New dietary guidelines recently put forth by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture suggest Americans should eat more fruits, vegetables, and grains. Published every five years, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 acknowledges that most Americans are overweight, but that obesity can be curbed by the consumption of 13 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and at least three servings of grains (whole wheat, oats, or brown rice).
When I go into my garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and health, that I discover I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands. — Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1849
It’s difficult to find a gardener who doesn’t agree with Emerson. The reward, avid gardeners say, of cultivating the earth is nothing short of sublime. So what exactly is going on in the backyard plot that has captivated more than 85 million Americans? Well, in a word, healing.