Woman gardening

Tips For Growing Your Own Organic Produce

You say you’re not the type for organic gardening. People who grow their own organic vegetables are the kind of people who practice yoga. They throw away their razors and change their names to Persimmon or Rutabega. They listen to new age music and Joni Mitchell. They replace all their tight-fitting clothes with sack-like hemp items. You would never fit the bill. Although it may be tempting to find some plausibility in this scenario, it is actually quite far from reality.

Organic gardening is actually one of the most practical things you can do. It’s the healthiest and cheapest way to produce food for your family; the transcendental meditation and is optional. If you’re thinking of growing your own organic produce, here are some tips for keeping it real.

Gardening

Green Manure
Green manure is a way to grow plant material while improving the quality of the soil. It’s usually planted in the winter and grows a few weeks before planting season. It retains nutrients while it grows, until it’s cut down and turned into the soil. Winter rye is a good source of green manure during the winter because it clamps onto the soil to prevent erosion. Comfrey is another excellent green manure option, which helps to add minerals, such as nitrogen and phosphate to the soil.

Compost
Compost is a nutritious humus made from rotting organic material, like grass clippings, wood chips, vegetable or fruit scraps. In fact, you can add anything organic to the compost pile to provide extra nutrition to your plants. Compost can be added directly to the soil and turned under, or you can leave it on the top of the bed and let the worms come and do the work for you. Using compost prevents water erosion and disease. You can make your own compost pile by setting aside a bin and adding organic material at regular intervals, adding it to your vegetable garden bed when the older material becomes finished.

mother and daughter

Mulching
Mulching is a way to slow down the growth of weeds while keeping the soil from dehydration. Although almost anything that provides cover for the bare ground between your vegetables can be used for mulching, organic materials will degrade slowly and add nutrients to the soil. The best organic materials for mulching include dry grass, wood chips, and hay. Spread a few inches of mulch onto areas of bare soil to keep sunlight from reaching the ground and drying the soil.

Companion Planting
Strength in numbers applies to the gardening world as well. Companion planting is the planting of certain types of herbs, flowers, and vegetables together to fight off disease and pests and provide nutrients to one another. Although herbs are the most regularly used for companion planting, there are certain vegetables that should be planted apart or together. For example, planting tomatoes with carrots will make your carrots turn out smaller than usual. Garlic is a natural fungicide that can fight off a large number of diseases and pests. In fact, garlic can even improve the flavor and production of certain vegetables. Beans are an excellent companion choice for corn and grains because they enrich the soil with the nitrogen necessary for these plants to thrive; melons and squash work well with corn as well, because their broad leaves provide the soil with the shade necessary for keeping the corn moist.

Are you going organic? Let us know what you’re doing to make your garden grow!

Woman with vegetables

Reduce Your Risk Of Illness By Eating Cruciferous Vegetables

If you are a fan of “The Big Bang Theory,” you may have seen the episode called “The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification.” In this episode, Sheldon calculates his life expectancy only to find that he will not live long enough to witness the point at which man will be able to transfer his consciousness into machinery, or put simply, turn into robots. In an effort to prolong his life so he can witness the realization of this phenomena, Sheldon decides to adapt to healthier lifestyle habits, including the transformation of Thursday Pizza Night into Thursday Cruciferous Vegetable Night, beginning with Brussels Sprouts. If you have seen this episode, you will know that things don’t go well for Sheldon. Cruciferous Vegetable Night is made a thing of the past and everyone ends up at the Cheesecake Factory meeting Steve Wozniak.

Ok, so cruciferous veggies were not the way to go for Sheldon, but that is not to say that they are not without their benefits. Cruciferous vegetables are part of a healthy diet and are proven to be effective in cancer prevention because of their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and detoxification properties.

Cruciferous Veggies
The cross-shaped four petal flowers on these veggies are what give them their name (crucifer-cross.) While broccoli is probably the most common of the crucifers, others include the heads: Brussels sprouts, cabbage, rapini (green), turnips and cauliflower (white) and the headless: dark leafy greens like kale. Cruciferous vegetables contain carotenoids and dietary fiber which have been found to lower the risk of several cancers.

Glucosinolates
These compounds, found in cruciferous vegetables have been shown to decrease inflammation, a known cancer risk factor. They can also block the enzymes that stimulate carcinogens and activate enzymes that inhibit them. According to some studies, glucosinolates can also slow cancer growth by beginning a process called apoptosis, or self-destruction of cancer cells.

Carotenoids
Carotenoids act as antioxidants in cruciferous vegetables. Beta-carotene, specifically helps to control the abnormal growth of cells, keeping you healthy and glowing.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant, supports the immune system and has great skin benefits as well.

Kampferol, Quercetic and Anthocyanins
With their antioxidant and inflammatory effects, kampferol, quercetin and anthocyanins have all been shown to be crucial in the slowing of cancer development and boosting overall health.

Folate
Folate aids in the maintenance of healthy DNA and inhibits genes known to promote certain cancers.

Detoxification and Digestive Support
Exposure to toxins is a risk factor for many diseases, including cancer. Support of detoxification activity by cruciferous vegetables may be higher any other foods. The high fiber content found in these vegetables can also help protect the stomach lining by preventing the growth of bacteria and supporting the digestive system.

Cardiovascular Health
Decreased risk of strokes and heart attacks may be linked to the anti- inflammatory compounds in cruciferous vegetables. The folate and B-complex vitamins found in cruciferous veggies can lower the risk cardiovascular disease and may also prevent or reverse damage to blood vessels caused by blood sugar problems.

Ok, so maybe it was too much too soon for Sheldon. After all, replacing pizza with Brussels sprouts can be a pretty daunting task for anyone. But maybe you could try and work them into your diet 2 to 3 times a week, and let us know how that goes for you. We want to hear all about it!

Woman with beets

Vitamin Packed Fall Fruits and Veggies

Have you heard of the Super Sprowtz? You may have seen the colorful Sammy Spinach, Erica Eggplant, Oliver Onion , Colby Carrot and Suzy Sweet Pea singing, “If you’d like to eat healthy, put a veggie on it” to the tune of Beyonce’s, “Put A Ring On It.” in videos and on social media. The Super Sprowtz are the biggest thing to hit the produce industry since the “California Raisins.” Veggies and fruits as superheroes and rock stars is a no-brainer; they must be among one of the most powerful food sources, able to deliver vitamins and nutrients in a single bound. Let’s have a look at some of the superheroes of the fruit and veggie world.

Cranberries
Don’t let the size fool you. Cranberries deliver a punch of antioxidants. They will protect you from free age-related degeneration and free radical damage and save you from urinary tract infection, oral disease, and cancer. Pop some in your pancakes for a healthier breakfast.

Beets
Beets’ superpowers come from their stores of betaine and nitrate. They will fight off super villains like heart and liver and will staunchly support the blood flow to your brain and reduce the risk of dementia.

Kiwifruit
This furry superhero is known for its lung, eye and colon protecting nutrients. They may also help your supervision by preventing macular degeneration. Kiwi is also known for its high level of vitamin E which prevents cancer and also has been known to pack vitamin C, magnesium, copper and potassium.

Pomegranates
This is a wonder fruit if there ever was one. It boosts your cardiovascular system and kicks carcinogens in the butt.

Brussel sprouts and Cabbage
These daredevils are chock full of the powers of vitamins A and C and will deliver with high concentrations of glucosinolates faster than a speeding bullet.

Pumpkin
What would our group of avenging produce be without a super pumpkin? Hurling through the air bursting with alpha-linoleic acid, pumpkin seeds are known defenders against high blood pressure, heart disease, and high cholesterol. Pumpkins are also great sources of alpha and beta carotene to guarantee X-ray vision and cell growth with its alpha and beta carotene.

Pears
Maybe the Boy Wonder of the Superfruits, pears are not only full of antioxidants, they are also considered hypoallergenic because they are so unlikely to incite allergies. They’re also full of vitamin C and fiber to make constipation and other chronic diseases a thing of the past. Holy Smoke!

Apples
If pears are the Boy Wonder, apples are the Superman. They are packed with antioxidants to fight evil doers like chronic illness and can help to slow aging, how’s that for a superpower? Fuji apples are the stars of the apples family, with the highest amounts of phenolics and flavonoids.

How’s that for some super power? If you have any fruits or veggies to add to our list of superheros, let us know. What superpowers does your super fruit/veggie give you?

Woman with an apple in hand lying on hay.

Resveralife Eat Well: The Hay Diet (Your Guide to Food Combination)

Sometimes necessity really is the mother of invention. William Howard Hay, a New York physician, began developing what later became known as the Hay Diet in 1904. Hay was suffering from numerous medical issues including a dilated heart. Determined to improve his health and extend his life, Hay began researching the impact of diet on overall health. Through his research he created a diet plan meant to remedy his health conditions. In a period of about three months, Hay dropped 50 pounds and was free from his medical problems. Sound intriguing?

Potatoes with a meat dish on a serving plate.

What is the Hay Diet?
To combat his medical issues, a kidney disease, dilated heart and high blood pressure. Hay’s diet consisted largely of meat and potatoes, a staple at dinnertime for many families not only in the past. Many of us still prepare dinner with meat as the protein and some form of carbohydrate as a side dish. Hay decided to go vegetarian as his first plan of attack. He eliminated two meals from his day and only ate vegetables for the third. When Hay reached a weight he considered appropriate, he did not stop the diet. Rather, he continued working on it and researching the link between diet and health.

All of his research and personal experience lead to the conclusion that health is impacted based on the body’s natural chemical process, digestion. The Hay diet claims to work by separating food into three categories:  acid, alkaline and neutral. The body uses an alkaline digestive process for carbohydrates, The digestion of protein is an acidic digestive process. Hay suggested that if alkaline food and acidic food was consumed at the same time, the acid process interrupted the alkaline process. Hay presumed that the combination of incorrect foods caused people to retain excess fluids, gain weight and “drain vitality.” Thus, the Hay diet relies largely on eating according to what type of food you are ingesting.

Fresh vegetables overflowing from a basket.

Following the Hay Diet
This Resveralife Eat Well Guide shows you how to follow the Hay diet. To follow the Hay diet, you must learn which foods are acidic, alkaline or neutral. Hay classified starchy foods and sweets as carbohydrates while fruits were classified as acidic. Vegetables were classified as neutral foods which meant that they could be eaten at the same time as both alkaline and acidic foods. When following the Hay diet, it is no longer advised that you skip two meals per day. We know that food fuels our bodies and as such, we need to feed it. You can still use the Hay diet to your advantage by following the basic tenants of the diet.

  • No meat. The Hay diet as it originally existed when introduced in 1911 forbade meat. You can find protein from other sources such as tempeh, quinoa or in a smoothie by using pea protein powder. Alternatively, if you aren’t willing to forgo meats,  modern applications of the diet allow for lean meats consumed sparingly.
  • Know your food types. Acidic foods (fruits) are divided up into acidic fruits, sub-acid fruit and sweet fruits. Further, melons such as honeydew and cantaloupe are in their own category.
  • As with the acidic foods, alkaline foods are split into separate categories. There are low and non-starchy vegetables and carbohydrates/starches.
  • Identify fats and use sparingly within your diet.
  • Never mix alkaline foods with acidic foods. Ever.
  • Vegetables are neutral and you are free to, and encouraged, to eat them with all meals.

The Hay diet, like any eating plan, has it’s critics. Still, there are numerous advocates for learning what foods alkalize your body and what foods produce an acidic response. Is it really possible to eat yourself thin? Give it a try and find out.