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barrowofwoodIs it just me, or is the big 'O' being talked about more than anything else these days? I'm referring, of course, to 'obesity'. I'm not suggesting that we ignore the issue but, as gardeners and life-style blockers, I suspect we may very well have a lot less to worry about, where weight is concerned, than most.

Today, as on most days of the year, I spent a good part of my waking hours preparing my meals. About mid-morning, I set about harvesting food from my garden, washing and trimming the harvest, lugging the scraps to the compost heap, and giving the compost a bit of a stir around while I was there. I then headed for the woodshed, grabbed the axe, cut up kindling and a wheelbarrow of wood for the stove, and made for the indoors to get the fire going. When that was done, I went back outside for the vegetables, lugged them into the house and began scraping, peeling, and chopping.

By the time I had everything in the oven or in pots on top of the stove, it was time to dash outside and empty the overflowing compost bucket. I figured I had about half an hour to wait for dinner to cook, and as that was just enough time to grab a load of manure from the donkey paddock, I jogged the 500 metres up the road with the wheelbarrow and shovel to collect it, returning home to unload it onto an empty garden bed.

My dinner of baked parsnip, yams and potatoes served with carrot and coriander soup was delicious and provided just the right amount of energy for my next job: collecting a trailer load of kelp from the beach (there have been some great storms lately and the sand was strewn with the stuff). I spent most of the afternoon chopping it up and barrowing it onto the gardens which left just enough time to deal with the three wool fadges of pine needles I'd collected the day before. They're my winter mulch, and it took me until just on dark to finish spreading them on the built-up beds (by which time I needed to chop some more wood to cook the evening meal).

I won't give you the details of what dinner consisted of but, rest assured, it was home-grown and served with a small glass of homemade wine and not fizzy drink. Oh, and I also had a plate of stewed apple which I refuse to believe added a gram to my weight. Why? Because, as a gardener, I know very well that I worked off the serving of fruit during the day.

I don't believe there are any easy answers to the obesity epidemic and even though I garden, I also make sure I walk or run for at least 35 minutes each day. But because I grow and eat my own food, I know I'm halfway there when it comes to fighting off the fat. It takes a great deal of energy to produce and prepare for yourself what goes into your mouth, and that has to help cancel out at least some of the calorieswhich that food provides. One of the best things we can do to keep healthy, is to grow our own vegetables, and one of the kindest things we can do for the next generation, is to encourage them to do the same.

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