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Gone Local is an app that is dedicated to the improvement of local communities. We give small businesses a platform that is easy to manage and will draw in local repeat customers. All of us here at Gone Local want to see a return to old eating habits. The healthiest way for us to make the most of life is to live small, but in a big way. Supporting small businesses will help our towns and cities thrive and eating local, organic foods will help our bodies thrive! Let’s be better, together!
Hi! I’m Cleo, and I grew up in a suburb outside of Dallas, Texas and have always had a close connection to food and farms. I rode horses throughout my childhood and spent my days riding, mucking stables, and doing ranch chores. My best friend growing up lived on a farm and we were always feeding the animals, naming the chickens, and getting really upset when our favorite bird “ran away”. You can guess what was for dinner that night! My dad taught me to cook growing up and I always loved watching him make the perfect roast beast, experiment with different cooking techniques we heard about or researched, and age meats (the stinkiest of the techniques).
Throughout my childhood, I would wake up with terrible stomach cramps. My sweet brother, Ellis, would hear me crying and would come into my room to make sure I was okay and to rub my head. As I grew up, my stomach pains did not improve. My, *ahem*, bowel movements became increasingly unpleasant. While I was studying for my bachelor’s degree in North Texas, I became vegetarian. I had researched factory farms that produce massive amounts of meat and found their conditions to be appalling. Without realizing that not all meat production is the same, I cut all meat products from my diet. Then, I met someone that had a severe gluten allergy. We became close friends and I learned all about gluten allergies, Celiac’s Disease, and other illnesses. I underwent a cleanse to see if something I was eating had been causing me such pain since I was a child. I discovered that the foods containing wheat made me sick, and I convinced myself that I was like my dear friend, and simply had a gluten allergy or sensitivity. I lived and ate gluten free for three years, and vegetarian for two years.
After being vegetarian for two years, I began to experience light-headedness at an increasingly alarming rate, and I actually started to faint. After having a bunch of blood tests done, I discovered that my body was rejecting the vegetarian diet, and, in the same day, I was diagnosed with PCOS, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I couldn’t believe it… I was doing everything right. I was eating mostly whole, fresh vegetables, beans, protein shakes with all 9 essential amino acids, and I was even taking additional supplements. I finally decided, after fainting in a New Orleans restaurant, that when I returned home, I would eat meat that did NOT come from a factory farm, and I would focus on my PCOS. I found small, organic farms in my area and bookmarked them for my return. When I ate meat for the first time in two years… it was weird, but I knew I had to do it. Over the next few days, I had a bit more. My energy levels increased, and the fainting stopped completely.
One year later, while visiting my family overseas for the summer, I was talking with my Auntie Jah. She believes that humans are meant to eat foods that are in season and native to the country or region they are from. She told me that that US-grown foods were different from Lebanese grown foods, and that our agricultural practices in the US had changed drastically over the years to accommodate our rapidly growing population and the greed of large companies. She suggested I try a Lebanese bread that was common for my people to eat, and had been grown the same exact way for thousands of years. So, I did.
Not only did I not feel sick, I felt better than I had in years. The difference I felt internally was even more than what I felt after adding meat back into my diet. I was missing key nutrients from the wheat crop after being gluten free for so long. This discovery was both a relief and a burden. I immediately dove into researching wheat production in the United States. I learned all about Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) and their hand in wheat farming. Deciding that it wasn’t the wheat plant in general, it was the way we grow wheat, I wanted to try wheat products from other countries and, to my fearful reluctance, organic wheat grown in the US.
Some organic US-grown products have been reaction-free, and some have not. The best organic wheat products have come from small, local farms. I now have found my favorite local farms to buy my foods and aim to eat mostly my home-cooked meals. Since my research and discovery regarding US-grown wheat, I have shifted my diet to being mostly local and organic foods, especially when it comes to wheat products and meat.
Now, I eat local meat and local wheat. I stopped importing, because if I want things to change here in the United States, I need to tell the market what I want, and I need you to join me. We shouldn’t have to eat imported wheat products. We DESERVE healthy foods in this beautiful country. I created Gone Local App to make positive changes in the way we produce food in the US, and to help people like myself find the best local foods ever, so that everyone can live as healthily as our planet and lifestyle allow! So, I guess you could say… I’ve Gone Local!