How far should we encourage the state to go to ensure pregnant mothers eat the right food to sustain their child?
We are constantly seeing attempts to encourage mothers to breast feed. This is mostly a good message. In the past this message has been criticized as a cynical way of reducing costs, estimated at £40 million, by inference that breast fed children are healthier, therefore will need less medical support through their early lives.
This certainly would be the case if the articles delved into the diet. The feeding of a pregnant mother must be thought about really early if we are to bring healthier babies into the world. The impact of food available to us today will be doing far more damage that either alcohol or drugs in percentage terms. So it may well be that outlawing food that contributes to illness and disease is the way to go. This is, of course advice missing from all reports I have seen so far.
Nowhere is food advice needed more than in the area of lipid transference, that is fat to you and me. Fats are the building blocks of cell membrane construction, vital to build flexible and resilient cells. Here is a link to some work done by Southampton University. http://thelinseedfarm.co.uk/blog/2013/02/southampton-university-the-wrong-fat-in-pregnancy-diet-may-make-kids-fatter
So how far should we encourage the state to go to ensure not only pregnant mothers but all people have access to food that nourishes. Let’s have a look at the context and review what is happening now.
The courts have ruled that to drink alcohol while pregnant is not a criminal offence. It is well known that alcohol can have a major effect on almost all aspects of building new life. Children have been born with serious problems attributed to alcohol. There have been similar children born to drug taking mothers who are addicts at birth. In terms of percentages these births are probably at a low level. More significant damage to more children could be happening as a result of prescribed medicine. Antibiotics interfere with gut bacteria but there is hardly advice on how to rebuild bacteria. This is important because the mother’s bacteria pass to the child as it passes through the birth canal. It is well known that children born by caesarean section have more problems, especially of the digestive system.
You will see on many medicines, ’consult’ a doctor if pregnant, or do not take if pregnant. It is universally acknowledged that what passes through the mouth has an effect on our health during pregnancy; it is only a small step to accept that this carries on through life - remember Thalidomide. Warnings are also on some foods. It is also well known that lack of folic acid causes birth defects and it is added to food for that reason and is very successful.
I have left the food rant till last. By far the biggest thing we do to the body is eat. We know the National Health Service is at breaking point; we can no longer afford to cure illness we must move to prevention. Diabetes, cardiovascular problems, cancer, obesity and problems with the gut are rife and can largely be put at the door of bad food choices.
It should be a very simple step to ensure food is always be healthy and nutritious and does not contain substances that harm us.
It is often when something goes wrong that people start on a journey to discover how to eat to nourish and keep them well. I have met many of these people, life changes for them when they change to consuming food that heals and keeps them well. Unfortunately, it is not easy to find this information and it is not available through the NHS, which largely does not understand the relationship between food and health. I am happy to say that there are individuals within the service who are enlightened and do give good food advice even if it does open them up to prosecution. For instance, if food advice is given to a cancer patient it may contravene the 1939 Cancer Act.
We are beginning to understand the dangers of sugar and there are more programmes about good health choices. We have also seen the butter argument won with the danger of modified fats pointed out. Unfortunately you can still buy these modified fats in stores. What you may not know is that you can damage fats in the home yourself. You should remember what your grandmother or great grandmother did; always roast in dripping or saturated fat of some kind. We are all animals who have saturated fat in our bodies. We recognise it and can excrete excess. Cook at high temperature with any oil and you make a substance unknown in the body and this causes damage.
So there it is, a quick review, it leads me to think that the government should be in the dock for allowing food that makes us ill or even kills us to be sold. We have a right to expect that food should always nourish.
Clearly, this is a big topic but I am available to speak to groups or companies who would like an in -depth look at what’s going on. Get in touch on the number below.
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The Linseed Farm