Welcome to your resource for garden information! No matter what gardening experience you have (beginner, intermediate, or advanced), The Fresh Physician offers a gardening plan that allows you to Grow Your Health starting now.
By growing your own food, you can take your health to the next level.
And you’ll also nourish your mind by reconnecting with the earth – gardening is meditative and addictive in the most positive of ways!
Your newfound gardening skills and knowledge will empower you to create “garden-to-table” health as you grow, harvest, and prepare your own healthful ingredients!
The Physician’s Garden is excited to be your guide in your new journey toward better health. So let’s get started!
Everyone! There is no such thing as a brown thumb. Anyone can reap the benefits provided by gardening including improved nutrition, increase in exercise, fresh air, and a re-connection with nature.
No matter if you have prior gardening experience or not, you can improve your health, by growing your own beautiful healthy food starting now!
Improved Nutrition: When you grow some of your own food, you can greatly increase the nutritional value of your food. You will be eating as locally and seasonally as possible (!) and can control how your food is grown and the freshness of what you eat. As fresh food is much better tasting and more visually appealing, you will find that you love eating produce more than you could have ever imagined. You will have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the food and the wonder of the process of taking your food from seed to harvest to table. (To read about research demonstrating the benefits of freshly grown produce, click here).
Exercise and Nature: Working in the garden is a great way to get much health-promoting exercise that is so enjoyable, you will happily continue on far longer than your exercise goal. And as the excitement grows watching your garden succeed, you will feel the call to return to your garden often. (To read about research demonstrating the benefits of gardening on health, click here).
Improved Mood: It has been shown that getting outside and communing with nature is good for your mental health. You will enjoy it so much that you will look forward to your daily date with the garden. (To read about the research proven beneficial effects of gardening on mood, click here).
Your loved ones will be so glad to see the positive effect on your health, outlook and mood, they might just want in on your secret. They may themselves benefit from your example. You will be able to share your knowledge and maybe your garden bounty with those you love, exposing them to fresh healthful foods and influencing their future choices.
Also, the improved health of each individual will actually change their DNA and affect the health of future generations. Talk about a long-lasting effect! (To read about how healthful changes can change your DNA, click here).
By growing your own produce and eating from local produce suppliers you can decrease the 18% of greenhouse gases related to packaging and transportation. More importantly though, eating fewer animal products is a way to make a huge impact on CO2 emissions decreasing emissions as much as 72%. This large effect is achieved by not only decreasing transportation and packaging emissions but also those incurred by land use and the methane emissions of the animals themselves. And just so you know, beef consumption is by far the worst offender. (To get more information on food production and the environment, click here).
Vegetable gardening has been shown to decrease body weight and improve the quality of our diet – who wouldn’t want to eat all those beautiful treats pulled straight out of the garden! It is recommended that we eat 5-13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day to increase our intake of fiber and nutrients. Luckily, fiber is maintained during transportation but the same cannot be said of the vitamins and other nutrients in our fruits and vegetables.
Food coming from North America spends up more than 7 days in transit to your store, 3 days on the store shelf and up to 7 days in your home before being eaten.
Produce coming from the Southern Hemisphere can spend several weeks in transit.
Certain items like apples and pears spend up to 12 months in cold storage.
The effect on nutrient levels:
Fresh produce is so much more delicious that even vegetable nay-sayers will become vegetable lovers. So let’s get growing to increase our nutrition and eating enjoyment!
Lack of physical activity is the 6th leading cause of death and disability in America. As little as 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity 5 days per week is associated with a 20% decrease in all causes of premature mortality. Also, regular moderate exercise reduces the risk of dementia, cardiac and vascular disease, diabetes, and cancer of the breast and colon.
The physical activity of gardening leads to long term improvement in weight, strength and dexterity with the aerobic exercise easily burning the same number of calories as might be expended in the gym!
The exposure to nature that gardening provides leads to decreased weight, diabetes, heart and vascular disease, improved cognitive (brain) function and increased longevity.
Working in the garden exposes us to sunlight and provides a healthy dose of Vitamin D that can prevent osteoporosis, and can also decrease the risk of cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure.
All this from such an enjoyable activity!
Gardening affects mood in many ways.
Growing your own food provides improved nutrition that is associated with improved mood.
Routine exercise is well known to have a positive effect on mood.
Research has proven that direct experience with nature has a long-lasting deep impact on our mental health, improving life satisfaction and feelings of well-being and decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Research has shown that what we eat affects the way that genes are turned off and on (this is the field of epigenetics). Originally, it was thought that these were temporary changes that were reset with each generation but more recent research has shown that these changes to the DNA can be passed through multiple generations.
For example, in mice, parents fed a high fat diet gave birth to females that grew up to have a significantly increased risk of breast cancer. And genetic changes affecting future generations has also been noted with individuals who overeat going on to have offspring and grand-offspring with metabolic syndrome (a precursor to diabetes), even without overeating. The researchers in the study said that the diet of human adults induces changes in all cells — even sperm and egg cells — and that these changes can be passed on to offspring.
As you can see in these graphs: the production of animal products has a large effect on our environment. Plant foods have very low impact on the environment – and if you are growing them yourself will have only positive impact!
Link to the complete data about the impacts of food production on our environment here: https://ourworldindata.org/environmental-impacts-of-food#citation
By gardening, you are improving your own health, the health of your loved ones and the health of the world. All this from an entirely enjoyable activity. Why wait another day? Let’s start now!
The Fresh Physician is excited to guide you on your journey to a healthy and happy life inspired by nature.
Get seasonal tips and advice from Dr. Laura Varich.