Monday, August 27, 2012

21 reasons NOT to circumcise. Just Sayin...

I am saddened and horrified by the new statement released by the American Academy of Pediatrics calling for health insurance to cover circumcision and informing parents that the "benefits outweigh the risks" in male infant circumcision.  I am aware that this topic can ruffle a lot of feathers, but there are only 2 reasons to circumcise:

A) You are Jewish and believe cutting off a part of your son's body will get him into heaven.  I disagree, but I get it.  Penis Vs Heaven = 1 for Heaven.

B) You are not educated about the subject because clearly any parent that takes the time to truly research this decision would not choose to do so.

Circumcision is just another corporate money maker that proves our country is far behind others ethically.  Most other countries don't allow half of the shit the US does and it is all based on profit.  The additives in food that are banned elsewhere.  The mainstream hospital child birthing.  And now this.  While I personally believe circumcision is terrible and should be outlawed, I do accept that this will never happen for religious reasons.  I do, however, advocate that it should be banned unless a parent has a religious exemption because we will be unsuccessful arguing with ancient religious traditions. 

In addition, many 'intactivists' can be a little hard to swallow, as while they have great intentions, you won't get anyone to jump the fence unless you provide an adequate argument.  Providing a good argument means being able to justifiably refute any argument they may have for it.  And so it goes...

Reasons Not to Circumcise

1.  Although the AAP did release that statement, they are still not considering it a recommendation for routine circumcision.  In addition, no national medical organization in the world recommends routine circumcision of male infants.  Well...give the AAP time...

2. It is painful.  Very painful.  No anesthetic has been proven safe and effective in infant circumcision, so none is used. 

3.  A baby spends 9 months growing inside of a womb int he fetal position.  It is no surprise after delivery that most want to be swaddled and held close while they slumber on mom's chest in the fetal position.  Nothing is more unnatural than forcing a newborn infant baby to be strapped to a board (aka Circumstraint), with all 4 limbs spread out and his groin lifted higher than the rest of his body.  It is traumatizing.

4.  The argument about doing it to a baby because they won't remember it is bunk.  A) Some do suffer trauma afterwards which can also affect breastfeeding.  B) The pain is no less for a baby than it is for a man.  A baby may not remember but the difference: a man can be anesthetized.  Claim that a grown man shouldn't have to undergo the pain of circumcision?  But allow it to happen to a baby?!?  Asinine.

5.  A grown man should be able to decide for himself is he wants an intact penis or a circumcised one.  Give our sons the choice.

6.  Infants die each year from circumcision complications.  The risk for infection is well over 30% as well.  I know personally of several moms who have had to take their sons in to have them 'redone'. 

7.  There is ZERO risk with complications if it doesn't get done at all.

8.  It can negatively impact a grown man's sex life.  #1.  You are, for sure, cutting the skin that allows for growth.  Smaller penis anyone?  (Wait..OK..there are some men who should definitely do this.  NO one should have a foot long penis.  Ow.  jk...kinda)  #2. It acts as natural lube.  #3.  The foreskin enhances sexual pleasure.

9.  Argument: It looks silly.  A) For women, what's hiding inside of your underwear ain't much prettier.  Folds?  Labia?  Inner?  Outer?  There's so much going on down there, you're really going to be that narrow minded to care about what a flaccid penis looks like?  B) They are pretty much the damn same when fully erect.  So, get over yourselves.  C) For men, if you want a circumcised penis, that is your right as a grown man.  Not as a baby.

10.  Do you really think your adult or teenage son is going to sit around a jerk circle with his father?  Gross.  He does not give a shit what his dad's penis looks like.  Trust me.  If he does, commence serious psychological counseling immediately.  Girls, do you sit around and wonder if your beaver meat looks like your mothers?  Effing gross.  No one wants to think about their parents naughty bits, so using that as a reason to cut off a part of your baby's natural body is inexcusable. 

11.  MYTH: An uncircumcised penis is not hygienic.  TRUTH: The natural 'juices' of the penis are called Smegma.  I'm not going to lie...that word alone sounds gross.  However, it is not cottage cheese and is a natural part of the lubrication of a natural penis.  If a boy or a man has a penis 'funk' problem, he does not have a penis problem.  He has a hygiene problem.  You teach your boys to wash themselves properly, which in and of itself is easy and they won't have that problem.  Girls have smegma too.  Have you been down there lately?  Natural excretion. That's all Ive got to say.

12.  MYTH: If I don't circumcise my son, he is at great risk for HIV.  TRUTH: First of all, the studies conducted on this were done in a location in Africa where the HIV risk is super effing high anyways.  The studies are seriously flawed and other studies found exactly the opposite to be true.  Having a foreskin is not going to make you susceptible to contracting HIV.  Being promiscuous, sharing needles and not protecting yourself will. 

13.  The foreskin is not a defect.  Whether by design or by evolution, it is there for a reason.  We are not born with 'extra' body parts.  This includes the foreskin.

14.  Circumcised men have far more chaffing issues.  The foreskin has a purpose and one of those is to protect the glans of the penis. 

15.  The majority of men worldwide are, in fact, intact.  Your boy is not going to be a weirdo for having a natural penis.  He will be normal.  Really.  Look at the stats.  Its true.

16.  Removing the foreskin does not prevent diseases.  Plain and simple. 

17.  As a parent, our job is to protect our children.  Forcing a baby to undergo an unnecessary procedure that proves to have no real medical benefit, is, in fact genital mutilation.

18.  It's really no different than female circumcision, except that somehow infant male circumcision has the illusion of being mainstream.  Would you circumcise a female?  I bet she would certainly suffer less yeast infections and vaginitis that way.  Then, you could reduce her sexual sensitivity and make it 'pretty' at the same time. 

19.  If we are going to remove body parts on the assumption that they will be at greater risk for disease in the future, I think it would be a great idea to also remove an infant female's breast tissue.  Then, no more worries!  Maybe we could remove her cervix as well since cervical and breast cancer are far more rampant than penile cancer.  Then, maybe an ingenious doctor could do a full skin transplant with an artificial epidermis to avoid ever having skin cancer.  See where Im going with this?  Its just silly.

20.  There are PLENTY of doctors that oppose circumcision.  No, the one performing your son's will not be one of them.  Seek opinions from both before agreeing to having a part of his body removed. 

21.  Finally, because you love your boy more than you love a penis, no matter what.  His body.  His choice. 

Let me add that I do NOT think condemning people for the choices that they make is a good way to go.  The media and doctors greedy wallets want you to believe otherwise, but there is 100% NO reason to circumcise and deciding to do so, knowing the facts, does make me cringe.  HOWEVER, plenty of people do circumcise without even thinking about it because its what they know or have been told, or they assume 'daddy is', so should my son.  This does not make those moms bad moms.  I have a good friend who circumcised her first boy before she became educated.  She struggled with having 2 boys with different penis', but ultimately decided to leave her second son intact.  When you know better, you do better; And it takes a big person to admit that they may have made a mistake.

I don't judge my friends with circumcised boys.  I can only assume they were not given the facts.  After all, it's not a pamphlet handed out by delivery doctors. 

If you disagree, I challenge you to name one valid argument for it. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back To School: The Morning Edition

Summer's over. It's time to pull the kids out of your hair so you can send them off to an institutionalized and overly structured learning environment. No more mid-day Monday play dates. No more cracker crumbs piled onto the floor RIGHT after you just mopped the damn floor. No more screaming at you from across the house begging for impromptu tea parties and dress-up/make-over sessions at 8:30am. Now the stress is compounded all to a 45 minute period of trying to get the kids ready for school without a huge fight which hopefully will result in, at the very least, enough breakfast to hold them over until lunchtime and shoes that match.

To make the ass-crack-of-dawn ritual a little more relaxed than the average mom's hellacious early morning circus, I highly suggest: Putting out clothes before bedtime...this includes you mom! I go to the gym ritually every morning but sometimes I'm left searching for a sports bra or clean shirt to sport when I sweat my ass off, so put out kids clothes and your clothes! And, unless you want your child to succumb to the disgusting processed shit that is otherwise affectionately called a 'school lunch', make your kids lunch in the evening and have it ready and waiting in the fridge for the a.m. Lastly, plan breakfast. Know exactly what to reach for when you wake up. If it's toast or cereal, put it out on the counter. Or try one of my 10 kid-friendly breakfasts!

1. Granola Parfait
Kids get excited if their food is served to them in a non-traditional way. Find a pretty glass and layer fresh fruit and berries, granola and non-dairy yogurt.

2 c quick cooking oats
1 c chopped pecans
1/2 c flaxmeal
1/2 c dried fruit (i used blueberries)
1/3 c almond or other oil
1/3 c maple syrup
2 Tbsp brown rice syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Mix all together and spread out onto cookie sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for 35 minutes. Make the granola days in advance and use as needed for a quick and yummy breakfast.

2. Toast & Egg

Butter bread and throw in the toaster to brown. Remove and use flower (or other) cookie cutter in the center. Put into a buttered or oil sprayed skillet and break egg into the center. (You can also mix the egg with non-dairy milk first and then dump your yellow egg mixture into center). Note: To it DHN style: ONLY free range or local 'backyard chicken' eggs!

3. Banana Burrito

Wrap a banana with your favorite nut butter, raisins and apples in a whole grain tortilla.

4. Smoothie!

Kids love smoothies and its also the perfect way to sneak in some extra healthy goodness.

Avo Mint Smoothie (pictured)
1/2 avocado
4 sprigs mint
handful baby spinach leaves
1 banana, frozen into chunks
3/4 c non-dairy milk
agave nectar or stevia to taste

My Kids Favorite! Banana Peach Smoothie
1 Banana
1-2 c frozen peaches
1 Tbsp flax meal
3/4 c non-dairy milk or more to thin out
(optional - pineapple chunks or juice)

Grasshopper Smoothie
1 avocado
4 sprigs mint
handful or 2 spinach
1-2 Tbsp raw cocoa powder
frozen banana
non-dairy milk to thin out (3/4-1c)
agave or stevia to taste

5. Tofu Scramble Biscuit Cups

Make these a day or more in advance. These can be frozen and defrosted overnight then popped into the toaster oven.

Biscuit mix
2 c unbleached flour (ww is fine)
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c vegan butter
1 3/4 c non-dairy milk

Tofu Scramble
2 c mixed veggies (i used onions, mushrooms and shredded broccoli stems. think: carrots, peppers, onions, shredded potatoes, zucchini, etc)
1-2 cloves garlic
1 package firm tofu
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp tamari or liquid aminos
2 Tbsp mustard (yellow, Dijon, spicy...whichever your kids prefer)

For biscuits, mix dry ingredients together. Cut in butter and mix in milk. Knead a few times and separate into 12 balls. Flatten each one and put each in a muffin tin, pressing it up the sides.

For the tofu, using cooking spray or water, toss your veggies and garlic into a skillet and cook for a few minutes until softened. Add tofu, crumbling it into the skillet with your hands. Add turmeric, tamari and mustard. Mix through. Fill each dough lined muffin cup with the tofu mixture. Top with vegan cheese (optional).

6. French Toast Kebabs

Make your own french toast by tossing bread cubes into an egg or vegan banana/'milk' mixture and cook until browned. Skewer each with fruits and berries. Hint: Make french toast STICKS ahead of time. Freeze and pop into toaster over in the morning for a fast on-the-go breakfast.

7. Bagel Sammie

Spread vegan butter onto halved bagel and toast. Sandwich with a tofu 'egg' slice and vegan cheese. You can also add tempeh bacon and baby spinach leaves.

Tofu 'Egg'
1 Block tofu
1/4 c mustard
1/2 tsp turmeric

Slice tofu into 'sheets'. Mix mustard and turmeric. Coat drained and pressed tofu in mustard mixture and marinate (optional) or just spread on and throw into a skillet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray on medium-high heat. Cook a few minutes on each side until slightly browned on edges and crispier.

Bacon Tempeh

Marinate sliced tempeh in tamari, Worcestershire and liquid smoke for several hours or overnight. Heat in skillet until browned.

HINT: Make tofu ahead of time and keep in airtight container in the fridge. Pop into toaster over in the morning. OR keep them marinating in the fridge and throw onto skillet in the a.m. to cook quickly before assembling sandwich.

8. Sweet Potato Haystacks

These are a more savory breakfast item. Serve with maple syrup or a maple/butter/cinnamon mixture.

Sweet Potato Haystacks
1 sweet potato, shredded
2 green onions, diced
1 clove garlic
1 egg
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all in a bowl. Use your hands to form several haystacks onto a cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

9. Crispy Breakfast Squares

Crispy Breakfast Squares
8 c crispy cereal (we used a mix of puffed brown rice cereal and an organic cheerios type cereal)
1/2 c flaxmeal
3/4 c raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c brown rice syrup
1/2 c favorite nut butter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix cereal, flax, raisins and cinnamon in bowl. Heat brown rice syrup, nut butter and vanilla in a small saucepan until melted through. Add wet to dry and mix until well coated. Press into a 9x13 pan and let sit in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours. Make ahead, cut into even squares and serve quickly on the way out of the door.

10. Strawberries N' Cream Oatmeal

Strawberries N' Cream Oatmeal
1/2 c quick cooking oats
1/2 c non-dairy milk
1/2-3/4 container non-dairy strawberry yogurt
1/4 c sliced strawberries

Heat all together in small saucepan.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Yummy Earth Product Review

Wow, it's been a while since I've blogged.  I have had quite a summer.  Since Addison starts kindergarten next week and we won't be able to just 'up and go' whenever we please anymore, we made it a point to travel as much as we could.  This summer took us to Miami, Austin TX, Kansas City, Puerto Vallarta Mexico, Chicago, Great Falls MT and back to south FL in my hometown.  During our 2 long vacations of 10 days each, we got news at the end of each that a close loved one passed away, making this a very eventful, fun and sorrowful summer all rolled into one.  That said, I totally forgot after doing the Yummy Earth giveaway that I was supposed to write a product review for them!

It is no surprise I hate refined sugar, HFCS and other artificial shit that companies like to load into their food supply. And while plenty of parents who are 'healthier' than I think I'm terrible for allowing my kids to consume sugar at all, I say....THEY ARE KIDS.  I am not going to make my own children outcasts while their friends guzzle down Halloween sweets and birthday party goodies.  I will, however, switch their candy for a more favorable option.  As long as I can help it, my children will not eat artificial crap.  After trick-or-treating, I trade my daughters candy out for better options that I've purchased.  Santa also has a 'dairy allergy' by the way, and the Easter Bunny wouldn't dream of leaving milk chocolate bunny turds behind. 

This is why I was thrilled when Yummy Earth contacted me to send me samples of their candy.  I had tried many of their products before and we LOVE them here.  I don't eat a lot of candy, but I am a personal fan of their organic hard candy mints.  Since I quit chewing gum a few years ago, I still crave something minty-fresh every so often and when I do, I reach for one of theirs.  The organic lollipops make the perfect bribery tool for my daughter, who eats them like, well...candy. 

The lollipops are made with real fruit extract and are organic.  For only $5.99 you can get a bag of over 50 pops in flavors like Wet-Face Watermelon, Mango Tango and Googly Grape.  They also make gummy bears, mints and other hard candies. 

So....go buy some.  They are the perfect go-to treat for the kiddos.

Check them out on facebook here.  =)