Burnout and Stress, food, Food Medicine, herbal medicine

Braised Cabbage, Apple, Carrot, and Sausage with Kumquats and Mustard Seed Rice

Braised Cabbage, Apple, Carrot, and Sausage with Kumquats and  Mustard Seed Rice

 

I came home tired from work. Yes – the one I vehemently quit a minute ago…

I do have to eat, after all.  Different place same profession. It’s temporary. That made it was better, but I felt pretty down at the end of the day.  Okay, pretty, really depressed, grey, down, stormy, etc.  The last thing I wanted to do was cook! But I also knew I would come home feeling the same way after work each day this week. Plus I rely on left-over’s for my lunches. Pickings were slim – I was going to have to bite the bullet and cook.

I looked in my fridge. It was an odd list: some Apple Sausage, Cabbage, Carrots, Apples, and some left-over kumquats. My daughter loves them – for about 3/4ths of a pack, then these exotic little citrus fruits languish in the fridge. I like them when I eat them, but I always think I don’t. So they languish.

My fiancé would have added some bacon or at least ham, crème of something soup, and cheese. But he is off on vacation. Leaving me left-over-less. So sad!

I came up with this recipe and was delighted by the results! It’s savory, light, a little spicy, a little sweet, with little surprises of tang with the kumquats.

We’re going to talk about cruciferous vegetables, myrosinase, sulforaphane, mustard seeds and all sorts of fun things here in the next few blogs. But for now- some recipes!

 

Braised Cabbage, Apple, Carrot, and Sausage with Kumquats and  Mustard Seed Rice

 

Ingredients (4 to 6 servings)

  • 1 Tablespoon butter, ghee or Extra-virgin olive oil.
  • 1 pound of Apple Sausage or Sweet Italian Sausage chopped
  • ¼ cup sliced Kumquats.
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • ½- 1 Teaspoon whole mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of Extra-virgin olive oil divided into 2 portions
  • 1 cups carrots sliced
  • 5 – 2 cups mixed cabbage, chopped (red and Napa shown)
  • 1 large apple chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Umami
  • (savory flavoring, make something up if you don’t have this)
  • 1 Dash Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • salt, pepper and honey/sugar to taste

 

1) Put 1 tablespoon of Butter/Ghee/Olive Oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Sauté sausage until brown. Add the Kumquats, cracked pepper and whole mustard seed. Cook 1-3 minutes; the less you cook the mustard seed, the spicier the dish will be. Remove from skillet and set aside in a bowl.

2) Add 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil and sauté the carrots for 3-5 minutes until colorful.

3) Add the cabbage, carrots, and apples. Sauté stirring well, until cabbage wilts, about 3 minutes.

4) Return the sausage/kumquat mixture to the pan, mix well.

5) Add a Dash of Worcestershire Sauce, then the other spices, mixing well. Lastly, add the balsamic vinegar. Cover 1 minute.

Serve hot with Mustard Seed Rice generously flavored with sushi rice seasoning.

Mustard Seed Rice #1

1 cup rice of your choice

1 teaspoon to 1 Tablespoons Whole Mustard Seed

½-1 teaspoon salt

Cook as directed.

Serve hot.

Once cooked, mustard seeds are not terribly spicy. They do add interest visually, and a nice crunch to the rice. I prefer this to plain rice. But I am just like that, you know!

 

Mustard seed rice #2

1 teaspoon ghee

½ – 1 tablespoon mustard seed

Rice, cooked as directed

Before serving rice, add ghee in a pan, add yellow, white or brown mustard seeds, or a mixture. Remove from heat when the sputter and start to pop. Add these to the rice and serve immediately.

 

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Food Medicine, herbal medicine, Uncategorized

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

My daughter has just turned into a teen, a cycling teen-aged female, but still has the palate of a child (rather like me!). Those facts are important. We have to be able to make our herbal consumption part of regular life!

There are so many lessons to be learned as we grow, and our body has much to teach us. The transitions between childhood and adult, between listening and hearing, are hard, but vital. Listening to ourselves is a skill that takes decades to develop, and longer to hone. Listening to our bodies, listening to the little voice inside our minds. These are all really important tasks to maintain balance.

*   *   *

Tea Recipes:

Basic Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

1 tsp to 1 Tbs of loose leaf red raspberry leaf

1 cup of boiling water.

Pour boiling water over leaves and steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain the tea and drink.

 

To make a gallon, just 3/4 to 1 cup of Raspberry Leaf per gallon of boiling water. Leave overnight before straining for a strong tea. Refrigerates well.

 

For Adrenal Fatigue

4 parts Raspberry Leaf

1 parts Nettle Leaf

 

For Morning Sickness

Add 1 part Peppermint Leaf for help with nausea during early pregnancy.

 

Disclaimer: Ask your doctor before consuming any herbal supplement during pregnancy. If you experience cramping, either discontinue use or reduce your intake.

 

The tea does NOT taste like raspberries, but my daughter is willing to drink this. The taste is pleasant, a little like black tea, but without the caffeine. I can often convince myself for weeks to months at a time, that it is ‘tea.’ When I get bored, I mix it with green tea or toasted rices green tea, or better yet, toasted rice green tea and nettles.

By drinking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea 3 times a week I was, previously, able to totally stop all menstrual pain. It was quite amazing.

Did I do it regularly – No – But I should have! At the time it felt easier to suffer and then swallow a pill, than to make a cup of tea a couple times a week. I am hoping to teach my daughter a different way.

*   *   *

Red Raspberry Leaf is wonderful in many ways. First, it is so common and easily identifiable. In North America, most wild raspberries are red raspberries. They spring up in almost any sunny disturbed area. They grow around the edges of the soft ball fields, the parks, the cow pastures, the forest edges, etc. They are easy to identify, even without the berries. My favorite identification is eating the Red Raspberries! My second favorite way is the back of the leaf. The underside of the leaf is whitish. Blackberry bushes look similar, but the underside of the leaves are green. Umm – and they have blackberries! (Yum, yum, yum…In my mind, I am stuffing my face with little berries borne of sunshine! Black, red – who cares! Well, I do if I am making tea, but not if I am eating berries!)

In the fall the leaves blush red, instead of black, like a blackberry. There are many good websites for further identification, but I suggest you have a person who knows Red Raspberry introduce you to the plant. I think we learn best from the plants and people, and books are a far second contender, especially for identification.

For those science geeks like me: red raspberry, is Rubus idaeus – the Eurasian red raspberry.   The eastern North American black raspberry is Rubus occidentalis. Most propagated berries are combinations of the two. Common Names include Red Raspberry, Dewberry, Bramble Fruit, Thimble Berry. Like an old time thimble, these berries do not have a core in the center, that is a differentiating trait between raspberries and black berries.

Harvest:

Red Raspberry leaf is easy to harvest, but gloves or scissors help you avoid the small thorns. I rarely have such devices handy when I come to a rich stand of summer happy Red Raspberry, and I just make do. I usually snap the compound leaves of at the cane, as the junction is easy to snap. Dry the leaves, generally this is accomplished by hanging bundles upside down in a dry non-sunny area. I spread them to dry, in a well ventilated area. They can mold easily, so be sure to take care of them, so they do not stay moist. The oven often seems too harsh, but a few hours in a dehydrator should work well too. Next, shred them/ crumple them in a sac. Pick out the stems. Now you have Red Raspberry Leaf tea. If you decide to purchase it as a packaged tea, use 100% red raspberry leaf. Other teas may be labeled “raspberry,” but often are blends of rosehips, hibiscus, raspberry leaves, and…raspberry flavor (Gasps of Horror!) That is not what we want!

Uses:

Red Raspberry leaf is loaded with vitamins: Vitamins C, E, A, B including niacin. It is also a good source of macro-minerals: magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium, as well as essential trace minerals such as zinc, iron, chromium and manganese.

Plant constituents include: polyphenols; like tannins and flavonoids, like quercetin and kaempferol. Polyphenols act like antioxidants, and may help slow aging and diseases such as cancer. In addition, raspberry leaves contain phenolic acids and plant alcohols. All of these likely contribute to the effects the plant has on humans.

Information:

Red Raspberry Leaf has so many wonderful traits:

As an herb it is astringent, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, Antioxidant, Anti-Cancer, Anti-inflammatory, Emmenagogue (helps your period start). It has been historically used for antiseptic and anti-microbial properties. It has been used in Chinese herbal medicine for thousands of years (Fu-p’en-tzu = Rubus strigosus) Red Raspberry Leaf was also extensively used by Greeks, Romans, Chinese and Ayurvedic physicians.

For Reproductive health, it is good for managing menstruation, for heavy periods, for lack of periods, and for menstrual pain. I can attest to that! It increased fertility in men and women, During pregnancy, it is used to prevent or decrease morning sickness, to reduce miscarriages and to ease labor and delivery. Postpartum, raspberry’s astringency is used to help with bleeding and swelling as well as to restore tone to the uterus.

While considered a women’s herb, it is good for the whole family. Red raspberry leaf tea helps support the prostrate health, may lower unhealthy blood pressure and support control of blood sugar levels. Due to its high mineral content, it also may help reduce leg cramps, and improve sleep, for women, men, and children. For teens consider that is used to treat acne, canker sores. In children it is used to treat diarrhea, vomiting or the flu. As a whole family herb it is used for cold and fevers, sore throat, gingivitis, anemia, and adrenal fatigue. (Hence we circle around to hwy it is on my blog today!)

The tannins in raspberry leaf give it astringent properties which make it soothing both internally and externally. Made into a strong solution, raspberry leaf tea or tincture can sooth sunburn, eczema, and rashes.  Other external uses include: poultice, irrigation for sores, minor wounds, burns, and ulcers and varicose veins.

*   *   *

Controversy = Safety in Early Pregnancy

According to research there is some controversies about the safety of this herb in early pregnancy. One source says

 “Some medical and popular media make reference to raspberry leaf tea as something to avoid during pregnancy for risk of miscarriage. This notion stems from a study conducted in 1954 where fractions were isolated from Rubus sp. and applied in vitro to the uterine tissues of guinea pigs and frogs. The scientists discovered such things as one fraction acted as a spasmolytic whereas another caused uterine contractions. Herein lies the risk of isolating the parts of a whole. When used as a whole plant, neither action is exacerbated and the herb is deemed safe. If a mother is prone to miscarriages she may feel safer avoiding raspberry until the third trimester. This is an herb with centuries of safe use behind it, there is usually little cause for concern.” – Mother and Child Health, Dec 7, 2016

As always, it is important for you to do your own research. Most sites I visited discussed the theoretical safety issues, some of the women even gave it up during their first pregnancy, only to use it and become believers later. You have to use your judgment, listen to your body, and ideally, have some relationship with the herb to use it well. In everything, moderation. I want to encourage you, however, to investigate this friendly, helpful, common herb.

by Tama Cathers

 

Identification:

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/identify-red-raspberry-bushes-leaves-56436.html

and

http://www.gardenguides.com/127831-raspberry-leaf-identification.html and

https://www.hunker.com/12345803/how-to-identify-raspberry-plants

and

http://identifythatplant.com/blackberry-or-black-raspberry/

= good identification sites

Recipes:

https://www.mamanatural.com/red-raspberry-leaf-tea/ – a blog like mine, with really good recipes for teas!!!

Safety:

http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-raspberry-leaf.html -Good references of studies on red raspberry leaf.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10754818 – excerpt of study on effects of RRL

https://wellnessmama.com/5107/raspberry-leaf-herb-profile/

1 – quote on safety

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10754818 – excerpt of study on effects of Red Raspberry Leaf tea

http://avivaromm.com/herbal-medicines-in-pregnancy-safety

– Romm, Aviva. (2015).

 

General Info:

https://www.eastwesthealingacademy.com/herbs/raspberry/ Chinese herbal medicine properties.

http://www.susunweed.com/Article_Pregnancy_Problems.htm

 

Books:

Weed, Susun. (1986). Wise woman herbal for the childbearing year. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Publishing.

Gladstar, Rosemary. (2001).

Rosemary Gladstar’s family herbal. North Adams, MA: Storey Books.

 

 

Disclaimer:

Ask your doctor before consuming any herbal supplement during pregnancy. If you experience cramping, either discontinue use or reduce your intake.

More disclaimer:

Information offered on my websites is for educational purposes only. I make neither medical claim, nor intend to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Links to external sites are for informational purposes only. I do not necessarily endorses them nor am in any way responsible for their content. Readers must do their own research concerning the safety and usage of any herbs or supplements.

 

 

Food Medicine, herbal medicine, Uncategorized

Walking Oatmeal

Walking Oatmeal

These nice little handfuls of yumminess are my daily breakfast now, and a good way to secretly add supportive herbs to my diet. These started with learning that people who eat oatmeal on a regular basis can lower their cholesterol. As an herb, oats are soothing and kind. I needed a breakfast I can grab and walk out the door with, set aside, and nibble on until gone. However, cold oatmeal is not so attractive. I found the basic recipe for these, then continued to develop them. They can be made vegan, vegetarian, or you can add the eggs as I do.   30 seconds of warming will make these delicious and warm.

This nice plain recipe is made to be adulterated to your needs and desires. Just start here and add things as you feel comfortable. Your Walking Oatmeal will evolve and change with supplies, season and familiarity. Below the plain recipe, I will give you my current herbal recipe.

PLAIN RECIPE:

Wet Ingredients:

4-5 mashed bananas (old ones work best)

4 eggs (optional)

½ cup apple sauce (optional; you may need this or 1 more banana if you skip the eggs)

¼ cup coconut oil – vegetable oil of your choice

¼ cup sweetener – maple syrup, honey, agave, etc

2-3 teaspoons vanilla

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Some berries, nuts or chocolate chips if you desire.

Mix well.

Dry ingredients:

5-6 cups old-fashioned rolled oatmeal

Mix into wet ingredients until a thick shapeable consistency, but not crumbly.

Optional: ¼ cup mini chocolate chips

(Makes eating with hands a little more messy, but adds yumminess and kid-friendliness.)

Using ½ to 2/3 cup, shape into large biscuit type formation. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes. Cool. Store. Good for 7-10 days. Can be frozen and thawed.

***

As I am trying to eat my medicine, but still like my herbs and food to taste good (to me), I have evolved this recipe. I can still get my daughter to eat them, so I think I am doing pretty well. She likes them with chocolate chips, of course!

HERBAL RECIPE FOR WALKING OATMEAL:

Wet Ingredients:

4-5 mashed bananas

½ cup apple sauce (optional; you may need this or 1 more banana if you skip the eggs)

4 eggs (optional)

¼ cup coconut oil – vegetable oil of your choice

¼ cup sweetener – maple syrup, honey, agave, etc

2-3 teaspoons vanilla

Mix well.

Middle ingredients:

Herbs:

2-3 Tablespoons of cinnamon,

2-3 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper (optional)

½ cup or more of finely shredded nettle leaf

Optional:

¼ cup of powdered herbs of your choice: ashwaganda, astragalus, hawthorn berry  powder, rhodiola… I usually choose 2-3 of these.

1-2 tablespoons ground olive leaf (olive leaf is rather bitter)

Other optional spices: ginger, cardamom, garam marsala…

Dried Berries/Etc:

½ cup cranberries and

¼ to 1/3rd cup of currants and

¼ to 1/3rd cup of raisins

Add other berries as desired: blueberries, elderberries, gogi, Candied dried ginger is nice in the winter.

Optional: ¼ cup mini chocolate chips

(Makes eating with hands a little more messy, but adds yumminess and kid-friendliness.)

Nuts/Seeds

1/4 to ½ cup of the following nuts of your choice:

Pecans, Walnuts, Almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pistachio.

(For low lectin diet do not use cashews or peanuts)

Dry ingredients:

5-6 cups old-fashioned rolled oatmeal

1/3 cup ground flax seed (because it’s good for you = optional)

Mix into wet ingredients until a thick shapeable consistency, but not crumbly.

Using ½ to 2/3 cup, shape into large biscuit type formation. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes. Cool. Store. Good for 7-10 days. Can be frozen and thawed.

by Tama Cathers

Food Medicine, herbal medicine, Personal Wisdom

Food Wisdom Herbs and Burnout

Food Wisdom Herbs and Burnout

After years as a professional, okay, decades, I am feeling burned out. I love what I do. Don’t get me wrong. Lately however, I am finding, it is too much. It could be that I am also a mom. Or that I have 16 pots on the stove at any given time. The stresses involved in my life, however, are overwhelming the restorative times.

Regardless, my life won’t wait. Change must happen……Or Else.

I know that. I can hear that. I can FEEL that.

For years, I have lived this busy way. However, for years, my body took it. I didn’t seem to age. I could really do anything I wanted. At midlife, I did not hurt, like so many of my peers complained about. I held a positive outlook and still felt fresh. Too fresh, perhaps. I often felt like a novice.

Much of that has changed. Some of that is expected with life. But something is really off in my life, and it demands change. Change NOW.

The things that I have studied, the tools I have acquired, outside my professional life, along with the wisdom I do actually have, those things are no longer hoping to get out. They, too, are demanding my attention. It is time to give then their space.

It is time to transform my life. But this time, it is also time to give back.

I am writing this blog as a personal journey story. I am sure to fail. Many times. I hope I do, because that means I am still trying. I will persist until I find my way into a new balanced life. Wish me luck. I wish it to you.

by Tama Cathers

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