Healthy Eating Without Leaving Home – Grow Your Own
There’s no doubt about it, healthy eating is essential to a long, vibrant life. People often ask me my secret to shiny hair, glowing skin and bright eyes. I’m used to this by now, but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to how surprised people are to hear my “secret” is a healthy diet, plenty of sleep, lots of water and as much laughter as I can fit into a day.
Trust me, this healthy transformation didn’t happen overnight. Just like any other unhealthy individual who is fat, sick, and nearly dead I had to endure more than a couple health nightmares before I started to examine my lifestyle.
Largely sedentary, I was spending roughly 14 hours a day in front of the computer, grazing on whatever was easiest to microwave, and wondering why I felt so cruddy each time I got up to walk the dog to the end of the block and back. A friend suggested I join a CSA so I could at least enjoy some fresh fruits and vegetables delivered to my door. That first delivery started me on the path to better health.
Grow Gardens, Not Lawns!
- Start With a Raised Bed – Whether your raised planter is just a few feet off the ground, like a decorative trim around your house, or built to waist height for less bending, make sure to build the bed just wide enough for easy reach. A bed that’s a pain to maintain quickly becomes an ignored garden. Comfort should be your first consideration, and using reclaimed or recycled materials should be your second.
- Plant What’s Expensive – Potatoes are delicious, and versatile, but they take up a lot of precious real estate in a garden bed. Unless you’re building special potato beds out of discarded tires or other recycled materials, it’s best to dedicate your garden space to the foods you love but cost a lot to buy. Pound for pound, fresh herbs tend to be the most expensive thing in the produce section. Herbs are surprisingly easy to grow and maintain, making this a great place to start for the novice farmer and home chef.
- Increase Property Value – A big trend in home renovation these days is what’s being dubbed the “green living” movement. By whatever name it’s called, it really amounts to more people wanting to grow their own food, or live in a house that’s equipped to grow food. One way to mesh the great outdoors with the rest of your home design is to build some planter boxes onto your deck as a convenient place to grow herbs.
- Consider Edible Landscaping – My friends often comment on the hibiscus trees around my home, admiring the blossoms and colors of the petals. But they’re really blown away when I serve them a cup of hibiscus tea, made from the very same trees. A citrus tree may seem like a long term investment that takes forever to come to fruition, but just think of all the years of good eating to come.
- Conserve Water With Rain Barrels – Living a greener, healthier life means conserving resources as much as possible. This goes for water, especially. Many rain gutters can easily be outfitted to route water into a catchment system which can then be used to water your garden beds. Decorative rain barrels and collection chains placed near garden beds can also make the job of watering much easier, saving you both time and money.
Barter and Trades
Between my CSA deliveries, whatever I grow in my home garden, and the goodies I pick up from the local farmer’s market I always have a satisfying array of delicious food. Whenever I have a surplus of something I drop it off with a neighbor and they often send me home with something else in return. My personal favorite is kabocha, mmmm.
I often buy bulk, choosing ripe and unripe fruit both. Having more fruit than I can handle is seldom a worry for me. If I don’t make it into marmalade, jam, a homemade version of natural skin care products, or a nourishing hair treatment, then the excess just goes into the compost pile to feed my garden.
Rachel Cook is a freelance writer who lives in Hawaii and loves to go to the beach on sunny days, which are always in season. When Rachel started to feel her body go through menopause, she browsed sites similar to http://www.mysensitiveskincare.com/ to get an idea of how she should be taking care of her skin.