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HEALTHY GARDENING

Swine Flu and natural immunity

Recently our attention has been drawn to the global spread of Swine Flu. News reports are full of what is happening around the globe, along with some cases in our own country. It has to be a health problem of some concern to everyone.  What I find interesting about this flu, is that in it has caused deaths in and severe sickness in Mexico – yet elsewhere in the world there appears to be a milder strain of the same flu. No deaths outside Mexico have occurred to date, and the unfortunate people that have been diagnosed with swine flu, describe the symptoms as being only as bad as seasonal influenza.  There are only two possible reasons for this in my mind: that we are seeing a milder strain outside of Mexico; or that our immune systems are better equipped to ward off the worst effects.

Swine Flu, or for that matter other illnesses and seasonal colds, affect people with low immunity systems more than those with well fortified bodies. The question then arises, how do we build up our immune system to the degree that we can shake off colds and other illnesses?  The answer I feel, is adding mineral rich foods into our daily food intake along with ample doses of Vitamin D.

Gardening is good for you!

This brings us back to gardening, as both of those health needs can be solved in the garden.  By spending about 15 minutes, two or three times a week in the sunlight (gardening!) we can meet our vitamin D requirements. This costs you nothing, and by exposing a reasonable amount of skin to the suns rays, our bodies gain ample amounts of this much needed vitamin to aid our immune systems.  And of course, we can spend that time growing healthy vegetables to provide other nutrients.

Wheat Grass

In previous articles I have spoken about growing the very mineral-rich wheat grass, and juicing it for a daily dose of the lovely, green and very healthy liquid.  Three years ago, when I first leant that wheat grass takes up all the known minerals present in the growing medium, I immediately started growing and juicing.  I can honestly say that over that period I have never come down with any colds or flu.  Not only that, but my general health and stamina have increased considerably.  I can feel a cold coming on one day and next day it is gone.  I have also spoken to other wheat grass growers and juicers and they have made the same observations.

Growing good greens

Now, on to the gardening methods for growing the green foliage plants that are such a rich source of all the known minerals.  We need to provide a mineral-rich medium to get the best from these plants, and we can do this with the aid of a range of products. Ocean Solids (minerals from the ocean), Rok Solid (minerals from rock dust), and Magic Botanic Liquid or MBL (minerals from prehistoric times) are all valuable in enriching your soil.

Green crops such as silverbeet, spinach, brassicas and lettuce should be planted in compost with the above granules applied to the compost at planting time.  Spray the plants every couple of weeks with MBL, and you will be growing vegetables that have the maximum amount of nutritional value.

Green Smoothies

By picking a range of these fresh green leaves and vegetables, and placing a few in our high speed blender and drinking the result, we are fortifying our bodies no end.  Other plants we can use in our blenders include the leaves of carrots, beans, peas, cress and editable weeds such as dandelions and puha. The foliage of edible herbs can also be added.

In recent times I have become even more interested in this way of ingesting vegetables, after reading a book called Green for Life written by Victoria Boutenko which is available from book shops in New Zealand.  The basis of the book is that plants’ cells are amongst the toughest cells in the world.  Breaking down these plant cells to obtain the most goodness is not a feat our jaws are easily able to perform.  Think for instance, of a cow standing there chewing its cud: the strong jaws masticate the grass into a green slime and the cow can then swallow all the available goodness.

As we are unable to perform this function with our we can utilize a high speed blender with its sharp blades rotating at around 38,000 rpm to covert raw green food into a liquid called a Green Smoothie.  Initially I started off using an ordinary blender and found it mushed up the green foliage that I placed into it, making a kind of chunky drink.  Later I imported a top of the range high-speed blender from overseas, and it really smashed up the foliage into a lovely, smooth drink.

In Green for Life, Victoria did not really go into the mineral aspect of the vegetables that she was juicing, yet it is logical that the amount of goodness you can obtain from a green smoothie, will depend on the goodness of the produce blended.  Hence the importance of using a good mineral supplement for your soil (as discussed above).  The big advantage of growing your own mineral-rich foods for blending, is that you can start harvesting leaves when the plants are still quite young.  In fact, the young tender foliage is likely to be of better nutritional value than the older, mature foliage.

To make a green smoothie: place a couple of cups of non-chlorinated water into your blender, along with a handful of foliage from the various green plants, and one banana (peel removed). The banana is for flavour and the goodness it also contains. Other fruit may also be used if desired.  Wheatgrass can be grown and juiced alone or added to the other foliage that is used in the blender. Blend at a high speed till the ingredients become a smooth liquid.

According to Green for Life, once made, Green Smoothies can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours – so you can make up a big batch to provide a glassful each day for the next couple of days.  Another big advantage with the blender system is that you do not even have to have a garden to grow a range of highly nutritional plants – as they will grow very nicely for your needs in containers placed in a sunny situation outdoors. Grow the plants in a purchased compost with sheep manure pellets and blood & bone added to the compost along with the mineral rich products mentioned above. Mix a little top soil in or use worm casts.

Gardening is a great way to better health and a boosted immune system – with the vitamin D gained from the sunlight and the mineral rich, naturally grown produce you can juice or blend at home.

Problems ring me at 0800 466464 (Palmerston North 3570606)
Email wallyjr@gardenews.co.nz

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