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Wally Richards
Wally Richardshttp://www.gardenews.co.nz
Wally Richards has been a gardening columnist for over 30 years. Check his websites - for gardening news and tips visit www.gardenews.co.nz. For mail order products visit www.0800466464.co.nz. Wally also has a gardening problem help line on 0800 466 464.

Gardening with Wally Richards: Start of a new season – Your food and your health go hand in hand

Gardening opinion

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. Hippocrates, father of medicine, 431 B.C.

Now there is nothing simpler than that statement and in regards to health, nothing more obvious.

Unfortunately with busy lives we may have allowed that advise to slip our minds.

I have heard that people training to be doctors have only about one hour lecture on nutrition?

Yet it is the fundamental bases of all health of all living things on the planet.

I have from my childhood a very old medical book that was used by my grandparents about a hundred years ago for good health and cures for a wide range of complaints.

They used more often than not; plants and herbs out of the garden.

For example boiling up some beans and drinking the water is used for a bladder infection which many years ago I did use and it worked within 24 hours where the medicine I was prescribed helped but did not cure.

The book stresses the need for good healthy fruit & vegetables, plenty of exercise, lots of fresh air and sunlight.

Too many people make the mistake of believing whatever is available to eat from the supermarket must be ok for their health but unfortunately that has dire long term consequences.

It reminds me of an old computer saying; ‘Garbage in, Garbage out’.

I read a study a few years ago that I would like to share with you as it makes a lot of sense.

‘You can eat less and exercise more but you’ll still probably gain more weight (about 10 percent more) than someone your age would have gained 20 – 30 years ago, eating and exercising the same amount.

So says a study published in the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice.

The study found, as reported in The Atlantic, that someone, in 2024, eating the same amount of calories, taking in the same quantities of macro nutrients like protein and fat, and exercising the same amount as a person of the same age did in 1988, would have a BMI (Body Mass Index) that was about 2.3 points higher.

The study’s authors posited three possible explanations for their findings:

  1. Today we’re exposed to more chemicals, pesticides, flame retardants, the substances in food packaging that may be messing with our hormones.
  2. We’re taking more drugs, especially antidepressants, many of which are linked to weight gain.
  3. Our gut bacteria are changing, possibly because we’re eating more meat and that meat is now being treated with growth-promoting hormones and antibiotics.

It all makes sense. Except the statement by one of the study’s authors, who told The Atlantic that the body weights of Americans today are influenced by “factors beyond their control.”

Noooooo . . . we can control our own exposure to pesticides, antidepressants, and factory farm meat.

By growing our own healthy food and buying organic.

What’s more, we must continue to fight the corporate control of our food system that’s led to this mess.

And we better hurry up. Because according to another new study, 107 million children and 603 million adults are now obese.’

I have said this many times; you grow a few vegetables naturally in your garden and when you eat them, they are delicious and you do not need much to make you feel full.

The same vegetables purchased from the supermarket are basically tasteless and after eating you will often still feel hungry.

The simple reason with your own home grown vegetables, which do not have a number of chemical poisons in them and they are full of nutritional goodness (hence the great taste) means your body recognised the healthy goodness coming in and is satisfied quickly.

On the other hand the produce with lack of goodness means your body is saying “where my goodness, keep going I am not satisfied”.

It can mean that you eat till you feel bloated and even then you are still not satisfied.

I read somewhere that the current conventional food chain has lost up to 80% of the nutritional values that the food chain had about 60 years ago.

That means minerals, vitamins antioxidants etc gone to be replaced by chemicals of many types.

I believe that in NZ we could close down half the hospitals, make about half the doctors redundant, (there is only about half left now days anyway) spend less than a quarter of what is currently spent on pharmaceutical medications by doing the following.

Place a hefty tax on all conventionally grown food and processed food and with that income subsidize growers of healthy fruit and vegetables along with farmers who produce healthy meat and dairy products. (Already I can hear producers calling for my head and claiming that their stuff is very healthy.)

If that was the case why then are there so many people with health conditions and with increasing numbers every year?

I know that if you grow just a small amount of what you consume and you grow it without chemical props; then you add to the growing medium all the minerals and elements possible and you have that as part of your diet you will be healthier. (Magic Botanic Liquid, Ocean Solids and Unlocking your soil.)

Even a little real; goodness will help offset the garbage.

If you also detox regularly to get the garbage out then your energy levels and other health aspects will greatly improve.

One simple one that I have written about in the past in my books is a natural product called MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) also know as organic sulphur, because it is extracted out of plants mainly pine trees.

I have been taking MSM for over 25 years because the body needs a daily amount of sulphur as it does not store sulphur; it uses what is available at that time and discards what it does not need.

MSM detoxes you when first started taking and thereafter gives a mild detox continuously while taking it.

Sulphur helps move oxygen through the body to the cells thus enabling them to function better and clean out the rubbish.

This week a reader was ordering more MSM and she told me a story.

‘Several months ago she had her eyes checked by a Optometrist whom told her that cataracts were forming and she would need an operation to remove in the future.

She had heard the MSM was good for eyes and that people whom took the supplement regularly never got cataracts.

So she started taking the MSM morning and night and after a couple of months went back to the Optometrist for a check up.

He checked her eyes and asked what she had being doing as there is no sign of the cataracts any more? (That saved a few thousand dollars.) Also she told me that she had a thin dark line across her vision and while taking the MSM she noticed the line faded then disappeared completely.

My story is at 15 years of age I had to get glasses for long vision to obtain my drivers license as not able to read bottom line.

At 75 I had to get a medical for renewing my drivers license and my Doctor said we might as well do eye test.

We did and he asked me why do I wear glasses as I read whole chart and have 20/20 vision?

I said I know I don’t need them but they cover up some wrinkles!

I do need glasses to read small print and working on the computer.

For gardeners if you use gypsum in your gardens you will increase the amount of sulphur available to plants as gypsum contains sulphur and calcium then you will not need to buy MSM any more in the future.

I have found that some gardeners that do grow a lot of their produce and they try taking the MSM they find no additional benefit.

Most other people do enjoy more energy, better sleep, better complexion, less aches and pains, better mobility and in my case soon after starting to take it; a far better memory.

Your health is most important thing in your life and being a gardener you already have a great advantage over non-gardeners.

You can grow as much produce as you have room for and then with containers grow some more.

I am fortunate to have 80 and 90 years old gardeners phone me from time to time.

They are fit, healthy and have all their marbles, reason being they have always grown a lot of their own vegetables and fruit.

One 96 year old lady told me that she was now a bit wobbly on her pins and as a result can fall over while gardening.

She said she just laughs and gets up and carries on gardening.

I see people half their age that have all sorts of health issues some even look twice their actual age.

Let healthily, nutritious, home grown food be thy medicine.

Image credit: Elaine Casap

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Products mentioned are from Wallys Range of products and can be found in some garden shops or by Mail Order on www.0800466464.co.nz

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