Do this now to be healthier instantly

I was inspired to write this post after seeing my Word Press Daily Prompt email today. The one word prompt was, “artificial”. The minute my brain sorted out those 10 letters it clicked! One of the reasons my family and I stay so healthy is because we have nearly eliminated artificial ingredients from our diets.

So how can this tidbit of information help you get healthier instantly?

Right now at this very minute you can make the decision to limit or eliminate artificial ingredients from your diets. While you are at it, keep the ingredient lists short for any meals or snacks you are planning.

How many ingredients can you see in the picture below?



What did you guess? If you guessed one you are wrong. The answer is actually two. Two fresh, delisious and organic goldren raspberries grown right in our backyard.

It might not be raspberry season for much of the world, but most people can grow their own food for many months of the year. When you have a farmer’s market outside your door it is easy to eat natural and keep ingredient lists to a minimum. Check out some scenes from our DIY Backyard Farm.

Winter, spring summer and fall. In our garden we have something for all!

Even if you live in an apartment on the 44th floor you can still keep artificial ingredients to a minimum. Shop carefully, buy fresh, local produce whenever possible and order simply prepared foods when eating out. Are you going to start being healthier in this very instant? Are you inspired to plan a bountiful, edible garden of your own?

Nothing artificial, keep it real and get healthier today!

Healthy Inspiration

Today I received a daily writing prompt that challenged me to write a post based on a single word. The word for today is, “healthy”.

I was immediately reminded of this post I wrote about a year ago. Getting a new generation of eaters on the health train is one of the most rewarding things I can think of. It is a big reason I smile widely when I see kids enjoying their home-grown fruits, vegetables and herbs.


#10 of 31 Ways to Eat Healthier in the New Year



#10 is not going to feature a specific edible plant. In this post we want to highlight the health benefits of actually having an edible garden in your yard. These benefits go beyond the obvious of eating more fruits, veggies, and herbs. It came as somewhat of a surprise to us just how impactful to our family having an edible garden has been.

First, the garden gets us outside and keeps us there. Being out in nature helps us to slow down from the demands of daily life while taking in fresh air and sunshine (most days). In fact, it is hard to just “stop by” our edible garden. Once you walk through those gates you could be in there for a while. It is not so much because gardening is a chore. It is more about the desire to explore. What is ready to pick today, how are the string beans doing, etc.

Next, edible gardening reconnects you with the natural world. Many of us spend lots of time on the computer, working in flourescent lit offices, text messaging, and more. As a result, we lose our connections to the foods we eat, the seasons, and more. When you have an edible garden you are forced to be more in tune with the growing seasons. For example, each March we eagerly anticipate planting peas in our garden. We have noticed this to be a nice kick off to Spring fever for us. A month or so later we are eating fresh snap peas, pea shoots, pea soup, and more. Everyone in or home knows where their peas comes from, when they grow, and when they will disappear for the season. You eat peas like mad and then poof…they are gone and you are on to the next fresh edible.

Also, they say families that play together stay together. Gardening with kids is a lot more like play than it is like work. For this reason we have given each child their own small raised bed to take care of. Watching over living soil and plants is a great developmental experience for children. It also gives them a sense of control and a great curiosity for learning the taste of a new fruit, veggie, or herb. We have had house guests tell us their kids returned from our home begging them for an edible garden or for a fruit or veggie the child had tried for the first time at our home. Plus, it is a great excuse for them to join their parents in gardening activities.

Finally, there may just be more micronutrients in home-grown edible plants. It seems like common sense that edible plants that travel long distances and sit on the shelf too long will have fewer nutrients than locally grown produce. However, you also need to consider the types of plants you are growing. Perhaps the mass market grown hybrids lack nutrients that heirloom edibles have? Growing organic takes this one step further because plants use various compounds and nutrients to fight off pests and disease. It stands to reason organically grown plants would have to produce more beneficial nutrients them conventionally grown plants. There is even some research to support this claim.

#10 seals the deal. If you have some clean, healthy soil you need to grow edible plants in it!

Safe, Natural Soaps

We have another example of a consumer product causing potential harm to US residents.  In case you have not heard the news, the FDA has taken a “closer look” at antibacterial soap products and proposed a new rule requiring manufacturers to prove the effectiveness and long-term safety of these products.  We are not a news website, so if you want all the details you can go to the related article on the FDA website.

Concerns over these soaps and some of their ingredients like Triclosan and Triclocarban are not really new.  The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has expressed concerns over these chemicals since at least 2008.  Today they issued a press release on the topic.  This group offers fantastic information on human health and our environment.  We view the group as an agent of change and protector of our health and well-being.  As such, we strongly recommend you consider donating to this wonderful organization.

DIY Backyard Farm is not an alarmist website.  Our primary focus is being a resource of information designed to allow anyone to start their own edible garden.  We are posting this information as an introduction to yet another reason to grow your own edible plants.  Some of those edible plants can be used to make things you do not eat.  In this case, soaps.  Many herbs and other plants are used to add fragrances and other characteristics to soaps.  You can grow your own and follow simple, easy instructions to create natural soap products.  Mother Earth News has a nice guide on making your own soaps right here.  A simple internet search can yield many ways to create interesting, fragrant and natural soap products.

If you prefer to buy natural soaps then look around your local farmers markets.  Chances are someone will be there selling hand-made, natural soap products.  We have a couple of big brands we use and recommend trying: Dr. Bonner’s and Burt’s Bees.  We were also recently turned on to a brand called South of France and so far like their soaps very much.  Take the time to learn about the products you are using to ensure they are not doing more harm than good.  Your body, family, home, and the environment will thank you.  We thank you for reading!