A very brief history before I launch into my locavore life.
I was always a chubby kid, my sister was jealous because I was "shapely" and I was jealous because she was thin. I went on my first diet at age 8. One banana and 4 ounces of milk every two hours, if I remember correctly.
In my day, little one, Mc Donald's was just starting to find its way into the larger towns of our country. I was 12 before I ate my first meal at a McD's. There were no Quarter Pounders then, just hamburgers, cheeseburgers and small bags of fries. The drinks were served in 12-ounce cups and no one ever asked for a refill. Before that first fateful take-out, we ate at home, almost always.
In my teens, my mom took off for a year or so to take care of an ailing relative and left me alone with my dad. Dad worked long hours and had personal issues to boot, and I was not interested in cooking in the least. I didn't want to be home with him much either, so I ended up eating more of my meals with friends than at home. I was exposed to all manner of strange foods: Mexican, Chinese, Kosher.
In high school, I fell in with the music department clique. They went every Friday morning to IHOP for breakfast. It was so cool to be counted among a group, and I loved being the quirky kid who always sprinkled pepper in her buttermilk and had a side of hash browns.
In early marriage, both hubby and I worked. Sunday morning omelettes at Hof's Hut was a real treat. That first child was born with a load of food sensitivities, though, and I had to learn how to cook for real. Told I couldn't breastfeed by well-meaning but mistaken nurses, I embarked on bottle feeding only to watch my son not gain. At three months of age, he had not gained but one pound over his birth weight. I got myself to a La Leche League meeting and learned how to breastfeed. After a few more months, my son was gaining and growing normally. It was during my dad's one and only visit to see his grandchild that I learned about whole, fresh foods, brown rice, live cultured yogurt and tofu. My dad, the alcoholic wanna-be truck driver, had discovered macrobiotics in the last years of his life. What a baffling day that was!
The babies stopped for about 10 years before resuming, one after another, in rapid succession. During my pregnancies, I learned and read about nutrition, both for me and the babies. I learned how to shop for and cook with whole foods, how to plan a nutritious well-balanced diet and kept a careful eye on my children's health. We didn't eat out except for the rare special occasion, and when we did, it was not fast food.
But, after six children, the non-fast variety of dining out became too expensive and cumbersome and our eating out devolved into trips to the drive-through or pizza delivery. The last baby had numerous allergies and food sensitivities and my attention to nutrition was aroused once again. I began growing food, canning, buying from a natural food co-op and learning all I could about herbal medicine. I even took an herbal medicine course, and am currently about three hours and a final exam short of being an herbal practitioner.
But the more I studied, the more I discovered the flaw in herbal medicine: it's still treating what goes wrong. What if there was a way to prevent things from going wrong, to walk daily in health?