Grow Your Own & Other Healthy Practices
The absolute gold seal is to grow our own fresh, organic produce from non–G.M.O. seeds on healthy, well-nourished soil. I urge everyone to have some sort of home garden. Even in an apartment one can rig up some sort of container gardening. Our family eats fresh vegetables from our garden 9-10 months of the year, and this is in Portland Oregon which has a full, albeit mild, winter.
Select the sunniest spot possible, and fashion small raised beds. Perform a soil test and balance the earth accordingly with natural products. Nourish the soil in the time honored methods of the ancient farmers. Save every scrap of raw vegetable matter to return to the soil. Vegetable waste and leaves mixed and layered with soil make a fine compost.A little time in the compost bin and it’s lovely black gold. Glacial rock dust, guano, manure, worm castings, and small amounts of liquid kelp can be added to furnish a mineral-rich soil that will produce the finest crops.
We do three plantings a year: early spring, midsummer, and the last round of crops are planted in late August. The last planting is winter hardy stuff like kale, cabbage, and beets. By late February tender leaves are already growing from the already established plants that have weathered the winter. Large yields are possible from even a small plot of land.
If you don’t have suitable land, consider a shared community garden. Many cities provide resources for them. Time spent this way might be the best possible investment in your health. It’s a great family activity and a fantastic way to teach your children.
My wife loves to pick fresh produce. In the summer months, we pick berries and tree fruit such as peaches, plums, and apples.
I don’t recommend eating a lot of fruit, but eating a very limited amount of the finest, fresh berries is excellent. We freeze enough strawberries from our garden and blueberries from the farm to last the winter.
There is great bounty from the earth. Even when traveling, seek out the freshest, purest foods such as this avocado farm stand in California.
Most communities have farmer’s markets where you can buy fresh farm produce. It is usually a step down from picking it yourself, but frequently the produce is very fresh, even picked the same day. It pays to speak with the farmers or those operating the stands about their farming practices.
Many times, a food may not carry the organic label but is unsprayed and grown with non G.M.O seeds. Because they are fresh and locally grown, crops such as these may be far superior than organic produce that’s been flown in from halfway around the world. Farmer’s markets may be good sources of high quality meat and eggs.
At The Grocery
It’s more likely than ever before to be able to find good food in almost any supermarket. Many supermarkets have organic, free range eggs and organic meats. Of course, this is due to demand and is wonderful for those concerned about what they put into their bodies.
There’s an old saying that’s true about most supermarkets: All the good stuff is around the periphery. What this means is that the produce and the meat and fish department are usually on the outer edges of the store.
The interior of the store, with all the packaged, artificial, and chemically laden foods can be almost completely avoided. Most supermarkets won’t carry raw dairy, but you might be able to find organic coconuts and avocados.
Raising Animals, Vegetables, And Gratitude
Fresh meat is by far the best if you take good care of them and give them their natural diet and some love. Chickens can be kept for eggs and killed when they get old. Rabbits aren’t difficult to raise for fresh, tasty meat. Home-raised animals will nourish your blood, body, and your very life.
It’s been difficult for me to take the life of anything. To look the animal in the eye before it’s killed is heartbreaking because they become your friend and all life is undeniably precious. But it’s far more honest than buying it packaged neatly in cellophane.
One appreciates the sacrifice deep in the marrow of their bones. Killing your own meat is an honorable, even elegant way to live. A prayer of gratitude can’t help but fly from your heart. This animal gave it’s life so you can go on a little longer. It makes me humble and beholding to make my life worth something… to do a little more to help the whole. This animal will become part of me. Not in the sense of health, but literally. Anything I eat will become my flesh, blood, and bones.
So many of us are estranged from our food. We treat eating like filling up the gas tank of our car. There’s no awareness of the sacrifice of life. If we had the ears to hear it, even the vegetables would be screaming before we pick them. Plants have feelings. If you walk into the forest with the intention of cutting down a tree, the trees feel fear and compassion.
I was a vegetarian for many years because I love animals and couldn’t bear to think that I needed to take a life to survive, but I realized one must take life even as a vegetarian. The only balance is sincere, heartfelt gratitude. Being thankful honors the sacrifice, be it plant or animal. Thanksgiving harmonizes the vibration of the food to our body, mind, and soul.
To this day it’s never been said more profoundly than Kahil Gibran.
“But since you must kill to eat, and rob the newly born of it’s mother’s milk to quench your thirst, then let it be an act of worship.And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart,Your seeds shall live in my body, And the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart,And your fragrance shall be my breath,And together we shall rejoice through all the seasons.”
-From The Prophet