Are you a gardener? Do you like super fabulous and delicious healthy food? Are you interested in combating stress? Would you like to avoid next-day soreness after gardening?
Me too! I’ve done the research for you. Enter your name and email below and you’ll receive the Garden for the Health of It newsletter and instant access to my four Fit to Garden guides to get you started. From me, to you, for free!
STOP ZAPPING YOUR FOOD
No matter how healthy your diet it is, you can ruin all your hard work by microwaving your food. Raw foodists have warned us about the damage that is done to food when it is cooked. Heat changes the make-up of food, and nutrients and beneficial enzymes can be destroyed. Not to mention the digestive system has to work harder and longer to process cooked food. This concern was taken a step further for me many years ago as I was completing my Holistic Lifestyle Coach certification. The question arose, what are the hazards of using microwave ovens?
We discussed Robert O. Becker M.D.’s book The Body Electric and the dangers of simply standing next to a microwave. We reviewed Swiss, Russian, and German scientific clinical studies on the effects of microwave cooking. I was intrigued and continued research on the topic. There is definitely controversial debate on the subject, but the read that turned me away from microwaves for good is published by Lita Lee, Ph.D.
The waves produced by a microwave oven damage the cell wall of foods to such a degree that the human gut receptors are not likely to recognize microwaved food particles as food subsequently causing an immune response. The human body cannot metabolize these unknown by-products. No atom, molecule, or cell of any organic system can withstand such destructive power.
Wisely banned from Russia, microwave ovens destroy some nutrients and turn some amino acids into carcinogens. It is widely known that breast milk should never be microwaved, many hospitals even refuse to microwave breast milk. So I definitely think avoiding the electromagnetic pollution entirely is a good idea.
Are you ready to stop zapping your food? Take a few minutes and snoop around on the web and make an informed decision. Microwaves are convenient, but with a little planning ahead you won’t miss it at all. If you need to reheat something, simply throw a skillet on the stove top or use a toaster oven. It’s fast, easy, and tastes better too! You will probably find that you actually spend more time cooking from scratch, and that is definitely a healthier choice.
Recyle your microwave at Earth911.com. This informative website includes a search engine that will help you find a recycling center in your area that accepts microwaves.
There is no denying the fact that worms are Mother Nature’s ultimate recyclers—ingesting waste and churning out black gold. I enjoy composting outdoors and couldn’t wait to get involved in vermiculture (worm composting). After all, critters and insects are no big deal. Huh? Are you new here? Let me reintroduce myself. Stacy Walters here, I’m a hopeless nature lover…but WORMS? Well, I’m pleased to report that worms are about the only crawling organism that when stumbled upon in my garden doesn’t make me yelp and jump around while frantically brushing off my arms and legs. I actually pick up the worms (yes, with my bare hands) and talk to them in a baby voice as I move them to safer ground. Every gardener I know loves worms.
To create a worm-composting haven indoors, you can’t use earthworms that you find in the garden. Red wigglers, which are also called red worms, are the most voracious eaters of the earthworm family. They can consume half their own weight in organic matter each day.
The powerhouse red wigglers will transform food scraps and organic waste into a nutrient rich fertilizer and concentrated soil conditioner. This material is also known as black gold.
Select a dark storage bin (the worms are sensitive to light) that is not deeper than it is wide.
Use a 1/16 drill bit to drill holes in the sides and top of your bin for ventilation. Drill one or two rows of holes spaced at least one inch apart.
Prepare the worm litter. Nothing fancy, just shred newspaper by hand, mix it with a handful of soil, then add a scant amount of water. Slowly add water and continue to mix until the litter feels like a damp mop. Avoid adding too much water.
Add one pound of red worms to their new home. Gently cover the worms and let them move about on their own.
Add the worm food! Bury your kitchen waste in a corner of the bin. Be sure to rotate where you bury your waste each time you add to it.
What’s on the menu, you ask?
Main course menu items include apples, avocados, berries, broccoli, cantaloupe, corn, cereal, peaches, bananas, banana peels, bell peppers, carrots, eggplant, grapes, lettuce, mango, potatoes, pears, squash, spinach, tomatoes, watermelon, zucchini.
Hors d’oeuvres include coffee grounds, rice, tea leaves, tea bags
These wigglers are happy pets as long as you give them a dark, cozy home with plenty of food, moisture, oxygen, and a comfortable temperature. You won’t have to worry about them escaping from their bin as long as you provide the right conditions. And best of all, it’s nearly odorless.
Easy enough–even for me. I was excited to see that “cocoons” are hatching and the little baby worms are happy in their new home. If all goes well after my first worm compost harvest, the next step is to purchase an official worm condo!
Protecting the environment is one of the most important things we do in our lives. For those of us who garden we have a chance to make a big impact on the environment; in a positive or negative way. The methods and procedures we use directly impact our family, the community, and the planet. The idea is to leave as small of a footprint as possible while giving back to the planet. Gardening is good for our health and the environment in the following ways:
Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, which means that it helps trap heat from the sun in the Earth. This is a good thing, since Earth would be very cold if there were no greenhouse gases. Global warming is caused by too many greenhouse gases, which makes it too difficult for the Earth to naturally cool. Plants help prevent global warming because they take carbon dioxide out of the air to make energy for themselves.
Trees and plants don’t breathe oxygen as we do. Just the opposite of humans and animals, plants take in carbon dioxide and they put out oxygen. So plants are good for people and animals because they make the oxygen that we need to breathe.
Reduce Transport Needs
Eating home grown foods is good for the environment because fewer trucks on the roads transporting fruits and vegetables to the grocery store saves energy and fossil fuels.
Think of your garden as the gym, but without the membership fee, and awkward machines–and enormous carbon footprint.
An organic mix of multiple sources of antioxidants, micronutrients, bioflavanoids and phytochemicals are beneficial to our health. By growing your own organic foods you can obtain an abundance of the essential nutrients from fruits & vegetables grown in your organic backyard garden.
Growing your own flowers, vegetables, and herbs, in the most environmentally sound way, cuts down the need for bad practices to provide us with those products which are fresher, healthier for us and impact the environment in the least negative way. The whole idea of any yard or garden is to make it useful in such a way that the environment is impacted the least or even made better.
Cope with plant pests and disease without spraying poisons on everything in the garden. Like people, healthy plants are more resistant to pests and disease than unhealthy ones, so keep your plants healthy by adding soil amendments and nutrients. Remove plants damaged by pests and burn them before they can contaminate others. Consider using native plants and be sure that plants are watered appropriately.
Avoid using herbicides by keeping weeds under control. There are two ways to do this: By uprooting them by hand or with a hoe as they emerge or before they have a chance to spread, and by growing ground-hugging plants that discourage the growth of weeds. Weeding is a great way to relieve stress, plus the process allows you to get up close and personal with plants to access their needs.
When your green thumbs are ready to take the next step, consider the following gardening practices to really rev up your environmental stewardship:
My tried and true bookshelves were in great shape, but my office felt so boring and I have really been craving some inspiration. Instead of throwing everything out and starting from scratch, I used two of the cubie shelves as the base for a project table, and refurbished all of my bookcases. Fun project plus a new space? I’m in!
The first project that we tackled was the project table. I already had the cubbies and was using them as storage. I searched online for project table specs, secured some wood scrap from a local construction site for the tabletop, added backboards to the cubbies, and voila! To finish the project, I sanded, primed, and painted the table. Now we refer to this desk as my “nerve center”. We throw stools on the back side of the table and three or four people can comfortably work there.
With the project table ready to go, I needed to tackle refurbishing the bookshelves. The process was a bit lengthy and took a little grit (c’mon, I’m Fit to Garden, of course I can handle this!), but the good news is that the steps are extremely simple to follow. Here are my tips for painting laminate:
If possible, take apart the furniture and prep the space with a drop cloth.
With a 220 grit sandpaper, sand every square inch that you will be painting Sand until you start to see little white flecks on the shine of the laminate is removed. Be careful not to sand down too far and gouge the laminate, but make sure everything is scuffed or the primer or paint will bubble.
Next, take a tack cloth and wipe down the sanded pieces. You’ll want to make sure you remove all of the sanding dust so that it won’t ruin the paint job.
Now it’s time to prime the pieces. Choose a primer that is low VOC and is formulated for all types of projects, including laminate. I gave each piece one coat of primer You will need to let your primed pieces completely dry and cure before you move to the next step. The primer that I used stressed 7 days curing time; other brands may recommend a different length of time. Your pieces will be dry to the touch within a few hours, but they will not be scratch resistant until the primer is fully hardened. The curing stage is crucial, do not be tempted to paint too soon!
Finally, it’s time to paint! I chose a non-toxic paint with an eggshell sheen and a quality brush, then applied two coats of paint. I allowed the first coat to dry overnight before adding the second coat. It feels good knowing I rescued the tired furniture, and I love working in the spiced up space!
The outdoor gardening season is coming to an end in many parts of the country, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take the fun indoors! Not to mention, houseplants are not just for decorating the home. Did you know that many houseplants can help to clean the air inside your home or office of benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene? These three toxins can be found in all types of common household products, including bathmats, plywood, solvents, glues, paints and cleansers. Benzene can induce drowsiness, headaches and dizziness. Trichloroethylene can cause difficulty in breathing and headaches and may damage internal organs. Formaldehyde can cause allergies, asthma and headaches. All of these chemicals may cause cancer. Plant physiologists already knew that plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen as part of the photosynthetic process. Now researchers have found many common house plants absorb other toxins as well, literally acting as an air purifier. Houseplants do this by absorbing air pollution through microscopic openings in the plant leaves called stomata. As pollutants move through the plant toward its roots, they are broken down by the natural biological process of the plant.
According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) researchers, you need to use one potted plant per every 100 square feet for the plants to be proactive in cleaning the air in the home. Although there is a long list of air filtering plants to consider, here are two of my favorite flowering plants that grow well indoors:
A smile immediately appears on my face with just a glance of a brilliant gerbera daisy bloom. As a matter of fact, my nickname is “Daisy” because I have been obsessed with this flower for as long as I can remember. The blooms are spectacular in bold shades of orange, red, pink, purple and fuchsia, and span 4 to 6 inches in width (I’m smiling over here just writing this). Gerbera daisies filter out the top three toxins mentioned above–benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde. The plants pack a surprisingly impressive air filtration system for such small body. With proper care, gerbera daisies potted indoors bloom for up to six months and will thrive two to three years.
Although Chrysanthemums are a popular outdoor container and landscape plant choice, they also grow well indoors. Chrysanthemum (potted mum) is particularly effective in cleansing the air of benzene. Mums produce flowers in a wide array of colors, including yellow, orange, white, purple and red. Mums just scream “autumn”, it is such a treat to have that reminder indoors. When planted in a pot, mums typically live for several weeks and grow best in bright, indirect sunlight. The potted plants enjoy moist, well-drained soil. This beauty stares at me all day in my office, I just love it.
Here’s to growing clean air and smiles!
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Lawn mowing season will be here before you know it. Last summer we shot this video to demonstrate how you can “green” up your yard care. Check it out.
- Easy To Use
- No Emissions
- Great Exercise
It just makes me feel good inside and out to use eco-friendly products and support environmentally responsible companies. I would like to highlight one of those companies.
Preserve® makes stylish, high performance, eco-friendly products for the home. The company makes their plastic products from recylced #5 polypropylene plastics. They take the plastic, sort it, clean it, test it, recycle it…and voila! Preserve® products are born. I even found a recycling bin at my local Whole Foods Market. Yogurt cups are recycled to create my razor and toothbrush, brilliant!
Check out Preserve’s personal care, tableware, and kitchen product menu here.
Thanks Preserve, for giving me the opportunity to enjoy fun products and minimize the stress on the envirnoment.