No amount of medication or supplements—no matter how many claims are made—can make up for a poor diet. How we nourish our bodies is fundamental to healthy living.
What Does Living Healthier Mean to You?
There is beauty in simplicity and, although “healthy living” may appear to require endless free time, being wealthy, or constantly following the latest trends, I would like to offer another option.
What if living healthier is more about connection than consumption?
Recently I heard Dr. Zach Bush say that his new one-word answer to the question of “What is regenerative?” is connection. This struck me as I began to consider the intention of regenerative agriculture. This made me realize that regenerative agriculture is a reconnection with the soil and, as we reconnect with the soil, we also reconnect with plants (our food). By reconnecting with our food (and where it comes from), we reconnect with what it feels like to be nourished—also reconnecting with the seasons, nature, and so much more.
A chain reaction is started by the simple act of connection that can create a massive shift in what it means to “be” healthy. It allows us to think of healthy living as a state of “being” connected rather than of buying or doing more.
What Causes Dis-ease?
Disease is defined as “a disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, especially one that has a known cause and a distinctive group of symptoms, signs, or anatomical changes.” (Oxford Dictionary)
We are continuing to learn about the effects of growing plants using herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides—which help to fend off disease and predators at the cost of disrupting the microbiome of the soil. Unfortunately, this disruption makes minerals and other nutrients in the soil less available to the plant (and affects our own microbiome); weakens the plants' natural defenses (so it produces fewer phytonutrients); and of course, has many potential environmental and human health impacts.
A small imperfection in a plant, such as an insect bite out of a leaf of lettuce, may be hardly noticeable. Yet, it causes an increase in the phytonutrients that the plant produces, and the plant thereby builds resilience.
Although a diagnosis of disease can feel like one that came out of nowhere, often the disease process is years in the making. Think of how many diseases begin with dis-ease (a lack of a feeling of ease) in the mind and/or body, perhaps in the form of low-grade chronic inflammation (physical or emotional) that is sometimes ignored, pushed through, or forgotten about due to busy lives.
Then there’s resilience.
“Resilience is the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility.” (American Psychological Association).
Building Resilience for Living Healthier
These six key areas serve as the foundation.
- Sleep and Relaxation: Ensuring that you are getting seven to eight restful hours of sleep each night is important for disease prevention and allows your body time to repair and regenerate.
- Exercise and Enjoyable Movement: Finding ways to move regularly throughout the day in ways that feels good to your body increases blood flow, relieves stress, and helps improve mood.
- It is impossible to avoid all toxins; however, making simple swaps can make a big difference, so avoid:
- heating food in plastic
- cookware coated with Teflon
- skincare products that contain xenoestrogens
- herbicides or pesticides
- Detoxification does not require a juice cleanse. Your body is working to eliminate toxins each and every second. Focus on supporting liver health, daily bowel movements, breathing, sweating, and drinking plenty of clean filtered water each day to support healthy detoxification.
- Nourishment: Natural compounds that give plants their taste, color, and smell (making them beautiful and delicious) are called phytonutrients, and these may reduce inflammation and help tp prevent cell damage. Consider including as much color and diversity of whole foods in your daily diet as possible.
- Stress Management: Notice this does not say to avoid stress because it’s impossible to completely avoid. Instead, develop ways to process and manage stress. Consider creative outlets like drawing, painting, gardening, or journaling, or practicing gratitude, meditation, or prayer.
- Relationships: We’re experiencing an epidemic of loneliness, and mental health and physical health are closely tied. Make a point to connect with others who you enjoy being around and share interests with, and provide support regularly. Sharing a meal is a great way to connect.
Healthy Living and Vegetables
If you search “health benefits of vegetables” on PubMed, 2,952 results come back. Needless to say, it is well established that vegetables are inherently healthy and should be included as part of a healthy lifestyle for disease prevention.
So, do not stress about the “best” vegetable to be eating for your health. If your body is craving a certain vegetable, there is likely a reason. Eating only one “superfood” is not nearly as beneficial as the plethora of nutrients you receive from eating a diverse array of whole colorful foods.
Superfoods literally surround us on a farm, and they do not have to be exotic. The definition of a superfood is a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being, which can easily be seen in the beautiful regeneratively grown fresh vegetables, herbs, and microgreens that we grow!
Our new “build your own box” feature is based on specific health conditions and provides pages of vegetables, herbs, microgreens, and teas that have research supporting their use for each condition. Even better, you are able to pick and choose which vegetables fit your needs—thereby building your own box.
Categories of fresh vegetables to choose from focus on:
- Brain Health
- Cancer Prevention
- Gut Health
- Heart Health
- Hormone Support
- Immunity Support
- Liver Health
- Low Carbohydrate (balancing blood sugar)
- Multiple Sclerosis
The recommended amount of vegetables is variable, based on whom you ask and if you are trying to prevent or treat a condition. At least four cups a day, though, is a great starting point. You’ll see seasonal variability, of course, with more vegetables in the spring, summer, and fall, and maybe a few less over the winter.
Seasonal Vegetables Harvested Fresh and Delivered to Your Doorstep
Our regeneratively farmed vegetables are harvested to order—meaning that they are harvested at peak ripeness and then shipped overnight to your home so that they retain the highest levels of nutrients and flavor.
Our goal is for the farmer to become part of the health and wellness team. We are here to support you with the nourishing vegetables you need and the conversations we have. Join the Farmacy at The Chef’s Garden Facebook Group to connect with others and view our exclusive monthly Facebook Lives.