Wednesday, March 15, 2006

a semi-participatory Purim

Well, I hope you all had a happy and somewhat silly Purim! The baby was the sweetest little cow, and very much enjoyed chewing on his costume's horns. His big brother was first a fireman and then a small boy much in love with his new bike helmet, complete with knee and elbow pads. I was, as per instructions, a princess and occasional chew-toy. And my partner was a man wearing an extremely silly hat, if with four spirit soothing tickets to the Celtics in his pocket.

Megilla reading was great, and I'm not just saying that because my partner read parts of one and all of the second, blitz reading (27 minutes!). And as per custom, we gave out gifts of food (mishloach manot) that included some amazing spice cookies. And, as per custom, members of our community gave gifts of food to us. And here the great silence falls. Um, thanks for your bag with the peanuts/dairy/unknown scary ingredient treats. Please pay no attention while I stash it behind this potted plant/give it to this other person/blatantly toss it in the trash. Kudos to Spring and co, whose mishloach manot included fruit, drink and a recipe. And of course, a happy arm wave to magid, whose mishloach manot included rolls that made my eldest stop cold and say, 'I just want to say again how yummy this bread is!' And indeed it was.

But how strange, how estranging it was to be so central to this community's practice and yet so distanced from them, as per the holiday's culinary coin of the realm. Again, I'm reminded as to the role that food plays in establishing a community: the sacred altar variant that we make with our ritual meals on the sabbath, holidays, the gathering place, secular or religious, that a set table offers, the place where we share food and self. Thankfully, Purim distills this down to a baggie or tricorne plate, and the potluck triumph of the ritual meal does soothe some of the surprise of the mishloach manot.

That's it from me tonight - tomorrow is Thursday, when I try to find the wakefulness, peace of mind and speed with which to get a teeny needle into a teenier vein (yes, he's four, no, his veins don't care how old he is), and still get everybody out the door in time for school. Um, right. At the very least I'll try and get the job done before my partner blows a small gasket. Good thing the man doesn't own a watch...

Nonetheless, for your entertainment, here's some of the not so latest news in the formula/mama milk wars: annexing food allergies! A few years ago, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine noted that kids had a pattern of developing first allergies to dairy (dairy formula), then soy (they were switched to soy formula) and finally cross-reacting to peanuts (like soy, peanut is a legume). Nursing mothers like myself, parenting a baby with a dairy allergy, are now urged to remove the allergens from our diet and to continue breastfeeding. If we don't, the baby will be given an 'elemental' formula, rather than a soy-based one. And this is deemed a far, far lesser choice, as it lacks breastmilk's protective qualities for the sensitive (and in this case, ridiculously sensitive) baby GI tract. So when a formula showed up that promised to protect against food allergies, it seemed just too good to be true. Any guesses as to what happened next?

On that note, I give you the following. As reported by Baby Milk Action, courtesy of La Grandmere. (Do consider the source, please!)
For three consecutive nights this week, Canadian TV has been featuring an exposé of Canadian scientist, Dr Ranjit Chandra, whose falsified research was used by Nestle to promote its infant formulas. Dr Chandra has now fled from Canada to Switzerland. For full stories with links to broadcasts:

In the late 1980s, Nestlé launched an infant formula that the company claimed could "reduce your child's risk of developing allergies." Since that time, INFACT Canada, supported by Baby Milk Action and other IBFAN groups, has questioned the validity of the research by Dr. Chandra, who Nestlé paid to conduct studies to justify its claims. Much of Dr Chandra’s work has now come under intense scrutiny for academic fraud and at least one of his studies has been completely discredited. According to a documentary aired by CBC last night, it now appears that the Nestlé study was never even conducted and Chandra could not produce the raw data when challenged.Over the past two decades, Nestlé has successfully created a market for millions of tins of formula, and EU legislation has been altered, the whole basison the basis on this evidently falsified science. As a consequence, parents the world over have been duped into exposing their children to the risks of formula feeding.

Repeated studies (see have shown that artificial feeding actually increases the risk of allergies. Given the company's widely documented disregard for infant health, it remains to be seen if Nestlé will now apologise and retract its bogus claims and cease its aggressive promotion of these products and the misleading use of the term “Hypoallergenic”. In July 2004 Baby Milk Action reported Nestlé to the Advertising Standards Authority because of its misleading and aggressive marketing of hypoallergenic formulas in the UK: The ASA refused to investigate on the grounds that the publishers and health workers should be able to judge whether claims were correct or not.For the text and video clips of the programmes broadcast on Jan 31st and tonight (Feb 1) follow these leads:
Video clips are available for Part 1, and Part 2 at their respective links:
Part 1
Part 2,


Abdur-Rahim said...

The Celtics suck, but you rock! You go, girl!

mama o' the matrices said...

A-R, you begin to repeat yourself here. Stylistic one-trick pony, perhaps?

And don't you knock the Celtics, man, unless you are about to admit to a different affiliation. So, who is it going to be: sacramento?

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