Wake the town and tell the people


by Jackie Alfonso | April 27, 2009 • Once upon a time, I taught whole foods cookery as an outreach mechanism for a local organic food organization. I taught in the usual Community Education programs, as I do now, and at the annual convention of the organization. It was fun for everyone, everybody learned new techniques and menus, and it stretched all of us who participated.

Lemonade Chronicles is a blog written by Jackie Alfonso, a local writer who is deeply concerned about food … and other issues.

At one of the annual conventions, a young woman approached me after a class and asked if I went to organizations to teach – I said I could do that, and we set up a time. Exploring what it was she expected me to do, it turned out that her family and several others lived in a small enclave on the border of Bloomington. They were disciples of a preacher who had told them that they were unclean if they ate anything that was not mentioned in the Bible! The King James version, of course!

The diets of these families therefore consisted of turnips, bread, fish, and plain greens. They were all losing their hair and their teeth, they all had terrible gas all the time, they couldn’t sleep, and the children were cranky and had continuous diarrhea. These are not good signs.

They were also being taught that females were filthy and should be covered head to toe – including toddlers. Toddlers had to eat the same foods as adults, whether their systems were ready or not.

We were able to wrestle out a more satisfactory diet simply by paging through King James, and then they took the new list (with citations) to their leader to check them out.

I did not hear from them again, but every now and then I wonder what happened to those unhappy, drab young women and their neglected babies.

Another time, teaching in Hopkins, a participant said she was there because her son had suffered a badly damaged pelvis, would be in hospital for some time, and was having a hard time with basic elimination. She was able to convince the doctor to approve whole live yogurt, which was very helpful. Today it would be hard to find a hospital that doesn’t understand the value of yogurt. Some things do change.