Sunday, October 28, 2012

food-themed parties and allergies

Holiday parties loom in our near future;

     I have, as an adult, developed food allergies. Now, I don't usually care if I show up to a gathering and discover there's not much or even nothing I can safely eat.

     That said, I'd like to suggest that if you are hosting a potluck or holiday desert exchange gathering, and you know that at least a quarter of those invited and/or their young children, have mild to severe food allergies, you might considering compiling, or having one of the interested guests compile, a list of those allergies. Even if you don't feel like avoiding all or any of the things on the list, some of your other guests might. "Bring whatever you want and it will all work out," only actually works for people who don't have food allergies, and I would like the option to be inclusive if I reasonably can. No hard feelings towards those who don't feel inclined to accommodate special dietary needs. I know first hand it can seem like a pain, or an inconvenience that takes some of the joy out of your cooking or baking. I'm just asking you not scoff at or undermine those of us who would choose to attempt to be inclusive in our festive food and party preparations, and will find more joy in it as a result. Personally, I sincerely enjoy making it possible for someone who might otherwise not attend, to participate and enjoy a food-centered event. I like food, I like to bake, and I like sharing.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

smoking research is bunk

My dad smoked, yet neither any of my siblings nor I developed asthma, are addicted to tobacco, or suffer any other obvious consequences as a result of his smokig. Therefor I conclude that all research that indicates that children of tobacco smoking parents are more likely to develop asthma and/or become smokers themselves is all bunk.

Yes, I realize that "more likely" means they have an increased chance compared to children of non-smokers, but the fact that I know children of smokers who have not experienced these supposed adverse effects means, to me, that those statistics are obsolete. Besides, the oldest documented human smoked until she died at 122 years old; and my mom has been living with my dad for 32 years and she hasn't experienced any documented adverse effects. Also, there are other things that could cause asthma or lead people to start smoking.

Smoking is a personal choice. Parents should be free to breath cigarette or other smoke on and around their infants and children without anyone offering health concerns or research, let alone judgment. It should not be of concern to anyone but the child's parents. People who act like and promote the belief that smoking cigarettes is unhealthy, or that second hand smoke is bad for children or other people, are being judgmental and intolerant, and should learn to butt out. They should keep their negative opinions and "research" to themselves. It shouldn't matter if a parent who is considering taking up smoking, or quitting, has asked if there are reasons others chose to or not to smoke. Biased "research" about the risks associated with second hand smoke should not be offered as reliable resources. The parents should just do whatever feels normal or right to them, for their family. It should not matter if it might/will cost society, in terms of current or future medical costs for the parent or the child. It should not matter that it may now or later impact that child's quality of life in some regard, or that it could perpetuate a continuing harmful cycle whereby the child of a smoker grows up to smoke around their children who grow up to smoke around their children and so on for generations.

Again, I don't believe it will, because my dad smoked and I don't have asthma or battle cigarette addiction. I'm just emphasizing that it ought to be up to parents to expose their children to any "risk" they feel inclined to. They are the ones responsible for their children. It is their parental right.

As an aside, routine infant circumcision is a violation of basic human rights, and there is an abundance of evidence to show how at best it is unnecessary, and at worst how harmful (in some cases fatal) it is. But don't take my word for it; ask a sexually active circumcised man with a normal amount of ego and social conditioning, who hasn't done much (if any) research, if being circumcised as an infant had or has any negative impacts on him psychologically, physiologically, or physically, and if he says "no," then take his word for it, research it no more, and lob off a healthy, functional, sensitive and useful piece of your perfect newborn son's genitals. That's a totally reasonable and legit course of action.

Or, you know, research it, a lot. Don't know where to start? Just ask.