I am promoting healthy living by encouraging everyone to get up close and personal with the food that you eat, have fun getting physical and socialize. Healthy living consist of the steps and strategies one puts in place to achieve optimum health. My steps include; maintaining a spiritual relationship, eating to live and not living to eat, staying physical by gardening, swimming and walking, stimulating my brain by reading and teaching and socializing with neighbors, church members, clubs memberships, cultivating healthy relationships and enjoying life.
Eat food that is grown organically, it is better for your overall health to grow your own food and eat fresh. However, whether you grow it, purchase it from an Eco Farmer or organic store; at a minimum, once per day, eat a fruit, vegetable or herb that was grown free of chemicals.
Grow a garden, whether it is one vegetable, fruit or herb, in a container on your window, on your balcony, on the porch, or in your pristine city backyard. It is not easy in the city to grow a garden, but it is possible. It requires at least 1 hr per day to take care of a small garden that produces food for a family of four (4). I have learned, from experience, some basic steps to grow a successful backyard garden, in the city.
10 steps for a City Backyard Garden are:
1. Soil -Start with healthy Soil, free of chemicals. It is crucial that you have your soil tested to determine if it has the nutrients that plants need to grow. Planting before testing the soil, increases your risk of disappointment with the garden production.
2. Location – The garden needs 6 to 8 hours of sun, daily. It should be conveniently located between your entrance into your home from your garage, parking space or path to your door. You will not have to go out of your way to check the garden. Be sure that the garden will not be shaded by trees or shadows when the seasons change. It should also be located near a watering source.
3. Water – Make watering your garden a habit or include it in your lawn sprinkler system. Watering your garden early morning or early evening is a great opportunity to socialize with your neighbors.
4. Tools – The right tools save time, money and reduce injury. Get a hand fork, trowel, pruners, shovel, a work bucket, garden boots, a small stool and a pair of gloves. If you are starting with a small garden, your tool inventory will grow with your garden size.
5. Plant – Purchase seeds and young plants from a reliable source. I recommend that you use seeds or plantings that have been designated organic. Plant your seeds or plants as directed from their packaging. Group your plants according to space, moisture and sun requirement.
6. Feed – Feed your garden with organic/natural food, no chemical additives. Compost (defined as combining organic material that can be used as a soil amendment or as a medium to grow plants.) or buy compost from a reliable vendor.
7. Weed – Even though there are several tricks for reducing the need to weed, you will have to weed your garden, if not daily, at least weekly. Spreading mulch around the plants is most effective at reducing weeds.
8. Protect your garden from disease, pest, too much sun, cold, and harmful animals. This is your responsibility.
9. Patience – Have Patience, let your garden grow. Don not over water or fertilize. And most of all, do not panic. If something is wrong, research it and apply the remedy. Relax and enjoy the process.
10. Educate – Spend some time educating yourself on gardening. Know your area. Once you decide what you will plant, read! Then enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Gardening in the city can be more than an option; it can be a reality, in your city backyard.
Of course eating better is a large part of what is required to stay healthy but it must be balanced with the other two (2) important factors, exercise and socialization. Exercise at least 30 minutes per day. Break the worst addiction, a habit, get off the couch, take a break from the computer and TV, and get physical. Gardening is physical, mental and social. It helps me keep my bones strong, my mind clear and relaxed and its fun, for me. What does that for you? Is it swimming, dancing, golfing, fishing, tennis, bowling, skating, sailing, walking, camping or fill in the blank. Walk on the beach, discover the zoo, visit the flower gardens in the park, become as activist, just get physical! Once you are having fun doing it, it will no longer feel like a chore, but as an essential part of your day. Personally, I want to continue to think clearly, walk, talk, hear and just feel good inside and out and I want that for you too. In order to achieve that goal, it is all about a strategy to keep your mind, body and soul healthy.
And finally, socialize with others. To socialize means simply, to associate or mingle with people socially. In my family we were taught to socialize for relaxation and to enjoy our friends, family and neighbors. My family taught by example, an example that was handed down like good jewelry and fine china. It helps us to maintain good mental health. Keep it simple, incorporate socialization in your daily life. Keep in touch with a friend. Share information. Join a club where you can share your expertise without stress and enjoy the mental exchange of thoughts and ideas. Mentor a child, or a business. Go out for coffee every now and then. Invite someone over for coffee. For those of us who have invested in making our homes comfortable and attractive, share it, plan and host a lawn party or cookout with your friends, neighbors, and family, regularly.
For some of us, staying healthy means making a change. Change is doing something different to get different results. Get healthy and stay healthy, eat organic, get physical and socialize!