Diapers are ‘pseudoscience.’ Dairy leaves ‘toxic sludge’ in your uterus. And whatever you do, don’t use tampons! Plus more claims from Alicia Silverstone’s new book, ‘The Kind Mama.’
For those of you who didn’t think the lifestyle blog GOOP wasn’t pretentious enough for chock full of enough misinformation, you’re in luck, because former video vixen, star of Clueless, and spitter of pre-chewed-food-into-son’s-mouth (sadly, not making that up; the link above mentions that as well, and apparently, she thinks all mothers should be doing that to her children, because I guess we’ve become birds?) Alicia Silverstone has come out with a new book about parenting, because of course she has (not repeating the title, because it’s not worth repeating—see link). It’s chock full of pseudoscience and misinformation, and while I won’t go through all the claims listed in the article, I will go through the ones that are especially egregious.
2. Eating plants means you won’t need medicine.
Eating plants during pregnancy, writes Silverstone, “means not only boosting the odds of conceiving but also setting the stage for a transcendent pregnancy, a smoother birth, a healthier baby, and long-term protection from almost every disease there is.” By eating “kind foods”—plant-based foods—women can “supercharge fertility; reduce your likelihood of miscarriage; infuse breast milk with all kinds of nutrient goodness that make your kids smart and healthy; and help stave off diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes.” According to doctors vetted by Silverstone, kind foods “can demolish your need for pharmaceutical drugs, especially for the treatment of things like depression, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension.”
Eating plant-based foods should be encouraged as a rule, but plants are not medicine. Stuff like apple cider vinegar or so-called “superfoods” (completely made-up category, btw) are not going to replace chemo. Sure, if you eat more berries and, say, drink less soda, that would help, but improving your diet does NOT replace medicine. They work hand-in-hand. And yes, improving your diet can help type 2 diabetes to a point in which you don’t need to take medication for it anymore, but even then, you can’t just decide on your own, “Hey, I feel great! I don’t need this shit anymore!” That’s for your doctor to determine.
And finally…I can’t remember how many times I’ve read such-and-such magic food can make your depression go away. If there was a magic food that would make my bipolar disorder and anxiety disappear, I would have fucking eaten it already. Sure, eating a balanced diet can certainly help with mental health, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle, and it involves a variety of foods, including Silverstone’s TEH DEBIL dairy. (I have nothing against vegans or veganism in particular; just people like Silverstone who believe so strongly in veganism that everyone and their brother/sister/etc. has to be a vegan, too, and thus has to be a fucking jerk about it.) You know what else helps with my mental illness? *Gasp* Pharmaceutical drugs. Can we please stop shaming people for taking them as prescribed, please? Thanks.
3. Breast milk has an ‘almost otherworldly power.’
Silverstone writes that “aside from giving your baby every single health advantage there is at mealtime, breast milk is also the ultimate cure-all for almost every ailment that might come up in baby’s early days. It’s a natural antibiotic and has almost otherworldly power to both soothe and heal.” The movie star advises non-movie star moms to enlist the help of a “lactation consultant” in the event that they have trouble breastfeeding. “The $100 or $200 you spend to help you establish a fruitful, long-term nursing relationship will ultimately save you money, whether on formula or medical costs down the road.”
Oh, Gwyneth—I mean, Alicia. You’ve become The Bubble Boy. (The Bubble Girl, I guess is more appropriate. It was the Moops!) Thinking most moms can afford such an expense is adorable. *pats Ms. Silverstone on the head* So precious.
Also, I know they say breast milk is best, but it being a “natural antibiotic” seems a bit of a stretch, especially with no comprehensive scientific study to back that up.
4. If pregnant women bought this book, they wouldn’t be so depressed.
If only Brooke Shields, author of Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression, had listened to Silverstone and eaten more plants, she wouldn’t have been suicidal after giving birth. According to Silverstone, “though it’s less common among kind mamas, some women experience the blues after giving birth.” If you want to prevent crippling postpartum depression, just avoid eating certain foods, including processed sugars, “which makes us feel unbalanced.”
Don’t you love it when people who’ve never been through bouts of depression try to give advise dripped in pretentiousness, shame, and stigma to those who have? Again…precious.
5. Stop using tampons.
Is there a class-action suit against OB on the horizon? According to Silverstone, tampons might be making you infertile: “[Y]our chichi is the most absorbent part of your body. Unfortunately, feminine-care manufacturers aren’t required to tell you what’s in their products, which means that no one’s talking about the potential pesticide residues from non-organic cotton and the ‘fragrances’ containing hormone-upsetting, fertility-knocking phthalates that are snuggling up to your hoo-ha.”
First of all, if you’re going to talk about something that goes into your vagina, say the technical fucking term—not some cutesy fucking euphemism(s). Second, the claim about tampons making you infertile is yet another bullshit claim that she makes that’s not backed by a comprehensive scientific study. (Also, tampons have been around for long enough that there have been decades’ worth of women who’ve worn them who’ve had at least one child, before and after having used them. So…yeah—I can say this is a bullshit claim.)
I will say this, however—the fragrant ones probably aren’t good for your vagina, but neither is douche, and that’s not exactly news.
6. Babies should ‘leave their business in the grass.’
Silverstone’s child was potty-trained at six months, an apparently seamless process that involved reading his facial expressions and other “cues about his need to pee or poop.” She noticed that “when Bear looked like he was flirting with me, smiling sweetly, or looking deep into my eyes, he’d be peeing.” Another signal was when he would “stare off into space for a second.” She assures readers that it’s “not all guesswork” and if you’re really in tune with your maternal instincts, then you too may start referring to yourself as a “potty whisperer.” And there are myriad benefits for EC-trained babies, who are “much more content leaving their business in the grass than having to sleep and eat accompanied by their own pee and poo.” An added bonus? Kind mamas can avoid funneling money into the “multibillion-dollar” disposable diaper industry, which is “fueled by corporate-backed pseudoscience.”
Again, this seems like something that would be published in GOOP. Also, something your average mom doesn’t have time for, even a stay-at-home mom, who likely has errands to run, and thus doesn’t have time to take her child to a fucking field. Also, doesn’t seem like the most sanitary thing. What do you do on planes? Or road trips? Or when you’re at other people’s houses? Do you just let your child shit all over the place?
7. Anecdotally, some babies are ‘never the same’ after vaccines.
Adding another misinformed voice to the debate, Silverstone offers this qualified defense of vaccine conspiracy theorists: “According to Drs. Roizen and Oz…While there has not been a conclusive study of the negative effects of such a rigorous one-size-fits-all, shoot-’em-up schedule, there is increasing anecdotal evidence from doctors who have gotten distressed phone calls from parents claiming their child was ‘never the same’ after receiving a vaccine. And I personally have friends whose babies were drastically affected in this way.” Anecdotal evidence from friends? Case closed.
Anytime you see “According to Dr. Oz…” as proof of some sort of dietary or scientific claim (or, well, any claim at all), I tend to automatically judge that claim as bullshit. Also, Ms. Silverstone, Jenny McCarthy appreciates you carrying the torch as the face of the Anti-Vaccine Movement (even though no one, including me, will ever buy the “I never said vaccines were bad” argument, because…no). Anti-vaxxers are so fucking privileged that their obsession with the all-natural clouds out the part of the brain that makes them forget that, less than a century ago, polio (as well as measles, mumps, and many other diseases) was a goddamn epidemic, and thanks to the polio vaccine in the 1950s, it was wiped out relatively quickly.
And now we’ve fucking forgotten, and don’t even fucking realize that there are still places in the world that still don’t have access to them. If they knew that there was medicine out there that could wipe out childhood diseases that super-poor countries are still dealing with, but that the richer countries have people that care too much about the fucking ingredients in them to help with the fucking herd immunity and shit (which is part of what helps make vaccines effective)? *cue head-exploding scene in Scanners*
Seriously…fuck you, anti-vaxxers.
(Didn’t bother with claims 1, 8, and 9 because the anti-vaccine rant took it all out of me. Also? No apologies for swearing on this one, because seriously..fuck the anti-vaxxers. Most of the time, the other side of the argument has at least one valid point, but not this one.)