Garden of Growth

Last week, Chad and I spent a few hours composting hundreds upon hundreds of seedlings. Now, I understand from a business perspective that, as a farmer, you have to overplant in case something happens. I also understand that it takes a scarce commodity, time, to find appropriate homes for them. Composting it is . . . unless you have an intern that feels almost more tenderly for abandoned plants than for abandoned puppies.

Here are just a few of the plants I filled my car with to bring home, and I barely rescued any:

There’s a nearby church that has garden plots for the community, and after planting some around the Vista House, I called up the pastor and procured a space!

I had to lay down newspaper and cardboard to kill the weeds . . .

. . . before I ran out. Then I poached some from a dumpster behind a shopping center ūüėČ

Filled completely, sprinkled with fertilizer (and one happy gardener):

I then had to let it rest a week. According to the people in charge of the garden at the church, the soil they got needed added nitrogen. After talking to Roddy and Chad, however, I was skeptical about this addition and am hopeful that my plants don’t get burned by too much.

My little rescues went back in the car after a week of rest and water at the VH (ignore the dirty socks. Comes from working on a farm . . . at least, that’s what I tell myself)

And over to the church to be planted!

Isn’t it beautiful? I planted peppers (sweet and hot), tomatoes, okra, oregano, and watermelon. I’m so excited for my plants to start producing fruit, and to not be dependent on the dining hall this fall for all of my goodies. Speaking of school food, check this out over at Food Renegade (and watch the TED talk at the end!)

Do you have a garden? 

What is in season in your region? 

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Delicious, Nutritious Breakfast

I know I’ve said it before, but true things bear repeating:¬†maintaining a healthy lifestyle while at school is hard.¬†Granted, it’s hard in general, but I think especially so at school. In college we experience a host of new things: less sleep, more stress, practically unlimited access to junk food, late night WaHo (read: Waffle House) runs, and no parent figure preparing balanced meals. For a lot of college freshman (whether they gain the freshman 15 or not), this can mean a decline in health level.

At my school, all freshman are required to purchase the unlimited meal plan. We can have food from the Dining Hall whenever we so please, with fast food options in another location on campus. Because I am cheap¬†aspire to fiscal responsibility, I am and was determined to get the most out of my meal plan, and avoided purchasing foods for myself. I think a lot of other students run into this same problem–often, what’s cheapest and easiest to prepare in a college dorm room doesn’t have the most stellar nutritional stats. Though I’m right next to the kitchen on my dorm (a luxury many students don’t have) we lack pans and pots to cook in, as well as time. I also love the social experience of eating in the dining hall–I get to see my friends and take a break from class.

With this said, I have a hard time with breakfast and the weekends. On the weekends our dining hall has very limited hours and limited options, and for breakfast I have fewer vegan options than I have at home. Most of the cereals are full of added sugar, sodium, and refined carbs, the potatoes are fried, and the soy milk also has added sugar. That leaves oatmeal and fruit–not bad, but given my extreme hatred for aversion to oatmeal… let’s just say I’m learning to like it, and at this point only enjoy it with added cereal or granola for crunch, peanut butter for flavor, raisins for sweetness, and soy milk to make it like cereal. So the oatmeal I prepare isn’t that much better than the other cereals…

Because I’m trying to limit/remove sources of refined sugar in my diet (more on this later), I’m going to start having breakfast in my dorm room more often. This is good! More time to sleep, less available liquid caffeine to encourage my dependency. My parents are coming this weekend for the first time since they brought me to school last August, and they’ve procured an inexpensive, used blender for me!! Prompted a shopping trip that was heavy on nutrition and easy on the wallet. The fruit is courtesy of our dining hall–I recommend making your meal plan work for you!

That shredded wheat has no sugar or sodium,9 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein! I also got peanut butter that was only peanuts--no added oils or sweeteners!

Enter the breakfast smoothies. At home, I have one every morning chock full of whatever veggies we have in the fridge, unsweetened soy or almond milk, fruits, and other goodies that vary depending on my day and mood. Cocoa powder, stevia, cinnamon,  protein powder, nut butters, tofu , and oats are some of my personal favorites to add in.

I’ve washed and sliced my smoothie ingredients, and they’re waiting and ready to be blended together!

frozen pears and apples!

My poor roommate–I’ve filled our small freezer!

Spinach is my FAVORITE mix in for smoothies. Adds a serving of veggies in the morning, and I can't even taste it.

¬†Since I don’t get my blender until Thursday, I’m trying out alternatives both in my room and the dining hall. This morning, I had shredded wheat with my special mix of flaxseed, protein powder, and cinnamon (I carry it with me to our dining hall in the mornings in a tupperware container…I get some funny looks, but it’s worth it). The nutritional stats were awesome (about 16 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber), and I was full (even with a hard workout) until lunch!

What are your favorite healthy breakfasts on the go?