It is April 23rd (Happy Earth Day yesterday!) and I am patiently awaiting Dandelion greens, Wild Violet leaves & flowers, and Wild Leeks (heading out, soon, to see if they are popped up enough to dig). It has been a long winter and a hard won Spring for us Waaaay Northern New Yorkers. Today is day 3 of sunshine and no snow floating down. The ground is finally bare save for a few pockets of the "white stuff" here and there on the northern sides of trees, hills, etc.Read More
Sometime in early 2014, a friend requested support with menopausal vaginal symptoms. I did a Google search looking for a product to help soothe and lubricate her vulva and vagina. I found several that were sort of natural but nothing that met my standards of a product I would put in or on my body. I have a deep commitment to health... if I would not eat it, I will not use it for body care.Read More
Are you pestered with nasty plantar warts? They can be painful, irritating little villains on the bottom of our feet.
Below you see my son's foot plastered with several plantar warts and a big cluster on the ball of his big toe.
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Here you see his foot with thin slices of raw, fresh garlic (organic and local, from Birdsfoot Farm, of course!).
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How these warts got so out of control you ask? They inhabited a teen's foot. He never bothered to tell me until the collection had become overwhelming.Read More
When a touch of the flu hits your home be prepared with some tools to boost the immune system:
- Brothy soups (bone broths are nice)
- Elderberry syrups or tinctures (Check out my elderberry article in the next Potsdam Food Co-op's newsletter, coming soon)
- Flu tonics: (No Time For Getting Sick, everyone around me was sick and needing my care, I had to be the one to stay functioning!)
- Herbal teas: nettle, yarrow, rosemary, peppermint (Instructions for making medicinal infusions, teas, click the herbal teas link
- Hot baths with plenty of water (or the above immune herbal teas) to drink while bathing. Fevers need to be kept hydrated and allowed to do their work. A fever's purpose is to destroy the microbes causing the sickness with their heat. Fevers are part of your immune response for healing infections. If you reduce fevers with medications and cold baths, the heat of fever cannot work for you. Keep the feverish person very well hydrated to avoid the problems of fever that people fear.
- Whole food green drink such as SuperFood Plus
- Foods rich in:
- Vitamin C (lemon water?),
- selenium (brazil nuts anyone),
- zinc (pumpkin seeds?)
I was making a pot of soup, pictured above, to offer something brothy for my sick kid's bodies. The flu hit and one kid had a fever for 11 days. Mom care was required. As I am making the soup, "extended fever boy" is lying on the couch around the corner and says to me:
Jake: "What are you making for dinner Mom?"
Jake: "Your soup is scary to me. It always contains one or more of the following:
- animal carcasses (bone broths)
- rotting bean matter (miso)
- vegetables that most of the modern world have never heard of!
Mom: "Thanks for the vote of confidence."
Jake: "I don't appreciate finding scary things in my scary soup. The soups usually taste good but what is in it terrifies me. I observe it very carefully before I eat it."
Makes a Mom run to the kitchen to create healthy fare for her loved ones!
The Soup Recipe
- Bring 3-4 cups of water to simmer, slowly, no need to boil. Keep pot covered and on lowest heat.
- Saute' a medium onion chopped into fine slivers. Saute' in butter from pastured animals, animal fat, or coconut oil.
- Grate or finely chop cabbage, about 1 cup.
- Grate a small celeriac.
- Add both to onion saute' and quick stir fry.
- Add above veggie mix to the simmer water and keep heat as low as possible. Do not boil this soup.
- Finely chop kale and saute', about 1 cup.
- Grate a carrot and add to saute'.
- Toss into saute' some frozen red pepper strips that you perhaps froze before growing season ended.
- Stir fry all 3 together and add to veggie soup mix in pot.
- Add a pinch or two of cayenne to soup.
- Peel and press 1-2 cloves of garlic into soup.
- I then added 3-4 tablespoons of South River Miso's Sweet White Miso.
- Last addition was the flu syrup sitting on the counter. It contained raw apple cider vinegar, raw honey, garlic, onion, ginger, and turmeric. There was 2/3 to 3/4 a cup left in the jar. I dumped it all into the soup and stirred it up.
- Soup was finished and ready for serving to my terrified kid.
The only thing else I would have added, had I some bone broth on hand, would be bone broth instead of the water at the beginning. I recommend keeping bone broth made and frozen in wide mouth quart canning jars for flu emergencies.
Happy immune boosting soup making. I hope you efforts are appreciated and not creating a reign of soup terror!
Making Bone Broth: From my educational handout on bones and minerals
Bone broths are made with fish, chicken, turkey, beef, and lamb bones and a tablespoon of vinegar to liberate the minerals. Put bones in a sauce pan, soup pot and cover with water, just enough to cover bones. I squish the bones down into the pot. Add the tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar and cover the pot. I soak the bones in the vinegar water overnight and slow simmer for hours the next day. I gently bring to a simmer on the stove top. Then I place in a pre-heated 220 F oven and leave for 4-5 hours if chicken bones and longer if harder bones. Remove bones and use as a soup stock for veggie soup or eat the broth as is (add a bit of unrefined sea salt to taste). If making veggie soup, I saute' the veggies before adding to the hot broth to avoid simmering the broth anymore.
I confess. I am an observer of people. I think it is part of the path I walk on this earth. I observe to try and find solutions for people as they struggle with life's challenges. In my previous blog post I spoke of Working With What We Already Have. On this note, I want to remind you that each and every one of us, has inside of ourselves, ALL that we need to heal; to reach every goal we have for our physical, emotional, and spiritual health. We just need to work with what we have, call up our strengths (and we have far more than we think or give ourselves credit for having), and put into action the steps we personally need to create a healthier lifestyle.
OK, so first... my floor, back to working with what I had and my promised update. Here are finished pictures of the floor. Not bad for 100+ year old floors that the pro floor guy told me my best option was to bag them and start over!
Shabby chic? Yes.
I am happy!
Working in health care (true health care and not just disease symptom management) for 30 years and most recently for 20+ years in personal health education, I have made discoveries. We often have amazing goals for ourselves. We know where we want to be with our health, our body weight, and our physical wellness (emotional & spiritual wellness as well). Our end goals are very clear to us and we do truly want to attain these goals. Most of us have pretty good ideas about what we need to do to get to our goals.
Here's where things get sticky: wanting the work that leads us to these goals of health, weight loss, healing, physical fitness, emotional and spiritual happiness, etc.
In order to be successful at reaching our goals, we have to want to do the work to get there. This means changing the way we eat, what we eat, and our lifestyle habits little by little, step by step (or making sweeping changes if that is how you best function) and sticking with our changes to reach our goals and beyond. Maintaining health means living these newly incorporated eating and lifestyle habits for life, changing them up a bit as the seasons of the years and our lives evolve and need something different. (An example would be slowing down to embrace aging gracefully: giving you body more recovery time between fitness routines and allowing for more sleep at night than when you were 20!)
The work comes in when we have to suffer a little to meet the challenge of change. I will give an example here in weight loss. In order to lose weight we have to change the way we eat, get rid of the garbage factory made food, and learn to eat less. With this comes the struggle to get through the feeling hungry challenges. If you are used to eating large meals, the challenge will be to leave the table feeling less than full and relaxing, breathing, and moving through this feeling knowing you will be ok, you will survive without feeling stuffed and full all of the time. Going hungry is the work of losing weight for some people. Wanting this work makes reaching the goal of weight loss easier and more acceptable for you to accept the challenges that lay before you.
This is true of many forms of lifestyle change to improve (yes, even heal) lifestyle diseases. To reach the goal of saying goodbye to diabetic, cholesterol, or hypertension medication and ill health symptoms, we must want the work that lies between the present dis - ease in the body and achieving the goal: major eating and lifestyle changes, living completely without sweeteners, and being OK with this and the impacting consequences of our changes.
My job as a natural health educator RN is to give you tools to support you through the WORK of making change and achieving goals. I have raved about the power of yoga to heal on numerous occasions. I am throwing it out to you again because that is just the kind of gal I am... repeat, repeat, repeat until someone actually listens to me! (I keep thinking this will someday work with my kids!)
The above three blog posts are inspiring posts on the benefits of yoga. I encourage you to explore what makes your mind, heart, and soul sing so that the path of the work comes more easily to and for you every day. Maybe for you it is meditation, prayer, martial arts, Qi gong, walks in the woods, etc. Find your personal soul medicine and practice it daily. Wanting the work will become second nature.
Much love, Paula
PS Upcoming Fall Online Class:
PPS Beloved Beet Recipe!
Substance part of the beet dish:
6 small to medium local & organic beets, gently steamed (save and drink the steam water)
2/3 can organic chickpeas
1 handful each of organic walnuts and pecans
1/2 handful organic pine nuts
2/3 to 3/4 cup full fat yogurt, from pasture raised cows / goats / sheep, etc.
2 tsp. local maple syrup
Fresh herbs of your liking: Basil, Oregano, Mint, Spearmint, Thyme, Tarragon, Chives , Garlic chives, Rosemary (I used all of these from my herb/weed garden out in front of my home)
Serve on a bed of local, organic, baby greens & sprinkle or slather with chunks of soft goat cheese
I grow nettles in the "flower" bed up against my home. I have been asked on many occasions: "What person in their right mind would plant nettles in any flower bed and the bed right up against the house?" The answer is obvious to me; I am not in my right mind and who wouldn't plant nettles so close to the house? They are oh so close when I need them for soups. stews, stir fries, pesto, tinctures, medicinal infusions, etc.
Now here is the double edged sword with this situation: they are close at hand but these 'lil buggers like to run and take over the world just like mints. They create this under soil runner that, well, just runs, and runs, and runs spiraling out of control. I spend the spring pulling the renegade nettles out of the rest of the flower bed in front of my home. When I planted them, 5 years ago, I politely asked them to stay in their space on the side of the house. I even dug down into the soil and planted sandstone pieces to deter them from running. They out smarted me.
As aggravating as this can be, I do have a steady supply of spring nettles that I do not feel guilty about pulling. I snip the leaves to eat and plant the runners along the yard's edge hoping for yet more nettles to eat and make medicine with.
I have made mention of my Spring difficulties around food. All winter I graciously and gratefully eat local cabbage, root veggies, and squash. I save my frozen local summer veggies to tide me over when I can no longer stand the thought of a root veggie and cabbage slaw. Yes, it does happen. (My winter leftovers are waiting to be made into sauerkraut when I can dig enough wild leeks to enhance this kraut batch.)
I yearn for local food: asparagus, greens, fiddle heads, peas, strawberries...
To survive until the local food is bountiful once again, I buy food from California. There, I confessed. The above salad is Romaine lettuce, celery, carrots, and juicy red peppers from California. I also buy non-local fruits: mango, banana, kiwi, citrus, and canned organic pineapple. I am desperate for neatly gift packaged sunshine to tide me over to the local food scene. A ripe mango has a serious amount of sun waiting to burst out of its skin. I bow my head in gratitude to the people, the trees, and the soil that brings me these gems to keep me happy.
I plopped the above salad down in front of my kids, minus the nettles of course. They would have flipped had I expected them to eat Nettles! (They did each have a small spoonful that they chucked into their mouths and barely chewed before swallowing. Someday they will appreciate the things I have exposed them to...) Here was my salad response:
"Finally, a real salad. No more nasty cabbage - root veggie slaw! Yay!"
Poor kids, they suffer so.
"Wow, Mom broke down and bought something that didn't grow within 20 miles of our home."
When do they learn to not harass the person keeping them in food?
Tip for the day: Get outside. Snip some nettles. Hey, dig some wild leeks and saute' them together, ever so gently. Enjoy the taste sensation, the local wild food, and the spring nourishment for your body. Oh yeah, don't bother sharing with the kids!
To create your own female energy spring fling:
Join the Female ♀ Moon Cycle Wisdom Training
Tuition, this year, stays at $72 Bucks in honor of My Mom,
an awesome female, & her Birthday (April 17th)!