Breast milk is best for baby – and for the workplace, healthy infants > fewer sick days

A pair of substantial mammary glands have the advantage over
the two hemispheres of the most learned professor’s brain
in the art of compounding a nutritive fluid for infants.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes (todo.7) (Substantial isn’t necessary, small but fully mature breasts can make plenty of milk for baby too. – Enough food in well balanced amount for mom is still essential however.)
Breastfeeding is an instinctual and natural act,
but it is also an art that is learned day by day.
It is almost always simply a matter of practical knowledge
and not a question of good luck.
– La Leche League (todo.7) (Moms and babies both can use a little guidance from someone who has experience with the mechanics of positioning and suckling – like riding a bicycle mom has experience with the second and later children but even then the babies still may have difficulty and some guidance may be helpful even for an experienced mom. La Leche League is a volunteer group dedicated to helping promote and help successful breastfeeding relationships between mothers and their infants.)
When we trust the makers of baby formula
more than we do our own ability to nourish our babies,
we lose a chance to claim an aspect of our power as women.
It is an act of female power,
and I think of it as feminism in its purest form.
– Christine Northrup (todo.7) (Infant formula is a blessing for those who are unable to make sufficient breast milk or for babies who don’t tolerate it well or need other specialized nutrition support but there are immune and autoimmune factors that help the infant that only mom herself can make. Human milk also has factors that support a healthy intestinal microbiome (good guy bacteria) and phospholipids which can help promote a healthy appetite and positive growth rate in the infant. While chocolate has a tiny amount of caffeine, its source cocoa beans also have a good supply of phospholipids, choose a lower sugar, lower fat dark chocolate or use Baker’s chocolate and make your own chocolate treats to maximize the phospholipid and other antioxidant content. Pomegranate seeds also contain a good supply of phospholipids, (pomegranate seed oil analysis, P.14) cardamom spice, (P.15), and dark green leafy vegetables and herbs such as oregano, basil, and rosemary are also good sources. Phospholipids are found in membranes and are more plentiful in nuts, seeds and other leafy vegetables. Pumpkin seeds are a good source. (P.8 , 9, 10)
Pumpkin seed kernel oil is being investigated as a medical treatment and was found to be more effective for wound healing in an animal study than the standard wound care ointment or no treatment control groups. (P.11)
Pomegranate seed oil has been investigated as a dietary supplement in an animal based study and found to positively affect fatty acid balance. The discussion suggests consideration as a dietary alternative source for the beneficial fatty acid CLA, Conjugated Linoleic Acid. (P.16)
To do – write this up in more detail for the website, initially intended for the gender discrimination section 11 of the policy part but additional information on the health benefits of pumpkin seeds /the food information was added to the home page, I still need to do the additional breastfeeding section though/ – to explain the (todo.footnotes). The reference list below includes notes to expand on at a later time.
In the meantime – pumpkin seed kernels are the inner green part that have been shelled. Their texture is similar to sunflower seed kernels but their oil content has a more health promoting nutrient balance than the oil content of sunflower seed kernels. Ideally shop for raw pumpkin seed kernels that are not salted. Salted, roasted pumpkin seeds may also be labeled Pepitos and the salt content may be excessive if eaten in much quantity. An 1/8th to 1/4 cup of raw pumpkin seed kernels, 2 to 4 Tablespoons might be a reasonable serving size of the unsalted type or lightly salted and roasted types. Roasting the seeds increases the phospholipid content but also increases some more negative oxidation chemicals which would decrease some of the benefits of the oil. (P.12) For freshness of the roasted snack, the raw pumpkin seed kernels can be lightly pan roasted for a few minutes with a dash of oil until they puff a little. Toss with a sprinkle of salt and let cool on a paper towel to absorb extra oil. Store any extra in an airtight container to retain crispiness and prevent further oxidation.
(Oxidation of seeds or nuts: spoilage of the oils due to contact with oxygen from the air. Storing all nuts and seeds in airtight containers in a cool or even freezing temperature extends their safe eating shelf life. Rancid oil has a recognizable odor and bad taste and nuts and seeds should be discarded rather than eaten if they have gotten too old and turned rancid as the oxidized oils can be unhealthy, especially if eaten in a larger quantity. One or two wouldn’t be a problem but once the off-taste is noticed throw away the remainder of the package or possibly you might be able to return it to the store if it was a recent purchase. (P.13))
I discuss pumpkin seed kernels as a prenatal healthy food that might help prevent high blood pressure problems on the home page of the website It is still a work in progress, un-peer reviewed and draft version in some sections but potentially life saving information is something that I feel deserves to be shared, even if in draft version. The more life threatening type prenatal complication that can include high blood pressure called pre-eclampsia is also discussed in more detail on that website, Preeclampsia and TRP Channels, based on information that has helped former prenatal clients I’ve helped and with more recent information and ,medical hypothesis research posted online by others.
/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./
  1. Liz Ryan, Ten Things Never, Ever to Wear to Work, a Q/A article which also discusses the value in more flexible policies based on regular conversations during office hours rather than punitive, gotcha breaking the policy reprimands that go into an employee record. Oct. 30, 2017 (P.1)
  2. What does feminism have to do with breastfeeding? Breastfeeding Medicine, 6/12/2010 (todo.2), Discusses the value of breastfeeding and the issue of class and choice. Women have to be able to afford to have the time off work to be able to breastfeed for the recommended six months, best for baby. If work place policies were more supportive of all women being able to breastfeed, or pump at work, then there wouldn’t be a class issue rich can afford and poor can’t, or seemingly antifeminist, Stay at Home Mom versus Working Mom.
  3. Kara Stiles, The Unsettling Truth about Women and Retirement,, Dec. 7, 2017, (todo.3) discusses the grim reality of caregivers being primarily women and that the choice or need to be a stay at home mom also means less accrual of Social Security weeks of work over the career lifetime and less accrual of retirement plan savings. Also mentions the difference in life expectancy between men and women and that women living longer are also having more medical expenses to pay on average, over the longer average lifespan.
  4. Brooke Hauser, I Shared a ‘Real’ Parenting Photo on Social Media—And the Response I Got Shocked Me,, July 5, 2017, (todo.4) Real life story of a working mom who breastfeeds and has two children preschool age or younger. also touches on the increased number of roles women have in our social media and progressive, protest era with a cameo of Gloria Steinem and hat-tip to her role in opening the door to working women who are also mothers.

  5. Caroline Bologna “If Men Breastfed” Video: Shows a Very Different Experience for Working Dads; Women deserve better,, 12/6/2016 (todo.5) a hat-tip to Gloria Steinem’s 1978 essay “If Men Could Menstruate,” in an ad for a breast pump company’s introduction of a breast pump, advertised to be an improvement on the currently available models (which are fairly bad, imo, unless you have money for a better electric model or high quality handpump, hand expressing actually works well or better for some women – warning the five minute model in the humorous video would be impossible if not dangerous or dangerous if not impossible.)
  6. Medela, How to Manually Express Breastmilk, the Marmet Technique—the-marmet-technique (todo.6) How to tips, and safety, avoid these motions guidance, with illustrations. Medela is a long established lactation supply company with high quality electric and hand breast pumps and educational materials for women.
  7. Cherie, Natural Mama, NZ, My favorite breastfeeding and feminist quotes (todo.7)
  8. Zh.Y. Petkova and G.A. Antova, Changes in the composition of pumpkin seeds, (Cucurbita moschata) during development and maturation, Grasas Aceites 66 (1): e058 (P.8) Most phospholipid content was present in the seeds 30 days after flowering, and the amount diminished at 60 and 90 days. Other nutrient content also tended to diminish in amounts except for an increase in starch and fiber content.
  9. Bhalchandra P Vibhute, Dhiraj R Bhide, Vijay Y Karadbhajne, Anand S Kulkarni and RR Khotpa, Fatty Acid Profile of Pumpkin and Bael Seed Lipids of Central India Region, Research & ReviewsISSN: 2320-0189 RRJBS | Volume 2 | Issue 2 | April – June, 2013 (P.9)
  10. Tri Joko Raharjo* Laily Nurliana, and Sabirin Mastjeh, Phospholipids from Pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata (Duch.) Poir) Seed Kernel Oil and Their Fatty Acid Composition, Indo. J. Chem., 2011, 11 (1), 48 – 52 (P.10) this is a longer article which goes into more detail about types of phospholipids and mentions a few health benefits. The research team found 1.03% dry weight phospholipid content in pumpkin seeds including three types: “a) phosphatidylcholine (PC); b) phosphatidylserin (PS); c) phosphatidylethanolamine (PE).”
  11. Sana Bardaa, Nihed Ben Halima, Fatma Aloui, Riadh Ben Mansour, Hazem Jabeur, Mohamed Bouaziz, and Zouheir Sahnoun,

    Oil from pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) seeds: evaluation of its functional properties on wound healing in rats, Lipids Health Dis. 2016; 15: 73. (P.11)

  12. Vesna Vujasinovic, Sonja Djilas, Etelka Dimic, Zorica Basic, Olga Radocaj, The effect of roasting on the chemical composition and oxidative stability of pumpkin oil, European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology, Volume 114, Issue 5, May 2012, Pages 568–574, (P.12)

  13. Sheela Prakash, How to Store Nuts and Seeds, Kitchen Confidence,, Sept. 17, 2014, (P.13)

  14. Zahra Amri,  Houda Lazreg-Aref, Manel Mekni, Sinda El-Gharbi, Olfa Dabbaghi, Beligh Mechri, and Mohamed Hammami, Oil Characterization and Lipids Class Composition of Pomegranate SeedsBiomed Res Int. 2017; 2017: 2037341. (P.14)

  15. Arlen Frank, Chemistry of Plant Phosphorus CompoundsElsevierJun 3, 2013, Chapter 4, Phospholipids, page 247, (P.15)

  16. Agnieszka BiałekAgnieszka StawarskaJoanna Bodecka,   Małgorzata Białek, Andrzej TokarzPomegranate seed oil influences the fatty acids profile and reduces the activity of desaturases in livers of Sprague-Dawley rats.

    Prostaglandins & Other Lipid Mediators, Vol. 131, July 2017, pp 9-16, (P.16)

Other links:

Limonene: Terpenes 101

Medical marijuana is not the same as an addiction

The need for medical marijuana may be a daily need like any other medication and physical or mental withdrawal symptoms may occur when it is not available just like many other medication.

There can be genetic reasons that someone may need an external source of phospholipids or cannabinoids from food sources throughout their lives for best health or the need may arise during an illness or later in life due to changes associated with aging. The cannabinoid system is involved with many other functions of the body so symptoms can be diverse when there is a lack and cravings for something may occur which may be interpreted incorrectly and other substances may be overused in addictive ways. Overeating food, use of alcohol, nicotine and heroin/opiates products may all be problems that occur with an underlying dysfunction in the person’s ability to make cannabinoids internally the way people of normal physiology are capable. I discuss this topic in more detail and include some legal food sources that are naturally better sources of cannabinoids or phospholipids in an section I wrote for my newer website

which is also copied onto this site with a few additional details about the salad recipe: Is it Addiction or Starvation?

While I am past the age of having babies, and entered grand parent age the need to reschedule marijuana for the purpose of research may be important for the fertility of younger women and men. The cannabinoid system is essential for both female and male fertility, in a U-shape need – too little or too much can be problems. Overuse of medical or recreational marijuana could interfere with fertility but an underlying deficiency could also be a cause of infertility in either gender.

Infertility problems can be caused by a problem with cannabinoid receptors or an excess or inadequate supply of cannabinoids. Research in the cannabinoid system and its effects on physiology beyond toxicity and addiction are limited due to the federal listing of the cannabis/marijuana plant as a Schedule 1 substance, something considered to have no medical value. However the listing is in error and a number of medical officials and organizations have recommended changing the federal listing. An overview of the research that is available on the cannabinoid system’s role in female and male fertility and reproduction is available here:

The system is involved in the fertilized egg successfully implanting in the woman’s uterus and the cannabinoid system is involved in the male reproductive system in a few ways including the motility of the sperm – are they able to effectively get to where they need to go? A variety of cannabinoids exist and some also have effects on hormonal controls that occur within the brain that effect male reproductive health.

The balance of cannabinoids is critical and too much use of an external source such as medical marijuana is linked to male infertility, however again a U shape need exists. Some is necessary, too much or too little is a problem.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.  

Regarding health and autoimmune disease in women and men

It turns out that there is a greatly increased amount of autoimmune disease in women than in men and the timing suggests that it is associated with pregnancy and possibly even with an exchange of bodily fluids. After learning more about the risks I decided celibacy was a good idea as my own autoimmune disease worsened and I had to start avoiding a wider number of foods and food groups. Eating enough variety for health became a problem for me as animal based meats and eggs were causing severe rashes. Skin is better than a lack, and health is more valuable than you realize until you don’t have it.

In other areas of social or culture some believe that procreation within a marital bond is the only reason to have sexual relations -that is not my belief as sexual relations can have mood and pain relief benefits and regular, three times per week, has been associated with increased lifespan, but it might be healthier for women to maintain a long-term bond with one person, as the familiarity of a longer term relationship seems to be associated with less allergy-like intolerance to male or infant DNA. It also would help reduce risk of autoimmune disease developing if both the man and woman are also adequately nourished. Research into autoimmune rates in homosexual relationships is generally not discussed in the medical research that I have seen. One study was performed which found no overall increased rate of autoimmune disease in same sex couples of either gender except for autoimmune thyroid disease. Low hypothyroid problems were more prevalent in lesbians and autoimmune hyperthyroidism was more frequently seen in homosexual men as was psoriasis in homosexual men who also had HIV/AIDS.

Speculation would lead me straight to the idea that sufficient iodine prenatally and/or less halides prenatally would have been associated with an increased rate of heterosexual adults who didn’t have an increased rate of autoimmune thyroid problems, but that would be speculative. Zinc deficiency can also be a cause of reduced sexual drive or ED in adult men or hypogonadism. Congenital hypothyroidism can occur in infants born to women with inadequate iodine and diagnosis and early treatment is recommended to prevent a reduced IQ. Asexuality is more associated with congenital hypothyroidism than homosexuality so the prevalence of thyroid disorders later in life may be unrelated to the prenatal environment. Early treatment with the thyroid hormone and/or iodine is recommended to prevent worsening of the infant’s mental and physical health. 

I have found little research available on long term health of infants born with congenital hypothyroidism or on the affects of iodine deficiency on sexuality.

However the allergic response immune system is similar in both genders. I would encourage consenting adults to have adequate vitamin D3 and/or avoid glyphosate prior to attempting the experience of sharing bodily fluids as autoimmune disease can be very unpleasant. Having adequate iodine and not too much halides is healthy for everyone of any gender and any age, it just would be particularly helpful prenatally as it also helps protect the infant from congenital hypothyroidism and may help protect against later risk of the child developing autism.

An unhealthy man can give a woman autoimmune antibodies which may also increase risk of a miscarriage or reduce likelihood that she conceives/gets pregnant.  Whether sperm antibodies also can cause autoimmune disease in a woman doesn’t seem to be a search engine result, suggesting that getting women pregnant is a larger medical concern currently than helping women stay healthy. The search engine did turn up an alternative article which mentions that antisperm antibodies can be present in the man or woman. In men the antisperm antibodies were more often found in men who had a vasectomy (suggesting that a vasectomy might be less of an ideal birth control method than it seemed prior to learning that – if it gives mom and dad autoimmune disease than a condom is sounding better for the future child – healthy parents may be happier and more productive on average). In men the antisperm antibodies were associated with infertility if they were present on the sperm cell surface but not if only found in sera/fluid. In women they were associated with infertility and an association with antiphospholipid antibodies was also mentioned without mentioning gender:

Antiphospholipid antibodies are also associated with spontaneous abortion.

Spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) is associated with autoimmune antibodies against the endogenous cannabinoid system  “antiphospholipid antibody (APA)” and thought to be affected by a woman’s lack of the immune tolerance needed to accept the presence of the foreign DNA of the baby. The dendritic cell immune tolerance system is affected by the vitamin D receptor system, and is referred to as “maternofetal immunological tolerance” in the following paper:

Anti-thyroid autoimmune antibodies have also been associated with increased risk for spontaneous abortion.

Providing levothyroxine to women with anti-thyroid autoimmune antibodies has been found to help reduce risk of spontaneous abortion to closer to the average rate for all pregnancies – an overview article of the area of research:

Good news, the rate of teen births has dropped since 2007 after an increase between 2005-2007. The reason is unclear but the article suggests that the downturn in the economy led to fewer unplanned pregnancies in teens – that could be the reason, common sense could have increased on average in teens even while birth control became less available.  See page 5-6: Teenage Pregnancy Prevention: Statistics and Programs
by Carmen Solomon-Fears, Congressional Research Service,
January 15, 2016

Men or women can get autoimmune disease and the other underlying cause is a lack of the surface sugar called sialic acid. .

Sialic acid is not something you can just eat more of. It is an electrically active sugar that we have to make internally. It is combined with proteins in compounds known as glycoproteins and they are found on cell and membrane surfaces. The negative electric charge helps repel the cell surface from colliding into the membrane surfaces, an example would be like red blood cells in a blood vessel – the sialic acid is the bumpers on the bumper cars and the plastic cushion on the wall of the bumper car ring at a carnival. In order to make the special sugar and glycoproteins we need to be healthy and well nourished in a variety of ways in order to produce adequate sialic acid. A series of enzymes is involved which would suggest adequate protein and trace minerals are important to be able to produce sialic acid and adequate surface glycoproteins. The series of enzymes includes many of the CYP family of enzymes which may be inhibited by glyphosate which returns us to an earlier point that avoiding glyphosate might be important for supporting fertility.

More information about sialic acid, which in more recent history has been renamed neuraminic acid, is available in a previous post on this site.

An abortion may not be helpful to protect a woman’s health either. Childbirth has been believed to be more of a risk of death than having an abortion but a large study (half a million women) linking medical and death records found that psychological risks may be greater for a woman after abortion, as an increased risk of death was found to be associated with having a history of having had an abortion within a year or thirty year time period. A 180 day time period was also tracked but was not associated with increased mortality rate so a direct medical link to having an abortion was considered unlikely.

Individuals are all different but having worked with many women my personal impression was that having an abortion was very difficult psychologically for some women compared to giving a child up for adoption. The easily confounding factor that was mentioned in the article or in one of the comments by a site author (El) would be that women who have little support or health or substance abuse issues may be also more likely to have an abortion so it is a correlation rather than a causative link. The comments also include the citation for the academic paper: Reardon DC, Coleman PK. Short and long term mortality rates associated with first pregnancy outcome: Population register based study for Denmark 1980-2004. Med Sci Monit 2012;18(9):PH 71 – 76.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./