To talk to Celeste Longacre is to discover a path to healthy eating. This passionate gardener’s knowledge on how to grow, prepare and preserve vegetables and other nurturing food is quite vast. It was acquired over 35 years of producing organic food. Yet, the development of her expertise started innocuously enough. In 1971, Celeste read a book by Adelle Davis titled: “Let’s eat right to keep fit”, which proposed that physical and emotional well-being could be achieved through proper diet. This book had such an impact that Celeste began experimenting with organic gardening on a parcel of land borrowed near her brother’s house. She has been experimenting ever since, to the benefit of those seeking her advice on healthy living through healthy eating.
And healthy living seems to begin at four o’clock in the morning during the summer months….That’s when Celeste starts her day, by spending one hour in reflective silence; a kind of meditation that allows for the planning of the day ahead since gardens, as living entities, have ever-changing requirements. This is followed by breakfast and a visit to the garden to tend to its needs. Afternoons are dedicated to writing for her web site as well as for the Old Farmers’ Almanac. Celeste finishes her working day at around four o’clock in the afternoon. Winter months provide the luxury of waking up around six o’clock, visiting the gym more frequently and vacationing.
Gardening tasks are dictated by the time of year, by what is being cultivated and by what needs to be preserved for the months ahead. Celeste has monthly lists of things to do, from insect control to the freezing or canning of a wide variety of vegetable and fruits. Celeste is busy. And yet she seems to be driven by this incredible passion for what she does. When talking about her garden, she radiates a tranquil energy that I found compelling.
I wanted to hear Celeste’s views on the various trends she sees in the world of food. She was generous with her insights. She sees, per example, a growing interest of younger generations in sustainable eating and living. She sees as a positive trend, the resurgence of farmers’ markets, which provide healthier alternatives than process food found in supermarkets. She believes in the need to encourage farming on a smaller scale, as the security of the food supply may be at risk if left in the hands of a few mammoth-like food producing corporations. The existence of community and urban gardens is also something she views as a positive development. When asked about key issues that people should pay attention to regarding their eating habits, she provided the following advice:
Introduce more probiotics and enzymes in our regime: this is a missing piece in today’s eating habits;
Significantly reduce sugar consumption: we need to get rid of what has become an addiction;
Stay away from processed food.
This is advice that personal trainers would be wise to consider when dealing with their clients. While clients may demand complete nutritional plans when undertaking a fitness program, simple, targeted messaging about healthy eating habits may go a long way to start them on the right track. And remember: you have to lead by example.
You can learn more about gardening and preserving your own food by purchasing Celeste’s Garden Delights: Discover the Many Ways a Garden Can Nurture You at: celestelongacre.com.