Natural Living Des Moines

Midwifery Bill moves through Legislature – act now! by sarahtar
February 18, 2010, 8:59 pm
Filed under: Legislation

This is a repost of an email I received from FOIM today:

Hi all,

Now that we’ve passed out of house committee, our next step is to get to a vote on the House floor, and we have until March 5 to do it. That’s 9 legislative days away. It’s more important than ever to contact your Representatives right away, and tell your friends and family to do the same.

Let your Representative know that you personally support Iowans’ right to have licensed midwives, and ask them to vote YES on the Midwife Licensure Bill, HF 781.

Here’s a sample script that can be adapted to a letter, email, or phone call:

Hello! My name is __. I’m a constituent and live in____.
I’m calling (writing) today to ask you to support the bill to establish a board of midwifery for the licensing of midwives. Midwife licensure ensures that all midwives meet standards of professional competence, and ensures that all Iowa families can access safe, affordable maternity care. This bill is important to me because __.

(Please include your name, address, email, and phone number).

It’s that simple!

You can find your state representative here:;

Get more info and tips on letter writing here:;

Remember, you don’t have to be a home birthing parent to write. Anyone who supports the rights of Iowans to have a home birth with a midwife should write in support of this bill. Recruit your friends and family! We especially need your help if you live outside of Iowa City.

We are hearing from our lobbyists that the Reps are definitely hearing our voices. And they are definitely hearing from the opposition. Write today!

If your representative is Mascher or Kaufmann, please send them a huge thank you for being such great advocates for our bill.

Thanks, everyone! This could be our year!


Raw Milk Legislation introduced in Iowa by sarahtar
January 16, 2010, 4:21 pm
Filed under: Legislation

Some of you may be interested in this bill, which would allow the sale of raw milk direct to the consumer from the farmer. Though NLDM takes no actual stance on the issue of raw milk, we do encourage everyone do their own research. However, this bill would certainly allow consumers more choices in the marketplace, and would allow small dairy farmers to actually sell their milk to consumers. (Many small dairy concerns can only sell cheese, because pasteurization is too onerous and/or expensive.)

As with any proposed legislation, if this is a topic that interests you, please contact your local elected representatives. I’ve found our state representatives to be incredibly responsive to constituent input – even if they disagree on the topic at hand.

Soda Pop Tax? by sarahtar
May 12, 2009, 5:51 pm
Filed under: Food, Health, Legislation

Congress is considering taxing soda pop to pay for the health care “overhaul” proposed by President Obama. This is being recommended by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. While this might at first glance seem like an OK thing, I want to talk for a minute about my grave concerns with this idea, and what those have to do with natural living.

This quote from the Wall Street Journal article quoted above. (Pause for a moment while I consider how much I miss my daily WSJ read that I endulged in when I was working. It was, in fact, a part of my job. Getting paid to read the paper, doesn’t get much better than that.)

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington-based watchdog group that pressures food companies to make healthier products, plans to propose a federal excise tax on soda, certain fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and ready-to-drink teas. It would not include most diet beverages. Excise taxes are levied on goods and manufacturers typically pass them on to consumers.

They are going to tax drinks with sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup. Not those with artificial sweetener.

Thus, should the Federal Government decide to go along with this proposal, they will essentially be saying that the official US Government position is that artificial sweeteners (man-made chemicals) are healthier than and preferred over natural sweeteners (sugar, honey, etc.).

In fact, since diet pops will be a bit cheaper (assuming the beverage industry doesn’t raise the price of diet at the same time, just because they can), Congress might actually push consumers into choosing artificial sweeteners over natural sweeteners.

If you need a refresher course on why artificial sweetener is not exactly health food, check this article at Wikipedia, information from Mercola, this list of articles, and this from Dr Sears (scroll down a bit).

From the Dr Sears website:

Artificial sweeteners (e.g. aspartame, saccharine) were originally developed as a sugar substitute for diabetics, but then the manufacturer discovered a huge market in a calorie-conscious society, one that has also been misfed a lot of hype about the hazardous effects of sugar. Artificial sweeteners do not usually satisfy a body that is craving sweets or carbohydrates. In fact, they may so accustom the taste buds to sweet flavors that sweetener-users want more sugar rather than less. (snip)

Also, some scientists are concerned about biochemical quirks of artificial sweeteners. The sweetener aspartame (Nutrasweet) is basically a combination of two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Amino acids have different effects on the brain than sugars do. In natural foods these amino acids enter the brain in company with other naturally- occurring nutrients. The amino acids on their own may have an unnatural effect, particularly on neurotransmitters.

When we let the Federal Government start deciding which foods are healthy and which are not, where does it end? I’m all in favor of Americans making healthier choices, but when the government starts sticking their noses into the issue, I get concerned. Because what if their definition of what’s healthy is different from my definition? Or your definition?

Will butter be taxed in favor of margarine? Whole milk be taxed in favor of skim milk? Whole foods advocates know that natural foods are better than created foods, and that whole foods are better than parts of foods. But society in general believes that margarine and skim milk, being lower in fat, are the healthier choices. What if Congress started taxing real butter (or even real milk) and whole milk? Real yogurt, but not “lite” yogurt? I don’t think these questions are so far-fetched if Congress decides to take this recommendation seriously (which, note, they have not yet indicated their intentions to do so).

This is definitely an issue to keep an eye on for everyone in the Natural Living community. And, um, stop drinking pop. Even with real sugar, it’s not doing you any favors, health-wise.

*I’m studiously avoiding getting into details about High Fructose Corn Syrup here. No, I don’t believe it’s a good choice just because it was once corn.

Urban Chickens and proposed Federal legislation by sarahtar
March 4, 2009, 3:42 pm
Filed under: Legislation

I feel vaguely reminded of all the CPSIA nonsense when reading this post at Urban Chickens:

So, if the NAIS is passed, we’ll have to get tags/RFID chips for each of our urban chickens and report to the government if we take our chickens anywhere but our own backyards.

Wow. While the intent of the NAIS (disease tracking and “protection against bio-terrorism”), the implementation seems a bit intrusive/awkward if you ask me. (“No Fly List” anyone?)

It seems like the intent is good…but the Federal government once again fumbles in the implementation.

Friends of Iowa Midwives by sarahtar
November 29, 2008, 9:57 am
Filed under: Birth, Legislation

Alright, all you midwifery supporters, this post is for you.

Friends of Iowa Midwives is a statewide grassroots organization working to:

* Promote access to midwifery and out-of-hospital birth in Iowa
* Protect the rights of Iowa women to choose their place of birth and birth attendant
* Provide education about childbirth options
* Create supportive community for birthing women and families

Their current legislative campaign aims to license Certified Professional Midwives in Iowa so that families who choose out-of-hospital birth can have access to safe maternity care with legal midwives.

Many families in Iowa believe that Iowa is sort of “a-legal” when it comes to CPMs. They are not recognized by the state, but they are not outright forbidden. Many midwives, and many consumers, have been content to leave it this way. (I am one of them.) But then Melanie Moore was brought up on charges of Practicing Medicine Without A License. (Her prosecution was not brought on by any negative incidents, by the way.)

And, to some people, that changes things.

I will admit to still being on the fence about this goal of licensure. In many states, licensure of CPMs has led to a significant decrease in the options available to certain high-risk women: those with twins, those wanting a VBAC, and those with breech babies. These are women who are close to my heart and I don’t want to do anything that would make their lives even tougher!

However, it all depends on the language in the bill and whether FOIM is willing to compromise on the language that would protect these women, as well. A few ladies from ICAN are involved with FOIM to help protect the interests of these women, which is reassuring.

If this is an issue that interests you, that you’re passionate about, or that you just want to keep current on, please head over to the FOIM website, Yahoo Group, or Facebook page. Volunteer if you’re able!