edible weeds

I told a friend a few days ago about how when I’m weeding, I bring the dandelion and morning glory in and throw them in my fridge or blender.I don’t love the weedy taste of morning glory, so I use it in minimal amounts.Did you know the ENTIRE dandelion plant is edible?Roots, flowers, anything.And wild plants have higher nutrient content than cultivated ones!

This year I’m going to try to learn to identify several new weeds to eat as part of my learning how to be prepared for emergencies.(When we can’t obtain cultivated greens, it will be nice to be one of the few who can gather non-cultivated greens.)I have the U.S. Army’s The Illustrated Guide to Edible Wild Plants.It’s an okay book–doesn’t include some plants I know to be edible, and doesn’t always say the greens are edible for a certain plant, when I know they are.But it has a checklist for how to test a new plant you want to eat but don’t know if it’s poisonous, to find out with very low risk if you will tolerate it.

Many of the plants in that very inexpensive book aren’t in my climate–some of you who might want to eat cactus or learn what grows in humid climates near water.

Here are some, from my studies, that grow commonly in my climate and are easy to find.The first three I already see in Utah and pick for my smoothies on a regular basis:

Purslane (this one tastes the best of all the weeds, I think)

Lambsquarter

Thistle

Pine needles (yep, you can eat pine needles)

Oak leaves (yep, the leaves from oak trees–this should be easy for you)

Wild dock and wild sorrel

Chicory

Burdock

Amaranth

Grape leaves (wild or cultivated)

Strawberry leaves (I need to thin mine anyway)

The way you test a new green is to first rub it inside your elbow or wrist, then you put it in your mouth (don’t chew), then you taste a tiny piece of it, then eat ¼ cup . . . all the while seeing if you have any negative reaction.

Hope you enjoy some wild plants this summer.They’re free, and they’re wildly nutritious.Another great way to reduce your carbon footprint.

Skiing with green smoothies . . . and Green Smoothie Testimonials, Part 4

So I celebrated handing my book off to the publisher last Monday by goofing off a lot, skiing a few days last week. Turns out that a quart of green smoothie is an AWESOME skiing lunch. My girlfriends (with their inferior lunch) were losing energy and wanting to go home while I was still ready to keep slogging through the Utah Sundance slush late in the afternoon. (That’s the downside of spring skiing, the upside being you can ditch your jacket and gloves and just ski in a tank top–how fun is that?)

A handful of that Nantucket Trail Mix from Costco and I was SET for the day! Here are more green smoothie testimonials from my research–remember that MORE ENERGY is the #1 health benefit of GS that my study found, which corroborates Victoria Boutenko’s study. You need any of that?

I wish I started drinking green smoothies earlier in life! I cannot believe how much energy I have just from this one simple dietary change! My digestion issues vanished in one week and my skin looks amazing. I feel really healthy and cannot say enough about how much more energy I have.

–Anon.

I crave green smoothies. They satisfy my hunger. I am a teacher; therefore, I am surrounded by germs and viruses. Since I have been on green smoothies for about six months, I have not been sick. I am convinced the phytonutrients in my breakfast and lunch smoothie are what has kept me in good health.

–Chris B.

I am so in love with green smoothies! I am a 31 yr. old mother of four children. I am very into fitness/weight lifting to build muscle in my body. I started green smoothies just after I had been referred to GreenSmoothieGirl.com by my zoning lady for chronic headaches and muscle tension in my neck that would not go away. Soon after I started drinking green smoothies daily, the headaches and muscle tension left! I have not had the problem since.

I drink green smoothies for breakfast along with a whey protein shake every morning, and also for my snacks during the day, I make a full pitcher of green smoothie every 2-3 days and keep it in my fridge when I need a snack. It is quick and easy and very healthy! It keeps me on track for my ideal weight goals! I have converted many friends and family to green smoothies! I recommend them to everyone I meet! When someone asks me what I am doing to look so good, I just give them my personal green smoothie recipe and some fitness tips!

I would like to thank Robyn for this AWESOME idea and for taking the steps to get the information on her website to help others who so desperately need a nutritious lifestyle!

–LaDawn Doxey ( Syracuse , UT )

Feel better, have decreased the amount of sugar in the diet due to the smoothies. Like the increase in green veggies. Hate the taste of wheatgrass. Like this manner of getting chlorophyll better.

–Anon.

healthy options eating out

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: I know you make a green smoothie and take it to work in a quart jar.   But what about when you get up late, don’t have time, and you’re out in town and STARVING?   What do you eat?

 

Answer:   Here, locally (Utah County), my favorite thing to do is go to New York Burrito at about 1600 N. State, Orem.   Get a vegetarian wrap on a whole-wheat tortilla.   Skip the white rice (they don’t have brown rice, but mention that you hope they start using it).   Instead, get lots of black beans.   (They don’t salt their black beans.)   Then ask for TONS of extra romaine and tomatoes, and have some onions (and guacamole and salsa) for plenty of RAW.   You’re out the door for under $5 and 5 minutes, with a whole-food lunch that tastes great–and New York Burrito doesn’t even cater to the health conscious.

 

You can look around for healthy options like this and know where to head on a day you’re crazy-busy.   If you’re in Springville, anything you get at Ginger’s is really tasty and also raw and really nutritious.  

 

If I’m in a sit-down restaurant with friends, I try to avoid Mexican and Chinese, because they rarely have a lot of raw ingredients.   And I mostly stick to salads.   Ask for special things in it–like, skip the chicken, please, and give me extra spring greens and lentils instead, or whatever.

 

At Pizza Factory, I get pasta and veggies–only the pasta I order is actually the steamed yellow squash noodles (this dish is fantastic with any sauce).   And instead of going to the salad bar where the lettuce is iceberg, I ask them to bring me a plate of romaine and build my salad from there.   (Iceberg lettuce is nutritionally pointless; darker greens are so much better for you.   Every time I do this in a restaurant, everyone else at the table does it, too.)

 

Any tips you have for each other would be appreciated.

Reflecting on nutrition, food storage, and hard economic times

What a year this has been.   The much-predicted failure of  American investment banking  has come to pass,  our nation’s net worth has plummeted precipitously, and we’ve started into what promises to be a long recession.   I just came across this quote by a wise man named Joseph Smith, from 175 years ago:

“Our nation, which possesses greater resources than any other, is rent, from center to circumference, with party strife, political intrigues, and sectional interest; our counselors are panic stricken, our legislators are astonished, and our senators are confounded, our merchants are paralyzed, our tradesmen are disheartened, our mechanics out of employ, our farmers distressed, and our poor crying for bread, our banks are broken, our credit ruined, and our states overwhelmed in debt, yet we are, and have been in peace.”

So, many other times in even the comparatively short history of the U.S., we have found ourselves in perilous times.   The more things change, the more they stay the same, right?

But we need not fear because we can do simple, inexpensive things to prepare.   People of the dominant religion where I live (Utah) are counselled to store a year’s supply of food.   Yet no matter how long this counsel is given, and how urgently, at any given time, only 15 percent of LDS (Mormon) people actually have a year’s supply.   At the moment, church leaders are pleading with the people to get a three-month supply in place in the immediate future.

This is a smart thing to do for anyone, not just LDS people.   You have observed how sensitive supply and demand is, for food.   (I mentioned in a blog comment recently that I cannot buy canning jars anywhere, because Kerr and Ball cannot keep up with the demand nationally.   You have seen the price of rice increase 250 percent.)   That’s all I’m going to say about that, because I frankly hate scare tactics.   (Love Mike Adams “The Health Ranger,” hate all the fear-mongering in his newsletters.)

Victoria Boutenko says she calculated once that her family of four could live for a year on one 50-lb. bag of wheat, by sprouting it.   I don’t know how that’s possible, unless she is calculating nutrients rather than caloric needs–but anyway, she said that.   The LDS Church has a calculator at lds.org, and one person needs 200 lbs. of grain per year.   (Of course,  50 lbs.  of sprouted grain has in some cases as much nutrition, plus lots of live enzymes, that 200 lbs. of dry grain does!)

Thus, my family of six has stored 1,200 lbs. of grain: wheat, quinoa, rye, rolled oats and oat groats, popcorn, Kamut, and spelt.   That may sound like an obscene quantity, but when you add it up, people eat a lot of food!   We also store 400 lbs. of legumes (lentils, split peas, beans) and lots of other items like coconut oil, olive oil, agave, honey, and sea salt.   I do more than that, but if all the rest will be overwhelming to you for now, just start with a three-month supply of those basics.   When you’ve got those inexpensive bases covered, consider storing bottles of VitaMineral Green for your greens; cans of Ultimate Meal for easy, optimal nutrition; nuts and seeds (frozen in Ziplocs where possible); and spices, herbs, and condiments.

The point is, when your food storage is a bunch of white flour, white sugar, canned powdered milk, canned turkey, and macaroni (the staples of most Mormon one-year supplies), you might not end up hungry, but you’re going to end up sick.

Store whole grains, and know how to use them.   What I am teaching you in Step 9 isn’t just for good nutrition–it’s for good emergency preparedness!   When you know how to sprout as I teach in Step 7, you have the invaluable skill to use dry, long-term storage foods (like any grain) and make it live food that will keep your family healthy–not just alive.

My European immigrant ancestors came across the plains from the East Coast to Utah, with handcarts, and some of them were caught in winter storms.   Their nutrition was sometimes reduced, in the winter, to small rations of cornmeal fried in lard, day after day.   Some of them died of starvation, as well as exposure.   Some became ill with typhoid, malaria, scurvy, and smallpox.

We have the ability to spend very little but have the peace of mind to be prepared well, by storing whole foods.   I hope you’re getting a year’s supply of RAW ALMONDS in the current group buy–yet another way to eat well now AND buy very inexpensive insurance against emergencies.   It’s the kind of insurance that doesn’t need the backing of our virtually bankrupt federal government.   It’s the kind of insurance that pays no premiums to a huge company teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, being robbed by its executives.

Junk food vending in schools . . . Part 2 of 4

According to Ace Stryker of the Daily Herald, Child Nutrition Supervisor Jenilee McComb in Provo District is working on a policy for this fall that imposes a 300-calorie limit on vending machine goods.   This is well intentioned, but plenty of nutrition free, acidic, processed foods can be sold in portions lower than 300 calories.   This is an easy policy to end run around.   Kids can still eat plenty of junk–it’ll just cost them (and us) more.

 

Ronda Bromley’s statement in Alpine District (where I live) is that they are addressing the problem “slowly” over several years and high schools have “lagged behind.”   Unimpressive.   Nebo District’s supervisor of food services Bill Vest is imposing a 250-calorie maximum and has removed candy and gum and states that the legislature will likely impose more controls in the coming years.   We can only hope!

 

Utahns, please write a letter to the editor, your state legislature representatives, your school district’s superintendent, and go to my online petition about junk-food vending in the schools, sign it, and send an email to health-minded friends who love kids.

 

Letters to the editor: dhletters@heraldextra.com

 

Find your representative in this list: http://www.le.utah.gov/house/members2005/membertable1add.asp

 

Find your senator in this list: http://www.utahsenate.org/perl/roster2007.pl

 

Tomorrow I’ll post the letter I wrote to my legislators, the day after that the letter I got back.

 

Please sign this GreenSmoothieGirl petition to Utah’s legislators and school officials, and encourage health-minded friends to do so, too!

 

http://www.gopetition.com/online/20779.html

Schools complicit in crimes against children: junk-food vending… part 1 of 4

In July 20’s Daily Herald (Utah Valley), reporter Ace Stryker gives these infuriating statistics from a 2006 study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where my home state of Utah leads the nation in these categories:

 

83 percent of Utah schools are selling chocolate in vending/school stores

versus

40 percent nationwide

 

76 percent of Utah school offer fatty, salty snacks

versus

47 percent nationwide

 

86 percent of Utah schools offer students soda and other sugary drinks

versus

65 percent nationwide

 

As usual, Utah, with its strict liquor control laws, seems to overcompensate for that strictness by being ridiculously lax regarding other unhealthy habits: sugar and junk food.   Just because we don’t drink and smoke doesn’t mean we’re healthy, and at a minimum, we should be teaching our children good habits.

 

Making money at the expense of our children’s health by selling them foods guaranteed to make them ill and fat is criminal.   And my own experience showing support for anti-junk-vending bills in the Utah legislature has been that our legislators haven’t historically cared about this issue.   Every bill has been defeated.

 

Several years ago, I wrote letters to the editor of the Herald for its ridiculous stance on a bill (to be defeated) limiting junk food vending in public schools.   The editorial editor had written a ludicrous op-ed piece making, among others, these arguments against the bill (and he was being serious, not facetious):

 

(1)     We shouldn’t limit junk food consumption by kids because the teachers themselves eats loads of junk, so we wouln’t want to be hypocrites.

(2)     Not all the ingredients in junk food is bad–for instance, corn.   And peanuts.

 

More tomorrow about the reaction of school districts, as quoted by the Daily Herald.   Please sign this GreenSmoothieGirl petition to Utah’s legislators and school officials, and encourage health-minded friends to do so, too!

 

http://www.gopetition.com/online/20779.html

 

blooming garden in the dead of winter

After DH built me some winter garden boxes (removable, on top of my square foot boxes), I planted them with onions and chard and spinach last fall.   I meant to go out and water them, but, well . . . it’s been a bitter winter here in Utah.   I’m kind of lazy and don’t like to be cold.   I  just never even looked in there since about November.   Yesterday, March 28, I opened up the box and look what I found:

Onions and chard are growing away!   I still have a few weeks’ worth of frozen chard and beet greens in my freezer from my garden last fall–I’d better use them, because I’ve actually got a harvest waiting for me already, in March!   And now, this morning, this is (again) what the growboxes look like:

You can read how to make these grow boxes in Eliot Coleman’s Four Season Harvest.