I grew up in Chicago, where I was raised on over-cooked meat and canned vegetables. Food was never that important to me when I was younger. As a result, when I first started practicing medicine, I admit that I did not pay attention to what I was eating—or what my patients were eating, for that matter.
However, as I became more experienced practicing integrative medicine and saw the benefits of healthy eating, I found food to be one of the most therapeutic tools that I have to offer.
A healthy, whole food diet is the key to wellness. It reduces inflammation, helps to maintain an optimal weight and prevent illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. It is also much healthier to get your vitamins naturally from food (in fact, a recent Consumer Reports story found that some vitamins and supplements may have risks and may contain more of certain nutrients than is necessary). Most importantly, fresh, organic food can be delicious.
I was reminded of that this past weekend when I was lucky enough to eat at a restaurant in Berkeley, California called Chez Panisse. Alice Waters is the proprietor and has been revolutionary in promoting the homegrown organic food movement. The food for my dinner was raised locally. It was fresh, organic and some of the tastiest I have ever eaten.
I grow some of my own food now, too. My husband is from Brooklyn, New York, so it is really funny to think of the two of us “city kids” tending to a vegetable garden. We have tons of tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans and strawberries, and will soon have raspberries and corn.
You can grow your own garden and reap your own health benefits. You don’t need a yard or special garden spot. Fruit and vegetables can be grown on balconies and front porches. Many areas have cooperative gardens that are shared by neighborhoods.
Why is this important, you may ask? Because “The greatest wealth is health.” ~Virgil
Do you have any gardening tips for hesitant fruit or vegetable gardeners? Let us know in the comment section below.
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