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TBT: Eat organic, local, vegan, raw, fresh superfood.

Happy Throwback Thursday! From now until I get tired of it, I am going to resurrect an old blog post from the 2000s and see how it holds up today.

This one is about my journey as a young adult from sickness to health as I figured out how to feed myself properly. I wrote it in a silly, humorous way, but I think we all know by now that eating well is a matter of life or death. Certainly it determines one's quality of life, and there isn't any way around it. There's no substitute for eating a well-balanced and varied diet in healthy amounts. There's no secret to it that any stupid fad diet will address. Paleo is passe, and keto is krap. Restrictive diets for weight loss should always be temporary and monitored by a healthcare professional. There are no shortcuts or workarounds. There aren't any vitamins or magic supplements that can make up for junk nutrition; in fact, most supplements are just more trash that further degrade health. There are so many scams out there promising ways to get around the truth of what we all know with our common sense. Nutritious food is the fuel of our lives, and we need to get it one way or another, or we will not be healthy and well. End of story.

Since I wrote the old post below, my community has gotten wiser about the dire effects of food deserts. My child is going to a school that is aware of widespread childhood poverty and malnutrition, and it feeds all the students free breakfast and lunch daily.

I kept a backyard garden successfully for years, and now I have three mature apple trees in the front. I've taken a break from growing my own veggies now that I have less time and more money to spend on buying and cooking healthy groceries. My IBS symptoms never came back, and my family and I are in good health.

Next week, I'll delve into the financial side of our eating habits with a new "Money Monday" post. But first, this blast from the past:


All you need to do is get your hands dirty.

Let me tell you a happy Earth Day story.

When I attended my very pricey and prestigious college, I knew a lot of rich hippies. "Green" didn't just mean eco-conscious; it meant expensive. You had to HAVE green to BE green. I'm talking $14 cartons of one dozen organic, free range, vegetarian fed, local, brown chicken eggs. Designer tofu. Organic cotton t-shirts that cost more than my entire fall wardrobe. Carbon offsets to atone for sins of emission, like indulgences to Mommy Dearest Earth.

After graduating and deciding to return to my hometown of Lansing, Michigan, my husband and I moved into an affordable apartment near the Capitol, above a probable meth lab, across the street from a corner store. For entertainment, we watched drug dealers and prostitutes out the front window. For food, we either walked across the street for candy, soda, and the occasional onion, or we could get into our car and take a ten-minute drive (which translates to an hour-long bus ride) to the nearest supermarket for "real" food.


It might have been the meth lab below us... or the pollution from the street... or the cigarette and whatever-everyone-in-the-building-was-smoking fumes that leaked out of the vents... or it might have been our convenience food diet, but I started to get some serious stomach troubles. I would be terribly sick for weeks, missing work and lacking the energy to excercise or do chores. Luckily, we've had health insurance, though many of my friends do not. I was tested for a bajillion different illnesses, and the results all came back negative. Adding buckets of fiber powder to my meals helped, but the sickness kept returning. No medications had any effect. After a year and a half, I resigned myself to living with a very unpleasant chronic condition.

Then we moved out of the downtown apartment into a house near a large supermarket. We started a weekly ritual of riding our bikes to the store together and cooking homemade meals in our new kitchen. Quickly, my gut troubles disappeared. I have been without irritable bowels for almost two years now!

But wait!

You might be thinking, "OK, but organic local vegan raw fresh superfood is still ridiculously expensive even if you live by the supermarket." So true. How often I have actually avoided foods labeled "organic" at the store, looking for something cheaper. But doing right by your body and the earth doesn't have to be costly or pretentious. It can be dirt cheap and down-to-earth. You see where I'm going with this.

My new home has something even better than proximity to Meijer and Quality Dairy... It comes with so much DIRT! Well, really, it's the sensuous, fragrant, rich soil of an ancient riverbank that has lain fallow beneath a modern subdivision for decades. With only a few bucks, I've started a vegetable garden that (if the deer don't beat us to it) will supply me and my husband all summer and fall with the most superior, delicious, and nutritious of foods, springing from that formerly useless square of turf known as a suburban lawn, fertilized with our own composted garbage. We have a yard waste pile by the shed and a bin of compost worms in the garage. I've dug two 5 x 20 foot garden beds by hand, with just a shovel and a pitchfork, and I've germinated all kinds of seedlings in boxes and peat pots along my south-facing windows.


Whether you live in a tiny apartment and have no yard at all, or whether you own a VAST tract of quarter-acre lawn like I do, you can grow your own food. My two part-time jobs don't even add up to full-time work, so I have the time to devote to tending a full-sized garden. But even if you work long hours, go to school, and live in a condo, you can easily grow a fragrant and beautiful herb garden in the windowsill. In friends' apartments, I've seen bell peppers growing in pots on the balcony, cucumber vines crawling up a window frame, and wheat grass accenting a trendy big-city bathroom. Tending even just a few plants is calming, empowering, vitamin-rich, and tasty. Nothing compares to fresh-snipped basil, especially when you've brought it up from a pot of dirt on your own kitchen table.

Because it's Earth Day, there are gorgeous tables in all the local bookstores heaped with manuals on urban gardening, from the apartment windowsill variety to the "backyard homestead."

Happy growing and eating!


Comments

  1. Hey Jean,

    Such a good idea. This year will be my first garden, I'm kind of nervous. Thanks for the encouraging blog.

    Davina

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can't wait to eat your yummy veggies!

    ReplyDelete

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