You are hereLive The Good Life And Live Longer And Happier!

Live The Good Life And Live Longer And Happier!

By harrisjensen - Posted on 02 September 2016

Dr. Harris Jensen Practices Holistic Medicine

Giving Away 300 lbs Of Organic, Heirloom Squash,

Teaching Benefits Of Meditteranean Diet For Mood And Health!

by Harris Jensen, MD

Editor, Good Day Journal

The Meditteranean Diet is a great "do it yourselfer" approach to building a better life for yourself.  I've been busy growing 8 varieties of heirloom squash since April, in my organic garden. I am trying to be a good example to my patients of living "the good life," working with "the way things work," as the Stoic Philosophers taught years ago.

And I have to testify it has been a very revealing experience.

 (Squash medley clockwise from lower left: crooked neck (C. pepo), butternut (C. moschata) , waltham butternut (C. moschata), patty pan or scallop (C. pepo), zuchini, cocazelle, acorn (C. pepo), straight necked squash. Enjoy your heirloom squash grown from Dr. Jensen’s organic garden!)

It is hard work shoveling dirt, heaving logs into place, planting squash seedlings.  But each step of the process has been so rewarding! To see the seeds sprout is amazing, their green rootlets pushing out of the hard white shell of the seed. To see the first leaves unfurl and bend toward the light of my light bulb on my kitchen floor. To see their first flowers bloom beneath giant leaves as big as the laptop I'm writing this on.

And now my favorite parts: giving away the squash and writing about it!

I've been giving away about 10 lbs per day for thirty days now, so this week I crossed the 300 lb mark, with me harvesting the squash in the photo at left .

 (Squash medley clockwise from lower left: crooked neck (C. pepo), butternut (C. moschata) , waltham butternut (C. moschata), patty pan or scallop (C. pepo), zuchini, cocazelle, acorn (C. pepo), straight necked squash. Enjoy your heirloom squash grown from Dr. Jensen’s organic garden!)

Below is the text of a flier I am handing out to my patients, to encourage them to enjoy the benefits of slowing down, being more thoughtful, and eating a healthier diet.

1.       1. You are what you eat!

The health benefits of squash have been known for 8,00 years. They lie in the rich levels of vitamins, phytonutrients and antioxidants as well as proteins and complex carbohydrates and omega three fatty acids. They help squash avoid oxidative damage as they grow incredibly fast, and help you avoid the oxidative damage that could lead to cancer and heart disease. The antioxidants like Vitamin C donate electrons to allow energy production and reduce damage on a molecular level. How? See  No medicine can do what these molecules do.  These nutrients have been shown to reduce the risk for cancer, heart disease and depression.

2.      2. A History Lesson. Squash were first jungle plants that were poisonous and thrived in jungles in Central and South America and the Andes. The first Americans from Mongolia lived in Peru and Central America and Mexico 8,000 years ago where they grew squash presumably for food and water containers.  The Guilá Naquitz Cave in Mexico showed acorn squash were refined in their cultivation 8,000 years ago to become edible. These farmers also bred varieties of corn and beans 4,000 years later for better nutrition as well, and grew them together in gardens! . Review of varieties, see:   Edible varieties of squash soon spread all over North and South America. Squash seeds 8,000 years old were found in southern Canada recently and  grew squash. (1) In 2012 more than 15 million tons of squash were produced all over the world.

3.       3. Medical content of squash: Eat Your Food Like It Is Medicine, To Quote Hippocrates!

A squash can have 1-6 cups of squash. It is 0 points on Weight Watchers diets.  Per cup, squash contains just 36 calories and: Manganese .4 mg, Vitamin C 9.9 mg, Magnesium 43.2 mg, Vitamin A 516.6 IU, dietary fiber 2.5 gm, potassium 345.6 mg, copper .2 mg, folate 36.9 mg, vitamin K 6.3 mcg, phosphorus 70.2 mg, omega 3 fatty acids .2 grams, Vitamin B6 .1 mg, Calcium 48.6 mg, zinc.7 mg, Vitamin B3 Niacin .9 mg, Vitamin B2 riboflavin .1 mg, Iron .67 mg, Protein 1.6 grams, tryptophan .01 gram.  Caratenoids: Beta-Carotein 228.6 mcg, lutein and zeaxanthin 4,048.2 mcg. The antioxidants are Vitamin C, Beta-carotein, lutein, zeaxanthin, among others. Because of these benefits, it is a “superfood.”

4.       4. Medical benefits of squash are reflected in the Meditteranean Diet. This is the only diet found to lower the risk for: heart disease, cancer, depression, alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s Disease.  The death rate can drop 9%. See this meta analysis in the British Medical Journal of studies involving 1.5 million people:

5.       5. How to grow squash: These heirloom squash have fertile seeds. They can be planted in peat pots and grown in containers or  gardens.  See, “The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible.”

6.       6. How to pick squash. See #5.

7.      7.  How to cook squash to get the most nutrition now!

See NY Times cookbook.  I searched and found 498 healthy recipes here

Squash can be steamed, barbecued, fried or baked.  Cook until just getting tender. Overcooking ruins the nutrition. 1 inch cubes of squash are just turning tender to a fork at 7 minutes of steaming or light cooking with canola oil and water. See, “World’s Healthiest Foods,” for details, which are amazing!

8.       Recipes. See NY Times Cookbook. Search there under “squash” for recipes, there are over 400!

9.       8. Quick recipes. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and put seeds on a paper towel to dry for one week.  Rub olive oil on the outside and inside. Spice to your pleasure.  I use a light dusting of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, then add freshly diced herbs (basil and or oregano, thyme, rosemary, etc).  Squash picks up flavor well like chicken.  So you can add: bread crumbs, diced sausage, diced lean meat of any kind, shredded cheese, or other veggies like peas, beans, corn, etc.  Get creative! Or: dice in 1 inch cubes, steam or fry 7 minutes, toss in olive oil, salt, pepper.

10.   9. How to harvest heirloom seeds. Seeds mature when squash is large and  stem is dry. Dry seeds in an open cardboard box for one week.  Strip off fibers by hand,  store in an envelope closed but not sealed so air can get in, so it won’t grow mold.  Label it, date it.  Seeds can be fertile for several years.  You are now participating in an 8,000 year old tradition, working with nature and working with the way your body works to be at your best health and fitness. 

11.   10. Therapeutic benefits: Many people say they experience therapeutic benefits for all the steps involved in growing and harvesting and eating squash and other garden vegetables.  You are working with nature and with your body to live and thrive, as idealized in “the good life” philosophy, developed by the Stoic Philosophers of ancient Greece and Rome. (3,4,5,6,7). See my 10 videos touring a traditional farm in Northern  (Tuscany) where they carry on these traditions,  at:   Live smartly!


Footnotes: 2. The World’s Healthiest Foods, George Mateljan, Copyright 2007, George Mateljan. 3. A Guide To The Good Life, William Irvine, Oxford University Press, 2009. 4. Build Your Resilience, by Donald Robertson, Hodder Education, 2012. 5. Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius, translation by Gregory Hays, Modern Library, 2002. 6.  7.