Starting your garden!

I am so excited! The lilacs are blooming and that is the earth’s signal for us to start planting our vegetable gardens for the season!

Gardening is a great hobby and gives everyone who plants one access to clean fresh food. You can get my report on how to grow your own herbs that heal by signing up on our contact page.

Growing up on a farm, I learned at a young age to love fruits and veg. I wouldn’t even need to come inside to eat because i would be playing outside in the fresh air and sunshine, eating whatever was around to forage. We had grape vines, a cherry tree, wild strawberries, raspberries and a huge garden where i would often pick beans, peas or pull up a carrot to wash off under the hose so i didn’t have to go back inside.

I still find myself in awe of how something as tiny as a seed will grow into a magnificent plant that nourishes us. I get so excited to see those little seeds grow!

So come on, let’s get growing so you can see for yourself how vibrant food makes a vibrant you!

When deciding to start a garden you will need to start with a plan.

I didn’t do this at first, I just read a bunch of books and went willy nilly at it. I reaped some from the fruits of my labour, but I didn’t get  any extras to store for winter and some plants did not do well at all. 🙁  Now I have a garden journal so that I know where I have planted my veg in the past so I can rotate my crops for better nutrients for the new crops and I plan out where I am going to plant things that benefit each other for this year. Like the three sisters. Beans, corn and squash. These three have been planted for years all over the world. They stabilize the soil and help support each other, not to mention they are delicious.

While a smaller garden means less work and money, it will not produce enough food to sustain you for the winter months. Container gardens are fun and easy to maintain not to mention a necessity for small yards or balconies, but they do require more water and fertilizer.

One item that will ease your workload is to put down a 4-inch layer of mulch. This will reduce the soil’s need for water and helps keep weeds under control. Last years leaves or straw make a great mulch. I use both, and I have very few weeds.

Keeping your yard tools in good condition is going to make your maintenance tasks easier. So go ahead and put them away when you’re done, somewhere they are out of the elements.

Save your seeds at the end of the season; it’s cheaper than buying more and you can trade them with other gardeners. Some communities have seed exchanges where you can swap some of your seeds for new varieties!

Here are six things to consider when starting your garden:

Remember each garden will have a unique process for bed preparation, depending on soil conditions and available tools.

  1. Aerate – Use a pitchfork to loosen the soil (to invite oxygen, water and root growth) without turning it over (to preserve structure and microbiology).  
  2. Weed – All competing plants must be pulled up. Be sure to get all the roots or else they will come back.
  3. Amend – Now is the time to add fertilizer or soil amendments.  adding ash from the fire pit for potassium and higher pH.
  4. Mulch – Apply a layer of mulch of your choice until soil is covered.  Mulch protects soil from moisture loss, weed growth, and erosion from wind and rain.
  5. Plant – Direct seeded tomatoes, beans, peppers and transplant seedlings
  6. Companion planting is another lesson to learn. Multiple species can  grow well together, each contributing to the greater ecosystem.  For instance, legumes and their rhizobia (bacteria in their roots) build nitrogen in the soil.

Starting your own garden is so rewarding! When you are outside in nature you have a real appreciation of where your food comes from and the work it takes to grow.

Have you started your garden? What do you like to plant?

 

Raw Food Diet

cleanse-homepageI have been studying and experimenting with raw food for over twenty years.  I first heard of food combining (that is for another day) and raw food back in my early twenties. I ate only raw food for two months. I felt wonderful and really enjoyed some of the cold soups that I made along side of the salads. But let me tell you that the raw food diet has come a long way in twenty years! So many more recipes… and of course the internet is great for accessing all kinds of recipes!

The raw food diet has been around for many years. Our ancient ancestors started out eating raw food, before we mastered the art of fire. So it is something that has been around for generations and gets revisited by many people.

What is the first thing you think of when you think raw food diet? I use to think of  people munching down on salads and thought, Wow, is that all these raw foodists eat? I mean I like salads don’t get me wrong and fresh salad right out of my garden is the best around no doubt, but it does leave me to wonder how does one survive on salad alone?

So why eat a raw food diet? Some people are using a raw food diet to kickstart their way back to healthy eating, while others end up really liking the way they feel when they eat this way, that it becomes a way of life for them.

Personally, I am a curious girl. I started experimenting with this as it seems to be a healthy alternative to the western diet and I am always looking for something new to eat that is different, nutritious and keeps me healthy, and hey adding more veg to your diet is something we can all do to make us healthier.

It makes sense to me that, as humans we started out eating only raw food as we hadn’t mastered the art of fire, but I have to tell you that I love cooking! So I choose to eat a mixed diet of both raw and cooked food.

Is raw right for you? Well, the Ancient Greeks fasted for health and Pythagoras was a vegetarian who fasted for 40 days and lived on raw food consisting of figs, olives, fruit and vegetables.

However, only you will know what is right for you. Listen to your body and go ahead and experiment a little. Read up on all the different foods you can try. There are so many ways to get all the excellent nutrients you need to be a vibrant you!

Plan to be healthy

healthyyouWe make new year’s resolutions, we commit to losing weight or getting healthier, but then it all seems to fall by the wayside and we are back into our comfortable settings, eating convenience foods or food like substances as I call them. Getting healthy can be daunting. But anything worth doing is worth doing right. You don’t have to do it in a day either. It is all about one step at a time, making small changes every day or every week so it becomes a habit to be healthy.

  • Get busy in your kitchen – Cooking doesn’t have to take long and can be a wonderful experience if you are doing it with loved ones. We all have to eat right? Teaching children how to cook will help them make healthy habits.  There are lots of healthy meals that can be prepared and ready in as little as 30 min. Find some great recipes on our recipe page.
  • Organize your pantry – Get in there and toss the junk! Go thru everything. Can you read what’s on the label? If you can’t it is not healthy for you. Stock your pantry with staples, whole grains, beans, nuts and lentils. If you can see the junk food it can stimulate cravings so get rid of it or at the very least hide it somewhere out of site until you are ready to treat yourself.
  • Use smaller plates– plate sizes are increasing. When you are filling your plate check it’s size, if you put less on your plate you will eat less. Also if you fill your plate and then sit down instead of having food within reach it will give you pause before you eat again resulting in knowing if you are full, therefore reducing your intake.
  • What’s in your fridge- Fill your fridge with healthy food. Fill your crispers with lots of colourful veg! If you find that you are not using all of the veg in a week, then it is time to make soup or blanch and freeze your extras so that you always have some veg on hand. If you have meal items on hand you are less likely to eat out or find something “convenient”
  • Along the outside- The next time you need to grocery shop i would hope you wouldn’t go the traditional grocery store, but if that is where you find yourself go only to the outside perimeter of the store. This is where the organic and less likely to kill you food is. haha
  • Chew slowly- pacing how fast you eat helps your body to register when you are full. So go ahead a savour your food instead of gobbling it down. this will aid in better digestion and mindful eating.
  • Turn off the TV- mindlessly eating in front of the tv or any screen is going to lead to poor food consumption and choices. Making food together can be bonding and eating together can lead to conversation!
  • Increase your vegetable intake- vegetables are the best way to protect your heart and body against obesity. You can add them to omelets, baked goods, pasta and of course smoothies! You can even substitute pasta for spaghetti squash or zucchini ribbons. Find some fabulous recipes here.
  • Keep temptation to a minimum- the closer you are to the crap the more likely you are to eat it. Keep it hidden or better yet don’t bring it into your home.
  • Eat healthy fats– Switch out your unhealthy fats for healthy ones. It is easy to swap your butter for coconut oil or avocado. We need fats in our diet to help absorb our fat soluble vitamins.
  • Bye bye sugar– You know by now that white refined anything is bad for you… white refined sugar will kill you. Cut it out! Stick to natural sugars found in fruits and veg.
  • Cayenne pepper- if you are not eating this, you should be. Not only does this boost your metabolism but can cut sweet, fatty and salty food cravings. Sprinkle it everywhere.

It is okay to treat yourself once in awhile, but if you want to start your healthy lifestyle then find a way to do each of these things everyday. Like I said, you don’t have to do it all in one day but plan to be healthy and one step at a time you will suddenly find a more vibrant you!

 

Get out of the Grocery store

farmers-market-local-produce-520What is with the grocery stores these days? It is the place we all go to shop for food, but I find that there is little actual food in these stores. Have you stopped to read the labels on some of the products in there? It’s frightening! For me my rule of thumb is, if I can’t read it, it isn’t food and I am not going to be eating it or feeding it to my family.

With all the marketing and clever disguises the food companies assault us with it is no wonder disease is on the rise. We are no longer eating food we are eating food like substances.

So what are our options?  Some people say that eating local and organic is expensive or that they don’t have time to make meals. Have you calculated the cost of being sick lately? A little prep time once a week goes a long way in terms of eating healthy and getting healthy meals out to your family in a timely manner.

Here are some other options for frugal and healthy shoppers, that want to vote with their dollars and get away from the grocery store nightmare.

  • Join a food co-op or CSA (community supported agriculture) -this is a great option a real tangible way to vote with your dollars.  You can signup and receive weekly fresh produce from the people in your community. With co ops, they will require a membership or volunteer time in lieu of payment. Definitely a great alternative to the traditional grocery store.
  • Grow food in your space plant in containers of all kinds, vertical gardening is a wonderful way to utilize space, find a sunny window sill to grow kitchen herbs or turn your backyard into an urban farm!  Not only is gardening cheaper than therapy but you get tomatoes and you know exactly where your food is coming from and what went into it.
  • In season produce– cheaper and nutritionally superior, this is the way to go for healthy and frugal shoppers alike and when it’s local you are helping your community. If you buy too much you can always blanch, freeze, dehydrate or can your extras for the winter months.
  • Buy local– change your shopping habits and buy from your local farmers. You get to know where your food is coming from and get to know and support the people in your community. Find a local farmer here http://croptouring.com/
  • Buy your staples in bulk– buying in bulk quantities reduces the prices to lower or equal to the prepackaged items found in a traditional grocery store.
  • Forage– this is one of my personal favorites as there is so much food/medicine out there that we overlook every day. Lots of greens, berries, fruits and something for every ailment. After all our mother earth is here to sustain us. Don’t forget tho if you are taking from her it is a good idea to give back. I like composting as my giveback to the earth.

With making these few changes we are voting with our dollars and saying no to harmful pesticides, chemicals, gmo’s and artificial processed ingredients. Say no to the traditional way of shopping and get involved with your community at the same time.

 

Do you have internal parasites?

The answer is most likely yes. Parasites and worms can enter our systems and sometimes even make us sick. So what natural products can we use to ensure we are vibrant from the inside out?

I have checked out a few, listed below. Some of these can even be grown in your backyard!

garlic2Garlic – a powerhouse of beneficial nutrients. Garlic has been used for years to flavour our food but also as a medicine. Garlic is a wonderful addition to any garden and very easy to grow and keep throughout the winter months.

blackwalnutfruit100_2556Black Walnut– a must have in your medicine cabinet, especially if you have pets. I have a big black walnut tree in the backyard and I make tincture every year. In the spring the dogs, cats and humans all get a 21 day dose of black walnut tincture to ensure we aren’t carrying or giving each other worms.

Cloves– one of the only known sources to kill parasite and worm eggs on the planet. Adding cloves to your black walnut tincture adds a clovesdouble punch to get rid of internal parasites. Now if you live in Canada like I do, you won’t be able to grow cloves in your backyard as this plant grows best in tropical conditions, like those regions surrounding the Indian Ocean. The clove tree is native to the Molucca Islands of Indonesia.

wormwoodWormwood– is a part of the daisy family. Other common names for wormwood include mugwort, artemisia, and sagebrush.

Wormwood is the key ingredient in the famous European beverage Absinthe, and while yes you can grow this in your backyard it is considered a weed to most and can easily be foraged if you know what you are looking for.You can usually smell the plant before you see it and it can cause skin irritation if you are handling it. Wormwood is a perennial plant and it flowers every year. It grows between 30 to 90 cm tall and has small, yellowish flower heads.

It has powerful effects on both mind and body, wormwood has been valued as a medicinal plant since at least 1600 B.C. It has been used throughout history as an antiseptic,  stimulant, tonic, and as a remedy for fevers and menstrual pains.  It has been used to exterminate tapeworm infestations while leaving the human host unharmed.

This herb has been found to cause nerve depression, dermatitis, convulsions, infertility and renal failure if used habitually. You will need to take caution when using this herb.

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