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Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

This article is submitted by Suki K Tranqille, certified Square Foot Garden Instructor. For more information please visit http://www.gokiheals.com or e-mail Suki at gokiheals@yahoo.com.

Generally most people who eat from their vegetable gardens are already eating healthy vegetables, so what is a health and healing garden? I will start by sharing with you the evolution that led me to my health and healing garden.

Ten years ago I was diagnosed with anemia. Anemia occurs when your blood doesn’t have enough hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. A common cause of anemia is not having enough Iron. Anemia afflicts women who experience heavy periods and can be hereditary. For me, this was a double whammy – my mother had also been diagnosed as having anemia. I was not surprised after the doctor explained the diagnosis because I was well aware that I experienced a number of the symptoms. Fatigue was a part of my daily life and had been for many years along with cold hands/feet and headaches. The fatigue was such that afternoon naps were a must. That was fine during college but a big problem when I started to go into an office to work. I would sometimes take naps in the bathroom stalls at work and though my commute to and from work consisted of two hours on a bus, I welcomed the time to sleep. I was not as consistent taking the Iron Supplements that were required because they wrecked havoc on my stomach. My choices were to either be tired and suffer headaches or suffer daily stomach pains. I chose the former as the lesser of two evils. To combat the fatigue I tried a number of things – mocha latte with a double shot of espresso in the mornings for the fatigue and a daily Advil for the headaches. The caffeine seemed to make the headaches worse so I had to move up to two Advil pills a day. While experiencing the effects of the caffeine I was a whirlwind of energy but when I came down, I crashed. Going to sleep was like going into a black hole. This was an expensive proposition but as my job required a lot of energy and constant interaction with people, I did not see too many options. As is common with those who suffer an Iron Deficiency, I began to notice my hair thinning and beginning to bald on the side – I seriously considered and looked into hair transplant surgery. Luckily around this time, I was fired from my job and had time to think.

I no longer passed by the coffee shop with the mocha latte and I felt that something had to be really wrong if I could not get through a day without Advil. Several doctors visits over the years complaining about headaches and fatigue produced no results and I realized it was my responsibility to fix myself. I knew that I had an Iron Deficiency and I also knew that the supplements caused me pain – I needed to know why and what I could do to get the Iron I needed without the pain. I started by researching foods that were high in Iron and found this basic list:

  • Liver and other meats
  • Seafood
  • Dried fruits like apricots, prunes and raisins
  • Nuts
  • Beans, especially lima beans
  • Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Whole grains
  • Iron-fortified breads and cereals (check the label)

By this time meat had already been eliminated from my diet and I still remembered the first time I realized the liver my mother made was actually a liver. While researching the foods that have high Iron content, I came across some favorites (Cream of Wheat) and an article that dealt with Iron Absorbtion. It turns out that my diet was inhibiting my body’s ability to absorb Iron. For example, according to some, coffee and tea reduces Iron absortion while Vitamin C enhances Iron absortion. After a lot of research, I developed a regimen that did work – Vitamin A, B, C and Iron (Chelated) in the morning and any herbal tea in the afternoon (by this time I eliminated coffee and all caffeine from my diet). Along with my supplements I made sure to eat at least one of the items on the list and would get my vegetables from the fresh section of the supermarket.

My nature of continual study led me to the FDA’s website of nutritional values of various fruits and vegetables in an effort to decrease my dependence on supplements (which I started to feel took the place of the Advil). I thought, if I would just eat more broccoli, spinach and carrots I would be able to come up with a high Iron absorbing diet negating my need for supplements. It turns out that the vegetables I was eating did not have all the nutritional value that I thought because both fruits and vegetables begin to loose their nutritional value from the time they are picked/harvested. Frozen vegetables, assuming they were frozen pretty immediately after picking retained the most vitamins and nutrients but of course, I wasn’t at the packaging facility – what did I know? Add to that the pesticides that were used in non-organic fruits and vegetables and things started getting really complex. All I wanted to do was to be independent of any pills or supplements. One day, I took a piece of garlic out of the refrigerator that started to grow and realized the answer was there all along – I just had to open my eyes and see it. To get the maximum nutritional value that my body needs (my particular body) – I was going to have to grow it myself. I started by digging up parts of my backyard which drew a big “NO” from my husband, but then I stumbled on a way to garden – The Square Foot Garden (that was a “yes”). Now each health and healing garden is designated for each person in my family and their particular needs. My table grows Cabbage, Broccoli, Spinach, Eggplant, Rosemary, Potatoes, and Carrots. The children’s tables reflect a greater need for the B vitamins allowing their bodies to process carbohydrates and sugars and my husband’s box consists of more broccoli, tomatoes, licorice and garlic.

Now, the headaches are completely gone and though the bald section of my hair is still rather obvious, the improvement causes me to smile in the mornings. I cheer at the sight of all new baby hairs, proudly displaying them to my husband and children. My body is healing and my health is maintained all thanks, I have no doubt, to my health and healing garden.

Thank you for this informative article to improve the quality of lives within our community Suki.

Peace Love and Hugs

Diana Gardner-Williams

Publisher- Just a Cloud Away, Inc.™ Journal

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