Zaffie Hadiaris: Healthy eating habits started early for me

As I was snapping the string beans for a meal that I was preparing these words came to my mind, “Zaffie, I bought this farm so you could grow up healthy.”

I was very young when my father said those words.

“Eat your fish, it is good for your brain.”

I reviewed in my memory the good intent he had about good health. This was many, many years ago.

When I was born it was expected that I would be healthy and live a long, vibrant life. That was the climate of the time. I remember magazines and books about Charles Atlas-one of the first bodybuilders and fitness buffs to make a name for himself. This was an original inspiration.

Baba (dad in Greek) was good at nudging us about the structure of plants, and that everything depends on the health of the soil. He felt our most precious natural resource was the nutrient-rich soil used to grow our fruits, vegetables and grains. Baba felt that eating well was important for your health. Eating well is about eating quality food in delicious combinations.

That was easy for him because he had garden after garden of nutrients-rich foods. These benefited his waistline, taste buds, energy levels, sleep quality, skin, hair and moods. Eating more whole foods and less processed junk has been linked to improved digestion, lower blood pressure, better mental health and even mental clarity and much more.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity–related conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and most cancers are preventable or reversible by eating more clean foods.

Baba, would come home from his business, the Kittery Fruit Company, change his clothes and go up the hill to work the land. He loved growing fruits, vegetables and caring for cows, goats, chicken and bees. Roaming chickens and ducks added their own manure.

We would come home from school and run across the brook, up the hill and fill up on apples, grapes, all kinds of wild berries and whatever was growing. The grape arbor over the well or the six apple orchids seemed to be waiting for us.

Up until World War II, crops and animals were raised pretty much as they had been since biblical times –organically and sustainably, meaning a system of farming in which animals ate a pasture–based diet and the farmlands maintained and replenished soil fertility without the use of toxic pesticides and NPK fertilizers.

My father wanted us to grow up healthy by nourishing our bodies eating more natural and less processed foods.

The change in seasons bring us wonderful experiences that could bring us great memories.

The York County Retired Educators Association is planning a Harvest Craft Fair to be held at the remodeled Kennebunk High School on Oct. 27. They have not had a fair for a few years and are looking forward to the event. It is important to get the word out. For more information, call Rose Smith at 680-0342 or send an email to

Also, look for the 5th Annual River Jam Festival, Sept. 14 and Sept. 15. Follow them on facebook.

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