Healthy Eating

Lessons from the Garden

Pruning people and portions – what plants and our gardens can teach us.

As we collectively spend less time outside in our daily lives, it’s worth noting what we can learn from digging up dirt beyond what we get from watching reality shows. Why? Because people who live to 100 share the common hobby of gardening. We also know how good spending time outdoors is for overall health.

Don’t have a garden? Find one near you and plan your adventure. In the meantime, here are are some things that come to mind while working with plants:

We probably all have that #bff we call when we need to talk to someone we trust. The one who shows up to do what needs to be done regardless of how much praise/attention they get. The plant version of this is the perennial. My garden is loaded with them. BTW – these types do even better when treated well, but will still do their best in bad conditions. It’s who they are.  Find them.

Einstein genius quote
From Pinterest

You kind of can’t talk gardens without talking weeds, too. Most weeds are basically just plants in the wrong place. Many of them have something good about them and may just need to be relocated. Kind of like us. People need to be celebrated for their skills. If you find yourself being treated like a weed, maybe you need to relocate yourself to a new place where you can thrive. On the flip side, there are some weeds that are invasive and need to get out of your garden so your healthy plants don’t get overtaken. Bye, Felicia.

Switching gears from people to portions, the garden can help us there, too, and I’m not just talking “plant-based” eating. We might be aware of the health concerns related to obesity, yet many still struggle with what to do about it. There is no food to avoid (unless you are allergic or have other medical reasons to do so), but it may be prudent to prune the portions.  Take a good look at what you are eating, whether you snap pictures of everything you eat and drink or write it down to review. Is your plate aligned with the recommendations for what you need? Are you overeating one thing and forgetting something else? Don’t listen to anyone who tells you it has to be hard, boring, or otherwise irritating to eat better. It’s really about balance. #thatisall

The lesson: Grow your (personal and professional) garden with those that make you smile and thrive. The ones that help you be the best version of you, whether there is a drought or flood, sun or winter.

A colleague of mine shared that she was reading a book called Necessary Endings that included a great garden pruning analogy that is aligned with the concept in this blog. Get rid of the bad to make way for the good. Gardens can teach us so much if we pay attention.

By Kim Kirchherr

I am a dietitian working in food and fiber (agriculture) through retail, addressing opportunities to make things better for people and planet.

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