Growing Good Health in Your Garden

The weight-loss powers of chilli and healing properties of garlic are only some of the secrets naturopath Mim Beim explores in her new book.

Mim Beim's Grow your own Medicine: A Guide to Growing Health-Giving Plants in your own Backyard is a do-it-yourself gardening manual for novices exploring everything from growing medicinal plants to making cosmetics from them. The health-food author says more and more people are becoming aware of how what they eat affects how they feel.

"There's big movement for organic food ... I think people really are becoming more connected with their bodies and seeing the connection (between) what they're putting in their mouth (and) how they feel," she says."It used to be more cosmetic- `if I drink x amount of water my skin will look great'- I think it's now changing people are going a bit more than skin deep."

Beim says growing your own produce is not as difficult as it may seem. "The beauty with herbs is you can just have them on the balcony you don't need acres," she says. "People are realising how special it is to grow something from seed and how amazing it put that on your plate."

Beim carefully details the healing properties of every food and plant from avocado to a flower known as yarrow and explains how you can grow and make your own medicine from them."To have that vitality and that sense of true wellness it's vitally connected to what we eat," she says. "Unless you eat well you can't be entirely well."

So what are the miracle foods?

"Plenty of greens (and) things like garlic - it's such a great anti-fungal, anti-microbial - it helps improve your immune system and helps prevent heart disease," Beim explains. "Things like basil and parsley ... add so many micro nutrients (and) berries which are packed with antioxidants and help lower our blood sugar levels."

Beim also recommends eating chilli for those interested in losing weight. "Chilli can help you lose weight because it increases your sense of satiety and it does increase your metabolism," she says.

So what does the health-food queen consume herself?

"I grow my own vegetables and salad ... I try to throw a few leaves of rocket or parsley into (any) sandwich or salad," she says. "Yesterday I had just a can of tuna in olive oil and I went into the garden and picked up all the fresh herbs and had an onion with that and that was lunch."

Beim says anyone can begin to grow their own food.

"I think the easiest way would be to start with herbs like basil and parsley and oregano," she says.

"You can put it in a omelette for breakfast with tuna or with chicken in a salad and then at night you add it to your cooking ... people don't realise how quick and easy it is."

By Sarah Malik, AAP

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