It's planting time and I'm always thinking ahead and looking for a new adventure. Add to that a new piece of property and the creative juices are flowing. There may be an opportunity for me to plant for future needs by creating a landscape that is not only beautiful but is full of good things to eat.
Not only are there landscape plants that can be used for food, but some garden herbs make wonderful additions to a perennial bed or landscape, and they can be as close as your front door for fresh daily harvest. Trees, shrubs and even your lawn can be sources of nutritious, good tasting food for your table.
Start with your lawn. If you don't use herbicides or live next to someone who does, whereby toxic ground water will contaminate anything close by; there are any number of salad items that you might find there. If you let sections of your lawn grow wild or limit cutting to a month or two at a time so the grass can grow longer, you will find such things as, spring violas, plantain, chickweed, dandelion greens, yellow dock. I have lovage (which is a herbal celery leaf), calendula, parsley (which I love to use as green background to make my flowers stand out), lavender, rosemary, sage and thyme mixed in with my perennials. They also serve to keep insect pests away because of their fragrance.
Foraging can be as productive as a cultivated garden, local trees, parks, fields and forests; with permission of course AND be sure that sources are at least 20 feet away from toxic roadsides or other places where chemicals and fertilizers may be used.
Then again, you can create your own forested, or low growing shrubbery that can create privacy hedges or are useful in wet areas that are not conducive to foot traffic, that provide berries, nuts, and leaves for the edible asking. Domestic fruit trees and berries like raspberries and blueberries are common; but look for the wilder things for a new adventure. Trees like linden, walnuts, mulberry and shrubs like elderberry, hawthorne, hazelnut, wild cranberry, gooseberries and numerous others, depending on your growing region. The strategy is to start with a few at a time, learning their habitat and companion plants that help shade, or nurture one another as in a forest layer.
There is even a method of landscaping small and medium parcels of land, called Permaculture, that uses buildings, animals, water sources and plants to create a total self sustaining network for year round accessibility.
Two books that are great informational sources of information are Forest Gardening, Cultivating an Edible Landscape, by Robert Hart and Introduction to Permaculture, by Bill Mollison.
Needless to say, all these great sources of food that are around us or can be brought in closer to us can be frozen, dried and cold cellared for winter keeping.
It springtime and I'm doing some cleaning, hoeing out piles of stuff I should have dealt with over winter and otherwise making "the nest" fresh and new in the spirit of spring! At the same time I'm thinking about cleaning the house, I am thinking about a whole body cleaning, too.
I've gained that extra 5 pounds of insulation over winter and thinking lighter in anticipation of hiking and biking and breaking out of the 4 walls of inside living and more sedentary work. There are a number of strategies I can use for priming the system as we approach the warmer weather. Mine will be combining some spring fasting with cleansing foods and herbs. It's a natural cycle that I use spring and fall, to do some internal housekeeping and maintain a healthy immunity.
Lemon & Olive Oil has always been a good one for me. This is a 3-day effort starting on Day 1 with a half fresh lemon squeezed into a tablespoon of olive oil, whipped to combine and drunk down. (You can use a little honey or maple syrup if you absolutely cannot deal with the sourness of the lemon); but the sourness is part of the effect of stimulating the taste cells of the tongue to activate liver, gallbladder and kidneys to release built up matter in their tubes and portals for elimination. Do this first thing in the morning and then drink good, clean liquids for the rest of the day, like water with or without cleansing veggie slices like cucumber or celery, cilantro or arugala, and herbal teas or vegetable broths. Herbal teas are excellent; especially one of the liver cleansing teas that have bitter herbs like dandelion, yellow dock, and burdock which continue over the day to cleanse the liver and kidneys. Staying away from coffee and caffeinated tea is a good idea. Do this for two days and on Day 3 wait an hour after the lemon/olive oil cleanse and begin eating good, simple, raw or steamed vegetables; millet, quinoa, buckwheat or kasha perhaps with some herbal butter for flavor or a mix of salad greens and fresh raw veggies with a vinagerette dressing. On Day 4 you can begin eating normally again but focus on redesigning your meals away from the heavier winter fare to the lighter summer fare of grass fed meats, nuts, good fresh fruits & veggies and lighter on the carbs. You will find your energy level is improved; as what you have essentially done is strengthened the organs that filter toxic waste and allowed them to rest from strenuous duty. Some people like to do this fast 4x a year - every 3 months.
A 3-Day Water Fast is another simple fast and one that most people can do easily. Drink good water in which you can also put some cucumber or celery or cilantro in for flavor and additional cleansing. The good thing about a more complete fast for 3 days is that it helps your body recycle old, decaying cells. Your body will look for these old cells to "ingest" for whatever protein there is to replace the lack of food during this time, and eliminate whatever cannot be used in the waste stream. This actually triggers your body's stem cells to produce new cells to replace them so that you get a cleanout at the cellular level. Good way to keep ahead of any cell mutations that can cause disease.
Once the fasting is complete look for the bitter herb teas and cleansing herbs that you can add to your spring dishes, salads and sauces. The following list is NOT all inclusive but are some of the common ones. Interestingly enough, a lot of these are the culinary herbs that you have in your kitchen. If you grow your own, keep them and dry them through the winter, their viability in the spring should still be excellent.
Nutritive: Parsley, alfalfa, cilantro, radiccio, radish, celery,
Cleansing: Hyssop, Horseradish, nettles
Liver: Milk Thistle, dandelion, yellow dock, burdock
Kidneys: Asparagus, parsle, pippsisewa, spring violets
Immunity: Sage, tumeric, ginger, basil, cinnamon, red pepper
If you are a wildcrafter and like to look for the herbs growing around you, springtime is the time when the bitters are poking their heads out of the ground. If you watched where they were growing the prior summer, you will be able to go looking for them before the foliage really begins to hide them. Adding spring leaves to salad greens makes a nice change, while adding healing nutrition as well.
Dandelion greens, Burdock root from 2nd year plants, violet leaves and flowers, plantain, dogtooth violet leaves and flowers are a few common ones here in the Northeast that are easy to identify and find. If you don't fertilize and herbicide your lawn, you may just find a lot of these right out your front door.
Be well and happy cleansing!!
Did you know that we have our own personal electrical grid? Many bodily functions are carried out through electro-chemical processes. Of course, these processes are done without our conscious knowing about them. BUT, we have to provide the "tools" in the form of food, vitamins, amino acids and minerals in order to get that job done. Without the full spectrum of nutrients our personal electrical grid misfires. So in a very condensed version of science, when our bodies begin to malfunction, it could very well be a sign that we are missing something in the nourishment department. Quite often, especially in the early stages of discovering that we're not at 100%, finding the deficiency in our diet can bring our bodies back into balance.
Back to the electric part. Certain parts of our body function at specific pH levels. This means that there is an electrical charge or pH level required to initiate that function. Whether it's exchanging the oxygen for carbon dioxide in our lungs, triggering the release of bile from the liver for food breakdown, passing information via the brain, or absorbing the nutrients from food particles at specific places along our digestive tract; our bodies rely on the electrical charges needed to make those things happen. Keeping our food intake at the proper electrical levels (pH) is going to be really important.
What exactly does that mean? Generally it means that you want to eat foods that measure between alkaline or near neutral pH on the food scale. Another word for that is Anti-inflammatory; in other words foods, that do not cause inflammation to your digestive tract or other organs as a result of eating them. Sounds complicated? It doesn't have to be.
Whenever you make a lifestyle change like this one, you need to start with a few principles and build as you learn along the way. This cannot be accomplished overnight, but the more you can understand what your anti-inflammatory foods are, the faster and better you can build the road to better health.
Here are a few principles to get you started: And above all be kind and graceful to yourself! Realize it takes time and patience to learn new skills. You will fall down at times, but you will begin to gain confidence and have success.
. Get an anti-inflammatory food list that will give you the general low, moderate, neutral and high pH levels and start using that to combine and make your meals. We have those here at Healing Leaves Center and you are welcome to email Cathy at email@example.com to have one sent to you. You get also get a large amount of information and recipes at a site www.liveenergized.com He has lists, recipes and articles all focused on alkaline eating.
. Make sure your digestive tract is healthy and digesting your food properly. If not, you may need to begin by using probiotics to help get the proper flora into your digestive tract and enzymes to ensure that you are breaking your food down into small absorbable particles.
. Get a couple of good resources in the form of cookbooks or professional overviews of the principles of proper food combining. (we are starting a resource book list later in this newsletter)
. Work with a nutritional consultant/coach who can help you get good foundational food building blocks to form the center of your digestive habits. (Cathy is a nutritional consultant and can help you one-on-one if you want to email for an appointment)
. Take a class with an experienced teacher. It may be just the thing to jump start your understanding and your motivation. (We will be offering an introductory video class on March 30th and a couple of other topics in the next few months. Check the class listings in the newsletter)
. Stay well hydrated with good water to keep all those electrical charges functioning like a well working battery. Add slices of citrus, fruit, cucumbers, herbs like mint or infuse your favorite iced tea to keep the flavors interesting. Drinking water does not need to be boring. Water dense fruits like watermelon or veggies like cucumbers are great to add to your newfound habits.
Keep moving no matter what age you are, but especially if you are over 50. Even if it is just walking, movement keeps muscles toned, bones dense and those electrical charges stimulated and moving, thus activating their activity.
Check your spiritual pulse. Especially in this covid season where we are restricted more than usual, we are seeing more cases of anxiety and panic attacks. Any kind of stress can also help to short circuit our personal power grid. It is important to find a creative outlet that brings a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment to our daily lives. Everyone's is different, nonetheless important. Prayer with follow through can often be a good outlet; or meditating on a scripture like Jude 1:21 "Keep yourselves in God's love" Fear is a spiritual enemy that can sidetrack your health plans by making your body inflammatory. Hormones and nerve responses can be interrupted by the stress of fear. Let's turn off this negative emotion and begin taking action to maintain a personal electrical grid that fights existing disease and any new ones that we'll see in the future.
The idea of "keeping ourselves" brings us back to establishing alkalinity to sustain our immunity for the long haul. Many of us opting out of vaccinations, are learning to make our immune systems stronger against viruses and other disease problems. Focus on creating good tasting, alkaline meals and recipes; watching for dietary deficiencies, and supplementing with vitamins, minerals and herbs; and stay away from sugars and additives that counteract our goals. No one can make us do this, we have to take that responsibility into our own hands. No one knows how you feel better than you do. Once you have committed to a vision of better health maintenance and increased energy, nothing can stop you. A little help from your friends may be in order, but you're steering the ship. Don't stop looking until you find the answers.
We have a great future ahead of us - keep yourselves - find a way to establish your immunity!
How To Take Your pH
You can often tell that you're eating right because you begin to feel an increase in your energy. That said, it is good to have some kind of a measurement as you go along as to how well you are doing. Your pH will give you a good idea where you are in establishing an alkaline system.
You should be able to get pH strips in your local pharmacy. If that is not possible, you can order them from Dr. Anna Cabeca's website www.dranna.com/resources Your urine should be in the 7 range in the morning. Allow the pH strip to be wet by your urine stream half way through it's release or you can collect some mid stream and dip the strip. Lay it on a piece of toilet paper for about 60 minutes or as directed on the package and compare to the color chart. Morning will always be your most accurate overall reading for a 24 hour period coming after an 8 to 10 hour fast from dinner the night before. Create a place where you can record your pH at different times of the day over time. You may find it takes you a while to get to the 7 level you want; but you will find patterns that tell you about what you eat during the day and how it affects your levels. Your daily readings will tell you how your previous meal/foods have affected your alkalinity. Those patterns will help tell you where you may need to change eating habits.
Sometimes we just need to indulge ourselves and think of things we love and that bring us joy. So this month, we're just sharing a Valentine's Day recipe to indulge outselves. In the middle of all that is going on this season, lets take time to celebrate joy with a little help from a girl's best friend, Chocolate. This recipe from Lydia Simpson, CHC, takes a little bit of time, but oh what a delight! You can always make a double batch and freeze some.
Cacao Ganache Tart
Nut and Date raw crust:
· 1- 1 ⁄ 2 cups nuts, almonds and cashews raw
· 1 ⁄ 3 cup raw cacao powder
· 1 ⁄ 2 cup pitted dates
· 1 tsp cinnamon
· 1 tsp vanilla extract
· 1 ⁄ 4 tsp sea salt
Cacao Ganache filling:
· 1 cup coconut oil melted
· 1 ⁄ 3 cup raw honey
· 1 ⁄ 2 tsp sea salt
· 1 ⁄ 2 cup carob powder or part cocoa
· 1 ⁄ 2 cup cacao powder
· 1 Tbsp maca root powder
· 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
· 1 ⁄ 2 cup full-fat coconut milk
· Garnish with unsweetened shredded coconut lightly toasted
Or chopped, toasted nuts
1. To make nut and date raw crust:
2. Place nuts in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped.
3. Add remaining ingredients to nuts and process until desired
consistency. You want it to be sticky, but not too moist.
4. Small tart pans with removable bottoms are perfect for these. Another
option is to form small amounts of dough (1 T or so) into mini muffin
pans that have been greased.
5. Place the muffin pan or tart pans in the freezer while preparing the
6. To make filling:
7. Melt oil in double boiler or in a stainless steel bowl over a pot of warm
8. Whisk in the remaining ingredients to be sure they are well
emulsified. The consistency will be pourable like a ganache glaze.
You may need to increase heat slightly to achieve this.
9. Remove the muffin pan or tart pans from the freezer.
Pour the filling into the shells. Sprinkle toasted coconut or nuts on tops
evenly. Chill to set for 15-30 minutes.
Carefully remove from the pans and serve. A dollop of whipped
cream, dairy or non dairy, makes this dessert even more delicious and
Makes approximately 4- 4 inch tart shells or about 20 tartlets
Here we are in the doorway of 2021. What a year it has been; and despite the difficulty and hard times, let us learn from all we have seen and heard this year. There have been and still are, difficult times for us ahead; but there have also been some amazingly creative solutions that have risen to the surface that have been a source of encouragement to many. The creative solutions to folks feeding each other as well as communities; the creative ways small businesses and especially restaurants have continued forward and overcome financial and restrictive obstacles; the creative ways people have raised money and people have given of themselves to help others through hard times; and even the creative ways that music and art have come to us to lift us above all this.
We are in a new day. We have not been this way before in the United States, where the American dream has always been within reach, with hard work and the traditions of our heritage to give us a pattern to follow. We are in a time where our traditions are changing of necessity, but our desire to be free and think outside of the box are still able to soar.
The same is happening when it comes to our health. The big question currently seems to be to vaccinate or not to vaccinate. There are pros and cons to this issue. For the most scientific data on the realty of vaccines, I would refer you to a website at www.naturalnews.com and their health section. There are reports there from many doctors, researchers and even the legal ramifications from Robert Kennedy Jr that you can read to help you form your own opinions.
There are risks involved in a fast paced introduction of new vaccine that has not had the full test of time before presentation to the public. That said, some of those risks have to be weighed for people who have compromised immune systems and essential people risking exposure daily to provide needed services to all of us. Certainly they have the option to decide for themselves, and we all need to respect their personal choices. I would just want each of us to have the ability to hear ALL the information in order to make our decisions informed. There are other treatments that have been used in lieu of the wait period for vaccines, that have saved and improved the outcome of the Covid virus. These treatments have been discovered over the course of these few months and may be just as viable for a generally healthy person.
We also, need to understand that as healthcare providers, we have known for many years that the mutation of bacteria, viruses and fungi would come to a place in time where superbugs would develop that would be difficult to control and even provide immunity from them by traditional methods. We have known that building up our own personal immune systems would become the greatest step toward sustaining the human organism. This without the necessity of lockdowns and limitations of human interaction.
I cannot stress enough, the need to learn how your body works and what it needs to sustain great health at any age. It is too much to go into in this short blog; but I am able to help any of you individually or in a video class who would like to pursue this for yourselves, your families and loved ones. That knowledge, includes foods to eat, where to get them, how to keep your home toxin free, as well as what supplements might help, what telltale signs to watch for in your own health before its too late and numerous other topics. We at Healing Leaves Center of here for you.
Hope springs eternal and let me end by saying that this would not be the first time that Americans have faced health crises and risen to the occasion to find solutions. We are more resilient than we think, especially if we work together. Encourage one another, form neighborhood and community groups that can divide the labor to find the resources you all need. Lighten the load and feel the stress fall away as you face challenges with humor and camaraderie. A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.
Be well and may you find the answer to every question you have.
Celebrations are times and events that mark milestones, develop personal traditions & lighten our spiritual loads. This year especially is a good time for small celebrations. Despite the fact that Covid has narrowed our gatherings to small numbers; it doesn't mean that those gatherings can't be more frequent and just as festive.
Gatherings are certainly most important in person because touch and atmosphere are an integral part of the festivities. So is laughter and a sense of wellbeing and the tradition of gift giving. So perhaps this year we can put our creative hats on and establish some combination of in person and video gatherings that will fill all those buckets.
We could actually spread out our usual holiday gathering by having sequential smaller gatherings with one part of the family and a week later perhaps another part of the family. We can have lunch with those we are close to, that can't come to a larger gathering or that we may have a special gift to give. AND after all is said and done we can invite the whole crew to a video gathering to reminisce, share stories and plan other celebrations as the winter months go by.
We can have a video gathering if we have a special recipe or gift idea where we would normally get together and make it. We can make cookies, or other holiday favors and distribute them to families in need in our communities.
This year with many staying home and not traveling, it may be worth finding the community family that is right in your own neighborhood. Wanna do a cookie exchange? Everyone make the batch of cookies along with recipe copies to go with them. Set them out in containers (bags or other festive coverings) at the foot of your driveway at a designated day and time (this may be weather dependent). Everyone gets to walk the neighborhood with bags in hand, collecting cookies and passing each other on the street where they can share greetings as well as cookies.
Then there is the progressive dinner idea. Idea #1 if there is someone who likes to do all the cooking. Meal is made and portioned into individual plates and either delivered to family & friends or they pick them up. Then a specific time is set for dinner and everyone can sit around their zoom or facebook and eat together. Idea #2 is that different folks make different parts of the meal and then deliver them to one another. This is done a few days ahead with foods that can be refrigerated. Then a specific time is set for dinner and everyone can sit around their zoom or facebook page and eat together.
Or perhaps you'd prefer a holiday walk. Something festive to drink in your spill proof water bottle. Some festive attire, hats and sparkles. Some sweet treats to share and your walking shoes or boots) with flashing lights. Top it off with someone's phone playing holiday music and you are off together with distance between you and masks if you must. The sky's the limit on this one. If the weather is nice, you can stop to set up a picnic of finger foods or gaze upon a wondrous view. Love, kindness and togetherness can be found anywhere.
The ideas are limitless, just let your uniqueness as a family, your creativity and your desire to be together be your motivation.
Whatever celebrations you are enjoying this season, may the light of His countenance shine upon you. From all of us at Healing Leaves Center
This year of 2020 has certainly been a challenge for all of us. And now with the elections, the sense of division and antagonism is not only distracting, it is bringing out very unhealthy emotions. Though the world is not what we would like it to be, the way through this does not seem to be bashing those whose opinions differ, but in first recognizing and being thankful for the many benefits we do have and then exchanging views with the idea of finding middle ground and then building on that. Taking a critical look at problems is not a bad thing if we can start from thankfulness for lives and stop trying to control the substance and speed of change.
As this newsletter is all about health and wellness, I would like to focus on thankfulness in honor of this month's holiday and leave the hard issues for another day. There are plenty of places where you can find the pros and cons of our current circumstances as a nation.
We need balance. Let's start with us individually. Whether we're dealing with homeschooling children, a hard day at the office, serious health issues, or any other myriad of personal circumstances, we need to be sure to make time for moments of personal satisfaction and lack of stress. We all need to find personal space to look on the lighter side because a "merry heart doeth good like medicine". If we can't find space to laugh and be lighthearted in the midst of the challenges of life, we will always be looking with negativity that will make wellness and health hard to sustain.
Without joy, we can't digest our food, we can't sleep, we can't find rest. The science of stress shows that it raises cortisol in a sustained fashion which causes our bodies to run on adrenaline which should be reserved for an emergency fight or flight situation. If this continues unchecked it will cause all the above situations as well as a breakdown in body systems overtime. It is extremely important for those cortisol levels to ebb and flow on a daily basis so that energy and rest ebb and flow as well. This is a healthy life.
Joy is part of our DNA and creative makeup. If that is ignored for other more stressful thoughts, it will cause spiritual breakdown as well as physical malfunction. In the midst of change, the things that bring us joy can be a stabilizing factor. In difficult situations it can be the one consistent part of our lives.
"I suspect that the more we want to finish or achieve before we die, the more likely we are to die before we're finished!" Dr. Archibald D. Hart, The Hidden Link Between Adrenaline and Stress
One simple way to bring blood pressure and stress levels down is taking time out to do deep breathing exercises. You can do these anywhere. Preferably sitting in a relaxed position, inhale slowly and deeply for 4 counts and the breathe out slowly for 4. Repeat this 5 to 6 times. That's it. BUT when you're finished use this more relaxed state to rise slowly and move naturally into you next activity.
So what brings you joy? laughter? Walking in the woods, being creative, reading a book, talking with friends, listening to music…. Everyone is different, but whatever it is, make a habit of it. If you have to make plans for it in the middle of a crazy schedule, do it! Whatever it takes, find your happy place. We can remind ourselves of the good things in our lives by making a list. The things we take for granted, may be the things that we need to intentionally be thankful for. If there's one thing that the Covid crisis has shown me, it is that the simple things of life are some of the most wonderful. Right now in autumn, the colors of the leaves are inspiring and refreshing, even though it means the cold weather is on the way. When that happens, snuggling up in front of my woodstove with a good book and hot chocolate will be my new happy place.
Money getting short? Finding new ways to satisfy time at home instead of travel, frugal habits instead of buying unneeded things, creating necessary items out of stuff around the house. I remember a story that an aunt told me about living during the depression. They didn't have money for new shoes, so when the soles would get holes in them, they would take old tire tubes and cut innersoles to slip inside of them. When the weather was colder, they would make them out of sheepskin. She and her siblings were always competing to see who could come up with the next best thing. She always laughed at those memories as some of the best times in her life.
"Of all the beautiful truths pertaining to the soul, none is more gladdening or fruitful of divine promise and confidence than this - that man can be master of thought, the molder of character, and the maker and shaper of condition, environment, and destiny." James Allen, As A Man Thinketh
The holiday of thankfulness is coming but we don't have to wait until the end of November. Joy is something we need every day. Happy Thanksgiving, starting today!!
Give the Gift of Health
Give a personal nutritional consultation with Cathy Dodge, Certified Nutritional Consultant. Initial consult for evaluation and intake plus one followup where you will receive a personal nutritional protocol to take home, samples and resources $110.00 This can be done in person or by teleconference.
Email Cathy at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 802-683-1785 for appointment or questions.
This is a busy time of year and with the frosts coming early, we have had to pick and bring in a lot of garden produce that needs processing. Green tomatoes have been ripening in sunny spaces so I am using my "Tomato Glut Sauce" recipe to process and can them quickly instead of making sauce. I will do that later this winter when time allows. Squashes loved this summer's sun and they, thankfully, can be stored without processing. We have already enjoyed the acorn squash halved with butter and maple syrup sauce in the seed cavities and baked to perfection. Ymmm! Plums, apples and cranberries are being made into preserves and the excess of zucchini made into relish.
Keeping in mind the volatile nature of our access to food, supplements and medicine in the midst of covid and now the election unknowns, we are preparing for anything as best we can by stocking up and thinking ahead. We have frozen vegetables, dried herbs, canned for long term access and beefed up our dry goods of flour, sugar, rice and quinoa along with beans and chick peas.
We have good dried stocks of herbs so that I can get to the tincturing and salve making as soon as time allows. And of course, we stocked up on oil and alcohol to do that. We have started our jars of apple cider vinegar and fermented veggies and they are in cool, dark closets out of the way until we are ready. We still have wild roots yet to dig of burdock and yellow dock as well as the echinacea in the perennial bed but they're safe underground until we can get to them.
We are thinking ahead to any medications we will need and purchasing them ahead even though at our house, we use mostly herbal products. Even the pets will need attention and food at some point, so we are mindful to make sure we have access. We are fortunate that we live in a rural area so that local meats, eggs and other items are a few minutes away.
The garden is now under cover of winter rye and the garlic will be planted in the next couple of weeks for next year. We have been saving our heirloom seeds right along so that should the access to seeds be difficult or shelves cleaned out, we can rely on our own time proven varieties. Though I like to experiment with new varieties, necessity brings a more creative approach.
Fall is always a busy time of year, but it is so amazing what we have available to us and exciting to see the beautiful collection of jars and bins of food as we fill up the shelves. It is very satisfying to see the work we put in result in such bounty and we are thanking the Lord for shining down on us.
Roasted root veggies are such a delight with potatoes, turnip, beets, carrots and others basted with our own maple syrup and making a wonderful side dish to our local meats. The flavors of winter are warm and satiating and bring plenty of Vitamin A for cold season and immune boosting power with warming spices. It's time to get out the Golden Milk recipe and this year I'm looking forward to adding some dark chocolate to the mix.
What's In Season?
Squashes, squashes, squashes....... It was a hot season this summer here and squash loves heat. My squash vines spread half way across my lawn from one of my raised beds and blessed us with 2 dozen acorn squashes from one plant. Squash is full of Vitamin A, a vitamin that is key in keeping immunity high. There is plenty of produce from the gardens as well as the wild edibles and herbs that are available to us now.
And don't forget the nutritional value of pumpkins. There are a myriad of recipes for soup, muffins, breads, sauces, etc on the internet for pumpkin. The seeds roasted or sauteed, dried and jarred are an excellent addition to the diet or snack, for digestive upset, and especially parasites.
It's time to dig roots. Echinacea (Purple Cone Flower) from perennial beds, 2nd year burdock roots and yellow dock roots from the fields. Gravel root from the wet places.
Dig them, scrub them, and then chop into smaller pieces to either be dried or to tincture fresh in alcohol for winter availability.
Echinacea is well known to be used in cold and flu season but not many know that echinacea is a blood cleaner and a help to the liver, which filters out the toxins from the blood. It is useful in any circumstance along with specific treatment therapy, to aid in releasing the bacterial and viral toxins out of the body through the wastestream.
Burdock root is not only a great herbal bitter and support for the liver and kidneys, it is a great food for the digestive system and a cultivated version called Gobo is a staple in Asian countries. Many bitter tea combinations are available in our health food stores for this reason. We can actually make some interesting combinations of our own by digging our wild friends in field and forest.
Yellow Dock is another bitter that has numerous uses. Also a helpful detoxifying agent it works as a mild laxative for sluggish digestive systems and bowels that do not empty well. Another bitter cousin of burdock and dandelion it stimulates the liver and gallbladder to process as well as the lymphatic system. It can also help with indigestion.
Herbal Bitters have become popular and these can be added to recipes and taken in mocktails and alcoholic toddies. We have a yellow dock bitter with tumeric and ginger which not only stimulates the digestive tract for action but is a great immune boosting addition. Many recipes available on the internet and a great book by Guido Mase and Jovial King called DIY Bitters are great resources. Really makes taking your medicine fun!
Gravel root, or Joe Pie Weed, is a plant known for it's help in preventing and helping to break up kidney stones. It has recently become popular for landscaping in wet areas but can usually be found along waterways and along the edges of swampy areas.
NOTE: Whenever digging roots, remember the general rule of taking ONLY 1/3 of a batch of herbs when you find them in the wild. It allows the others to continue to grow and spread and leaves some for others that might find them also.
Be wise, be safe, be blessed!!!
It's Apple Time
My apologies for getting this out late. It has been a busy time with harvest and many personal consults with those wanting to build up their immune systems.
The apples have flourished! So now in the midst of harvest, as we turn our heads to maintaining good immune systems, the apple is a prime medicinal source. Not only is it good food, but it is one of the most detoxifying foods we have. In the midst of apple pies, sauce and crisps, don't forget about the great immune capacity of RAW apple cider, fire cider and vinegars.
A good many vendors of cider have to pasteurize their cider for inspection for sale to the public. Unfortunately that heating process, takes the good bacteria out of the cider. So best to purchase a cider press or band together with someone who has one. Apple pressing parties might be a good way, this year, to get out into fresh air and celebrate harvest while still being able to social distance. Here in our town, the local church has a cider press and folks bring their apples to the church on specific dates and help crank out raw cider all day, taking home their own supply.
Raw cider, as mentioned above, has powerful detoxifying properties and helps the liver screen toxins out of your blood and into your waste stream. When raw cider sits on the shelf you can see a cloudy residue that settles on the bottom, that is referred to as the "mother" and contains the bacterial spores for distributing healthy bacteria throughout the batch. The refreshing experience of drinking a glass of freshly pressed cider is one that I look forward to each fall.
Now, take that fresh, raw, apple cider and put it into a glass jar (we're about to make apple cider vinegar and I use gallon jars) There will be some evaporation and I like to make 3 or 4 gallons to last me through till next year. Put several layers of cheesecloth over the opening of the jar and attach with rubber bands. DON'T put the cover back on. Set your jar in a dark closet and leave it alone for a couple of months observing it now and then. Exposure to the air is part of the process so no fear of contamination as it ages. First it will form a spongey ring on the surface of the vinegar that continues to thicken as time goes by. This will keep the good bacteria in and the fermentation process going and bad bacteria out including any fruit flies that may be attracted to the sweet juice. Over the next 2 to 4 months this process will work and be a bit cloudy (and some evaporation take place) until the cloudy liquid suddenly clears. When the cider becomes clear, the fermentation has completed and you can bottle your fresh apple cider vinegar with the mother. Simply skim the spongey formation off the top and compost, and fill your bottles. Cap them off and store your fresh vinegar in your pantry to use for dressings, marinades, and your daily tonics. Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and small amount of water, add a little honey if desired and it's a shot in the arm of immune boosting B vitamins and good bacteria.
Dr Janes, of Waterbury, Vermont was the MD who discovered the health properties and uses of apple cider vinegar. You can google the uses for apple cider vinegar and find many sources and ideas for using it as well as recipes.
You can go on to another immune boosting endeavor by adding other immune boosting herbs to your batch of "fire cider". There are many recipes for fire cider and it is all a matter of personal taste and desire for "tang". Ingredients like hot pepper, ginger, onion, garlic, horseradish all contribute to the "hot" flavor; but fire cider doesn't have to be hot. You can add such things as elderberry, astragalus and echinacea to name a few depending on your choice of immune boosting ingredients and you desire for flavor. Aromatic herbs like, sage, rosemary and thyme can make your cider interesting as well. The sky's the limit and you can bottle them in fancy containers for holiday gifts. All the while getting a great immune pick me up for winter. Covid - 19 bye,bye!
This month we'll talk about what natural remedies you may want in your medicine closet in anticipation of winter, cold and flu season.
There are two months out of the year when sickness is most prevalent. One is in September when children go back to school and begin to interact. In the growth of their immune systems, their bodies take new and varied bacterias that each one uniquely carries and "share" it in their interactions together. There are good reasons to have this take place. Most importantly is that as they begin to contract viruses and add it to their onboard antibodies, they build up immunity so that they are less susceptible in the future. If we don't get panicky and fearful about these viruses running their course but treat for sustaining their bodies through the process, we help them to be strengthened healthwise naturally. If we choose to over vaccinate so that our children no longer get an opportunity to build their own immunity, we potentially make them weaker healthwise. A great book to use as a reference if you have young children is The Vaccine Friendly Plan by Paul Thomas M.D. and Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D. They present a science based strategy for keeping children healthy and helping strengthen their immune systems while navigating the new viruses that are appearing on the horizon.
The other time of year that sickness is more prevalent is right after the Christmas/New Year holidays. This, along with Thanksgiving are the times when we spend time eating with friends and family and bring along our best baked and sugary treats of the season. The consistent and added sugars for a month's time adds to the vulnerability of our immune systems because sugar is truly a toxic substance - processed with 6 or 8 of the most toxic compounds in the world, like bleach, newspaper bluing, etc. Better to find substitutes for the sugar sweeteners in our baked products with honey, maple syrup, monk fruit, stevia, coconut sugars …. And stay away from sugar substitutes and additives like aspartame. Their chemical structure is just as bad as processed sugar. Even diabetics would do well to stay away from the side effects of these not so good substitutes. Aspartame even makes you more thirsty as in sugar free soda sweeteners causing you to want to drink more.
So what kinds of natural medicines do we want to have available to us when the need arises without running to the Pharmacy? There are many over the counter products that are available that are recognized therapies for common viral and cold symptoms. Take elderberry syrup for example. First produced in Israel and brought to the world as Sambuca, it is scientifically proven to be more effective for the flu than Tamiflu, a commonly prescribed flu therapy. It is easily made if you have access to elderberries and most pharmacies as well as health food stores have it. It is high in vitamin C so we keep a gallon jar of homemade syrup in our frig all winter; and take a shot of it each day as preventative maintenance. It is yummy and appealing to kids' tastebuds.
There are numerous tinctures that I would recommend to have on hand. Because they are mostly infused in alcohol, they have a long shelf life and will sustain you through the winter, and if not used up, continue to sustain you up to 2 years. I always recommend that you get 2 oz or larger bottles. During a season of sickness it is better to have more than you need than not enough. Depending on your household and what you can anticipate, I would recommend some of the following tinctures:
Echinacea - a blood cleaner and immune booster, as well as a strep killer. Use preventatively in elderly or compromised folks once a day, 2 weeks on and 1 week off from September to May. At the first sign of scratchy throat or sniffles, take a double dose and take 3x a day until symptoms subside. If you are needing to use other cold remedies like mullein or elder, continue with the echinacea and they work well together. Mixed in water in a spritzer bottle, you can spritz the back of the throat each hour until strep throat symptoms are gone.
Mullein - A mild expectorant that soothes lungs and helps cough up phlegm.
Goldenseal or Gold Thread - They both contain berberine which is one of our best herbal anti-bacterials. You can use topically (be careful it stains) or take internally for infection, stomach ulcers or bugs, and virus symptoms.
Astragalus - immune, antiaging, antiinflammatory, fatigue, allergies, colds, diabetes, strengthens heart Can be taken as tincture or in soup as described below
Tea: Bitter herb teas - they will help your liver detox and filter out toxic substances
Kloss's Linament - an age old herbal remedy that is antibacterial, both topically & internally,
Good for scrapes, sore muscles, open wounds, internal infections, bug bites, swellings, bruises, gum disease, canker sores, poison ivy and much more. (I have included a recipe below in the newsletter)
Elderberry syrup - great antiviral and preventative, keep a large bottle in your frig
Zinc losenges - often a good way to arrest a cold as it begins. Zinc helps strengthen ability to fight off colds and when contacting the back of the throat will sooth and heal soreness
Tumeric - anti-inflammatory
Ginger, Cinnamon, cloves - the "warming" spices that increase body heat and are immune boosters
Garlic & onion - Anti-bacterials, the stronger the better
Apple Cider Vinegar - detoxifier, immune booster, enzyme enhancer, combined with honey and/or cayenne (Fire Cider) Another daily tonic blend to keep in your frig
Honey, Pollen & Propolis - anti viral and allergy deterent as well as immune enhancers
Sage - create a strong tea out of dried leaves and gargle with it for sore throats and tooth pain
Thyme - Simmer on a stovetop and breath to break up a sinus infection. Include in cold remedies and meals along with rosemary for immune boosting
Astragalus - Simmer strips of bark in your soups and stews and then take them out before serving. An extraordinary boost to immune and nervous system
Mushrooms - turkey tails, reishi, shitake, chaga can be tinctures or brewed into tea to increase immune resistance and help the stress response
Eucalyptus, camphor, thyme, rosemary for clearing sinus congestion and bronchitus
Lavender - antibacterial, antiviral, stops bleeding
Geranium - applied topically over sorethroat area, will stop soreness in about 15 minutes
These are just a few of the first response items you can have ready in your home. Know your family's specific issues and purchase products that will address those issues to have ready. Winter is the time when sickness is most common. Plan ahead. Especially now when items are hard to get, stock up or make your own. AND find some holiday recipes that are low on sugar or can be made with natural products. You will be glad you did come January when others are battling colds and flus and your family is staying healthy.
3 John 2: “I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”
Over 40 years of Herbal and nutritional experience.