food contamination fear Gardening

Stepping my toe into my homegrown zucchini

I love to garden. I grew up in upstate New York where we had a garden and wild berries growing naturally in the area. I guess that’s why I like fruit and vegetables as much as I do today. But when I was younger I didn’t have the anxiety ?issues that I have today. I didn’t have any trauma when I was that young in my life such as sexual abuse, a victim of the homicide etc. I have also had pretty bad luck with people messing with my drinks and food when I used to go out to bars when I was young. So today I still have a fear of people messing with my food, ?but not to the extent that I did before thank God. ?Food contamination I have read is very common amongst people who suffer from anxiety disorders. ?But Why would I have a fear of eating a freshly picked zucchini from my own garden? When I buy them in the store sometimes they come from Mexico and God knows who touched it and where their hands of been (yes I wash all my produce well, but you know lol). ?So this morning I decided to take about one quarter of a large zucchini that I harvested from my plant and fried it up with my breakfast which I have done many times before. It looked like a zucchini. It tasted like a zucchini. ?Actually had a much sweeter taste than what you buy in the store which makes sense because it’s fresher than what you can buy in the store. So I ate a few bites of the zucchini and then decided to give my dog the other half that I didn’t eat and he eagerly ate them and wanted more. ?How do I feel after eating the Zucchini? Very good.

I worry about almost everything, even my food. This happened to me when I started growing romaine lettuce hydroponically. I used the aero garden ?to grow five different kinds of lettuce. ?At first I have the same fear and they did with the zucchini today. The thoughts that ran in my head were, did I put too much nutrients in my water? How safe is the nutrients in the water that goes into my food? ?So one day I just made myself a side salad with all of my meals. I could not believe how tender the Romain lettuce was! It was the most tender lettuce?I have ever tasted and if I can help it I will never buy lettuce in the store again!

I am hoping that I feel the same way about zucchini that I am growing. When I was young my grandparents used to fry the zucchini ?dipped in egg and breadcrumbs. ?It was so delicious I could eat all that my grandmother would make! My grandparents also had their own garden, a very large garden that grew almost every vegetable you can think of. I used to eat their pickles, horseradish, tomatoes, corn and many other vegetables that they grew and canned. ?The fun memories of my grandparents growing seedlings inside until it got warm enough to plant outside ?and then seeing the results is what inspired me to start a garden. So right now the only things I have growing our green beans, the stringless kind, which I’m kind of curious to see what it will be like. I also have ?some curly parsley growing hydroponically in my aero garden, and then the zucchini. I think next once I become friends with my zucchini I will start to plant my yellow squash also known as summer squash. I really wanted to grow spinach because I love it beyond anything but I didn’t know that was the cause of my kidney stones I had so now I just avoid it and replace it with Romain lettuce.

So back to the food contamination fear. I know a lot of people who suffer from anxiety and panic disorder have this fear, especially when eating out. I will admit that I am very choosy about where I choose to eat out. I make sure I read all the ingredients of the ?food I choose to order and make sure that I read the yelp reviews of past guest so that I can make an informed decision. ?Even now there is one place that I always go that serves organic food and we usually go there on Sunday morning for breakfast. I can trust that the vegetables are all organically grown ?which is important to me. Since my anxiety has gotten out of control again in the past year or two I have decided to do my best to eliminate as many chemicals and preservatives in my food and I do my best to eat as many whole foods?as I can. Basically if you can’t make it from growing it yourself or on a farm, ?I don’t eat it. ?After I made this choice I have lost 30 pounds effortlessly. I rarely have anything that has sugar in it, even if it’s the raw organic sugar. ?Some days when I go to church and it’s a table full of donuts I wish I could have one but then I think of how I would feel afterwards. I gave up drinking coffee except when we go out for breakfast I will have one cup of decaf coffee and I only put one creamer in my coffee which is the flavored ones that are not really good for you :-). ?This coming from a former Starbucks addict. I am not perfect just trying to eat more perfectly LOL. ? So each day I will have a little bit of zucchini that I have grown and I will fall in love with that just like I did the lettuce and I will never buy it in the store again just like my homegrown lettuce. ?One day I hope to never have this fear again as my big dream in life is to live out in the country and have enough land to grow all of my vegetables organically and not in pots like I do now and also maybe raise some chickens ?for the eggs. ?But I have to start small and take baby steps and one day I will get to my dream ?of owning my own house on a small farm. But first God has to deliver a helpmate ?to me because I am sure it’s not easy to do it alone. Nor do I want to do it alone.

Until my next post, be blessed!

5 thoughts on “Stepping my toe into my homegrown zucchini”

  1. Michelle, I grow all my own vegetables to over winter for the same reason I rarely go out to dinner if ever and for the same reason I became a personal chef on the side years ago–had I really known way back then that my food issues were a sign of what was to come I would have gotten some help then. I’m with you on this. Thank you for your post. I really hope that this can get to a lot of people.

  2. Hi genevieve,

    I used to go out every Sunday morning for breakfast with my son as a tradition. It helped me get out of the house more. I believe a lot of my anxiety issues (to some degree) was diet related. I usually left the restaurants feeling like I been drugged or something and then found out I am very sensitive to food preservatives and ingredients that are not natural. Even eating at mostly organic places made me feel like that, so I stopped eating out and I really miss it.

    It’s too hot now to grow anything (I am in zone 10) until maybe late August. But I do have some Aerogardens that I grow my lettuces in for now and I am thinking of maybe growing some cherry tomatoes as I have a few spots left in my Aerogarden.

  3. Michelle! I love gardening too! I find it is exceptionally good at calming anxiety and just gives me an overall warm feeling about helping something grow. I just feel that it’s so rewarding to be able to witness my veggies growing day by day. It’s funny that you mentioned zucchini since it is one of my absolute favorites to grow. Do you eat the flowers too? If not, they’re such a wonderful treat! Last year I had an entire squash, zucchini, and pumpkin patch in my backyard and the golden flowers were everywhere. Just the sight of it all was lovely and relaxing. Gardening is most definitely soothing and healing to the soul.

    1. I heard that you can the flowers but I have never tried it. Do you fry them? I agree that there is something calming and healing about watching plants grow.

      1. There’s actually lots of squash flower recipes! You can fry them, stuff them, or just toss them in a salad. My husband is Italian and their family goes nuts for them. Here’s a really easy recipe that I normally use since it’s just a quick dip-in-batter-and-fry: I try to stay away from the deep fried stuff as much as possible, so when I can I throw them in salads and in pasta dishes, but the kids really like the crunchiness of this recipe.

        As for gardening, I have always been deeply attracted to it for is therapeutic qualities, and it’s a good thing too since Garden therapy, or Horticulture therapy, has proven scientific health benefits to “make us happier.” Here’s a really interesting read called Fight Depression and Anxiety with a Therapy Garden: For me, gardening has a powerful aromatherapy aspect to it, which I just adore. I was always the kid who would stop and smell the flowers. It’s nice to be able to reconnect with that side of me again and feel happier.

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