Grow Garden Grow!

This is just one of 3 garden beds we created last year.

One of my garden beds from last season. 

What are you eating? This seems to be the question on everyone’s mind right now with Monsanto and genetically altered foods. In our home we have been trying to eat better. The problem is, even eating better has gotten murky  It used to be that if you did the majority of your shopping in the produce aisle you could be sure that you were at least getting your fresh fruits and vegetables even if the rest of your cart is filled with Oreo’s and red meat. Now even the produce aisle is complicated. There are apples and then there are APPLES (the super apples – the ones that won’t rot)…

Now I am one of those people who rifles through all the apples to find the ones with fewer blemishes, but now I almost WANT to buy the sad apples because I am starting to think that if they have some sort of flaw they are better for me. If they are going bad – then they are doing what they are supposed to do. Now if your supermarket plays along, you can tell what you are getting (sort of) by the PLU codes (the numbers on the little stickers on your bananas). However, markets are not required to let you know where your “fresh” food is coming from – so while this is one way to tell what you are getting – it isn’t fool proof. You can read the Snopes article on produce codes here.

The only real way for you to know what you are getting is to grow it yourself. Easier said then done! Even the seeds we buy are controlled and genetically modified. You have to pay attention to where you are getting your seeds from. Monsanto controls many of the companies that sell fruit, vegetable, and even flower seeds. So even if you are growing melons in your backyard, you may still be getting a genetically altered product. It’s really scary when you think about it. I order my seeds from Victory Seeds and they are dedicated to preserving heirloom seeds, and they are not owned or influenced by Monsanto or any other large manufacture. They sell the good stuff – and our garden is full of delicious, natural, and in some cases rare varieties of vegetables – that we are helping to preserve by using Victory Seeds instead of the ones off the shelf at Home Depot.

So now I have the right seeds, and I have the garden, and things are growing and I am excited! Part of the excitement of course is just the fun of watching things grow but the other exciting part for me is that I know if even in a small way – I am making a difference for our planet. We are taking a stand against Monsanto and we are helping to preserve things like pollinating insects that keep us all alive and well. The other exciting bit, is that for the first time in my life – I am paying attention to what I eat and it is making a difference in my own body.

I think I mentioned it before – but in our home we LOVE McDonald’s breakfast. We used to eat it at least once a week if not more. A few months ago we decided to pay attention and stop putting that crap in our bodies and haven’t had it since. It’s a small victory – it’s a small change, but still significant. For me – that one decision could be life saving. Part of my personal problem is that pretty much every health issue I have right now would have been 100% preventable if I had just made better food choices throughout my life. It also didn’t help that beer was my main meal for about 15 years.

So I pretty much quit drinking, and started eating better. I have been losing weight even though I am not exercising as much as I should, and I feel better. The biggest difference though is in my blood. My cholesterol is almost to normal levels from being so high that I was in danger of having my pancreas quit on me. I had to have my gallbladder removed a couple of years ago for gallstones (high cholesterol) and my triglyceride levels were off the charts (500 is where the chart stops – mine was at almost 2000). The high triglyceride levels were because of beer and the rest of my bad cholesterol numbers are from a lifetime of red meat and fast food. I just got my blood work back, and after many changes, my triglycerides are now at 170. Still high but WAY better then they were! My doctor is amazed and said that a drop like that is almost unheard of. I am happy because it showed her and proved to me that I am doing what I say I am doing, and it is making a difference. It is one thing to feel better – and another thing altogether to know by my blood that the changes I am making are worth it.

We are bombarded daily now with information about the food we eat and where it comes from. It is more important for us now more than ever to pay attention because the food we eat directly effects our well being. Genetically altered foods take away nutritional value, as well as causing side effects from pesticides and chemicals used to grow them. SIDE EFFECTS from zucchini! As a nation we are getting sicker and fatter and part of the problem is even our ‘healthy’ foods are no longer healthy or natural. We can no longer go to the store and buy an apple and know that we are in fact getting an apple.

So my first 40 years were spent breaking my body and I plan to spend the next 40 fixing what I broke. I know there is a lot I still need to change, but slow and steady wins the race. I know that the food that will come from my garden will be good for me. I know that I am helping reduce my carbon footprint on our planet by making green things happen. I know that the pollinating insects will do their jobs and spread my good food around while ensuring my veggies grow. Honestly, my garden can’t grow fast enough. This year I plan on learning how to preserve more through the winter – we are still eating the hot peppers we canned last season and they are still delicious.

Fresh herbs are also one of the wonderful things we have discovered! I used to add salt in my cooking like it was a main ingredient. With fresh herbs though – you don’t need salt for flavor! Who knew!? I now love to experiment with different herbs to create flavors I never realized existed before. It is nice to actually really enjoy the food I am eating and preparing for my family and to know that it is in fact good for us.

 

 

 

 

 

11 thoughts on “Grow Garden Grow!

  1. A high five for your quest to eat healthy! It’s not easy or cheap and it IS confusing at times to know what’s good and safe to buy at the grocery store. I started buying organic apples because non-organic is supposed to be the worst when it comes to pesticides. The only problem is that my favorite apple (Jazz) isn’t in the organic aisles. I also gave up dairy a year ago, along with staying away from gluten for the most part. You would be amazed how many products have either one or both of these ingredients. Restaurants are even worse in a state that prides itself on its dairy products. Anyhow, keep on eating healthy and growing your garden – what are you planting?

    • Well we aren’t going to crazy we are just trying to do better so we haven’t gotten into the whole gluten/dairy stuff yet. We are taking the route of not denying ourselves anything – but trying to make small gradual (but permanent) changes. I am still just trying to like fish…

      The garden though is full of yummy – carrots, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe, banana peppers, sweet peppers, cayenne peppers, jalapenos, onions, radishes, romaine lettuce, green beans, tomatoes, and cucumbers.With wildflowers and bee balm (for the pollinators). Then the herb garden has basil, thyme, dill, parsley, rosemary, and oregano.

      • Your garden DOES sound yummy! By the way, my journey to healthy eating has taken years, maybe 10 or 15. I went through the fat-free and no-carb crazes (which isn’t really healthy) and have only gone dairy and gluten free due to health reasons (lactose intolerant and arthritis). Making small and gradual changes is the best way to do it so that you don’t feel like you’re giving up everything you love.

        • Oh I did the Atkins thing several times when I was in the Army. I am sure that is what contributed to my insane cholesterol levels. You can’t live on bacon and cheese and not expect it to hurt you in the long run.

  2. Good for you! We have been eating about 99% organic for a number of years now, and the difference is amazing! This year we planted tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, cucumber, and brussels sprouts, in pots on our back porch. We have 3 tomato plants – different varieties – that are now producing like crazy. Our seeds came from Seeds of Change and the tomato plants are organic. Funny thing is that we used dirt from our compost for planting and have 2 ‘volunteer’ tomato plants. We have no idea what kind they are, but since the seeds were organic to start with, they’re probably going to be good. Our orange tree is also organic this year – we didn’t know what the previous owners might have used so this will be year 3 of no chemicals. Last year, the oranges that survived were huge and sweet – we taste-tested to see if we wanted to keep the tree as it’s a water hog), so I’m really looking forward to this year! 🙂

    • Organic gardening is definitely harder – it would be so much easier to spray the bad bugs dead! The food is so much better though it’s totally worth the effort. We had incredible yields last year – especially with the peppers which is what we eat most of. I also have a rouge tomato plant – I think it’s Roma – we shall see! 🙂

  3. Good for you for enjoying growing and cooking. The climate is hot and dry here, but my son grows tomatoes and peppers every summer. And cutting out McDonald’s is a good thing… It is high in fat and a really terrible product. Good job you!

    • In all honesty the growing is what encouraged the eating. Things taste better out of the garden then out of the frozen veggie aisle. Not to mention that gardening is just fun. McDonald’s is horrifying along with all the other fast food chains out there. I still like some of them though… I’m working on it!

      • I ate at a local burger franchise tonight with my son and workout partner… That combined with two beers and homemade–yet still partially processed–queso during the lunch time has made me feel rather crummy. Gonna do my Day C and then drink whey protein. Maybe that will right my wrongs today! Love your blog.

  4. it is great to hear that you care about your health more. I hope every one who read this start to make change even tiny ones in her/his nourishing style.
    what you did is not little, why do u think they are little? big changes in body are made by simple steps.
    take care 🙂

    • Thank you for the encouragement. I am sometimes surrounded by people who see the changes as too little too late, or that by switching from a candy bar to a granola bar is the same thing nutritionally so makes no real difference (except I am getting more fiber from the granola bar – maybe the same amount of sugar, but at least it isn’t completely void of benefit). So yeah…thanks for the kinds words of encouragement.

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