Monday, May 31, 2021

The Thistle I Eat

 

My hunch was that thistles are probably full of nutrients-- chlorophyl for sure-- and that they would be a nutritious, albeit somewhat bitter, addition to a smoothie.  I didn't think that they would be easy eating in a salad or a sandwich (similar to stinging nettles in that respect).

And then I ran across this very interesting video by Victoria Boutenko's son Sergei, who was traveling the world and presenting workshops on wild edibles.  I'm pretty impressed with what he has to say.  

He mentioned some fruits that he would choose to blend with the thistle.  He also stated that peeling the stem back exposes a tasty stalk that can be chopped and used in salads like celery or cucumber (has the potential to taste like either of these).  

Since I also have a fair representation of thistle in my backyard I believe that I will do a little exploring.  If I come up with any really amazing recipes, I will post them here.

Some notes on the healing and values of the Silybum Marianum or Milk Thistle:
Milk Thistle is the thistle I believe my friend is referring to since it is the thistle that grows rather prolifically in my yard, and we live in the same community. Milk thistle has been used in herbal medicine in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East likely right back to Biblical times.

In the video with Sergei, he explains that the prickly thistle was probably hybridized to create today's various lettuces (and maybe artichokes).  An herbalist writing in 1694 says of the thistle: "

'It is a Friend to the Liver and Blood: the prickles cut off, they were formerly used to be boiled in the Spring and eaten with other herbs; but as the World decays, so doth the Use of good old things and others more delicate and less virtuous brought in.' ~A Modern Herbal/Thistles

At the blog site of the Alternative Medicine College of Canada, the herbalist re-states that the Milk Thistle is a detox agent that is excellent for all kinds of digestive upsets and nausea: food poisoning, excess alcohol consumption, hepatitis, cirrhosis, chemotherapy, and even jaundice.  Milk thistle is also useful for protecting against the damage of environmental pollutants (it is high in antioxidants).  And, I like this one for me: Milk thistle may also play a role in controlling the rise and fall of our blood sugars.

Sheryl-Anne, writing from the Alternative Medicine College blog, gives this recipe for a liver tonic and digestive aid:

  • 1/3 tsp. dried chicory root powder
  • 1/3 tsp. dried dandelion root powder
  • 1/3 tsp. dried Milk Thistle seeds powder
Add to boiling water in a cup, stir, steep and drink.

  


 To your living health!

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Plant-Based Cheesecake Snack Cookies

 

Plant-based cheesecake cookie snack

After making a nice tofu Mayo with no oil, no refined sugar, or salt, I began to think of the possibilty of making a similar spread with a cheesecake flavor.  

And while I was at it, why not put together an SOS (no salt, oil or refined sugar) plant-based cookie to slather the cheesecake spread on.

Ingredients

Cheesecake Spread

500g /16 oz. firm tofu

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons Simply Organic lemon flavoring

2 -3 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Snack Cookies

2 cups quick oatmeal

1 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted and chopped   

Method

Cheesecake Spread (9-12 tablespoons)

1.  Drain and press extra water from tofu.  Cut in cubes and put in bowl of food processor (or blender carafe) with other ingredients.  

2. Pulse until smooth and creamy.  

3. Store for up to 3 days in fridge in container with a lid.

Snack Cookies (9 - 12 cookies)

1. Preheat oven ro 350°F/177°C.  Line a cookie pan with parchment paper

2. Combine all ingredients in a food  processor and pulse until sticky cookie dough forms .  (No food processor? Mince dates and nuts  and combine with oats, apple sauce, maple syrup, lemon juice, cinnamon, lemon flavoring and vanilla well in large bowl to form sticky cookie dough.)

3. Use cookie scoop to form round mounds on parchment.  Pat down into circles. They will not expand when baking. 

4. Bake for about +/-15 minutes.

5. Cool on rack.

6. Stack on a tablespoon of cheesecake spread and berries for a tasty, guilt-free snack.

***********

Looking for guidance on lifestyle to prevent cognitive decline?  Get a hold of this book by a couple of neurologists-- full of science explained so it is understandable and delicious,brain-healthy recipes:


Want to do some fun fitness *exercises* to go along with the yummy snack cookie?

Check out this post!   (especially for people who have a hard time  committing to standard workouts)




Friday, May 28, 2021

Fit by Fidgetting

Starting a brand new #FridayFitness series of blog articles here focusing on folks like myself who are looking for a fitness routine that:

  • has *Beginner* level options
  • Is fun, with variety and encouragement
  • has a brain science component
  • is free
  • is easily accessible online (NOT ZOOM)
I have 2 suggestions for try-outs this week.  I will be incorporating these particular fitness variants into my own schedule this week and will report back next week.  

I sure would like to know what you think and how they work for you if you try them yourself.  

1. FIDGETTING as Fitness

Yes, you read that right.  Getting in touch with your Bored Inner Child is required.  (Just kidding-- sort of)

Dr. Andrew Huberman is a neuroscientist from Stanford University where he and his team primarily work to understand and develop improved functionality for congenital eye problems.  

Fortunately, Dr. Huberman is also not adverse to teaching laypeople everywhere about how our fascinating brain and connected systems work.

I follow him @hubermanlab on Instagram.

If you do not have an Instagram account, it is worth getting one just to connect with him.   Even just to hear about why subtle movements like jiggling your knees while you sit can produce amazing results in body fitness!  

I am purposely jittering and fidgetting this week.  Hear more about applying fidgetting this week and the potential results here

2. Practical Fitness Reps for Beginners

The second fitness try-out is with lovely soft-spoken Justin Agustin, also on Instagram.   He makes a pretty good workout gentle and fun to do... even adapts floor exercises to chair, couch and bed!  LOL  

Find him and his variety of specific focused sets (i.e., cardio, core, etc.) Here.

Eating for Health

As you have likely figured out from the recipes this blog site, my husband and I eat plant-based with more recent attention to food prep without salt, added oils, and refined sugars in the meals we prepare and eat regularly.  Referred to as SOS, this plant-based, whole food way of eating helps us prevent major health crises (heart disease, diabetes, High Blood Pressure, cancer, and keep down inflammation that leads to dis-ease in general.  

John and Ocean Robbins over at Food Revolution Network are definitely leaders in the plant-based, whole food movement and offer a free online summit and a super master class for individuals transitioning to the whole food, plant-based lifestyle.

I follow Dr. Michael Greger who makes regular videos on nutritional studies he reviews and posts them at nutritionfacts.org  Check out Dr. Greger's Daily Dozen App if you are interested in a handy plant-based checklist of daily eats.

We also take some supplements.  My husband is most interested in that aspect and I let him do the research and purchase the supplements he thinks we need.  He likes Dr. Andrew Saul at doctor yourself.com

** Illustration at top of page is a delicious plant-based wholefood snack-- recipe found HERE.  The wild rose is my daily pick for the fragrant oxygenation of my brain!

Nettles and the Locavar Ideal

 

Gathering Stinging Nettles: Tools include scissors, bag, and GLOVES!  (or buy at your local whole foods store)

I am at the height of my locavore yearnings right now. I want to eat only from the abundance of the nearby (within a 100-mile radius). I was originally inspired by the Dervaes family in Pasadena who grow 6000 pounds of food on their 1/5 acre property.

If, right now, I were to eat only what edibles I could glean from our 1/3 of an acre and what I have left over in the fridge from last season, we could eat the following: frozen blackberries, rosemary, thyme, chives, kale, grape leaves, oregano, some lettuce, blueberries (soon), parsley, aloe vera (leaves for green smoothies), nettles (yes, my son seeded some), mushrooms, sprouts, and dandelions. I guess there would be other leaves as well.

Moving slightly afield, if I were ovo-vegetarian, I’m sure my dear neighbor would sell me some eggs from his free range chickens (escorted everywhere by their possessive rooster master). And my local fave health food store has a number of locavore products in stock. We can also buy fantastic raw honey that is locally produced, and in season we have grapes, plums, cherries, figs, apples, and all matter of vegetables and nuts right in our neighborhood.

But what I would have to give up forever (or while I reside here)? Young coconut, coconut oil, all the oils actually, chia seed, quinoa, chickpeas, chocolate, stevia (I bought a plant but I doubt that it will provide what we need for more than a month or so), avocado, quinoa, rice, organic corn, pineapple, guava, and other tropical fruits.

Is it possible? Of course. Is it probable? Well, perhaps only during the harvest season here, just a window of time when there is a glut of ripe juicy fruits and fresh organic garden veggies. I’ll try the locavore experience then…
To your living health!

Go and get my favourite nettle smoothie recipe <- CLICK


Organic Granny's RECIPE INDEX

Organic Granny's RECIPE INDEX
Mostly Vegan & Gluten-Free Recipes