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Yamaarashi-chan's healthy, but King County is not. - Elf M. Sternberg
Yamaarashi-chan's healthy, but King County is not.
So, I went to Yamaarashi-chan's doctor yesterday. I was supposed to meet her and her mother there. She was late arriving, but there wasn't much of a problem as we still had to wait for her physician. Yamaarashi-chan went through the usual routine-- height and weight down around the 10th percentile, but staying on the curve. One eye showed 20/50 vision, so I'm happy that her mother finally got around to booking an optometry appointment later this week.

While we were going through the interview with the physician, her mother again expressed her reluctance to give Yamaarashi-chan milk, but stated no religious or ideological reason for doing so. Given the twofold increase in bone fragility in minors over the past twenty years directly correlated to a drop in milk consumption and the calcium that goes with it, and given that there's no medical reason for Yamaarashi-chan not to have it, I still don't understand what that woman is thinking.

The doc also offered a hepatitis A vaccine. She said it wasn't mandated, but it would be a good idea since King County had high rates of HepA and it was available free anyway. I asked if that wasn't a problem primarily among gay men and drug users, and she agreed but pointed out that the outbreak recently from green onions was HepA. Not seeing any serious complications, I decided it was a good idea and readily gave my consent.

I was curious, so I did a little looking around. Apparently, there were two outbreaks of HepA in King County in the past few years-- one from a Subway up in Bothell, and the famous Jack In The Box case down on Broadway. "The Health of King County" report available from The United Way shows that 87% of all hepatatis A cases in King County were attributable to either homosexual contact or injection drug use, but that leaves 13% of the cases to other means. More frightening, King County is sixth in the nation for minors with hepatitis A-- and much of that, sadly, is due to a rate of infection almost twice the national average among our large Native American population.

(Hmm... looking at that twice, the rate among gay/bi/IVdu indicates a more serious problem than I originally thought. If they make up 87% of cases, but represent less than 10% of the population, that means the remaining 13% is diffused among a much larger and more diverse population. The UWKC doesn't say what "other" could be, though.)

Ick. Not that I wouldn't have agreed Yamaarashi-chan get the immunization before, but at least now I feel confident that it's not in response to an almost impossible threat, but a very real and local one.

Otherwise, she's a perfectly normal and healthy kid. I took her home and Omaha fed her a decent meal of shrimp on couscous with raisins, pineapple, and dates. We spent some time drawing together and when I showed her how one of her stuffed animals was just a couple of egg-shapes stuck together, she did a hilarious but quite good rendition of the sucker. I'll scan it in later.

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: Mike Oldfield, Serpent Dream

17 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 3rd, 2003 08:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Isn't she lactose intolerant? Is the problem that she won't give her the lactose-free milk?
elfs From: elfs Date: December 3rd, 2003 08:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, she's not. Yamaarashi-chan has no known sensitivity to milk or milk products whatsoever. We suspected all kinds of things when she was 1½ because she seemed to have more frequent tummy upset than other kids at that age, but nothing ever panned out and whatever it was, she outgrew it.

She's a perfectly healthy, ordinary six year old now.
(Deleted comment)
dakiwiboid From: dakiwiboid Date: December 3rd, 2003 08:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
There a conflicting story in the same journal and there are several more that seem to indicate that evidence is "controversial", at least. BTW, did you know that the "Healthlink News" link you provided originates in the website of "New England Family Health Associates", who say they are "dedicated to providing you with the best of naturopathic, Chinese and integrative medicine." If I ever saw a site tailored to tell you not to drink your milk, it's that one.
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dakiwiboid From: dakiwiboid Date: December 3rd, 2003 09:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm an herbalist myself

but I believe that a good, balanced diet is excellent medicine. Milk is the simplest and cheapest and most palatable way to get sufficient calcium into a child's bones. My beloved
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but I believe that a good, balanced diet is excellent medicine. Milk is the simplest and cheapest and most palatable way to get sufficient calcium into a child's bones. My beloved <lj="bbwoof"> has had a bullet bounce off his ribs, and his surgeon commented, "You must have been a big milk-drinker as a child".
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elfs From: elfs Date: December 3rd, 2003 10:31 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I'm an herbalist myself

Y'know, it's not like I'm forcing this stuff on her or anything. I simply refuse to act as if she's under immediate, immanent danger of death if she drinks milk-- because I have no evidence to suggest that she is. I am not going to make "special" meals for her, refuse her the same oatmeal cookies I make for her sister, or tell her that she may not share in the same birthday celebrations as her friends, etc. Not without much better reasoning than I've seen to date.

omahas From: omahas Date: December 4th, 2003 12:40 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: I'm an herbalist myself

I think that eating certain foods is a matter of preference, and certainly we can all decide for ourselves what we want to eat, and our friends and family members will hope that we make those decisions fully informed as well.

However, when it comes to a child, then what is in the best interest of the child is what should be followed, not what is in the desire or preference of the parents. If Yamaarashi-chan had medical issues that pointed towards milk causing her problems now, or pointing towards significantly possible complications later, I would have no problem keeping cow's milk out of her diet.

But there is no indication of anything medical that would make that necessary. And because milk does provide a number of things important to a growing child (calcium, vitamin D), and because it is such a significant part of American food culture, we see no reason to exclude it from Yamaarashi-chan's diet.

Angi has chosen to do so. Neither Elf nor I believe that is wise, but we have never told her she must feed Yamaarashi-chan milk.

What a pity Angi can't do the same thing back.
mathochist From: mathochist Date: December 11th, 2003 11:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I'm an herbalist myself

we have never told her she must feed Yamaarashi-chan milk

But you have told *my relatives* to disregard my instructions to not give her cow milk. And demanded that I stop instructing others to not give her milk.
omahas From: omahas Date: December 12th, 2003 01:16 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: I'm an herbalist myself

But you have told *my relatives* to disregard my instructions to not give her cow milk. And demanded that I stop instructing others to not give her milk.

You're absolutely right. That's because your doing so is a global decision according to the rules of the parenting plan. You can't make such a global decision without Elf's consent, which he doesn't give you, and by telling others...your relatives, her school, friends, people she plays with, etc...to keep her off of milk, you are doing exactly that.

According to the parenting plan, if you want to withhold milk from her in your home, so be it. But you can't make the global decision that everyone do so without Elf's consent.
mathochist From: mathochist Date: December 12th, 2003 01:37 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: I'm an herbalist myself

You're wrong. According to the parenting plan, I have authority over "daily decisions" during the *time that she resides with me*. That doesn't mean just the time that she's physically in my house. That means *my parenting time*. If I leave her with someone else temporarily during my parenting time, that doesn't mean that she's left my authority.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 3rd, 2003 09:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
What I know is that Yamaarashi-chan's sister (technically half-sister) has Type I diabetes running on her dad's side. Now if Yamaarashi-chan's mother has diabetes (Type I) on her side of the family, especially brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, the potential could be there.
elfs From: elfs Date: December 3rd, 2003 09:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
You have to read closely to see what's what. First, Yamaarashi-chan's eldest sister does have diabetes, but there's very strong evidence that the condition is inherited from her father, not her mother. There's no significant history of family diabetes in either of Yamaarashi-chan's parents.

Secondly, the relationship of bovine insulin exposure and diabetes, weak as it is, apparently only applies to children under the age of two, before the immune system solidifies. There is no evidence at all that exposure at six poses a threat even to high-risk children.

The JDF (Juvenile Diabetes Foundation) even issued a press release stating that there was no reason to keep a child off milk after the child was fully weaned and that doing so when there were no other medical circumstances was not in the best interests of the child. The American Council on Science and Health states that cow's milk in the first year of life is "not suitable for children," but for once a child is eating with the rest of the family "milk is an excellent food choice."

I can find all manner of kooky sites warning about milk. It causes this, it causes that. I've even seen one site claim it causes bone loss (!) without providing evidence. I found a site claiming that wheat can trigger type-1 diabetes just as reliably as milk can, but nobody's suggested I keep bread away from her.

I went and looked at the link you provided. He states that "A major finding of one study is that high intake of milk, more so than early introduction of milk to the diet, is a major risk factor for juvenile diabetes." The problem is that when I went to read the study footnoted, I found it stated no such thing. The study he cites is about whether or not vaccinations cause diabetes (they don't).

He also misstates the conclusion of the "new" study he's pounding (he can't tell the difference between 5% and 500%, apparently). An editorial in Pediatrics magazine (not available online, sadly) questions much of the paper's credibility, and the authors of the paper themselves say that much more needs to be done to reliably establish the link they're saying might exist. The editors at Pediatrics point out that too much of anything perceived as "healthy" is going to make you sick-- too much milk, too many vitamins, too much iron, whatever-- but that moderate consumption of milk, provided there are no clinical reasons otherwise, presents no discernable risk to a child who is past breastfeeding age.

So far, the link between type-1 diabetes and exposure to milk in school age children is simply not there. And until there's strong clinical evidence that there is a link, I'm not going to place my daughter in a plastic bubble and exclude her from the ordinary aspects of cooking and eating American food.
omahas From: omahas Date: December 3rd, 2003 11:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
and found several reports that seem to suggest that drinking cow's milk can significantly raise the chances of getting type I diabetes

There are some indications that children under the age of three may have an increased chance of getting type I diabetes if drinking cow's milk, especially with a sibling with diabetes. The jury is still out on that one. However, all of the evidence points towards that issue becoming non-existent after the age of three.

Isn't Yamaarashi-chan's oldest sister diabetic?

No, Yamaarashi-chan's oldest half-sister is diabetic (she is on LJ as yaoifangirl). And as far as I know, her diabetes comes through her father's side of the family. His side is rife with family members with diabetes. I don't recall anyone on Angi's side having diabetes. And Yaoifangirl's and Yamaarashi-chan's fathers are, of course, not the same. So I don't believe there would be any real risk of Yamaarashi-chan contracting Type I diabetes from drinking milk through that venue.
mathochist From: mathochist Date: December 11th, 2003 07:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I will correct this: Elf was adopted, so you have no idea whether or not diabetes runs in his genetic line. Both of my sisters have had gestational diabetes. Both my mother and one of my brothers have had lifelong problems with sugar in their urine. I believe there is type II diabetes on both sides of my own family.
mathochist From: mathochist Date: December 11th, 2003 11:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Given the twofold increase in bone fragility in minors over the past twenty years directly correlated to a drop in milk consumption and the calcium that goes with it

Where are you getting this?

Abstracts that show that consumption of dairy or calcium may lead to increased risk of fractures:

Increased vitamin A => increased risk of fractures:

These show that cow milk and calcium -- contrary to dairy industry propoganda -- are *not* associated with decreased risk of fractures:

Increased protein, particularly increased animal versus vegetable protein => increased risk of fractures:

The idea that milk is needed to prevent osteoporosis is nothing but dairy industry hype. Milk does no such thing, and it may even increase the risk by increasing the amount of protein, particularly animal protein, in the diet.

Regardless, though, I do think calcium is important for other reasons. And AS YOU KNOW, Stormy gets plenty of it, from sources *not* coupled with increased animal protein (soy milk, fortified juices and cereals and breads, other fortified foods, broccoli, etc.).

mathochist From: mathochist Date: December 11th, 2003 11:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
A few other risks of cow milk -- Parkinson's Disease in men:

Prostate cancer:

Ovarian cancer:

I know a couple of those don't apply directly to Stormy, but they add to my feeling that cow milk causes far more harm than good to anyone. As does the prevalance of lactose intolerance -- further evidence that humans beyond weaning age are just not suited to handle milk.

Other associations that I don't have study or abstract links for at the moment: early puberty in girls (which may be due to the hormones naturally present in *any* milk, and/or may be due to the hormones given to cows, and/or may be due to other factors in cow milk), various other cancers, diabetes, autism, celiac disease, anemia...

And then there are my own lifelong problems with cow milk and the positive results of eliminating it from my own diet, which lead me to feel even more strongly that *whatever* reason it is that cow milk has been a problem for me, it *could* very well be genetic, and there is no reason whatsoever to put Stormy at risk for developing similar problems -- some of which can be subtle and not understood for years, or ever -- in the first place. *Especially* coupled with Stormy's *clear* reactions to cow milk in her first two years of life, from which we already know that she has *some* sort of predisposition to be sensitive to it.

As for the idea that cow milk is "important to American culture", the typical American diet is associated with *so many* health problems that are not seen in other parts of the world -- or that weren't seen until our diet was introduced to them -- that I can't for the life of me imagine why you would advocate conforming to that kind of diet in the name of "culture".

Besides which, many people we know are vegan or vegetarian or kosher or restrict their diets in other ways by choice, and many others have food sensitivities or health reasons to restrict their diets. Dairy-free foods are available in abundance. And people on restricted diets of whatever sort are not in any kind of cultural disadvantage. The idea that anybody has to eat cow milk -- or anything else -- in the name of "culture" is just ridiculous.
omahas From: omahas Date: December 12th, 2003 01:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I'll respond to your links in a while, when I've had a chance to read them (I've already found two problems with you using them to back up your claims...one I don't think you intended). I'm tending to a sick child at the moment.

However, I would like to know why it is that if all of this is supposed to be so medically valid to you...why didn't you bring it all up to the doctor when she asked you why you had issues with giving Yamaarashi-chan cow's milk in the first place? I mean, all you said to the doctor was that you just didn't want to give it to her. Why not tell the doctor all of your medically valid reasons?
mathochist From: mathochist Date: December 12th, 2003 01:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Why would I need to justify anything to the doctor? The doctor has no problem with Stormy being kept off cow milk. And the doctor didn't ask for any justification, all she asked was whether I was vegan or Jewish, and what I was doing about calcium. I said I was not completely vegan, and I was using calcium-fortified soy milk, juice, cereal, and other things. She had no problem with that.
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