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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

See website, design work and favorite flowering plants at  gardengurumontreal.ca

Consultation and coaching for do-it-yourselfers is provided. Occasional emailed questions are welcome and answered free of charge. Oui, je parle francais.

See my work on Pinterest at Garden Guru Montreal

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Thursday
Jul152010

Gardening and Junk Food; Connect the Dots.

Once upon a time, peoples’ lives were sustained by the crops they grew and the animals they raised. Industrial life, which began in the early 18th century, changed that when the tenders of fields and animals found enticing employment in factories. Growing food became the responsibility of somebody else. Today, many of us are sustained by the prepackaged foods we buy in the supermarket. While that might be a great convenience for many, it has its down side. By delegating to others the processing of our food, we have abdicated responsibility for the quality of the nutrition that we put into our bodies. Furthermore, the ultimate indignity to our health is that some of us also place our trust in the menus of fast food restaurants.

To remain profitable, fast food chains rely on customers that are in a constant state of desire. These restaurants achieve that goal by ensuring that their menu items satisfy the body’s need for pleasure; a feeling that is triggered when one ingests large quantities of sugar, fat, or salt. The customer who feels pleasure after eating fast food is motivated to eat it again the next day. It is the ingestion of excessive amounts of sugar, fat and salt that contributes to poor health world-wide.

Many individuals do not care about the health consequences of eating fast, pre packaged or prepared food. However, health care providers and business people do care. The bodies of the populace are fatter than they were in the past and people are more susceptible to life threatening illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. The toll on our society is great. More people get sick more often and require medical intervention more frequently. The result is higher health care insurance premiums for business, government and individuals. In the end, it becomes costly to sustain an unhealthy population. Just as some environmentally sensitive gardeners care about sustaining the earth, everyone should be worried about sustaining his or her own health.

The financial benefit of keeping a population healthy has not been lost on some local governments, where change and solutions seem to be easier to legislate than at state or federal levels. A few years ago, smoking was banned in public places in New York City, then trans-fats were outlawed in its restaurants, and recently that city mandated that the calories in food served in restaurants be posted on the menus. Calories do count. If we consume too many, we risk compromising our health.

One way to reduce one’s daily caloric intake is to have at least one meal a day containing a very large component of fresh produce. Such a menu makes farmers’ markets and farmers’ co-ops invaluable. Supermarket produce may be convenient but its taste cannot compare to food grown locally. Anyone who has received weekly deliveries of locally grown, awesome smelling and amazingly tasty fresh fruits and vegetables will attest to how their families’ eating habits have become healthier and how they appreciate the importance of the local farmer. The gardener, who is unable to grow vegetables or prefers not to do so, should consider supporting those that do. Have you visited a Farmer’s Market lately?  .

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Reader Comments (2)

Allan, I don't grow enough to make a big difference, but it is fun to pick those ripe tomatoes and peppers, etc., each year. We also have a local farmers market which I do visit each summer.

Eileen

July 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEileen

Great article! Really enjoyed this post! Thanks!

July 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStacey Burke

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