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If, like me, you stumbled into 2016 suffering from a severe overdose of booze and cheese, read on. January is traditionally the time when we kickstart a healthier regime, but who honestly wants to spend lots of time in the gym, or splash out lots of money on health food supplements? The real answer is at your (green) fingertips.

It’s time to grow yourself healthy – gardening is proven to have health benefits and if you grow your own healthy food then it’s a double whammy!

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Harvesting on the allotment

The idea of diet affecting our health and well-being has never been stronger. and studies show that the fresher our food, the better it is for us. But what is most worth growing? Which homegrown foods are the best and healthiest for a detox? Here’s my personal top 5:

  • KALE – ‘superfood’ of the moment – easy to grow, either as a winter green (it doesn’t get clobbered by pests, unlike its relatives cabbages and sprouts) and as a baby salad leaf all year-round. Hardy and colourful – especially if you choose purple ones like ‘Redbor’.
  • BERRIES. Blueberries are undoubtedly really good for you, but they’re not the only ones. Blackberries and blackcurrants have similar high levels of vitamins and antioxidants and are much easier to grow if you don’t have acid soil.
  • MINT makes a tasty tea which is good at any time of day – but I find its refreshing taste and lack of caffeine perfect for after a heavy meal with too many glasses of wine. Just put 5 leaves in a mug, pour boiling water over and leave to infuse for 5 minutes. Delicious either on its own or with a bit of honey or agave nectar.
  • APPLES – the old adage ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ rings true in this age of scientific research – apples have been shown to contain useful levels of vitamins, fibre and antioxidants. BUT, shop-bought apples are one of the ‘Dirty Dozen’ – the fruits and vegetables which, when bought in the shops, have been found to contain the most pesticide residue. All the more reason to grow your own.
  • SPROUTED SEEDS – quick, easy and cheap, these mighty mini veg pack quite a nutritional punch. It’s not just beansprouts  either – all sorts are available, either from your kitchen cupboard or to buy from sweet alfalfa to chickpeas (make your hummus even healthier) and lentils which add a delicious nutty bite to salads.

Making Hummes

 

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