My name is Nathan Donohoe. I am telling you my experiences with raw food and living and working on an Amish farm where this wonderful food is produced. Before I start, here is a preface so you understand where I am coming from.
So how does a “never worked a day in his life” white boy from the suburbs of Dallas, Texas end up living with a raw milk bootlegging Amish family in Lancaster, Pennsylvania? To put it simply, the common love of good food.
I first met Albert at a Weston Price conference in Long Island, New York. I was volunteering for the event and one of the event organizers, a kindly old man named Harry was allowing me to spend the night with him. Albert as well as another Amish named Mathew Fischer were selling their wares at the event and needed a place to stay. So Harry invited them to stay the night also and we had a big sleep over party.
It was the next day that I truly began to fall in love with the idea of living with Albert. His booth was a veritable buffet of life. Cheeses, yogurt, eggnog, creams, eggs, breads, kvass. This was the first time in my life where I was truly able to eat anything I wanted without fear of ill consequences. I remember eating a cup of one of his homemade egg-nogs, then being so overcome by the flavor and nutrition that I asked for 2 more. The more I ate the better I felt (usually the more I ate, the worse I felt with food). My stomach was bulging but I was fat, happy and felt no pain. I was starting to believe that I found the answer, that I could actually feel good for once in my life. Years and years of praying to God to make me better were finally coming true. Then it hit me, I was graduating cooking school in a couple of months and I was required to do an internship. Why not ask Albert? He agreed immediately and that is how The Amish Diaries began.
Throughout the next several days, I am posting nearly the exact transcription of my diary entries of living with Albert from December 13, 2004 to January 14, 2005. If it were up to me, I would have left it exactly as I had written it. However due to reasons of clarity I have been advised to do some minor edits, add foot notes and an index of names. Also, names and places have been changed in order to protect Albert and the other people mentioned in the book. As you will find out, the Amish are a private people and I wish to respect that. Besides what I have mentioned, everything that you are about to read is exactly as I have written it. It is my intention to preserve the soul and “rawness” of my experience and have the reader be able to experience the excitement and newness just as I was experiencing it.
There are many reasons I wrote The Amish Diaries. I wanted to bring to light the extraordinary struggles that ordinary people go through in order to make healing food available to the masses. In this day and age, nutrient-dense food is a luxury and not a right and I want readers to see that without the continued efforts of people like Aajonus Vonderplanitz, Sally Fallon, Albert and many others, their access to healthy food will be become more and more restricted. To this day, Amish Farmers are still being illegally harassed by the PDA (Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture) and other government organizations and whether it keeps happening or not is up to you. You the reader must not expect others to do it for you, or as the old story goes, once everyone else is gone, no one will be left to stand for you.
I also wanted to share the journey that I went through as I was figuring out “which diet is right for me”. I often tell my friends and clients who are in the process of changing their diets that they need to be aware of how big a shift they are making in their lives. Friends, habits, lifestyles, living situations and relationships will all be drastically affected, for better and for worse, simply by changing what we put in our bodies. The public is generally not aware of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual pain that people like myself and others must go through when we change our diet. We don’t do it because it is a fad or we are [hypochondriacs]; we do it because we must in order to live. There is an intense amount of self-reflecting that goes one. A continual building up and breaking down of the ego that must be done in order to rid oneself of the self-imposed mental barriers that much of the time are the real cause of our unhealthiness. I want others to see that they are not alone and it is normal for these feelings and situations to happen. If my suffering can help a few people transition easier in their diet, then I am doing something right. It has been said that it is easier to change ones religion than one’s diet and in my experience this has been true.
I hope you enjoy The Amish Diaries as much as I did writing them. When you have finished reading please check out some of the organizations listed below and make a generous contribution. These organizations are dedicated to making healthy food available and they desperately need your support. I am donating %5 of all profits from the sales of this book to Right To Choose Healthy Foods. An organization set up by my good friend Aajonus Vonderplanitz, that fights for us to get the foods we need to be healthy.