After three breast cancers I have a lot of time for vegetables.
February is always the hot and steamy where I now live and not an easy time to stay motivated for gardening but my hunger for fresh, organic food keeps me digging and preparing the plots for new crops.
My introduction to the role of diet in helping breast cancer came from my reading of `Your Life in Your Hands' by Professor Jane Plant.
She outlines in this book the latest scientific evidence for the protective roles of different vegetables.
I love her scientific approach but what happens for me is I get a craving for different foods that make me feel good and give me energy.
Recently it has been for fresh sweet potatoes. I have succeeded in growing a few in my garden and hope for greater success in the future. Steamed straight from the garden I could not believe how wonderful they tasted.
Another of these cravings is for fresh broccoli, and I will be planting these again as soon as the seedlings are in the stores, too hot for them at present.
Meanwhile I continue to nurture my old plants to obtain florets. Steamed some florets last night and they were delicious with organic olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt.
When I lived in my apartment I would go to the organic markets once a week and their food is excellent, but nothing beats being able to go to your own garden and picking what you require for your next meal.
The other thing I find special about growing your own vegetables is that the more you nurture the soil the better the food you produce.
Traditional food was always grown with much care given to the soil. I lived in the South of New Zealand when I was young and my father would collect kelp from the beach and put it on the soil where he planted the potatoes.
He was from a Scottish background and I imagine this tradition would have come from Scotland.
There is so much to discover about good food but for me is about learning to listen to the needs of my body and at present it is craving the taste of vegetables, real vegetables fresh from good chemical free soil.