TITLE: Chapter 1 Growing Up Country
By Crystal Beavin
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It was 1973 and my thirteenth birthday. I can still remember the anxiety I sensed when I witnessed my dad having a heart attack. My mother called the ambulance and the paramedics were on their way, but I feared for my dad's life. He was only 42 years old and this crisis was not unfamiliar to him. His first heart attack happened when he was only 35 years old. Throughout his life he experienced three heart attacks and when I was eighteen years old he had triple by-pass surgery.
My three brothers, my only sister and I grew up in the rural parts of the beautiful state of Maryland. Living in the country enabled us to raise chickens, pigs, bulls and even a goat. Not to mention all the dogs and cats roaming around our small farm. Since we had very little money my father also planted a huge garden every spring. It was a necessity for our family but also a source of family enjoyment. We all helped out pulling weeds and getting the vegetables for dinner. I can also remember my older brothers helping my dad plow.
Just as our vegetables provided our food, our chickens gave us our eggs and provided us with meat along with the pigs and bulls.
Like most families, we ate the Standard American Diet (SAD). The SAD is a diet that contains a high amount of animal fat, unhealthy fats such as saturated and hydrogenated, and processed foods. It is low in fiber, complex carbohydrates and plant-based foods. It is the diet of our culture.
The slaughters of our animals troubled me and by the time I was a teenager I couldn't bring myself to eat meat anymore, except on rare occasions. Looking back over that time, I realize that I was what you could call a Junk Food Vegetarian. I wasn't eating meat, that's true, but I wasn't eating healthy either. At the age of twenty, I became very anemic and kept getting flu-like symptoms several times a month. Eventually I got better after my doctor put me on iron pills. I continued on my meat-free diet until my early twenties when I gradually started adding it back into my diet.
By the time I was married, I was eating meat like everyone else. As a new wife, I learned to cook the way I was raised, with meat as the main ingredient to most meals. Years without questioning my eating habits and taking it for granted was about to change. Little did I know that God was about to transform my complacent attitude by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2).
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