I am a big believer in one important fact when it comes to easy gluten-free living…
If your food grows from the ground – especially in your own garden – there is no ingredient list to read, no possibilities of cross-contamination (unless you are also growing gluten-containing grains), and no hidden preservatives. There is no packaging to throw away. No destruction of nutrients from processing. And unless it is growing near glutenous grains, then you can bet your intestinal villi that it is gluten-free.
When I was thinking about a topic to share with you for the 30 Days to Easy Gluten-Free Living event being hosted by Diane Eblin, of The Whole Gang, my first thought was how easy it is to be gluten-free if you are eating whole foods and vegetables. And what better place to get those whole foods than from than your own garden?
Did you know that often the produce bought in the grocery store is already 3 to 4 weeks old and has traveled an average of 1500 miles to get to your plate? Can you even imagine how many nutrients have been lost along that journey?
The only traveling that the vegetables you grow yourself will do is that trek from the plant, to your hand, to your mouth. How is that for nutrient dense?
Here is the kicker. You can do it yourself. Yes, YOU! You can grow your own food without having to be dependent on any one else to do it. And I mean it when I say, “You can do it.” I have absolute confidence in this fact.
Because, here is the thing…If I can grow a garden with my black thumb in the middle of the sandy Arizona desert, then you can grow one where ever you are.
I am not kidding. I spent a life-time killing plants. It was a family joke. And it was especially painful for my mother-in-law to watch. She seriously has one of the greenest thumbs around.
I have wanted to have a bountiful vegetable garden for years (I even put it on my Vision Board). But I always thought it would be too much work. That, or I figured I would just manage to kill it all.
But? I finally did it. After starting with some pots on the patio and along the side of my house, I (and when I say “I” I mean my husband) finally built an above ground garden along the perimeter of my yard. And it was actually very simple to do. And it took up hardly any space.
My garden is not huge. It is only about 2 feet deep (and about 40 feet long). In it I am currently growing: 5 different types of Tomatoes, Anaheim Peppers, Ruby Red Peppers, Sweet Candied Onions, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Spinach, Kale, Arugula, Strawberries, Beans, Artichokes, and a huge variety of Herbs.
I learned about companion planting and the basics of ideal soil conditions. I found out why to plant Marigolds in your vegetable garden and even about the benefits of ladybugs in the garden. So with fingers crossed and a little research under my belt, I dove in to my organic soil, elbow deep.
And this is what happened:
And guess what? We are now eating from the garden. Every day. I have not purchased any salad greens for over 2 months now. I do not have to. My spinach, my arugula, and my kale have exploded. And my tomatoes? Holy maters. They are going crazy.
It does not matter where you are. Or what type of yard you have. You can have a patio. You can be in an apartment. You can be yard-less.
Because guess what? There isa garden for that (whatever your “that” may be).
You can have a Vertical Garden – to grow up for bountiful vegetable and herb crops. A Container Garden – for even the smallest patios or porches. Or even an Indoor Garden – when the outdoors is not an option. And if you do not want to plant right into the ground, there are some amazing Cedar Raised Bed Gardens – you can pick your layout and design to fit your space.
You can truly grow herbs and vegetables wherever you have a little sunlight and access to water.
I want to be your inspiration to go out and start a vegetable garden. I never thought I would actually be successful in mine, and yet here I am, trying to eat as many greens and veggies as possible so that none go to waste.
And do you know what one of the most rewarding parts of having a garden is? It is watching my boys go out with their little gardening tools, and eating arugula straight from the garden, or dipping parsley in water and eating it straight, or running out and seeing who is going to get to pick the next strawberry when it turns red – the boys, or the loud and annoying black crow who guards them like a hawk.
Just last weekend, on Mother’s Day, my sons gave me 1500 ladybugs to release into the garden. Ladybugs are considered a garden’s best friend. Each ladybug can eat up to fifty pesky aphids a day (among other critters)! They are a natural form of pest control. In a year, you could have up to three generations of ladybugs inhabiting your garden. It is, after all, the perfect mating spot.
You should have seen the laugh my husband and I had to supress as my boys were giggling hysterically at the ladybugs that were on top of each other “fighting” (as they called it). I was actually thinking it would have been a perfect time for a little lesson on the “Birds and Bees” as we were sitting out in the garden watching those ladybugs “fight”.
But? I thought I would save that one for my husband to tackle. Perhaps on Father’s Day.
Now…Go roll up your sleeves, get some dirt under those nails, and have a go at an easy and completely rewarding way to eat gluten-free!
And for more tips on Easy Gluten Free Living, you can check out yesterdays post from Ellen, the Gluten-Free Diva sharing Gluten Free Travel Tips. And tomorrow, you can learn all about Gluten-Free Food Rules from Melissa, of Gluten Free For Good.
Kim Maes, CNC, AADP, known as the Allergy Free Food Coach, is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant and Certified in the Practical Application of Food Allergy Guidelines.. She is also the creator of the Cook It Allergy Free iPhone and iPad Apps and the Cook It Allergy Free website, where she shares her passion for teaching others how easy and delicious it can be to eat whole, pure allergy-friendly meals that the entire family will enjoy.