On New Years Eve, during a major snowstorm, one of my daughters became violently ill. The timing, of course, could not have been worse and after a call to the doctor we were put at ease, told to stay in, to push fluids and to ride it out. “There’s a stomach bug going around and it will pass” — we were told. But “stomach bug” I knew this was not. This thing, whatever she had, was far more sinister. A day later and two separate trips to the emergency room we wound up in the hospital for seven days of pure agony. Not only were we quarantined in a room that we were not allowed to leave but my potty-trained daughter was back in diapers –- going to the bathroom up to 30 times a day and screaming every time (sorry tmi). The poor thing was finally diagnosed with Salmonella (it takes 3 days to show up in a blood culture), and even rarer, it had spread to her bloodstream. Where she got it – I still don’t know. Salmonella is one of those things that you can get from food, playing with a turtle, anywhere really – nobody knows. And when a kid gets it, especially if it gets into the blood, it is nothing short of terrifying.
After my own bouts with food poisoning in the past (I have been hospitalized twice for food contaminated illnesses from work, once with Salmonella from a CANTALOUPE!), I have been fearful of food and have become very particular about what I eat and what I feed my children. But you can’t be vigilant 100% of the time, and sadly, there is really no control over the situation. The food supply in the US is worrisome to say the least and unless you are shopping at local farmers markets or paying top dollar at Whole Foods you really have no idea where your food is coming from.
So where am I going with this? I guess after seeing my daughter go through such an excruciating situation I am on mega high alert which reminded me of two books that are worth reading. Two excellent books about the state of the food supply in the US are The Omnivores Delimma and In Defense of Food. I was lucky to have grown up with a mother who was a hippie so I was quite aware of what was healthy to eat, but these two books were eye opening to say the least.
And last week I finally watched the documentary, Food Inc. If you have not seen it – watch it now! Oprah just did a special on it. Buy it or rent it or get it on demand. It will blow your mind, make you sick and might even make you a vegan overnight. I hate to bring this up and scare people but I am worried and I don’t even know what to eat anymore — if you have ideas, please send them my way. I am pretty confident this is a US related issue but not sure. I just get the feeling that in Europe there are more markets and access to fresh food. Please let me know. I am just curious.