By Linda Kor —
In this age of processed, pasteurized and genetically altered food, it’s no wonder that obesity, cancer, diabetes and other medical maladies are so common. In a review of recent statistics by the Centers for Dis-ease Control (CDC), cases of each of these deadly diseases are increasing and are higher than ever. Research also shows that the U.S. is spending more of its gross national product for medical care ($1 out of every $14) than any other country in the world.
In order to avoid becoming a part of these statistics, people are searching for ways to understand their bodies and eat healthier. In an effort to help area residents on the road to healthy living, Codi Stinnett, the owner of Homestead Harvest in Holbrook, is making that search a little easier.
Stinnett became ill more than 30 years ago with what began as one illness that snowballed into another. Going from doctor to doctor the single mother of three was overwhelmed with the diagnosis of Chronic Fa-tigue Syndrome, adrenal shutdown, liver and gall bladder issues, and a multitude of other maladies that seemed to come one after the other.
Desperate to improve her health, Stinnett decided to take matters into her own hands and underwent an herbal detoxification program to purge the toxins from her system. Her body’s response was a violent one.
“I was in bed for six weeks and broke out in these horrible rashes with inflamed bumps from head to toe. It felt like I’d been beaten with a crowbar and I really just prayed to die,” recalled Stinnett.
When she finally began to recover she knew that she had to figure out what was needed to heal her body. “It wasn’t the detoxification that was at fault. My body was so unhealthy that my digestive system couldn’t flush the toxins being pulled out by the process. I had literally poisoned myself nearly to death,” she re-called.
Stinnett began her journey by reading everything she could find regarding healthy living and the needs of the body, gaining knowledge that changed her life. “Good health begins in the gut. We fill ourselves with antibiotics, homogenized and pasteurized foods, everything that kills natural flora needed for a healthy gut,” she explained.
Stinnett says that realization was her turning point, but she still wasn’t certain where to proceed from there. “I was a single mom. I couldn’t afford organic foods, expensive supplements or doctors; I just prayed to be shown the truth,” she said.
She has fond memories of playing in her grandparents’ garden in Strawberry as a child, and those memo-ries were brought back to her as she began to talk with local gardeners. As she learned about the earth and the value of healthy eating, she felt a longing to take part in all of it. “I decided to head back to the garden. My grandparents’ garden, the garden of life, Eden, whatever you want to call it; that’s where I’ve been find-ing myself,” said Stinnett.
In the eight years it’s taken for her journey, Stinnett has realized a great deal about herself and her envi-ronment. “We come from the earth; it’s where we’re connected and we have drastically, drastically disrupted that connection,” she points out.
Stinnett began with simple changes. She started by adding cod liver oil to her diet and within two weeks her body aches disappeared. She replaced refined sugar with honey, maple and rapadura, a natural sweetener common in South America. She replaced iodized salt with naturally iodized sea salt, and moved away from refined flour and heat pressed oils.
As her health improved and her knowledge grew she realized that she had to share what she’d learned with others. While her small shop holds some handcrafted items, locally grown organic vegetables and beef, and other food items, all for sale at a reasonable price, the greatest value to be found at the shop is Stinnett herself.
She doesn’t promote pills, the latest health fads or diets; what she does provide is age-old wisdom for a healthy lifestyle. “Everything starts with the soil,” explained Stinnett, who talks of the benefit of growing your own fruits and vegetables, or buying those locally grown. She noted that she belongs to the White Mountain Area Local Growers Association, and that each month they meet to discuss how they can help area residents see the value of foods that are grown and can be bought right here in our own communities.
Stinnett, who at 50 is now the picture of health, eats plenty of meats, vegetables and fruits, and won’t touch tofu or soybean, which she believes are not at all beneficial to health.
“I look at my shop as a gateway. It’s a way to connect with people and an outlet for local growers. It all begins with education and dollar amounts shouldn’t be a hindrance in becoming healthy,” she emphasized.
Moving from one subject to another, Stinnett talks easily of the value of good soil in order to grow vita-min rich vegetables, the importance of avoiding heat processed oils and the value of connecting back to the earth, not only for physical health, but for spiritual well-being. “We weren’t always this way. There was a time not so long ago when obesity and diabetes were not so common in our culture like they are today. We have slowly been led to this so we didn’t really notice it was happening. We’ve begun to think it’s a part of who we are, but it’s not true, we need to change,” she said.
Stinnett takes orders for locally grown, hormone-free beef, and carries eggs and organic vegetables from Day-Star Farm in Holbrook. Operating as a non-profit organization, she plans to offer classes on a variety of topics from gardening to healthy eating at a minimal cost to cover supplies. She is arranging a co-op in order to purchase bulk items at a lower cost, and provides her vast knowledge at no cost at all.
As Stinnett works in her shop waiting for visitors, she knows the wait may take a while, but doesn’t mind. “There isn’t a day that I’m here that I don’t believe this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. This is my job, to share my experience and what I’ve learned with whoever walks through that door,” she said.
Stinnett’s Homestead Harvest is located at 215 W. Hopi Drive in Holbrook, and is open from 12 noon to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.