Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
Our society tries to place everything, whether its people, animals, or plants into a one size fit all mold to create shareholder wealth. This planet was created, thrived, and evolved, with diversity and I embrace it. People often wonder why I am so passionate about our food and why I fuss about the industrial food system and GMOs. Natural food is my passion, because it is my roots. They do not understand that it’s at the base of which I am the experiences of my life; it nourishes the people I love. It is life.
Growing up my parents always had a large garden and orchard. I knew the time of year by which tree I could sit in and eat fruit until my heart was satisfied. I would either climb to the top of a fruit tree or hide in a fort built under the brambles. There were old grapevines over the well strong enough to swing on and rows of strawberries you could become lost in. I saw the pride in my father’s eyes when people came from miles around to buy his strawberries and I knew his secret. He planted the berries for me. Our friends would receive laundry baskets full of fruits and we traded with the Amish to have the garden turned over. We lived in old farmhouse on the hill, and then when I was a freshman in high school we moved to a smaller property closer to the city in another state. I stopped eating fruit by the bushel because it came from the store and the taste was not right. Years went by I moved away from home, married and started a family.
During this phase, food developed a greater importance and became more personal. When you carry an infant in your womb everyone informs you that this seed must be nourished so that when it sprouts it may flourish. Meaning that the foods and beverages you partake in, will decide the health of your future child. My friends and family would laugh and say that there would be no issues regarding the food preferences my children would develop due to the fact that long before the thought of children crossed my mind I did not eat sweets and desserts; my choice was always fruits. All three of my girls came into this world with the love of real food; always wanting their dinner plate to be diverse and well balanced. Everyone thought it was wonderful, and so did I.
Then, when my youngest daughter was four months old, I had to stop nursing and place her on formula and our lives completely changed. She was rejecting my milk. Haley was dropping off the growth charts and was diagnosed with “Failure to Thrive.” We would try one formula after another and nothing agreed with her. Within 30 minutes of eating her anguish would begin and by six months she began to refuse food due to the pain. We endured non-stop doctor, test, and nutrition appointments. She was lactose intolerant and allergic to soy. Haley was put on appetite stimulant and had supplements added to all of her food. The side effects for the stimulant caused weakened bone structure and dizziness making her not able to walk without falling down, thus causing a broken leg. The supplements gave her headaches. She was always miserable and in pain.
For two years I carried all of Haley’s medical records, food logs, recipes, photocopied ingredient and nutritional lists for EVERY food she ate, with me at all times. One night around 2:00 am, I looked up Failure to Thrive and fell to the floor crying my eyes out and did not sleep. Failure to thrive in the United States is normally caused by neglect leading malnourishment. This precious child was anything but neglected; however, it did explain why the doctors where always giving apprehensive looks before reviewing her records and speaking with us. At Haley’s next appointment I was prepared beyond compare and had all three children with me. As the nutritionist sat there going through the previous weeks food log, she asked how I prepared breakfast that morning. To which I replied “I made biscuits, cooked a roll of sausage, and scrambled the eggs in a little bit of the grease.” The reply I received floored me! The nutritionist stated, “You feed your children TOO HEALTHY. I would like for you to put a tablespoon of butter on each sausage patty you feed to Haley.” This brought out my true mother bear qualities and I started to grill the certified nutritionist, telling her that was the most absurd suggestion I had ever heard in my life and was it her goal for my two year old to have a heart attack by the time she was five. Our doctor overheard the conversation and pulled both of us aside. He apologized profusely and explained that his nutritionist was young and believed that since I had three young children, there was no way I could possibly have time to cook. I explained that I did wish for my child treated as a science experiment or a case study and that it was my responsibility to ensure that my child grows up with healthy eating habits, regardless of her size. That’s when he noticed my other two daughters and their petite size, realizing that Haley will never be tall or even in the 50th percentile, and we came up with a plan to wean her off the medications and stopped the constant testing.
At the time when I developed my own dietary plan for her Haley weighed 14 pounds. We learned more about which foods bothered her and which ones didn’t and modified her diet. Before ruling an item out, such as string cheese, we would test different brands and some brands did not affect her; however, a few could or shouldn’t be eaten in combination with something else. Organic foods seemed to be successful. I moved slowly away from processed industrial food and towards organic.
This year we had our first successful garden and cut out GMOs from our diet. Our family is now healthier, happier and growing at an amazing pace. Within a few months Haley, has grown into clothes from the little girl’s department, instead of 3T. This growth occurred after I had my GMO awakening and went through the kitchen throwing all questionable food away. Do I believe the industrial food system and GMOs caused negative effects in my family? Yes. We corrected it and now we enjoy dairy again.
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