One of the simplest ways to enhance your diet is by growing food at home. Vegetable & herb plants are easy to maintain and provide you and your family with a number of health benefits. When you do your own gardening, you get to control the type of soil in which your plants grow, to which chemicals (if any) they are exposed, as well as how ripe its yield is when picked. All these factors contribute to a healthier harvest that tastes better and fresher than anything you could ever purchase at a grocery store. Read on for more information on how home grown produce can boost nutrition & overall wellness.
Nourishment. Freshness = flavor, and when it comes to home gardening, it can’t possibly get any better. How many times have you reached into your fridge, only to pull out droopy, unappealing disappointment in place of the crisp, mouthwatering produce your selected at the market. With a home garden, you literally pick the food off of the stem just minutes before you cook. And the sooner you ingest food after it’s been picked, the more nutrients that are retained and transferred to nourish your body.
Satisfaction. The increased flavor of fresh vegetables and herbs also helps you to feel more satisfied, thus allowing you to eat less and save on calories. Of course, vegetables themselves are mostly low calorie foods anyway, so maintaining a diet with a reasonable calorie count will be easier in general. Fresh herbs also assist in that feeling of satiety by adding to the aroma of meals. When you incorporate your sense of smell into the eating experience, it tends to allow you to feel fuller while eating less.
Convenience. Another reason gardening at home supports a healthy diet is by sheer convenience. Just like anything else that is abundantly available, you’ll eat more plant foods if there are more of them around. You’ll also have a desire to enjoy the fruits of your labor (pun intended), once you’ve invested time in growing and caring for them. Trust me, once you’ve nurtured a little plant from seed, it’s highly unpleasant to waste any of its output.
Health Benefits. Eating a more highly plant based diet is often linked to better overall health and lower risk of cancer. Not to mention all of the exposure to fresh air and sunshine that you’ll inevitably get while tending to your garden. You’ll also get a little exercise while pulling weeds, composting and watering.
Organic Assurance. To anyone who is concerned about what pesticides and other chemicals farmers may be using, home grown foods are often appealing because the growing environment is completely controlled. Plus, the price of growing organic food is much less costly than what you’ll pay in the store.
More Motivation. If all these reasons aren’t enough to get you excited about growing and eating more veggies, maybe a competition with financial stakes will help. Yep, you read that correctly – there’s an app called Pact that allows you to place a wager on the bet that you’ll eat a certain number of vegetables servings in a week. Bets start at $5, and increase from there. If you don’t meet your goal, you’re charged the money you put up, if you achieve your goal, money is paid to you from the other people who did not meet their goals.
What’ Next? If you’re interested, but still reluctant because you don’t know where to start – don’t worry. You can read my Beginner’s Guide to Growing Food at Home. It has suggestions on what to grow from seed and which plants to purchase from a store. I’ll also explain how to know when to start your gardening season and where to find more resources on successful cultivation.
Happy harvesting! If you have questions or success stories, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section! Or, as always, tag me on social @philippakarr.