Category Archives: Nutrition

Weeds glorious weeds!

lovely weeds, wonderful weeds! (to the tune of  "lovely spam, wonderful spam")

My neighbours and landlords usually watch my gardening with  a suspicious eye….maybe it's because i might dig holes in the back lawn to put compost in….maybe its because i rejoice to see a field of dandelions to put that sunshine yellow in my salads and pancakes! 

I skulk around neighbours yards looking jealously at their chickweed and lambs quarters, wondering if they know what nutritional powerpunches they have right under their noses.
When taking care of my mom's garden, i am careful to grab all the weeds and take them home with me to put on my balcony…
They grow well!  They are super tasty, Pretty, and Good for you!

here are my favorites, as a lazy yet opportunist gardener:

  • chickweed (needs wet cool, light sun)
  • violets (same)-tiny wild pansy
  • purslane, i've only found in my garden once, in Hamilton, where it was very fertile but very HOT, interestingly sour and crunchy.
  • lamb's quarters (seems to just grow….you can see it in empty lots, abandoned ground…spinach like in its culinary actions)
  • dandelion, do i really need to describe? mmm, liver bitter….
  • plantain (city sidewalks, with grass, wherever people walk)
  • wild lettuce, grows all over the city with little spiky spines on it…but don't eat much, its a strong relaxant)
  • nettles, if you are lucky enough to live by a fertile creek or park where they hide under the big trees to enjoy the damp…you can identify by the invigorating sting.
  • i also really like aloe, which does grow as a weed in some places! (namely those places where i tend to get sunburned)

I know i have seen at least one example of each this summer, next year i promise to bring the camera with me… but the best thing to do is find someone (the local herbalist) to take you on a weed walk in your particular zone.

Eat for Balance

There is a balance to eating the same way there is a balance to life in general…

Chinese medicine says that cooling and heating are opposite sides of the spectrum..
Vegetarianism (For the Love of Food by Jeanne Marie Martin) says meat and sugar are concurrently hard/easy to digest, and that you can't give up one without the other… 
PH says (yes, i have a direct line to mr. PH) you need an acid/alkaline balance to stay in the health zone, and that for most of us more alkaline is on order…
Ayurveda states that you must eat to balance out your existing constitution but taking into account your excesses and imbalances–heavy/grounding/oily, light/airy/fresh/, or fiery/energetic/stimulating…
Clearly these are huge generalizations of very large areas of science/medicine, but you get the idea!!

As usual i can only use myself to illustrate:

I was vegetarian for about 5 years in BC, stayed off meat but added fish as i toured Asia for 8 months, stayed on fish as i watched hardcore vegans get ill over and over with a white rice and lettuce diet.  (when in Rome and all if you ask me…).
It wasn't till i moved to the big city of Toronto (well compared to Canadian cities!)  that i started craving meat…and i mean gimme a raw steak (though i'd never really had that before)  med rare and thick and bloody (my apologies veg-heads)  soooo, not being one to deprive myself all that much…. i ate one.  -With a friend who had stomachaches for days….and me?  felt great, no trouble digesting it at all…

Looking back i have 2 or 3 theories:  There is a balancing effect to nutrients that, as long as you honour, you can eat with abandon.  In Japan it came naturally, as it is a very nutrient dense and easily digestible diet, most importantly the least amount of bread or refined sugar that i've ever eaten!
The blood type book (Eat Right 4 Your Type) says O's are the carnivores…not so good with the dairy and the wheat.  As i had already come to these conclusions on my own i was intrigued with the idea of a scientific explanation of them.  I mean blood is a pretty basic component of our life, and clearly each type acts differently on some level or 'blood type' wouldn't matter.
The stress of living in a bigger town, oh yah and playing music:  constant movement and noise, pollution, night lifestyle (i.e. more drinking and less sleep), and a lack of time to cook for ones-self.. all contribute to a depletion of nutrients, especially B-vits and iron which can be found in a thick bloody steak!….so!  The solution for myself, as i had become veggie out of an environmental and economic stance as opposed to a health one, was to listen to the body, but only purchase meat that i felt worthy;  local, organic if possible, free range definitely, and less processed.  Eggs as well.  Although as my friends can attest i would also have no problem eating meat off their plates if they weren't gonna finish it and it was just gonna go to waste!!  i ain't proud and i really LIKE meat mmmmm.  i also have gutted my own fish and chased headless chickens around as a child as well as watched pigs and cows get slaughtered.  My only issue with myself (ok ok!  one of many….) is that i am unsure if i am willing to butcher things at this point…  i am still really grateful that other people do this thing.  My uncle Teri is a hunter and a very responsible and respectful one at that!  I would eat out of his freezer at a moments notice…well with enough time to thaw/cook stuff!
i digress:

BOTTOM LINE- you cannot give up meat but continue to eat excess sugar, alcohol and starches.  Bring it more to the middle, add fibre, greens and dense foods to balance out the, shall we say, indulgences?  More on spectrums later!