to you? Look for organic carriers, fair-traded, with baby-friendly dyes. Remember that baby has the carrier against his skin and is likely to suck it at times.
Will you be carrying a baby or toddler whilst you are pregnant? Look for one that can be tied just around the shoulders, such as a woven
wraparound for back carries.
• Consider back carriers for older and
Does it provide ergonomic support for the baby? Dr. Evelyn Kirkilionis has
the following suggestions: The legs need to be supported at a 90 degree angle or more and straddled around the wearer’s body. She recommends avoiding carriers where the hips hang straight down. For back support, the carrier needs to be snug against the baby’s back and pull the baby close to the parent. Some slings and structured carriers do not have enough back support for younger babies. Head support and stabilisation is important for young babies and older babies when sleeping.
Some carrying tips • Practise first at home in front of a mirror (and keep practising!)
• Make sure the baby is held securely. For optimal support for baby and comfort for wearer, high up and firm holds are usually required. This creates optimum weight distribution.
• Ensure baby has the option of protection from over-stimulation, particularly when they are younger (some specialists do not recommend frontward, outward facing carries). Resources The Babywearer website www.thebabywearer. com — this site has everything you might want to know about carrying babies, from choosing a carrier, to reviews and sellers of hundreds of carriers, to detailed instructions on how to use them, how to make them, and several different forums to join. For a fuller version of this article, including benefits and advantages of each type of carrier, descriptions of each brand of carrier and where to buy them, as well as a list of relevant websites including sites with research articles and help with tying, visit www.awareparenting.blogspot.com With thanks to Suzanne Shahar www.hug-a-bub.com and www. instinctiveparenting.com Bronwyn Nugent www.babaroo.com Beate Frome www.childrensneeds.com
Jiggling and Rocking — An Aware Parenting Perspective Many parents are advised to walk, jiggle and rock a crying baby, or ‘wear down’ a ‘fussy baby’ to sleep. However, from an Aware Parenting perspective, (where crying serves two functions for babies), there is another way to help an upset baby to feel calmer and go to sleep. The first type of crying indicates that the baby has an immediate need (such as touch, food or physical comfort), which requires fulfilling; it alerts the parent to respond to this need. The second type of crying has the function of relieving stress, over-stimulation, and trauma. When all of a baby’s immediate needs have been met, and he is still crying, then it is likely that he is crying to release stress. For this to happen, he needs to be held in arms without distraction from the crying. A baby who has released his daily stress in this way falls asleep simply being physically close to mum or dad. He does not require jiggling, feeding, or rocking. Babies who are jiggled, rocked and walked whenever they need to release stress learn to move whenever they are upset, leading to toddlers who never seem to be able to sit still. Aletha Solter of Aware Parenting, says, ‘Movement stimulation is important for babies, but the timing
for this is crucial. It is best to save activities such as bouncing, swinging and rocking for times when babies are happy, alert, and ready for stimulation. Do not wait until your baby fusses. Babies do not cry because of a need for these forms of movement. Bouncing and rocking will only distract them from their need to cry.’ When a baby is crying or fussing, he is asking either for an immediate need to be met, or to release stress through crying in arms. Some people believe that babies need to be calmed down with movement because they experienced continuous movement whilst in the womb. However, for a lot of the time the mother was sitting or sleeping and then the baby only experienced small movements of the mother’s breathing and digestion. Simply holding a baby close provides this same level of stimulation. ‘If babies cry whilst being held closely, it is time for either feeding or respectful listening, not frantic attempts to distract the baby.’ Parents can meet all of a baby’s needs for closeness by carrying him. They can also help him heal from stress by calmly holding him without bouncing, rocking or walking when he needs to cry. Marion Badenoch-Rose
A Passion for
Carrying By Marion Badenoch Rose, PhD
Finding the baby carrier that suits you and your baby
oved to tears watching the video of babies being carried close to their mother ’s hearts, I shall never forget having just bought my first baby carrier. I was four months pregnant with my first child and had just bought a stretchy wraparound at the local market. I was enlightened reading Jean Photo courtesy of http://www.istockphoto.com
Liedloff’s The Continuum Concept in 1992. Emotionally written, Liedloff shares her experience of the Amazon’s Yequana babies, ’from birth, continuum infants are taken everywhere … He is asleep most of the time, but even as he sleeps he is becoming accustomed to the voices of his people, to the sounds of their activities, to the bumpings, jostling and moves … the changes of texture and
temperature on his skin and the safe, right feel of being held to a living body.’ Since then I had joyfully imagined keeping my baby close in this way. From my daughter’s first ride in a carrier when she was a few days old several years ago, I have been learning about the most comfortable and supportive ways to carry her and her little brother.
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Of all the types of I tried various carriers, I have had types of soft constructthe least experience ed carriers — these with slings — the one vary considerably I used on my daughfrom brand to brand. ter’s magical first outThey usually consist ing to the forest at 12 of a main rectangudays old was not very lar piece with straps comfortable or suparound the shoulders Photo by Michael Rose portive and I wore it and waist. Padding on rarely after that. Since the straps makes them then I have discovered the importance of comfortable, and clips or ties mean they wearing a sling high up and firmly close are usually easy and quick to take on to the body, and being able to adjust the and off. Take care that the constructed outer part of the sling (the ‘top rail’) so carrier you choose provides adequate that the baby is held securely. support for your baby’s hips. Poor supWith any carrier, both its design port is shown by their legs hanging and the way it is used make a huge straight down from the hips. For optidifference in comfort levels and supmum support, look for a carrier with port for the baby’s body. Many people a wide crotch piece that extends to the give up baby carrying without knowing baby’s knee hollow so that the baby’s
With any carrier, both its design and the way it is used make a huge difference in comfort levels and support for the baby’s body. Many people give up baby carrying without knowing that the design of carrier is not optimal for them, doesn’t suit the age of their baby, or the precise way to wear it.
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that the design of carrier is not optimal for them, doesn’t suit the age of their baby, or the precise way to wear it. For this reason I recommend considering structure, fabric, position, and proper fit when finding the carrier that suits you and your baby. And you may, like me, discover different carriers fit different occasions, and different phases in your baby’s development. I loved using a stretchy wraparound for my daughter’s first six months. This is a long piece of material tied in the cross-over wrap with outside pouch. I could easily slip my daughter in and out without taking it off. (This is called being ‘poppable’ in the baby carrying community!) It supported her head and protected her from over-stimulation whilst giving me both hands free. I made one of these too but found the fabric too stretchy. All kinds of carriers may be made at home; the fabric used dramatically affects the support and comfort. By seven months, I had sore shoulders with the stretchy wraparound, and began searching for other carriers. Many mums discover they need to switch from front- to back-carries at around six or seven months. Stretchy wraps can be worn on the back but are not often used in this way — as they are tied on first, getting baby in them usually requires some help.
legs are pulled up to at least a 90 degree angle and straddle around like a frog. Head support is also required for young babies and older sleeping babies. There are several kinds of soft constructed carriers, a few of which can be worn on the front, hip and back. Some I tried were more comfortable on the front when my baby was young, others were more suited to carrying my older baby on my back. My daughter loved to be carried on my back in a constructed carrier through the busy shopping areas and at the end of long walks up until three years old. I could carry her for hours and still be comfortable, and continued to do so until I became pregnant again. On a recommendation, I also bought a hip-seat, a hip belt with a seat that sits out to the side for babies once they can sit up. I used it a lot, and when my daughter was 18 months old I wore the seat round to my back, and then tied her on with a long scarf. We were both delighted with this solution. When pregnant with my son, I found out about woven wraparounds that can be worn in many different types of carries, including several on the back. I bought three different organic brands for comparison; with one brand I bought three different lengths so that I could research all the different types of carries. I bought an instructional DVD too, to
have to offer and swear by them. Some people have one carrier from newborn to toddler, others, like me, try several of them. Even the research quoted often varies quite differently — for example, one sling site quotes research that babies should be carried lying with their backs in a curved position, whereas some of the woven wrap sites cite studies suggesting all babies be carried in a straddle position. Stretchy wrap carriers often promote outward-facing holds, whereas some woven wrap sites recommend not carrying this way. When making your own choices, you will soon discover what carriers work best for you and your body. Babies, too, have their own unique preferences in how they are carried. One place to start your own research on baby carriers is the Babywearer website (www. thebabywearer.com). I recently read a children’s book entitled, A Ride on Mother’s Back. As in The Continuum Concept, each person carrying a baby enjoyed activities that had been carried out for generations. The baby was a welcome part of that life, learning about his culture and his world, while remaining close to someone he trusts. Here in the West, we have lost that continuum. Babies are often separated from us, and disconnected from the organic flow of life’s hussle and bussle. Thankfully the carrier industry is changing all that. Now we can reclaim the lost art of carrying babies, having all the different options available at our fingertips. n References Liedloff, J. (1988) The Continuum Concept. Penguin Books, London. (first pub.1975). Bernhard, E. and D. (1996) A Ride on Mother’s Back — A day of baby carrying around the world. Gulliver Books, California and New York
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fathom how on earth to tie them! (available from www.childrensneeds.com). I wanted my daughter to be included when I was carrying the new baby, and so bought her a stretchy wraparound, a ‘mei tai’ style carrier, and a woven wraparound. She and I spent several evenings trying different ties and carries, she practising with her doll and I with a hot water bottle. She loves to carry her two dolls at the same time, one on her back and one on her front. Once my son was born I didn’t use a carrier much for the first few weeks — my baby moon meant staying with Sunny in the bedroom for most of the time. When I began to venture into the outside world with him, we went on quiet country walks outside our back gate, and I carried him in the longest woven sling I had. I generally used two types of front carries for the first three and a half months — the kangaroo pouch and the cross-over wrap with inside pocket. I found the fabric of all three types of woven wraparounds gave him plenty of support and was very comfortable for me even after a long time. Now Sunny is three and a half months old and I have just started carrying him on my back in one of the constructed carriers and also the woven wraparounds. Back carries can be introduced even earlier, depending on the type of carrier used, and particularly when the adult is experienced and knows how to ensure adequate support for the baby’s head. I find some things easier to do with him on my back — such as hanging out the washing! Ultimately people fall into different camps with their choice of carriers. Some people are passionate about slings. Others are very happy with structured carriers or Asian inspired carriers and do not want anything else. Still others enjoy all that wraparounds
y y, b a nappies that nurture your b
po box 1299 mossman 4873 tel-fax 07 40 987 007
www.nurturenappies.com.au Kindred 25
hildren have changed over the last thirty years. Behaviour and learning problems, asthma, depression, youth suicide, teenage violent crime and obesity are all increasing. At the Royal Children’s Hospital outpatients clinic in Melbourne in 2003, one-quarter of the children who attended were there for behavioural or learning difficulties rather than the traditional medical reasons. What our children eat has changed too. In the early 1900s it was rare for families to eat out; there were daily deliveries of fresh meat, bread and milk, and most Australian families grew vegetables and fruit in their own gardens. In the 1970s, when processed food became widely available and supermarkets began taking control of our food supply, consumers started to eat more food additives, and the types of foods eaten
Additives to Avoid Artificial Colours: 102 104 107 110 122 123 124 127 128 129 132 133 142
tartrazine, quinoline yellow, yellow 2G, sunset yellow, azorubine, carmoisine, amaranth, ponceau, brilliant scarlet, erythrosine, red 2G, allura red, indigotine, indigo carmine, brilliant blue, green S, food green, acid brilliant green, 151 brilliant black, 155 brown, chocolate brown
Natural colour: 160b annatto
Preservatives 200-203 sorbates — in fruit juice,
by children changed dramatically. A mother I’ll call Karen is typical of the growing number of parents concerned about their children’s behaviour. ‘I’m at my wit’s end,’ she wrote. ‘Zoe’s defiance and tantrums are driving us all mad.’ Although reluctant to medicate her four-year-old, Karen couldn’t see how Zoe’s behaviour could be related to food because, as she said, ‘We eat an extremely healthy diet with very little junk food and heaps of fruit and vegetables.’
Additive creep When we went through Zoe’s menu and started reading labels, Karen was amazed at how many additives her daughter was eating. The school lunchbox was the main disaster area. In Zoe’s homemade sandwiches, the bread contained calcium pro-
pionate (preservative 282). The spread contained sorbic acid preservative (200) as well as synthetic antioxidant (320), and the ham contained two preservatives (nitrates 250 and sodium metabisulphite 223). Although the family drank preservative-free apple juice or freshly made juice at home, the lunchbox juice contained two preservatives (sodium benzoate 211 and sodium metabisulphite 223) and muesli bars contained another dose of sulphite preservatives this time as sulphur dioxide (220). Every day Karen gave Zoe a tub of yoghurt containing annatto colour (160b), not realising annatto is the only natural colour that can affect children as badly as artificial colours. When Zoe went to friends’ places she was generally offered packet snacks and cordial (more sulphites and benzoates
dips, fruit products, reduced fat products 210-219 benzoates — in cordials, soft drinks, juice, syrups, medication 220-228 sulphites — in a wide range especially dried fruit, sausages, drinks 249-252 *nitrites, nitrates — in processed meats such as ham 280-283 propionates — in bread, crumpets, English muffins, bakery products
Synthetic antioxidants in fats and oils 310-312 gallates 319-321 TBHQ, *BHA, *BHT
Sugar free sweeteners 420 *sorbitol and other sweeteners ending in -ol can cause gas pain, bloating, diarrhoea
Flavour enhancers in tasty foods 620-625 *MSG, glutamates 627 *disodium guanylate 631 *disodium inosinate 635 *ribonucleotides Yeast extract, HVP HPP hydrolysed vegetable or plant protein Added flavours are trade secrets, so there are no names or numbers. *Not permitted in foods intended specifically for infants and young children
What’s Eating Them? How food additives and chemicals affect children’s moods and behaviour By Sue Dengate
Kindred 27 Photo courtesy of http://www.istockphoto.com
sustenance as well as artificial colours and flavour enhancers), the family ate once a week at a fast food restaurant with multiple additives in food and drinks, and any social function generally involved a sausage sizzle, another significant source of preservatives. Reactions to food additives are related to dose. Children can be affected in many different ways and — unlike true allergic reactions such as peanut allergy — reactions are often delayed, sometimes up to two or three days. That is why it is so difficult for parents to identify the effects of food additives. Some children are more sensitive than others. The children most likely to be affected are those from a food-sensitive family, or those eating very high doses of a particular additive. If parents have ever, even once, seen their child react to foods, it is a sign that they probably have hidden sensitivities to many other food chemicals. Karen had seen Zoe ‘high’ on Fanta artificially coloured orange drink. Many children will improve on an additive=free diet. In 2004, a study of 277 three-year-olds from the Isle of Wight found that ‘significant changes in chil-
dren’s hyperactive behaviour could be produced by the removal of colourings and additives from their diet’. Researchers suggested that all children would benefit from such a change, not just those already showing hyperactive behaviour. Following on from the Isle of Wight study, an entire class of six-year-olds at the Dingle school in Cheshire were asked to avoid 39 additives at home
If parents have ever, even once, seen their child react to foods, it is a sign that they are probably have hidden sensitivities to many other food chemicals. and at school for two weeks. At the end of that time, nearly 60 per cent of parents said their children had improved with regard to cooperation, behaviour and sleeping. For this trial, Professor Jim Stevenson from the Southampton University Department of Psychology conducted before and after measurements on a pair of identical twins, one in the additive-free class, the other on his normal diet. Although Professor Stevenson didn’t know which twin was on which diet, there were measurable improvements in the additive-free twin in a wide range of areas including IQ.
Natural nasties Additives are not the only food chemicals that can affect children’s behaviour. Like most parents, Karen preferred to think that artificial is bad and natural is good, but that’s no longer the way it is. The foods we eat, including fruit and vegetables, are made up of hundreds of naturally occurring compounds that can have differing effects on us — positive or negative. All plants contain a hormone called salicylic acid that regulates growth, ripening and resistance to pests and diseases. Salicylates are present in varying amounts in most fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices and are synthesised in laboratories as the active ingredient in medications such as aspirin and other nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, skin creams and teething gels. In the 1960s, rheumatologists noticed that children’s behaviour could be affected by salicylates in their arthritis
medication. One even reported a patient who attacked him with a knife while ‘under the influence of salicylates’. Not long after this, American paediatrician Dr Ben Feingold noticed that children’s behaviour can also be affected by natural salicylates in foods. His observations were confirmed in a study showing that children’s behaviour and learning ability could be affected by both salicylates in foods and salicylates in aspirin. In the mid-80s Australian researchers published a new analysis of salicylate contents in foods showing that there were salicylates in many more foods than previously thought. When they used an elimination diet much lower in salicylates than Feingold’s, nearly 90 per cent of 140 children with behaviour disturbance improved significantly, and nearly three-quarters of those reacted to salicylates. For people who had already been following low salicylate diets, the new salicylate information was a revelation. ‘When I found the Australian salicylate lists I was so excited,’ wrote a salicylate-sensitive asthmatic from New Mexico. ‘I could finally understand what was happening — I had inadvertently been eating salicylates every day.’ The Australian researchers also excluded biogenic amines that are a breakdown product of protein in foods such as processed or fermented foods especially meat, fish, cheese and chocolate and some ripe fruit such as bananas, as well as natural flavour enhancers called glutamates in tasty foods. This is the diet that many thousands of families including my own have found to be so effective. Understandably, most parents are appalled by the suggestion that fruit could cause problems. Yet two thousand years ago the ancient Greek physician Galen, considered to be the co-founder of modern medicine, wrote that his father had lived to be a hundred by avoiding fruit. It’s important to understand that many more vegetables are low or moderate in salicylates than fruit, and that children have never eaten such high levels of concentrated fruit as they do today. I have spent months in remote subsistence villages in the Himalayas, where children ate very little fruit. These children were happy, healthy, wellspoken and eager to learn, sometimes walking up to two hours each way to school. They were mostly vegetarians living on home-grown rice, lentils, dried beans, potatoes and other vegetables in season, with a few fruit trees around the house. ‘How often do you eat fruit?’ I
would ask. After a lot of thought, they would generally estimate ‘about once a week’. Their intake of additives was zero and their intake of foods high in salicylates was much lower than ours. During the transition from subsistence diets to supermarket diets, salicylate intake increases because salicylates are concentrated in products such as jam, juices, sauces, stock cubes, tomato paste, dried fruit, vegetables and anything with added flavours. As well, foods are usually picked unripe for long shelf life when salicylates are at their highest. A wide variety of very high salicylate fruit and vegetables is available all year round and plants are genetically engineered with increased salicylates for disease resistance. It is also possible that supermarket varieties of, for example, tomatoes chosen for long shelf life may be higher in salicylates than old-fashioned heirloom varieties that were picked when soft, sweet and ripe. Food chemicals can be addictive. In Karen’s family, Zoe was choosing to eat the highest salicylate foods, especially tomato sauce, orange juice, broccoli, grapes, sultanas and kiwifruit. When Karen decided to try the additive-free, low-salicylate, low-amine elimination diet, Zoe’s behaviour improved dramatically within three weeks. A salicylate challenge supervised by a dietitian resulted in a full return of her exasperating pre-diet behaviour. It is common to find that others in the family are affected by food chemicals in different ways. When the entire family goes on the elimination diet to support the child, parents or siblings often notice unexpected improvements in asthma, migraines, depression, stomach bloating, itchy rashes and other symptoms of food intolerance.
The great debate Despite ample evidence, the connection between children’s behaviour and what they eat is considered to be controversial. On one side of the debate, the influential US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) denies that artificial colours affect children’s behaviour, in a booklet cosponsored by the food industry. There has been heavy criticism in recent years that the FDA has failed in its mission to protect public health due to industry pressure. On the other side of the debate, independent scientists from the [US] Centre for Science in the Public Interest carried out a review of 25 years worth of diet and behaviour studies. Their recommendations included ‘that parents should consider dietary changes (along with behaviour therapy) as the first course of treatment for children with behavioural problems before turning to stimulant drugs’, ’that the FDA should consider banning from foods consumed widely by children any dyes and other additives that affect behaviour’ and ‘that schools … should minimise the use of food additives that may contribute to behavioural disorders’.
What parents can do Since it is unlikely that food regulators will act in the foreseeable future, avoiding additives is up to parents. How do children feel about this? A fouryear-old whose eczema is food related chose to go to a new childcare centre where she didn’t have to eat ‘itchy food’. A twelve-year-old who has been failsafe (free of additives, low in salicylates, amines and flavour enhancers) for four years explained: ‘I was really naughty such as screaming all the time and hitting people and hitting my head on the wall. It felt so bad but now I am on the diet I feel so much better — I don’t get headaches
Finding your way
By Joanne Bryant ND
ttempting to negotiate the food additive maze can be a nightmare. After reading all about the harmful effects additives can have, as parents we desperately want to do the right thing by our kids. But standing in a supermarket aisle attempting to read labels on foods while the kids are reaching for every bit of junk food they can see, is less than ideal. As well as disrupting the supermarket traffic by blocking aisles, who has the time? On top of that the amount of numbers and technical terminology seems like another language, totally foreign. How many mum and dad consumers really know what calcium proprionate (282), or sodium metabisulphite (223) are? The job description for parenting does not include a degree in biochemistry, or whatever is needed to understand the endless list of chemical cocktails now impersonating as food. Luckily for us some brilliant, methodical, thoughtful people have made the job much easier for us. Several books have been published on the topic of food additives, to enable us as parents and consumers to decipher these sinister numbers and letters that seem to abound in our foods. While below are highlighted only three of these, there are many more worthy of a mention. With foods that used to be healthy when we were growing up now being sprayed, genetically modified, artificially coloured, or irradiated for longer life, we must remain as informed as possible. Food is a billiondollar business and testing by our Australian food standard watchdogs is far from vigorous. Therefore as parents we have to take responsibility for what our family eats, and become proactive in maintaining and teaching good nutrition.
The suggested books have been researched and compiled using upto-date references. They do not claim to give scientific or medical advice, merely to inform the reader of the current findings to enable them to make choices regarding the health and wellbeing of their families.
— your guide to safer shopping By Julie Eady Julie describes herself as a fulltime Australian mum who developed an interest in food additives following the birth of her first child. Her personal project turned into something much larger as she discovered the truth about the serious health concerns associated with many additives used in Australian foods. This book covers every aspect of the additive industry from what and why, to understanding labels, and additives and health concerns. It also has a chapter on healthier lowadditive eating suggestions.
The Chemical Maze
— your guide to food additives and cosmetic ingredients By Bill Stratham This is another Australian book in its second edition, which shows how popular this book has been. It is a
pocket-size reference book with easyto-follow tables and comprehensive lists of side effects and potential dangers. Bill uses a code to denote the degree of potential harm with each additive. The book has a warning on the back cover: Warning: Reading this book may seriously influence the choice of foods and personal care products you buy.
By Sue Treffers This is another revised and u p d a t e d reference pocket book. This book also features a section on new labelling requirements and a explanation of ‘label jargon’. As with The Chemical Maze, this is an easy-to-carry book that can be used easily at the supermarket or if you are eating out. All these books contain a list of other excellent reference books and online links on the subject of food additives, and believe me, there are many of them. There is a global concern among parents and consumers as to the safety of the food for sale on our supermarket shelves. But luckily we have many healthy alternate options to choose from. So make the choice today to be an informed parent and become aware of the foods you are serving your family. You may surprise yourself and need only make a few small changes. No matter whether the changes are big or small your family will thank you for it as they grow into healthy, active adults. Joanne Bryant works as a nurse, naturopath and freelance journalist. ‘I advocate approaching life in an informed, holistic manner. With lots of love, laughter, conciousness and kindness to yourself, others and the planet.’ These books and more available at the Kindred Book Shop, www.kindredmagazine.com.au
or pains in my side and feel sick in the stomach all the time. When I first found out about the diet I was so happy that it wasn’t me that was naughty or bad inside — it was the food I was eating.’ A 21-year-old is pleased his parents started the diet when he was four. ‘I went from a kid who everyone said would grow up to be a juvenile delinquent, to a better behaved kid who is now 21, studying for an Information Technology Bachelors degree,’ he wrote. ‘I’m surprised that the link between food and behaviour has only recently become publicised.’ Altogether, out of the hundreds of permitted additives, more than 50 additives (see box) — and some natural chemicals — can trigger a bewildering range of symptoms from difficulty concentrating, irritability, oppositional defiance, restlessness, anxiety and tantrums to problems with sleeping, toilet training, bedwetting, fussy eating, speech delay, tiredness, tearfulness, silly noises and many other seemingly trivial child-rearing problems that can erode family quality of life. As well, physical symptoms can include asthma, headaches, itchy skin rashes, reflux, stomach aches and growing pains. Children can be affected differently and any food additive can be related to any symptom.
A ‘50s diet What children typically ate in the 1950s was much lower in additives and salicylates: porridge or plain cereals with milk for breakfast; an apple for morning tea; a sandwich for lunch with preservative-free bread, pure butter and preservative-free filling (e.g. egg and lettuce); a plain sweet biscuit such as milk arrowroot and a glass of plain milk for afternoon tea; lamb chops with mashed potato, peas and carrots for dinner, home-made rice pudding for dessert and water to drink all day.
Many families see an improvement by cutting down: switching to preservative-free bread, drinking water, avoiding artificial colours and other nasty additives, switching to A2 milk, and perhaps reducing their intake of citrus, tomatoes, broccoli, grapes and other high salicylate foods (jam, juice, sauces, dried fruit, fruit flavoured yoghurt). One mother wrote: ‘After months of struggling with my four-year-old son’s behaviour, I have started to cut foods high in additives from his diet and have already noticed a change after only a couple of weeks.’ For best results with difficult children, many families like Karen’s choose to do a trial of the low-salicylate, low-amine elimination diet supervised by a dietitian. This avoids every food chemical known to cause problems for a few weeks, then systematically reintroduces one group at a time to test reactions. After six months, Karen wrote: ‘The change in Zoe has been remarkable. We had tried so many other methods to help her without success and food has turned out to be so important. Zoe is a pleasure to live with and our whole family is so happy.’
John P. Vanderzwart
ACCOUNTANT AND TAX AGENT
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n Sue Dengate is the founder of the Food Intolerance Network, see www.fedup.com.au Her DVD Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour is available from the website, Angus and Robertsons and selected bookstores. The Failsafe Booklet is available for download from the website under Failsafe Eating. A list of supportive dietitians is available from email@example.com Notes Full scientific references are given at www.fedup. com.au Jacobson MF, Schardt MS. Diet, ADHD and behaviour: a quarter-century review. Washington DC: Centre for Science in the Public Interest, 1999, www. cspinet.org. Swain AR, Dutton SP, Truswell AS. Salicylates in foods. J Am Diet Assoc 1985; 85(8):950-60. Swain A, Soutter V, Loblay R, Truswell AS. Salicylates, oligoantigenic diets, and behaviour. Lancet 1985; 2(8445):41-2.
Create a Safe and Healthy home environment! When it comes to creating a toxic free and healthy living environment, Painted Earth offer a one stop solution supplying a large range of non toxic, environmentally responsible paints and wood finishes. Suitable for domestic and commercial use, our range includes decorative finishes, clay paints, natural wall paints, wood oils, floor finishes, water-based enamels, and varnishes as well as exterior timber decking finishes. To find a creative solution to your project call us on
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Kindred activities games Backyard Camp Crafts Nothing beats sleeping outdoors on a warm summer night. Whether you choose your backyard or a regular campground, hearts will soar and memories will be made, and it is such a simple thing to do! Here are a few activities that will enlarge the experience even more. To help build self-confidence put the hammer in your child’s hand, and allow her to own each step. When parents intervene to make things more efficient or safe, children distance themselves from the process, and it becomes the adult’s. Your job is to join your child in the evening, and talk about the wondrous tent he made, the clever constellation projection, and to point out the falling stars that appear in the December night sky.
Tarp tent Tarps, along with duct tape, are versatile tools to have on hand. This tent can serve as a fort during the day, and a shelter at night.
What you will need: • small tarp (available at hardware stores) • stakes (tent stakes work best, but you can also use wooden stakes) • twine • rope • clothesline or two trees
String the rope between two trees at shoulder height. Place the tarp over the rope or clothesline, and pull the edges out until they meet the ground evenly, adjust the height of the rope if necessary. If you are using tent stakes, evenly space them in the tarp grommets, and hammer them flush into the ground. For the wooden stakes, hammer them in beside the tarp edge and use the twine to thread through the tarp grommet then tie it off securely to the stake.
Create your own star gazer In addition to creating your own star constellation, this simple device also makes fascinating kaleidoscopic patterns on the tent wall at night, (or a darkened bedroom wall) as you turn the flashlight around inside the canister. It helps to have two people do this project: one to hold the canister and one to hammer the holes.
What you will need: • small nail • empty film canister (available for free at your local photography shop) • small flashlight • hammer Take the lid off and place the canister upside down on a small towel. Use the small nail and hammer to make holes in the bottom (it is very easy to do!). You can nail in a known constellation like the Big Dipper or create your own. At night, shine a flashlight into the canister and hold near the tent wall. Experiment!
Sleeping Like a Baby by Pinky McKay
“At a time when many new parents are literally in the dark about their baby’s sleep, ‘Sleeping Like a Baby’ shines a warm and wise light.” Dr Sarah J Buckley “Scientiﬁc, holistic and heart-centred insights into infant sleep, settling and bonding” Lauren Porter, co-director, Centre for attachment.
With Nancy Blakey
Move the stargazer closer then further from the wall, and twirl the light around inside.
Portable tin can stove Make your own stove that really works! Keep an extra one handy if your community has power failures due to weather.
What you will need: • a tuna fish tin can (175gm or 350gm) • corrugated cardboard • paraffin wax (available at the grocery store) • several cm of cotton string or wick • one small coffee can and a large pan of water To make the stove, cut strips of cardboard as wide as the can is high. You can do this by laying the cardboard beside the can and marking the width with a pen. Roll the first cardboard strip tightly, and when you reach the end, overlap another strip over the end of the first and continue rolling. Keep rolling the cardboard strips, one end bumped up against a new end until you have a cardboard spiral wide enough to fill the can. Next place several chunks of the paraffin wax into the coffee can. Now you will need to make a double boiler — the best way to melt wax. Make the double boiler by pouring several inches of water into the large pan then lower the can with the wax into it. Melt the wax over medium high heat (it will take anywhere from 10 minutes to 20 minutes). When the wax has melted, pour it into the tuna fish can with the rolled cardboard until it is filled. Cut a piece of cotton string or wick 5 cm long and place one end in the centre of the rolled cardboard. This is your wick. Allow the wax to harden completely. When you are ready to use the camp stove, light the wick and when the whole top is burning, it is ready for cooking. To use, hold the pan with the food needing to be cooked several inches from the flames. Nancy Blakey is the author of The Mudpies Activity Books. Her latest book is Go Outside! Interested in more projects? Visit her web site at nancyblakey.com
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L ov e Ear th — q u alit y organ ic , fair tra de a nd ea r th friendly fa shio n. Love Earth is the latest online retailer offering quality organic, fair trade and earth friendly fashion. We have sourced a range of highly regarded suppliers from around the globe. Each of our chosen brands boasts unique style, reassuring quality and the highest ethical standards. Our ever growing range caters for the newborn babe right through to adults. We offer clothes that are bright, bold, pretty and practical, clothes people can really feel good wearing. Our talented teenage designer is creating a collection of prints for our teen Tee Shirts. Our children’s selection includes shorts, dungarees, dresses and much more. For your chance to win $100 worth of Love Earth clothing (of your choice), please visit www.LoveEarth. com.au. Then email firstname.lastname@example.org with a list of your 3 favourite items. Winner will be notified on 14 February 2007.
K in d aYoga — C hildren’s Yog a DVDs These storytelling DVDs introduce children of three years and over to Yoga through a healthy exercise program based on hatha yoga poses, breathing techniques and visualisation. In our world of stress and over-stimulation, practising yoga will support children’s nervous systems during a crucial phase of their development, while increasing body awareness as well as physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. The DVDs are developed by yoga and childcare experts. They are interactive and fun presentations with children for children, to teach stress coping strategies in a safe and nurturing environment. This is a relaxation program for the whole family. No specific prior knowledge is necessary for practising with KindaYoga DVDs. Please visit www.kindayoga.com for orders and information.
S a l t pi pe — Fo r ad u lt s & ch ild ren : Na ture’s Hea ling Brea th The saltpipe helps alleviate and treat respiratory problems such as: asthma, bronchitis, allergies of the respiratory tract, hay fever, sinus, colds and respiratory problems caused by smoking, etc. The saltpipe — a portable miniature salt cave — lasts for five years and contains halite salt crystals, formed 20 million years ago, from Europe’s most famous curative caves, where salt mine and salt cave therapy has been practised for generations (www.scientiapress.com/findings/ht.htm). When using the saltpipe, the microparticles of salt ‘cleanse passageways, help clear out the nasal cavities and help calm, heal and repair inflamed lungs and airways’ (www.casehealth.com.au). Further information and orders at: www.saltpipe.com.au (07) 3300 1427 or 04 24 274 697. Send cheque or money order for $80 plus $7 p&h to: Joseph Balla, PO Box 2288, Keperra, Qld. 4054
mood sp h ot ography With a smile, a touch, a movement, our kids can make our heart skip and stir amazing feelings within us. These little things, the simple gestures are what the team at Moods Photography, headed by internationally awarded photographer Greg Dries, are vigilantly looking for when they capture images of children. In conjunction with and to aid and support the fantastic work of Camp Quality the team at Moods are producing a coffee table art book featuring stunning images of children; the book is entitled ‘Inspired’, and is the third in a series. The first two books were very successful and are treasured mementos for the families involved. If you would like to see your children involved in this wonderful project please call Moods Photography on 1300 651 137 (NSW and Qld) 07 32834144 (Brisbane).
Would you like to have your product listed on this page? Call 02668 44353
Kindred 34 Photo courtesy of http://www.istockphoto.com
Reclaiming our communities through the local economy
Going Local By Helena Norberg-Hodge
The ‘Green Revolution’ Goes to Africa — another recipe for disaster? By Lisa Reagan
Photo courtesy of Joni Teale, Byron Farmers’ Market
Going Local By Helena Norberg-Hodge
oday’s mounting social and ecological crises demand responses that are broad, deep, and strategic. Given the widespread destruction wrought by globalisation, it seems clear that the most powerful solutions will involve a fundamental change in direction — towards localising rather than globalising economic activity. In fact, ‘going local’ may be the single most effective thing we can do. Localisation would not only entail far less social and environmental upheaval, it would actually be far less costly to implement. In fact, every step towards the local, whether at the policy level or in our communities, would bring with it a whole cascade of benefits. Localisation is essentially a process of de-centralisation — shifting economic activity into the hands of millions of small- and medium-sized businesses instead of concentrating it in fewer and fewer mega-corporations. Localisation doesn’t mean that every community would be entirely self-reliant; it simply means striking a balance between trade and local production by diversifying economic activity and shortening the distance between producers and consumers wherever possible. Since food is something everyone, everywhere, needs every day, a shift from global food to local food would have the greatest impact of all.
Globalised food When I lived in Paris in the 1970s, it was a city full of character and
life. Each quarter had its own colourful market, selling wonderful fruits, all kinds of vegetables, meats, superb cheeses and wine. All of that diversity originated at no great distance: most of it came from different regions of France, if not from the immediate surroundings of Paris. Today it can be difficult to find garlic in Paris that has not travelled from China. In the supermarkets, grapes from Chile and wine from California are increasingly commonplace. The diversity of French foods is in decline, and those that are available are becoming more and more costly. I also lived for several years in rural Spain. In the little villages of Southern Andalucia in the 1980s, almost all the food in the shops came from the villages themselves or the immediate region: goat’s cheeses, olives and olive oil, grapes, fresh and dried figs, wine and many different kinds of meat. Today when I go back I find almost nothing that has been produced locally. The olives may have been grown in the surrounding region, but they have travelled to the metropolis to be packaged in plastic and then sent back again. Virtually everything sold is vacuum-sealed in layers of plastic. Even cheese rinds are now made of plastic. In line with these trends, in 1996 Britain imported more than 114,000 metric tons of milk. Was this because British dairy farmers did not produce enough milk for the nation’s consumers? No, since the UK exported almost the same amount of milk that year, 119,000 tons.* Apples are flown 14,000 miles from New Zealand and green beans flown 4,000 miles from Kenya. We might wonder how these can possibly compete with local apples and beans — surely food produced locally should be cheaper? But it isn’t. Instead, generally speaking, fresh local food is vastly more expensive than food from faraway. The main reason for this is government investments and subsidies. Governments, using taxpayer’s money, fund the motorways, high-speed rail links, tunnels, bridges and communications satellites that make the supermarkets’ global trade possible. This money also subsidises the aviation fuel and energy production on which supermarkets depend. And it helps fund the research geared towards biotechnology, mechanisation
and intensive chemical use. Local traders, small-scale farmers, retailers and manufacturers pay the price through their taxes and also through being forced out of business. Some people might argue that there is nothing wrong with such developments — that they are a sign of progress and the emergence of a global, cosmopolitan society based on the principle of choice. However, the diversity of choice available to consumers is an illusion. Pressure from supermarkets and government subsidies forces producers to grow monocultures of standardised crops to suit the globalised marketplace. For instance, the National Fruit Collection in the UK contains over 2,300 varieties of apples. Today, only two varieties dominate UK orchards. We see the same trend amongst all fruits, vegetables, grains and even meat and dairy products. This loss of agricultural diversity is a direct result of the move towards the production of monoculture. Biological diversity and cultural diversity are also under threat from the monoculture. In study after study, it has been shown that large farms growing single crops are bereft of the variety of wildlife species that live in great numbers on small organic farms that grow a diverse range of crops. Food is also closely linked to cultural identity. As the global consumer culture steamrolls across the planet, amalgamating diverse cultures into one big Coke-swilling, McDonald’s-munching ‘global village’,’ we lose the varied and vivid tapestry of cultures that once inhabited this planet. The consequences of undermining cultural integrity are severe, not least of which are increased ethnic violence and terrorism. In this age of impending oil shortages and global climate change, it is sheer madness to waste fossil fuels transporting food needlessly around the planet. In recent years, it has been calculated that transport for the UK food market accounts for 19 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted each year. Besides creating pollution, the transportation of food in ships,
airplanes and trucks, damages roads, intensifies congestion and, worse, causes accidents. Research conducted in 2005, estimated that the government could save 2.1 billion pounds in costs associated with environmental damage, congestion and infrastructure if the food economy were more localised. That is a significant savings for the taxpayer. Citizen groups around the world are beginning to realise that it is this highly centralised and subsidised economic system that is the prime culprit behind many international food crises: food shortages in developing countries, GM contamination and diseases like BSE, salmonella and avian flu. Increasingly, grassroots movements are pressing for major policy changes at national and international levels in order to bring the global financial markets under control. They are also working, against the economic odds, to strengthen local economies.
Re-localising food: it’s already happening For virtually the whole of human history most human cultures have relied on food produced within a reasonable distance. The logic is unassailable: locally grown food is fresher, and so tastier and more nutritious, than food transported over long distances. It is also likely to be healthier because the producer knows the consumer, does not view him or her merely as a faceless ‘target market’ and so is less likely to take risks and liberties with preservatives and other artificial chemicals.
The 100 Mile Diet (…that’s 160 km) How far does your food travel to get to your plate? A new movement in the US takes a look at this very question. An average American meal contains an assortment of foods that have travelled an average of 2,000 miles (3,218 km) to get from farm to fork. Estimates suggest it could be even further for Australians. For those concerned about energy conservation, greenhouse gases, and oil dependence, the types of food we choose to eat are as important as the types of cars we choose to drive (or avoid). Industrial agriculture and long-distance food transportation generate a large portion of all climate destabilising greenhouse gases in Australia. Given this fact, buying food that is locally or regionally grown can dramatically reduce energy consumption and greenhouse pollution. The local food movement has received a recent boost with the new trend of the ‘100 mile diet’, the brainchild of Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon. ‘We’re the
Photo courtesy of Joni Teale, Byron Farmers’ Market
kind of people that ride our bikes everywhere, so we wondered why we were going to all this effort when our food was flying around the world,’ says Smith. The diet trend, which requires participants to only eat foods grown within a 100 mile radius (160 kms), is catching on across North America and now in Australia as well. Philadelphia journalist Elisa Ludwig took up the 100 mile diet for 12 days to learn more about the foods she eats. ‘If eating local is a moral imperative, then every meal is an opportunity to do the right thing,’ says Ludwig, who kept a daily journal of the experience. Read more about the 100 mile diet at www.100milediet.org
global issues Can we have a moment of your time? We make it possible for people to change their future future, personally and financially, to really get what they want out of life. Many people are dissatisfied with their lives; their level of income, their personal happiness and the limited options available to them. How many of us are living our life exactly as we would like it to be? So many people would do things differently if they knew how. solution. The chance to We offer them a possible solution increase their income to a level that they choose, a supportive environment for new skills and knowledge and on-going mentoring to help people achieve their goals. This opens up a whole new world of choices; about how we spend our time, how we earn our income and how to make our life work for us instead of running behind trying to catch up.
In a word – freedom.
Are you interested? Email your contact details to
Cassie email@example.com Put “freedom” in the subject line
Community screenings of
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Increasingly, faced with a bland, globalised food culture, people are realising the advantages of local food, and are working to rejuvenate markets for it. In the UK, for example, the first ‘farmers’ market’, set up in the city of Bath in 1997, was restricted to producers based within a 30–40 mile radius. Public interest in the Bath market was extraordinary, with over 400 callers ringing the market itself in the first few weeks, many of them asking for information on how similar initiatives might be set up in their own areas. Now there are over 500 farmers’ markets in the UK. At the same time, more and more people are also joining a variety of community supported agriculture (CSA) schemes in which consumers in towns and cities link up directly with a nearby farmer. In some cases, consumers purchase an entire season’s produce in advance, sharing the risk with the farmer. In others, shares of the harvest are purchased in monthly or quarterly instalments. Consumers usually have a chance to visit the farm where their food is grown, and in some cases their help on the farm is welcomed too. This movement is sweeping the world, from Switzerland, where it first started 25 years ago, to Japan where many thousands of people are involved. It is heartening to see how rapidly local food is gaining popularity with consumers in the UK. A recent report put the worth of the national local food market at 3.7 billion pounds. In 2005, a poll of British shoppers revealed that 65 per cent say they purchase local produce. Nearly one-half of these buy from farmers’ markets and farm shops. When farmers are allowed to sell in the local marketplace, more of the profit stays in their hands. Currently, only about 5 cents in every dollar spent on food goes to the farmer. The rest goes on transport, packaging, irradiation, colouring, advertising and corporate profit margins. It is routine practice to send apples grown in the UK to South Africa, where labour is cheaper. There, they are washed, waxed and packed and shipped back to the UK to be sold. Even within the UK, the distances involved in processing food have grown enormously. Today carrots travel nearly 60 per cent further on UK roads than in the 1970s. When the distances are shortened and there are fewer links between producer and consumer, the farmer receives more money and we pay less. Often, the joy of a direct connection between producers and consumers is that their ideals coincide. They want the same things: small-scale production and high organic quality. They both want freshness, variety and a non-exploitative price. Social life often flourishes when like-minded suppliers and consumers meet as friends. Direct communication between producers and consumers creates a responsive economic system, one shaped by the needs of society rather than the needs of big business. Local food markets by their very nature create consumer demand for a wide range of products that are valued for their taste and nutritional content, rather than the ability to withstand the rigours of long-distance transport or conform to supermarket specifications. This therefore helps to stimulate diversification, allowing farmers to change their mode of production away from monoculture to diversified farming. The local food movement allows a return to mixed farming systems, where farmers can keep animals and grow some grain, some vegetables, some tree crops and some herbs on the same land. That diversity allows for cycles that reinforce one another in both ecological and economic ways. When animals, grain and vegetables are combined on the same farm, they all feed each other: the grain and vegetables feed both humans and animals, while the straw provides bedding for animals and animal manure is used as a valuable fertiliser. The farmer thus finds the
Photo courtesy of http://www.istockphoto.com
An Apple a Day… Walking through the fields around my house in South Devon, I often come across long forgotten apple trees. They are the gnarled remnants of a rich agricultural history, when productive orchards dotted the country, bearing apples with names you rarely see in the supermarkets. Grenadier, Keswick Codlin, Margil, Cox’s Orange Pippin. In the autumn, these lone trees drop their fruit. Apples scatter on the ground, harvested only by the occasional passer-by like me.The bulk of the crop lies rotting in the barren fields — just one more reminder of the madness of the global economy. In 2004, over 630,000 tonnes of apples were consumed in the UK. Of these an estimated 80 per cent were imported. Supermarkets want apples that travel and store well. They require apples that are uniform in shape and colour, free from the lumps and bumps typical of an organic, heirloom variety. France, New Zealand and South Africa supplied two-thirds of these imports, with the United States following a close fourth. This means that, from tree to mouth, some apples travelled around 20,000 kilometres. Meanwhile, since 1970, about two-thirds of apple orchards in the UK have been torn out. The land has been converted to production eligible for subsidies: wheat, meat, milk. Most remaining orchards are managed intensively and produce only a few types of apple. Fortunately, people are rediscovering our disappearing apple heritage. Several organisations now promote local varieties of apples and provide information on where to buy them and how to grow them. A national Apple Day is celebrated in towns and villages around the country every year in October. Reviving local production of heirloom varieties is good for the ecosystem: traditionally managed orchards support twice the number of birds and a greater range of species than intensively managed ones. Buying local apples is good for the local economy. And, it turns out, eating them is good for our health. Recent research has shown that old varieties of fruits and vegetables contain significantly higher levels of salvestrols — a potent cancer-fighting compound — than modern hybrids. So enjoy a local apple a day and revive the local economy, protect the environment and…keep the doctor away.
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Helena Norberg-Hodge References Philip Bicknell. US Apple Exports to UK Timed for December. USDA FAS Worldwide. December 2005. www.fas.usda.gov/info/fasworldwide/2005/122005/UKApples.htm Apple Day, Community Orchards. Commonground. http://www. commonground.org.uk/appleday/a-corc.html The Pear Essentials and How Green are our Apples. Sustain, September 18, 2006. http://www.sustainweb.org/page.php?id=147 Loise Atkinson, You’re Eating the Wrong Fruit and Veg. Daily Mail. 10 July 2006 www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/health/dietfitness.html?in_article_ id=393956&in_page_id=1798
global issues required inputs within reach, without having to pay for them, whereas farmers who are forced to produce monocultures are dependent on ever more expensive inputs. A strong local food economy also provides farmers with the opportunity to diversify into value-added products. Local production is also often conducive to a gradual reduction in the use of artificial chemicals and other toxic substances. Food sold locally does not need to contain preservatives or additives as it isn’t transported vast distances. In addition, when we produce food locally, we do not need to subject the land to the conformist rigours of centralised monoculture, eradicating competing plants, birds, insects and other animals. By promoting multicultures for local production, we allow people and nature space to move and breathe: diverse people, plants and animals regain their place in local ecosystems. The local food economy is the root and fibre of the entire rural economy, Photo courtesy of Santos, Byron Bay and Mullumbimby
The most important thing to remember is that we do have the power to change things. The destructive, global economy can only exist as long as we are prepared to accept and subsidise it. and efforts to strengthen it thus have systemic benefits that reach far beyond the local good chain itself. A complicated web of interdependence, comprising farmers, farm shops, small retailers and small wholesalers, and spreading out from farming into all of its allied trades, underpins the economy of the market towns and villages, their trades people, bankers and other professional service providers. Simple steps towards closer links between farmers and consumers are thus helping to rebuild community, enhance human health and restore ecological balance. In joining the local food movement we take an apparently small step that is good for ourselves and our families. At the same time we also make a very real contribution towards preserving biodiversity, the environment in general and regional distinctiveness, while protecting jobs and rural livelihoods. This is true not only in the industrialised world, but particularly in ‘developing’ countries, where often as much as 80 per cent of the population lives by farming, forestry or fishing.
Localising in the developing world Now that consumers in the West are becoming more aware of the importance of local food and are supporting it through their buying habits, we are seeing the inevitable backlash. Supporters of the globalisation model have argued that localisation is elitist. They accuse people supporting their local economy of selfishly hording their money and not ‘sharing’ it with people in the developing world. They say we should buy green beans from Kenya and rice from Thailand so they have an income. I even read, in a popular newspaper, that as
consumers in the West, we ought to buy clothes produced in sweatshops. If we don’t then these workers will have to go back to the horror of working in the fields. It is impossible to see the logic in this having spent so many years working in developing countries where I witnessed the all-pervasive destruction wrought by the global development model. In Ladakh, a remote region in the Indian Himalayas, I have worked with local groups for the last two decades to help them make informed decisions in the face of rapid economic and cultural change. As the local economy was systematically dismantled by outside forces, the Ladakhis lost the stability that local production had provided for centuries. The combination of economic restructuring, tourism, Western-style education and subsidised imported food, forced young people off the land and into the city to compete for scarce jobs. Where there had been prosperity and peacefulness for many centuries, suddenly there was unemployment, poverty, crime and ethnic violence. In this case, and in many other places throughout the developing world, globalisation is essentially a process of slumification. It is ignorant to suggest that people are better off working 16-hour days in a dark, airless factory producing goods for our consumer appetites than producing food for themselves and their communities. Producing cash crops for export occupies precious, fertile land that could otherwise be used to feed the local population. The drive towards large-scale production pushes small producers off the land in many developing countries and often creates local food shortages. Ensuring that land and fisheries remain in the hands of small producers concerned with producing for the local market is a better guarantee of food security, economic health and ecological sustainability than large-scale export-oriented production. Developing countries don’t have to take the same path we have tread. We have put ourselves on a global suicide course by following the current development model with its voracious appetite for oil. In the south, they still have the opportunity to leap-frog the fossil fuel stage and implement
Reasons to Buy Local
Locally-grown organic fruits and vegetables are usually harvested within 24 hours of being purchased by the consumer. Produce from California can’t be that fresh.
9. Environmental Protection
2. Taste Produce picked and eaten at the height of freshness tastes better.
3. Nutrition Nutritional value declines, often dramatically, as time passes after harvest. Because locally-grown produce is freshest, it is more nutritionally complete.
Soil erosion; pesticide contamination of soil, air, and water; nitrate loading of waterways and wells; and elimination of planetary biodiversity are some of the problems associated with today’s predominate farming methods. Organic growers use practices that protect soil, air, and water resources; and that promote biodiversity.
10. Cost Conventional food processes don’t reflect the hidden costs of the environmental, health and social consequences of predominant production practices — of, for instance, correcting a water supply polluted by agricultural runoff, or obtaining medical treatment for pesticide-induced illness suffered by farmers or consumers. When these and other hidden costs are taken into account, as they should be, locally-grown organic foods are seen clearly for the value they are, even if they cost a few pennies more.
4. Purity Eighty per cent of American adults say they are concerned about the safety of the food they eat. They worry about residues of pesticides and fungicides. These materials are not permitted in an organic production system either before or after harvest.
5. Regional Economic Health Buying locally-grown food keeps money within the community. This contributes to the health of all sectors of the local economy, increasing the local quality of life.
agriculture. Organic production systems do not rely upon the input of petroleum-derived fertilisers and pesticides and thus save energy at the farm. Buying from local producers conserves additional energy at the distribution level.
Photo courtesy of Santos, Byron Bay and Mullumbimby
6. Variety Organic farmers selling locally are not limited to the few varieties that are bred for long-distance shipping, high yields, and shelf life. Often they raise and sell wonderful unusual varieties you will never find on supermarket shelves.
7. Soil Stewardship Soil health is essential for the survival of our species. Conventional farming practices are rapidly depleting topsoil fertility. Creating and sustaining soil fertility is the major objective for organic growers.
11. A Step Towards Regional Food SelfReliance
Dependency on faraway food sources leaves a region vulnerable to supply disruptions, and removes any real accountability of producer to consumer. It also tends to promote larger, less diversified farms that hurt both the environment and local economies/communities. Regional food production systems, on the other hand, keep the food supply in the hands of many, providing interesting job and self-employment opportunities, and enabling people to influence how their food is grown.
12. Passing on the Stewardship Ethic
8. Energy Conservation
When you buy locally-produced organic food you cannot help but raise the consciousness of your friends and family about how food buying decisions can make a difference in your life and the life of your community; and about how this basic act is connected to planetary issues.
Buying locally-grown organic foods decreases dependence on petroleum, a non-renewable energy source. One-fifth of all petroleum now used in the United States is used in
With thanks to the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association.
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community sustainable living optimal development ‘The rising tide of worldHow we treat the child, the child will wide violence treat the world. is the result Pam Leo of violating children from conception on. Basic research on this violation has been in for years, new information is continually coming in virtually none of which is disseminated to the public at large, while the violation of new life continues and grows. ‘Kindred magazine is the most direct, clear, accurate, informative and easily read journal on the infant–child issue of which I know, and such efforts at getting the word out are invaluable. Support of this journal is one of the most effective ways we can actively move on behalf of our children and species survival. These are serious times.’ - Joseph Chilton Pearce Author, Magical Child, Crack in the Cosmic Egg, Evolution’s End and The Biology of Transcendence
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a more sustainable system, which would include renewable energy and strong local food economies. Big business would like us to believe that diversifying and localising food production leads to inefficiency, job losses and economic hardship. The reality is that the opposite is true: as more of the wealth created by the community stays in the community, jobs are created locally and the prosperity of small business is secured.
Tipping the scales towards local production For local food systems to genuinely flourish and prosper and be replicated in large numbers around the world, changes at the policy level are clearly necessary. Current economic policies are artificially lowering the prices of industriallyproduced foods by shifting the costs of production onto the community. If people do not take these hidden subsidies into account, and do not challenge the economic basis of our current monocultural, export-based food system, they risk falling into the trap of arguing that consumers should pay more for better food — when, as farmers’ markets etc. show — they can actually pay less. This approach marginalises the poor and opens campaigners to charges of elitism. Furthermore, to overlook hidden subsidies is to miss a fantastic opportunity: if these resources were diverted towards decent agriculture and retailing, we could have better food at no extra cost at all. In fact, the price of fresh local food would come down. Recognising the global consequences of the economic system also gives agricultural and environmental groups common cause with those campaigning for social justice and the ‘Third World’. Access to fresh, healthy food is coming to be seen as a fundamental human right, and these diverse bodies are now beginning to join hands to demand a different set of economic priorities, and the redrawing of the global economic map. The most important thing to remember is that we do have the power to change things. The destructive, global economy can only exist as long as we are prepared to accept and subsidise it. We can reject it. We can start today by joining the local food movement and reap the wealth of benefits from re-linking farmers and consumers. Fresh, local food for all may be one of the most rewarding — and certainly the most delicious — results of localisation. n Helena Norberg-Hodge is a leading analyst on the impact of the global economy on cultures and agriculture worldwide. She is the founder director of the International Society for Ecology and Culture and author of the inspirational classic, Ancient Futures. In 1986 Helena received the Right Livelihood Award, or the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’ as recognition for her work. Notes * Food and Agriculture Organization, FAOSTAT, www.apps.fao.org. A similar pattern holds for many other commodities. In 1998, the UK imported 174,570 tons of bread, while exporting 148,710 tons; imported 21,979 tons of eggs and egg products, while exporting 30,604 tons; imported 158,294 tons of pork, while exporting 258,558 tons [Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Overseas Trade Data System, UK Trade Data in Food, Feed and Drink (London: MAFF, HMSO, July 1999)]. See also Caroline Lucas, Stopping the Great Food Swap: Relocalising Europe’s Food Supply, March 2001, The Pear Essentials and How Green are our Apples. Sustain, September 18, 2006. http://www.sustainweb.org/page.php?id=147 Alison Smith, et.al. The Validity of Food Miles as an Indicator of Sustainable Development: Final report. (UK: Defra, 2005) Jules Pretty and Tim Lang et al. Farm costs and food miles: an assessment of the full cost of the UK weekly food basket. Food Policy, 30 (1), 2005 Angela Groves, The Local and Regional Food Opportunity. (UK: Institute of Grocery Distribution, 2005). Carrot Fashion. Sustain, September 18, 2006. http://www.sustainweb.org/page. php?id=143
Professor Pangarai Tongoona, Ph.D. examines the maize fields of the African Centre for Crop Improvement (ACCI) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. July 2006. (Sharon Farmer/Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
The ‘Green Revolution’ Goes To Africa – another recipe for disaster? An Interview with Roy Steiner, Senior Program Manager, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation By Lisa Reagan
n the 12th of September, 2006, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation joined the Rockefeller Foundation in announcing the formation of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, AGRA, with an initial investment of $150 million. According to two of the world’s richest charities, the newly formed AGRA was built ‘on the work of the Rockefeller Foundation between the 1940s and 1960s’ and would ‘launch what is known as the “Green Revolution”, an effort that pioneered the historic transformation of farming methods in Latin America and South and Southeast Asia, helping to double food production and stave off widespread famine. Among the pioneers in this effort was plant pathologist Norman Borlaug, a Rockefeller Foundation scientist for 39 years, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work developing improved crop varieties and farm management practices and promoting their widespread use around the world.’ Detractors from the sanitised vision of the Green Revolution’s legacy believe it ultimately ‘led to reduced genetic diversity, increased vulnerability to pests, soil erosion, water shortages, reduced soil fertility, micronutrient deficiencies, soil contamination, reduced availability of nutritious food crops for the local population, the displacement of vast numbers of small farmers from their land, rural impoverishment and increased tensions and conflicts. The beneficiaries have been
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the agrochemical industry, large petrochemical companies, manufacturers of agricultural machinery, dam builders and large landowners. The “miracle” seeds of the Green Revolution have become mechanisms for breeding new pests and creating new diseases,’ according to Vandana Shiva, director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy in India [see sidebar What Happened When the Green Revolution Hit India]. Since 1997, following the Green Revolution’s shift from farmed-saved seed to corporate monopolies of the seed supply, farmers lost control of their indigenous seed crops and found themselves in debt to the seed companies. The seed companies maintained control by making their seeds dependent on their company’s fertilisers and pesticides. As debts increased and became unpayable, Indian farmers were, ‘compelled to sell kidneys or even commit suicide. More than 25,000 peasants in India have taken their lives… ‘Seed saving gives farmers life. Seed monopolies rob farmers of life,’ states Shiva in an essay, The Suicide Economy of Corporate Globalisation. According to Peter Rosse, PhD, the executive director of The Institute for Food and Development Policy, in the final analysis, the lessons of the Green Revolution, ‘taught us that increased food production can — and often does — go hand in hand with greater hunger. If the very basis of staying competitive in farming is buying expensive inputs, then wealthier farmers will inexorably win out over the poor, who are unlikely to find adequate employment to compensate for the loss of farming livelihoods. Hunger is not caused by a shortage of food, and cannot be eliminated by producing more.’ AGRA’s initial investment of $150 million — $100 million from the Gates Foundation and $50 million from the Rockefeller Foundation — will support AGRA’s Program for Africa’s Seed Systems (PASS). Specifically, PASS’ comprehensive program would: n Develop improved varieties of African crops n Train a new generation of African scientists n Insure improved seeds reached smallholder farms n Develop a network of 10,000 Africa Agro-dealers n Monitor, evaluate and manage PASS Official press materials state a goal of the new program would be ‘to develop a network of 10,000 Agro-dealers who can serve as conduits of seeds, fertilisers, chemicals and knowledge to smallholder farmers, and in doing so help increase their productivity and incomes’. In an interview with Kindred, Roy Steiner, a senior agricultural program manager for the Gates Foundation, stated the press materials were incorrect and denied the program would use chemicals or fertilisers. Nor would PASS develop or use genetically-engineered seeds. ‘Not that there is anything wrong with genetically-engineered seeds. Americans eat GE foods every day,’ said Steiner.
Steiner: Let’s not ignore the lessons of the past. That would be stupid. Let’s utilise those lessons so that we don’t have all of these unintended consequences. We do believe in using fertiliser, but would use micro-dosing — and combine it with good organic matter strategies. We want to approach this in an integrated matter. We learned the lessons of the old Green Revolution. This is the new Green Revolution. This is about empowering the African people. Kindred: In September 2005, at an invitation-only International Food Policy Research Institutes conference in
Washington DC, a paper presented by Peter Hazell and Xinshen Diao stated that supporting a green revolution in Africa was necessary because, ‘only then can the transition to industrialisation succeed’. Is a goal of AGRA to support the eventual industrialisation of the dozen African countries that have yet to be chosen?
The goal is to move people out of hunger and poverty and some people will move out with agriculture and some with industry. It will be up to the government to do this. There is no good reason why 800 million people are hungry every day of their life. This is not a program to industrialise any place. Although that will probably occur in many places because the quality of life will go up. They will never get to an economic place of sustainability without the agriculture piece.
Kindred: How would AGRA deal with global warming that is partly to blame for Sub-Saharan Africa’s decreasing ability to grow food?
Steiner:‘The climate is changing and that is a contributing factor. The conditions that it creates, more drought and variability, we can breed seeds for that and help people adjust, but this program is not the ultimate solution for that issue.
Kindred: The mission of AGRA states that its goal is to be environmentally and economically sustainable. How?
Steiner: By taking a very good agriculture that starts at the local level with farmers who understand the soil and work with their crop. We want to empower local African scientists to develop solutions for their people. Ultimately, it is up to Africa to find solutions for themselves. It won’t be outsiders.
How will the seed breeders pull seeds from international seed banks where seeds are being bought and patented by multinational seed companies — formerly chemical companies?
We are providing funding for African researchers to develop their own varieties. They can use germ plasm from public gene banks. There are no property issues because no one has patented any seed in Africa. Monsanto would have to go through each African country in order to patent the seed.
Kindred: How will the Green Revolution in Africa work differently than in India where thousands of farmers have killed themselves?
One of our programs is to create insurance programs for these farmers. One organisation has three million small customers that do micro-insurance and micro-credit. A vast majority of small holders need this if we are going to help them deal with the risk they are going to take. We need to start dealing with those issues and to create systems that deal with the poor with the vulnerable who are living life on the edge.
global issues at the seed giant, will apply the technology towards improving crop yields in regions including Sub-Saharan Africa, stated the release. Horsch’s role would not interact with the PASS program, which focuses on conventional breeding programs. ‘However the Gates Foundation funds many research programs and we are currently funding GMO research to develop biofortified staple crops — those with higher levels of vitamin A, vitamin E, etc to address the massive problems with micronutrient deficiencies in the developing world and Africa will hopefully be a beneficiary of this research. We will also be funding many other research projects in the future, some of which may involve genetic engineering. However, these will be separate from the PASS program,’ said Steiner in response to the Horsch hire. ‘Our funding decisions are determined by what we hope will have the most impact on hunger and poverty.’
Will the AGRA program use an organic and sustainable small farm model?
Those are the models we would like to see. The soil is a mystery. There is more life below the soil than above. So, we are starting with the seed and will move to soil improvements and vegetable production later.
Have you looked at sustainable models like those of Ecology Action, who are already in Kenya and who have submitted a proposal to the Gates Foundation?
Steiner: No. We just got started in May. Right now there is a staff of one and we are expanding to a staff of five. We are lucky to have a generous benefactor. But $150 million compared to the $36 billion spent on agriculture research a year is small. We are committed to the long term.
Lisa Reagan is the US Contributing Editor to Kindred.
What happened when the Green Revolution hit India India’s economy has grown at an average annual rate of 6.8 per cent since 1994, reducing poverty by 10 per cent. However, 40 per cent of the world’s poor live in India, and 28 per cent of the country’s population lives below the poverty line. More than one-third live on less than a dollar a day, and 80 per cent live on less than two dollars a day. India’s recent economic growth has been attributed to the service industry, but 60 per cent of the workforce remains in agriculture. The Indian Government was forced to reform its agricultural policy in the late 1960s when an imbalance in food imports was exacerbated by two years of drought in 1965 and 1966. The World Bank, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the US Agency for International Development chipped in assistance to develop high-yield rice and wheat ‘miracle seeds’. These seeds, combined with the Indian Government’s assistance with modern farm machinery, price incentives and a more efficient food distribution system, resulted in what came to be known as the Green Revolution. The new seeds and fertilisers worked for many: India’s food production rose from 72 million tons in 1965–66 to 152 million tons in 1983–84, eliminating the country’s dependence on food grain imports. In addition to their planting the new seeds, farmers’ use of chemical
Photo courtesy of Organic India
As this interview went to press, the Gates Foundation welcomed Monsanto vice president Robert Horsch as a senior program officer. Horsch, a scientist who led genetic engineering of plants
fertilisers jumped from 1.1 million tons to more than 12.5 million tons in the first decade of the Green Revolution, and irrigated land grew from 74 million acres in 1965–66 to 111 million acres in 1988–89. In the late 1980s, however, the Green Revolution began to fall apart as the chemical fertilisers rendered soil infertile. Farmers who had once diversified risk by growing as many as 30 different crops in their fields were dependent upon just one. As the quality of the soil deteriorated, they faced zero yields and an inability to pay their debts. Three years of drought beginning in 2001 further fuelled the crisis. Twenty-five thousand farmers have committed suicide under these circumstances since 1997. In the state of Andhra Pradesh alone, 4,500 farmers have committed suicide in the past seven years. This does not include the number of family members of farmers who have also killed themselves. From Harvesting Death, by Sarita Tukaram; CIA Factbook; Lonely Planet Guide: India; PBS; BBC.
Kindred News Family meal is good for everyone According to a decade-long study from the [US] National Centre on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), teens who regularly have meals with their family are less likely to get into fights, think about suicide, smoke, drink, use drugs, and are more likely to have later initiation of sexual activity, and better academic performance than teens who do not. Rutgers University anthropologist Robin Fox emphasises the importance of positive
intention in family meals.‘It’s like the American Indians. When they killed a deer, they said a prayer over it,’ says Fox. ‘That is civilisation. It is an act of politeness over food. Fast food has killed this. We have reduced eating to sitting alone and shovelling it in. There is no ceremony in it.’
The CASA study also showed that eating with parents is also an important factor for the nutrition and eating habits of adolescents, with research showing that family meals and parental presence at meals is associated with higher intake of fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. www.organicconsumers.org/2006/ article_752.cfm
Venezuela says no to GE Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has announced the most sweeping restrictions on genetically engineered crops in the western hemisphere. Chavez has called for a cancellation of all contracts with biotech companies and has declared that for the sake
of protecting the nation’s farmers, genetically engineered crops will not be allowed. www.organicconsumers.org/2006/article_ 1038.cfm
The 3 most dangerous ingredients in conventional foods A new book by Mike Adams, entitled Grocery Warning, takes a scientific look at a plethora of problematic ingredients in the everyday foods we eat. Here’s a sample: 1) Sodium nitrite — causes cancer, found in most processed meats like hot dogs, bacon, sausage. Used to make meats appear red (a colour fixer chemical). 2) Hydrogenated oils — causes heart disease, nutritional deficiencies, general deterioration of cellular health, and much more. Found in cookies, crackers, margarine and many ‘manufactured’ foods. Used to make oils stay in the food, extending shelf life. Sometimes also called ‘plastic fat’.
3) Excitotoxins — aspartame, monosodium glutamate (also known as yeast extract, torula yeast, autolysed vegetable protein and hydrolysed vegetable protein). These neurotoxic chemical additives directly harm nerve cells, over-exciting them to the point of cell death. They’re found in diet soda, canned soup, salad dressing, breakfast sausage and even many manufactured vegetarian foods. They’re used to add flavour to overprocessed, boring foods that have had the life cooked out of them. Remember, the longer the ingredient label, the less healthy the food. Read those ingredients lists before buying foods, and if
you discover chemical names that you can’t pronounce, don’t buy the food! www.truthpublishing.com/GroceryWarning.html
Respond to babies’ cries
The Australian Association for Infant Mental Health Inc. (AAIMHI) released a paper recently titled Responding to Babies Cues
that aims to increase public and professional awareness of the benefits of quick and appropriate responses to baby’s emotional cues. There is now a large body of research revealing that when a baby feels secure in his relationship with his caregiver there are many benefits, ranging from good coping skills to healthy self-esteem. If caregivers are able to read and respond appropriately to the cues that babies are giving them from birth onwards, this tells the child that they will get their needs met if they let someone know what they are wanting. If their attempts to communicate are repeatedly ignored they
may not continue to express their needs in a healthy manner. The position AAIMHI is taking in this paper is that it is important that professionals support parents in supporting attachment with their baby and that responding quickly and empathetically to their baby will have long-lasting positive effects on their child’s mental health. There are long-term psychological consequences to leaving a baby alone to cry on a regular basis. The paper can be found on the AAIMHI webpage www.aaimhi.org/polsSubs.htm
Childbirth revolution in the UK More women should have babies at home, not in hospital, says the UK Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt. Pregnant women are to be advised to give birth at home as part of a revolution in childbirth policy that will reverse decades of medical convention. In what is being billed as a historic shift in the politics of childbirth, doctors will be told to offer all pregnant women the chance to deliver their baby at home with the help of a midwife and their own choice of pain relief. The UK Government is planning a ‘strategic shift’ in childbirth policy away from hospital delivery and towards births in the reassuring
surroundings of home. It has commissioned research to support the case for home
births and ‘challenge the assumption that births should take place in hospitals’. The
Secretary of State wants to ‘demedicalise’ pregnancy and challenge the ‘presumption’ that birth should take place under the supervision of a doctor. A new report, expected to be published later this year, will warn that there has been little change in how expectant mothers are treated over the past decade and the UK shift plans to change that. www.news.independent.co.uk/uk/health_ medical/article448999.ece
Double maternity leave to two years, says Labor Mothers should have the right to ask for two years’ unpaid maternity leave — as they do in the United Kingdom — if they do not want to rush back to work, Opposition leader Kim Beazley said today. Announcing a range of childcare initiatives, Mr Beazley said it was a mark of a good society that mothers who wanted to work should be able to and those who chose not to were also given support. ‘I take a very simple approach to this problem.Women who want to work outside the home should always be able to,’ he said. ‘I think it’s terrible when families miss out on an income they rely on, and the economy
misses out on skills that are in short supply, just because of the cost and shortages of childcare.’ Mr Beazley said many parents don’t want to rush straight back to paid work after the birth of a baby. ‘In this country, around half of all mothers of children under five are home full time, and around another third are home part time. A lot of women believe the best thing for the children is if they can be at home in the early years,’ he said. ‘Fair enough, too. A good society is one which makes sure they can.’ Labor would allow employees to request two years’ unpaid maternity leave — plus
give them a right to return to work part time or with flexible hours.
w w w. t h e a u s t r a l i a n . n e w s . c o m . a u / story/0,20867,19939098-601,00.html#
Online naturopath Did you know you can reduce muscle pain with rosemary? Or that kelp can help with hair loss, cilantro can soothe a headache, and cherries can assist you in getting a better night’s sleep? NewsTarget and Truth Publishing have launched the internet’s largest free
searchable database of healing foods, herbs and nutrients. Look up any ailment and find a quick guide to treating the problem with everyday natural ingredients. www.healingfoodreference.com
Germs — are they cool? Some immunology experts are beginning to agree that germs that many parents bleach and disinfect out of existence might help children. ‘Hygiene hypothesis’ holds that when babies are exposed to germs, it helps them fight allergies and asthma later. The prevalence of allergies has increased substantially in the past 15 years, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and some experts believe that too much cleanliness might be a
contributing factor. Dr. Dennis Ownby, chief of allergy and immunology at the Medical College of Georgia, found in a study that babies in households with multiple pets have fewer allergies at age six or seven not just to animals, but also to ragweed, grass and dust mites. www.edition.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/ conditions/04/05/cohen.allergies/index.html
gprogressive lobal issues
The of Controlled Crying By Pinky McKay
Photo courtesy of http://www.istockphoto.com
ou may have heard the term ‘accidental parenting’, which implies that you, the parents, will inadvertently cause (or will cause) your baby to have sleeping difficulties if you encourage ‘bad habits’ such as letting your baby fall asleep in your arms or not following a strict regime of one sort or another. The truth is, there is no accident about how you feel when your baby calms and dozes in your arms, opening heavy eyelids to meet your gaze then perhaps giving a tiny smile before his eyes flutter shut again with delicate lashes resting against little pink cheeks, his warm body snuggled next to your own. Nor is it a sign of weakness or indulgence on your part that you can’t resist your baby’s cries to be soothed to
sleep. Rather, it is due to what scientists call the ‘chemistry of attachment’. This is a massive hormonal upheaval that begins during pregnancy, ensuring that you and your baby are chemically primed to fall in love when you meet each other face-to-face or rather, skinto-skin, at birth. It is nature’s insurance that your baby will signal for exactly the care she needs to grow and thrive and that your strong connection with her will help you understand and meet these needs as she adapts to the world outside the womb. During the last trimester of pregnancy your body brews a cocktail of hormones, and your pituitary gland, which produces this ‘mummy margarita’, doubles in size and remains enlarged for up to six months postpartum. This means that for
as long as six months after your baby is born, your emotional mindset will be irresistibly affected by shifting levels of hormones. This powerful hormonal hangover has such universally intense effects on mothers’ inner lives that it is documented by researchers under a variety of labels including ‘maternal preoccupation’ and ‘motherhood mindset’. If you can appreciate this new, responsive state as nature’s preparation for creating a synchrony between you and the instinctual world of your newborn, you will understand why there is such a struggle between the ‘logic’ of sleep training advice and your urge to respond to your baby. Two of the major players in this magical baby love potion are prolactin, a hormone that promotes milk production
I spent so much time trying to teach my first baby to sleep. I wished I’d spent it enjoying him. Megan Fathers, too, can succumb to the influence of these love drugs of family (not just baby) bonding (and you thought you were the ‘voice of reason’, didn’t you?). Men’s bodies are instinctively programmed to respond to their partners’ pheromones, which are steroid hormones made in our skin that emit barely detectable odours. Through closeness with your baby’s mother (and signals from her pheromones), your own oxytocin and prolactin levels rise towards the end of your partner’s pregnancy, and then, when your baby is born, an even greater surge of these hormones occurs when you spend lots of time holding your baby. And so a self-perpetuating cycle begins — close contact with your baby releases your own oxytocin and prolactin and encourages you to become more involved with your child. Whichever parent you are — and whether you are an adoptive parent or a same-sex partner — the more you connect with your baby through touch, eye contact, smell and talking, the stronger your connection will be and the more difficult you will find it to ignore your baby’s signals. And this is exactly as nature intended.
The ‘science’ of sleep training
and is often referred to as ‘the mothering hormone’ because of its calming effect that is said to make you more responsive to your baby; and oxytocin, also known as the ‘love hormone’. Oxytocin encourages feelings of caring and sensitivity to others and helps us to recognise non-verbal cues more readily. It is released during social contact as well as during love-making, but the release of oxytocin is especially pronounced with skin-to-skin contact. Oxytocin itself is part of a complex hormonal balance. A sudden release creates an urge towards loving that can be directed in different ways depending on the presence of other hormones. For example, with a high level of prolactin, which is released along with oxytocin during breastfeeding, the urge to love is directed towards your baby.
Although many baby sleep trainers claim there is no evidence of harm from practices such as controlled crying, it is worth noting that there is a vast difference between ‘no evidence of harm’ and ‘evidence of no harm’. A policy statement on controlled crying issued by the Australian Association of Infant Mental Health (AAIMHI) advises, ‘Controlled crying is not consistent with what infants need for their optimal emotional and psychological health, and may have unintended negative consequences.’ According to AAIMHI, ‘There have been no studies, such as sleep laboratory studies, to our knowledge, that assess the physiological stress levels of infants who undergo controlled crying, or its emotional or psychological impact on the developing child.’ Despite the popularity of controlled crying, it is not an evidence-based practice. In a talk at the International Association of Infant Mental Health 9th
World Congress held in Melbourne in 2004, Professor James McKenna, director of the Mother–Baby Behavioural Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, and acclaimed SIDS expert, described controlled crying as ‘social ideology masquerading as science’. What this means is that despite a plethora of opinions on how long you should leave your baby to cry in order to train her to sleep, nobody has studied exactly how long it is safe to leave a baby to cry, if at all. Babies who are forced to sleep alone (or cry, because many do not sleep) for hours may miss out on both adequate nutrition and sensory stimulation such as touch, which is as important as food for infant development. Leaving a baby to ‘cry it out’ in order to enforce a strict routine when the baby may, in fact, be hungry, is similar to expecting an adult to adopt a strenuous exercise program accompanied by a reduced food intake. The result of expending energy through crying while being deprived of food is likely to be weight loss and failure to thrive. Paediatrician William Sears has claimed that ‘babies who are “trained” not to express their needs may appear to be docile, compliant or “good” babies. Yet, these babies could be depressed babies who are shutting down the expression of their needs.’ Babies can indeed be ‘brand new and blue’ with an actual diagnosis of clinical depression. Often the predisposing conditions for depression in infants are beyond our control, such as trauma due to early hospitalisation and medical treatments. However, if we consider the baby’s perspective, it is easy to understand how extremely rigid regimes can also be associated with infant depression and why it isn’t worth risking, especially if your child has already experienced early separation. You too would withdraw and become sad if the people you loved avoided eye contact, as some sleep training techniques advise, and repeatedly ignored your cries. Leaving a baby to cry evokes physiological responses that increase stress hormones. Crying infants
progressive parenting experience an increase in heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure. These reactions are likely to result in overheating and, along with vomiting due to extreme distress, could pose a potential risk of SIDS in vulnerable infants. There may also be longer-term emotional effects. Babies need our help to learn how to regulate their emotions, meaning that when we respond to and soothe their cries, we help them understand that when they are upset, they can calm down. On the other hand, when infants are left alone to cry it out, they fail to develop the understanding that they can regulate their own emotions. There is also compelling evidence that increased levels of stress hormones may cause permanent changes in the stress responses of the infant’s developing brain. These changes then affect memory, attention, and emotion, and can trigger an elevated response to stress throughout life, including a predisposition to later anxiety and depressive disorders. English psychotherapist Sue Gerhardt, author of Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby’s Brain explains that when a baby is upset, the hypothalamus produces cortisol. In normal amounts cortisol is fine, but if a baby is exposed for too long or too often to stressful situations (such as being left to cry) its brain becomes flooded with cortisol and it will then either over- or under-produce cortisol whenever the child is exposed to stress. Too much cortisol is linked to depression and fearfulness; too little to emotional detachment and aggression. Stress levels in infancy may have implications for learning, too. While it seems fairly obvious that a calm baby will be available for learning, studies have shown that children with the lowest scores on mental and motor ability tests were those with the highest cortisol levels in their blood. There is also research showing that children with anxiety disorders have a higher level of sleep difficulties as infants. Although these studies weren’t about controlled crying and I am making no direct connection, my point is that perhaps some of the babies who are presenting with sleep difficulties are infants who need extra help to regulate
their emotions or are more sensitive to stress, so it is possible that these little people would be more at risk if they were exposed to controlled crying. One of the arguments for using controlled crying is that it ‘works’, but perhaps the definition of success needs to be examined more closely. In the small number of studies undertaken, while most babies will indeed stop waking when they are left to cry, ‘success’ varies from an extra hour’s sleep each night to little difference between babies who underwent sleep training and those who
refused all physical contact from me. If he hurts himself, he goes to his older brother (a preschooler) for comfort. I feel devastated that I have betrayed my child. Sonia It is the very principle that makes controlled crying ‘work’ that is of greatest concern: when controlled crying ‘succeeds’ in teaching a baby to fall asleep alone, it is due to a process that neurobiologist Bruce Perry calls the ‘defeat response’. Normally, when humans feel threatened, our bodies flood with stress hormones and we go into ‘fight’ or ‘flight’. However, babies can’t fight and they can’t flee, so they communicate their distress by crying. When infant cries are ignored, this trauma elicits a ‘freeze’ or ‘defeat’ response. Babies eventually abandon their crying as the nervous system shuts down the emotional pain and the striving to reach out. One explanation for the success of ‘crying it out’ is that when an infant’s defeat response is triggered often enough, the child will become habituated to this. That is, each time the child is left to cry, he ‘switches’ more quickly to this response. This is why babies may cry for say, an hour the first night, twenty minutes the following night and fall asleep almost immediately on the third night (if you are ‘lucky’). They are ‘switching off’ (and sleeping) more quickly, not learning a legitimate skill. Whether sleep ‘success’ is due to behavioural principles (that is, a lack of ‘rewards’ when baby wakes) or whether the baby is overwhelmed by a stress reaction, the saddest risk of all is that as he tries to communicate in the only way available to him, the baby who is left to cry in order to teach him to sleep will learn a much crueller lesson — that he cannot make a difference, so what is the point of reaching out. This is learned helplessness. n
When infant cries are ignored, this trauma elicits a ‘freeze’ or ‘defeat’ response. Babies eventually abandon their crying as the nervous system shuts down the emotional pain and the striving to reach out.
didn’t, eight weeks later. Some studies found that up to one-third of the babies who underwent controlled crying ‘failed sleep school’. A recent Australian baby magazine survey revealed that although 57 per cent of mothers who responded to the survey had tried controlled crying, 27 per cent reported no success, 27 per cent found it worked for one or two nights, and only 8 per cent found that controlled crying worked for longer than a week. To me, this suggests that even if harsher regimes work initially, babies are likely to start waking again as they reach new developmental stages or, conversely, they may become more settled and sleep (without any intervention) as they reach appropriate developmental levels. Controlled crying and other similar regimes may indeed work to produce a self-soothing, solitary sleeping infant. However, the trade-off could be an anxious, clingy or hyper-vigilant child or even worse, a child whose trust is broken. Unfortunately, we can’t measure attributes such as trust and empathy which are the basic skills for forming all relationships. We can’t, for instance, give a child a trust quotient like we can give him an intelligence quotient. One of the saddest emails I have received was from a mother who did controlled crying with her one-year-old toddler. After a week of controlled crying he slept, but he stopped talking (he was saying single words). For the past year, he has
This is an edited extract from Sleeping Like a Baby by Pinky McKay (Penguin). Pinky is a certified lactation consultant, infant massage instructor and mother of five. Visit her website www.pinky-mychild.com
t! nA ler Act io
Victorian Government to Fund Controlled Crying Education to Nurses
A singular study by Melbourne paediatrician Harriet Hiscock, which summarises that postnatal depression can be reduced by teaching parents sleep training techniques, has spurred the Victorian Government to train 200 maternal and child health nurses to teach the techniques, including controlled crying, across Victoria. However, evidence as to the psychological and emotional dangers associated with controlled crying (also known as ‘controlled comforting’) is considerable. Early childhood experts around Australia are outraged by the government’s move, stating that the singular Hiscock paper endorsing vontrolled vrying has limited scope and provides no adequate rationale for its use in public policy. ‘The paper suggests treating the baby for symptoms suffered by the mother (post-natal depression — PND), and I must question the validity of this idea,’ said Robin Grille, a Sydney-based psychologist and author of Parenting for a Peaceful World. The paper does not question whether decreased rates of PND are a result of receiving basic support and assistance, rather than the settling techniques themselves. While PND is a concern for health authorities, early childhood professionals question if exposing babies to increased stress levels and emotional turmoil through controlled crying is really the best long-term solution for everyone. ‘There are no studies demonstrating the safety of controlled comforting for the baby. The wholesale use of this technique therefore violates the precautionary principle,’ says Grille. ‘Whatever we do to save the mother’s mental health should first and foremost not
be damaging to the baby.’ The Australian Association for Infant Mental Health (AAIMHI), the foremost authority on infant mental wellbeing, and many other baby-sleep experts such as Pinky McKay and Elizabeth Pantley have been working hard to promote safe baby-settling techniques that are entirely unlike the potentially toxic controlled crying.
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What you can do Write to the Victorian Government and tell them your concern. Tell them to go to the AAIMHI website and read their ‘Position Paper #1’, warning against the use of controlled crying at www.aaimhi.org/polsSubs. htm (click on ‘controlled crying’ paper). You may like to cite information from the preceding article. More information is also available at the website of the leading international expert on baby-sleep, Dr James McKenna, www.nd.edu/~jmckenn1/ lab/index.html’
Write to: • Steve Bracks: Victorian Premier firstname.lastname@example.org • Bronwyn Pike: Minister of Health email@example.com. au • Sherryl Garbutt: Minister of the Office of Children firstname.lastname@example.org. au • Gill Callister:EO of the Department of Human Service email@example.com
151 Clovelly Road Clovelly NSW 2031 P: 02 9398 7338 M: 0422 351 177 firstname.lastname@example.org www.naturalfrombirth.com.au
Remember, it doesn’t matter if you live in another state — your voice to the Victorian Government will make a difference!
Christmas Gifts from the Heart By Tessa Hoffman Sick of Christmas meaning obligatory joining of shopping queues in a frenzy of consumerism with the subsequent piles of discarded wrapping paper and broken plastic novelty toys headed for the nearest landfill? Why not buy into the true spirit of Christmas by giving something that gives to others as well as your loved ones? Here are five gift ideas to stimulate your imagination and ensure Christmas is a meaningful experience for all involved.You can phone for a catalogue, or shop online.
Give a rainforest
Indigenous arts and crafts Buying Aboriginal art and craft is a way to directly assist Indigenous communities in ensuring continuity of their culture. But as misappropriation is rife in the business, with dijeridoos now being made in China and Indonesia, it is essential to know your money is reaching the artist. You can do this by buying from one of the many Aboriginal owned and run art cooperatives around Australia, some of whom have online stores, such as Kaltjiti arts. Located in Fregon, in remote Northwest SA, artists from this community make a variety of artwork: pillow covers, rugs, paintings and etchings all featuring fabulous colourful designs. For a very affordable gift,
Buy and protect one of Australiaâ€™s most precious assets by giving a Daintree Gift Card to someone you love.You can buy 10 square metres of precious biodiversity for only $20. Rainforest Rescue, a not-for-profit organisation, have ongoing projects that buy land to protect the Daintree Rainforest from development. So far they have purchased and converted seven properties into nature reserves. If you would prefer your gift to reach further afield, they also offer Gift Cards that buy and protect forest in one of the worldâ€™s most biodiverse regions, Ecuador, starting from $50. www.rainforestrescue.org.au or call (07) 38708233
check out their papier mache boxes that are the product of a cross cultural collaboration between themselves and aristans in Kashmir. The boxes come
in various sizes starting at $12.30 and add a personal touch by featuring a photo and details of the artist who owns the design. www.kaltjitiarts.com.au Phone: (08) 8448698 If you would like further information on how to make sure your money is going directly to the artist when you purchase the Aboriginal art and craft, check out the website: www.arttrade.com
Photo by John Sones/OxfamAUS
Oxfam have long been running international aid projects in some of the world’s poorest places. With a Christmas gift that costs just $19 you can feed a child for one month, or buy enough soap for 10 families for $18. When you purchase a gift card, it will be sent to your loved one with details of what their Christmas present will buy. Be quick, the goats have already sold out! www.oxfamunwrapped.com.au Phone: 1800 034 034
A goat? A water well? Similar to Oxfam,TEAR Australia sell gift cards to help the world’s poorest and marginalised groups. It offers ‘arguably the world’s most useful gift catalogue’ which
contains ‘the most practical response to global poverty and over-consumption’. Inside you can buy 22 different gift cards that support many aid projects. For as little as $5 you can buy school supplies for a child in Pakistan, $10 buys a mosquito net which will help stop one person from contracting deadly malaria or for $50 you can provide a family with a goat. www.tear.org.au Phone: 1800244 986
Do it your way Instead of spending money, spend your quality time! Giving of yourself provides a meaningful Christmas present for friends, family or neighbours while combating senseless consumerism. Create DIY vouchers offering your unique services: you could offer to take your friend’s kids on a fishing or camping trip, or a couple of hours of basketball. Cook dinner for that tired single mum down the road or give her a baby-sitting voucher. Rest assured it is likely that this kind of gift will be met with embarrassed smiles and over enthusiastic thankyou’s! Tessa Hoffman is a writer, earth-lover, singersongwriter, aspiring actress and mother of a wildly imaginative three-year-old. She lives amongst the rainbows and eccentricities of the Far North Coast of NSW where she is completing studies in journalism. Tessa writes to explore and communicate issues close to her heart: those of social justice, environmental concern and progressive human evolution.
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Nina’s Birth By Ann Boon
11th April, 2005 4.27pm at home in the soft afternoon light
ou’re brave! That’s one of the most common reactions I get when people hear that our second daughter Nina was born at home. It’s probably what I would have said too before I experienced it first hand. Having Nina at home meant that I had no unnecessary interventions during labour and trusted my own body to give birth in its own way. It meant that I took responsibility for the birth instead of handing over that responsibility to someone else. Having experienced a hospital birth and a home birth, now I think it’s brave to go to hospital. Nina’s birth story really begins with her elder sister Ella’s birth almost three years previously. Ella’s birth took place in a private hospital. I loved the experience and was amazed at the reality of having given birth to my beautiful, precious girl. I had done much of the labouring at home where I was able to follow my instincts and get through the contractions by breathing and relaxing through each one. Arriving at hospital already 6cm dilated, I got onto all fours on the bed and buried my head in a
beanbag to block out outside stimuli. When my obstetrician arrived she broke my waters and put a scalp electrode on Ella’s head to monitor her heartbeat. I continued to labour on all fours. At transition my obstetrician wanted me to move into an upright kneeling posture but I couldn’t cope with changing position at that crucial moment in the labour. I found it too overwhelming to kneel upright as she was suggesting, so she suggested I lie on my side to give birth. With the encouragement of my obstetrician and midwife, I was coached to push and strain. After about 15 minutes the monitor showed the baby’s heartbeat drop so my obstetrician decided to extract Ella with a ventouse. At the time I was grateful for the ‘help’ and felt elated that the labour had been drug-free. When I got pregnant with Nina, I ordered some books from Birth International including, Your Birth Rights by Pat Thomas and The Scientification of Love by Michel Odent. I was not long pregnant when I started reading Your Birth Rights, and before I had finished
the first chapter, it dawned on me that despite Ella’s birth being drug-free, I had in fact had three major interventions, which the author explained were typical of the hospital system and possibly unnecessary. They were: 1) as soon as the obstetrician arrived she broke my waters 2) she attached a scalp electrode to monitor Ella’s heartbeat 3) Ella was extracted by ventouse when her heartbeat dropped after 15 minutes of second stage labour Regarding the scalp electrode, Pat Thomas wrote, ‘This form of monitoring should never be used in a normal labour. That rang alarm bells for me. She continued, ‘This is a very invasive form of monitoring. Early, artificial rupture of the membranes, which must be done to attach the electrode, increases the risk of infection and increases pressure on the baby’s head throughout labour and particularly during the second, “pushing” stage. It also makes contractions longer, more intense and more painful. There is some evidence that hooking the monitor into the scalp is painful for the
Photo courtesy of Ann Boon
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baby. Full mobility for the mother is not possible.”1 I said to my husband Cameron, ‘I think I might have this baby at home’. At the time, however, I was not completely committed or confident and Cameron was a little tentative so I let the matter rest. I tried to get into the Birth Centre at the Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital but didn’t get in at the first round. So I decided to book in with the Royal as a public patient because I was sure I would get into the Birth Centre by the time it came to have the baby. Visits to the hospital involved a long waiting period and then a very short consultation with a midwife or an obstetrician. At my 30 week visit, we discussed my birth plan and the midwife agreed that minimal intervention and active birth were best, but she confided that even with the best of intentions, there was no guarantee that when I got to hospital there would be no intervention. She looked me in the eye and said, ‘Why don’t you have this baby at home?’ She did me the greatest favour but at the time, I came home feeling frustrated and emotional. I wanted the hospital to provide the service I had envisaged but I had to accept that it would or could not. I wanted ‘them’ to take responsibility for my baby’s birth when really that was up to me. The midwife’s words were exactly the boost I needed to take responsibility for my own labour and my own wish to have a natural birth. I started investigating home birth midwives and found Lianne Schwartz. Cameron describes her as part human but mostly angel. She returned my call straight away and was one of the few registered home birth midwives who was available. We spoke at length and she suggested we meet before we make the decision. From the start it felt right to all of us and an important indicator was how Ella responded so positively to her. I looked forward to my visits with Lianne so much. She was knowledgeable, respectful and she gave me the confidence to give birth as nature intended, with no intervention, just loving support. It was very empowering. At 34 weeks, I was lucky enough to attend a conference hosted by Birth International where Michel Odent was keynote speaker. As fate would have it, I sat next to him at lunch. His advice was to stop reading, to spend time in nature, to connect with my body and spirit, to disconnect from my intellect, and let my instincts take over. It boosted my confidence to learn
that 80–90 per cent of pregnancies and births in Australia should be problem free if allowed to proceed without unnecessary intervention. It amazes and saddens me that the medical model of birth predominates in our country, when in fact it is interventionist, invasive and leads to more problems for women than it solves. In a wonderful book called Having a Great Birth in Australia, edited by David Vernon, the foreword by Dr Sally Tracy eloquently explains everything about medical birth that I had experienced first time round. She says, ‘It doesn’t matter if you have a healthy strong pregnancy; the way the system is managed in Australia at the moment actually puts women at risk of interventions if they have private obstetric care rather than public hospital care.’2 My wish for Nina’s birth was that I would avoid any unnecessary medical intervention and labour by myself. Ella’s birth, my subsequent research and having Lianne as my midwife gave me the confidence to proceed with Nina’s birth at home. I was keen to experience the innate power stored in my body to give birth unassisted. And to welcome Nina in an atmosphere of love, not fear.
The Birth Itself Nina was due on the 8th April 2005, but the day came and went with no sign of her arrival. It is the strangest feeling of being in limbo but we were prepared this time, having experienced the same thing with Ella. About 10.30am on the morning of the 11th April, I was experiencing contractions every 20 minutes or so, albeit very mildly. About 2pm my waters broke with the subtlest sensation. I ran the bath and got in and immediately everything intensified. Contractions speeded up incredibly quickly and within minutes I could hardly speak. I felt like pushing already, a sensation I had not had with Ella’s birth. I got onto all fours and I could literally feel a large channel opening up within me with each contraction. It was amazing, intense and slightly scary although I did feel very focused. I really had to concentrate hard not to push but my body was taking the lead with no regard for my brain. I moved into the room we had prepared for the birth (complete with birth pool) and resumed the all fours position with a beanbag supporting my weight. The contractions were already much more intense than I had expected and I did start to panic that I wouldn’t be able to get through them. Cameron
quietly and instinctively soothed me through them and he knew exactly the right thing to say. He had faith that my body would know what to do and he was very calm and solid as a rock for me. Then Lianne arrived and through the labour haze I felt relief that she was there. She came quietly into the room and was instantly at my side, speaking quietly. She told me I could get into the birth pool but I felt in control in that all fours position and knew my focus would be lost if I moved. This baby was surging towards being born and it was happening very quickly and powerfully and needed no assistance. It was less than half an hour later that Nina was born. She came in four orgasmic bodily contractions, just as I had read was possible and had hoped would happen. My body did everything — I had no mind control at all. The contraction came and as it progressed a huge wave passed through my body which pushed all of its own accord. No straining to intellectually ‘push’. Even if I’d tried I wouldn’t have been able to stop that force. Nina was born strongly, gently and peacefully into Cameron’s loving hands. He passed her through to me and there she was, our little Nina, another beautiful, precious but very different girl. My nostrils were thick with the scent of birth, an earthy smell that I love and can compare to no other. I love the rich feeling of connection to the earth that giving birth to my two children has given me. I feel so lucky to have experienced the life-force working its natural rhythm through me. It’s intimate, life changing and momentous. Thank you, Nina, and thank you, Ella. And thank you, Cameron, for bringing to me a life with children — the greatest riches of all. That first magical night of Nina’s life I remember lying awake listening to her newborn snuffling and feeling her snuggled up next to me, safe and sound, at home. Ella said, ‘Now everyone in our family is here’ and there we all were, basking together in the warm, loving glow of our own private sanctuary with a new daughter, a new sister, a new life and a new beginning. Cameron and I feel enormously grateful for our midwife Lianne’s gentle care and generosity of spirit. She nurtured our family through pregnancy, birth and the first six weeks and helped us give Nina a brilliant start in life. If only every birthing woman and their family could enjoy such nurturing.
Ann Boon lives in Brisbane with her husband, Cameron and their daughters, Ella and Nina. The transformative process of birthing and raising these beautiful children is currently the central theme of her life. References Janet Balaskas, New Active Birth, HarperCollins, London, 1989. Janet Balaskas, The Water Birth Book, Thorsons, London, 2004. Terri Benstead, Tanya Goldie & Lianne Schwartz, Having a Beautiful Birth Michel Odent, The Scientification of Love, Free
Association Books, London, 2001. Shivam Rachana, Lotus Birth, Greenwood Press, Yarra Glen, Victoria, 2000. Pauline Scott, Sit Up and Take Notice – Positioning yourself for a better birth, Great Scott Publishing, Tauranga NZ, 2003. Pat Thomas, Your Birth Rights, The Women’s Press Ltd, London, 2002. David Vernon, Having a Great Birth in Australia, Australian College of Midwives, Canberra, 2005. Videos Vicki Chan & Nic Edmondstone – In a Simple Way, a Child is Born
Kindred books Raising Babies — Should Under 3s go to nursery? Steve Biddulph This controversial and plain speaking text tackles the awkward topic of whether children should go to daycare under 3 years of age. Depending on your reaction to the research, it may even confront your whole lifestyle. The two issues are so linked that one cannot affect the other. No reader will be unaffected by what you read here. If you are on the brink of a decision about childcare and could actually live without it, you may want to read this book first. There is a lot of qualified research such as the measured levels of the hormone cortisol and how the levels are very different in care to how they are at home. This exemplifies the abnormal stress levels that babies may experience in care. This book does not argue that childcare is no good, though some will read it that way. Ultimately, it tells you some very interesting research and helps you make your own decisions. $37.90 inc p&h www.kindredmagazine.com.au - go to the Book Shop
Men at Birth Edited by David Vernon How refreshing to hear men’s voices, both their emotional and intellectual reactions to birth. For first-time fathers, this will help demystify birth and give voice to the thoughts and fears that you may have before, during and after birth. With men so fully embracing the experience of birth nowadays, this is a very important work that will help create debate and conversation flow as it should. A must for professionals and libraries to share with their fathers 2B. A gorgeous gift for expectant fathers that will create fruitful discussion in any partnership. RRP $29.95 Enquiries to: www.acmi.org.au Moontime Diary 2007 These women have done all the hard work for you and you just have to look at the diary every day to be in tune with the moon. Each day has a gem of information from when to cut your hair, nails, garden, go slow, do business and how to choose a day that will best benefit your goals with
all these things and more! I can’t possibly describe every great thing they have listed in this diary but you can linger and absorb the gems over a cup of tea or have a quick look in the morning before you plan your week. I like that flexibility. Highly recommended. RRP $29.95 firstname.lastname@example.org
My Brother Jimmy Jazz Chrissy Butler A delightful children’s book with vibrant illustrations anticipating the soon to be birth of a little girl’s baby brother. The mother is preparing her cloth nappies and helps her daughter connect with the baby to be. The family sleeps in the bed together, preparing a special co-sleeper for the little boy, Jimmy Jazz, who eventually arrives in a beautiful home birth. Dad is busy being practical and mum sings her birthing song. The illustrations are so delightful you can stare at them for hours by themselves, including a magic placenta! The story is short and will be loved by 2 year olds and
42 year olds and all ages between and beyond. Absolutely delightful! RRP $20 www.natureschild.com.au
Sita Ram Nyck Jeans and Rachel Zinman A CD of devotional chants first seemed out of place to be reviewing but as I put the first track on, my kids who had been going crazy for the past half-hour with little I could say to dampen their wildness, suddenly stopped and started a jigsaw puzzle together. They hummed along to the chants and found a quiet place that allowed bedtime to flow easily from that point. It reminded me of the power of music for our children (even 9 and 11years old as mine are) and their recognition especially of sacred music. 16 tracks, all beautiful melodies, calming voices and lovely arrangements. The chants are in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India, bringing healing and lightness, and a depth of relaxation and meditation. Enjoy the peace and stillness it can create for your environment. RRP $29.95 http://inspirational-music.net
Books reviewed on this page by Jannine Barron are held in the Kindred community library at Nature’s Child 102 Centennial Ct, Byron Arts and Industry estate. Got a book or CD you want reviewed that fits our magazine philosophy? Post a copy with sales details to Kindred, PO Box 971, Mullumbimby, NSW 2482. Kindred 62
Kindred health wellbeing With Jacinta and Elvian at Mullum Herbals
Overweight and undernourished? Are we feeding our children the food that they really need for optimal health?
Data from NSW [Australia] health studies show that childhood obesity is growing. Over the last 20 years, rates of obesity in children have risen in countries all over the world. Children who are overweight may experience feelings of fatigue, worthlessness and may be at greater risk of diabetes and heart disease. What is it that we are doing or not doing for our kids to encourage healthy lifestyles? The causes of childhood obesity run deep into our fast paced lifestyles. In families eating on the run because of work commitments, fast food, high in fat and sugar content, low in nutritional value, often take the place of balanced, home prepared meals. Eating foods that are not giving us the nutrition that our bodies need to grow and function, sets up the cycle of eating more and more. The body will keep trying to get its requirements, sugars and fats are stored creating weight gain, yet the body will keep craving for what it needs, thus more eating again. Even here in my small town I find some days I am doing so much that at the end of the day the big question, ‘What is for dinner?’ can be a challenge. Yes, the lunch box is tricky as well! Inactivity is another problem our youth are facing. Long hours of television and computers have replaced the outside games of the past. Advertising of junk foods influences our children in everyday life. Being aware of what our children are viewing is very important. Kids can begin to crave what they see on television and at the movies. Fast paced living can lead to emotional neglect of our children, which may lead to a pattern of eating for comfort. What can we do to support our children to not get caught in the obesity epidemic? Weight gain occurs when the energy intake from food and drink exceeds energy output from physical activity. If you suspect there are unresolved
functional problems with the child’s metabolism, it is best to consult your doctor or naturopath. Otherwise start by focusing on the child’s positive qualities, encouraging them with love and acceptance and with you, the parent, leading by example, begin to implement the changes that are needed. If children see parents and carers adopting healthy habits they will too. If your child is overweight, gradually changing the whole family’s eating habits and physical activity will help that child not feel different or wrong. Eliminate any junk food from your shopping trolley. I find it best to write out a week’s shopping list. Planning the week’s meals, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, lots of fresh fruit and vegetables available, in advance, then only shopping for what is needed for these meals. This way sugary or fatty food is not available in your home. When I was a child, I would look forward to the once-a-week treat; on Friday night my father would bring home a family block of chocolate, (not the huge ones they have now) and everyone would get a few squares. I learnt to not have sweets every day and I still don’t now. Keep treats as treats, special occasional times, and not every day occurrences. Eating three wholesome, balanced meals a day is very important to weight control. Skipping meals only sets up the release of cortisol (a hormone) that can lead to insulin resistance, which can then lead to obesity. We need the necessary nutrients for our bodies to function on and get our energy levels off to a good start. So a grounding, wholesome breakfast is vital. Porridge, muesli, fruit and yogurt, whole-grain breads or an egg is better than sugary packet cereals. At lunch serve whole-grain salad sandwiches, rice millet or quinoa salads, slices of chicken, tofu, cold meats with sticks of veggies. These are just a few ideas. Keep away from too many refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and crisps. Sweets and fizzy drinks do not belong in a lunch box. A piece of fruit, tub of yogurt, some dried
fruit and nuts or sugar-free wholesome biscuits or muffins are better. For dinner, a portion of protein with lots of fresh veg or salad will do. Desserts are not needed every night; if you wish to have dessert search out sugar- fat-free recipes. Water, water and more water, is what a child’s body needs for hydration and cleansing of body toxins, not fizzy drinks, cordials or too many juices. (See this section in the byronchild June 2006 issue for the weekly family planner and the January issue 2004 for guidelines on diet.) Consult with your school canteen and see that they are following the healthy schools’ canteen policies. Children should be active every day. Consider limiting television and computer time to a set limit per day or week. Create some outside activities, throwing balls, hoola hoops, skating, good old-fashioned chasing or hide and seek. Don’t forget cricket in the backyard. Inside you can put on music and dance together. For the more adventurous there are some great kids’ yoga videos and books. Using animals to show the poses, they are easy and fun. My family loves our mini trampoline; all of us have a jump on it, even the dog. Encouraging sports, dance or martial arts are great ways to support your child to learn about their body and keep fit. Check out Capoera, a Brazilian form of martial art. It is a great work-out and fun. I have recently taken up body boarding with my partner and kids; it is another great work-out. Walking or riding a bike, to or part way to school, is also a great way to have more exercise. Children who are overweight may experience difficulty with social development. Parents may not understand that their child being overweight is really such a problem. It may be considered as a phase that will pass. Yes it may and yet it is better to stop and have a good look at our youth. Have a good talk over a healthy, family meal in the evening, about how our children are really feeling and getting on in life.
On the Run, but Going
Nowhere How busy-ness robs you of your health, happiness and productivity By Dr Peter Dingle Photo courtesy of http://www.istockphoto.com
Busy-ness and lack of motivation are the two major factors stopping us from looking after our health and productivity. However, the lack of motivation also stems from the fact that we’re so busy we don’t see the forest for the trees. We don’t stand back to look at the broader picture; we don’t ask the important questions. The pace we’ve set ourselves carries us along, like the mouse on the treading wheel.
erhaps one of the greatest killers of the twenty-first century is busy-ness. Our health, productivity and happiness are undermined by outdated ideas on work which have hung around since the beginning of the industrial revolution — ideas such as longer hours working means you are being more productive. Productivity isn’t measured by how many hours you’re putting in, but by what you’re getting out or ‘producing’. Lack of creativity and poor decisions due to fatigue or poor thinking can be very costly. We think we’ve taken charge of our lives in our busy-ness. In reality our lives
are out of our control as we try to juggle the often conflicting pressures of work, financial commitments, family, friends and our perceptions of what we need to be achieving in order to be ‘successful’. Even our relaxation time is being busy, going here and doing this or that. We have lost the ability to stop. Whenever we do stop we have to fill the gaps with something. And no, television is not stopping. In fact it’s just junk food for the senses and brain. It feeds your senses negative messages and stimulates your brain just enough to keep you focused. It portrays ridiculous stereotypes and lifestyles that sink into our subconscious and as a result we
need to be busier to aspire to these examples of success.
The cost of years As a consequence of ‘busy-ness’ the average Australian male now has his first heart attack or stroke at 56 and it is not uncommon now for busy people to have their first stroke at 35 or 40 years of age. One in 10 strokes occur before the age of 40. The resultant 20 or more years lost, averaged over a lifetime, deprives that person of about 26 per cent of their life. Or if you’re concerned more with work and productivity, it amounts to losing about six hours a day, every day of your life.
The Australian female, who on average will live to about 82, has her first heart attack or stroke at around 64. She dies about five years too early and will have about 10 years of disability. This works out to losing about 18 per cent of her life, which is 4.5 hours a day. It appears that Monday morning and deadlines are the biggest instigators of these events but overall, chronic stress is more deadly than immediate stressful events, which just seem to ‘top it off’, so to speak. The three biggest killers in our society are, in order: cancer, heart attack and stroke. The cancer rates in Australia continue to increase. Today we have three times the cancer rate of our grandfathers, despite the decreasing incidence and deaths from lung cancer (which is the result of lower smoking rates). The good news, however, is the majority of cancers and cardiovascular disease, as well as many other health problems including mental and physical disability, can be prevented using simple mechanisms. Assessing your lifestyle and taking preventative action is not just of benefit to your health — it’s also a very positive step for productivity. Are you paid for your ability to make good decisions? Poor health reduces your focus, concentration and capacity to make good decisions. Poor health leads to fatigue and foggy thinking and as a result, increased irritability and annoyance.
Busy-ness and sleep deprivation Poor health also leads to the vicious sleep cycle of sleep deprivation. Working late, too busy to go to bed at a reasonable hour, or even watching TV for relaxation before you go to sleep, are the first signs. You then need the alarm to wake you up a few minutes before you rush off to work, skipping breakfast or having a junk, processed cereal breakfast and a cup of coffee to wake you up. A few more cups of strong coffee to get you through the day on your artificial caffeine high, your adrenals working overtime because you feel stressed, which of course reduces your duration and depth of sleep so you need to wake up with an alarm blaring the next morning. And the cycle goes around and around. Skipping breakfast is the worst thing you can do for your heart and brain. Your brain’s energy supplies are exhausted at around 9am so without
breakfast your brain is functioning 20–40 per cent less efficiently. Missing breakfast also tends to help you put weight on over a lifetime because you get so hungry later during the day that you crave a hit of sugar, because your body has gone into starvation mode.
Poor eating habits The busy-ness factor also means you don’t have time to eat well, in fact, don’t have time to eat, so you eat on the run. Poor food, poorly chewed, is more difficult to digest, increasing problems for your digestive system such as indigestion, bloating, gas and constipation. Such problems can even contribute to bowel cancer down the track. The junk food you scoff down has plenty of calories but little nutrition, so your brain and body are functioning at around 70 per cent. And remember, you didn’t have breakfast so you’d already reduced your capacity to function efficiently by 20–40 per cent. Much of your brain is made out of essential fatty acids, as are all the cell membranes in your body which are essential for getting all the nutrients in and all the toxic waste out of your cells. Our diet is mostly deficient in the Omega 3s, found in fish oils and some seed and nut oils. Without Omega 3s the structure of your brain resembles a house that is out of mortar rather than bricks and mortar. Your brain uses around 20–25 per cent of your body’s energy so it also needs a constant supply of not just energy but also vitamins, antioxidants and minerals to function and prevent brain decay. The latest research shows that just one fish meal a week reduces your risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease by around 30 per cent. Most of the processed foods we eat are devoid of nutrition, so to keep your brain in optimum health you need to eat foods rich in nutrients. Then maybe you have some fried foods and meat (saturated fats) at the next business meeting. These tend to thicken the blood which slows down the nutrients and oxygen supply to the brain, and as a result, slows your thinking and memory and clogs your arteries with those nasty fatty deposits called plaque. One of the first signs of clogging arteries is poor thinking and memory, as your brain can’t get all the nutrients it needs. Brain fog can be caused by artery clog. If you have a few soft drinks which
are high in sugar or brain excitotoxins (artificial sweeteners) and have a high acid level, these plays havoc with your body, particularly your bones and teeth. Forget the fluoride debate — if you want to protect your teeth, give up soft drinks. And sugar sends you hyper for 15 minutes before it brings you to a sugar low another 15 minutes later. At last! The day is through and it’s evening, time for a few drinks, alcohol, to help you unwind and relax. But aren’t a few drinks good for you? Well, it depends on whom you believe and how you interpret the research. One glass for a woman and two for men does reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, particularly red wine. But the major benefits are when consumed with a meal or just after a meal. In addition, it is really only of benefit for males over 50 and females over 55. There are some advantages to being a bit older. Any more than one or two, however, and the benefits quickly become disadvantages. The problem we face isn’t the one of drink or the occasional meal of junk food, but the accumulation of negative choices over months, years and a lifetime. The little habits we create every day add up and the longer they go on, the harder they are to break. You need to spend about two hours a day on your health. If you can make the time then it’s going to be the best investment you’ll ever make. For every two hours you give to yourself you’ll get more productive time each day and between 12–20 hours of quality time added to your life.
Diet, Environment, Attitude and Lifestyle (the DEAL) For health and productivity you can’t just focus on one area — you need to look at Diet, Environment, Attitude and Lifestyle (what I call the DEAL) and how they all interrelate.
• Diet If you really want a nutritious and health sustaining diet, forget the processed foods, pastries, pasta, over-processed potatoes and white bread, sugar and salt and go for nuts, seeds, fruit, veges, beans and whole Cont P68
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health and wellbeing foods. Make sure that some are still raw — don’t cook everything. Reduce your coffee intake in the afternoon and increase your intake of tea if you like hot beverages. Despite what you read, tea is not a strong diuretic and can be consumed in copious amounts as it has an abundance of antioxidants. Just remember it has caffeine in too, so don’t consume too much in the afternoon. Eat red meat once a week or less and cut down on dairy products. Milk is great as a condiment for my tea but is a relatively poor source of calcium for the body. Even the skinny milks increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Eat fish, particularly the oily ones as much as you like and supplement with fish oils. Yes, at least 2–4 capsules (1 gram each) a day. Eat breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner but make sure they’re real foods. A healthy snack of nuts at 3pm will make a big difference to your energy levels. I try to make this a main meal and have a light dinner. Haven’t you wondered why kids eat at this time (as do retirees who are no longer constrained by office hours)? This is our natural eating and energy cycle, rather than a big meal at 8pm.
Environment The environment is our home. The sicker it is, the sicker and less productive we are. By doing simple things we can make a big difference, but we need to act now as the problems will take decades or even hundreds of years to fix. Here are a few ideas you could integrate into your daily life that will make all the difference to your and the environment’s good health.
• Leave the car home a few days each week (and buy a smaller car next time you need to trade it in). • Cut shower time in half. • Try growing at least some of your own veggies.
• Buy locally:
transporting food around the world is not environmentally sustainable and the rising cost of fuel is soon going to force us to buy from our local suppliers anyway!
• Cut down on the chemicals you buy and bring into your home. Research shows the more chemicals in your home the sicker you’ll be. The
health of your kids will be the most seriously affected as their systems are still the most vulnerable. Buying fewer chemicals also reduces the tonnes of chemicals constantly being added into the environment as waste. Every time you empty a kitchen sink with dishwashing liquid in the water you’re pouring that detergent into the water systems of our world.
• Forget all the antibacterial or so-called ‘disinfectant’ cleaners — they don’t protect your health. Invest in fibre technology to clean the home and office.
• Open your doors and windows; the air inside is 10 times more polluted than the air outside.
Attitude Identify your values — what’s important to you? This is probably the most fundamental and important thing you can do. Use cognitive reframing or Emotional Freedom Techniques (see www. emofree.com). Forget the affirmations unless you take steps to actually put them into practice.
• The act of smiling changes your attitude — so just smile more. Smiling or deep breathing if you’re feeling stressed relaxes your body and reduces stress. How simple is that? What’s even better is that if you smile, others will also smile, so it has a double benefit. In fact, research has shown that if people are feeling happy before they attempt a challenging task, they perform better — so smile the next time you have to sort out a problem!
Lifestyle Sleep is the great healer. Sleep deprivation can become a vicious cycle — but it’s one we can break. It doesn’t take much to:
• Plan going to bed
an hour earlier (believe me, whatever it is that’s keeping you up can and will wait!).
• Give yourself a quiet half hour reading before bedtime — instead of watching telly. • Setting your alarm clock for half an hour earlier (an hour is even better — you might take an early morning stroll).
• Don’t forget
— after a great night’s sleep, eat breakfast!
Integrate your physical activity into your work day:
• Walk or cycle
to the bus/train
station or to work.
• Catch a bus or use other public transport once or twice a week — get out of your comfort zone, it’s squeezing you too tightly. • Have some of your one-on-one business meetings while walking. Just being in a different environment with more blood flowing through your brain will generate many more creative ideas. • Spend time walking with your family instead of watching TV. • Our body is designed for movement. Being fit means being able to engage in life to the fullest. Your physical activities should include some weight bearing exercise because it protects bone mass and prevents your muscles from deteriorating. • Research on the benefits of meditation and yoga are overwhelming. There are many, many techniques, so try a few to find out what suits you. Just 10 minutes a day is a great start and build up at your own pace.
• Learn to manage your energy. Identify when you have your energy highs and lows — this knowledge can reduce your arguments and mistakes dramatically. One of the most common energy lows is around 3 or 4pm, which also happens to be the time when most diets are broken, the most chocolate is eaten and most arguments occur. Instead, eat a healthy snack, go for a walk or just close the office door for 20 minutes and meditate quietly. May you live longer, be smarter and enjoy life. But remember, only you can look after your health and it starts now, not tomorrow.
n Dr. Peter Dingle is a scientist, researcher and communicator. He gives keynotes and trains individuals and companies to improve their professional and personal productivity. He is the author of The Deal for Happier, Healthier, Smarter Kids: a 21st Century Survival Guide for Parents. For lots more information, go to his website www.drdingle.com.
Kindred magazine is created to support and give voice to the embryonic but powerfully essential movement towards conscious parenting and con...
Published on Sep 30, 2008
Kindred magazine is created to support and give voice to the embryonic but powerfully essential movement towards conscious parenting and con...