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Placenta: It's What's for Dinner
LA Weekly ^ | Thu., Jun. 27 2013 | Liana Aghajanian

Posted on 06/30/2013 9:33:56 AM PDT by nickcarraway

On a sunny Friday morning in Venice, Valerie Rosas is standing in a kitchen, carefully cutting little pieces of meat with a chef's knife on a disposable cutting board.

But it's not lamb filet or beef brisket she's preparing.

It's human placenta.

Rosas is a placenta encapsulationist — which means she helps transform the organ expelled after childbirth into something edible: Depending on her client's preference, it might be ready-to-pop pills, smoothie packs or salves.

Eating the vitamin-rich placenta is touted as a way for new mothers to increase milk supply, boost energy and iron levels, level out hormonal fluctuations and keep postpartum depression at bay. Proponents run the gamut from celebrities (January Jones famously indulged) to businesswomen to stay-at-home moms.

Rosas' dark, curly locks fall delicately over her shoulders as she thoroughly sterilizes her work area, puts on her "I Love Placenta" apron and arranges 2-inch pieces of fresh, gorgeously red afterbirth on a piece of stark white parchment paper. She leaves some space in the middle of her symmetrical spread for the umbilical cord — one of the shorter ones she's seen, she says, but still beautiful. She'll fashion that into a heart, a keepsake for the new mom to store on the table next to her bed, or perhaps hang on the tree as an ornament come Christmas.

This client has chosen the raw method: After Rosas dehydrates the placenta over a period of four to eight hours, she'll crush the pieces and fit them into anywhere from 75 to 200 capsules. Another option, the traditional Chinese method, involves lightly steaming the placenta with a bit of ginger and lemon before it's encapsulated.

cordkeepsake_dreamcatcher.jpg A dream catcher Rosas made out of an umbilical cord For all its current trendiness, placento­phagy has a long history.

In ancient Egypt, the placenta had its own hieroglyph. In Haiti and Argentina, placentas were buried and part of the umbilical cord preserved, used as medicine for children when they became ill. And William Ober's 1979 journal article, "Notes on Placentophagy," discusses a medical officer observing placenta consumption among Vietnamese nurses, who fried the placentas of young mothers with onions and ate them.

Despite anecdotal claims, to date there have been no clinical studies showing any positive impact (or lack thereof) from placenta consumption. However, earlier this year, two University of Nevada, Las Vegas, researchers published a study showing that 96 percent of women surveyed reported a positive or very positive experience taking placenta pills. And Mark B. Kristal, a behavioral neuroscientist at the University of Buffalo, who's considered the definitive expert on placentophagy, published an article in the March 2012 issue of Ecology of Food and Nutrition outlining the benefits of placenta ingestion by non-human mammalian mothers, such as an increase in mother-infant interaction. Questions about the benefits to human mothers, however, remain unanswered.

Back in the sterilized kitchen, Rosas changes gloves three or four times throughout preparation. She cuts a piece of placenta for a tincture — an alcohol solution that preserves the stuff for a lifetime, as opposed to the two- or three-year potency of the pills. It's used by some women to regulate hormone changes during menstrual cycles and even menopause.

Next, she moves on to the more sentimental part of her work. She lays the malleable placenta on a piece of art paper — with one swoop forming a beautiful, dark pink, detailed mirror image made of fresh blood. This "placenta art" is included, along with pills, tincture and the cord keepsake, in a package that retails for $250 to $350, depending on additions and the geographic location of her clients.

Rosas is quick to be at the side of new mothers at hospitals, who sign a placenta release form to retain ownership and then hand their afterbirth over to her.

Her passion is infectious. Her slogan is "Placenta Power!" and she holds her hand over her heart when telling a story about a neighbor, a new mother who had spiraled into depression. Rosas is emotionally invested in her clients: She takes Polaroids with them for a keepsake photo book and, if they wish, fashions dreamcatchers of umbilical cord for them.

But she never intended to find her calling in placentas. Rosas was going to be a rock & roll photographer, trailing bands and documenting their time on the road — leading a life of Almost Famous proportions.

She also never meant to be a mother. But two weeks before she scraped together enough money to get her tubes tied, at 28, she found out she was pregnant. What followed was depression and isolation.

"I felt so trapped," she says. Extreme depression set in, to the point that her partner, Henry, feared he'd come home to find that she had harmed herself.

Then Rosas learned about placenta encapsulation from her doula. After a difficult labor and the birth of their daughter, the couple set about doing the encapsulation themselves. The honors went to Henry, a chef who followed instructions they found on the Internet.

When she began taking the pills, Rosas felt immediate relief.

"I truly believe my placenta helped me to not have postpartum psychosis," she says. Earlier this year, Rosas became certified in placenta encapsulation and established the Feel-Good Company — Placenta Encapsulation by Valerie Rosas. Thanks to word-of-mouth referrals and Yelp, she has now encapsulated 17 placentas.

For Rosas, it's not just about turning afterbirth into pills, tincture or salve but about shifting a bit of focus and support back to new mothers.

"That's probably the main driving force behind placenta encapsulation, to be that support system that I didn't have," she says. "It's hard enough as it is to be having a baby. Then to deal with postpartum depression and not have a support system? That just makes it worse."

New mother Brigid Dunnagun had been in labor for 30 hours when her husband, desperate to find a placenta encapsulator at the last minute, found Rosas online and put her through to his wife.

"She talked me through [labor] and gave me a glimmer of hope that it would end, eventually," Dunnagun says. And within an hour, Rosas and her mini ice cooler came to see Dunnagun and collect the placenta.

Sara Pereira, who has encapsulated more than 800 placentas, including that of January Jones, stresses the importance of communication with clients. "I always reiterate, 'If you ever have any questions, contact me' — and they often do," Pereira says.

Placenta encapsulationists around the country hope to create a set of standards to ensure proper preparation. "It's becoming so widespread that we need to make sure things are done properly," Pereira says.

Rosas says she's interested to see what studies and trials come out on placenta consumption in the future. For now, she's firmly convinced of its healing powers.

"Your own body made it, it's just for you," she says. "No one could prescribe anything more perfect than what your body has made for you."


TOPICS: Food; Health/Medicine; Weird Stuff
KEYWORDS: childbirth; placenta; placentophagy; postpartumdepression

1 posted on 06/30/2013 9:33:56 AM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

It’s called cannibalism.


2 posted on 06/30/2013 9:35:03 AM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: nickcarraway

With all respect do an honored and illustrious freeper...

Where the #@%&! is the bark alert?


3 posted on 06/30/2013 9:35:37 AM PDT by ChinaGotTheGoodsOnClinton (Go Egypt on 0bama)
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To: ChinaGotTheGoodsOnClinton

Make that “BARF” alert. Please accept my humble apologies.


4 posted on 06/30/2013 9:36:22 AM PDT by ChinaGotTheGoodsOnClinton (Go Egypt on 0bama)
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5 posted on 06/30/2013 9:37:09 AM PDT by dsrtsage (One half of all people have below average IQ. In the US the number is 54%)
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To: nickcarraway
"Your own body made it, it's just for you," she says. "No one could prescribe anything more perfect than what your body has made for you."

Our bodies produce fecal matter too, lady. Bon appetite.

6 posted on 06/30/2013 9:37:29 AM PDT by TADSLOS (The Event Horizon has come and gone. Buckle up and hang on.)
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To: nickcarraway

Nick, this double posting thing is getting tiresome.


7 posted on 06/30/2013 9:39:10 AM PDT by SubMareener (Save us from Quarterly Freepathons! Become a MONTHLY DONOR!)
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To: nickcarraway

Eye, yie, yie


8 posted on 06/30/2013 9:40:22 AM PDT by Lurkina.n.Learnin (President Obama; The Slumlord of the Rentseekers)
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To: nickcarraway

9 posted on 06/30/2013 9:41:00 AM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
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To: SubMareener

You can say that again.


10 posted on 06/30/2013 9:41:04 AM PDT by BipolarBob
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To: SubMareener

You can say that again.


11 posted on 06/30/2013 9:41:16 AM PDT by BipolarBob
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To: Sacajaweau

I’ll never forget watching our cat eat hers after delivering a batch of kittens. I must have been about 8 years old but even then understood that she was doing the kind of thing which separates animals from humans — and vice versa.


12 posted on 06/30/2013 9:43:25 AM PDT by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
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To: BenLurkin

Yeah I think animals do that as a means of cleaning up the nest not searching for a culinary delight.


13 posted on 06/30/2013 9:47:42 AM PDT by Lurkina.n.Learnin (President Obama; The Slumlord of the Rentseekers)
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To: TADSLOS

“Your own body made it, it’s just for you,” she says. “No one could prescribe anything more perfect than what your body has made for you.”

au contrare; the placenta was not “made for you” - the mother - it was “made for” the fetus-child-to-be

if you “lose a leg”, should you just eat it, for all its “nutrients”?? LOL


14 posted on 06/30/2013 9:53:53 AM PDT by Wuli (qu)
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To: nickcarraway

There are always different types of animal placentae(?) at my Asian market.


15 posted on 06/30/2013 9:58:01 AM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: nickcarraway

I have rarely read an article that made me violently ill. This is one of them.
In the name of female empowerment, they are quickly sliding back to the animal level.


16 posted on 06/30/2013 9:59:09 AM PDT by tbw2
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To: nickcarraway

Proverbs 26:12
Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them

Isaiah 5:21
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.

ROMANS 1:21-22
For although they knew GOD, they neither glorified HIM as GOD nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools...


17 posted on 06/30/2013 10:05:52 AM PDT by stars & stripes forever ((Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord!))
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To: nickcarraway
 photo eGR2dmFtMTI_o_how-to-watch-family-guy-episodes-for-free_zpsfac45770.jpg
18 posted on 06/30/2013 10:16:17 AM PDT by RetSignman (Immigration border protection is America's version of the Maginot Line)
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To: nickcarraway

Holy ****, Nick.

Good thing I’m finished with breakfast. This story is completely disgusting!!

I SAW both placentas that came out of me when the kiddies were born — the fact that anyone thinks these things are edible is unGodly.


19 posted on 06/30/2013 10:18:31 AM PDT by Bon of Babble (Every workers paradise had to shoot escapees. Why?)
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To: Bon of Babble

Guess she never heard of vitamins.


20 posted on 06/30/2013 10:49:56 AM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: nickcarraway
However, earlier this year, two University of Nevada, Las Vegas, researchers published a study showing that 96 percent of women surveyed reported a positive or very positive experience taking placenta pills.

Awesome, they documented the placebo effect in a group of women primed to experience it!

(This is why double-blind studies are so important, folks.)

"Your own body made it, it's just for you," she says. "No one could prescribe anything more perfect than what your body has made for you."

Placenta is fetal in origin. It's the baby's flesh, not the mother's.

Placenta encapsulationists around the country hope to create a set of standards to ensure proper preparation. "It's becoming so widespread that we need to make sure things are done properly," Pereira says.

I doubt the practice is very widespread at all. It may be the trendy thing among people who live their lives stuck in a cocoon of magical thinking, but very few others find the practice at all appealing. I'd bet that the people going for this also embrace crystals, pyramids, magnetism--all of those weird things that they believe have magic benefits for their health, but which don't do anything at all. Magic is not real.

21 posted on 06/30/2013 11:08:32 AM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: nickcarraway

The mind boggles - serious hurl alert.


22 posted on 06/30/2013 11:28:04 AM PDT by Wicket (God bless and protect our troops and God bless America)
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To: nickcarraway

“For everything there is a seasoning,
a time and placenta for every activity under heaven.”


23 posted on 06/30/2013 11:48:48 AM PDT by mikrofon (Yecch. 3:1)
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To: exDemMom

I’d bet that the people going for this also embrace crystals, pyramids, magnetism—all of those weird things that they believe have magic benefits for their health....

&&&
You are right, IMO.


24 posted on 06/30/2013 11:53:26 AM PDT by Bigg Red (Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved! -Ps80)
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To: Sacajaweau

It’s why they have abortions to keep the supply up.


25 posted on 06/30/2013 12:34:47 PM PDT by Vaduz
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To: nickcarraway
Disgusting European impulses.

Horse meat faces ban in Italy
The Telegraph
By Nick Pisa in Rome
6:20AM GMT 08 Feb 2010
Excerpt:
"Italy is the largest consumer of horsemeat in Europe with more than 48,000 metric tonnes eaten every year and it is a common dish among youngsters because of its high iron content."

http://www.foodstandards.gov.uk/news/newsarchive/salamisurvey171203
"No more horsing around with salami
Wednesday, 17 December 2003
A UK-wide investigation carried out by the Food Standards Agency suggests that consumers should no longer be concerned about the problem of salami containing undeclared horsemeat and donkeymeat"

Horse Meat Discovered In Burgers Sold In UK And Ireland
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2978441/posts

Report: Italian Mafia Behind Horsemeat Scandals
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2986927/posts


26 posted on 06/30/2013 1:14:01 PM PDT by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in an avalanche of rotten politics smelled around the planet.)
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To: nickcarraway
So if I served up placenta at a family dinner and told everybody it was eggplant, would they notice? Especially if I covered it with meatballs and a zesty marinara sauce? Who would know? Seriously.

I remember going deer hunting and bringing back some venison meat. Now nobody in my family would eat it if I said it was deer meat - Bambi Factor - so I said it was moose tips and everybody dug in and said "great moose." Even today, the kids ask me when I'm going moose hunting again.

27 posted on 06/30/2013 1:44:17 PM PDT by SamAdams76
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