healthy eating at your doorstep

grow your own food. come on, just try it!

the simplicity of gardening reminds us to appreciate nature’s cycles. vegetable and herb gardening is a great way to relieve stress by spending time outdoors, and becoming more in sync with our food source. watching our very own food grow from seed or transplant, to blossom, then fruit is rewarding and gives a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

not only is having a garden of vegetable and culinary herbs cheaper than buying them at the store, there’s no gas involved in harvesting (ugh, let’s not even talk about that oil spill), and we are not wasteful since we only snip what is needed.

choosing to grow a rainbow of vegetables provides a variety of nutrients unzapped by chemical fertilizers and commercial pesticides. nothing beats the taste of a home grown tomato or squash.

as if freshness is not enough to partake in the delight of gardening, growing culinary herbs also gives us a natural medicine cabinet.

let’s look at a few herbs that can be easily grown in a container out on the door step.

basil: a wonderful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune boosting herb. it also aids in digestion. it can be used in salads, pesto, soups and sauces. steeping the dried herb in tea helps to soothe nerves and relieve depression.

mint: by far one of the easiest herbs to grow. mint also helps to relieve indigestion. sipping a cup of peppermint tea helps to settle a nauseous stomach, motion sickness or morning sickness. it has antispasmodic properties, making it effective for menstrual cramps. using a cool cloth soaked in peppermint tea also soothes a headache.

rosemary: beyond the common uses of rosemary in roasting chicken, turkey, lamb, and vegetables, it is also a supreme cardiac tonic that energizes the circulatory system. a rosemary infused tea can help to lower blood pressure. some of the constituents of rosemary are strong antioxidants, antiseptics, and anti-inflammatory. by promoting the flow of bile, it is also a great digestive tonic.

sage: mineral rich sage offers abundant calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and zine. it contains lots of antioxidants, flavonoids, and phytosterols. sage can also be used as a mouthwash to heal receding gums, mouth sores, and ulcers. for sore throats and tonsillitis, use sage infusion as a gargle.

thyme: in conjunction with sage, thyme can be added into an infusion as a gargle to relieve sore throat. it also possesses powerful antiseptic, antiparasitic, and antifungal properties making it great as a wash for skin infections.

as you can see, these are tremendous health benefits that are available at our doorstep. and the great thing is, it’s not too late to pick up a few vegetable plants or herbs from the nearest garden store.

i spoke with joe carmack from the local garden district. since it’s a bit late in the season to start from seed, this nursery offers a variety of established plants that are fairly easy to grow: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, zucchini. all the edible plants are organic. other organic products include compost, fertilizer and pesticides. if you’re a garden novice, joe also offers consultations.

remember, all that plants really need are sun, water, food, and a little care. in return, your body will get a little loving.

dr. rhodo nguyen

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