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Why We Need to Stop Saying “…but WE Turned Out Fine!”

admin September 27, 2010

Why We Need to Stop Saying ...but WE Turned Out Fine!

As you know, if you’ve read this blog for any length of time, I live a “weird” lifestyle.  You know, eating real food, not vaccinating, extended breastfeeding (yes, my 32-month-old is STILL breastfeeding), homebirthing, etc.  Making these kinds of choices invites all kinds of criticism and curiosity, of course.  But by far, the excuse/reason I hear the most often from people who are dismissing these “weird” things is:

But we turned out fine!!

If you say “Well, we don’t vaccinate, people are getting all kinds of crazy illnesses from it,” etc. then they will say “But we were vaccinated and we are fine!”  The same thing with eating junk food vs. real food, homebirth vs. hospital and so on.

Why We Need to Stop Saying “…but WE Turned Out Fine!”

This argument is actually pretty ridiculous for two reasons.  The first is because our population is not fine.  More and more people have degenerative diseases.  We have epidemic numbers of allergies, asthma, autism, learning disabilities, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune conditions and on and on.  I don’t know how anyone else defines “fine,” but chronic illness is not it!  And when many people are on too many pharmaceuticals to count, are depressed, overweight, pre-diabetic and so on…that is not fine!  We’ll discuss that more indepth in another post, though.

The second reason is because things are just not the same today as they were 20 years ago.  They are not.  Let’s look at several differences:

Vaccines

In 1983, the vaccination schedule contained only 10 separate shots.  Two at 2 months, two at 4 months, one at 6 months, one at 15 months, two at 18 months, and two at age 4.  This consisted of only three different shots, including polio, DTP, and MMR.  Children were vaccinated for polio, diptheria, pertussis, measles, mumps, and rubella — only 6 diseases.

In 2007, the schedule contained 36 separate shots.  One at birth, six at 2 months, six at 4 months, seven at 6 months, five at 12 months, one at 15 months, two at 18 months, and three at age 4 (plus yearly flu shots).  Babies are vaccinated for Hep B, Hep A, HIB, MMR, DTaP, polio, Rotavirus, varicella (chicken pox), PCV, and influenza.  That is a LARGE number of diseases — 13!  Many of these are not life-threatening by any stretch of the imagination.

So when you try to compare someone who was vaccinated in the mid-1980s (many of today’s parents) with the children who are getting vaccinated today, it is not the same!!  The vaccination load is a lot heavier, and also more are administered at much younger ages.  There is no possible way that this argument holds up.

Dairy and Beef Cows

If you tell someone you’re switching to only grass-fed cows which are not given any antibiotics or hormones, you might also hear this argument.  But it doesn’t measure up here, either.

In the 1980s, rBST, the growth hormone that’s so controversial now had not yet been approved for use in cattle.  It was not approved until 1993, and likely not in wide-spread use until past 1995.  Without the use of this hormone, cows would not have needed as many antibiotics.  Cows were also not fed any GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) feed because that, too, had not been approved or put into use.

So yes, cows were still given some antibiotics and unnatural feed (corn and soy), but it was not GMO, there were no growth hormones, and antibiotic use would have been lower.  It’s not the same!

Corn, Soy, and GMOs

Eating too much corn, soy, and other grains was never a very good idea, despite what the USDA says.  However, it wasn’t quite as bad as it is today.  This is because Genetically Modified Organisms were not in use until the late 1990s.

GMO soybeans were first approved for use and planted in 1996.  Since soy is widely used in processed foods (just look for “soy lecithin” on the label), GMOs are in nearly all processed food products.  Corn, canola (rape seed) and cottonseed are heavily GMO as well.  Potatoes and other crops are beginning to be GMO.

If you are eating processed food, it is impossible to avoid GMOs.  Early studies show that they are extremely detrimental to health.  Although eating processed food has always been unhealthy, it is even worse now!

Processed Foods

Although processed foods were certainly available in the 1980s, they weren’t quite as sinister as they are today.

In the 1980s, McDonald’s was still cooking their fries in beef tallow, a healthy fat.  In 1990 they switched to partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, full of trans fats!

Earlier, companies used to use healthy coconut oil in their baked goods.  By the 80s and 90s, they had switched to shortening and vegetable oils.

Companies also started coming out with more and more “low fat” and ” fat free” items in the 90s and beyond, which are full of sugar.  They began to use more and more fake sugars.  Splenda was first approved for use in 1998.

Processed foods were never good, but there are far more additives and chemicals in them today than there were in the 1980s.  There are also many more options today.  It is possible (though not desirable!) to eat a diet of entirely processed foods now.

As you can see from these examples, things in the 1980s were not the same as they are today.  Children are being exposed to many, many more toxic chemicals from their food (processed ingredients as well as GMOs), and vaccines.  There are many more examples out there too (pollution, antibiotic use, hand sanitizers, increased pop consumption, etc.) but these are a few bigger ones.

So the next time you’re trying to explain your “weird” choices to someone and they say “Oh, c’mon, we did the same thing and we turned out fine” you can say “But it’s not the same and I can prove it!”  Maybe it will open up a few more minds.

Are you tired of “but WE turned out fine” too?

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30 Comments

  1. I definitely get the most slack over vaccines. My mom will tell me she tends to side with my grandma, who is forever harassing me (in a grandmotherly way) about getting the polio and pertussis vaccines for my boys–after all, she stood in line for hours to get those for her kids. But it's different to me–waiting in line to have your 6 year old vaccinated, as opposed to subjecting your six MONTH old to those shots. My biggest issue with vaccines is too much, too soon. I just can't see the sense in giving a 10 lb 2 month old 6 vaccines in one day…so taxing on their little bodies, that is a LOT of work for such a tiny being that hasn't even fully developed its immune response yet.

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  2. Oh, forgot to say, lol…but yes, I get the "but you guys were fine" when my mom and I discuss vaccines. I was her oldest, born in 1983, and my brother was born in 1993. A lot changed in 10 years and 4 kids, but even in 1993 babies weren't getting as many shots, so she really just doesn't understand the pressure parents are under today. I may have to have a list ready to show her the next time it comes up.

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  3. Regarding vaccines, there is also a factor of accumulation of the negative effects (mutation among others) from generation to generation, so when I was getting the vaccines in my childhood it was probably just 3rd generation but my child would be forth and so on.
    There was a study of cats, they were given vaccines (do not remember which ones) and each succeeding generation was showing worse and worse symptoms like having unhealthy offspring, starting sexual life earlier, showing more aggressive behaviors, dying earlier and at the end the fourth generation could not have offspring at all and just died out.

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  4. Seriously great article, my husband is a doctor and he will love this. He frequently writes about vaccines and this is information that everyone can use to empower themselves. Bravo!

    He is very good at treating vaccine induced illness also, you can reach him at advancedalternativesforhealth.com ~

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  5. I agree with you, it is much worse now than when our parents were children. You forgot to mention all the color they add to foods these days. All the reds and all the blues. Even to childrens medications. Good thing we switched to using the naturapathic medicine for our children, but its really sad to see parents bringing in their little ones full of all kinds of sickness and diseases. Its seems the more they get vaccinated, the more the little ones get sick from something else….

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  6. Car seats. Car seats is one of the big ones where I hear this argument and want to beat someone over the head with the deadly t-shield car seat they claimed was "just fine" that has since been proven deadly in it's own right and worthless in an accident.

    My defense is always, "Sure, YOU'RE fine. But there's thousands of children who are DEAD who would have been alive if car seat practices then had been what they are now."

    Within my group of friends "just fine" is a JOKE. It's the phrase you DON'T say as an argument.

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  7. Christie,

    You're right, car seats too. What passes for "car seat safety" even today makes me shudder. BOTH my kids are still rear-facing (and my friends can't believe my daughter, 32 months, "lets" me put her that way…um, she doesn't have a choice!). Most can't wait to flip their kids around and many do it before they legally can! I wrote about it awhile back. Not to mention they don't install them tightly, strap them correctly…etc. etc. Cars are the same but kids CAN be so much safer today!

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  8. This is great! I'll have to try to remember these for those times when this info would be so helpful! The carseat comment reminds me of a conversation a friend relayed to me – it was a front-facing vs rear-facing debate and the other mom said that she didn't want her child rear-facing because her child's legs were too long and had to be tucked up and she was worried about an accident causing broken legs. My friend said she would rather have her child have a broken leg than something more serious.

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  9. Robin (and everyone),

    No child on record has EVER broken their leg from being rear-facing "too long!!" But MANY MANY children have broken their necks and been KILLED by forward facing too soon! Thanks, I'll take the miniscule chance my child might break a leg over a much higher chance of death!! That argument always makes me angry because it makes NO sense.

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  10. One more thing you could add to the list is cloth diapers vs. disposables. In the 1970s, they were mostly paper or cellulose and only used wood pulp to absorb wetness. Not until the mid-80s did they start using SAP. And now not only is the SAP gel more powerful than before, they are made of plastic and use chlorine, chemical dyes/frgrances, and who knows what else to keep them trim and dry all the time. (And this doesn't even scratch the surface of the environmental waste of dispoables.

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  11. Hi Kate, great post! I share many (if not all) of your convictions regarding vaccines, the importance of real food, car safety and the like! I would LOVE to know what kind of carseat allows a 32 month old to continue to sit rear facing! I just wrote a post about the importance of a 5 point harness with a link to a very important you tube video that I believe all parents of young children should see. http://bit.ly/bQrYw8

    I too can't stand it when people say the infamous, "But we turned out just fine". AGH!! I could go on and on with my counter banter, but sadly many people don't really seem to care one way or the other. Could this be due to toxic brain overload!?! I think, maybe so.

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  12. Leah,

    I have a Britax Marathon, which RF until 35 lbs. My daughter is only about 28. There are new ones out that can RF until 40 or even 45 lbs. but I don't remember which they are. We love the Britax though!

    I've seen that video — so sad. I don't know how anyone can watch that and not be convicted to RF as long as possible!!

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  13. Wonderful Post! I am sometimes intimidated when defending our decision to not vaccinate, breast feed, eat only “real” food (and require that our toddler do the same), birth with a midwife, etc. This article is concise, to the point, and filled with truth, not emotion. Thank you – I am loving your blog!

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  14. Wonderful Post! I am sometimes intimidated when defending our decision to not vaccinate, breast feed, drink raw, milk from grass fed cows, eat only “real” food (and require that our toddler do the same), birth with a midwife, etc. This article is concise, to the point, and filled with truth, not emotion. Thank you – I am loving your blog!

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  15. This is what I always think when people say, “but we were vaccinated and we’re fine.” “Fine” is definitely a relative term. You may think you’re fine, but I don’t. And that’s to say nothing of the actual facts in the difference in the ingredients, number, and schedules of the differing years. Whenever someone says, “and we’re fine” I automatically want to tell them that I don’t want their kind of “fine” if that’s what they consider themselves. I don’t want my kids “fine.” I want them to be the best!

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  16. I laugh at the time I posted on FB about co-sleeping and (reduced) anxiety and my mom posted “I didn’t co-sleep and you guys [me and my brother] turned out fine.” HA! I have generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety, at times it has been very severe, and I used to have pretty bad depression and my brother nearly failed out of high school, is a pathological liar, was married twice by 30, gave a baby up for adoption in high school, and has done time (this is not all about co=sleeping, of course). Uh huh, just fine, Mom!!! (Love my mom, by the way, but really…)

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  17. I think the tone taken when refuting the “we were fine” argument is of utmost importance. I think we as “crunchy” or natural or holistic idealogues often insult and repel people who have not yet adopted this lifestyle. It’s wonderful to have facts available to explain why we make our life choices, and to educate others. But if we have as the crux of our message, whether literally or in essence, “you are NOT fine” we have attacked people very personally. Particularly when we are speaking with older people, who grew up in a different cultural period without a lot of the knowledge we have, we must be careful. I certainly don’t want to make my mom feel inadequate; she did the best she could with the knowledge and resources she had, and heaven knows most parents have enough guilt without us pouring it on.

    A better response might be “I don’t want fine for my children, I want the best!” Because isn’t that the point? I think most parents want the absolute best for their children; and they do the best they can. When we can frame our discussion in a way that does not imply that WE are perfect and THEY or THEIR PARENTS poison their children, but rather shows compassion while explaining our goals and standards, we will go far to in building friendships AND wooing people to more healthful living.

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    • Rosebriars, I agree with what you’re saying in general, that this can be a tough conversation to have. However, I’m not sure saying “I want the best” is any better, because that implies that the other parent is choosing something ‘less than best,’ and no parent wants to think that! Perhaps framing it as “We know more now than we did then, so we make different choices” is an even better way to handle it. It’s how I talk to my own parents. “You did the best you could, but we have information now that you didn’t have, so we make different choices.” It’s worked.

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  18. I just got this comment the other day. I love this article. It’s sometimes difficult for me to stand up for my decisions because I just recently started to change the way I live a year ago, and I’ve never been a good at debates. I know what I do is right and it is what feels right to me. All of your posts just make me that much more confident in the way I live 🙂

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  19. I agree than “fine” is relative. I used to think that my on schedule vaccination left me fine (although I felt lucky for this), I have recently uncovered information that shows that vaccination might have triggered my OCD. My first brother and I were vaccinated on schedule (late 80s early 90s) and both suffer from it. My younger sibling got selective and delayed vaccinations, and do not.

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  20. We have the Sunshine Kids Radian (something or other – Ha, I forget the exact model) and it has the capability to ERF up to 40 lbs. My son is currently 30 lbs. I get A LOT of flack for him being RFing, but I honestly do not care. People think all of our parenting choices are odd, but at the end of the day I do not answer to them and I have to do what I think is best for my family. I was never a big fan of following the crowd though, even when I was younger 😉

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  21. I loved reading this however, it just makes me more and more anxious. We live on a limited budget and trying to find foods that won’t kill us is hard. I do buy some organic fruits but it’s minimal and the corn thing(I just heard it his week) scares me because both of my kids LOVE corn.

    We already cloth diaper, practice extended rear facing(my son is 28 months and 30lbs.) and lots of other things that would fit into the “weird” category I’m sure but not having the money to buy everything homegrown or organic saddens me and makes me cringe every time I feed my family something other than that.

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    • We can’t do everything. Unfortunately. There are lots of things I can’t afford to do either, and I’ll actually be writing about them soon. We all just do the best we can afford to and know how, and even doing “better” is going to improve your quality of life!

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  22. Thank you SO much for posting this!
    Im just beginning my vaccine research & you have been so much help! I’m already hearing the “but you turned out just fine”. It’ll be a long road for us, i’m sure, but it’ll be worth it! And it’s nice to know my family won’t be the only “weird ones”
    Haha

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  23. I understand your point, but not getting your children vaccinated is harmful to any other child you put them around, especially little, precious babies that have not been vaccinated for certain illnesses. You say vaccines cause autism? Have you read into that study? Only TWELVE people were studied. Also, since the 1980s we have had a lot of technological advances that have helped us diagnose more illnesses and we have learned more about developmental problems such as autism and ADHD.
    Autism can not be diagnosed until a child is age 3. When you think about it, it makes sense that most of the characteristics associated with autism do not fully show until a child is older, when they are infants they do not fully understand their environment, therefore do not have many of the repetitive behaviors or other characteristics. Lastly, if you talk to parents of a child with autism I’m guessing when looking back on their child’s infancy they will see SOME signs of autism. Such as, not wanting to cuddle or interact, or avoiding eye contact.
    Also, have you noticed that diseases that we’re once eradicated have started coming back? Such as whooping cough. Whooping cough is DEADLY to infants. Personally, I would not want my children to be around yours if yours were sick, because who knows what they could have. I’m glad you homeschool because you are reducing the number of children your kids could infect. Not vaccinating my children is a risk I am not willing take, I want my children to be able to live a healthy happy life.
    I know you are just trying to protect your children, aren’t we all! But please make sure you are checking ALL your facts when doing so. God bless you and your family!

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    • Hi Kim,

      It sounds like you’re new here. If you’re interested, please see my series on vaccinations (scroll down): http://www.modernalternativemama.com/natural-health/. I assure you that I have done extremely extensive research (much of which is available for others to read as well) and we are very comfortable with our decision not to vaccinate our children. We don’t expect everyone else to agree, of course. But please know it’s not a decision we made lightly. We are well aware of the research out there. Thanks for commenting.

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    • This is in response to the comment made about ‘good thing you homeschool because your unvaccinated kids will infect fewer other kids for not being in public school’.

      1. Unvaccinated kids are not laden with disease.

      2. You cannot vaccinate people into health.

      3. Due to the “lifespan” of vaccines, most adults are considered unvaccinated.

      4. Homeschooled kids use their neighborhood, community, region, and world as their classrooms. They are exposed to hundreds more people per month than any child segregated year to year with the same pack of classmates with whom they progressively bully, date, graduate with, and marry.

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  24. […] these days.  You should never vaccinate without doing your research, and just because ‘WE Turned Out Fine‘ is not a reason either!  Things are very different these […]

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  25. Fantastic article! People need to be educated on the current immunization and food issue in America. They also think if a doctor administers it or the FDA passed it, surely it’s okay. Ohhh, so much that needs to be understood about politics and Big Pharma and doctors whose hands are tied or pockets are lined by Big Pharma. The FDA is a joke. Rushing vaccines to production, having “trials” performed by Big Pharma itself. Ain’t nobody got time for getting into all the ills of the Big Pharma-FDA-UD medical field monster. As a sensitive individual who reacts adversely to live vaccines and has a stomach that knows better and reacts to GMO and antibiotics in meat, I get it. I’ve read scientific journals on this for years and understand enough to know that your body processes cells. Now if those cells are organic, from fruits and vegetables in a trusted garden, your body receives them well. They perform their job of fueling and nourishing you. However, if the cells you take in are modified, with resistances to pests, etc, they fight the digestive process (stomach troubles) AND the cells are not recognized by the body as nutrition. They can then ban together, forming cancer cells, fat cells, creating disorders. Antibiotics in meat throws off the balance in one’s good gut bacteria, also leading to various disorders and chronic illness. Keep spreading the word!

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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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