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Not only is growing your own food a fabulous hobby and a way to reconnect with the food chain, the earth, and yourself, it’s also a way to serve our bodies in a deeper way by feeding them with fresh, organic produce. Not to mention, a freshly picked cherry tomato or piece of lettuce tastes infinitely more delicious than a store-bought one. I’ve really enjoyed diving deep into gardening through the My First Garden Series on this podcast, and as a way to celebrate all our hard work, I've invited someone to help us make the best out of our harvest! Dr. John la Puma is a trained chef and doctor who has committed his life to culinary medicine and eco medicine. In this episode, we talk about the nutritional value of the foods we are growing, and some fun ways to prepare our harvest (we are both Italian-American and have lots of fun recipes we riff on throughout the episode!). Let's get cooking!

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In this episode we learn:

  • [00:05:55] Maria shares her ‘fresh from the garden’ dinner of kohlrabi!
  • [00:07:24] Dr. John’s favorite kohlrabi recipe
  • [00:09:25] How Dr. John became a culinary medicine chef and how his farming journey began
  • [00:10:57] What is eco medicine? How can we apply this concept to our daily lives?
  • [00:15:09] Why gardening is the gateway to reconnecting with nature
  • [00:17:45] How umbellifers like carrots and fennels enable you to use less fertilizer in the garden
  • [00:19:27] How the pleasure of eating can help you eat and become healthier
  • [00:21:06] What does a more vibrant color of a fruit or vegetable mean for nutrition?
  • [00:22:35] How to bring out the lycopene in your tomatoes (it’s good for the heart!)
  • [00:27:00] The beneficial differences between cooking with fresh herbs versus with dried herbs
  • [00:28:31] How to grow turmeric, its health benefits, and the best ways to use it in cooking
  • [00:30:13] Dr. John’s fun kumquat alcohol recipe!
  • [00:31:33] The best way to keep animals from your garden
  • [00:33:23] How to help your plants grow with lights
  • [00:35:40] Dr. John’s gentle reminder about store-bought vs organic and home-grown food
  • [00:37:02] How to grow and how to use Mexican oregano in your dishes
  • [00:39:35] Maria’s favorite plant to grow and how she uses it in the kitchen
  • [00:39:57] The health benefits of alliums, the different kinds you can grow, and the best ways to cook with them
  • [00:43:10] Dr. John’s recommended ways to eat lightly cooked onions
  • [00:44:31] What is the best way to eat alliums like onions and leeks raw?
  • [00:46:34] Why cruciferous vegetables like arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage are good for your liver
  • [00:48:03] Cooking tricks to get the most nutritional benefits from your arugula and other cruciferous veggies
  • [00:49:35] Using arugula and other ways to elevate your pesto!
  • [00:51:08] How to cook with sweet potatoes and sweet potato leaves, and keep them growing in your garden
  • [00:53:22] Should you keep the skins on your vegetables?
  • [00:55:30] Dr. John shares one of his inspirations when it comes to cooking
  • [00:56:58] What is ‘comfort nature' and how does it help us regain our connection to ourselves and with nature?
  • [00:59:24] How to be in your ‘comfort nature' without leaving the house
  • [01:01:56] Help Maria win her TikTok war with Dr. John – LOL!

Mentioned in our conversation:

Thank you to our episode sponsors:


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