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Archive for April, 2011

I’ve been talking this week about using food as medicine so I thought it only appropriate to share with you one of my favorite local wild edibles, Chenopodium album or Lambsquarter (aka; Goosefoot, fat hen or pigweed).  Each year I grow a garden and I plant all kinds of edible greens such as Collard, Turnip and Mustard.  However, one of the wonderful things about gardening in Florida is that some edibles you don’t even have to plant, they just volunteer.  

Lambsquarter grows everywhere in my area and especially in my garden.  I never pull it up when I am weeding because I use it just like I would any of my other greens.  The leaves of this plant have a very mild taste and are a complete protein. One ounce of Lambsquarter leaves contain 67% of your daily value of Vitamin A,  37% of Vitamin C  and a host of other trace minerals that our bodies need to stay healthy .  This brings us back to the topic of food as medicine.  By eating foods that are high in vitamins and minerals we are nourishing our bodies, keeping our immune system strong and potentially warding off future diseases…that I would say is food as medicine.

Because of its mild taste Lambsquarter can be eaten raw in salads or added to omlets, quiches, fritatas or any other recipe where you might add greens.  If you really want to pump up the nutritional and medicinal value you can cook your Lambsquarters along with garlic, onions and other herbs and spices.

Lambsquarter Fritata

Ingredients:

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 clove of chopped garlic

1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 cup of fresh chopped Lambsquarter leaves

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Sautee onion, garlic and peppers in a pan with olive oil until tender.  Add the Lambsquarter leaves and cook until slightly wilted.  Combine beaten eggs and milk and add to the pan along with remaining ingreadients.  Cook for 7-10 minutes over the burner until firm.  May place under broiler for a minute to finish cooking the top. 

Additional notes:  This is just a basic recipe that you can use as a foundation.  Additional herbs and vegetables can be added to suit your taste.  ENJOY!!

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We’ve all heard the saying…”an Apple a Day keeps the doctor away”…right.  The reason behind that may be that apples contain a host of vitamins and minerals, are a good source of dietary fiber as well as vitamin C.  There is also research to indicate that apples may help prevent a host of diseases ranging from diabetes to cancer.  With this said we have to ask ourselves… is an apple food or is it medicine?  Actually, I see them as one in the same, food is medicine.

What about Garlic?  We all know that Garlic is wonderful to cook with, but it also contains a host of nutrients as well as other constituents which benefit the cardiovascular system, are antimicrobial, may help to prevent cancer and improve metabolism of iron.

Culinary herbs and spices added to foods not only help to improve the taste of dishes, but also allow us to incorporate their numerous medicinal benefits to all of our meals.  Cinnamon, fennel, rosemary, thyme or most any culinary herb you can think of has been used as both food and medicine since the beginning of time.   I’ve always had a passion for cooking and as a herbalist I try to get the most out of every meal by adding foods that I know to be healing as well as incorporating as many herbs and spices to my dishes as I can. 

Sometimes it can be really challenging coming up with new recipes that are both tasty and healthy.   Fortunately, I just found out about a class that John Gallagher at Learningherbs.com is hosting on Culinary Herbalism  .  The class will be given by K.P. Khalsa who has over 30 years of experience as a herbalist, is the President of the American Herbalists Guild and the author of several books on natural health.  K.P. Khalsa is presenting this class to teach people how to use herbs as food and to use food as medicine.  This class will also include various meal preparations using therapeutic herbs, over 19 recipes, and lots of information on using herbs to improve and benefit various health conditions. 

One thing I really like about this class is that it is a self paced so you can do it online and at your own pace.  John at Learningherbs.com does such a great job on hosting these events and they are definitely an organization worth supporting.  I’m looking forward to the class and hope you will check it out to see what you think.  Just go to CulinaryHerbalism.com and John has posted a video about the course and more information on K.P. Khalsa.  John is really great at giving away free information and has posted several recipes that will be included in the class.  This class opens tomorrow April 19th and will only be offered through April 23rd so the sooner you get registered the better.

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