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The Daily Dose: Gardening

Everybody knows about the five-second rule. You drop your corn dog on the ground only to quickly pick it up, exclaiming, "5 second rule!" Now everybody knows you're not some repulsive human being who likes eating dirt. Because if your food fell on the ground, gross, right? But if you think about it, everything we eat came from the ground and was just some filthy plant or animal at first. Healthy soil contains essential vitamins and minerals that are transformed into edible plants. This transformation allows our bodies to digest and metabolize the nutrition directly from a heaping pile of dirty wet mud. Maybe we should embrace food covered in dirt and think of the ground as a healthy part of our nutrition.

One of the best ways to include more dirt in our lives is through a garden. Gardening is rewarding on many levels. You can learn about the plants you eat, get slow and steady exercise with healthy vitamin D from the outdoors, and have an excuse to play in the mud. It's a slow process, but you'll be in awe of the first zucchini you pick that's somehow the size of a watermelon. No plant is more nutritious than the one you grow yourself with soil and care. The pride that comes with growing your first tomato makes you feel pretty awesome, too–go ahead and brush your shoulders off… there's some dirt on them.

When it comes to gettin' down and dirty, start small. A few cucumbers here, a few carrots there. You can also have some plants growing inside with proper light and temperature. Throw in some grass pickin' chickens, mud munchin' pigs, and dirt jumpin' goats, and you've got yourself a small farm. If you're not into having your own garden or don't have space, join a local farmer's co-op or community garden. You could even start a neighborhood garden. Let's give dirt a helping hand and start treating food that's been on the ground as a good thing. A little dirt won't hurt. It supports our whole life.