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Yes, you need a garden and there are choices to make so that you can fully enjoy its Health benefits, especially if you are a diabetic. Diabetes is definitely helped by eating more fresh, low-glycemic, pH alkaline vegetables. What are those?
I have charts to help you understand in the Archive Tab above. But, today, as promised a fortnight ago, here are the plants which Oprah’s group chose to help save $800 on a family food bill by growing their own food. For every $1 invested in seed, fertilizer, potting mix, there was a $9 value return in the food produced.
Using mostly seed, they planted:
___ Arugula: With 5 square feet and $1, you can grow 10 pounds, worth $40.
___ Basil: With 5 sf and 50 cents, you can grow 4 lbs, worth $20.
___ Beets: With 5 sf and $2 , you can grow 40 plants, worth $40.
___ Bell peppers: With 10 sf and $3, you can grow 20 lbs, worth $40.
___ Butternut squash: With 5 sf and 50 cents, you can grow 10 plants, worth $20. This can be stored.
___ Chard: With 10 sf and $1.50, you can grow 25 lbs, worth $50.
___ Green beans: With 15 sf and 50 cents, grow 10 lbs, worth $20.
___ Spinach: With 10 sf and $20 (probably used transplants here), you can grow 30 lbs, worth $90.
___ Strawberries: With 45 sf and $10, you can grow 25 pints, worth $50. Again, they must have purchased plants. Strawberries are the least alkaline pH berry.
___ Tomatoes: With 15 sf and $3, you can grow 100 lbs, worth $320.
___ Turnips: With 5 sf and $2, you can grow 40 bulbs, worth $20.
___ Yellow squash: With 10 sf and $3, you can grow 20 lbs, worth $40.
___ Zucchini: With 10 sf and $3, you can grow 25 lbs, worth $50.
By spending $36 and using 150 square feet, you’ll grow $800 worth of fresh vegetables!
Now, lets discuss this Plan.
___ Firstly, most of these veggies are on the pH alkaline side of the charts, in varying degrees. That’s good.
If they had chosen them, snow pea pods and peas would be on the pH acidic side, as would be dried beans and dried peas (black-eye peas are the least acidic). Carrots are also high acid pH.
However, the spinach they chose IS mildly pH acidic, as are zucchini squash, chard and fresh green or wax beans. The regular tomatoes are also quite pH acidic unless you grow the sweeter varieties like grape tomatoes.
___ In this garden, they used no seaweed fertilizer which is organic and very pH alkaline. They also did not grow the most pH alkaline vegetables: onions, white daikon icicle radish, burdock root, sweet potatoes, kohlrabi, kale, parsley, endive, broccoli, (asparagus in Spring), garlic or parsnip (not low glycemic).
The bitter arugula is the most pH alkaline plant they grew and as I hate the taste, I would be substituting equal or better alkaline pH greens for it, like: sweet potato leaves, parsley, kale, endive and frisee.
As diabetics are overly pH acidic in their cellular tissues already, (due to metabolism and diabetic medications), it crucial to eat pH alkaline foods to start to neutralize the acids! pH alkaline waters, like Essentia, can aid this process.
___ I was disappointed that there was not much emphasis on container gardening and the more intensive gardening methods that I have shown you in this series. My methods have high yield with less physical work and less need for “space”, which you may not have in the first place.
___ But this was a worthwhile exercise to show you “yields”. A few seeds that sprout or a few transplants which survive, with care and watering can give you an amazing harvest!
___ Now, another item which disappoints me about these choices from Oprah’s staff is that a lot of these plants cannot be easily preserved in any healthy way.
So, as soon as the weather allows, choosing plants that freeze well or will not rot on a shelf are important. Freezing broccoli, pickling cabbage and storing gourds like pumpkins in a good, cool, dry place will let you have food beyond the growing season outside.
Choosing these kinds of plants needs to be part of the Plan.
___ I mostly want to eat my summer garden produce fresh! Plant accordingly or plan on sharing extra food with a Food Bank.
___ Personally, I don’t want to be canning gallons of tomato sauce when the weather may be hot. Dehydrating tomatoes is one option. That’s what the Italians chose to do with sun-dried tomatoes, but you must know how to dehydrate properly (in the sun or in a machine), so that the food will not mold from still being too moist.
___ Discussing safe, acceptable ways to freeze pureed tomato would be a question I would ask of my County Extension Agent or the Food Technology department at my state university.
___ I would have grown lots of different lettuces and cilantro, for sure, and instead of so many tomatoes, I would have included some bell peppers and eggplant. Grow just bell peppers if you don’t like eggplant, but try it, as it is a very pH alkaline veggie.
___ Potatoes should have been grown, too, in a tower. When stored properly an acre of ground can feed a family of 4 on just potatoes, for a year. They are amazing. So, putting a much smaller area in will still give you a good harvest and you can choose varieties unavailable in the store.
Potatoes are actually quite nutritious, but you must always eat them with their skin on, for them to be pH alkaline, and in moderate amounts.
___ Freezer jams might be able to be made with excess strawberries, but I would never want to use artificial sweeteners or sugar. I would ask my extension agent how to make it with lemon juice and honey or agave nectar added. This could not work for canning, but it might work for freezer jam.
You must as the experts ahead of time if you want to do something different in a recipe, when you want to preserve food. Canning recipes are critical to follow as they are, unless you get help to change them. Each item is there in that quantity for a reason if they are truly professional recipes which give you the best chance for safety.
And, for pickling, get the proper, designated % vinegar. Too weak is not good!
___ If you are in the right climate, it is worth investing in one or more permanent bearers like: an avocado tree, a grapefruit tree (if your medications allow it), a lemon tree, an apple tree, nectarine and dark plum tree, persimmon tree and a black cherry tree. These could be dwarf varieties. All of these are alkaline fruits.
___ I would always find a way to grow one dwarf watermelon vine, supported on a trellis if needed, with the growing fruit encased in a gentle mesh bag, attached to the frame. Watermelon is the only really healthy melon. Honeydew is next.
___ And make room for berries and grapes – raspberry, then blackberry and less pH alkaline, blueberry and red grapes.
___ In reasonable quantities, all these fruits are healthy for diabetics. But, vegetables should be the foundation of any diabetic meal. About 80% of your plate should be low glycemic, pH alkaline veggies. Then a palm-size piece of protein or a couple of ounces of cheese or 2 organic eggs from veg-fed, free-range birds.
___ And the last item in every meal is healthy oils. About 2 teaspoons to 1 Tablespoon, depending on the way the menu is. Organic, extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil and walnut oil and non-GMO, organic canola oil or macadamia nut oil are the best choices, along with hemp oil and flax oil (these last two can never be heated).
And, on the importance of olive oil, Science Daily writes:
“Everyone knows olive oil and a Mediterranean diet are associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease, but a new research report published in the July 2010 print issue of the FASEB Journal offers a surprising reason why: These foods change how genes associated with atherosclerosis function.”
Em: this is part of the science called epigenetics.
Continuing – “”Knowing which genes can be modulated by diet in a healthy way can help people select healthy diets,” said Maria Isabel Covas, D.Pharm., Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Cardiovascular Risk and Nutrition Research Group at the Institut Municipal d’Investigacio Medica in Barcelona, Spain. “It is also a first step for future nutritional therapies with selected foods.”
Scientists worked with three groups of healthy volunteers.
___ The first group consumed a traditional Mediterranean diet with virgin olive oil rich in polyphenols.
___ The second group consumed a traditional Mediterranean diet with an olive oil low in polyphenols.
___ The third group followed their habitual diet.
After three months, the first group had a down-regulation in the expression of atherosclerosis-related genes in their peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Additionally, the olive oil polyphenols made a significant impact on the expression of genetic changes influencing coronary heart disease.
Results also showed that the consumption of virgin olive oil in conjunction with a Mediterranean diet can positively impact lipid and DNA oxidation, insulin resistance, inflammation, carcinogenesis, and tumor suppression.
Em: so eating moderate amounts of organic, extra-virgin olive oil and the Mediterranean diet will also help diabetes, protect heart as well as other organ systems.
Continuing – ” “This study is ground breaking because it shows that olive oil and a Mediterranean diet affect our bodies in a far more significant way than previously believed,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal. “Not only does this research offer more support for encouraging people to change their eating habits, it is an important first step toward identifying drug targets that affect how our genes express themselves.” “
As Hippocrates said, and the foundational premise of my approach”, “Let food be your medicine!”
All of these suggestions and actions will help you and your children and your elders have a healthier longer life. What could be more rewarding or important than that! Start planning your fall garden now! In some regions of the country, that planting will start next month.
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