As a fitness and health professional, something I get excited about every spring is gardening and foraging. There is nothing better than collecting my freshly grown herbs and vegetables and creating a healthy, delicious meal.
YES it can be done… I promise. Take the anxiety out of cooking by making it something you enjoy. This may sound crazy, but I cannot wait to get home every evening so I can start cooking. Gardening and using fresh vegetables in dishes is something I grew up with. Both of my parents are amazing home cooks and some of my earliest memories involve picking tomatoes in the garden.
A good start to gardening is a container garden or a small raised garden bed. Pick a few of your favorite herbs and veggies and go for it.
I haven’t even mentioned the exercise benefits of caring for a garden. Things like digging holes, planting, and weeding can make for a great workout. Men can burn up to 200 calories every 30 minutes, and women up 150 calories, while gardening. Once you have your garden, you have the convenience of healthy eating right in your backyard.
You can eat vegetables such as cucumbers and peppers fresh from the vine or prepare a meal cooking tomatoes and eggplant. There are so many sources of inspiration and recipes online. You are only limited by your imagination.
If you enjoy being outside and getting your shoes a little dirty, try walking through the woods! Foraging is also great exercise and can come with a great prize. While finding morel mushrooms in May can be a challenge, it is always great to get outside for a nice walk.
In Michigan, we can find wild onions, mushrooms and even wildflowers that are edible. For information on foraging, safety check out the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
One thing to watch out for while gardening and foraging is bending down repeatedly and lifting with your back. Use those legs and be conscious not to do quick sudden movements. Slow and steady wins the race.
Mario Baldino is the owner, CPT, at Anytime Fitness in Haslett. Reach him at 517.977.1444.