By Darla Miller, BS, MBA
I have a black thumb. I don’t have the time or energy to build a traditional garden. Although I did try. One year, my husband and I surveyed our yard, picked a nice sunny spot, went to the local DIY store, bought the materials to build a raised bed, bought some good soil mix (we have very sandy, nutrient depleted soils), bought some seeds and went to work. It looked great. I was so proud. The green beans came up and looked amazing. Then one day – boom – they all died. The carrots never did come up. The spring mix got to be about an inch tall. Radishes? Well, I never did find them. Then there was the weeding! Don’t get me started on the weeding! At the end, the spot we picked wasn’t sunny enough, but it was already built and you can’t just move a raised bed. So, now it sits filled with a lot of leaves and weeds. Ugh. I felt so defeated.
Everything we do in life leaves a footprint. Whether it’s the career choices we make, the friends we hang out with, how we choose to spend our free time, where we live or the food we eat. Each of these can have an impact on our health and wellbeing.
How far your food travels can have a significant effect on your health. Many people don’t think about the health costs associated with buying our fruits and vegetables from a foreign country. One of the main ones I want to discuss is nutrient deficiency.
Nutrient Deficiency – Fruits and vegetables that are grown on over-worked soils can result in lower nutrient content, which results in the need to augment the soil with artificial nutrients. Herbicides and pesticides used on the plants also pose a serious health risk. If the fruits and vegetables have to be transported a long distance, they will often be harvested before they are ripe, further reducing the nutrient value (and taste) of the produce. In addition, as soon as the produce is picked, it starts losing the precious enzymes that are so good for our bodies. Think about what we are getting in the grocery store. How long has it had to travel to get to us?
One of my best discoveries was the Tower Garden, by Juice Plus+. This amazing product removes all of unknowns of where you get your fruits and vegetables – because you grow them yourself. As many of my friends know, I am into finding sustainable living products, food sources, etc. I have been so happy with my Tower Garden (of course I have 2, soon to be 3) so that I can get the freshest, organic fruits, veggies and herbs for my green drinks, for my meals, and for my snacks. All I do now is walk outside, pick what I want, wash it (to get the dust off it) and either blend it, juice it, or just eat it.
I am always amazed as to how sweet fresh greens taste. I walked by my Tower one morning and I was picking off a few leaves of kale and before I knew it I popped it in my mouth. My brain screamed – “Ahhh, what are you doing, it’s going to be bitter!!!!” But, to my surprise it had a nice sweet undertone. It took a little while for my brain to catch on that it wasn’t as bitter as I expected and it was very pleasant. I also enjoy fresh, uncooked green beans.
The Tower Garden is an aeroponic system. The plants grow in a fraction of the time as conventional gardens (bibb lettuce takes less than 4 weeks from the time it’s put into the Tower). No weeding is necessary (woo hoo). It recycles water so it uses <10% of the water of conventional gardens and recycles nutrients. Plants continue to grow after material is harvested, so you get way more product than from a traditional garden. The Tower Garden takes up a very small area and can be moved, if needed (can’t do that with a raised bed). The fruits, vegetables and herbs grown in the Tower Garden are always fresh, which maximizes natural enzyme and nutrient availability.
Darla Miller, BS, MBA is a Certified Aromatherapist and Consultant. She has over 20 years of experience working with plants in the natural environment. This experience provided a solid foundation for opening a natural product shop in Leesburg, Florida. Everything about our lives are about BALANCE – home, work, recreation. But, people often forget how important BALANCE is for our body. One of Darla’s passions is learning about how proper nutrition and natural products help to balance our body systems and then teaching others so that they can begin to bring their systems into a balanced state.
Leesburg Herb Shoppe
A Black Thumb’s Guide to Sustainable Health and Nutrition
By Darla Miller, BS, MBA