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From The Farm: A Healthier Lifestyle for 2017


We hope that everyone had an enjoyable holiday season to round out 2016 and welcome the new year! If you made any resolutions, we hope that you are still hanging tough with those. Usually, the most common resolutions involve being healthier and living a healthier lifestyle. Two of the best and most obvious practices related to health are eating better and exercising more. Guess what? If you can incorporate gardening or farming into your lifestyle, you can kill two birds with one stone! It’s a lot of work (which burns calories) and your body will thank you when it’s time to enjoy (eat) the fruits of your labor.

In America, there are more diet plans, diet pills, supplements, vitamins, pharmaceuticals, and dieting fads than most of us care to think about. With so many options, it’s hard to figure out what the best path to health is. We think the best things you can do are eat real foods, in appropriate portions and stay active. This is easy to understand, so why is there so much confusion? The biggest setback is the fact that the path just mentioned is not the easiest, or the fastest.

Focus on Real Foods in Your Diet

While this may not be the quickest path to weight loss or better health, if you can incorporate better foods and increased physical activity into your lifestyle, you have a much better chance for longterm success. When we referred to real foods previously, we were speaking primarily of minimally processed fruits, vegetables, proteins, etc. Also on this list would be clean label food items, which are basically products with a short ingredient list (products that contain natural ingredients). Many of the health problems present in the world today are due to increased consumption of processed foods, which contain a variety of artificial ingredients, sweeteners and preservatives.

These posts are typically about the farm, but we mentioned all of this to circle back to a popular leafy green vegetable that has taken fields and grocery stores by storm over the past decade…KALE. Until recently, we were under the assumption that eating fruits and vegetables in their raw form was always superior in terms of the health benefits provided. A local hydroponic farmer recently told us that eating raw-uncooked kale can actually be detrimental to your health.

Cut back on Raw Kale

Here is an excerpt from an online source explaining the issue of eating raw kale: “Kale contains many beneficial nutrients, but it’s not a good idea to eat these hearty leafy greens raw. Kale is a goitrogenic vegetable and when eaten raw in small quantities, this vegetable can inhibit the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland. If it’s eaten in excess, these chemicals can inhibit the incorporation of iodine into thyroid hormone. This is a process that iodine supplements can’t reverse. Raw kale is also high in oxalic acid, which binds with minerals such as calcium and magnesium in the body causing them to crystallize. These crystals can damage tissues, cause inflammation in the body and kidney stones. So a daily dose of raw kale and other goitrogenic vegetables may not be such a great idea.”(Source: So should you stop eating kale? NO! Just boil it down or sauté it before consuming it.

So should you stop eating kale? NO! Just sauté or boil it down before consuming it.

And, for those of you that want 2017 to be your healthiest year yet, try incorporating more real foods into your diet and slowly decrease your intake of processed foods. And go outside and get your hands dirty!

Brad manages our farm operations, which include our certified naturally grown farm outside Madison and the Kelly family’s plantation in Leesburg, Ga, known as Rock House Farm. Rock House Farm produces grass-fed beef, heritage Berkshire hogs, and two varieties of heirloom corn, among other crops.