Perhaps you have grown theme gardens before like butterfly, tea, salsa, or salad gardens. But have you ever considered growing your very own energy garden? An energy garden is packed with homegrown goodness that can give you just the right amount of energy before a hard workout.
I love sweet potatoes; they are a highly nutritious and delicious root vegetable. Known as Ipomoea batatas, sweet potatoes are not only one of the best vitamin A sources, but they are also packed with vitamin B5 niacin, thiamin, and carotenoids. Research has also uncovered a host of therapeutic benefits in sweet potatoes. They contain anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-diabetic properties. Sweet potatoes are a delicious addition to any meal and can even help keep your skin healthy.
How do you like your coffee? Maybe a little cream, a little cinnamon, honey, or perhaps a few mushrooms? Maybe I had you at cream, cinnamon, and honey…but lost you at the mushrooms. Believe it or not, fans of mushroom coffee rave about benefits like increased energy, stress reduction, better sleep, and clear thinking. But does it work?
Mushrooms and herbs are known as adaptogens that help the body recover from short and long-term physical and mental stress. Research shows that adaptogens can boost immunity, combat fatigue, improve mental acuity, and reduce anxiety and depression.
What are super mushrooms?
Super mushrooms, or “magic,” non-trippy mushrooms, have been used for thousands of years in Eastern medicine to tackle many ailments and support the immune system. Today, mushrooms are one of the most scientifically studied superfoods. Researchers are finding out mushrooms have incredible health benefits for the brain, immune system, hormones, energy levels, mood, and cognitive function.
These powerful mushrooms are ground up and added to many things such as coffee and tea. Let’s take a closer look at the top adaptogenic mushrooms often included in coffee blends, along with their health benefits.
Reishi is known as the drug-free option for Xanax. Also known as lingzhi, reishi mushrooms are known as the “mushroom of immortality” and have powerful adaptogenic impacts on the body and mind. Reishi is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. People have been drinking reishi tea for thousands of years to boost immunity and longevity. These immune-boosting fungi contain compounds that promote cells involved in immune system function. Because they have analgesic properties, reishi mushrooms help the body relax and wind down. Research also shows that reishi mushrooms can help you fall asleep faster and sleep better by promoting high-quality, deep, slow-wave sleep. Studies also show that reishi mushrooms can reduce blood sugar in persons with diabetes and reduce excess fat storage.
Chaga mushrooms are best known for their inflammation-busting properties. Packed with antioxidants, these fungi go right to work, fighting inflammation and gobbling up free radicals. Like reishi, Chaga mushrooms help to fuel the immune system. Research shows that these mushrooms can be used to prevent aging of the heart, fight viral infections, and can even possibly be used to treat cancer.
For brainpower, including memory, creativity, clarity, and concentration, lion’s mane mushrooms are a great choice. This fungus stimulates the production of nerve growth factor (NGF), a vital bioprotein in the maintenance, health, and regeneration of brain neurons. Research shows the power of these mushrooms in the prevention of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.
Do you currently fuel up on pre-workout stimulants to help you get through your workout? Cordyceps is a natural pre-workout fuel that is not a stimulant but rather an adaptogen that supports the adrenal glass and helps your body stay energized all day long. Also, cordyceps increase cellular oxygen absorption, boost strength and stamina, improve performance during exercise, and hasten recovery from a hard workout. Like other mushrooms, cordyceps is rich in antioxidants and anti-aging properties.
Make mushroom powder
The good news is that you can make nutritious mushroom powder. After dehydrating mushrooms, place them in a food processor or blender. Process into fine powder and store in a clean jar with a lid. If you want extra fine powder, use a mesh strainer to separate any larger mushroom pieces. Place the larger pieces back into the blender or food processor. Add mushroom powder to your favorite soups, smoothies, broth, sauces, gravy, yogurt, and more for a nutritional boost.
Eat mushrooms whole
Adding more whole mushrooms to your diet is an excellent way to reap all of their tremendous benefits. Just be sure always to choose organic. Toss mushrooms into salads, pasta dishes or grill them with other veggies for a delicious summer side dish.
So, whether you enjoy them in a coffee or tea blend, superfood powder, or whole, mushrooms are a spectacular superfood loaded with vitamins and minerals and adaptogenic properties you don’t want to miss.
Here’s to eating more mushrooms,
-Susan Patterson, CBHC and Master Gardener
Not everyone is thrilled with the idea of eating fungus. However, mushrooms’ nutritional value is second to none, and researchers are learning more each day about their many benefits.
If you love cucumbers as much as I do, you will be thrilled to know that doing a few simple things results in twice the amount of cucumbers and an extended fruiting season. I know this sounds almost too good to be true, but trust me, these little tweaks do work, and I would love for you to give them a try and let me know all about your harvest.
Did you know that cultivating the right combination of plants close to each other can make your garden blossom from mediocre to outstanding? Companion planting is an ancient gardening practice that has been making a comeback for one simple reason… it works. Planting a diverse mixture of plants, including annuals, perennials, flowers, and veggies, makes for a much healthier garden and, often, a tastier harvest. On the flip side, planting the wrong combination of plants can result in an unhealthy garden and a mediocre or even poor harvest.
Are you dreaming of bigger, tastier tomatoes? I often find myself thinking about ways to have a massive harvest of gorgeous and juicy fruit. Because of this, I have spent the better part of the last ten years studying how to have the best tomatoes ever. Much of what I have learned has come from trial and error. From this, I have a newfound understanding and appreciation of just what tomatoes need to thrive. If you ready for the best tomatoes ever, read on.
They may be tiny, but they are also insanely damaging. Aphids are among the most destructive insect pests on garden plants in temperate growing zones. They cling to plants and suck sap, which weakens the plant and makes it susceptible to a host of viruses. They also leave ugly honeydew deposits (a sugary, rich liquid) on leaves, closely followed by sooty mold growth.
Haven’t we all had enough stress for one year? An out of control virus that just won’t go away, civil and political unrest, and now….. An increasing number of food recalls continue to threaten our health and wellbeing. Do you buy produce at Walmart? If you have shopped over the weekend at Walmart and purchased single head romaine lettuce – don’t eat it!
The most recent fresh produce recall applies to Tanimura & Antle bagged single head lettuce. E.coli was found during a test in Michigan that was traced back to a Walmart in Comstock. The worst part of all is that the strain of E.coli found (0157:H7) is one of the most likely strains of bacteria to cause hemolytic uremic syndrome ( HUS), which is a type of kidney failure that can be fatal.
The Center’s for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) tells us that up to 10 percent of people with this scary strain of E.col develop HUS. Signs of this condition include:
- Decreased urination
- Extreme fatigue
- Loss of color in cheeks and lower eyelids
Young children and the elderly are most likely to develop HUS with long=term effects that can cause severe kidney damage and even death. The FDA urges anyone who is experiencing any of these telltale symptoms to contact a physician immediately.
Walmart has posted a list of all stores that may be infected by this most recent food recall, including 19 states and Puerto Rico. It is believed that the recall impacts 3,396 bags of lettuce that were packaged on October 15 or 16th. If you or someone you know has a suspicious bag of lettuce, throw it out or return it to the store for a full refund.
Food recalls continuing to pile up
There has been a long list of food recalls piling up over the past three months or so, including:
- Trader Joe’s gluten-free battered halibut – recalled because it contained undeclared wheat and milk allergens.
- Spice Hunter spice blends – recalled due to potential Salmonella contamination.
- Sunshine Mills dog food – recalled due to potential Salmonella contamination.
- Thomson International onions – recalled due to potential Salmonella contamination.
- Natural Grocers organic whole elderberries – recalled due to potential Salmonella contamination.
- J&O mixed veggie cup with dip – recalled due to undeclared egg product
- Kader Exports frozen shrimp – recalled due to potential Salmonella contamination.
- Wegman’s store lemons oranges, in-store produced seafood – recalled due to potential Listeria contamination.
- Prima Wawona peaches – recalled due to reported Salmonella infections.
- Progresso chicken soup – recalled due to undeclared allergens.
- Giant Food Stores House brand squash noodle medley – recalled due to found Listeria
What you can do to stay safe
Besides paying attention to any news of food recalls and throwing out any affected products, be sure to wash fresh produce thoroughly before eating. Doing this won’t kill bacteria if the lettuce is contaminated but will help remove any lingering pesticide residue. And though buying organic is a great way to avoid this, organic lettuce is just as susceptible to E. coli as non-organic lettuce.
Consider starting your very own garden to grow fresh food – you can even grow many edible plants successfully in very little space or even indoors if you don’t have outdoor space. This way, you know exactly where your food is coming from and can avoid human transmitted E. coli and other contamination.
Shop locally whenever you can. Support farmers in your area and eat produce that doesn’t have to travel thousands of miles to reach your table. This limits the number of people who come into contact with the product, decreasing the risk of contamination. As long as the farmers practice safe growing, you are better off purchasing locally sourced leafy greens.
Susan Patterson – Master Gardener
Many people hesitate to grow garlic because it requires a different strategy from most plants in your vegetable garden. Once you know how to do it, though, growing garlic is easy and well worth it. Fresh garlic from the garden tastes much better than store-bought garlic, which has been in storage for ages. An added benefit? Garlic is a potent superfood that boosts health in several ways.
A trip to the grocery store is a chore for some, but for fruit and veggie lovers, the produce section is like a candy store. Markets today stock a greater variety of produce than ever before, including out-of-season and exotic items from the other side of the world.