I have written and re written the opening sentences of this post so many times, and not been able to settle on the “right” words, but when this image by Banksy appeared in my social media feed, and totally captured the essence of what I wanted to say, it sparked me to push send…
How are you all? Are you tucked up with your families, living alone, (like me)? Did you leave the City? Did you get stranded somewhere? Or, are you one of our healthcare warriors or essential service providers? Wherever you are, I am sending you a virtual hug. I hope you and your loved ones are well, and that you have some sort of community network, even if only virtually at this point.
There’s a huge scale of emotions for us each to move through as we settle into this new cocooned reality and do our best to keep the lid on our fear, anger and panic. Wherever you are on that emotional spectrum, one thing is clear, we are all in this together and its our collective heart that will bolster us, as we move through this unspeakably difficult time.
I want you to know that the herbal hum amongst my teachers and my teacher’s teachers has been an intense swirl of information. There’s so much support from my community as we each seek how to best support our loved ones, our communities and our clients. Its a lot to process, and while there are no proven cures, herbal or otherwise, you have likely read that Traditional Chinese Medicine used with conventional medicine helped some patient recovery from Coronavirus in Wuhan.
There is no doubt that one of the best things we can do to support our immune system is eat well, and so, I wanted to share some nutritional thoughts that I posted on instagram on March 16th with an accompanying recipe. (If you are seeing this twice because you follow me on FB or Instagram, my apologies:) It was just too good not to share!
There are medicinal foods that we can find in the grocery store even if its pretty tough to find elderberries and astragalus at the moment. Here’s what I found at my local store a few days ago…rosemary, oregano, sage, onions, garlic, and ginger, no thyme, but we work with what we can find.
According to Chinese medicine, all white and pungent vegetables are great for the lungs, so, horseradish, garlic, turnips, leeks and onions are what I am talking about.
Onions, ginger and garlic are rich in quercetin, a flavenoid that studies show is antioxidant and antiviral. The peelings are the richest source, so save them and simmer in broths. Onions and garlic also contain allicin, a sulphur compound which has also been shown to contain antiviral and antibacterial properties. The best way to harness the allicin from the garlic, is to smash it, and let it sit for 10 minutes before use, and then add it to your recipe a few minutes before the end of cooking, rather than cooking it for extended periods. Fresh ginger root is a warming digestive that increases circulation . Studies show that ginger is especially effective at the onset of a respiratory infection. All these foods help the body sweat out a fever and are diaphoretics.
Herbalists use these herbs, plus the turmeric, horseradish and cayenne to make the traditional vinegar based, Fire Cider tonic that some of you may have heard of, or have even made. These foods are our first line of defense in keeping ourselves well.
Since we are tucked up at home, these are the sorts of foods we want to include in our diets. Don’t be shy with the garlic! And liberally use herbs, both fresh and dried. Sage, thyme, oregano and rosemary, all have an affinty for sore throats and upper respiratory health, so there’s a lot of recipes going on in my kitchen with these ingredients.
Here’s a wonderfully easy soup that I created with the ingredients I mentioned…
- 1/4 cup of dried lima beans or, 1/2 cup of canned beans, or 3/4 cup of a diced “non waxy” potato.
- 1/2 cup of fresh mixed herbs, (rosemary, oregano & sage) or 1/4 cup of dried mixed herbs rehydrated with a minimal amount of boiled water and left to sit for 30 minutes. (Strain excess water and use as if they were fresh).
- 2-4 garlic cloves…(be brave!)
- 1 medium onion, (save the skin for stock)
- 3/4 cup of olive oil, (plus a splash of olive oil for sauteeing the onions)
- 1 tablespoon of miso paste, or use bone broth.
- 3/4″ piece of grated fresh ginger.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- If you are using dried beans, soak them the night before with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. This will help to make them more digestible.
- Drain the soaking liquid and add the beans to a pan, with plenty of water. Bring to a boil, cover the pan and simmer until soft. (If you happen to have some seaweed, adding a small piece to the bean cooking liquid can help further enhance digestibility)
- Once fully cooked, which will vary depending with the bean type…(lima beans were cooked in about an hour after pre soaking). Add a tablespoon of olive oil and the chopped onion to a pan.
- Cover and turn the light down low.
- The onions will start to soften and after about 20 to 30 minutes will become translucent and glossy. Don’t be tempted to crank the heat up. The longer you can let them sit and soften without burning, the sweeter they will taste.
- Mix a tablespoon of miso paste, (I like South River Chickpea), in to 2 1/4 cups of boiling water and pour over the onions, adding the cooked beans, 2 garlic cloves. and grated ginger.
- Heat and then use a hand blender or food processor to puree the soup until smooth.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Lastly make a pistou with the herbs… Using about 1/4 cup of chopped fresh herbs, or the dried herbs as previously described, in equal amounts, blend the herbs with the remaining olive oil, salt + pepper and 2 or less garlic cloves. Once all the herbs and garlic are thoroughly crushed, spoon some of the pistou into the center of the pre warmed soup.
Its really tasty!
Fun Things To Do And Upcoming Classes
I have a couple of movie recommendations for you….
Numen will remind you why herbal medicine is such a vital supporter for us Humans. This movie is free to watch until 3/31 with code Numen
And, I know this is short notice, but clear your schedules to watch Fantastic Funghi today! And, after you have rented the movie, make sure to sign up for the live Q & A with mycologist Paul Stamets, who I think is the Steve Jobs of the funghi world. I know you will enjoy this one!
Also, if you are so moved, please make time for a global group meditation on April 4th.
I didn’t realize I would become your holistic Time Out, but I am happy to pass these offerings on to you.
As far as my teaching schedule goes, if you signed up for a class and its been cancelled, you will likely have heard from the institution who was hosting the event.
The Spring Detox for Brooklyn Grange has been converted to a webinar, so, I hope you will join us, on 4/8, with a time change to 5.30-7,30pm.
I will also be converting my class offerings for Brooklyn Brainery to virtual versions and plan on putting more virtual offerings up on the site as soon as they are ready. All updated listings will be here once available.
Lastly, for those of you who are already clients, I have moved in person appointments to the virtual world via zoom. I am here to support you in whatever way you need, so please get in touch, if you would like an appointment.
Also, in addition to my regular appointments, I am offering 30 minute consults for $30, to help get us through this time. Please email me if you would like to set up one of these mini appointments.
What else can I offer? If there’s a class, a recipe, support in any form that you are seeking right now, please let me know!