University HealthCare Alliance

August 27, 2018

Sheralin Taylor | Family Medicine Oakland

Sheralin Taylor is our July/August wellness spotlight award winner!  Sheralin is the Call Center Lead at Family Medicine Oakland (FMO).  She was nominated by Cathy Lee who worked at FMO and now works with the Provider Relations team.  Sheralin’s home garden was featured in our previous article about growing your own food. Cathy’s nomination highlighted how Sheralin is committed to eating healthy, growing food for her family, hiking and inspiring her colleagues at FMO by sharing her homegrown organic fruits and vegetables! Her children are very involved in growing food and hiking and she’s a wonderful role model. You can follow her gardening journey on her Instagram account, @tg_gardening.

WELL@UHA asked Sheralin to share more her home garden and how she uses that to inspire her clinic towards healthy eating and well-being. 

Q. Your nomination talked about your organic garden which we featured in the past.  Can you tell us why you decided to start a garden at home?

A. My garden actually began accidentally. I was on this journey to eat healthfully and learn to cook different types of food – so I ordered food boxes from Blue Apron. If you are familiar with how those food boxes work, they provide you with all the ingredients you need for 3 healthy meals.  I hadn’t yet cooked the first meal before parts of the recipe went bad! One day while preparing dinner I noticed my sweet potato from the meal had grown branches, so to Google I went.  I found that if you submerge half of the sweet potato in water in a glass jar it will grow roots and produce more “branches” (slips is the correct name).  Once the slips grow a bit, I cut them and put those in water until a good root system grew – then transferred them to compost per instruction from YouTube gardeners. A few months later, I grew a new sweet potato!

Since we’ve been gardening for a couple years now, we’ve noticed that we save money and don’t have to buy vegetables or salad often from the stores — nor do we have to worry about throwing away our produce when there is an e-coli scare. 

Q. Has creating a home garden changed your families’ way of eating?

A. Yes, having fresh fruits and veggies at home is so convenient, no more having to trek back to the store because you forgot an item or are low.  It also helps with playing with flavors to create new recipes, we have more basil, onions, mint, and salad than we know what to do with! 

We often make fresh smoothies with the leafy greens we grow and strawberries. 

I’ve read somewhere that cucumber water is good for you so we make bottles/jugs of cucumber water.  (Mint water, also).

It’s rewarding to me when I see my children so involved with this, my son works up an appetite sometimes when he is outside playing and will stop, pull up a radish, harvest a little salad, and have a snack while outside.  My children do enjoy candy and things like that, but they enjoy the fruits of their labor much better (lol pun intended!).

Q.  Cathy mentioned that you share and promote healthy eating with your co-workers. What are your favorite ways to promote wellness among your team at FMO?

A. My team in the FMO Admin Call center and myself come up with themed lunch ideas. For example, we put together a salad potluck; we made a list of items that go with salads, each person signed up to bring an item or 2 to build our own salad to enjoy during our staff meeting. We try to do this monthly. This month we put together chicken Caesar wraps, those ingredients lasted a few days and we all saved money as well! Every now and then when I have extra from the garden I bring in produce to share with everyone.

Q. If others are inspired to start a garden, what are the 3 steps you’d recommend to get started? Do you have any favorite online resources?

A. I would say start with something simple and easy to maintain as a start. Things like Radishes, re-growing scallions, and Salads are easy things to grow and maintain. Get your seeds or plant starts from a local garden nursery vs a big chain store like Home Depot or Orchard, the bigger chains don’t always care for the plants properly. Most importantly, research first.

MI Gardener on YouTube, Facebook, IG and Twitter is AMAZING. His videos are super simple, easy to follow, and packed with valuable information – he even sells seeds on his website. That’s where I go to for all of my gardening clarification and ideas of what to do next.

Q. What are you growing in your garden now?

A. We currently have Sunflowers, Jubilee Tomatoes, Green Zebra Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Tie-Dye Tomatoes, Yellow Watermelon, Cucumbers, Pickling Cucumbers, Green Beans, Salad, Corn!, Tomatillos, Zucchini, Strawberries, Scallions, Eggplant (first time growing this), Pineapple Strawberries (first time), Red and Yellow Onions, Carrots, Thyme, Rosemary, and Harlequin Marigolds. We will plan for fall gardening pretty soon.

Q. Other than gardening, what are other ways you like to be well?

A. Hiking! I have enjoyed the UHA Hikes and have tried my best to continue on my own, there’s just something about the outdoors that is so relaxing to me.

Q. What brings you joy?

A. Helping to motivate others brings me joy.  It’s rewarding to see that leading by example and treating others the way you would want to be treated goes a long way.

Thank you, Sheralin, for taking the time to share your tips to Cathy for highlighting wellness in action at FMO.