This is such a great giveaway perfectly timed for the holidays! Enter to win $50 worth of healthy, eco-friendly stuff for babies, kids or moms from HappyGreenBaby.com. They have a huge selection and you can apply your $50 gift card towards anything on their website. I LOVE companies like this who carry products you can trust to be safe for your family. I’m happy for the opportunity from Homegrown & Healthy to cohost this wonderful giveaway!
Homegrown & Healthy
At HappyGreenBaby.com we believe that green babies are happy babies. That’s why everything you find on our website is a smart, healthy, eco-friendly choice for your family. From stainless steel, BPA-free baby bottles, organic cotton crib sheets to chemical free skin care products . Your baby will enjoy playing with our recycled plastic toys and will love wearing our comfy, eco-friendly, soy and bamboo fiber, organic clothes. You’ll find everything you need for a happy green and enviornmentally friendly baby (& family) right here!
What can you get, exactly? They’ve got anything and everything related to healthy, happy ecofriendly babies. And toddlers. And kids. And moms.
The winner (US residents only for this one, please!) will receive a $50 gift card towards anything in the HappyGreenBaby online store. And the only thing you need to do to enter to win is to visit their store and leave us a comment with a link to an item that you’d buy with the card.
Simple, right? One comment with a link.
Please note, this giveaway is only open to US residents! (Don’t worry, we’ll have plenty of giveaways in the future for those of you outside of the US).
Giveaway ends December 13, 2014 at the stroke of midnight, EST.
Unless it’s organic, store-bought eggnog can contain some nasty ingredients like artificial coloring, artificial flavoring and preservatives. That fact started my quest for an easy homemade eggnog recipe. My husband loves eggnog and buys it many times during the holiday season. He decides to not buy the organic kind because it’s expensive and he’s the only one in our family who drinks it. For some reason, I’ve never been a fan of eggnog. I would rather have a nice bowl of ice cream. Anyway, I see my husband drinking the stuff with the nasty ingredients and I keep saying that I’ll try and make some from scratch. I finally did this year, and he thinks it tastes much better than his store-bought kind. It’s also much less expensive to make it from scratch with organic ingredients we almost always have in the kitchen.
I’m definitely not reinventing the wheel here. There are tons of eggnog recipes online. I scoured through many and sort of combined bits and pieces. I wanted an easy cooked recipe (some recipes out there are super complicated) without refined sugar. My husband doesn’t want to drink raw eggnog, which is fine. He’s the only one drinking it at our house so I made it the way he prefers it. Here it is! Hope you enjoy it as much as he does. The recipe is pretty simple, so you can doctor it to fit your taste preference. Note: you must be really patient and keep on stirring while the eggnog slowly cooks. It also can’t cook to a temperature over 160 degrees F, or the eggs will overcook and make the eggnog chunky. Trust me, it’s gross. It happened to me the first time I made it. Grab your candy thermometer.
- 4 organic pastured eggs
- 1/4 cup raw honey
- 1 cup organic whole milk
- 1 cup organic heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon organic ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon organic pure vanilla extract
- Dash of sea salt
- Sprinkle of organic ground cinnamon
- In a saucepan, whisk together eggs and honey. Add the nutmeg and a dash of salt.
- Stir in half of the milk, setting the other half aside.
- Stir in the cream.
- Turn the heat on and set to medium-low. CONSTANTLY stir while the mixture SLOWLY cooks...this is important! If the eggs overcook, your eggnog will become chunky.
- As soon as the mixture reaches 160 degrees F, remove from heat and pour into a separate cool pan. (It only took about 10-15 minutes of cooking to reach 160 degrees for me. I used a candy thermometer in the pan to monitor the temperature.)
- Stir in the remaining cold milk.
- Stir in vanilla.
- Chill in refrigerator before serving if desired. When poured into a glass, sprinkle the top with plenty of cinnamon.
- Very pretty served in a Ball vintage blue mason jar!
November was such a nice month enjoying our first fall in the South. We were delighted to see the beautiful colors, much like they were when we lived in Michigan! That’s always one of my favorite parts of fall. We ended the month with a very nice Thanksgiving; my sister and mom made an amazing non-traditional Thanksgiving meal. Can’t wait to share some of the recipes. Oh yes, and we planted potatoes on the last day of November!
Now I’ll share some posts from the blogging world that I think you’ll enjoy, as well as one of my prettiest fall pictures.
- I loved doing this Thanksgiving side dishes recipe roundup! Many of these sides are great to have on hand any time of year.
- My sister had us over for dinner the night before Thanksgiving and wowed everyone with this curry lentil soup recipe by Real Food Outlaws.
- Cannot wait to make this real food hot cocoa mix, by Real Food Girl: Unmodified!
- And this dairy free pumpkin spice ice cream by Real Food Outlaws.
- Healthy kombucha gummy bears, by Health Starts in the Kitchen.
- 5 spice blends to guarantee you many delicious dinners, by The Aliso Kitchen.
- French toast latte, by The Shalom Mama.
- Homemade zesty BBQ sauce, by Scratch Mommy.
- How to make water kefir, by Naturally Mindful.
- Creamy curried broccoli soup, by My Heart Beets.
- Pesto chicken salad, by Good Food Eating.
- Crockpot pinto beans, by We Got Real.
- This apple poppy seed coleslaw would be a lovely refreshing side dish! Recipe by Real Food Girl: Unmodified.
- A beautiful recipe to use frozen blackberries: wild blackberry crisp, by House Barn Farm.
Healthy Living Tips:
- 10 ways to avoid processed foods, by Rethink Simple.
- 10 gift ideas that are healthy, good for the environment and useful…under $25, by Healthy Roots, Happy Soul.
- Benefits of a juice fast, by The Skinny Pear.
- How to reuse an old sweater to make Christmas stockings, by PunkWife.com.
- Is maca root really healthy? By Simple Clean Living.
- DIY non-toxic citrus dusting spray, by Scratch Mommy.
- 7 effects of chronic stress and how cleaning up your diet is very healing, by Good Food Eating.
- A guide to more conscious gift giving, by The Mother Tribe.
- Here is an awesome collection of posts where you can find pretty much anything you want to know about cloth diapering, at Homegrown & Healthy.
Natural Beauty Tips:
- Soothe your skin with chamomile infused toner, recipe by Homegrown & Healthy.
- You must check out this very nice online store full of healthy, organic skincare products…they make wonderful gifts!
- DIY peppermint foot soak, by Rethink Simple.
- 12 natural remedies for dry itchy skin, by Natural Living Mama.
- How to heal hormonal acne naturally, by The Aliso Kitchen.
- DIY non-toxic hair detangler, by Scratch Mommy.
Yesterday was the last day in November and we planted potatoes in one of our garden beds. Here in upstate South Carolina we’re in zone 7b which is right on the edge of the safe late-fall planting time for them. No matter which zone you live in, I’ll show you recommendations for how and when to plant potatoes.
First I’ll say that planting potatoes so late in the year may sound crazy and it just might be true, but…I have heard that if you plant potatoes in the late fall/early winter and let them overwinter, you’ll have a better harvest in the spring. I called the company that I ordered my organic seed potatoes from (GrowOrganic.com) and they said it’s risky since our zone is right on the safe edge, but it’s worth a try. Hey, I’m excited…my raised garden beds were just finished and it’s my first time planting potatoes!
When Should You Plant Potatoes?
According to the planting instructions included with our seed potatoes, if you live in zones 8-10 it’s possible for you to plant in the fall to let them overwinter, and harvest in late spring/early summer. If you live in zones 1-7 it’s best to plant potatoes a couple of weeks before your last anticipated freeze date (find it here.) When you’re deciding on when to plant, just remember that potatoes don’t do as well in really hot weather. Paying attention to the time it takes for the type of potato to mature combined with your typical weather will help you decide when to plant. You can keep your seed potatoes dormant in the refrigerator until you’re ready to plant them. At GrowOrganic.com, there’s a large window of time for purchasing.
How We Planted Our Potatoes
Organic Yukon Gold, Russets, and Red, Yellow & Blue Mix are the types that we chose. It was tough to pick because there are tons of different interesting kinds! When we were ready to plant, we cut the larger ones (any that were larger than 2″) into smaller 2″ pieces making sure there were at least 2 eyes on each one. The ones that are 2″ or smaller can go into the ground whole.
We went down to one of our raised garden beds and hand-tilled the soil a bit to make sure it wasn’t compacted. We made 3 “trenches” in the soil: 3″ deep, 3″ wide and 20″ apart. The type of soil that we planted into was the soil we filled our beds with in October: 1/2 mushroom compost and 1/2 organic soil.
We put the potatoes into the rows, eyes-up and spaced 12″ apart. My 3 year old daughter loved helping!
I guess we chose the “no-fuss” method of planting to see how it goes. The only things we really paid attention to were the spacing and making sure the eyes on the potatoes were facing up.
Next we covered the potatoes with no more than 3″ of soil. We just pushed the soil on top without compacting it.
The last thing we did was cover the garden bed with a good 3″ of straw to protect against frost. The only thing we have to do until we see sprouts come up is make sure the mulch stays in place through the winter.
Have you ever planted potatoes? Please share your tips!
Does a fall planting of potatoes in the veggie garden mean a better harvest in the spring/early summer after overwintering occurs? I’m going to find out! First, here’s a little info about ordering seed potatoes. If you would like to plant potatoes, it’s important to order seed potatoes because often times the potatoes you buy at the store have been treated so they won’t sprout. I ordered my organic seed potatoes at GrowOrganic.com. No matter what zone you live in, there is a big window to order them. You can order in October/November and keep them in a burlap bag in your refrigerator. Pull them out 4 weeks before you’re ready to plant and keep them in the light/warmth to pre-sprout . If you live in zones 8-10, you can plant them in the fall and overwinter them. The rumor is that overwintering brings a larger, higher quality crop by the time it’s time to harvest in May or so. I called GrowOrganic.com for advice on planting my potatoes in late November. I’m in zone 7b so it’s right on the edge. They said it’s worth the risk, so I’m going for it! My potatoes are in paper bags with apples and onions (you were probably wondering about the photo!) Supposedly the ethylene gas emitted from the fruit will help the potatoes sprout. This is called chitting. Whether or not chitting is necessary is also questionable based on what I’ve read online. Since I’m risking planting and overwintering in my zone, I’ll give the potatoes every advantage they can get. My next post in a few days will show how to plant potatoes and overwinter them.
Have you ever overwintered potatoes? Was it a success?
These pumpkin coconut muffins with dark chocolate are my absolute favorite no matter what time of year it is (well, it’s a tie between these and my favorite blueberry oatmeal muffins!) They are sweetened with ingredients such as raw honey, shredded coconut and cinnamon instead of refined sugar and are very nutritious with coconut oil and pumpkin puree. I think they’re delicious with or without dark chocolate chunks, and are amazing warmed up a little and served with a pat of organic grass-fed butter. I craved them all the time during both of my pregnancies…my body sensed that they’re such a nourishing treat! I make them often now and always have a stash in my freezer; they’re best fresh although they will freeze just fine for up to 3 months. Just take some out a couple of days in advance and let them thaw.
- 1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree (here's how to make your own!)
- 1/3 cup raw honey
- 3/4 cup organic vanilla yogurt
- 2 organic eggs
- 1/3 cup organic coconut oil, melted
- 1 cup finely shredded organic unsweetened coconut
- 1 cup organic whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon aluminum free baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3/4 cup organic dark chocolate baking chunks (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Combine first 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. It's easiest to add the melted coconut oil last; it starts to solidify with the colder ingredients.
- Combine next 5 ingredients in a separate mixing bowl.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks.
- Put batter into a muffin pan (I use these chorine-free baking cups.)
- Bake for 17-20 minutes, then remove muffins from pan to cool.
These muffins can be wrapped individually and frozen for up to 3 months. Just remove a few at a time and let them thaw.
I’m excited to have the opportunity from Homegrown & Healthy to cohost this Core Kitchen giveaway! You can enter to win a set of beautiful bamboo + silicone utensils and a cutting board that will add cheer and style to your kitchen. (You get to pick your favorite pattern and colors!) Prep utensils and cutting boards are kitchen basics that you use every day, so wouldn’t it be fabulous to have them in beautiful colors and patterns that you love? Read more about Core Kitchen and their wonderful kitchen products below, then hurry up and enter!
Core Kitchen is the premier destination for all things kitchen! This collection takes all of your kitchen basics and enhances them with fresh designs and technical improvements. Included in this assortment are a vast number of tools, gadgets, cutting boards, knives, accessories and more. Keeping with our function meets design initiative, this line uses a wide range of materials in unique shapes and sizes. Featuring tools constructed from nylon, silicone, and stainless steel, bright colored polypropylene cutting boards and high carbon stainless steel knives, this collection is a one stop shop for all types of food prep. In addition, this collection features a range of cast iron kitchen accessories that is an update to the classic styling. Fun shapes, vibrant colors, and interesting materials make Core Kitchen a line that every kitchen needs to have.
One winner will get to pick their favorite cutting board and a set of bamboo + silicone utensils. Check out the site to see your favorite!
Our tempered glass boards feature fun and contemporary patterns to add a modern touch to any kitchen. Useable as a prep board, each features skid resistant rubber feet, and can also be utilized as serving platters or trivets.
Valued at $24.
Classic in shape and design, our Bamboo and Silicone Utensil Collection is perfect for all kitchen prep. Designed with bright colored silicone heads and sturdy bamboo handles, these kitchen utensils won’t scratch pots and pans and are heat resistant up to 475°F.
Set valued at $18.
Is Thanksgiving really next week already? It sneaks up so quickly every year. If you’ve ever cooked for Thanksgiving, you know that side dishes can sometimes get lost in the shuffle of the menu planning. So much focus goes into the main dishes that the sides may become an afterthought. Or basically, you’re so tired after thinking about the main dishes that you don’t have the energy to agonize over the sides. If you’re still contemplating which sides to serve on Thanksgiving, this post is for you! To help inspire you (or ease your mind if you’re slightly panicking at the last minute) I put together a short list of delicious, real food recipes from a few of my favorite blogger friends. Each recipe is creative and unique (even an edible centerpiece!) They’re also pretty simple to make. There’s a very good chance that you’ll find something that everyone on your guest list will enjoy!
- Homemade Crusty Bakery Bread – Live Simply
- Paleo Grain Free Everything Rolls – Health Starts in the Kitchen
- Thanksgiving Bread (stuffing in a loaf) – My Heart Beets
- Sprouted Whole Wheat Stuffing – Simple Clean Living
- Perfect Mashed Potatoes - Health Starts in the Kitchen
- Apple & Sweet Potato Bake - Live Simply
- Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon & Coconut Sugar – Real Food Outlaws
- Cheesy Herb Potatoes - Live Simply
- Crazy Creamy, Uber Cheesy Potatoes – Scratch Mommy
- Edible Arrangements – Apple-Cranberry Centerpiece - Healthy Roots, Happy Soul
- Very Simple Asparagus & Peppers – Scratch Mommy
- Organic Roasted Root Veggies – Daily Pea
This is a guest post written by David Novak, Contributing Editor at Healthline. The subject of his article personally hits home for me because I started to incorporate organic whole foods into my diet 6 years ago when I was diagnosed with acute diverticulitis. Eating whole, non-processed foods that are high in dietary fiber as much as possible, along with staying hydrated and exercising are the main ways that I manage my diverticulosis naturally. I also used to suffer from chronic migraines, which diminished after I cut out foods that contain chemical additives. My family and I incorporate organic foods into our diet as often as possible by growing our own veggies in our garden, shopping at farmer’s markets, and using the EWG’s Dirty Dozen List while shopping at the grocery store. We’re on a budget and can’t always afford to buy all organic produce 100% of the time, so the Dirty Dozen List helps us prioritize.
You make food choices every day… what you eat, how much of it you eat, and when you eat it. These choices determine more than just satisfying your schedule and your appetite. They affect your health, your immune system, your organs and joints in your body, your blood glucose levels, your energy level and most importantly, the odds of whether or not you’ll contract diseases such as cancer, hypertension, dementia, alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, stroke, heart disease, and the list goes on. It also determines whether or not you will experience optimal health, glowing skin, a youthful appearance, decreased inflammation in the body, improved cognitive ability, body function… and that list goes on as well.
Your diet is key to making a difference in literally every body part and every body function imaginable. And practicing good nutrition habits, particularly paying attention to natural and organic foods, can improve your health, not to mention reduce the risk of short-term and long-term illness and disease. What goes in the body is almost more important than even exercise!
Any good doctor or dietician familiar with good nutrients will tell you that plant-based foods offer protective effects against a variety of diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, as well as many cancers like liver, esophagus, prostate, endometrium, rectum, ovary, colon, pancreas and stomach.
The Difference Between Conventionally-Produced Foods VS Organic Foods
But what about conventionally produced vegetables and fruits vs. organic ones? Does that really matter, and if so, why? First, let’s go over the differences between the two. Most standard vegetables and fruits are grown in mass quantities, requiring multiple methods for preventing crop diseases, bug infestations, and even fungicides to preserve them during transport. Organic vegetables are different. They are grown in smaller quantities, and are guaranteed free of these chemicals that go hand-in-hand with conventional produce.
Many people shirk these differences off, but studies have shown that these chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, are in fact real and do build up in the body – specifically the fat cells of humans, producing toxicity as these chemicals are known carcinogens, many of which have been banned in the European Union.
Organic produce is grown with more consideration to the land, and in turn, they affect your body more gently in a wholesome way, as mother nature intended. Granted, some organic fruits and veggies do cost more, but not by much these days. They were certainly more costly in the past, when they were newer to the food market, and there were less organic farms. But today most are competitively priced due to their popularity and demand.
This is great news, because these fruits and vegetables are grown in smaller quantities, even on smaller plots of land, where soil is preserved, which means more nutrients in the form of vitamins and minerals in your food. Conventionally grown fruits and veggies are grown on the same soils year after year, and the crops are not usually rotated, a method which would allow the soil to replenish lost nutrients from repeated use if implemented.
There are some veggies that do not require a lot of chemicals, and they are considered ‘clean’ — such as avocados, bananas, asparagus — whereas there are many that do require them — such as berries, peaches and spinach – and those are best purchased if an organic and/or pesticide free label is visible. Some labels will also say sustainably harvested ‘wild’, and these are wild grown foods, such as wild arugula. These are harvested without depleting the food supply or otherwise harming the environment. Rather, the food was grown in the biosphere surrounding it, such as butterflies, bees or birds.
Medical professionals suggest that a person suffering from diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer should focus on healthy organic foods that are high in protein and calories to provide energy. During disease treatment, it is vital to maintain energy and a healthy immune system to fight against the disease. The chances of success may increase if disease fighting foods are included in the diet, and organic foods provide the best and most nutrient-enriched option.
Immune Boosting Foods
A healthy lifestyle is your first line of defense for good health and a strong immune system. Your body simply functions better when protected from environmental assaults and invasion of disease. It’s ultimately bolstered by healthy-living strategies. Make sure you’re eating a diet high in organic fruits, organic whole grains and organic vegetables; exercising regularly to maintain a healthy weight; cutting back on smoking and drinking; getting adequate sleep and controlling your blood pressure. These steps make a significant difference, and can really help as you age.
While some people age healthy, studies compared the elderly with younger people, and found that the elderly are far more likely to contract infectious diseases because of a lower immune system. Respiratory infections, pneumonia and influenza are leading causes of death for those over 65. Eating healthy organic foods increases the production of T-cells, which help fight off infection and helps the body’s ability to mount a more vigorous immune response.
Organically Grown Whole Foods Promote Good Glucose and Insulin Function
Diabetics need to understand the importance of various foods’ affect on blood glucose. Having diabetes means that your body has trouble controlling blood glucose levels. When blood glucose stays too high for too long, serious health problems can develop. However, by controlling your blood glucose through medication, exercise and most importantly, an organic diet, you can delay or prevent problematic conditions associated with diabetes, such as kidney malfunctions, eye problems, heart disease and other complications. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), following a diabetes meal plan, which consists of organic foods, can help you keep your blood glucose levels on track.
Glucose is regulated by the insulin in your body. Insulin helps glucose move from the blood into your muscle cells, where it can be used for energy. Some oral diabetes medications help you produce more insulin or help your insulin work more efficiently, so your medications and food plan have to work together. If you take insulin shots, you need to be especially careful to match the amount of carbohydrates you eat with your insulin dose.
Eating an excessive amount of carbs without adjusting your insulin dose might cause your blood glucose to spike. If you consume too few carbohydrates, your blood glucose might bottom out, or become too low. The best choice for whatever food choices you make should consist of organic foods such as fruit, vegetables, poultry, beef and pork. These will regulate your blood sugar, unlike processed food, which can spike or bottom out your insulin levels and cause inflammation, which can eventually lead to rheumatoid arthritis.
Your immune response needs regular nourishment through organic foods to stay strong. There is evidence that suggests that people who live in poverty and are malnourished are more vulnerable to infectious diseases.
Various “micronutrient” deficiencies — for example, deficiencies in vitamins A, B6, C, and E, as well as zinc, copper, iron, folic acid and selenium — alter immune responses. If you suspect your diet is not providing you with all your micronutrient needs, eating healthy organic food rich in these vitamins and minerals brings health benefits of many types, especially a healthy immune system. Eat organic foods like fruits, vegetables, grass-fed beef and cage-free eggs. These will provide all the vitamins you need, and then some.
Additionally, a number of herbs and vitamins can influence the immune system in good ways. These include foods like organic spirulina, organic chlorella, sustainably grown and harvested ginseng, aloe vera, echinacea, garlic, licorice root and probiotics. And while science has not proven that these nutrients unequivocally promote good immune function, if you do choose to take these nutrients, it can’t hurt.
High Nutrient, Low-Carb
Carbohydrates are foods that have the biggest effect on your blood glucose levels. After you eat carbohydrates, your blood glucose rises. Fruits, dairy, sweets and starches all contain carbohydrates. Although carbohydrates are important for health, when you eat too many at once, your blood glucose can rise too high. This can also lead to other diseases such as heart attack, stroke and rheumatoid arthritis. Other carbs, such as sweet potatoes and vegetables, are better for you and less risky when considering a glucose spike. Additionally, avoiding processed and packaged foods and eating more fiber and nutrients is another good strategy.
If you’re overweight, you can eat the same foods as everyone else, but the devil is in the details. A smart meal plan will tells you when, what and how much to eat. It’s important not to completely deprive yourself of the foods you like, so your diet can include your favorite foods. Just make sure your meal plan is also covering foods like fruits, vegetables, low-fat organic dairy, whole grains, eggs, lean meats and fish. Other organic disease-fighting foods include:
Green and black teas are rich in polyphenols (catechins), which are known to reduce inflammation, lower the risk of stroke and prevent cancer cells from dividing. These polyphenols may protect against various types of diseases. Red wine and olive oil are also rich in polyphenols.
Soy foods are rich in nutrients, especially in several types of phytoestrogens — weak, non-steroidal estrogens — that can help prevent prostate, stomach, esophageal and breast cancers by blocking and suppressing the cancerous changes. Soy protein can lead to the lowest mortality rate among cancer patients, along with the lower probability of recurrence.
Ever heard of allium vegetables? Onions, leeks, garlic and onions are allium-based veggies that can significantly lower the risk of heart disease, stroke and prostate cancer. These vegetables contain immune-enhancing allium compounds (diallyl sulfides) that appear to increase the activity of the immune cells that fight disease. These compounds also help in blocking carcinogens from entering into the cells apart from slowing down the development of tumors.
Fiber protects and helps in clearing off the disease causing wastes and toxins from your gastrointestinal tract. It promotes weight loss by making you feel fuller, longer. Being obese or overweight will put you at greater risk for heart disease, stroke and alzheimer’s disease.
Carrots have falcarinol and beta carotene, which has been shown to reduce a wide range of cancers such as throat, mouth, lung, breast, prostate, bladder, intestine and stomach cancers. Isolated cancer cells grow more slowly when exposed to falcarinol and beta carotene. Tomatoes contain Lycopene, an antioxidant known for its anti-cancer properties, specifically preventing cancers in breast, pancreas, colon and prostate regions.
Vegetables like kale, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli contain disease fighting antioxidants like zeaxanthin and lutein. Cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli have a chemical component called indole-3-carbinol that can combat breast cancer by converting a cancer-promoting estrogen into a more protective variety. Broccoli alone has phytochemical called sulforaphane, a product of glucoraphanin, which is believed to aid in preventing rectum and colon cancers, as well as prevent cardiovascular disease.
Grapes contain bioflavonoids, the powerful antioxidants that work as disease preventives. Grapes are also rich sources of resveratrol, a natural phenol, which inhibits the enzymes that can stimulate cancer-cell growth and suppress the immune response. Avocados are rich in glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that attacks the free radicals in the body by blocking the intestinal absorption of certain fats. They also supply a high level of potassium and are strong sources of beta-carotene. Finally, berries — like blue, red, black and strawberries — are rich in ellagic acid, one of the most powerful antioxidants, which help in preventing the growth of cancer cells and boosts your immune system.
Food choices that includes these specific disease fighting foods can be a huge factor in boosting your immune system, preventing illness, and a big help to those suffering from major illness during their recovery process. Having a healthy lifestyle, void of smoking and drinking, is vital as well. Research suggests that around 70-percent of all major diseases can be averted if people exercise, eat organic plant-based foods and minimize bad foods, including chemically treated and altered foods. Doing so will ensure that your body is healthy, clean and chemically free.
David Novak is a international syndicated newspaper columnist, appearing in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV around the world. His byline has appeared in GQ, National Geographic, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest, USA Today, among others, and he has appeared on The Today Show, the CBS Morning Show and Paul Harvey Radio. David is a specialist in health and fitness, and he is a regular contributing editor for Healthline. For more information, visit http://www.healthline.com/.
With winter approaching, now is a great time to start planning for next year’s veggie garden. A little extra planning and knowledge of your area’s hardiness zone can help you extend your garden’s growing season past summertime next year. Our raised beds were literally just constructed this past October so I was able to only sneak in a few fall crops. Some look like they will most definitely make it and some may not…I’m still getting to know our new zone since we recently moved. Even if they don’t all make it, my 3 year old daughter had fun planting the seeds and seeing the sprouts come up. Watching her learn and get excited about her garden is so priceless.
Benefits of a Fall Garden
As long as you time your planting right, you can enjoy the cool weather crops that your body starts to crave as the season changes. Salad greens are perfect to grow in the fall if you have hot summers where you live, as it’s difficult to grow them when it’s hot and dry. Some vegetables have the best yield when they’re planted in the fall to overwinter and harvest in spring to summer. Next year my main goal with our garden is to do the best I can to get as much yield for as much time as possible. This will help us cut our grocery bill down, as we’re on a budget and it’s tough to afford all organic all the time. It would be great to have an abundance so we can do lots of canning and enjoy our harvest throughout the entire year.
What Can You Plant in a Fall Garden?
What you can plant in your area depends on your hardiness zone. You can find it by searching with your zip code on the National Gardening Association’s website. Knowing your zone will help you choose plants that will survive in the coldest temperatures where you live. I spent my entire life up until now in zone 5. Now we’re 7b. That’s quite a difference…like I said, I’ve got lots of learning to do! That’s the fun of it. Oh, and the other important factor is knowing your first and last killing frost dates for the year. If you’re not sure, check NOAA’s website for your city and dates. To figure out when to plant, look at the number of days it will take the vegetable to reach maturity. Then count back the number of days from the first frost date. Most cool season veggies taste the best when they mature during cool weather. Frost blankets like this one can help protect plants from frost and extend the growing season.
Here are some examples of veggies that can be planted for a fall garden:
- Garlic (planted in the fall for a summer harvest)
- Potatoes (in warmer areas, potatoes can be planted in the fall for a spring harvest)
- Broccoli and cauliflower
- Lettuce/salad greens/spinach
- Brussels sprouts
What We Planted This Fall
We planted one pound of garlic in one of our 4’ x 8’ raised beds. If all goes well, 1 pound should yield 10 pounds! I ordered organic seed garlic from GrowOrganic.com (it’s important to not plant the kind you buy at the store because it’s typically treated to prevent germination.) Garlic will grow well in nearly any kind of well-drained, fertile soil. It was really easy and fun for my daughter and I to plant. Here’s how to plant, grow and harvest it:
- You’ll receive whole garlic bulbs when you buy them to plant. Crack them into separate cloves for planting. My daughter loved helping me do this! It’s not necessary to remove the thin skin from the cloves. Make sure you plant them within a week after cracking so they don’t dry out.
- Plant the garlic cloves root end down, a few inches into the soil, 4” to 6” apart in rows spaced 18” apart. Cover with about 2” to 3” inches of soil.
- Water well and cover with a good layer of mulch, such as leaves or straw. A couple of inches will do in warmer climates but a thicker layer is best if you have hard winters.
- Leave the garlic alone until spring, then remove mulch when the danger of frost is over. Water well and after that, only water when the soil is dry. Make sure there is good drainage to prevent the garlic from rotting. It’s good to feed the garlic with a good compost or an organic fertilizer in the spring.
- Keep weeds out.
- When the leaves start to turn yellow in the early summer, stop watering for 2 weeks and then pull up the entire garlic plant. Place them in a shady spot to cure. (Don’t leave it in the sun.) Another way to cure garlic is to tie it in bunches and hang it in a dark place with good air circulation.
- Store the garlic in mesh bags in a cool dry area. Best conditions are 50 degrees F and less than 60% humidity.
We planted a mesclun mix (arugula, mizuna, red kale and tat soy) which takes 24-28 days to reach maturity, red ruby chard and spinach which takes 39-60 days. I think we may have been too late, as it’s mid November and the growth seems to be halted. Next year we’ll plant earlier for fall harvest, or use a row cover to protect from frost.
We tried carrots and maybe there’s a chance they’ll make it for early winter, we’ll see! If not, we’ll try them in the spring and earlier in the fall next time.
I ordered a few different kinds of organic seed potatoes with a coupon online. They were very inexpensive, so they will be amazingly economical to grow as opposed to buying them at the store! Under the best conditions, we can expect to harvest 10-15 pounds of potatoes for every pound planted. I’m going to try and plant them when they’re shipped at the end of this month so they’ll overwinter and be ready by late spring/early summer. We’re right on the edge as far as our zone goes for planting them at this time instead of spring, so my fingers will be crossed!
Where We Ordered Our Organic Seeds
So far I have ordered all of our seeds from GrowOrganic.com. Their Peaceful Valley brand vegetable seeds are all non-GMO and Certified Organic. There is an amazing organic gardening resource center on their website, and you can choose to add free gardening guides to your online order. Once you become a customer, they’ll send coupons to you via email.
Have you extended your veggie garden into the fall? What did you plant?