Sunday, September 23, 2012

Letting Go

 I leaned against the door frame of my old bedroom and brushed a damp strand of hair off my forehead. Memories came flooding over me, countless in number, and flashing by almost like one's life might flash before one's eyes. So many happy, childish moments - playing with stuffed animals and dolls, twirling in skirts, and jumping on the bed (even though we knew we weren't supposed to). The short time when all four of us children shared the room, David in the crib by the closet, Joel on the twin bed in the corner, Sarah and I sharing the double bed. Complaining about going to bed while it was still light out on all those summer nights. And with the memories comes a nearly overwhelming feeling of wistful longing.

We left that little house 10 years ago for one nearly twice its size, but my parents still owned it, and rented it out for those 10 years. Somewhere around the age of 13 or 14, I incorporated it into my "future life" plan: when I got married at 18, my husband and I would buy Lynnwood from my parents, and my children would get to live in the same house where I lived my 4th-10th birthdays. They would sleep in my old bedroom, and play in the same backyard while I would watch from the kitchen window, just like Mom always did.

Well, my 18th birthday passed without a hint of a suitor, and now I'm 21, still with no prospects in sight. "My" house is for sale. We've spent the past two months working on it, replacing, repairing, updating, and cleaning. The whole process of seeing the poor little house go from its previous dilapidated condition to the squeaky clean, fresh and pretty condition that it's now in has been somewhat depressing for me, as I kept trying to squelch the wish that it was being prepared for me and my mister instead of some strangers. 

I know it's pretty silly to be so saddened over a house, because it is, after all, only a building, but as a physical representation of the end of my youthful dreams, God has used it to raise some important questions. I wanted to get married at a young age, to a godly man, and raise my 13 (yes, 13) children to His glory. What fault could He find with that? Yet here I am, the husband is about 3 years "late," and I'm two children "short" of schedule. Why?

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
-Isaiah 55:8-9

Do I trust Him with my future? Will I joyfully accept His will for my life even if it doesn't include the husband and children that I've always desired? Am I content in His love? I want my answer to be a confident, decisive and enthusiastic "YES!" every day of my life, my deepest desire only to bring Him glory through my life. I can feel a fist inside my heart, clinging stubbornly to my own dreams, but I must surrender them to Him. His ways are so much higher than mine that I can't understand, I can only trust Him. Why would I hesitate? He created me, and loves me so much that He died to save me. He is truly all I need. So I close my eyes, take a deep breath - and let go.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord
plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
-Jeremiah 29:11 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Weird Beliefs and Opinions: Hospitals, Doctors and Medicine

This is the beginning of what might become a series of posts about all my fanatical beliefs and opinions! I have quite a few. ;)

I am 21 years old, and I haven't been to a medical doctor in 19 years. I was born in a hospital, like the majority of babies born in the US, and for the first two years of my life, I got all the recommended vaccines. Then, my parents decided not to vaccinate me anymore, and I haven't been back to a doctor since. I don't remember any of my few trips to the doctor, and what I have learned, and continue to learn about doctors and the modern medical practice, gives me no desire to ever experience being a patient at a hospital. One of my most terrifying nightmares is being seriously injured, and waking up in a hospital. I think I might rather just die.

In a study by Dr. Barbara Starfield, and published by the Journal of the American Medical Association they found these shocking statistics:
  • 12,000 deaths/year from unnecessary surgery 
  • 7,000 deaths/year from medication errors in hospitals 
  • 20,000 deaths/year from other errors in hospitals 
  • 80,000 deaths/year from infections in hospital;
  • 106,000 deaths/year from non-error, adverse effects of medications 
These all total up to 225,000 deaths per year in the US from iatrogenic damage (which is adverse effects as a direct result of treatments by a physician.) That makes iatrogenic deaths the #3 cause of death in the US. Heart disease and cancer hold the #1 and #2 positions, respectively.

The first number, 12,000 deaths/year from unnecessary surgery, is not even close to the total number of unnecessary surgeries per year, it only tallies the unfortunate souls that died as a result. In Death by Medicine, Gary Null, PhD. estimates that 7.5 million total unnecessary medical and surgical procedures are performed each year. I find it horrifying that so many people spend thousands on surgeries that they don't even need, which instead often cause them damage and death. 
"...the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils." (1 Tim 6:10) 
Surgery makes doctors a lot of profit, and it's my opinion that some doctors either don't care about the damage they might do the patient, or delude themselves into thinking that surgery is in the patient's best interest, simply because of the monetary incentive for themselves. 

It seems if doctors aren't trying to hack out and slice up your body parts, they're trying to give you prescription drugs. Dr. Starfield's study listed 7,000 deaths/year from medication errors, and 106,000 deaths/year from NON-error, adverse effects of medications. NON-error, meaning that it wasn't a mistake to prescribe or take the medication, by the medical community's standards! My dad once heard a pharmacist describe drugs as "poisons with some beneficial side effects." As any commercial will tell you, there are also many possible negative side effects for these "poisons," which is why I believe taking any kind of drug is a mistake. I have never taken so much as a Tylenol or Advil. There are so many natural and healthy options!

If you thought of hospitals as a clean, sterile environment, you might be stunned to see that there are 80,000 deaths/year caused by infections acquired in hospitals. That is the main reason I find it disturbing that almost every American baby is born in a hospital. Low-risk births have no reason to be in a hospital. Besides the risk of infection, Caesarean sections are one of the most common unnecessary surgeries performed, they will try to pump the mother with drugs, rush the birthing process and vaccinate the baby with the unnecessary Hep-B shot immediately after birth. It's much safer to have a home birth with a midwife. 

A large part of the problem with the medical community is the average American's lack of interest in changing their lifestyle. Do they really expect to eat the SAD (Standard American Diet) - sugary pastry breakfast, fast food lunch, microwave TV dinner, veg out on the couch, junk ice cream before bed, and still somehow expect to live a "healthy" life? Doctors might give them the standard advice that everyone knows: get exercise, eat your veggies. But the average American tends to ignore that advice, and when they get sick, who makes money off of their poor health choices? Think about it, why would doctors push healthier lifestyles on people who are perfectly happy to just pay for them to "fix" the damage? 

They are treating human bodies like machines. Take out parts, put "new" parts in, insert metal or plastic and generally sticking their gloved fingers where they don't belong. What they seem to completely ignore is the body's miraculous ability to heal itself, in ways they don't, and never will, completely understand. God has designed life forms with wonderful, extremely complex bodies, and He has given us everything we need to live healthy lives, beginning with the basics: eating the healthy foods He created, drinking clean water and exercising, and including herbs with healing properties for injuries and illnesses. I have no intention of ever voluntarily trusting a medical doctor with my health. 

Every one of these topics I mentioned could be a whole blog post on its own, and I haven't even touched on all of them. If you implicitly trust doctors, and have never questioned what they tell you to do, I challenge you to take some responsibility for your own health. Do some research about drugs, vaccines, radiation, surgery and natural health. Don't just blindly accept what they tell you!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Illegally Delicious

It's rich, creamy, delicious, healthy and... illegal?

First order, raw milk, cream and cheese
Humans have been drinking animal milk for thousands of years. Until the 1890's, that milk was raw; then entered pasteurization and everything changed. Now, a little over 100 years later, unpasteurized milk is illegal to sell in many states, and can be difficult to acquire, unless you milk your own animal. So what happened, and what's wrong with unpasteurized milk, anyway?

Raw milk was incriminated in many deaths during the 1800's, caused by several factors: unhealthy cows, confined and fed an unnatural diet, sick dairy workers and an unsanitary milking environment (it's rumored the workers sometimes stuck their bare, dirty feet in the milk pails to keep them warm while milking! You can read more about the history of raw milk here if you're interested). In typical American style, instead of fixing the root of the problem, we took the "easy" way out, killed all the germs and drank the stuff anyway. Does that sound appetizing to you?

Now, in the 21st century, we're obsessed with a sanitary, sterile, germ-free environment. Anti-bacterial soaps and hand sanitizers are used religiously, and one can barely sneeze without getting prescribed an antibiotic. It's not a surprise that these germophobic people don't want to drink something that hasn't been sanitized, but what might be a surprise is that the majority of milk produced still needs to be pasteurized to actually be safe. "Conventional" dairy cows are usually still confined, still fed an unnatural diet (often GMO soy and corn), can still get sick, and diseases are spread more easily in confined areas, between animals that are weakened by their unnatural diet and habitat. These cows are given massive amounts of growth hormones and antibiotics - 29 MILLION pounds of antibiotics were used by factory farms in 2009 alone! Plus, since the milk is all going to be sterilized anyway there's no need for sanitary conditions; pasteurized milk might be contaminated with blood, pus and all kinds of other nasty things, but it's okay, it can't hurt you once it's been killed, right? To top all that off, the calcium you're supposed to be getting from your milk has rendered insoluble by the pasteurization process, so all you're drinking is dead, sterilized, junk calories, highly laced with a chemical cocktail of drugs. Organic pasteurized milk is a better option, but is still lacking in nutrients due to pasteurization.

The best option is organic, raw milk from cows that are pasture-raised. They eat their natural diet, live healthy lives, and produce milk that is rich in all the nutrients that milk is supposed to contain: calcium and other minerals, vitamins (like B, D and K), enzymes (some that help you digest lactose), beneficial bacteria, protein and saturated fat (don't let fat scare you, saturated fat has gotten an undeserved negative stigma, but that's another post...) This rich, delicious food is so good for you, but is illegal for sale in NC, except for pet consumption. 

I've been eager to get real milk for a while, and we finally found a co-op (that gets around the legality very intelligently). I immediately made ice cream. We all had two scoops after supper that night, and I didn't notice any congestion at all; usually that much dairy would have had me hacking for an hour or so. The cream was so thick and luscious, it almost wouldn't pour, so I scooped it into a measuring cup with a spoon. The flavor and texture of the ice cream was simply wonderful. We've been eating tons of totally delicious ice cream ever since, sweetened with raw honey... it's actually healthy, and absolutely delicious!

 So here's to wonderfully scrumptious, healthy, guilt-free dairy! (Unless, of course, you feel guilty for not drinking the government-approved swill. Then I can't help you.) I'll never want to eat Goodberry's for an ice cream treat again!