Tahlequah Daily Press


November 7, 2013

Growing own, canning make it natural

First in a two-part series on trading down and simplifying your lifestyle

TAHLEQUAH — In this fast-paced, 24/7 world, many adults who have spent their careers rushing from pillar to post, constantly plugged in to electronic devices, are looking for ways to simplify their lives and reduce stress.

Simplification can include growing and preserving food, downsizing living accommodations, reducing debt and eliminating extraneous “stuff” by giving away non-essential possessions.

Cherokee County Oklahoma Home and Community Education Club members could be considered experts in simplification. Many not only grow and preserve their own food, but they also make their own clothing and teach the younger generation their methods.

Wednesday, several members met for a workshop about drying foods, another preservation method. Ann Lamons, Park Hill OHCE member, said she was raised on a farm, and has always preserved her own food.

“I’ve done it all my life,” said Lamons. “We’d pick the vegetables from the garden, bring them in and can them. What I enjoy about it is I know exactly what my canned goods are; I know where they came from. I don’t have to worry about what they’ve been sprayed with. You know what you’ve got in your jars.”

Lamons said canned vegetables in the supermarket often have preservatives and chemicals added, which are unnecessary.

“And so much salt added; the canned beans are too salty,” said Lamons.

OHCE member Wilma Baldridge doubts the validity of many “diets” that recommend scaling back on meats, particularly beef and pork.

“My mom and dad grew all their own food,” said Baldridge. “My dad lived to be 90 years old and my mother will be 90 in January. And my dad loved his bacon and beef.”

In addition to growing, canning and preserving food, many OHCE members are accomplished seamstresses.

“That’s why I enjoy the 4-H camps we have in the summer,” said Lamons. “We share the joy of making something with our own hands with a younger generation.”

According to Gerald Celente, director of the Trends Research Institute of New York, about 5 to 7 percent of adults in the U.S. are pursuing some form of voluntary simplicity. The trend is reported to have begun in 1981 with the publication of Duane Elgin’s book, “Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life That is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich.”

Mental health professionals have also joined the movement, focusing on how simple living can help alleviate tension-related reactions, such as insomnia, nervousness, anxiety, neck and shoulder spasms and chronic fatigue.

Roderic Gorney, clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA, participated in the university’s conference, “Mental Health and Simple Living: Countering the Compulsion to Consume.”

“The message that we get is that without this complexity of ‘things’ in our life, we are not lovable and not worthy,” Gorney said in an interview with WebMD.

“[The purpose of the conference was to] help the person shake off the addiction to too much, and with it the distress of excess.”

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What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
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