Grow Your Own Green Smoothie, Super Foods Garden This Fall

August 24th, 2015

 

Todays breakfast next to our fall green smoothie garden. 

 

Lynette and I drink our breakfast 4-5 days a week, most of the year.  We do not buy expensive powdered green drink powders.  They are not fresh, plus they can contain additives, sweeteners and preservatives.

 

Rather, the majority of the ingredients for these super food morning concoctions are made from our garden, local weeds, or from the harvests of the farm CSA we belong to.  Here in Vermont (growing zone 5) you can grow or harvest raw veggies and fruits for super foods green drinks for more of the year than one imagines possible.

 

Why drink green smoothies?

Thats easy.  Healthy, vitamin and mineral rich nutrition, energy boost, convenient and inexpensive.  Smoothies include the whole vegetable–pulp, skin and seeds.  That gives us dietary fiber, which regulates digestion and blood sugar.  With processed foods everywhere we just have too little fiber in our diets.

The ingredients of green smoothies are not cooked, so their complete nutritional value is readily available.  Cooking foods, especially vegetables, reduces nutrients and natural enzymes.  These enzymes boost energy and help to fight chronic diseases like arthritis and diabetes. Plus meals dominated by high-fiber vegetables have been proven to help you lose weight.

 

There is no better bang for the bucknutritionally than green smoothies made from ingredients in your garden, yard and from local farms.  And, once you get the hang of the seasonal flow of local vegetables and common yet overlooked weeds these nutrition-packed breakfasts are easy to prepare.

Recipes from the garden

Our green smoothies are mostly raw  Read the rest of this entry »

These Two Easy-to-Grow Garden Plants also Help Control Diabetes

August 3rd, 2015

 

I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 10 years ago right after a back operation.  I learned that a propensity for diabetes can be triggered by an assault to the body, like an operation with anesthesia. Fortunately, I have been able to manage diabetes with regular exercise and a better diet.  

My diet was always pretty good, with mostly vegetables and grains.  But I often binged on too much food at one sitting.  Plus, I loved overindulging with carbohydrates, especially from processed foods (cookies and candy, breads and snack foods (Smart Food is almost a vegetable!), pasta and breakfast cereals). Carbohydrates are important for your body as your digestive system converts them into glucose (blood sugar). Your body uses this sugar for energy for your cells, muscles, and organs.  But diabetes reduces the ability of the body to manage this conversion, dumping excess glucose that can’t be processed into your blood rather managing the glucose to power your body.

Now, I eat much less processed foods and more whole and unrefined foods, especially vegetables, nuts, beans, certain grains (quinoa) and tubers (sunchokes), and unrefined fruit. In fact, my vegetable and nut consumption has probably tripled.  We buy the nuts in bulk, but we still grow most of our vegetables in our garden or get them from a CSA I helped to start 25 years ago.  

There are two plants I count on from my garden that are easy to grow and that I have found to be especially beneficial in managing my blood sugar: kale and sunchokes.  Read the rest of this entry »

CAN PLANTS HELP RELIEVE STRESS AND ANXIETY?

June 29th, 2015

Almost everyone experiences stress and spells of anxiety.  Stress can come from any event or thought (a ”stressor”) that makes you feel tense, frustrated, or angry.  Anxiety is stress that continues after the stressor is gone and can be a feeling of fear, unease, and worry. The source of these symptoms is not always known.  The source can be specific and personal, like family, employment or financial worries, or more general like news about the economy, terrorism or weather events.

 

Stress and anxiety can become a serious issue if they begin interfering with your daily life. The American Psychological Association reports that 40 percent of all adults say they lie awake at night because of stress. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States, or 18% of the population. Only about one-third of sufferers receive treatment but the cost in the US is still almost one-third of the country's $148 billion total mental health bill, according a study reported in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

 

There are many ways to manage stress and anxiety, including lifestyle changes like eating a balanced, healthy diet; getting enough sleep and regular exercise; meditating and deep breathing; recognizing the factors that trigger your stress.

These techniques can be used along with medical treatments for anxiety, including psychotherapy and drugs like Valium and antidepressants.

 

But our gardens can also offer effective treatment for stress and anxiety.  For thousands of years we have prevented and treated everyday ailments with plants anyone can grow. But our power has gradually been surrendered to profit-driven health-care.  Is now the time for each of us with gardens to begin growing our own ‘health revolution’?

 

The most credible, peer-reviewed laboratory research today continues to prove that the plants people have been using as medicine for generations are very effective cures for common maladies and support robust health. The pharmaceutical industry devotes its resources to synthesizing, engineering, and patenting the components of these plants, so that you can be dependent on its products and your health can be mined as a steady source of revenue. Meanwhile, the science shows that medicinal plants work best in their natural state, minimally processed and with all of their essential oils, vitamins, minerals, and other compounds intact and acting in concert.

 

We know healthy diets start with whole foods and organically grown vegetables and fruit.  Is this also true for specific medical conditions, including stress and anxiety?  This has been our experience, and the research backs it up.  Here are the top 5 plants we grow and use in our garden when life’s challenges seem to overwhelm.

 

Read the rest of this entry »