My eyes are green because I eat a lot of vegetables. One of my favorite songs by Erykah Badu. I try to eat a lot of them. It has gotten to be an expensive lifestyle- this healthy living culture. However, as a Family Medicine doctor, I know the consequences of cheating your body of the nutrients it needs. And the converse, feeding your body garbage such as processed food and the like. My transition to healthier eating habits was a gradual process. I was the girl always trying to gain 10lbs slurping down a carnation milk-based smoothie with 4 sugars and a side of chicken pasteles. Then suddenly when I hit 30, my skin went hay-wire and my stomach bloated permanently. Stopped me dead in my deep-fried, dairy loving tracks. There began my journey to learning what to put in and keep out of my body and why. My stages included cutting out processed foods, dairy, refined sugars, deep-fried foods. And I learned how to cook my own healthy foods. I shopped at the farmer’s market every weekend. Juiced thrice a week, blended every day. It was a slow change. Since then, I’ve reintroduced certain things back into my life using healthier choices.
Fast forward to now. I’m living in the south. While I love southern living and wouldn’t trade anything for the fresh air and convenience of Wal-Mart and Target every 5 miles, there is simply no place like New York. It is very easy to be healthy in NYC. Aside from all of the walking, pushing and shoving that kept my glutes perky and biceps toned, there are tons of farm-to-market restaurants and “fast healthy food” shops on every block downtown. Freshly juiced green drink storefronts abound and have taken the place of burger joints. On my worst day, Chipotle was cheating. But here, in NC, you have to research your healthy eateries and keep that list in your wallet because you may not run across one on your daily route. Barbeque is king here. When I do find a tasty healthy restaurant, I become excited and obsessed about it, and I eat there daily. My bank account has suffered.
So finally, I have some down time to start what I’ve waited my whole life to do…grow a garden! No longer would I have to spend $20 on a kale salad with a spinach and carrot juice. I would grow my own! I’ve always been interested in gardening since I was a child. My mother kept plants all over the house and I watched her prune them and water them. My green thumb was innate. At 6 years old I grew marigolds and azalea’s on my fire escape. Since being an adult, everywhere I have ever lived had to have an outdoor space where I could potentially grow things. although it never happened…until now!
Something about being in NC makes me feel more settled. Perhaps all the other years, in my subconscious, I knew I’d not stay in that state, so why start a garden. But I got the instinct to grow this time. I also got the nerve to accept a permanent job and put an offer on a house. But that’s a different post. Back to the seeds. I bought a great book which is basically gardening for dummies. I spent an hour reading it and felt empowered to go to Home Depot, where I ravaged the seed department. the book recommended small spaces start a garden with 9 big pots. I ended up with 20 packets of seeds. I have no idea how this will end, but I’ll keep you updated.
I admit that my green thumb does not make me a gardener. I am learning so much along the way. Growing a cucumber bush is nothing like growing marigolds. But it can’t be that hard either. I spent the most money on my seeds which were about $1.89 per pack. the potting cups were about $4 for a pack of 16. I used my two wine racks to hold my potting cups. after my seeds are sprouted, I will plant the whole cup into bigger pots.
I chose what to plant based a few things:
1. what I normally eat
2. what costs me the most money to buy
3.how much sunlight my balcony will get daily
4. how soon I want to harvest the plants.
I started late spring so I chose the seeds which also grow rather quickly. Here’s what I’m growing: Spinach, Lettuce, Microgreens, pea shoots, broccoli, kale, beets, round carrots, cucumbers, chives, fennel, rosemary, basil, thyme, lavender, and poppies. I bought a starter kit for both strawberries and blueberries because my store didn’t sell the seeds.
I am so excited to see my seedlings turning into plants after only 6 days. I cannot imagine the feeling of having a garden of fresh greens to bring into my kitchen. It didn’t take much time or money to get started. If you think you can provide dedicated focus and positive energy to these delicate living, breathing beings that need patience and love, then you too have a green thumb!