Growing Up Too Fast

[This is a post for moms about their daughters]

Have y’all noticed how early girls are hitting puberty?

I’m not just talking about how quickly our society is pushing them to grow up with inappropriate fashion and romance story lines on the Disney Channel, (that’s all true, but for another post) I’m talking about their baby bodies changing too quickly.

I thought nine and ten was young, but apparently, according to this health article I read yesterday, it’s happening to seven and eight year olds! According to the study, 18% of Caucasian girls and 43% of African-American girls are going into early puberty by age 8!

“For the 11-year old that looks like she’s 15 or 16, adults are going to interact with her like she’s 15 or 16, but so are her peers,” Biro said. Girls who develop early “look physically older,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that they’re psychologically or socially more mature.”

Obesity and diet are  likely the culprits, but not necessarily. What do you think it causing it?

My hubby and I recently watched a couple of documentaries on America’s food industry. Oh my! Not only did it turn our stomachs, it was very eye-opening. Now, I am NOT a health nut (insert sweet tea here). I love sugar and Southern food and no one has ever mistaken me for a Nutritionist.

I’m not about to jump on some bandwagon, but I do care about my kid’s health and I certainly want to hold off puberty until my children are mentally ready for it. For the last month, we’ve made a concentrated effort and have substituted fresh veggies/fruit for canned,  grass-fed beef for corn-fed and hormone-free chicken.

I think it’s sad that it’s more expensive to eat healthier. And I don’t know if this is the answer to stopping early puberty, but it’s worth a try.

What do you think is causing this and what can we do about it?


Comments

  1. 1

    says

    I think it must have something to do with the hormones in food, pesticides & such. I just finished reading “Boys Adrift” by Leonard Sax, it’s really a good book for mom’s of boys & teachers, but good info in general on what is happening in todays’ society with the men/boys. I mention the book because he touched on the hormone issues some, and how it could be possibly related to plastic.

  2. 2

    says

    I read this article too! It was very concerning to me…as I have 3 girls. I didn’t until 16…and now i am so greatful. I try too love my sweet tea and southern cooking…but I try to stayaway from too much processed stuff. I have 4 kiddos and one on the way so the food budget is a concern. I found I can get a good deal at costco for frozen organic veggies & try to include as much fresh fruits & veggies as possible.

  3. 3

    says

    8 years old is just SO young. This was me, actually…I was in fifth grade when I got my period. I was already insanely tall, 5’4″ in fifth grade, so when I started developing so early it was crazy. I guess it’s a good thing I was not pretty and socially rather awkward, because I had the body of a supermodel for awhile there when I was like, 12-16. Obesity had nothing to do with it. I think growth hormones, mainly in milk, may have had a lot to do with it.

  4. 4

    says

    My neighbor’s little girl is 7 and is already showing signs of puberty (hair under her arms, etc…). According to her doctor, she’s going to have to go on some sort of hormones (or a hormone blocker??) because once you go through puberty, you stop growing… In other words, she’ll never get any taller than she is now. I’m not sure how much of this is true – it sounds completely insane to me – but my neighbor is pretty upset.

    I do think it’s our diets. For the last few years, we’ve purchased only fresh fruits and vegetables, but I’ve heard that even those can be dangerous if they’re not completely organic. Sometimes I don’t even know where to start. But I admit I’m guilty of feeding my kids as many chicken nuggets as the next mom.

  5. 5

    says

    I’m sure it’s a combination of things, but the one that feels most controllable is the hormone-free foods. I’m feeding my toddler organic milk and have started buying better meat for all of us. Of course, I drank “normal” milk and went through puberty at a “normal” age (13), but who knows. It’s healthier for a variety of reasons, so the cost is worth it.

    • 5.1

      says

      I think everything we did and our parents did is irrelevant because the food industry wasn’t what it is today. I didn’t even have a car seat, which seems so shocking now, but we drove on roads built to handle more cars than what traveled on them. People weren’t on their phones. The speed limit was lower, etc. I think the food situation is the same. We grew up in a safer time. It’s scary that all of our choices may be having effects we don’t realize until it’s too late to undo. It kind of irks me that food companies are allowed to do unsafe things and market junk in the guise of healthy food all in the name of the almighty dollar.

  6. 6

    says

    I’ve also read somewhere that its our dairy-especially milk. Im so glad my kids hate the taste of milk. Wanna hear something else scary- I have read that soy is bad for boys! It has too much female hormones in it. so great- milk causes our baby girls to grow boobs and soy causes our boys to be gay! lol! Time to just plant a garden and eat from the earth! :-0

      • 6.1.1

        says

        Oh I’m so glad I came back and read these comments! I meant to ask you about the in my email today Jo-Lynne. good to know on the soy.

    • 6.2

      Jenn says

      I’ve been told that, too, many times. I keep telling my husband that maybe the Amish have it right – eating all organic, staying away from preservatives of all kinds! I wonder if they’ll take us in!

  7. 7

    says

    I think diet has a lot to do with it. Soy, especially genetically modified soy, is in EVERYTHING and it’s a known hormone mimicker. Anything with vegetable oil is likely soybean oil, soy lecithin, soy soy soy.

    Also, it’s been documented that artificial hormonal birthcontrol is entering the water ways. It passes through women in their urine and is flushed away. It’s damaging fish, making male fish into females. And as far as I know, most municipalities do not filter their water for chemical or pharmacological residues.

    I think soy plus the Pill are the culprit.

  8. 8

    says

    i don’t know what we can do about it but i am full aware of it…

    i have heard a lot of people talking about this lately. will be interested to hear what your smart readers have to say…

    : )

  9. 9

    says

    When my neighbor started her period at the age of 8-1/2, I switched to organic milk (Which was about the time we switched from Rice Milk). My kids rarely eat beef and I don’t buy it, so I know they aren’t getting hormones there. When you think about how much of food isn’t really food at all, it’s scary. I do think most of it is food related. And as Milehimama said, soy is in so much now. It’s even pushed as the thing to give kids. It’s in formula. It’s everywhere.

    Unfortunately, one has to have a lot of money to eat healthy. We have to skimp here or there to make the choices we do and we do eat plenty of junk. But there are some things I make a priority, like organic milk and limiting our meat consumption. We still need to increase our fresh fruit and veggies.

    I am sad for girls who develop so early – in appearance and in hormone cycles. They are so young and then they have to deal with the awkwardness of our society sexualizing them instead of letting them be kids. Pray for our generations to come!

  10. 10

    says

    I can’t wait for the post about romance story lines on the disney channel. I’m with you on that one. 12 yr. old girls do not need to be “falling in love” and going on dates on TV. I hope my little girl stays little for a good long time!

    As for what is causing it…I always thought growth hormones given to dairy cows was partly to blame. Those hormones are not allowed here in Canada thank goodness.Everyone needs to watch FOOD INC. What an eye opening movie. We should also support our local small family farms whenever we can.

    Milehimama – good point about soy…I hope somebody is studying that right now!

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  11. 12

    says

    You really, really don’t need a lot of money to eat healthy and avoid GMO and hormone foods. It does take a commitment, but it can be done. We spend $150 or so a week for our family of 10.

    Another think I thought of was BPA and other plastic chemicals that are hormone disrupters. BPA was in everything; it still is in our food can liners especially tomatoes, and water bottles. My next ‘health’ goal is to try to find an economical way to get BPA cans out of the kitchen.

    • 12.2

      Darla Robbins says

      Milehimama, I would really like to know what you buy for a weeks worth of groceries for 10 people on a budget of $150. I try to feed a family of 6 on $100.00 a week and that is usually being forced to buy unhealthy things because they are cheaper.

  12. 13

    Emma says

    I agree with all the thinking on foods being the culprit.
    My husband and I saw a similar news story the other night, and we got to wondering how much all this cultural sexualisation of young girls (in many ways – both obvious and subtle) is also perhaps also affecting their early development? The brain is a powerful organ; perhaps it could be (partly) a psycho-somatic response??

  13. 14

    says

    Honestly I don’t think obesity has a thing to do with it. My stepdaughter was never big as a child and she started developing at the age of 9. Because of the teasing in elementary and middle school she had a real insecurity issue during that time. I do think it’s food related though, through the hormones that is forced into our beef and chickens to grow bigger in a shorter amount of time.

  14. 15

    says

    This has been weighing on my heart & mind a lot lately. My daughter will be 9 in a couple of months & I am afraid at what all of the soy she has had over the years has done to her. She was sensitive to dairy & soy as a baby so she was on the hypoallergenic formula. But then when she was off of that, she could tolerate soy products much better than dairy. She was on soy milk, cheese, etc., for many years. And now we live in Japan where soy is all around us.

    I worry for not only her but my 11 year old son as well. He was on soy formula but dairy after age 1. For many years we ate horribly, got better but are now back to crummy food again because of our lack of organic here, etc on this military base. I cannot wait until we live Stateside again so we can go back to all organic living.

    • 15.1

      says

      You should verify is this early puberty a problem in Japan as well. I suspect those cultures that have always had a lot of soy in their diet use it and prepare it differently than we do here. As someone else pointed out we have soy in practically everything. I bet if you eat non-processed local food you’d be getting soy in a more natural state and not experience the ill-effects American eaters are facing. check it out–it may ease your worries quite a bit!

  15. 16

    Ginger says

    Food absolutely has a lot to do with it…way to many hormones in chicken and other foods. Also, you see puberty happening earlier in girls I think because of early use of beauty products which contain a lot of hormones & bad chemicals. One reason you see it earlier in AA girls than other races is because a lot of the hair products for them contain things like placenta and other hormone laden ingredients. I also think that the visual images our children are exposed to can prematurely start the flow of hormones & the like. All of this & more has inspired us to make big changes in food & household & beauty products. Good news is that as more of us join this movement, it will increase demand which will increase production & availability & decrease cost.

  16. 17

    says

    All I can say is when I moved to Africa and started eating and drinking milk and meat that was all free-range, my body had some reactions. A nurse said it looked like a hormonal reaction – like I had come off some hormones. Nothing else had changed – no medications or anything like that. Must have been the food. Pretty scary.
    Hey – one more reason to move to Africa! Of course you have other worse things that could be in your food over here. :)

  17. 19

    says

    So interesting! While I did major in nutrition, I’ve heard a lot of thing, but I’ve never specifically looked into the relationship between the two- of course. (So I won’t try to draw uneducated conclusions…) Now I reeeally want to look into that though (with my limited resources over here, we’ll see how that goes)! After my surgery this summer, I spent A LOT of time on the couch and two (of the 100′s) of movies I watched were Supersize Me and Food, Inc. Being a nutrition major, I was faaaascinated (and disgusted). But I think that’s one of the things I loved so much about my major: how it interacts with EVERY aspect of our life/bodies/health.

    And, after reading Kristin’s post above me, I’ll be interested to see just how much my diet changes and how it will effect me!

  18. 20

    Kim says

    My 8 year old daughter is developing breasts already. And it makes me sad. We also started buying meat without hormones and using fresh veggies. I hope I’m not too late.
    Good luck to you!

  19. 21

    says

    Boy how things are changing! I don’t think I was 12 under I really started developing in any way (and boy was I anxious for it, oh sweet ignorance!), I don’t even want to imagine my daughter getting breasts or starting her period before 10! But I can see how what we eat may be a culprit, especially when they do put hormones in a lot of animals that we get meat and dairy from. It is tragic healthy eating is expensive, but I guess if you value good food it is worth it. And I have been told it is easy to gradually learn how to start making a number of things from scratch (as I read, all at once, would definitely be overwhelming!). I am hoping to start by making my own bread once I get a breadmaker.

    • 21.1

      says

      Crystal,

      I, too, have been committed to making as many things from scratch as possible, and bread was one of my more recent successes. I have to recommend “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” or “Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day” – easy as can be. No bread maker necessary. I have three little boys (4, 3 and 2) and I am working on a sandwich bread that will satisfy them (need to find a better ratio of wheat to unbleached white – too heavy right now), but I am committed! My husband has told me that he could each my regular artisan bread every night with dinner (and friends rave). Truly, it’s that easy.

      Note: I checked a copy out from the library and kept it past my month allotted check-out time. Then just simply bought it on Amazon and haven’t ever regretted the purchase. EASY. Order it today if you feel the desire to give it a try.

      Good luck,
      Jennifer

  20. 22

    says

    I was an ‘early bloomer’ myself. I started wearing a bra when I was 8 and started my period shortly after I turned 10. I really hope that my daughter does not have to go through that so early. I had quite a bit of humiliation on the first day of school that year that wouldn’t have happened had I not been so young.

  21. 23

    says

    I agree with the pesticides, hormones and plastics being a main contributor. We have tried to rid ourselves and our house of as many of these as possible. From there, we just pray over it and eat it! God’s in charge of me.

  22. 24

    says

    As a middle school teacher, I can tell you that some of these girls look like they’re about to graduate high school when they’re actually just leaving middle school. It’s scary. We have taken a huge hit on our budget to stick with organic milk, all natural hormone free meats, and mostly organic fruits/veggies. It’s expensive. It’s not always available, but it’s important. Our kids ARE growing up too soon and it’s kind of bizarre. Thanks for posting this.

  23. 25

    Suzanne says

    Kristen– what were the documentaries you and your husband watched? I’d love to know more about this.

    Thanks!
    Suzanne

  24. 26

    Stefani says

    It sounds like you are on the right track. I think there are also a lot of hormones in dairy products too. We buy whole organic milk to avoid some of them. Whole Foods has cheeses without hormones as well. I have also read about soy products having high estrogen levels. (or something that your body thinks is estrogen). Either way, we try to avoid soy too. It is hard to make the change to whole foods, but we’re trying to change as much as possible. Our grocery budget has stayed pretty much the same. it seems that when you don’t buy all the processed foods, you can afford to spend a little more on whole foods. Good luck! Thanks for getting everyone thinking about this!

    • 26.1

      says

      I was just thinking the same thing yesterday when I left the store. We have cut out almost all processed foods and buy mostly organic meat, veggies, and fruit, but our budget is still just fine.

  25. 27

    says

    I’m with everyone else…food plays a part IMO. I’m not sure it can be nailed down to one thing, as I used to worry about milk a lot. I think our world has a lot of junk in it that wasn’t around several years ago, and I fear it will only continue to get worse.

    We are on a tight budget, but I buy mostly organic produce and free range meats/chicken. We just switched to raw milk, which I’m interested to see how the family handles. I can’t do it for everything, but we’ve started making a lot of our food too and rely a LOT less than we used to on convenience foods. We received my in-laws bread maker (plus have a great recipe for that no-knead bread) and joined a CSA and have put up a lot of vegetables. It’s been fun, and educational for me, who was raised on convenience and wonder bread.

    • 27.1

      says

      Where do you buy Raw milk? and is it safe? You know, I don’t think the foods when we were kids were bad. I think everything now has so much hormones just to produce more. I guess I’ll have to put a bread maker on my list to buy. Now what is a CSA? You know a lot of my friends have been diagnosed with celiac disease so I’m now just learning a lot from them.
      Thanks for your info:)

  26. 28

    says

    My husband and I have been talking about this very thing the past few weeks too! Our daughter is 10 and has several friends who are really developed/developing! We’re also looking into getting grass-fed beef and free-range chickens and eggs. Seeing some of those food documentaries has really opened our eyes to what we’re putting into our bodies. I’m looking forward to seeing what others have to say.

  27. 29

    Mary says

    I’m a nurse practitioner turned stay-at-home mom. I agree with you about food being the possible culprit in kids entering puberty at a younger age. I think a lot of the medical community would agree. My husband and I just had our first child in April and since I had some issues with my pregnancy have been making some changes in our diet. One of the biggest of those changes is going organic with our meat, milk, and eggs. This means that we spend more to buy meat that is antibiotic and hormone free. If anyone lives near Wegman’s they have organic milk that is reasonably priced and not ultra-pasteurized (if you can’t get raw milk or are hesitant to). I agree that it is such a shame that eating healthy has to be more expensive. Perhaps if more people insisted on antibiotic and hormone free milk, meat and eggs and pesticide-free produce it would become the norm (and more affordable).

  28. 30

    says

    I have a little bit different take on this topic. As a mom to three daughters–two teenagers, one pre-teen–I am very concerned about girls’ health. But, for some reason my girls have been late bloomers, which is just fine with me. We seem to have countered every study out there because my older didn’t get their periods until 8th grade or freshman year and they are both very tall (we’re talking 6’1″ and 5’11″!!!). My 12 1/2 year old hasn’t gotten hers yet and it showing NO signs at all.

    We eat healthy–I cook almost everything from scratch, but only because I was raised on a farm and that’s the way my mom did it. Plus it helps that I like to cook. We drink “regular” skim milk from the grocery store. We eat “regular” meat, although I do get it from our local meat market, not the grocery store.

    My main concern isn’t necessarily how early girls are getting their periods, but how early they are beginning to dress and to act older than they really are. We are fighting a modesty battle in this country, and it’s really hard on mothers (of both boys and girls). Even if your daughter “develops” early, it doesn’t mean she can’t still dress and act like a little girl. I see 12 year olds dressing in short-shorts and camis and looking like they are 18 when they should (in my opinion) still be in longer shorts and t-shirts. Sorry, but its the moms who buy these clothes that I blame for the “growing up” of our little girls.

  29. 32

    says

    I’ve seen that news, too. Apparently, estrogen is stored in fat. I think it’s why anorexic girls don’t get their periods. But, science aside, can you imagine being 7 and having that happen? Geesh, I was scared when I was 12! And I didn’t have the ‘talk’ with my daughter until she was about 9 or 10. I feel bad for you moms today, with just another thing to add to your plate. Just hang in there. No matter how early they ‘develop,’ no matter how much they might rebel in their teen years (oh, gee, does early puberty mean you have a crabby 8-year-old now?), one day they become wonderful young women–like my 25-year-old daughter– who really do follow the advice and values they pretended to scorn.

  30. 33

    says

    I think it does have a lot to do with the hormones in the food. I would imagine it’s largely due to that.

    Nearly ten years ago I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia. Self-induced, I dare say. I learned so much about sugar and high-glycemic foods namely from the then popular book, Sugarbusters.

    Of course I love sugar, too. Hence, the hypoglycemia. I put my two oldest daughters on the bus and prepared for a day of Nannysitting with Little Debbie snack cakes once the girls were out of site. I downed multiple glasses of sweet tea, thought potatoes were necessary most every meal and cranked up my bread machine in those days.

    Since then I’ve changed my diet drastically. YES, I “cheat”. However, in the past nearly ten years I have bought o (that’s z-e-r-o) 5 lb bags of sugar. I have purchased a few 1 lb bags. YES, I bake my homemade cookies on occasion and that requires sugar. I still eat those foods I have for the most part cut out of my diet. In moderation. NOT like before.

    I learned so much about how sugar affects hormones. Insulin IS a hormone. We are feeding our kids sugar, sugar and more sugar with a side of sugar. And we often call it love. I am not throwing stones–I’m talking to myself. I now have a four-year-old daughter and I struggle with this. The two older girls (now 17 & 20) know well all of the reasons I changed my diet (and theirs). But the four-year-old is a strong-willed child with lots of love for all things sugar. Sigh.

    Anyway, back when my diet changed, I felt the best I felt in my entire life! Then, I was very strict with it trying to change my lifestyle and end those sugar cravings. I dropped some weight, stopped having headaches, diminished my sinus issues and felt SOOO much better. And then the attacks started. “You really NEED carbs. You are too skinny. Are you sick?”

    YES, there are concerns over artificial sweeteners and many of the products on the market today. However, there are good and “bad” carbs. I still eat carrots, people. But I’ve learned so much about our society and the way we eat.

    All that to say I absolutely believe our eating habits today contribute largely (MOSTLY) to the early onset of puberty in our daughters. GOd is faithful! He answers our prayers. I prayed for sometime before my hypoglycemia diagnosis about my own health, and the health and eating habits of my family. And then God unfolded before my a pamphlet on hypoglycemia from the 700 Club, a friend I had not seen in many years who came to visit while I cranked up my bread machine for homemade cinnamon rolls only to find out she “can’t eat that” because she had been diagnosed with low blood sugar. A long talk during our visit with my explaining that I had been to my doc to have my hormones checked per my husband’s request (nay, his insistence) and we were certain that her happening upon my path was GOD! She told me she was sure the doc would call saying my hormones were fine. “Tell him you want a glucose test,” she said.

    She backed out of my driveway and my phone rang. The nurse repeated all that my friend had just said. I went in for the test and then, “GET OFF SUGAR, now,” was my doctor’s reply.

    The point is, we truly need to change so much of our eating habits. I still struggle. And I worry about my youngest daughter. I give in too much and need to regroup. I know He’s faithful to lead me (us) once again.

  31. 34

    says

    Have you read Michael Pollan’s book, “In Defense of Food”? That book REALLY opened my eyes to what is in the so-called “food” that is sold in grocery stores. I have been trying to eat healthy little by little, doing what I can. It is VERY expensive to eat healthy food… I know some people have mastered the art of eating real, whole foods and their food budget is quite LOW, but I am not there yet. I love having a 33-cent package of Ramen noodles for lunch any day and it only takes 3 minutes! So going from THAT cheap and easy meal to making my own non-processed food is a steep climb but I do what I can and leave the rest to God.

  32. 35

    says

    This is too weird! We just watched the same documentaries, I’ll bet. And? I nearly gagged.

    Our family also just recently committed to whole foods for many reasons. The main reason is my son has is 13 and has ADD. Meds and a moderated diet have always worked until this past year. After reading more about teens with ADD I’m seeing that food is a huge part of controlling this (including some meds yet) and a ton of physical exercise.

    So, I completely redid our meals, diet plan, grocery lists, threw out / gave away what didn’t work anymore – right down to Jelly.

    Not as easy here in Iowa where there are not lot of options. But we had to start SOMEwhere. And believe you me, I’m not all to popular asking for non-corn fed meat, living here in corn country. Gulp.

    I think you are 100% right -I’ve heard it for years….puberty has been brought on early by our “western diet”. I haven’t seen that with my own child (I have to wonder if ADD meds stunted that a little) but I have seen it in some of the girls and some of the boys much younger than I ever thought I’d see it.

    And with that? Comes things that a mom doesn’t EVER want to hear are happening amongst her child’s peers. {fans self}

    • 35.1

      says

      I read a study (and of course I can’t find it now) a few months ago. They took a group of kids who were ‘hyperactive’ (don’t know if they were diagnosed ADD/ADHD or what tho) and removed ALL processed foods from their diet. ALL of it. At the end of a few weeks the kids’ hyperactivity had significantly lowered. Then after a few weeks, half of the kids were allowed to go back to their previous diet. Within in two week…TWO WEEKS!!!…the hyperactivity returned in those kids.

      After I read that study, I was thinking about how people ate in the 40′s and 50′s. Mom made things from scratch, there weren’t all of these boxed foods, bread was either made from scratch or it went bad in 4 days or less (as opposed to today’s white bread that can sit for months and not grow mold…which means there is no nutrients in it). Wives/moms had desserts on hand, but they were home made from unprocessed ingredients. For the most part, people were not overweight (perhaps because TV wasn’t like it is now with a gazillion channels?..who knows). And now we have a generation who eats everything from boxes and bags.

  33. 36

    Dianna says

    Yes I absolutely agree that our “western diet” is causing our girls to hit puberty much, much too early. I was diagnosed with a form of leukemia a fw years ago and since then have done a lot of research and reading on real food. It has been very eye opening for our family and we eat and very healthy diet. Now, it is not ALL organic, but we eat more organic than not.
    It is a gradual process changing your diet and yes can be expensive. But how expensive is health care for obese children or children who get diseases that MAY have been avoided with diet.
    Just thoughts for our family and what works for us. We don’t eat non organic meat….WAY too many hormones. Of course that has to give a little when we do eat out.

  34. 37

    says

    I actually have really embarked on changing our family’s eating habits, I offer some suggestions, etc on my blog…but we’ve cut out almost all meat, eat only organic, very little processed food, etc.

    As far as early puberty, I was listening to a radio program about this same issue and a nurse called in saying that when a body hits a certain fat percentage, puberty begins. I’m not a nurse, but if that’s how God designed our bodies to recognize when to start puberty, and we aren’t healthy/lean until teenage years…then who knows? Maybe it has something to do with it. Personally, I agree with previous posters and think that SOY is a major contributer. I don’t buy anything with soy lecithin in it, and pretty much avoid soy altogether (including vegetable oil, most likely made with genetically modified soybean oil).

    There’s a great blog, http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/, where they’re not eating any ‘fake’ food for 100 days. They challenge people to take a 10 day pledge. It’s a great read.

  35. 38

    says

    Kristen, this is something that I think a lot about. I’ve definitely made sure that any chicken that I’m giving my daughter is hormone free {we don’t eat much beef in our house} but I was wondering if you could clarify something for me…. you said that you are substituting your fresh veggies/fruit for canned veggies/fruits? Or are you getting rid of the canned for fresh? I just want to make sure I read that right. Because we got rid of our canned veggies/fruits a long time ago due to sodium. If there’s something I should know about fresh veggies/fruits I definitely need to know!!

  36. 39

    Bethany says

    I have been concerned about this topic for a while now. I have two girls (4 & 2) and the two main things we’ve done (including the things you listed) are trying to avoid the use of any plastic that is heated and started drinking milk that comes fresh from the farm…no hormones or processing. The diary co-op is fantastic but if you don’t have one local try Braums milk- they have pretty strict standards about hormones.
    My husband is an engineer and he took a plastics class when he was doing his masters work. He can home and was telling me about how much of it leeches into our bodies and we immeadiately stopped microwaving tupperware, using styrofoam for hot drinks, and washing anything plastic it the dishwasher on high tempuratures. This was pre-BPA scandal days. We’re not health nuts but this seems like common sense!

  37. 40

    says

    All chicken meat should be hormone free, because hormones aren’t approved for use with poultry. It’s the beef that has the growth hormones. The thing to watch out for in chickens is antibiotic-free.

    I personally don’t use a lot of canned veggies, but we do use a lot of frozen when fresh isn’t available.

    • 40.1

      Courtney says

      Have you seen Food, Inc? It says chickens used to take 90 days to grow full-size, but now it only takes 45……….. I *thought* they were saying that they use hormones to make chickens grow bigger, faster. Is my thinking incorrect? If so, what is it that they are giving them? In this movie they also mention the antibiotics chickens are given.

      • 40.1.1

        says

        I have seen Food Inc. I think with chickens it’s antibiotics which encourage growth and genetic selection/breeding. Also they are given an unnatural diet. Chickens used to scratch about the yard, eating bugs, getting some chicken feed, and foraging. Now they have unlimited access to genetically modified grain and specially formulated chicken feed – formulated to make them fat, fast.

  38. 41

    rhonda says

    I think its a combination of factors. I definitely think plastics (such as BPA) and pest. play into it. since a friend of mine has a daughter who is allergic to chicken and diary and is already developing…And she is not obese, either.

  39. 42

    Sara Parkinson says

    Good for you Kristen! I personally think it’s a combination of lots of things in our environment. All of our electronics are wireless, plastic is abundant in all of our homes, and the food we eat is laced in hormones and toxins. Try to use as much organic as you can afford. A doctor I follow online has addressed the issue of eating organic and the expense. He says if there is nothing else you buy organic in your home, the one thing should be butter. You see, most of the toxins that our animals take in are stored in their fat, so any fat full food that comes from an animal is going to be chalk full of toxins if it’s not organic. Try using organic milk, butter, meats. If you can’t afford organic meat, then buy the leanest cuts.

    That’s my take, I AM a health nut. We recently started drinking raw milk and we LOVE it! But that’s a bit extreme for most. Call me a tree hugger, I’m proud! :)

  40. 43

    says

    I totally agree with the eating healthier=more expensive aspect. We have 5 children and the thought of buying organic milk, while I would love to, is just completely unrealistic…for us anyways. Yes you make sacrifices, but when eating ‘organic’ costs nearly twice as much sometimes, it’s not nearly as easy as I wish it could be. We do our best with what can afford but it may not be enough! We have a child that spends a lot of time with us and we consider part of our family-she lost her mom a year ago when she was 10-and she hit puberty at the beginning of THIRD grade!! I cannot even imagine having to talk my daughter through having her period at such an early age. It’s kind of scary and unnerving!

    • 43.1

      says

      Five children is a lot! I only have two but we’ve made the switch over to almost 100% organic. You have to cut out a lot of dairy and meat to make it work though. We eat a lot of beans ($2/lb for organic vs. $10/lb for organic beef/chicken) and grains, and lots and lots of organic veggies. Not sure where you are, but look into a CSA (community supported agriculture) for a close, organic source of organic vegetables. (localharvest.com is a great website)
      We spent about $60-80/week on groceries, and that’s with all organic. We eat a mostly vegetarian diet but we’re all very healthy, have a lot of energy, and feel better overall.

  41. 44

    says

    It’s not just the food industry. It’s also all the estrogen in the water from the waste from birth control pills (and other drugs also). I can’t find the link to the article but my husband works in the pharma industry and used to work in women’s reproductive health. This is also affecting our boys and making them more feminie. Such intresting information that our goverment doesn’t want to share with us. After all who whould want to give up their freedom to choose(birth control) so easily.

    The problem is not so much fresh food as processed food, like crackers, bread, canned soups, boxed meals, etc. Here we don’t eat anything out of a box or can unless we put them there ourselves. Its all full of fake ingredients.

  42. 45

    says

    hmmm…sounds like you watched “Food Inc.”…VERY eye opening. I don’t know what bothered me more…the crap in most of our food or the polictics of the food industry and who is monitoring them. Similar to the rest of the corporate companies and the tie ins they have in congress and the special committes like the oil & gas and banking & insurance industies…very depressing!
    ANYHOW…we have been following an all natural (as much as possible) for some 8 years now since my friends husban had a cancer scare and we all were reading Dr. Weil’s advise on clean living as well as some others like Deepak Chopra, etc. I lived most of my childhood overseas and we literally got sick when we came back to the states and started eating here. Then we lived in Italy when my son was born and wen through the same stomach issues and allergies when we returned stateside. So when we go the cancer scare…it made us all the more aware and conscious of how our food was grown. I’ll never be a vegan or a nutritionist and sweet tea is not a bad thing when you use real sugar and just monitor how much you really are drinking. Cause too much sugar of any kind causes inflamatory properties in our bodies. Another good documentary to watch is “No Impact Man” and to learn how even people int he city can have a kitchen garden…he goes a little too far for me but I like his message. Epecially about our abuse of using cars and not using bikes more…like they do in Europe and many Asian countries. Heck Paris has over 20,000 bikes that you can “rent” for $2.00 an hour and leave them anywhere in the city at the kiosks…amazing.
    Change begins in the home and you are making the first change by making your family aware of how your food is manufactured and processed…just keep on trying and learning and it will help you all in the long term…don’t know if it is in time to stop puberty because the hormones in the dairy/meat products have already changed their genetic mark-up. Now it is a matter of monitoring their health with these new changes…and preventing diabetes, etc. Making informed decisions is the ultimate goal and you are serving your family well. Take care, fondly, Roberta

  43. 47

    says

    Kristen, I know you’re in my area and if you are interested in getting into the “real food” organic local loop, Yahoo! Groups has one called Houston Organics. There’s a big farmer’s market in Tomball, and lots and lots of options for locally raised meat straight from the farm.

    Brad Stufflebeam runs a farm and is a local leader in the slow food movement, he arranges CSAs, market days, and you can find local meat vendors, eggs, etc. through his website.
    http://www.homesweetfarm.com/
    He offers work shares – you work on the farm and then you get food, which I think is awesome. I hope someday to participate when my babies are little older! How great to learn about how food is grown on a farm, not from a one hour visit but from actively participating!

    Also my sister orders from Paidom meats, and I’ve had it several times too. So good and an excellent price for hormone, antibiotic free pastured beef! They run deliveries through the area a few times a year. I’m hoping to get in on the next one.
    http://www.paidom.com/

  44. 48

    Melissa says

    Isn’t it a crazy thing when God opens our eyes to question and change things in our lives that we thought were perfectly fine. By going to the grocery store, buying meat, eggs, milk, bread and then cooking meals for my family, I thought that I was doing the best thing possible for our health.

    After the birth of my last child, and some health concerns, God slowly started to reveal His plan for this area of our lives. Over the past few years I have learned so much about nutrition, agriculture, and cooking. I can now easily discuss, produce/purchase and use raw milk, fermented products, grass fed beef, pastured poultry, whole grains, natural sweeteners… and understand why. But finding my first book on this subject and making my first trip to a strange smelling, totally foreign, all natural “health food store” was very intimidating.
    Here are a few resources that were helpful to our family…
    Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon (lots of recipes and nutritional information- great resource)
    Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon (user friendly food explainations and recipes)
    Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride (nutritional treatment for many illnesses)
    eatwild.com (website to find healthy meat to buy direct from farmers close to you)
    localharvest.com (website to find local grown produce)

    When we realized that hormone imbalance, early puberty, attention-deficit, depression, diabetes and many other illnesses could be caused by our diet, we changed. It took time to change the way we shop and cook. It also took a while for our family to appreciate some of the new tastes. French fries to fresh green beans can be a pretty big leap. Food is such a social thing, but I also learned that chasing after a familiar, comforting taste was an idol that I had to (continually have to) let go of. Thankfully our God is patient with us. I also believe that if He is calling so many of us to change the way we eat, He must want us to be physically healthy and strong for the great plans He has in store for us.
    Thank you Kristen for posting your thoughts, you are not alone in this.
    Blessings, Melissa

  45. 49

    Lindsey says

    Well, what do growth hormones do for the animals that are injected with them? Now, let’s just imagine what happens when we eat that meat! That being said, I’m not organic. I wish I was. We live in a society where it is not the norm to be self sufficient. We do not farm like people did 50-60 years ago. If we did, we wouldn’t have to depend on the super markets for everything we eat and drink. Will I ever be fully self sufficient? No. But, here pretty soon, I want my own chickens. I want milk goats, for my own milk. People think we are crazy, but I do worry about how this is affecting our children. Will I ever give up sweet tea and fried food? Probably not. I’m just too southern for that! But, I sure would like for my fried chicken to be from my coup!

  46. 50

    says

    Great post! I personally think it is definitely what we are putting in our bodies, I saw a show about how chickens are being genetically engineered and you are right it is frightening. I also am not a health nut, but lately I don’t buy meat from a grocery store anymore. We have a local butcher shop that buys from local farmers. Very thought provoking, I like it when we have to think.

  47. 51

    says

    I know that food is playing a role, but I heard about research (Sorry, can’t remember where – several years ago) that showed very strongly that NOT having a father in the home brought about earlier puberty in girls. The study showed that the huge increase in one parent (usually the mother) homes had alot to do with puberty coming earlier and earlier in girls. They said it was especially noticeable in the African American and Latino communities where there were even higher percentages of homes without fathers. Don’t know how true this is, but it would certainly seem to something to consider, also.

  48. 52

    says

    I heard from a friend after reading that article (in other words, this may have no basis WHATSOEVER), that girls tend to menstruate when they get closer to that 100 lb. mark. Now, if that were true, you could definitely see the connection in the foods being eaten, and the fact that childhood obesity is more common now. Like I said, I don’t know if the 100 lb. thing has any medical or scientific research to support it, but it’s a thought. In any case, it bothers me very much that it’s more expensive to eat fresh, healthy foods. I saw a photo essay online from Time, I think, of the foods eaten over the course of a week in different countries. It shows all the food, the family, and tells how much it cost. I was amazed on a few of them that there were so many vegetables and fresh ingredients for so little money. I really don’t believe people always want to eat poorly, but it’s so much cheaper. You can get a Big Mac, large fry and a giant Coke for less than a salad with grilled chicken and no drink.

    Needless to say though, I was totally alarmed by that article the other day because I have a 7 yr old! She’s just starting to lose her baby teeth! I’m not ready for more than that, and I can’t imagine she is either.

  49. 53

    says

    I’m disturbed by this trend too. I wish I had time to read all your comments. But the long and the short of it is, for more reasons than this, but this plays into it, we are eating as much “real food” as possible. About this time last year, I did jump on that band wagon. I never had any idea how far it would take us, but we are pretty much off all processed foods (except occasional organic crackers or pasta) and eating organic and/or locally grown produce, local grass fed meat and eggs, raw whole milk, etc.

    I was motivated primarily by my own health issues, and they are much, much improved, and I’m off the medicine I was on, but the more I learn, the more I believe in eating this way because it just makes sense, biologically speaking, whether you subscribe to evolution or creation, either way, it’s the way we ate was before man interfered with nature and thought he could do better.

    As far as early puberty, BPA and other chemicals in our plastics could be a culprit. It’s so hard to know what it is, and we can’t avoid everything that’s potentially harmful, but I’m doing my best.

  50. 54

    rachel says

    My husband and I were just having this conversation. Where do you get your grass fed beef and corn fed chicken?

    • 54.1

      kristen says

      We get all of our beef from my father-in-law (it pays having family in the farm business :-) The chicken has been harder and we actually eat more of it, usually. I found a Farmer’s Market that sales fresh whole chickens, but it’s a long drive and it costs $5 a pound. Last week, I found some at WalMart in the frozen chicken section. It’s hormone, antibiotic free. It’s served in smaller portions, and it cost more, but it’s good.

      • 54.1.1

        says

        The nicer Krogers carry hormone antibiotic free whole chickens in their butcher shop for $2.49 a pound. They come from a ranch in Colorado, so they’re not local.

        Oaks of Mamre farms in Hempstead sell chickens too, theirs are pastured and eat natural food (bugs, etc.) with no antibiotics, hormones,GMO feed, etc. But their organic pastured chickens are pricey – about $6 a pound. I’ve never bought one of those, myself.

  51. 55

    says

    I too, think it is sad that eating healthy is outrageously more expensive.

    I read “What Would Jesus Eat”, and it changed the way I look at food on a Biblical, health and science level… powerful stuff.

  52. 56

    Nicole says

    Kristen, First of all, your daughter is so adorable – I see so much of you in her. ; ) Thanks, also for bringing up this topic. It’s a big one! I have indulged myself and read lots of the comments and it’s amazing how sharp your readers are. I’ve been scared to watch Food Inc. but have wanted to for a long time, you know, Ignorance is bliss. But it’s time to “get real”. It’s also new for me to think about God involved in this food topic – very thought provoking. Thanks again.

  53. 57

    says

    I haven’t had time to read all of the comments, so I’m sorry if I’m repeating what has already been said. My eyes were widely opened when I read the book called “Mastering Your Metabolism” by Jillian Michaels (biggest loser coach). She talks alot about hormones and processed foods, etc. After that book, I do NOT buy processed foods. If it didn’t have a mother or grow from the ground, it isn’t in this house. We have also stopped storing our leftovers in plastic containers. They seep Estrogens into the food that is stored in them and with all of the soy that is already in a bunch of stuff, I certainly don’t want anymore Estrogen going into my family. We mainly eat wild game for meat….and for the most part that is organic. We eat salmon that is caught in Alaska by my father in law and deer that is hunted by my hubs and his father and uncle in the fall. We also have moose and the occasional elk in the freezer. If I can afford to buy chicken, then I do, but we mainly eat red meat. I feed my family of four on $50 a week, so it can be done! I’ve found that if I’m not buying processed foods, then I have no problem buying the fruits and veggies that are healthier for my family.

    I avoid all artificial sweeteners as if they were the plague itself. A few years ago I started waking in the morning with symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. I was 26 then. There were some mornings that it literally took ten minutes of working on my hands just to get them to open up. After months of blood tests and studies, we decided that perhaps the symptoms were actually a reaction to something I was eating. My first choice was to eliminate artificial sweeteners since diet soda had them and that was what I was willing to give up (cause have you tasted how NASTY diet soda tastes!? eww!). After 2 weeks of no diet soda, the symptoms were gone. Then we started the process of trying to figure out what in the soda was causing it. Turns out the saccharine or aspartame in the soda is what was doing it. I stay away from Sweet n Low, Equal…anything with aspartame, saccharine, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose. Sucralose doesn’t give me the symptoms, but who wants to ingest chlorinated sugar!? Hubs was reading an article a few weeks ago that stated that saccharine and aspartame are actually categorized under Saulfa drugs!!!! Well guess what?…I’m actually allergic to those. Who wouldha thought!?

    Anyways, yeah, girls hitting puberty at age 8 is scary stuff! As a mother, it’s my job to make sure my kids…and hubs too… are safe. They need to grow with healthy bodies and a healthy spirit. I’m working on both of those things right now…hard as it is in today’s world.

  54. 58

    says

    We have decided to only use organic milk because of some of the stories I’ve heard about. We also use organic (non-hormone) chicken and eggs. It’s funny that you write about this today because my mom and I had a discussion about this yesterday. She said she had read studies that in the past kids closer to the equator went into puberty earlier that those in the north. that’s not the case today. The argument is that more light brings on puberty early and with all the artificial light we have we are bringing it on early. Who knows if that’s true or not, but there’s another theory to add to your list.

  55. 59

    says

    I am in the minority from what I can tell. I have watched Food, INC (which broke my heart because they didn’t show the millions of farmers who work hard to feed those who don’t farm) and even actually had the opportunity to hear the director speak and ask him questions. I have also read Michael Pollan’s books talking about how corn is the root of all evil. Pollan never tells you that corn is a grass. So when we feed cows corn, we are really feeding them a form of grass seeds. Well, while there stories are compelling and believable, it is only their opinions. The director of Food, INC admitted he only included things that sensationalized the movie so it would sell better. The farms he visited that weren’t controversial weren’t included.

    I have lived on a farm my whole life. I have learned about how all meat has hormones in it regardless of anything given to the animal first hand from my father who is a veterinarian. I have drank milk from cows that were given rbst on my farm, ate meat from cows that ate corn, and ate pork that came from pigs raised in CAFOs on a weekly basis. With this being said, I hit puberty in 7th grade and my sister in 9th grade. So to blame early puberty on hormones in protein or pesticides would mean that those of us raised on farms and exposed to these things in greater concentration would mean we should have all hit puberty at about age 4.

    Anyway, this article in the New York Times this week dialogged this debate. It is good food for thought. I am really leaning towards the eating in excess with little to now exercise as the reason for early puberty. First Signs of Puberty Seen in Younger Girls

    BTW, it is illegal to feed chickens or turkeys any type of hormones. So, all chicken is free from any type of hormone additive. All chicken still has hormones in it. They naturally occur in the birds.

  56. 60

    says

    I can’t find the article but a long time ago I read an article on the ideal menstrating weight for a woman. Basically it said that once your body reached a particular weight it kinda knew it was time to start puberty. I want to say it was about 110lbs. Which I have to say except for pregnancies…I pretty much weight what I did when I got my period. Could obesity just be getting us to this weight faster? Just a thought.

  57. 61

    Betsy says

    If the growth hormones being injected into the chickens, cows, etc help them grow bigger in half the time it would take a normal animal to grow, it stands to reason that it would have the same effect on our children. After all, if you feed children a diet of “grow quick” hormone laced beef with a side dish of genetically engineered seeds that grew into a vegetable and a glass of “grow quick” laced milk their bodies might grow more quickly as well. Personally, I think children today are simply expected to grow up a little quicker as well. I don’t remember homework in the first grade or the amount of outside activities being available to us, not to mention the Disney effect. In addition to the actual food they eat, children today are fed a constant diet of more, better, quicker, faster on every level from achievement to downloads. I can understand why their little bodies try to catch up with the world in which they live. As a mother of two little girls, I often wonder if I can actually DO anything to prevent it. Very interesting post!

    Betsy

  58. 62

    Lorie says

    Kristen,
    I wonder if you could make a list of all the books, articles, shows, web sites, etc. that people have referenced here. I’d love an easy to find list. Just a suggestion.
    This is a subject God has recently convicted me of but it’s so easy to ignore since it’s so easy to buy what we’re already used to buying. We’re on a VERY tight budget so trying to go organic or whatever seems quite intimidating. I am planning to try to make changes in our diet one baby step at a time.
    Thanks,
    Lorie

  59. 63

    Julie says

    I took a child development course in college (a million skillion years ago). And back then they were noticing a trend towards earlier puberty. At the time, they were thinking that better nutrition might have something to do with it. There was also some thinking that the rise of blended families might be the cause (when girls live with men who are not there biological fathers/brothers, they are exposed to pheromones which can cause them to develop faster).

    Less processed meat is a good thing (and very Politically Correct).
    Staying married to your daughter’s father is much less PC – but has an awful lot of benefits to it.

  60. 64

    says

    My daughter (now 15) was going into early puberty when she was 8, and our pediatrician recommended limiting milk and explained the hormone thing to me. It was the first time that I had ever heard this! I immediately took her off milk, and the puberty issues stopped within a month. Another thing I wanted to mention was that my pediatrician told me is that over weight children tend to hit puberty sooner. I have witnessed this to be true so many times! When children transition into their adolescent years they to tend to put on a little bit of weight which quickly goes away once puberty begins and they grow. I have learned that the extra fat is needed to begin puberty, so this is a natural process. But look at how many children are overweight in our country? It is so sad!

  61. 65

    Lisa Fullingim says

    Our society eats a lot more soy products than previous generations. I’ve seen studies that show that soy is an estrogen producing food. Bombard our little girls with estrogen and they will develop earlier.

    Interesting to think about how all that estrogen effects our little boys. We wonder why so many boys are looking and acting more effeminate these days and why homosexuality is becoming so rampant.

    My hubby works in the cattle & dairy industry. Our meat and milk is actually pretty safe to eat because there are only certain times you can give animals growth hormones and there is a waiting period before you can butcher or sell milk after the animal has been given the hormones or the antibiotics.

    Plus, obesity is a huge issue. It may not be that our kids are eating unhealthy. I think we’re feeding them too much healthy food. It’s all about portion control. If we’re teaching our kids to eat too much food; to eat until they are stuffed, we’re going to raise unhealthy children. It doesn’t matter how healthy we are feeding them. Unfortunately, we ourselves do not provide a very good example for our kids. Did you know a 20 oz Coke is considered 3 servings?

    • 65.1

      Marie says

      Lisa,
      I agree with many of your points about the unhealthy food choices for kids today. However, your comment about homosexuality seems out of place. Homosexualtiy has been around for centuries and the concern over the possibility that the amount of soy in the diet affects boys estrogen levels is pretty recent. Just ‘food-for-thought’.

  62. 66

    says

    It IS worrisome…and it’s so hard when all of the “good” food is so much more expensive….and harder to find! We try to buy organic produce, buy grass-fed beef, buy free-range eggs, etc. We stay away from products using HFC and foods filled preservatives. Hopefully we’re making a difference. Wouldn’t it be great if America WOKE UP and stopped eating heavily processes foods? I mean, besides cookies.

  63. 67

    says

    So, this is just my theory…but if we eat animals (cows) that are treated with growth hormones…wouldn’t it make sense that by eating those cows, or their milk, we would be ingesting these growth hormones?

    This article from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bovine_somatotropin) says that growth hormones were added to the cattle industry in 1994…which would explain why those of us who grew up in the 80′s had a normal onset of puberty (I hit it at 11, but was earlier than ALL of my friends) and those who grew up in the 90′s would hit it so much earlier. ??

    Costco sells rBST free milk, as does WalMart (now). Too scary…..

  64. 68

    says

    Just a quick note to say: Can’t wait to see your post on Disney Channel. I like their cartoons for the most part (though where Darby has hidden Christopher Robin is an answer no one can give me) but their live action shows have been very disappointing to me. And a little girl in my son’s kindergarten class is devoted to Hannah Montana and is trying to teach him her duets! Oy.

  65. 69

    Dee Dee says

    I have to touch on this, because I stopped eating meat. I watched a film that was done undercover by PETA and the title is meet your meat. I saw how they were growing chicken, hogs, turkeys and cattle so fast until they could not with stand the weight on their legs. I also saw how cattle with large abscess, cancerious tumors was sent to slaughter and the FDA approved it. I think that it is so many people now living in the USA until the USA cannot feed all these people so they are groing things so fast to keep up, that is why I think immigration should be halted until the USA stabalize. If there is anyone here over 40, you should remember when food actually taste great and people did not consume as much and was not overweight. If I had the money, I would buy about 10 acreas, raise my own food and leave the stores alone.

  66. 70

    says

    This design is steller! You obviously know how to keep a reader entertained.
    Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost.
    ..HaHa!) Wonderful job. I really loved what you had to
    say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

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