Monday, August 26, 2013

Hormonal Horrors

   I can remember my mother often saying to me, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing David.” Which is probably why she played it safe and seemed to blissfully know very little at all about the world. Her main concerns appeared to me to be; a spik-and-span house, enough food on the table and plenty of home baked cakes and biscuits stored in tins.
   In a way, even tho’ I miss her, I am glad she is not alive to see the arrival of home computers and the tidal wave of information that is sweeping the World. I am sure my mother thought all kinds of food could be eaten as long as you liked them and they were not too spicy. However, we know these days, that many of these really delicious foods are unfortunately tainted by what scientists know about them.
   A good example is the controversy surrounding the consumption of soya bean products. I have been talking to Dick James recently and he has really put the wind up me. Dick breeds caged birds and lives out at Mcleods Bay (Whangarei Heads).  He got involved in the campaign to ban soy milk for infants and children after he noticed his prize winning parrots karked it after eating bird seed “contaminated” with soya beans.
   According to him, the soya bean in any form can be dangerous due its high levels of estrogen and he referred me to a very interesting websbite – ( His concern is that soya products are so common now in processed food that it almost impossible to avoid eating them.
   So what is so dangerous about estrogen? Apparently, it is a powerful hormone that can lead to deformities and cancer if women eat too much of it. In men, estrogen affects masculinity by lowering testosterone levels and interfering with the process of boys growing naturally into  ‘normal’ men.
   Food is not the only source of hormone affecting chemicals. Many newly manufactured plastics also give off toxic fumes and friends of mine refuse to store food in plastic wrap and avoid using plastic crockery. As a potter, I heartily agree with this idea. In my humble and totally biased opinion, there is nothing that can match drinking coffee or tea from a well made, hand thrown pottery mug! 
   The plastic interior of cars also can give off fumes especially when new and left outside to heat up in the sun. When my car was much newer I left the windows open, whenever possible, to vent any unwanted gases. These days I do the same but more often to cope with the unfortunate consequences of accidentally locking my semi neutered tomcat inside the car overnight.
   For many of us middle aged males, this advice about avoiding environmental estrogens might have come a bit too late in the day. Way back in the days when “The Sensitive New Age Man” was fashionable and politically correct, little did we know the sinister influence our food and lifestyle was having on us. There we were, thinking we were nobly suppressing our naturally aggressive instincts, when all along we might have been unconsciously been affected by chemicals mucking around with our hormones.
   Still, the news might not be all that bad. The Green Party’s co-leader, Jeanette Fitzsimmons, has claimed that the Waikato River is so polluted with estrogens (amongst a noxious group of other chemicals) that Aucklanders should think twice about using it as their water supply.
   I would expect that most men in that city would probably ignore this warning. With this in mind, I wonder if we might in time see more docile driving habits from beardless, breasty men stuck in daily traffic jams on the motorway and Auckland streets.
   Jokes about women drivers could well be replaced by new humorous comments on being a jaffa man.
    Jaffa….? “Just Another Feminine Fellow Aucklander!”

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