My dentist, Michelle Jorgenson’s amazing March garden

Michelle Jorganson's Garden
Michelle Jorgansen’s Garden

In Utah, it’s supposed to be ski season. It’s supposed to be bitterly cold. We had a balmy three weeks in February that had all of us who have lived here for 30 years completely astonished. Like, gardening and running outside in a tank top, balmy.

Consequently, it’s early March and I have tulips, crocuses, and daffodils in full bloom in my yard!

But this is really inspirational. I shared Michelle Jorgenson’s path from traditional dentistry to biological dentistry last week. Now look how she

“walks the talk” in her own life. This is a serious commitment to sustainable

living, self-sufficiency, and eating a whole foods, plant based diet. She has ingenious grow boxes, soil amendment, water distribution, and covers for a year-round garden that really blows me away.

Delicious veggies harvested on March 7th!
Delicious veggies harvested on March 7th!

She’s an inspiration to me and I wanted to share what she harvested from her garden on March 7, with you!

Step 5 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods is all about how to garden, organically, in any space—and use everything you grow (lots of recipes and ideas too). It’s not too early to be planning your garden!

 

 

California drought? What’s the answer to increased food costs?

california-drought-mapIf you’re following the news, California is in a severe drought which is projected to increase our food prices significantly. Two top ideas radically decrease the cost of your green smoothies and whole-foods lifestyle. One, it’s not too late to significantly decrease the effect of the drought on your family: plant late-summer and fall gardens.

Second, have a freezer to put extra greens in, for the winter, for your smoothies, as well as cut-up peaches when they come on in August. It’s an important investment in your health and preparedness. I like to cube and freeze watermelon to use in a January GSG Detox! (We have two days of kidney detoxification where we eat all watermelon—you can partially thaw frozen watermelon for delicious blended smoothies all day. Your Detox Buddy will be so jealous, so freeze some for her, too.) Then you won’t be at the mercy of lousy-tasting, winter watermelon if you can even get it.

We’ll be doing a live GSG Detox on Aug.1, by the way! More on that soon, but learn more about the GSG Detox and sign up before then, HERE. The average person loses almost 13 lbs. and detoxifies colon, lymph, blood, liver, kidneys and gall bladder so they can serve you with increased efficiency and energy!

I teach you how to garden, in any space, organically, and use everything in your garden deliciously in ways you might not have thought of, in Step 5 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods.

Here is my YouTube video showing my compost boxes, easy to do, and helps you send almost nothing to the landfill, and lets you use your fruit/veggie scraps to nourish your next cycle in your garden!

Here’s another one of me in my garden from long ago, talking about how green smoothies are cheap when you garden!

GSG Operations Manager Nikki says she gets free beet greens and turnip greens at a community garden if you volunteer. Her community garden throws out most all the beet and turnip greens, keeping only the vegetable, because people don’t know those greens are great in smoothies!

Just for fun, here’s another older video about how I work with my kids in the kitchen and the garden—nostalgic to see how my now-teenaged youngest kids loved to help me.

World’s Largest Cucumber Comes Out of My Garden

 

This is Patty with a cucumber that somehow escaped notice in my garden until it became The Vegetable That Ate Chicago.

It wouldn’t work in a salad. But I refused to throw it in the compost.

It made three pints of juice! It wasn’t really yummy, not gonna lie. Kinda bitter.

But, we made it when I was recovering from major oral surgery. It was a perfect way to bring the inflammation down and let those angry, insulted tissues heal.

Organic vegetables are our birthright!

Check out the two tomatoes Patty is holding on the left. They came from the several acres growing 100 yards from my house, conventionally sprayed with toxic pesticides that will last literally generations in the groundwater and in my body and everyone else’s who live on this street.

My children are breathing it, and tracking it into my house on their shoes.  I didn’t know Patty bought these tomatoes. I guess she wanted to dehydrate more of them for the winter than we had coming out of the few plants in my garden.

The two tomatoes on the right were grown organically in my garden. I grew them with compost, and no effort whatsoever to worry about pests. The variety we planted were supposed to be SMALL tomatoes! I’ve lived here for 10 years, with my garden, and have never sprayed anything on anything.

Like John Denver sang, “Only two things that money can’t buy, and that’s true love, and home-grown tomatoes!”

If you grow your own garden, don’t let modern agricultural practices lull you into a sense of complacency that herbicides and pesticides and artificial fertilizers are necessary and righteous.

REAL farmers for thousands of years amended the soil with decayed plant matter, returning it to the Earth as food for the next crop. It’s a beautiful, eternal round that God intended.

He didn’t intend Monsanto to try to outsmart Mother Nature to inflict “Roundup Ready” crops on us. That’s where Monsanto has engineered crops that are impervious to their deadly Roundup chemicals.

I read Monsanto’s web site touting the virtues of their wonderful chemical approach to all the world’s problems. Monsanto’s frankenfoods, the company claims, are “a perfect fit with the vision of sustainable agriculture and environmental protection!”

Monsanto’s good-hearted vision allows farmers to “conserve fuel and decrease the overall amount of agriculatural herbicides used.” Are you buying any of this? I hope not, because there’s one reason ONLY for Monsanto’s practices:

THEY’VE PATENTED THEIR FOODS. Google and read about the epic battle between MONSANTO and DuPONT over who gets to grow these herbicide-resistant man-made foods. Then tell me if you think the actions of these companies are in the interests of public health.

Monsanto brags that they’ve now commercialized funky strains of alfalfa, corn, cotton, canola, and sugarbeets.

(Yet another reason not to eat sugar.)

In my google search, the NEXT item down, after Monsanto’s mind-blowing benevolent spin on its horrific agricultural agenda, was a Huffington Post article about farm animals having rampant miscarriages because of Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” GMO crops. These crops are highly linked to depleting the healthy flora in the human GI tract, leading to our  culture’s widespread digestive problems. It’s also linked to obesity and mental illness.

Purdue University’s Dr. Don Huber wrote Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (who fast-track-approved Roundup-Ready GMO foods) begging him to “avoid a general collapse of our critical agricultural infrastructure.”

Plus, the stuff doesn’t work. The Washington Post wrote recently that Roundup Ready Alfalfa is unnecessary, harmful to farms, more toxic than DDT (banned in the U.S. many years ago), and actually causes weeds to develop a resistance to Roundup.

You can’t recall a genetically modified plant from the environment. It changes the environment forever, and only Americans are inflicting this on the public with impunity. Europe bans GMOs and carefully regulates pesticide use, as do the other first-world nations.

Please. Grow your own food, with whatever space you have, the way people did for thousands of years. Stand up against conventional ag practices—by buying organic, and local too, and boycotting Monsanto and other chemical companies who are the terrorists of our food supply.

So what if the birds and bugs get a few. What we are doing isn’t just unconscionable—it’s unsustainable too. We cannot keep dumping millions of tons of new chemicals, annually, into our soil, water, and air, without massive ramifications to human health and the entire ecosystem.

 

 

It’s Tomatoes Galore at my house: RECIPES for you

Juan, my handyman-garden-guy, said, very proud: “We didn’t plant a variety of big tomatoes– they were supposed to be small, according to the seed packet. But look at these!” He brought the first 12 in to show me, rivaling the Texas grapefruit in size.

The tomatoes benefited from our rich compost pile. At the moment the compost pile is the home of an enormous watermelon plant. The kids have been eating a watermelon a day all summer long, and one or two of the seeds decided to take root.

We made them into vegan tomato soup (see recipe below). We chopped them with cucumbers and fresh basil and tossed in some balsamic vinegar, one of Libby’s favorite foods.

We dehydrated them to make catsup later (no high-fructose corn syrup, see recipe below), into which we dipped oven-baked, unpeeled oven fries.

Okay, actually Tennyson ate them ALL after a long day of baseball. I never got any. I heard they were good.

That’s organic tomato farming for you. It’s EASY. I hate the fact that 100 yards from me are several pesticide-sprayed acres of tomatoes. (Every time I drive past it, I want to cry. It’s in our groundwater and the air.) My tomatoes are unsprayed and delicious.

See the photo? Proof positive! Organic produce is easy. So we share a little with birds and bugs. Big deal. I’d rather share, than destroy the environment.

Healthy Garden Fresh Tomato Catsup

  • ·         5 cups Garden Fresh Tomatoes cut into large chunks
  • ·         1 cup balsamic or apple cider vinegar
  • ·         3 cups dehydrated tomatoes
  • ·         1/4 cup dates
  • ·         1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ·         1 clove garlic
  • ·         1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Blend ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth.  Serve or refrigerate. This catsup is great on “healthy fries.”

Healthy Fries

Cut potatoes (sweet or white but leave skins on) into potato slices. Place on lightly oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping them over when they are half cooked.

Garden Fresh Vegan Cream of Tomato Soup

  • ·         8 cups Garden Fresh Tomatoes cut into large chunks
  • ·         3 cups dehydrated tomatoes
  • ·         1 cup rice milk
  • ·         1 cup soaked raw cashews
  • ·         1 cup nutritional yeast
  • ·         2 dates
  • ·         3 cloves garlic
  • ·         1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ·         1 teaspoon black pepper

In a high-speed blender, blend everything until smooth except four cups of chopped tomatoes. Pour into a sauce pan. Add remaining four cups of tomatoes. Cook on a medium heat until soup starts to boil slightly. Turn to a low heat and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite healthy crackers and enjoy.

Libby and the Garden

 

I have this photo of me and my younger daughter, Libby, working in my garden about five years ago, when I first put the site up. The photo is in Chapter 5 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods. She looks so little. And now she’s turning 15.

Some time ago, Libby discovered that if you get a little rectangular piece of plastic out of Mom’s purse, it buys you lots of video games, movies, and songs on iTunes! Exciting! She did that, to the tune of over $1,000, in a four-week period, until my statement arrived. At which time, Libby and I had a rather intense little chat. Neither Apple nor MasterCard wanted to cut me any slack on that situation. I had to pay it.

There’s been a chart in my office for 18 months now, where Libby marks off every extra job she can do, with a value assigned for that job, taking it off the big, ugly total. Today she organized my pantry for 2.5 hours for $25 off her chart. She is leaving for camp, so she made me two quarts of green smoothie to drink while she’s gone, for $5 off the still-significant total.

She’s learning the value of $1,000. She’s chipping away at that debt to me and learning that using the little plastic card isn’t as fun as she thought. Part of our deal is that every time I give her an extra job, she isn’t allowed to complain. She has to say, “Thank you for the opportunity.”

So today we had this convo:

Libby:  So, where will I get the greens to make the smoothie?

Me:  In the garden. There’s tons of spinach out there, and pick the bigger kale leaves too, okay?

Libby, wailing:  MOM! NO! I hate the spiders! You know how much I hate them!

(Libby’s been pulling weeds out there most days since school got out. There’s always drama associated with garden tasks, and spiders inevitably come up.)

Me:  Lib. We’ve been over this. They’re just little garden spiders. Harmless! In fact, if we didn’t have them, we wouldn’t have our garden. They keep the pests in check. You’ve got to get over this. Working in a garden is part of life. It’s important.

Libby:  WHYYYYYY??!!

Me:  Because. That’s how we grow food.

Libby:  That’s what grocery stores are for!

Yes, my child who was raised with lots of garden produce every summer of her life, working with me in the garden, pulling whole boxes of weeds, she actually said that. “That’s what grocery stores are for.”

I didn’t say anything, because I was shocked at that entitled, city-girl comment. When she comes back from camp, I’m going to tell her how I love to observe the complicated, teeming ecosystem in a garden, this time of year. Just a few months ago, the ground was frozen and nobody was moving around on top of the earth, here in Utah.

Now you can see millipedes, ladybugs, spiders, aphids, worms, and lots of other critters just filling the measure of their creation,  milling about, avoiding the bigger guys and trying to eat the smaller guys—in my square foot garden. It’s so cool, really.

“Spiders are our friends,” I tell my kids. My mother never let us kill a spider, even in the house. We had to Catch and Release. She caught spiders in jars and took them outside.

I’m going to suggest to Libby to challenge her fear and let a small one run around on her arm sometime when she’s out there. That’s how I conquered my own fear of spiders.

That, and we caught a big tarantula in September in our driveway. We bought a terrarium and I confronted him every day, changed his water, named him, talked to him, and became actually rather fond of him before he died the next February.

I’m going to tell her that every square in the garden gives us food that’s practically free. And better yet, we know it has absolutely no chemicals on it. When I cut spinach and rinse it, blend it, and drink it, I’m getting the freshest, most nutrient dense food possible.

And when we put our hands in the dirt, we’re grounding ourselves. Getting rid of the buzzing, negative electrical energies clinging to us. Letting atoms with missing electrons pick them up. Getting ourselves a mega-dose of antioxidants.

That, and the fresh air and smells of dirt and green plants, and oxygen. That, and the Vitamin D being produced on the surface of our skin, from the sunshine. Might be why we feel so good after gardening outside for a while. Plus there’s that “sense of accomplishment” having so directly contributed to our own sustenance and survival.

I hope you’re doing Step 5 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods. It’s not just about how to garden organically, in any space, but about how to use everything in the garden, too, in new ways.

Of course, all that is fun—planning, shopping for seeds, planting, dreaming of what you’re going to make with your fresh vegetables—but the harvest? That’s where the real fun is.

Make sure your kids know where food comes from. Make sure they know the value of free, organic food that is made all the more delicious by the little bit of labor you put into it.

I feel a little Mama Lecture coming on, for Libby, in a couple of days!

My Mama Fantasy is that it ends with a commitment to get peaceful with spiders, and this statement:

“Thank you for the opportunity.”