I enjoyed a comment this morning at http://jimlongsgarden.blogspot.com/ about not understanding why people think composting is complicated. He points out that fancy bins are not at all necessary and explains an easy trench system as well. Smaller pieces compost faster than larger scraps, so he does show a kitchen compost chopper (I have used my blender or a knife for that purpose). The calcium/compost connection? Composting returns a huge variety of nutrients into the soil rather than the limited range provided by commercial fertilizers. Studies done at Rutgers University found that organically grown spinach had nearly four times the iron found in commercially raised plants, along with all of the co-nutrients required for assimilation. That is also the reason for the bolder taste of organically grown vegetables.
The simplification challenge applies to natural health. People want exciting new cures and supplements and lots of ‘certified’ professionals to take care of them rather than accepting that living responsibly will pretty much handle most concerns. I have always told my clients that I would rather they get their nutrients from food rather than even herbal supplements. Most are convinced that, in addition to the specific supplements they test for in my office, they ‘should’ or ‘need to’ take calcium, vitamin C, fish oils…the list goes on. I don’t believe we were meant to live on pills, and there is not a single supplement that I think everyone needs every day. I remember one client whose recommended program was just a couple of capsules each of three herbal combinations, and a flower essence. She was very skeptical about needing so little to overcome a specific health concern, but told me a few weeks later that she felt better than she had felt in the several years since she had begun her natural health regimen….and she had been taking over 70 capsules a day. It really shouldn’t have to be that hard, or that expensive!
NPR this morning reported that most teens in the US are deficient in calcium and vitamin D (which is actually a hormone) at the most critical time for skeletal growth. I think the best solutions to that problem are found in high calcium foods-dark, leafy greens, cultured whole milk dairy products, tofu, salmon and sardines-and time in the sun every day, not a handful of supplements. (Note that salmons, sardines, and whole milk all have high fat contents, but remember that fats are the building blocks for hormones, including D and thyroid hormones that regulate calcium uptake!) Note also that I encourage cultured dairy; good gut bacteria help absorb nutrients. I realize that some of my readers are anti-dairy and others make a living on supplement sales, so I am at risk of giving offense, but part of my focus in working with my clients has always been to help them take the next, most essential step toward better living rather than to stress them further by telling them they are doing everything wrong. We move forward from there.
The study also found that having students jump up and down for 15 minutes a day between classes significantly increased bone density; I can see that being translated into a promotion for rebounders, tricky shoes and pogo sticks rather than a pillow fight and jumping on the bed or leaping laps around the house. I live in Florida, so jumping into the waves and a kale or broccoli salad picnic at the beach would give any of us a solid dose of everything needed for healthy bones, but I know people who can’t make that happen because they “have to go to the gym”!
The closer we connect to and pattern our lives after nature, the healthier and happier we will be,