A few years ago, someone informed me that young girls are more bosomy and beginning puberty at younger ages, because of the hormones they are drinking in milk. These bovine growth hormones (BGH) are being given to dairy cows to increase milk production, the life of their herds and farmers’ profits.

This week I read that some Chinese babies between 4-15 months fed formula with BGH are actually growing breasts. I also read that more U.S. girls are beginning puberty at younger ages, like 7 or 8, than occurred in studies 20 years ago. This may be attributed to obesity or chemicals in the environment and could lead to greater likelihood of breast cancer.

My main point is how at risk we are to illness or harm just from eating what used to be regarded as “healthy” foods. It’s not enough to avoid junk food and fast food. Now milk is a danger. To avoid high cholesterol foods, I avoid egg yolks, organ meats like liver, ice cream. I am told sugar, specifically fructose, is loved by cancer cells. So I have to watch out for that—it’s in everything. Then there is mercury in fish, now oil in Gulf of Mexico shrimp and crabs. Etc, etc, etc. What a mess.

Clearly it’s hazardous to eat so many foods that I didn’t hesitate to enjoy as a kid. Is this change because the foods have been polluted, like milk, or because I have a different viewpoint as an older man wanting to stay healthy? Probably both. What a tightrope to walk on each day. Tense, nerve-wracking, terrible.