I wanted to share how I am using my garden to get healthy because, like you, I am tired of all this pandemic junk?
As I am sure you already know, home improvement stores have been booming; everyone stuck at home working on their homes and gardens.
In our increasingly “techno-gadget,” “synchronized,” “self-centered” society, it is now, more than ever, to relax, find a stress release, and put our minds at rest. We need to find…
- Something we can do at home…
- It will improve our mental health…
- Help us exercise…
- Encourage good eating habits…
How About – Grow Your Own Food!
According to Tina Vindum, founder of The Outdoor Fitness Institute, outdoor exercise “improves mental focus, emotional power, and your connection to the environment. (find her book on Amazon, Master Your Great Outdoors: How to Make Yard Work A super Fitness Work Out)”
Since starting my (actually mine and my husband’s) garden, I have lost 8 pounds and I can feel a difference in my clothes.
A garden can help you heal
Dr. Roger S. Ulrich wrote a paper on the influence of gardens and plants in hospitals and other healthcare settings.
He explained gardens enrich and improve the lives of patients, which results in shorter hospital stays and fewer pain medications. (article is here).
According to Clare Cooper Marcus, a professor at the University of California Berkeley, nature reduces stress and helps us bypass our worrying and obsessing.
When I am working in the garden, I rarely think about anything else.
It is as if I am transported away from everyday life and for those moments, my only concern is taking care of these vegetables.
Even working my container garden is a stress reliever.
Eat what you grow
Not only is gardening an excellent source of exercise, but it will completely change your attitude about what you eat.
We enjoy our first tomato harvest so much, it is an annual tradition to make BLT sandwiches with that very first one.
That sandwich is one of the most cherished for the entire gardening season.
Growing Silver Queen corn for the first time in my life, I cannot wait to bite into a ripe cob, while it is still warm from the sun.
Isn’t it so gratifying to eat what you have raised from seed (or seedling), planted, watered, fed, and tended until it reached that moment when it is ready for harvesting?
Knowing which foods to grow at different times of the year lets you grow delicious ingredients all year round.
From peach season to asparagus season, it’s great for variety and lets you develop your experience in growing all different types of produce.
And now we all share a growing concern about buying food from the supermarket.
Not only are you thinking, where did it come from, and how old it is?
But now, we worry about even going to the supermarket. Who else has touched this?
Who touched my cart? Is the store out of what I need?
Growing your own food is a real answer to such concerns.
What can be fresher, more seasonal, and more enjoyable than if you raised it yourself?
Organic or not?
I do not take a 100% organic approach to my garden.
However, I do care enough to avoid artificial fertilizers and harmful pesticides as much as possible.
For my herbs, I make a homemade insecticidal soap consisting of 2 Tablespoons of hand dishwashing soap, in about a quart of water.
Of course, I wash the herbs before cooking with them. I view this no differently than washing my dishes with soap and eating off of them.
Choice and variety
Look through the Botanical Interests seed catalog and one thing is obvious, growing your own food gives you access to a much richer choice of vegetables, salads, and herbs than you can buy in your local supermarket.
You can also join many seed-sharing societies, you may find a range of rare, heritage varieties that are not easily accessible.
This week, my neighbor, Marylou, brought us some Yardlong beans, which I immediately cooked up.
We loved them. I look forward to receiving the seeds she so generously offered.
Share seeds with your fellow gardeners.
Coolapenos, jalapenos, bell peppers, marigolds, and spaghetti squash are among the seeds I have saved so far this summer.
I just separate the seeds from the vegetable skin or pulp. Place the seeds on a paper towel-lined sheet pan.
Make sure the seeds are not touching each other for maximum air circulation.
I place the sheet pans in a dark, cool closet and wait until they are dried out.
Then, I place them in a labeled paper envelope and store them in an air-tight container in the fridge.
Garden food for better health
A recent garden harvest rendered me some beautiful green bell peppers.
These stuff bell peppers are a great summertime meal for two.
They also help you control your portions, as I only ate half of one pepper for dinner, then the second half for lunch the following day.
Pair this with some freshly made leek mashed potatoes and you have a delicious garden to table meal.
Stuffed Bell Peppers for Two
For the meat filling
- 2 large, fresh green bell peppers
- 1/2 lb. meatloaf mix my mix was ground beef, ground pork, and ground veal combined.
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tbsp light brown sugar plus, 1 teaspoon
- 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/4 cup ketchup I use Heinz Simply Ketchup, which does not contain any sugar.
- 1 Tbsp yellow mustard
- 1 Tbsp Worchestershire Sauce
- 1/4 tsp ground thyme
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground oregano
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
For the sauce topping
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 1/2 Tbsp light brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- In a large bowl combine the meat and all other filling ingredients, except for the bell peppers.
- Mix thoroughly.
- Using an ice cream scoop or your hands, form the meat filling into four oval-shaped balls.
- Place them on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut the bell pepper in half, lengthwise. Remove the stem and seeds.
- Remove the meat from the oven and place each ball inside a bell pepper half. The meat should be flexible so you can mold it to the pepper. Mound up the meat. ***I put on cotton gloves, then I put on latex gloves, protecting my hands from burning while adding the meat to the peppers.
- Place the peppers, meat side up, on a sheet pan, lined with parchment paper.
- Thoroughly blend the ketchup and brown sugar for the sauce.
- Apply the sauce to the meat mounds on each pepper.
- Bake the peppers for 20 minutes.
- Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Each pepper can be topped with a Tablespoon of shredded cheese if desired.