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Rocky Mountain Flatbread

Growing Leeks

Growing Food With Sharon Hanna

Start leeks now using these easy-to-follow instructions:

Now through early May is a peachy time to start leeks from seed. Sow thinly in seedling containers or pots—and by thinly, I mean no more than 12–16 seeds in a 4-inch pot or 4-by-6-inch plastic cell pack. Use seed-starter mix; do not use soil from your own garden. Try to sow seeds evenly spaced. This is never easy, but the more space between seeds, the longer they’ll be able to stay in the pots and the larger they can grow. Barely water (as usual), and give them bottom heat, which all members of the onion family love, especially at first. (They prefer cooler temperatures after, but warm at the beginning—another similarity to human infants ☺) Expect your leeks to take a while to germinate. When they do emerge, they come out as cute little bent over grassy seedlings which finally unfold and grow straight up, with the seed stuck to the end. Bringing them indoors and outdoors—out if the weather is warm, inside to your kitchen in the evenings—will make them grow faster. Leeks are heavy feeders. If you have a pinch of alfalfa meal, kelp meal, etc. add some of that, or water with liquid kelp or fish once they get larger. Transplant to LARGE containers (they won’t work in small ones, in my experience anyway) or to good rich soil in at least half a day of sun. Refer to the West Coast Seeds catalogue or the Internet for transplanting instructions. Leeks do great things for the soil—making it “friable,” which is another word for well-worked and luscious with lots of air spaces to hold oxygen, which is good for plant roots. They’ll also grow in less than perfect areas such as ones with part sun. They will not grow in heavy shade or in the dark. Give leeks a try this year. Many will overwinter on the coast. For fall and winter use, start more in early June. Sharon Read more at Gardenwise Online.

You Are What You Digest

Nutrition Tips With Registered Holistic Nutritionist Julia O’ Loughlin

We’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat,” but that’s actually only a half truth.  The saying should really be “you are what you digest,” because without proper digestion, we can not fully benefit from the potential health impacts of the food we eat.  In order for nutrients to be absorbed by the body, they have to be properly broken down.  This process occurs in the stomach and is accomplished with the help of hydrochloric acid (gastric acid) and the body’s own digestive enzymes.  Some health professionals, including North Vancouver naturopathic doctor John Matsen, believe that inefficient digestion is a factor in ALL disease and its improvement is the single best tool for preventative medicine. So, how can you increase your own digestive abilities? See below for a list of simple ways that will help you rest assured you are absorbing all the wonderful nutrients from the food you eat.

  • Chew food properly – Stimulates the production of gastric juices and the release of an enzyme in the saliva that begins the breakdown of starchy foods.
  • Prevent dilution of hydrochloric acid – don’t drink large amounts of cold fluids with meals as this dilutes digestive juices and causes premature dumping of food into the small intestines.
  • Eat smaller, simpler meals, more frequently – to increase metabolism, relieve difficult digestion and balance blood sugar.
  • Do not eat with upset or rushed – this can upset the digestive process and lead to malabsorption.
  • Eat prior to 7:30 pm – As the digestive process weakens throughout the day, the earlier you eat the higher likelihood that nutrients will be effectively assimilated and absorbed.
  • Enhance consumption of digestive enzymes – do so by supplementation or by eating more raw foods, particularly tropical fruits.
  • Increase production of hydrochloric acid – begin day with a cup of water mixed with apple cider vinegar or lemon, or supplement with Betaine HCl-.