August in the Garden

I was away from my garden for two weeks in July. The days were long and warm. There were a couple of good rains. Things grew and although I know that sort of thing happens I am always surprised at how quickly it happens. I came back to find out that the family left in charge had been “forced” to pick the green beans. They had started pulling beets and onions. There were a few raspberries. And, of course, they had pulled weeds.

A garden is an endless source of things to do and that is one of it’s most valuable characteristics. When I need to get away from frustrations, worries, work I don’t enjoy, I just go to the garden where I lose track of time. Total absorption. It’s kind of like managing a small kingdom. I spend money and time. I plan and lay out my plots and paths. I defend my ground from rabbits, gophers and deer. I look back and quit doing things that didn’t work. I look ahead and plant things that won’t produce for a couple years. And if the work gets too “over the top”, I can decide to pull up some plants and be done with them. I am queen. I am boss. (As a side note, plants do know when you have good feelings for them. They do. )

And a garden is beautiful, even with some weeds. Here is a bit of my August garden for those of you who love growing things. I will also mention that the food I get from my kingdom is delicious. I try not to waste any of it.

#atozchallenge: Today It’s Celery

Eat This!

I am a big supporter of FOOD. I think it is absolutely remarkable that everything we humans need to live and be in health is found on this planet.  It’s almost like it was made for us. In fact, it is exactly like it was made for us. I have never been a food blogger but I have done a stint teaching nutrition for the University of Florida Extension Service. I learned a lot and it was fun. I think I can share some of the fun and interesting things about some of my favorite foods – one each day during this A to Z Challenge. All these foods have some kind of health advantage and most of them are nutrient dense and very good for you. Today, it’s celery.

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Look! They’re even shaped like little C’s. A plant with such interesting structure, you have to love it!

.It wasn’t until I started noticing my blood pressure rising that I got serious about eating celery.  Before that it was chopped up in soup once in a while or on the veggie tray with other stuff and dip, of course. Now I buy several bunches at a time and always have it cleaned and conveniently ready. It contains a chemical called 3-n-butyl phthalide (you won’t remember this but when it has a name it’s more real, right?)  which smooths the muscles in blood vessels, creating better blood flow and a lower pressure. Studies have shown this to be true.  My own experience is that it lowers my systolic pressure about 10 points (but this is not a guarantee for everyone). About a cup of chopped celery a day should give results.  (http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/foods-that-lower-blood-pressure/)

It’s cool, crunchy, wet and a very pleasant color when it’s fresh (please don’t let it sit forever in the fridg drawer, please…) And you don’t need to do anything fancy with it – just eat it.  It’s quick and ready so keep it simple.

*** Important edit!  Please do not forget how important and upgrading peanut butter, raisins, or Ranch dressing can be to celery if you don’t mind the added calories. Thank you readers!

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Snack time. (Ok, you can have just a tiny bit of dip.)