So since we found out I was pregnant, I have pretty much been systematically ignoring most US medical/pregnancy advice. I live in Japan, and have been following the Japanese diet recommendations for the most part, and supplementing with a bit of the European/Australian info that is out there as well. This isn’t meant to be a US bashing post, but it is a recognition that the logic that fuels the US system is deeply flawed. We over panic about things like sushi because of general ignorance of the preparation process, and don’t worry about longer term problematic issues such as high fructose corn syrup.
Sushi for example, is flash frozen which kills just about everything in it just as much as cooking it would. Furthermore, most parasites in seafood come from shellfish which is not recommended in the Japanese diet.
The main reason that I went this direction was simple statistics in the form of the worldwide healthcare rankings. The US is currently 37 in overall healthcare, 35 in infant survival, and a horrible 47th in maternal health. Japan ranks 2nd. All of this is easily verifiable, just read the reports from WHO, the CIA etc. it’s all routinely published and updated annually.
There are many, many factors that contribute to these issues – one of the big ones seems to be that the US unfortunately leads the world in another statistic that likely is a huge contributor to its horrible healthcare ratings; obesity. We are far and away the most obese nation in the world. Our horrible commercialized and manufactured diets contribute to a lot of this.
Healthcare also contributes to these problems since we have no national healthcare system, corruption, fraud and abuse runs amuck. “Natural Healthcare” gets far more play than it is actually worth because insurance companies etc. want to cut costs. On the flip-side, we are over medicated and overly prone to have unhelpful procedures due to pharmaceutical and medical companies wanting to make a profit. Death rates for infants and mothers doesn’t seem to be a particular concern in the US. Yet we fight to keep our same, broken, corrupt healthcare system because someone, somewhere is making a profit. “Natural” birth and elective c-sections have both become big business. The only consistency in our system seems to be that as long as money is being made we will stay the course.
We are in desperate need for balance, and that would take a complete overhaul in our system. I think it is highly likely that the dollar cost for that to actually happen is too great. So change is highly unlikely. In the meantime, pass the sushi.