Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pea Shoots - Delicious, Nutritious and Easy to Grow

I began experimenting with growing pea shoots a few years ago as a transitional crop to bridge the gap between the last of the winter greens and new spring crops. I buy dwarf gray sugar peas, garnish type, from Johnnys Seeds. A 5 lb. bag costs $17.60. I can sow about 8 flats with 5 lbs. of seeds and sell they for $12.00 per flat. Pretty good ROI.

It took several attempts to work out the kinks in my method. This is how i do it.

  • I use standard web trays lined with landscape fabric to keep the soil from running out the bottom. Newspaper would work as well.
  • I fill the trays half way with my standard worm casting and granite sand seed starting mix. I sprinkle 2 cups of pea seeds evenly over the surface and press them firmly into the soil. I used to cover them with soil but i found that because the seeds are so close together they would push up large masses of soil which were hard to deal with.
  • I water them thoroughly.
  • I place them on the table under the grow light and cover the trays with plastic to retain moisture. The grow light provides heat that encourages germination. When the weather is warmer i place them in the hoop house. I check them daily and water when needed to keep the seeds moist.
  • They will germinate in about 7- 10 days at which time I remove the plastic.
  • They will be ready to harvest in about 3 more weeks when the shoots are 3-4 inches tall. If i cut them off above the first couple of leaves i can sometimes get enough regrowth for another harvest.

Packed with vitamins A[1], C[2] and folic acid[3], Pea Shoots are a delicious, nutritious modern slant on the classic British garden pea. Lyndel Costain, B.Sc.RD, award winning dietitian and author of Super Nutrients Handbook, says, “Pea Shoots are a nutritious leaf with high levels of vitamin C and vitamin A. A 50g bag of these tasty greens offers more than half of the RDA for vitamin C, a quarter of the RDA for vitamin A and significant amounts of folic acid. It is great news that this healthy and simple to prepare British vegetable leaf is readily available to consumers.”
source - peashoots.com

That's it! Easy peasy :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

On the Road to Good Health and Longevity

I have been skeptical about modern medical practices for a long time. I never liked going to doctors because they could never sufficiently answer my questions and generally ignored many of the things that were wrong with me like my back pain, tinnitus, and other nagging issues. When I had a heart attack 2 years ago i went to Emory Medical Center, one of the leading teaching and research hospitals in the world. I am sure there is some good, useful work done there, however my experience was mostly disappointing. I had a stent put into one of my arteries by the head of the cardiac care unit. He then became my cardiologist. I was given prescriptions for statin drugs and beta blockers to lower my blood pressure. I have been researching these drugs for years and have concluded that the may do more harm than good. I hated taking statins in the past and refused to take them this time. Before I could be discharged i was forced to take a class by their dietitian. She explained to us how to read the labels on cans and boxes and jars to see if there was fat in them because fat is bad for you according to them. In passing, she suggested it might be a good idea to eat some fresh fruit and vegetables. That was it.

There was never any suggestion that there might be ways to get at the underlying conditions that caused me to have a heart attack in the first place. I was to take the drugs and it was implied that they expected to see me again in 5 years when i would need another stent put in or perhaps even kick the bucket, god forbid.

So i have been floundering around wondering what to do ever since. When my prescription for blood pressure medication ran out i figured it was time find a doctor who might give a shit about me, you know, the person, not the statistic. Fortunately we have pretty good insurance through Robin's place of employment so I went on there web site to search for a doctor in their plan.
I wanted to find a doctor that used a wholistic approach. What a useless and futile effort that was.

Next I googled "wholistic medicine" and found Progressive Medical Center. When i read about their philosophy and there approach to medicine i knew i had found the place i was looking for. They use an integrative method combining the most up to date modern medical practices with many different traditional practices. On staff they have medical doctors, naturopathic doctors, dietitians, acupuncturists, massage therapists and a pain center. Before my appointment i filled out a long questionnaire about my medical history, lifestyle, work history and other things. This was different than any of those types of forms i had filled out in the past. At my first appointment i provided a urine sample, had my blood pressure tested, height and weight measured, the usual routine.

Then I met with the doctor to go over my history. He asked me lots of additional questions about my diet, have i ever been exposed to pesticides through my work, did i have trouble sleeping, did i get tired late in the day, etc. He did a seemingly cursory examination of my body, listening to my heart and lungs, looked at my tongue, looked at my hands and feet, tested my reflexes. No probing my anus to see if my prostate was enlarged, no fondling my testicles while i coughed.
An assistant came in with some results from my urine sample analysis.

Then he began to provide a diagnosis based on his examination and the results from the urine analysis. My face is red (my mother-in-law told me this at christmas) but the rest of me is not indicating that i have lots of inflammation. There is puffiness under my eyes and my eyebrows are disappearing indicating that my thyroid is not functioning well. This was confirmed by the urine analysis which showed i am deficient in iodine which is essential nutrient to the thyroid. The thyroid in intimately connected to the adrenal glands so it is likely that they are not working well either which would explain why i have trouble sleeping and why i get tired in the afternoon. There were other things he pointed out as well. I was very impressed with his diagnostic skills and felt very comfortable.

After that meeting they took lots of blood samples. They are looking for any possible allergens, household, food, pets, environmental. They are looking to see if i have any heavy metals in my body. They look at markers for every system in me to see what is working properly and what isn't. In short they are taking a systems approach to helping me restore my health.

When i returned for my second visit I met with a naturopathic doctor who went over the first test results that had come back. I wrote up a description below. The results confirmed everything the doctor had diagnosed just by looking at me. I will be returning for my next appointment in 3 weeks when they have the rest of the test results back. In the mean time i am on a gluten, dairy and alcohol free diet and am taking lots of supplements and detoxifying substances. I have been on this regimen for 3 days and i already sleep better and have more energy late in the day. I am very confident that i will regain my good health and live a long life.
Unless I get run over by a bus :)


I had my first follow up appointment at Progressive Medical Center today to go over the first test results and start my detox program.

Liver, kidneys, prostate are good
Blood pressure is 155/105. Took an herbal supplement while there which brought it down to 150/97 in 45 minutes
Total cholesterol is 272 which is high. Good cholesterol is low 28. (HDL)
Triglyceride is high 190
Insulin is a little high
Vitamin D is low. Weird!
Iron is low. Now taking supplements
Thyroid is low functioning
Adrenal glands are low functioning. Will know more at next visit.
I have macrocytic anemia
Lots of inflammation. Will know more next time.

Next Step is Detox
"Low allergy, low inflammation diet to aid immune support and recovery"
Gluten, dairy and alcohol free diet for the next month.
Foundation detox enhancement. Protein and vitamin powder for breakfast
Fish oil twice a day for inflammation
Iodine for thyroid
CoQ10 for heart health and lipid support. Ubiquinol
Cardiac Cap packets for cholesterol. Improves HDL. CoQ10, niacin, fish oil, red yeast fermented rice
Methyl guard for large cell anemia. B6, folic acid, B12, Betaine
Probiotic packets for gut health
10,000 i.u. Per day vitamin D3
Pro-adrenal for adrenal support to improve immune function and endurance. Vitamin C, B6, B5, potassium chloride, adrenal concentrate, eleuthero root, licorice, ginseng, rhodiola

How I feel now
I wake up with a head full of snot every morning. My head feels like it is blown up like a balloon putting pressure on my face all the time.

I run out of energy after lunch and frequently take a nap so I will have the energy to cook dinner. After dinner I usually feel exhausted although not sleepy. I don't go to bed until 10:30 - 11:30 most nights. I often wake up around 3 a.m. And can't get back to sleep.

I have had tinnitus (ringing in my ears) for many years.

What I want to change as a result of this process

Cardio health- normal blood pressure, normal cholesterol levels
No more tinnitus. The doctors have told me this is related to poor functioning thyroid and probably inflammation.
A clear head.
Have energy all day long.
Regular sleep pattern.