Thursday, September 10, 2015

I've Become My Grandmother

     The growth of the "Crunchy" Mom and what she is and isn't seems to be a popular topic on Mom's forums and amongst bloggers that I read. I posted a "You Might Be Crunchy If..." link on facebook recently with a list of typical crunchy behaviors. But I'll tell you a secret, I'm not crunchy at all. Not a smidgen. What I actually am is a traditional country wife; I've become my Grandmother.

     What constitutes crunchy?
  • The crunchy mom uses cloth diapers, mama cloth and possibly family cloth. So did Grandma, she thought throwing money away on paper diapers to dump in a landfill where they will take 5 centuries to break down is foolish. She also realizes that untreated sewage and blood are bound to contaminate ground water with this practice and that disposable diapers might contribute to male infertility.
  • The crunchy mom might choose a birth center or to birth at home. So did Grandma. She birthed 9 children at home, the 10th in a hospital and then returned to birthing at home for the 11th. She felt more comfortable in her own space and didn't need to worry about how her little ones were faring at home without her. The wonder and miracle of Twilight Sleep held no attraction for Grandma. 
  • The crunchy mom makes her own toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo, but Grandma did too. Ingredients were simple 100 years ago and there was no need to pay for what you could do yourself. 
  • Crunchy families recycle. Honey, Grandma invented recycling and the mantra use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without. 
  • Crunchy medicine cabinets are full of kitchen ingredients. One of my Grandmothers was a farm wife, the other lived in town but grew a large garden and kept a pig or 2 in the backyard, but both of them treated 99% of illnesses with what she had in her pantry. A doctor or God forbid a hospital, was for life and death emergencies. 
  • Crunchy napkins and paper towels are reusable. Grandma? Check.
  • Crunchy moms know how to ferment foods and properly prepare grains. Crunchy moms didn't invent either of these practices, they are still common knowledge in traditional societies. 
  • Crunchy tables pride themselves on knowing their farmer and buying local. Most of the meat that Grandma didn't raise was grown by her cousin or uncle or someone she'd known her whole life. Exotic to Grandma was the oranges that they bought once a year so the children could each have one. 
  • Also on the list were: rendering lard, making bone broth and eschewing anything fat free. I think Grandma had it covered.  :)

     I am happy to see any person become more conscious of how their choices affect their family's health and impact the planet. I applaud all crunchy moms out there for going against the norm and working twice as hard to make life cleaner for their loved ones. And I especially applaud Grandma for being hip without even knowing it!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Since tetanus is one of the most misunderstood of the "vaccine preventable" diseases I thought that I would record my research about it here.

  • Tetanus is unique in that it is not communicable, therefore "herd immunity" does not apply. 
  • Though tetanus is caused by the Clostridium tetani bacteria, that bacteria is oddly found in only 30% of tetanus cases. 
  • The tetanus bacteria is found literally everywhere: in the soil, on your skin, in your mouth & gut. 
  • The tetanus bacteria itself is harmless, it is the toxins it produces under anaerobic conditions that cause the problem. 
  • Most people associate tetanus with rusty nails or deep puncture wounds, yet tetanus has been diagnosed with ear infections, tonsillitis, appendicitis and even in people with no obvious wound or point of entry at all.
  • There are actually 5 kinds of tetanus
  1. Subacute tetanus which is characterized by some degree of neck stiffness involving the muscles at the back of the neck; spasticity, as well as increased muscle stretch reflexes, especially in the lower limbs.
  2. Local tetanus where the contractions of the muscles are only in the area of the injury. These contractions can persist for weeks. Though rare one of our children had this form years ago, that's when I first learned the what we think tetanus looks like is actually not always the case.
  3. Cephalic tetanus: a very rare form which occurs with burst ear drums or after dental work. Again, the key is proper wound management. 
  4. Generalized tetanus, this accounts for 80% of cases. The symptoms begin at the head and work down. Reflex spasms occur within 24-72 hours. Patient will have a hard time opening their mouth (hence "lockjaw") they'll have a stiff neck and difficulty swallowing. 
  5. Neonatal tetanus: this form was eliminated from developed countries both vaccines and antibiotics were invented.
  • Some studies have shown that substantial proportions of unimmunized populations show detectable levels of antitoxin suggesting naturally occurring immunity. 
  • Tetanus via injury does *not* seem to result in immunity, rather, ingesting tetanus spores which appears to stimulate the immune system in the appropriate way. 
  • in 1973 there were 1 million tetanus deaths, 60-90% in newborns. The obvious answer to combating tetanus is safer birth practices, not immunizations. 
  • As of August, 2012 there have been 22,143 adverse reaction from the tetanus vaccine reported to VAERS (estimates say that only 10% of reactions get reported at all).
  • U.S. studies have shown that 2 month old babies have protective levels of tetanus antitoxin in their blood, this is before any immunizations have been given. 
  • Toxic ingredients in the DT shot: aluminum sulfate, thimerosol, formaldehyde.