Feb 07

Changing My Life

On my doctor’s orders, I have begun making some changes in my life. I have gone on a low/no starch diet and started an exercise program. The results after 2 weeks — better control over my blood sugar than I have had in years. I am also looking forward to losing some weight along the way. It’s too early for that to show up yet in any significant way.

The diet is the tough part. Starches are such a large part of the American diet that it can be hard to break the habit, much less find alternatives. Flour is such a staple that it is very hard to avoid. So are potatoes, rice, corn, and other starchy vegetables. So is sugar.

This diet is requiring me to pay a lot more attention to my food choices, to be aware of the content of what I am eating. .I am having to shop more carefully and take more time in food preparation. I have been scouting out low or no starch recipes and finding some that look very good.

My diet is not really Paleo. That variation encourages a lot more fat consumption. I have to be a little more careful about that and limit fats, as weight control is a big concern and harder to maintain for diabetics. Good fats, olive oil and nuts, for instance, are OK in small quantities. I will get enough other fat from meat and other sources to make up for that.

What I really miss right now are baked goods. With flour on the banned list, baking is going to be a little bit of a problem. I have found some recipes that use almond and flaxseed meal that look good. I will experiment with that a little bit an report back.

Just like with gardening, changing your diet is a lot of work. I think it will be worth it in the end.

Feb 07

First Signs of This Year’s Garden

I see that I have not posted in a while. It’s too easy to get out of the habit.

I am working on this year’s garden. Last night, I planted cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower in pots in the house. They should be ready to set out by mid-March. This weekend, I am planning on planting spinach, turnips, and kale outside. It may be a little early, but it has been a relatively mild winter so far, and I think it will be all right. The kale is an experiment. I have never tried that in the spring before.

I have been trying square-foot gardening in raised beds over the past couple of years, and it has been working great. High yields from very little space. This spring, I am going to have 12 cabbages (lots of sauerkraut, YUM!), 4 each of broccoli and cauliflower, four square feet each of kale and turnips, 2 square feet of spinach, and 2 square feet of Swiss chard. Not bad for 2 4×4-foot raised beds.

In addition, I will be planting red and yellow onions around the perimeters of the beds. I also have 2 upside-down tomato planters (they don’t work, don’t bother). I have converted them to grow herbs (basil, cilantro, thyme, and parsley) and garlic. We have a big rosemary bush by the back door that has been there for years. Good stuff for cooking all the fresh produce that will be coming in soon.

Once things turn hot in May, I can be setting out tomatoes and peppers and sowing squash and pole beans. Then another cool-weather garden in the fall. Around here, things like cabbage and collards will last well into the winter, if not all the way through.

Looking forward to lots of fresh eating and leftovers for freezing and canning. Gardening is a lot of work, but worth it. Especially if you like to eat during hard economic times.