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Your Body Is A Garden

summer,2008 in Japan 134While I was living in Japan I had a nice plot of land where I could grow my own organic vegetables.  Growing vegetables in Japan is no easy feat- the weather in summer offers up  monsoon rains followed by brutal heat and humidity.  The soil is not great because it contains a lot of volcanic ash – Mount Fuji is still technically an active volcano- and this is not ideal for growing.  But I felt lucky and excited to be able to have a garden while living in a big city like Yokohama.  Even in the urban areas of Japan some  landowners rent out their land instead of building houses so you may have 10 separate garden plots connected that are rented out to different gardeners

The first year went OK – some things grew very well and some did not.  But the second and third years were very tough.  In spring my lettuce seedlings would be an inch high – same as my garden neighbors – but a month later while everyone else was eating delicious (and radiation free!) lettuce, I was looking at my puny frozen in time seedlings, wondering why they would not grow.  And when plants did grow, like the tomatoes, they would quickly decay or be eaten by bugs before they were ripe enough to pick.  So I paid for a soil test and the results came back saying that my soil was dead – nothing could grow there.  There was literally NO calcium or magnesium in my soil, really not much of anything but there was an overabundance of nitrogen.  Oh, and in 4 years I almost never saw an earthworm in my soil, so they must have realized it was dead too.

However, the one place where things did grow great was my compost pile, which was really just decomposed fruit, veggie and plant waste.  Here, where the plants got the best of nutrition, they grew healthy, quickly, large and tasted great.  And so it dawned on me: if plants can’t be healthy without proper nutrition , how can people?  Our “soil” is our food!  And our soil isn’t so healthy these days.  Most fruits and vegetables are grown on depleted, chemical laden soil.  Most meals have all the real nutrition processed out of them and most things we eat have little resemblance to the foodstuffs we were meant to eat.  That is why I think eating a whole foods, organic diet is so important.  And why proper supplementation is sometimes also important.   When we have the wrong “soil” we are more likely to get colds and flu, more likely to experience things like headaches, aches and pains, stress and anxiety, improper weight, sleep troubles, etc.  And more susceptible to chronic disease.

So spring is here!  I don’t have a big garden now- just a few plants on the terrace- but I am excited to grow a bit of my own soil again.  I hope you can, too.