Category: Health and Wellness

Don’t Eat That, Eat This: The Troubled History of Food Stamps and Nutrition

Lately, it seems like everywhere I turn I see discussions about how poor people use their money, how they should use their money better, and how we can force their hands to change those spending habits. In an attempt to crack down on welfare use, Missouri Republican Rock Brattin recently proposed that we “get the… Read more →

A Doctor, a Patient, a Rash, and Google

Don’t you hate it when you can’t get your doctor to agree with your own assessment of your symptoms? Never mind that she’s been to medical school and has years of experience. It’s MY body, and so I would like that fact to have as much weight in the diagnostic process. Alas, it does not…. Read more →

A Short History of Homeopathy: From Hahnemann to Whole Foods

A few weeks ago, I found myself in an increasingly common situation: I decided to go grocery shopping at Whole Foods (sale items only please, I’m a grad student). As usual, I had to follow up my trip with a second stop at a “regular” grocery store to fill in the gaps on my grocery… Read more →

The Nanny State on Your Plate?

In late November, the FDA finalized new rules for calorie counts on menus. In about a year, all food establishments with over twenty locations will need to post the calories of regular items directly on the menu. Other nutrition facts must be available on request. In about two years, vending machine companies owning more than… Read more →

Not Done Yet: Midwifing a Return to Social Birth

As a doula, I have the privilege of attending other women’s labors and deliveries. Recently I attended a delivery assisted by a midwife at a large-scale hospital. The midwife and the nursing staff supported the fearless mama as she labored away in a large room with a wall of windows looking out on a beautiful… Read more →

Advertising Hormonal Contraception: Medicalizing the Natural

In recent years, there has been great debate about access to contraception, particularly the hormonal birth control pill. In 1957, the first hormonal birth control pill was approved by the FDA for severe menstrual disorders, in 1960 it was approved for contraceptive use, and by 1965 it had been legalized for married couples by the… Read more →

The Hystericization of “Garbage Bag Diagnoses”

On April 24, 2014, radio and TV personality Dr. Drew Pinsky, a board-certified internist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Southern California, fielded a question on the syndicated radio show Loveline from a man named Kelan whose fiancée had what he called a “multitude of conditions”: endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, lactose intolerance,… Read more →

Thalidomide—The Good and The Bad

I was listening to the BBC world news the other day and a story caught my attention. The story was about an epidemic of birth defects in Brazil, particularly in the slums of Rio de Janeiro.[1] Pregnant women had apparently been taking Thalidomide—a drug I thought had been taken off the market decades ago. Apparently it… Read more →

A Historian’s Guide to Summer – The Ice Cream Edition

Whether you’re overlooking the sandy shores of your local beach chowing down on a Gaytime, discretely licking the sides of your mouth to make sure there’s no lingering trace of that chocolate Paddle Pop you just scarfed, or running down the street hoping to catch that ice-cream truck tolling those god-awful bells, summer is synonymous… Read more →

Designing Women: Midwives, Class, and Choice

A couple of weeks ago The New York Times ran an article that asked its readers, “are midwives becoming trendy, like juice cleanses and Tom’s shoes?”  Turns out, yes.  At least for “the famous and the fashionable.” Although the article highlights an increased social acceptance of midwifery, the idea of midwives as being the marker of… Read more →