Sunday, May 12, 2013

Healthy Living and Becoming More Self-sufficient

My Garden

Well the frost came and the frost won, kind of. My garden boxes were covered with canvas tarps and I still had damage to my cold-intolerant plants. The eggplant and spaghetti squash are goners. The tomatoes may survive. Their roots look undamaged and there are a few tiny leaves, but the four inches of beautiful green growth is gone.

Before: Look at the tomato in the lower right corner.

After: The same plant, all the top growth is dead.

I know there are ways to protect cold-intolerant plants from frost, but I still haven't figured it out, short of building a greenhouse or waiting to plant until all chance of frost is past. I want to plant these cold-intolerant plants earlier for a longer harvest season. I know a Wall 'O Water works because I used some several years ago, but they are hard to get off the plants once the cold weather is over and they're heavy and would smash the soil in my garden box, something you don't want to do in a square foot garden. I'll have to experiment with this.

I had two pepper plants: one green, one red. The green pepper is probably a casualty, but the red pepper looks just great. All my other cold-tolerant plants came through the frost without any problem.

The pepper that survived.

The green pepper, it may have a chance. Those are peas in the background.

Self Confidence

Being in control of my diet, more in control of my personal health, and succeeding at growing a large variety of healthy foods is a huge boost to my self-confidence. I am doing this. I'm cultivating the vegetables, fruits, and herbs that will make up my diet. I know exactly what went into the food I will be eating and there's no long list of ingredients I can't pronounce. Ingredients whose base terms sound like derivatives of sugar and salt. I'm learning as I go. I'm doing my little part to improve the environment. And, most important of all, I feel closer to nature. I'm developing a greater respect for the earth and a desire to live in harmony with it. Psychologists and feel-good coaches tell us if we are self-confident we will be more successful. I think that is turned around. When we are successful at doing something we feel more self-confident.

Healthy Living

Shouldn't foods that are healthy for our bodies taste good? Genetically speaking, I think our bodies want to be in optimum condition so they should thrive on healthy foods. That means healthy foods should taste good. And I've learned they do!  But before I could discover this I had to break my addiction to unhealthy foods. I started out strictly following the healthy eating program explained in Eat To Live by Doctor Joel Fuhrman. It was probably about two weeks before I began to notice healthy foods tasted good and were satisfying.

In hindsight, I realize I was being overpowered by my addiction to bad foods; my taste buds were desensitized. Now that I've been through detox, healthy foods taste really good. I still have cravings for foods I was addicted to—addictions never go away completely—but the cravings are less frequent now. On occasion I have given in to a craving and eaten some unhealthy food. It still tastes good in my mouth, but how I feel afterwards isn't worth the fleeting high. I give in to those urges a lot less frequently.

Addiction is a strong word, and the right word. Addiction means our thinking and our senses are out of balance. Addiction leads to over consumption of food; our bodies crave addictive foods even when we have recently eaten. Dr. Fuhrman says true hunger doesn't crave certain foods; addictions crave certain foods. I think most Americans are addicted to unhealthy foods. I have no statistics or recent polls to support that, although I'm sure there is information available. I don't need them, when I'm out around people, my eyes tell me it's true.

I visited a website that was touting a weight loss program. It had a catchy little animated sequence accompanied by audio narrative (all very professionally done). The narrator explained how, using his program, you could eat some of what he called the bad foods and still lose weight. He talked as if the bad foods were the only foods that really taste good. As if good foods are like taking bad tasting medicine. Isn't that backwards?

Although I eat mostly leafy greens, vegetables, beans, and fruit, I'm not a vegetarian. I do have a few small portions of meat a week—not every day. It's usually chicken, turkey, or fish. To me healthy food is fresh, unprocessed food. The more processed a food is the more unhealthy it is. Often what makes a particular food unhealthy is what we put on it. You can eat a completely vegetarian diet and still eat a lot of unhealthy foods. Sugar, salt, and refined white flour top my list of unhealthy foods.

I prefer to eat my vegetables fresh and uncooked, but when I do make soup or cook vegetables I try to use my Sun Oven. I love my Sun Oven. It uses no energy except the sun and the food cooked in it is always good. I'll have more to share about my Sun Oven in coming blog posts.

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