First I must premise this post by relaying some background on the house I grew up in. I grew up in a household where adventurous eating was often practiced. My parents were experimental in sampling any number of unusual cuisine, plus my dad grew up in Panama so he had been exposed to non-mainstream-America-foodstuffs. Things that many Americans, especially those that don’t live in California, would find disgusting. I’ve personally eaten chocolate-covered bees and ants (the ants were bitter). Dried octopus, yummy. My dad frequently prepared fish with the head intact (I’ve found a lot of people get really freaked out by this). Not only would the fish be staring at us the entire meal, then about halfway through my dad would typically take a fork, gouge out an eye and eat it. He said they were good. Therefore, I don’t normally get grossed out by the things people eat. (I mean, it was several seasons into Fear Factor before they started downing shit that grossed me out. And btw, eating live African cave spiders is just bad karma!)
I am now officially grossed out.
Thanks to Girls Gone Child I have just now learned about the practice of placenta-eating. I had never heard of this before, but since reading her post I can’t get it out of my mind!! GGC wrote a nice, non-judgmental, but funny post about this practice. I’m not going to manage that. Because I AM GROSSED OUT! If anyone would like to eat their placenta I say, you go for it. However, I will not be partaking, thanks. To me it seems awfully close to licking your period (tampon, anyone?). And I’m having a hard time understanding the nutritional value of chowing placenta. I can understand the spiritual significance, it nourished and sustained your baby; apparently many people take their placentas home and bury them as a point of honor and there are other placental ceremonies that people practice. BUT! I don’t get the eating. First of all, you would just be eating your own blood and mucus (that doesn’t sound so appetizing now, does it?). OK, it might be full of vitamins (?) (actually, I don’t really know that’s just what I read on the internet; to be honest I’ve only done a little research (because it’s freaking me out) so I’m speculating here) but aren’t they the vitamins that are already in your body? The ones you got from prenatal vitamins or One-A-Days? I don’t normally gnaw on my own arm when I’m feeling a bit of malaise. The only thing I can imagine might be additional would be that it was hormone-laden blood and mucus. However, I just got rid of my pregnancy hormones and I don’t want them back yet.
Having been the child of hippies* I can sorta, kinda (OK, not really) understand where this en vogue practice might have come from. There is a lot of back-to-nature philosophies around childbirth that stress that the way animals give birth and the way women (being also animals) gave birth for thousands of years is, perhaps, the way we are truly meant to give birth. I.e. natural, no pain medication, no hospitals, etc. – the ideas range from mild to extreme. I’m sure one of these philosophies evolved into the eating your placenta because animals do it, too. Regardless of the fact that animals do it so predators can’t track them down by the scent of the birthing blood. I’m pretty sure people haven’t had to worry about predators for a very long time or anyone who owns a butcher shop would be in trouble.
Quite honestly, and remember speaking from the role of hippie-offspring, I get a little tired of the “if it came from nature it must be good” mentality. I get a little tired of seeing “All Natural” plastered all over whatever foodstuff is being pushed at the moment. And I get really tired of people telling me, “Well it’s good for you, it’s all natural.” You know what? EVERYTHING is natural! We have not yet mastered the technology to whip brand new shit out of the frickin’ air. We have no replicators; we cannot make compounds, chemicals, or elements that do not exist from something already existing in nature. We just can’t do it. What they really mean nowadays when they say “natural” is “not processed”. That is a big difference, and I’m not sure that the America public always understands this difference. Because guess what? Arsenic is also “all natural” and I don’t know anyone who is sprinkling it on their granola. Or on their prepared placenta either. – the weirdgirl
*And by the way, I may live in Northern California, you know, home of the fruits and nuts, but no one in the entire process of my birth ever asked me if I wanted to eat my placenta. I have to go ask my hippie mom now if she ever heard of this ‘cause is she hasn’t I bet it’s gonna gross her out.