It made me wonder what was different? I mean, I've truly battled this annual monster without too much success. Special SAD light, more forced exercise, upped the vitamins, overseas vacations, you name it, it was tried, and nothing seemed to really make a mood difference.
What was different?
- I joined a crazy knitting group and knitted squares to make blankets for homeless people. There's a great group of friends there.
- I learned to fully appreciate what a beautiful place we live in. As others in other areas dig out from snow up to their roofs, still nary a snowflake has to fall here. That means mild, friends, and I'm lovin' that!
- I fell in love with my raised bed veggie gardens, planned on using them all year, and followed through in these plans, resulting in the joy of harvesting through the winter.
- I've been eating lots of beet greens and beets from the garden.
- As further growing and harvesting impetus, my dearly beloved hunted out and installed a 2’ fluorescent light in the sun-room, to even extend the light there. So far, I'm growing and harvesting lettuce. The tomatoes will follow.
Growing your convenience food
Neighbors who saw the abundance of veggies in my raised beds asked me last year what on earth I would do with it all?
People in northern climes used to take preparing for winter seriously. It's a time when fresh veggies and fruit are more expensive, and of lesser quality.
It's so satisfying to know then that your home-grown produce is available right through those dark, short days. In spite of the weather challenges, it's a fascinating thing to notice how some veggies will grow right through the winter.
The leeks are enormous, still in their winter raised bed. They're being gradually pulled, reluctantly coming out of the rich soil one by one. Their roots are so firmly embedded, they have to be cut before they will release. Winter food is so delicious, especially when they're added to a variety of wonderful dishes. Today two, together with some potatoes, made a big quantity of hearty leek and potato soup.
That means another four meals are now stored in the freezer. Talk about convenience foods...
Now for the beets and beet greens!
Health benefits of beet greens!
Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, daily values of beet greens contain: 220% of vitamin A, 60% of vitamin C, 16% of calcium, and 15% of iron.
You can readily see how beneficial it is to eat your winter beets! I'd be happy if I had enough for a meal every day! But the beets you use must be fresh. Canned ones don't have the nutritional value. And they certainly don't have the beautiful greens attached to them.
As if that weren’t enough, studies have also shown that the vitamin K in beet greens contains blood clotting properties, helps ward off osteoporosis, works with calcium to boost bone strength, and may also play a role in fighting Alzheimer’s disease. Beet greens have a higher iron content than spinach, and a higher nutritional value than the beetroot itself.
The vitamin A content in beet greens helps strengthen the immune system and stimulates production of antibodies and white blood cells. The beta-carotene in vitamin A is a known antioxidant that can fight the effects of free radicals in the body along with cancer and heart disease. Doctors often recommend vitamin A to patients at risk of developing night blindness.
You can get supplements for all these dietary needs, but are they as good, as well balanced as these precious substances in their natural form?
Thank goodness beets together with their tops are available in most supermarkets now. The value you get from them is worth the extra money you might pay for them.
Of course none of this is scientifically proven to be of help with the winter blues. Maybe it's a combination of actively seeking happiness in life, but at the same time making sure to keep eating your beets and the beet greens!