BPA, estrogen, me, my friend and my cat…

You have all heard me rage against BPA.  It is an auto immune disruptor and more specifically an estrogen mimicker, science has shown this again and again. It is in your bottled water, it is in the tap water, it is in the ocean. It is linked to obesity and cancer. A friend of mine did her dissertation on it and effectively weaned me off all plastic, the BPA free substitutes being used are no better.

Modern medicine has done some interesting things but the guy who invented birth control, bless him as I believe in women’s choices, must not have lived with a woman or he was just crazy as the last thing any woman needs is more estrogen, or more estrogen mimickers, spend some time in a park with a herd of young girls if you don’t believe me.

I have had a severe experience with birth control, it gave me migraines, not headaches, migraines, the kind that you’re sure you would rather be beheaded for, than deal with migraines, the ones that make unbearable time come to a complete stand still. Had to get my time element in so I can claim to have a thread in my blogs…

I had a wonderful friend/neighbor while attending paramedic school.  She came over one day and sweetly told me that she was going on the pill. I really thought, ok…. so what….? Then she proceeded to tell me what happens when she goes on the pill. It only lasts for the first month, but I turn into a crazy woman.  Now to give you some perception on this beautiful girl inside and out, she was raised Mennonite, very strict, the sect that does not educate women above the 8th grade, she was attending college, so she was obviously no longer participating in her religion, but she was still this quiet, shy and demure little blonde with natural curly hair that went down to her waist, she was 5’2″ of gorgeous symmetrical proportions,  sorry the artist in me sneaks out of the anthropologist sometimes. I thought she was exaggerating………. till I heard her screaming at her also normally reserved husband. SCREAMING!  At the top of her lungs outside the house in the backyard, for god and everyone to hear, I cringed, literally. I had a half cellar with my washing machine in it and thought that this would be a good time to go do the laundry, I must admit her increasing volume and the pitter patter of her tiny feet across my porch had warned me she was en-route  I hid. I had laundry out to pretend to do if she caught me, but I was hiding.  She had turned into Godzilla on a rampage and this is no exaggeration.

That being said, you would think that since I am so against BPA and estrogen that I would not expose my beloved cat to it. He is on organic food and sometimes pumpkin, he loves pumpkin and it is hard to find pumpkin out of season, so I have let him have it in the can.  I had not thought about what I was doing to him till this week, when I ran out of the canned pumpkin and I started feeding him the pumpkin that I had processed myself. I was also baffled at his weight gain, he is always hungry but I am a mean mother and he only gets 1/3 of a cup a day.

My cat has always been my cat, not overly fond of others.  I have left him in the care of my mother while on trips and well they did not get along and he has just become increasingly surly over time.  He was better after I was home again for a while and we got back into our routine.  We are used to each other, and I was used to a ‘crazy’ cat. It has been a week of no BPAs and he is a new man cat! He is no longer surly, he purrs constantly now, he did not do this before! He cuddles, he was not a cuddlier  he was the ‘typical’ cat with an ATTITUDE. He was on estrogen, I will never do that to him or me again!

I am looking forward to seeing if removing the estrogen will also remove the bit of extra tummy he has, his energy levels have definitely improved, he is playing more and waking me up more…. double edged sword.  So take this precautionary tale as you will, there is science behind it, but I was surprised at the almost immediate and drastic changes in him after removing BPA/estrogen from his diet.

It is now February and since I wrote this in September, the changes continued to improve.  I now have a 4 year old kitten, I have also added a supplement to his diet, a turbo antioxidant and his toilet issues are all resolved now also, so no more need for pumpkin to settle his occasional tummy issues. Here’s to a happy cat and owner.

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Beef Bashing: Who really pays for it?

I get overly wound up about two things, having an ‘expert’ place themselves in a position that infers that they know what they are talking about (i.e. being led by a blind mouse) or being flat-out lied to.  This is in response to the latter as I am hoping that this particular gentleman is not actively participating in the former.

I grew up in cattle country.  I was raised on a 5th generation registered cattle breeding ranch.  While the operation of this business has drastically changed during these 5 generations some things remain.

In light of all the beef  bashing that is so popular in the wake of the ‘slime’ epidemic I would like to set a few things straight from an opinion that comes from the very foundation of what is being bashed.  The traditional American rancher/farmer is striving to produce a product that is not only safe for their own family but yours.  This is the old west, where your handshake really is your word and lawyers are avoided to settle confrontations.  I would like to point out that our 30ish year old neighbor still feeds his cattle with a team of horses.  Yes it still occurs, now the iron and the wagon are fabricated from an old pickup box but the premise remains.  My niece and nephew still go trick or treating at all the neighbors and they do not bring home wrapped candy, they bring home brownies and homemade popcorn balls and caramel covered apples.  I am not trying to paint a picturesque scene, just trying to give the mindset of those who have been taken advantage of by the big businesses of commercial packing plants (ConAgra), feedlots, Monsanto, all of the above and many unnamed.  I must make a distinction here too, there are still family owned packing plants and feedlots and their sense of business has been just as offended as my family’s.

We produce a product.  We raise cattle, we breed them and then help them deliver their babies.  We are there every step of the way.  Most of our cattle are sold to other ranchers as breeding stock but in the process of raising breeding stock culling occurs. Culling is keeping the best and selling the rest.  And by the rest I mean they go to market, either we fatten them or a feedlot buys them to fatten.  Here is where our control ends.  It no longer belongs to us.  We do not put antibiotics in their food.  They do not get steroid shots, they eat grass and alfalfa hay and we even buy them nutrition, yes they get their vitamins.  Our cattle feed us and allow us to live a lifestyle of being self-employed, they take care of us and we return the favor in kind.

In production of  any product, especially one that is being sold by the pound, certain things are pursued in order to maximize profits.  Cattle today are bigger now than when my father was in 4-H 40 years ago.  His show cattle backs barely reached his waist, as mine 20 years later where at his shoulder.  They were bred for size, they were not given antibiotics or steroids.  Culling kept the larger framed cows and bulls, breeding bigger animals to bigger animals.  It would be like only breeding the women’s volleyball team to the football team, so of course cattle size has increased with the ability to artificially inseminate cattle to any bull in the country, kind of like being able to breed all the top women’s volley ball players to a select few in the NFL. I use the volleyball women’s team as an example as they are a group of women that make me feel small at the university level and I am 5’9”.

The other huge change in this time is corn.  Cattle are no longer fattened in the pasture and taken to market.  They go to a feedlot and are fed an almost corn only diet.  Have you seen the movie Super Size Me? Well just apply that to cattle.  They are put in confinement so they get no exercise and are fed straight corn, so of course they are heavier today than they were in the past.

Whenever I set out to write about something that I know nothing about, I go to a source. What I am writing about here is a personally relevant issue.  While I am now a Medical Anthropologist working on my PhD, I am still grateful to those cows who helped me get here.  I am uncertain where others are about their writing techniques but there is always more than one side to a story and well I hope this reminds us that the enemy is not always the enemy and those that are affected most by the tossing around of accusations are not always the ones that deserve it. I have been in the corporate slaughter houses as a member of the National Livestock Judging team, Tom Philpott has not.

The bashing affects the cattle market, plummeting prices, that the real ranchers are paid.  This is fantastic for the corporations you think you are punishing.  The rancher takes the blow and the feedlot pays less for the cattle that they are corrupting, but the price of meat at the grocery store stays the same.  Profits are increased for those you may think you are punishing and the one that pays for the bashing are the ones that shouldn’t.

Response to:

http://motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/04/bum-steer-how-big-pharma-makes-dominates-animal-science

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