May 18, 2015

Spring Tonics

Green spring tonics are a time-honored tradition to encourage gentle liver and gall bladder renewal. Leafy greens, both wild and cultivated, are some of the most nutrient dense vegetables available.

This is a time when we transition from Winter hibernation to Summer growth. Because we are part of the earth and its cycles, it’s crucial to align with this seasonal change by strengthening digestion and immunity.

Certain foods and culinary herbs are specifically indicated for supporting this transition. They tend to be ones that promote digestive and eliminative function, or strengthen the immune and endocrine systems.

Rejuvenating Nettle Soup

You will need:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 large shallots
1 inch fresh ginger root
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 large zucchini
1 tablespoon stone-ground brown mustard
4 cups freshly harvested young nettle tops
1 cup water or vegetable stock

Peel and dice shallots.
Mince ginger root.

Place oil in a soup pot, warm it to medium heat, and sauté shallots and ginger for 5 minutes.
Add spices. Sauté for a few more minutes.

Dice zucchini and add to the skillet. Add mustard.
Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the water / stock and nettles.
Bring everything to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer with a lid on for 20 minutes.

You can add marinated tempeh or roasted chicken to the soup for a delicious meal.

Nettles (Urtica dioica): warming and drying, nettles alleviate water retention, boost our body’s stores of iron and offer many other nutritive minerals. Gently cleansing, they can help mitigate the effects of seasonal allergies.  Use the young, fresh leaves in soup, pasta sauce, or as tea.

Olive oil: monounsaturated and liquid at room temp., first cold press olive oil is high in anti-inflammatory polyphenols, which reduce risk of heart disease, maintain a balanced cholesterol profile, and reduce the overgrowth of ulcer-inducing helicobacter pylori bacteria in the intestines. It improves calcium levels in the blood and enhances memory function by oxygenating blood.

Green Leek Casserole

You will need:
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large leek
½ teaspoon each: sea salt and black pepper
1 bunch fresh greens: dandelion, kale, chard, collards, beet greens
4 eggs
1 teaspoon each: cumin and coriander powder
Juice of half a lemon
2 Tablespoons stone-ground mustard (no salt added)

Chop 1 large leek into rounds.
Heat olive oil in a skillet and add leeks.
Reduce heat to medium low. Add salt, black pepper, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add greens. Simmer for 10 more minutes or until most of the liquid has cooked out of the vegetables.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a pie plate with olive oil.

In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with cumin, coriander, lemon juice, and mustard.
Place vegetables in greased pie plate.
Pour eggs over the top of the greens and bake for 40 minutes.

Eggs: each one contains 6 grams of protein, 9 essential amino acids, and only 1.5 grams of saturated fat; rich in lutein, which helps prevent macular degeneration and cataracts; improve human lipid profile, thereby balancing cholesterol; contain naturally occurring vitamin D.

Leeks: strengthen lungs; anti-microbial; anti-bacterial; offer rich source of fructo-oligosaccharides, which stimulate growth of healthy bifidobacteria and suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria in the colon.
Would you like to learn more about the health benefits of specific foods and how you can use them to heal yourself? Try the Harmonized Healthy Eating Program.

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