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My Journey So Far

Patrons of the Hollywood Farmers MarketI grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles, a fairly typical child of the early 70’s. My mom, a child of the depression, was much more interested in the price of food, rather than the quality of it. I can’t blame her, most people didn’t know the difference. She wasn’t very fond of cooking, so we had the same quick and easy meals over and over. I didn’t know there was another way of making fish other than batter fried until I moved out of the house.

Growing up in Southern California, I had no idea of the idea of seasonal eating. Everything was seasonal. If I decided on a recipe I wanted to cook, the ingredients were usually at the super market, no matter the time of year as well as our year round farmer’s market in Hollywood. (Think artichokes in winter).

Sometime in the late 80’s I found a book at my local Mrs. Gooch’s (a healthy grocery store soon bought by Whole Foods), it was called “Nutrition”, a pale yellow, almost text book that really talked about the problems with eating processed foods and advocated eating what I would now call, “real food”. I remember the pictures in there were some of the one’s in Weston Price’s Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. It made a huge impression on me. Unfortunately, I don’t have the book anymore and since I can’t remember the author, I can’t get another copy. (If someone knows the book I am talking about, please let me know).

In the late 90’s, I was somewhat overweight and failing to lose it. My husband at the time and I went to Las Vegas where his family was. While there, we went to dinner with his brother and sister-in-law. They told us they were on the Atkins diet and could only go to a steak house. No problem there. I saw them order a steak with a side of broccoli and realized that the diet wasn’t as unhealthy as thought. I started on it, and lost 25 pounds. It was at this point that I realized that I needed to do 90% of my shopping around the outside of a store and not through the aisles.

In December, 2001 and I moved from Los Angeles to the Washington DC area. I remember my first visit to a supermarket and how appalled I was at the lack of fresh vegetables. Coming from Los Angeles, I was very much used to eating fresh vegetables at all times. I finally found a Whole Foods market, and while they had a much better selection, their prices were really high. I found myself buying frozen and canned foods, but they had additives and I wasn’t very happy.

In 2005, I moved into my own place, a townhouse in Germantown, MD. I’m very close to the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve, which means I’m near a lot of farms. In 2008, after picking up Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals , I knew that even buying my food from Whole Foods wasn’t the healthy panacea I had originally thought.

I started reading, a lot. This was winter, I started researching CSA’s and farms and farmer’s markets. I bought a freezer. Then I impatiently waited for Spring to arrive. Unfortunately spring arrives in March, but food really doesn’t come out here in quantity until mid May. So I waited a long time, and wow did that first strawberry taste good.

In August of 2010, I realized that I was most likely gluten intolerant, I stopped eating gluten (which was a mistake) and in January of 2011, my doctor chose to test me. I had to start eating gluten again for a month and was sick for not only that month, but 2 months after that (which is why going off gluten before getting the test was a mistake). This has added a new layer of food and health that I’ve had to learn about.

Since that time, I’ve worked on only eating what Nina Planck calls “Real Foods”, foods that have been around for a long time. I’ve found sources for grass-fed meats, pasture raised poultry and eggs, raw dairy and fresh vegetables. I’ve learned preservation techniques and used them extensively. I’ve learned so much along the way and while there is more to learn, I want to help others learn as well.

I invite you to share this journey with me. I plan on using this blog (as well as my facebook and twitter accounts) to share recipes, nutrition information, food related activism, and help for those with dietary restrictions as well as my journey to a holistic health degree.

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