The What, How And When Of Eating Better
(G.steph.rocket CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)
One of my New Year's resolutions was to treat myself better. More sleep, some exercise, cut down on the beer and especially start eating better. Most Americans don't. You just have to take a visit to the grocery store sometimes to see how obesity is an epidemic in this country. And the reason is in those grocery carts, piled high with processed foods and sugar laden snacks.
If it was just to have better health and longer life, eating better would be wise but in the future we face, that of economic contraction, energy insecurity and resource depletion, those of us in the 99%, those of us who are not rich enough to ignore problems as civilization slowly collapses, then we have to face the prospect that food is going to get harder and harder to get. Climate change is going to put pressures on those who grow food, especially Big Agriculture. The moderate weather and rain fall are already being disrupted. Periods of drought followed by excessive rain and flooding will mean less food grown and what does get grown will be less nutritious.
Science may help, there are already some genetically modified plant strains being developed which will grow better in higher CO2 levels we can expect by the end of the century. We can't count on science to come up with a magic bullet though, so we each must take steps ourselves, to manage our diet and grow some of our own food.
Lets look at three things we can do.
The "WHAT" of Eating Better
Typically the advice you get when you want to eat better, is eat more fruits and vegetables, less meat and processed foods. It gets hard though to tell what vegetables are better, or what meats are worse. Then you have all the other healthy eating advice. Go Paleo, or eat Keto. Cut out carbs or choose gluten free. Don't forget vegan or non vegan either. All of these and others often address a few specific concerns, like losing weight. Or problems you are having with your health. Unfortunately, such tailored eating diets often severely restrict your eating sources. This may not be doable in a environment of limited food options.
(If you are having specific issues with your health, see a qualified nutritionist or your doctor.)
One "diet" that seems to consistently get high marks with nutritionists is the "Mediterranean Diet".
Not technically a "diet" as is commonly termed, diets often being used to just to lose weight, the Mediterranean Diet is based on the food and cooking styles popular with people living in Southern Europe like Greece and Italy. Researchers have noticed that those people tended to be much healthier than Americans and be subject to much lower rates of lifestyle illnesses like diabetes and heart diseases. Since medical care will also be less available in the future for most of us, living with less illnesses that require expensive drugs or hospital interventions is going to be doubly advantageous.
Being more a dietary style than a diet, the Mediterranean Diet allows you to modify as needed for personal preference and the availability of resources.
A good introduction of the foods allowed and those discouraged is here: Heathline.com - Mediterranean Diet 101
Basically eat less processed foods and more cooked vegetables, especially steamed and not fried in processed oils like canola or soy bean. Eat whole grains and nuts, though I'd skip almonds given the environmental damage large scale almond farming is doing. Skip the butter on your bread for olive oil (perhaps with some herbs). Salads are a good addition but skip the ranch dressing and go with an oil and vinegar dressing. Cut out added sugar in your food (surprising how much food has some added) and any foods with added salt. You'd be surprised how many foods have too much of both added to them. Chose the least processed option when you can.
I have a small personal food steamer which is amazing that I picked up at a yard sale. Hit the grocery store on the way home from work, for a variety of vegetables, enough for one or two meals. Bring them home, then pop them into it for 20-30 minutes while you clean up. Add some herbs and spices then dig in. Steaming is a great way to keep the nutrients and save on oily clean up.
Skip sugary drinks like soda or fruit flavored juices which are heavy in added fructose corn syrup, drink water though pick up a reusable container and not one use plastic. I personally keep a pitcher in my refrigerator of cold water with a bit of lemon juice and the non-sugar sweetener Stevia which is natural and not processed. Ditch anything labeled "diet" or "low-fat". Alcohol in moderation, with a glass of red wine with your meal if you like. Same with coffee and tea, drink in moderation.
Importantly less red meat, more white meat like chicken or turkey. Fish and seafood twice a week if you can though I've cut back on my sushi given the over fishing of tuna being done. Where you can choose wild caught over farmed seafood, which has added antibiotics. If you want, have a steak with friends sometimes but at a minimum.
(Harvard's food pyramid [Public domain])
Some Additional Reading:
A review of some of the medical studies: "5 Studies on The Mediterranean Diet - Does it Really Work?"
Be aware that lower quality ingredients may not provide the same benefits: Not All Mediterranean Diets Are Created Equal
(Look at the Green Wizard discussion on honey HERE to see how products can be diluted. Watch what you buy and where it comes from.)
Also be aware of the nutritional difference of increasing vegetable proteins and cutting back on animal proteins has. The "Flexitarian Diet" link next has some information as well as this article: Animal vs Plant Protein - What's the Difference?
A similar healthy eating life style to check out: "The Flexitarian Diet: A Detailed Beginner's Guide"
A diet lifestyle which lowers fat in your body may also help with health problems like Type 2 Diabetes: "Study reveals what causes type 2 diabetes and how to reverse it"
The "HOW" of Eating Wisely
John Michael Greer has often spoken of the benefits of daily meditation in both physical health and spiritual clarity. Mindful meditation, that is being present in the moment, is a good way to train yourself to be aware of your situation, your environment and your own head space, though its a hard habit to get into.
Being "mindful" isn't something we as humans are wired for. Instead we let millions of years of evolutionary experiences which sit in our subconscious walk our meat bodies through the day, while the tiny bit of our prefrontal cortex which actually reasons lives in a sea of background clutter. Bits of music we have heard, worries about this or that, bright shiny objects in our view, aimless chatter with those around us, all distracts us from what we are actually doing.
Mindful meditation tries to bring you back to the present moment, usually by consciously being aware of our own breathing. You learn to use that breathing to clear your mind. Now the mind will wander and that's ok. Its the ability to realize your mind is wandering and to choose to return to the present moment. Your mind will do everything it can to distract you, think of the bills you need to pay, the argument you had with a partner, the fact you need new tires on your car. Each time this happens, realize it and use your breathing to recenter yourself in the present. Don't judge or worry too much if you can't seem to stay focused. When a stray though intrudes, recognize it and think again on your breathing. The more and more times you do this, the easier it will get. From your short mediation, you will find you are able to take that experience into your every day life.
Its the same way with eating.
How often have you caught yourself plopped down before the television or the computer, with a half eaten meal in your hand and no recollection of what any of it tasted like? Or coming unexpectedly to the bottom of a bag of chips, when you meant to just eat a few?
When I say "eat mindfully", I mean to be wholly in the present of the act of eating. Eat slowly, taking the time to savor the flavors and textures of the food in your mouth. Feel the way it rolls across your tongue. Chew it and feel the way it turns from tender bits of food to a soft mush. Swallow and feel it as it goes down. Just take a moment to enjoy the act of eating. When ever your mind wanders, come back to the taste of the food.
This is best done at first alone. Trying to mindfully eat with another person is difficult. People want to talk. So too is it hard to do at a restaurant out in public, especially if its crowded.
One helpful trick I sometimes use, that is to picture where the food comes from. As you take a bite of say a potato, imagine that potato growing in the ground. See it putting out leaves and putting down roots. Often, just the mental image of that will cause me to slow down, to consciously savor the taste of that potato. So too with the other elements of your meal.
I also as a spiritual act, will thanks that potato from its sacrifice, give up its place on the Earth to feed me.
As you practice mindful eating, it will help you re-center and learn to experience each moment of your Life.
(2015 CC Laboratorium Pieśni - Koło mego ogródecka )
Some Additional Reading:
"8 steps to mindful eating", Harvard Medical School.
"Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence While You Eat", American Diabetes Association
"6 Ways to Practice Mindful Eating", Informal mindfulness practices for those of us who don’t have five minutes to contemplate a raisin.
The "When" of Eating Healthy
I am guilt as most of us are, of giving into the minor cravings for something, anything to stuff in my mouth. The prevalence of snack food in our pantries, in the aisles of our grocery stores and on the side of the road on the way home has conditioned us to give in at the slightest promptings. Sit through an hour of commercial television and count how many food related commercials you see. Its frightening how they flood the airwaves especially at the key hours around the evening meal.
Just as we aren't designed to run all the time, we aren't made to constantly eat either. Any activity comes with an energy requirement, and eating is among them. Filling our stomach with food, especially the poorly nutritious processed foods that manufactured food companies push means our bodies must divert energy and effort in digesting them, from other tasks.
One method to help us be more healthy that is gaining interest and adoption is "intermittent fasting".
This practice is just as it sounds, you simply don't eat for a specific amount of time each day. Which can be a lot harder than it sounds, lol. "Just Say No", is hard to say Yes to.
Alternating between fasting and eating triggers your body's cells to cells use up their fuel stores and convert fat to energy, instead of relying on the incoming food you've just eaten. Just as you should eat from your emergency pantry rather than always from fat food places, having your cells eat from your internal fat stores improves your health. Fatty deposits in your body, once established and then ignored will cause you problems beyond just a few extra pounds.
There are ways to help you to get into this healthy habit. One is "sleeping on it". When you think about it, the time you are in bed, is time you aren't eating. Pair that up with stopping any food consumption after the evening meal, to get a few more hours of fasting in. Slowly increase the wait period by moving your dinner meal back into the late afternoon, rather than early evening will help increase the time you fast.
I use an alternative, skipping breakfast before work. There's no real reason we must have a huge meal first thing in the morning, other than social habit. Instead of grabbing a big bowl of sugary cereal as you read the morning news, grab a glass of water instead. Break your fast at lunch, preferably with something healthy you made the night before. Don't give in to morning snacks or go out with co-workers to a convenient nearby fast food either. Skipping breakfast can extend your fasting time out to the recommended 12-14 hours.
Doing this and you'll find like I have that first you seem to have more energy, and second, it becomes easier and easier to refuse those sudden cravings.
Jean Fortunet [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0)]
Some Additional Reading:
"Exactly How Nutritionists Beat Sweet and Salty Cravings"
"Eating in a 6-hour window and fasting for 18 hours might help you live longer"
The recent Pandemic has shown each of us how easy it is to let ourselves go. Being fat and sedate is not only bad for our health but it will make us ill prepared for the Long Descent. Take control of your eating habits now, while its easier. Don't wait until you are faced with real want and actual scarcity.
You'll thank yourself then.
Thu, 01/20/2022 - 08:51
Intermittent fasting's effect on the stomach
The meat that we (many of us, anyway) eat, and digest, is made of the same stuff that our digestive organs are made of. So, how is it that the chemical processes that reduce meat to constituent nutrients don't attack our plumbing? Part of the answer is that our stomachs have a protective lining of mucus, but the other part of the answer is that a small amount of damage actually IS done with each meal. Fortunately, the damage can be healed between meals... if we allow enough time. I've been on a 6 AM, 12 noon, 6 PM eating schedule for a long time, so to read that even a 12-hour interval without eating is considered a "fast" is sort of mind-boggling. (I assumed "break-fast" was archaic!)
Sat, 01/22/2022 - 07:24
Fasting - Semantics and Promotional Marketing
Yes, we've grown so used to giving in to minor cravings that going without food for such a short period as 12 hours is considered deprivation and hardship. When I'm sure our forebearers went sometimes days with little more than a long stem of grass to suck on, and a bit or two of dried fruit or meat.
I don't eat for usually 15-17 hours, which is a few hours before bed until I get home from work around noon (I do a 5 hour part time shift now). I usually break my fast with a good size lunch. I have noticed that there are times now where it stretches a day or a day and half, even two where its just some water or morning coffee. I catch myself wondering "When did I last eat", with little or no cravings for a meal.
I feel like the body needs time to make process changes like that renewal of the stomach lining, or with sleep renewing the immune system. We're not designed to multi task and limiting down time to minutes. And the body is a creature of habit too. It wants a schedule it can depend on.
I've read that your cells will adapt to their environment. Cell walls are studded with a variety of chemical receptor sockets. Give them a blood stream that's constantly flooded with stress chemicals and they will grow more of the receptor socket for that. They will start craving those same chemicals over others. Same with a blood stream of easy sugars.
I feel like no matter what kind of regular schedule you come up with, just having one is the most important thing to keep you healthy.
As for the label, I think much of the issue is too, the need to sensationalize and market everything now. Saying to people to just eat regularly and skip snacks doesn't go over as well (or sell as many books) as painting the change of your habits and lifestyle as getting back to the primal ways of your hunter/gatherer ancestors (while taking selfies with your thousand dollar IPhone).
Sat, 01/22/2022 - 15:11
Most Americans have never actually been truly hungry, like famine kind of hungry, including myself; though I have fasted one day per week for years. Many Americans are nutritionally deficient, thanks to depleted soils and industrial agriculture's practices, but take a look at the people waddling the streets; most are overweight and many are genuinely obese. Clearly there are plenty of "empty" calories around in the form of HFCS, etc.
One interesting experiment is to look at old footage or photos of crowds from even as recently as the 1970's and note that the vast majority of people were reasonably trim, with noticeable exceptions. Compare that to the present. It's especially shocking to me when I see young people, including pre-teens, that are clearly unhealthily overweight.
For nearly all of humanity's tenure on the planet, having a little fat was a good thing; it's the safest place to keep any excess energy you've managed to acquire. Thus we used to associate fat with wealth/success. But now that's all inverted, thanks to the parallel patterns of excess fossil energy and excess empty calories. Today we regard restraint as being a sign of success; which perhaps it is. But I suspect that, as the fossil fuel era wheezes to the top of the stairs and faceplants in an asthmatic-diabetic coma, that it won't be long before having a little fat around your middle will once again be seen as an symptom of wealth.
Sat, 01/22/2022 - 17:31
not a fan of intermittant or other fasting
I'm a bit skeptical of the whole intermittant fasting thing. I've always had a fast metabolism, and when I didn't eat for a few hours I got seriously dysfunctional, as in hypoglycaemic symptoms when growing up and as a young adult. Really cold, wild mood swings including bursting into tears for no reason, shaking hands, can't concentrate, if I stood up too fast my vision would sometimes go grey at the edges, I'd drop things I tried to hold, basically couldn't function properly until I ate something, which promptly fixed all the problems. It lessened with time - and I also went through a stage where I was too depressed to eat properly and lost weight from an already light frame. Not eating often enough made the depression worse and my other physical issues. When I got that sorted out and returned to my prior weight, I felt so much better than when I was too light. It's possible that being unhealthily light for a while also slowed my metabolism long-term, because I've had a bit less problem with hypoglycaemia-type symptoms since and I've read that fasting can slow the metabolism as the body tries to conserve energy, making it harder to lose weight in the future. But that could also just be getting a bit older.
So I'm a bit skeptical of the whole intermittant fasting thing. If I get too long between meals, I'm still a mess.
Maybe it's different for people who are carrying extra weight. But not everyone is, and for people like me, fasting is a great way to make myself seriously dysfunctional in a hurry. And doing that before doing something potentially dangerous, like climbing ladders or riding my scooter or driving is actively dangerous because I make stupid mistakes I wouldn't normally make.
Fri, 02/25/2022 - 17:46
Real food and intermittent fasting
I used to get inappropriately angry when I got hungry. As I slowly switched to a diet completely devoid of processed foods, my health improved steadily. I started intermittent fasting about 5 or so years ago, and it was rough at first. The metabolic pathways to utilize fat for energy are not functional if you don't use them! The result is not pretty, as your own experience has shown you. And as you so rightly point out, you must have fat stores to tap into, or it won't work either!
For me it is key to 1) go slowly with the changes (as David talks about in more detail below), 2) eat enough calories between fasts that my body knows food is always coming eventually and 3) not fast on a schedule. That is how I avoid slowing down my metabolism. Now I can easily go 2 days without eating (although I rarely do), and hardly even notice. My body has well-developed pathways for metabolizing both food and fat stores, and can switch back and forth readily.
It gives me peace of mind to know that I don't always have to have access to food in order to function. Sometimes for work, I go into the lab and don't come out for more than 12 hours--no food or water is allowed at all. My body now allows me to do this, and do my work with attention and concentration the whole time. I rarely think about food or water at all under these conditions. If I'm ever required to function in an emergency, I'm confident that short-term access to food won't be a speed bump in the way of success, however that success needs to look. I fast between 1 and 3 days a week for 18-22 hours, and most days at least 10-12 hours overnight. And I do carry extra weight, so I think that assists this whole process....
Sun, 01/23/2022 - 06:43
Some Can't And That's Fine
Just as Greer has rightly pointed out, like going vegan or meatless, isn't for everyone. And that's ok. If your metabolism is such that you don't do well fasting, then by all means don't. We as a civilization have gotten into the "fad phase" where everyone is expected to jump on the newest craze without considering whether it makes sense for YOU.
And you are right, if you are already slimmed down and don't have body fat stores, then going without food will give you problems. But then, shouldn't a body have some stores of fat? One of the reasons I was first interested in it was from a survival point of view. Being able to go without food in an emergency seems to be a useful ability to have.
That said, any changes to your regular routine, being it food related, sleep related or any thing else isn't something you can just jump into whole hog, you need to plan to slowly ramp up into the new program. It took me a couple of slow months to get to the point I am now where I can go without major food for a day and not feel lethargic.
Thanks for pointing this out. I should probably add something along the lines of a warning to the main post.
Sun, 01/23/2022 - 14:22
It isn't a case of 'already
It isn't a case of 'already slimmed down'. It's a case of 'didn't have much extra to start with, and never have had', then lost a bunch as a side effect of other issues and the loss made my problems worse.
I wish our society would pay more attention to problems caused by underweight sometimes - obesity and overweight get all the attention because they're so common, and people tend to assume weight loss is intentional, desired, and always a good thing. And people make snap judgements about total strangers that are just silly.
There was this one time I was at a festival, and eating a slice of pie. This total stranger walks up to me and tells me something along the lines of 'you shouldn't eat that, you'll lose your nice figure' and walks away before I could reply. I'd just come off a field biology job and had an insane metabolism that demanded far more food than you'd think to look at me, and some random person thinks they should be telling me not to eat? Rude! And wrong!
Add in that the beauty ideal for women is unhealthily low for a lot of women but so many people try to meet it anyway... let's not even get into the issues with anorexia and bulimia that get fed by that.
Advice to fast and lose weight is good advice for some, but NOT for everyone, and it seems to be everywhere these days.
Fri, 02/25/2022 - 17:49
I hear you, and agree!
Wed, 01/26/2022 - 18:58
Six Dimensions of Your Health
Interesting article/website posted to in this week's Ecosophia comments
"We’ve Reached Peak Wellness. Most of It Is Nonsense." by Brad Stulberg.
I liked this breakdown of your health,
"According to decades of research, wellness is a lifestyle or state of being that goes beyond merely the absence of disease and into the realm of maximizing human potential. Once someone’s basic needs are met (e.g., food and shelter), scientists say that wellness emerges from nourishing six dimensions of your health: physical, emotional, cognitive, social, spiritual, and environmental. According to research published in 1997 in The American Journal of Health Promotion, these dimensions are closely intertwined. Evidence suggests that they work together to create a sum that is greater than its parts."
The article goes on to discuss each in some detail with suggestions.
Tue, 02/08/2022 - 18:27
More Data On Dumping Typical Western Eating Habits
"Want to Live Longer? Stop Eating Like an American, Says a New Study."
"It turns out diet might play a more outsized role than we thought. A new peer-reviewed study published in PLOS Medicine on Tuesday suggests that a young adult living in the U.S. could add more than 10 years to their expected lifespan simply by pivoting away from a typical Western diet and closer to a traditional Mediterranean diet. That means eating much less red and processed meat; and eating many more legumes, whole grains, and nuts.
“Food is fundamental for health, and global dietary risk factors are estimated to cause 11 million deaths and 255 million disability-adjusted life years annually,” Norwegian nutrition researcher and lead study author Lars Thore Fadnes told The Daily Beast. “Understanding the health potential of different food groups could enable people to make feasible and significant health gains.” Though previous studies have sought to characterize how diet is associated with lifespan, none have done so “with the same detail” and this new study, said Fadnes."
"According to the researchers, these gains are highly powered by an emphasis on legumes, which are known to have a beneficial “metabolic profile” and are high in fiber, proteins, carbohydrates, several B-vitamins, copper, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and phosphorous. “Legumes are practically free of saturated fat and cholesterol,” said Fadnes. Whole grains share many of these characteristics, as well. And nuts are known to be dense in nutrients, and rich in antioxidant and antimicrobial compounds.
According to Fadnes, these three foods are staples of diets in the so-called “blue zones” around the world that have unusually high rates of longevity, like Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica; and Icaria, Greece."
Wed, 02/16/2022 - 08:40
Nuts? How about seeds?
I appreciate the nutritional value of nuts, but they're often expensive. And why wouldn't they be? It takes time to grow the tree, it takes work to gather the nuts, more work to shell them and clean the edible meats, and they'll get rancid if not handled carefully. On the other hand, I suspect that oily seeds, such as sunflower and sesame, offer a lot of the same benefits at a much lower price per pound. And peanuts cover both the "nut" and "legume" categories at an affordable price. The best source of peanuts around here is the "organic peanut-butter stock" product at $4.99/lb. No salt, no flavorings; nothing but small, clean, peanuts. Shelled pumpkin seeds are also a good balance of nutrients vs. cost, when bought in bulk without "enhancements".
Thu, 02/17/2022 - 11:16
Don't forget that the peanuts
Don't forget that the peanuts in that tasty organic peanut-butter were roasted then ground. Otherwise the peanuts or ground raw peanuts would taste something like old starchy peas.
Sat, 02/26/2022 - 05:50
Yes to nuts, but not the expensive ones
I used to love making up a trail mix to munch on and throw a lot of nuts in it, including some raw almonds. I dropped the almonds a couple of years back because of just how damaging to the environment and how water intensive growing them are. Peanuts are still in though. I have a container of them on the office desk always for a quick protein fix.
I do want to see what other options I can maybe grow myself in a small backyard garden.
Sat, 02/26/2022 - 08:59
I have tried several times to grow hazelnuts and managed to kill the saplings within a year or two. I have also tried to grow almonds. No luck there either except the root stock they used on one of the trees I tried. I would really like to kill it, but no suck luck. Has anyone out there been successful with hazelnuts or filberts?
Sat, 02/26/2022 - 12:40
Hazelnuts after 9 years
I've got a couple hazelnuts still alive after nine years. No special care. They are in dappled part-shade on a slope, rain watered only. No pruning, no mulching (except in their first four years). Bushy and short. They are "Precocious" variety, bought from Oikos Tree Crops in Michigan. But I think Oikos is probably no longer selling trees, probably just selling some seeds. What I planted had "trunks" of about 3mm, so bareroot, not grafted. Just whispy little things, planted in autumn.
I forget where you live, but Hazelnuts need 800-1200 chill hours. Where my trees came from is USDA zone 3!
Hmm, I was going to share a photo, but the tool to do so is not on the site right now. ~???~
Sat, 02/26/2022 - 18:42
I live in a zone 6 or 7 depending on who's map you look at. I know other's who have successfully grown them here, but I don't seem to have the knack. Maybe from seed is a good plan.
Sun, 02/27/2022 - 10:28
I have 2 hazelnuts that I planted 2 years ago as single bareroot sticks. No sign of reproductive action yet, but I don't expect any for several more years. I am zone 3 here....Not nuts, but in an inner-city lot (0.14 acre), I have fruit bearing plums (2), crabapple (1), serviceberry (1), cherry (1 heavily bearing bush, not tree), honeyberry (2), chokecherry (1), elderberry (2)....and still have room to grow alot of food in beds (including raspberry, blackberry, strawberry, and 9 raised beds), plus have some brick patio, grass lawn, and flower gardens. It doesn't take a lot of room to grow food!
Sat, 02/26/2022 - 17:11
The site tried to double post
The site tried to double post and I can't seem to find a 'delete' option to completely remove it... what am I not seeing?
Tue, 03/01/2022 - 16:56
It double posts sometimes Ken
Not sure why you don't see a way to delete the other post. I usually see them and clean them up so don't worry too much.
Sat, 02/26/2022 - 16:46
Hazel was the original Tree of Life for Mesolithic Europeans
There is a long and sacred relationship with the Hazel among Europeans and Euro-Americans.
(from the article linked above)
"Despite what we’ve been told, the indigenous Mesolithic societies of Europe never disappeared: they adapted, and survived in new ways. Their cultures, values, spiritual beliefs, and relationships with the land are encoded in the folk traditions and regional agroecological systems that persist throughout Europe. These are an essential piece of an antidote to the toxic empire-based culture that currently holds sway over our society.
They are an example of what we might lose if we forget too much, but also of what we can create again. Our present crises of climate change, extreme inequality, imperialism run amok, and endemic violence eerily mirror the downfalls of previous cultures that relied too heavily on a handful of finicky crops and an expansionist ethos. But this time of chaos can also be an opportunity, a chance to emulate the older cultures that replaced them: those who planted trees in the ruins of empire, who remade the Commons on abandoned plantations, and quietly continued to tend their small forest garden as their ancestors had before them. We may have inherited the most destructive systems of extraction and exploitation ever seen, but we have also inherited the seeds for a better way to live: a way that our oldest ancestors knew and cherished.
Perhaps it is time that we plant those seeds once again." - Max Paschall
Tue, 03/01/2022 - 16:58
Nuts and Fruit
Both seem to be long term commitments. The trees they need take several years to begin bearing food and I have too much shade as it is. Now buying from some local farmer when in season and drying things with a solar dryer is on the table though.
Tue, 03/01/2022 - 20:03
Long Term Commitments
It's true; trees take time to produce. All the more reason to heed the old adage, "The best time to plant a tree is ten years ago, the next best time is today." What is a Green Wizard but a person that takes the long view of things?
Tue, 03/01/2022 - 20:25
Yep, I am 61 and am going to be planting some more chestnut trees, some by seed..... I like hazelnuts, the darn squirrels get every one. The hazelnuts burned down, but they are coming back from the roots like being coppiced, and like many of hte native trees, tan oak, valley oaks, burned down and coming back from the roots. Maybe I will get more hazelnuts when they bear again.
But, the chestnut trees, we lost quite a few in the neighborhood, but the squirrels cant eat them all. And they make great chicken feed, or people food.
Tue, 03/01/2022 - 20:41
Chestnut trees are WONDERFUL
I applaud you planting chestnuts! Gorgeous, huge, long-lived trees that give nutritious nuts, cooling shade and eventually exquisite lumber. You can't go wrong planting trees; either you learn what doesn't work where you are or you have a beautiful tree in your life!
Wed, 03/02/2022 - 08:49
I am guessing you folks aren
I am guessing you folks aren't talking about "horse" chestnuts, which is the only chestnut I know about in my area and it isn't edible.
Wed, 03/02/2022 - 16:08
You are quite correct. There are varieties of American Chestnut that have been developed to be resistant to the infamous chestnut blight and there are crosses to Asian chestnuts that are resistant as well.
Wed, 03/02/2022 - 18:12
I will check it out
I don't know if any grow in my area and even if they do, they may be too large for my yard.