A year ago, despite all my good efforts, I admitted to myself that I was not eating healthy. Breaks in between Zoom meetings transitioned into minutes of grazing around in the fridge or pantry, longing for a little caloric satisfaction.
I’ll be honest, if I don’t have fruit and vegetables handy, I go straight for what’s available, which is mostly processed food that has a long shelf life – power bars, cereal, an entire bag of veggie chips, a gelato or two… You know, something else I considered reasonably “healthy”.
While I tried my best with weekly trips to the grocery store for fresh produce and creatively re-invented ways to get greens into meals (don’t tell my kids about our food processor), I felt forever in a loop of frustration when it came to eating healthy and feeding my family:
I was wasting produce. And money.
I have guilt when it comes to buying produce and watching it inevitably go bad in the fridge a week later, don’t you? As I dump soggy lettuce in the trash (or better yet, let’s help the environment and compost it! 🤦♀️) I cringe at the sight of my good intentions and vow to do better (and spend less) next time.
I wanted to grow my own food, but I didn’t have the time.
I love gardening. Nature is my jam and while I long to spend hours outdoors, most days I only have time for a quick lap around the block to get some fresh air. I’ll pick a couple of weeds on the way into the house and retreat back to my computer to write, tend to kiddos or throw laundry in the wash.
I can see our small garden from my bedroom window, overgrown and begging for attention – and once again, a twinge of guilty reflection passes through my mind:
You should be eating better!
Take some time for yourself and garden!
You should meal plan more with healthy food options!
I’ve never felt satisfied - with what was on my plate or in my stomach.
“Meh” seemed to forever be on the menu. Flavors we’re okay at best and the habit of consuming an evening “snack” further filled my frustration and tightened my waistline.
At the peak of my disgruntled attitude, I landed a job with Gardyn as a Content Strategist and the cycle of good yet guilty intentions was brought to a halt – the day I harvested my first batch of butterhead lettuce and tatsoi.
Yep, just like that.
Now stay with me.
Indeed, I work for Gardyn, but I pride myself in being honestly reflective and transparent so I felt the need to tell my story of how I came to grow indoors.
"The supermarket kale tastes like a plastic bag."
I’ll admit, a part of me wondered how long these salads would suffice. Yet with one bite, I tasted flavors I’d never experienced before. And I keep coming back for more. Smoothies now had a light yet substantial presentation, and preparing dinner became a nightly ritual I finally looked forward to. As I investigated new ways to use the produce that grew on its own, by way of a handy app, I felt a bit wicked getting praised for yummy meals I did little to contribute to in terms of creating.
The guilt of wasting food and money, and still not being satisfied with my efforts to nutritiously feed me and my family, started to drop from my thought process. Now, I simply go to my Gardyn, get what I need for that particular meal and leave the rest for later.
The flavors speak for themselves – “vibrant” is a word my husband used to describe lunch recently. In fact, we did a side by side challenge with our morning smoothies to determined how “fresh” our Gardyn kale was compared to our local supermarket kale. The verdict?
Supermarket Kale – made the smoothie taste like a plastic bag and kale bits were tough
Gardyn Kale – Almost melted in the mouth, made the smoothie “lighter” in taste and elevated the fruit flavors
I also noticed we’re not going to the grocery store as much, and as the mother of three (with two constantly hungry teenagers) we need food at the ready – 24/7.
Our family is going on a road trip for the first time in two years and in addition to finding someone to care for our pets, I’ve always had to commission a plant friend to come over and water my plants, so I didn’t come home to a dead garden.
Instead, I’m switching my Gardyn to Vacation Mode on the app, which pushes the pause button on my plants while I’m away. They’re still thriving, of course, but growing in a type of slow motion. While the amount of light and water is carefully delivered in purposeful bursts throughout the day by way of my Gardyn assistant, Kelby, I don’t have to worry about weeds or watering.
The ceremonial purging of gross produce no longer happens, and with it, my guilty conscience about wasting resources and money.
Our family has never eaten so many greens in such a short amount of time. And we’re collectively feeling better, gathering over meals, and spending more moments out of the house exploring.
For this crew, Gardyn’s been a nutritional-game changer.
My 9-year-old asked me yesterday if more people knew about Gardyn while we snipped basil to top our homemade pizza. (Not the healthiest lunch, I’ll admit – but a girl’s gotta live adventurously some days!)
I asked her why she would want to tell someone about Gardyn, and with a simple reply she said,
From the mouths of babes…
There’s so much wisdom in the simplicity of that answer – because everybody deserves good food.
Being a part of a team that genuinely cares about the well-being of others, on a mission to tenaciously work to reintroduce fresh food and nature, sustainably, into the homes of every single person, is rewarding and challenging.
Gardyn, just like my daughter said, makes you want to tell other people about your experience.
One person at a time, one meal at a time – I’m part of a mission to help rediscover the meaning of fresh, nutritious and delicious food. And I haven’t even started talking about how I’m helping the planet…
About the Author:
Elizabeth Rago is the Content Strategist at Gardyn. She’s a mom of three, wife, writer, Gardyner, and mental health ambassador.
Obsessed with indoor gardening, you can usually find Elizabeth poking around her Pilea plant collection or watching the butterflies in her backyard waystation.
Elizabeth’s Favorite Gardyn Plants: Tatsoi, Dill, and Flashy Trout Back Lettuce