One of the problems for me growing vegetables is figuring out what to do with them if you do get a good harvest. As I have a been a raw fooder for many years and more recently a commuter who lived on sandwiches and oven meals, I have not had the need to think about cooking. Although raw food seems to be healthy my food intolerances got worse and at my last test, I could only eat meat, nuts, carrots, apples, celery and lettuce. Not much of a diet. I juiced with the apples, celery and lettuce, and made some salads but it was boring and this diet did not help me when travelling for work. I would try and stick to simple meat and vegetables. This year I have been trying to eat anything and see what happens.. but the results were not good and I have gone back to doing a lot of juicing to try and get healthy again.
Growing vegetables should help but often the vegetables seem to grow at the wrong times! I like juicing in the summer months but the apples etc are not ready. I had lots of chard but what else can you make with chard. I have not managed to get any lettuce to germinate this year (except the cheap packet that I just tipped into a pot of compost) so I have not had all the salads I wanted. My beetroots seem to be taking a long time to grow. If I am not juicing what else can I do with vegetables, given that I cant add too many other ingredients because of my restricted diet.
I realised that my oven meals have had to be either simple english roasts and stews or chinese because of my allergies and the fact that I dont like spicy foods. I have bought a slow cooker and am thinking that just having different slow cooker stews would be good and healthy. Just chop up some meat, lots of vegetables and add barley or potatoes. What could be more simple. I am now getting excited about the veggies for next year. I could also try making some chinese foods which I can make in a more healthy way.
I ordered some cheap second hand books from ebay and found a few traditional cantonese recipes to try. I found a Chinese supermarket in Gloucester called Yip Shing and asked a friend to come with me as I am not keen on going to strange places on my own. She loved the idea and we went armed with a shopping list. The supermarket staff were very friendly and it was really exciting to see so many foods and I bought a box full of different ingredients and got a free pair of chopsticks
Back home, I found my old rusty wok and reseasoned it and then tried my first recipe, chicken chow mein. I loved it and the next evening I made beef and pak choy in oyster sauce.
beef and veggies in oyster sauce
Delicious again. So now I am dreaming of growing chinese vegetables for next year, since there were none at my local supermarket. I spent some time researching on the Internet.
During this time I started to sore throat, itchy eyes, itchy nose, runny nose. It was getting worse. At first I thought it was sitting in the new shed, but now I am thinking that it might be one of the chinese ingredients. I also had a HUGE migraine with vision loss which is always a sign of an allergy for me.
I have been weeding as best I can but it is getting so bad. I don’t think it is a cold, it is definitely worse in the evenings. My nose is raw now with all the tissues. I also need to get back to juicing as this is the only thing that seems to make me more healthy although I find it difficult to do for more than 1 week!
However, I still like the idea of growing some chinese greens though, but that means more brassicas to be protected from butterflies. I have Joy Larkom’s book ‘Oriental Vegetables’ and have been reading it in my shed, imagining lots of pak choi and wong bok! I hope I am not allergic to them.