Anyone in my family will tell you that I can inhale a bag of cheetos faster than anyone they know and when I met my husband, his constant request for stirfry and veggies nearly un-nerved me. I did not grow up in a house where we ate veggies or anything raw all that often. I remember my mom making the prettiest salad and fruit trays for the occasional pot luck party or baby shower but it was not something we ate often. My momma will probably faint when she reads this (she loves salad) but a love of healthy food was not taught to us. I will say that my parents make everything from scratch, always have, and now eat more fruits and veggies than most people but our veggies consisted of bananas, avocados and shredded cabbage with diced up tomato salads (and we were not encouraged to eat the salad, that was pretty much the adults).
I absolutely love my momma and poppa’s cooking and anyone who has ever eaten there will agree but it did not equip me to marry someone who ate healthy food all the time. Obviously, down the road somewhere I did learn : ) I did it because that is what he wanted not because it was “good” for us.
Fast forward to 2001, I am chugging along my journey of wife and motherhood with 5 little ones, eating mostly all from scratch food with some cold cereal in the morning and yogurt, granola bars and of course milk and eggs which were supposed to be “good” for us (it said so on the packaging). One day my second oldest got a terrible stomach ache, which turned into a puke fest. This started occuring daily, then weekly, then a month passed and I was at my wits end. I gave him things like oatmeal thinking it would be good and easy on his stomach, gatorade to put back all the liquids he was losing and the more things I tried the thinner he got and his face did not look like my robust little boy anymore. The doctor would just dismiss me with the upset stomach B.R.A.T diet (bananas, rice, apples, toast).
Then one day, I woke up and sat in bed and it hit me. Could he be allergic to something in the food, something that would not be there unless someone put it in there. PRESERVATIVES! Oh my goodness, could that be it. If that was the case then it would be an easy fix, I will just go over my pantry and eliminate things with preservatives…. by now you can imagine my surprise when everything pretty much had preservatives in it.
At this point in my life I had never really worried about things like this. I fed my kids from all the food groups, we ate very little candy and we are all ok. This is also the time when two new things became part of our lives, the internet and a store called Wild Oats (now known as Whole Foods). I began to read and read what little was out there. I could not get enough information, I read every book I could find on the subject and scoured to magazines at the health food store.
I loved Wild Oats, it was full of so many foods I had never heard of and people who cared about where their food came from and even who grew it. I moved my shopping day to Friday night when I could leave the smallest with Poppa and take the big kids shopping at Wild Oats, pretty exciting Friday night huh? Why Friday nights? Because they always had a live jazz band. The kids would help out by being quiet as I learned my way around the organic food world, with my trusty price notebook and calculator, writing down measurements and weights and prices by the ounce, buying a pack of cashews as opposed to buying from the bulk bins. This was a new world for me, it was inspiring and fun.
Within one week, that’s right I said one week, my sons symptoms pretty much dissapeared and he was starting to have energy enough to make messes and get into arguments with siblings. Life was good.
Did I stop, no I kept reading and the more I read the more I had to read and the sadder I got. The reason that our children (and us) were all of a sudden allergic to the very food we need to live is because in the 90’s our food was changed, things were added that were bad for us. Some of them are actually listed as pesticides by the United States. Genetically modified foods were introduced into our food system to increase profits of major agricultural companies and the big box stores sold it to all of us….and we ate it. Some of us are still eating it.