Monday, March 22, 2010

Grow your own whole foods ...

Happy Spring! We are now officially past winter (I can hear the applause). Increasingly the days will be become warmer and we'll see more sunshine. It's the time of year when my thoughts turn to planting a vegetable garden and anticipating whole foods at my finger tips.

Last week we talked a bit about whole foods ... how they are an Eco-friendly alternative to processed foods. Here are a few interesting facts:

  • Eating whole foods, preferably organic, results in a lower risk of many types of cancers and chronic diseases, and promotes healthy aging and higher energy levels.

  • Consuming fruits, vegetables and whole grains rich in antioxidants translates into a lower incidence of cataracts.

  • Whole foods contain high levels of minerals and vitamins.

  • They are loaded with antioxidants which protect the body from free radicals (these are the culprits which promote diseases).

  • Plant based whole foods contain Phytoestrogens, a special class of phytonutrients that include isoflavones and lignans. Phytoestrogens have been found to protect against certain cancers, most notably breast cancer.

  • They are loaded with dietary fiber and resistant starches making them essential to intestinal health and help prevent colon cancer.

  • Whole foods contain no artificial ingredients or preservatives.

  • The healing properties of whole foods are non-toxic and inexpensive. For example: apples help reduce cholesterol, bananas strengthen the stomach lining against acid and ulcers, and bell peppers help to fight off colds.

Eating whole foods is definitely healthy! So, how do we get them? We can shop the perimeter of a supermarket or get them at a farmer's market. Or, we can grow them. Growing them has some definite advantages ... read on:

  • It's economical ... for the price of a package of seeds (approximately $2.00), you'll get fresh produce throughout the summer. If you share seeds or use ones from previously grown crops ... the price is even less. Imagine ... for the price of one head of lettuce in the market, you can get an entire season of lettuce.

  • It's healthy ... growing your own veggies means you control what goes on them. You get to decide if chemicals touch your food and, hopefully, you'll opt for organic gardening methods such as the use of lady bugs to control aphids and other pests.

  • It's good for the earth ... rather than traveling across country to reach your grocer's shelves and adding to air pollution, your veggies reside just outside your kitchen door. And no processing such as chlorine washes for your veggies ... just pick them, rinse them and eat.

  • It's educational ... children love to garden and watch things grow. Having a garden is a wonderful family activity and one which teaches children about sustainability.

  • It's fun ... we loved digging in the dirt as children and I'm betting that most of us (perhaps secretly) love it as adults.

  • And ... if we compost, we recognize an additional advantage: composting reduces waste. It's a wonderful way to nourish a home garden and it saves landfills and waterways.

This spring, consider growing your own whole foods .. it'll be good for you and the earth!

As always, I would love to hear from you!