Food Medicine

Carrot Apple Salad – Happiness in a Bite

Carrot Apple Salad


3 cups grated raw carrots

2 medium apples grated or diced

¼ cups currents

¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1 Orange:       1 tablespoon Grated peel

Juice from whole orange

2 Tablespoons Maple syrup

½+ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 pinch of sea salt


Combine the carrots, apples currents and walnuts

Mix together the fresh orange juice, lemon juice, orange peel, syrup, cinnamon and sea salt. Pour over the carrot apple combination. Season to taste. 4-6 servings.


This is one of my favorite raw food salads. It is sweet and rich. child stamp of 4 plus approval – It was always a favorite! She likes it so much that she is always willing to do the tedious honor of grating the carrots. Great for summer.

If you don’t like walnuts, try adding pecans, sunflower seeds, or pepitas – or skip the nuts altogether.  I like adding Gogi berries. To be honest, they aren’t that great alone. While I know they are good for me, I like to hide them, and this is a great place for that.

Remember, the apples will oxidize and turn brown, so eat this up swiftly. Even though we’ve added lemon juice to slow the oxidation, and even thought it taste good the second day – it is not as lovely with grey apple bits.

Don’t think for a minute that this isn’t herbal medicine.  Raw fruits and vegetables are profoundly important for your health.  You can live without them – but not well.  Carrots are full of our carotenoid friends, soluble fiber, and vitamins. Lemons help stimulate peristalsis, and are good for your liver (in herbal traditions).  Carrots are high in calcium, and pectin, and their sweetness helps balance the lemon’s zing.

Cinnamon is an herb that deserves its own post, so just know that it is good for you.   Medical news today says: “U.S. National Library of Medicine, Cinnamon can be used to help treat muscle spasms, vomiting, diarrhea, infections, the common cold, loss of appetite, and erectile dysfunction (ED). Cinnamon may lower blood sugar in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, according to Diabetes UK.”

I am going easy on the cinnamon, (regardless of the statement by my physicianthat Adrenal Fatigue is an internet disease,”) – as a stimulating herb it can be fatiguing if your adrenal gland is taxed.

Try this salad out – I think you will like it.

by Tama Cathers


Disclaimer: I am not a physician. No information here is intended to diagnose, treat or otherwise address human or animal health issues.  In addition, each species is different, so what may be healthful in one species is not necessarily non-toxic in another species.  This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about herbs, diet, exercise, stress,  health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

Burnout and Stress, Parenting, Personal Wisdom, Travel




After 3 to 5 hours of hiking, baskets full of silence fill to space between us. Silence filles the sweeping landscape, as well.  I love this time in the hike.   We walk, breathe, appreciate, are together – in silence.  The silences that come before are of different quality. Sometimes they are angry at the hills going up and down.  Sometimes they are filled with daydreams.  Admittedly, sometimes they are filled with panting. However, this time of silence comes with contentment and togetherness.  No just together with each other, but together with everything, the wind, the hills, the grass… All of it.


I am fortunate to have a child that I weaned on grassy silences and miles under her feet.  She will hike 6 hours for the price of a couple of shared scones and a package of blueberries.  Even better, whenever I ask if she wants to go to the road, she asks if that is how the trail goes, and if it doesn’t go to the road, neither does she want to.  I am lucky that way, as sometimes I would definitely go to the road myself, missing some of the beautiful sites!  She amazes me, tolerating hours of rain, hours away from Percy Jackson books. I don’t know why, sometimes. However, I am always grateful.


As we hopped down the rocks of Hadrian’s Wall Trail, I realized that I have an opportunity. Like my daughter, I have the opportunity to create who I am in my next tomorrow.  I was thinking about my foot, the plantar fasciitis I acquired the last year. Stress related. Standing long hours on a hard floor. The running, I believe, was just ancillary.  Today, it is bothering me a bit, but yoga, physical therapy, and destressing have changed it substantially.  Today, I am hopping down rocks, flying towards my next future, just as she is flying towards her first future.  I can choose something thoughtfully, something that allows me health, that is lower in stress.  What a wonderful gift!


Before we set out on this trip, I told my fiance that I was happier, that I could finally feel the lessening of stress.  That is wonderful.  As it this.  This is different.  It’s like the idea is really viscerally dawning on me. I have a new start!


We both have the opportunity to choose a future. I am hopeful for both of us.


Today’s Favorite Food: Sticky Toffee Pudding





One Week into England

Eight days into our trip, what do I say?

Last night we stayed in a garden shed. A magical garden shed. Bunk beds, a sunny deck, a tree house in the little sunny orchard outside the door. Complete with a hammock.  Large gardens of bee friendly plants fill a 1/3rd of the yard, with 1/3 devoted to this little paradise, and 1/3rd to a forested area, complete with a dry composting toilet, something I’ve been wanting to see for a while!  The house in front has passive solar heat, solar panels, etc. They make their own bio-diesel, and used to raise their own food. It’s maybe an acre lot. Magical and amazing. Rather like this whole trip. I knew it would be when the falcon circled all the way around us in the hills of the Cotswold’s, on our hike.

What can I say – we are lucky that way.

My luck does not come in winning lottery, but rather in these simple very practical ways. I wouldn’t change it!

The first 8 days of the trip, I had an itinerary, with items to be seen and done. A checklist of
“To Do’s.”  Today, that ends.

While it has been amazing, I am ready to let the trip design itself from here on out. We have accommodations each night, but between the nights, it’s all open!


Traveling with my daughter has been …good.  Our only areas of conflict are generally over her reading voraciously.  Occasionally, I have to stop her to join in dinner, or to read our book on England – Sarum.  Oh, and the tempers over having left the book behind, or not having access to the next book.  Really – how can I complain?  She has been a tremendous navigator.

My joy has been to see the small things.  She packs her bag for the day efficiently and without prompting.  She builds a miniature Stonehenge in the dirt behind the rocks of Avebury. She adds herself to stories of Vikings and English history, amazing them with her knowledge of science, etc.  She learned that she loves riding horseback. We are making lists of zany English-isms, like road signs stating: Oncoming traffic occupying the middle of the Road. (Thank you – and what am I supposed to DO about this?) She is only scared of English Pubs, everything else is no problem!



Today, I learned that you can eat the giant thistle Cardoon, but you eat the stem.  I think I knew this, but today I met a Cardoon for the first time. It’s rather amazing and – intimidating!  We learned that, here in England, wheat is sprayed with a quaternary chemical to keep it short.  It looks a lot like crab grass when it is short!  We also learned that the field of odd beans we walked through was broad beans, grown for shipment overseas.  We wondered about that odd potatoe like plant with pods from the stems.

Our hostess, a wonderful gardener, identify many of the plants I recognized but couldn’t identify: the parsley like weed I had seen so often on our walks. I had thought it was a parsley, but poisonous. It is. It is hogweed. The hedges with gooseberry-like leaves and sour blueberry like fruits; sloes – I had sloe gin when I was young. Too young!  And the hawthorn berry bushes.  Wonderful information. It’s been interesting to walk through landscapes with many similar but different plants than my native home.

I had been partially identifying these items for days. My daughter and I talked about how one could do that, and the question is hard to answer.  Mostly I recognize their family, have some knowledge about poisonous cousins within families, have flipped through books on toxic plants once every couple years, in my profession. However, it is more than just the large lexicon of plant knowledge gained from books and garden experiences.   As foragers, or rather for us, forager-wanna-be’s, we develop a keen instinct and a sharp suspicion. Everywhere we go, we are identifying, comparing, then asking questions about the plants around us, confirming our suspicions, solidifying our knowledge. I admit to quite a bit of tasting, of those plants I identify as having no toxic cousins or look alikes. Sloes are very tart and astringent.  I also begin to think the plants talk to us as well. Maybe the vibrate “Don’t eat ME!” or  “Hey, I am tasty!”  We talked about the systematic ways peoples have had for identifying edible plants in a foreign environment. It is amazing to me how people have found things to eat. There are those things that ‘just’ need to be boiled twice, with water changes, and mixed with ashes, then rinsed and then are okay…. Wow! But here we are. Enough of us survived and passed on the knowledge.


I am not encouraging you to go eat plants you can’t identify. But I am encouraging us all to be curious and ask questions.


In the next few days, we hope to visit the poisonous plant garden at Ainwick Castle – we just can’t wait!!


by Tama Cathers



Yoga In the Airport

Yoga In the Airport


We got to the airport for the beginning of Our Adventure.  4 hours before our flight.  After a 4 hour drive. After getting up at 3 am.  After working hard in the heat to finish up my bookings.  Our A/C is out. The upstairs was 85 degrees in the breezy hallway.  It was at least 90 in the small office where I was diligently trying to book my flights.

After sitting on hard steel for an hour, under the giant and awesomely cool dinosaur replica,  and walking extensively on hard floors, I decided it was time to do some yoga.

I expected this to be embarrassing, to my daughter, and was rather disappointed that it wasn’t.

I pulled out my slllloooow TriYoga practice and did about 30 minutes of really easy flows.  I wasn’t really stretching the things that hurt.

But when I got done – I felt WONDERFUL!!!

My back didn’t hurt. The sciatica was gone. Even my foot was good. My energy was better and I felt – happy!  Oh joy of the day!

I was not embarrassing (it must’ve been a good part of the book) and I felt better.

Parenting, Travel





And so it begins…


Not really. It’s been going on for quite a while already. Days. Maybe months.


But we are on the plane!


My fiancé was given a family trip to Alaska, that my daughter and I could not attend. I lightheartedly said, “Fine, then I am returning my computer, and taking my daughter Pony Hacking across England.”

That’s how it started.




Well, we are not Pony Hacking across England, but we are going to England. The Pony Hacking got cancelled when I thought about days 2, 3 and 3 of a 5-7-day ride.

I thoughtfully decide against a long Pony Trek.   I did return my Apple.  I got a PC for <1/4th the cost. Ad this niffy blue laptop for 200 bucks!  (Well – not THIs one – I poured water on the first one.  This is the second one, as they laptops are quite allergic to water.  That was when the Pony trek went out the window. The trip got a facelift:  A tourist trip of England (enough said right there, but wait there’s more) on a budget – so I would do the planning and booking. Yay! How hard could that be?

We raised a thousand dollars with garage sales! We couldn’t believe it.

After some point in time, however, the trip became “The Planning NightMare.”   It’s been torture. I have never had a more difficult planning of a trip.  The whole thing got bogged down.  Life happened.  Stress happened. Someone wouldn’t give me my daughter’s passport. Held hostage, after 7 requests, and months of delays.  Ugh- So ugly.  Influenza happened.  Not sleeping.  Getting engaged. Planning for a wedding, planning for a celebration. Planning to start a new business.  Planning time off for a honeymoon. Planning this trip – all of which was at odds with my work.  My work, which was at odds with my Self,  My life,  My Being.   Then there was quitting… you know. It’s been a little busy.

I had an idea of what I wanted to do in the north of England, but just couldn’t put it together. Over and over – it was a nut I couldn’t crack. For example –  If I did the hike I wanted, I ended up in a small town without bus service on a Sunday and couldn’t get out of.  I couldn’t for the life of me manage to understand the online booking system for the trains.  I finally gave up and booked a car. Gasp of horror! Yes – driving on the left side.  I am visualizing, turning left and into the left lane, stay to the left, go left….

It was the flight to Paris, that I really had a difficult time doing.  I delayed booking my trip to Paris, because I heard it was better to buy tickets over there, but that has not turned out so well.  I tried for the last 2 weeks, just to make a booking and could not do it.  My opinion is that EasyJet is really Drive You Crazy/Difficult Jet. I mean – Grrr! Just. Don’t GO there!  No matter what airline, I would find a slightly acceptable flight, finally, and when I clicked to purchase the site would time out and the fare was gone.

I spent hours on this one task.  Finally, the night before our trip, I tried one more time. I found a flight AND booked it!  WaLa! We were going to England and Paris. No Ponies. No PC’s.


Then there is my daughter. She is 13. Did I mention that?

She has still been wonderful, delightful, fun. Most of the time.

She came home and unpacked a full-on teen attitude.

She also came on Seattle time. 8 hours behind Seattle.

She has resisted everything so far.  Adjusting her sleep schedule.   Doing any thing except reading.  Even repacking into a bigger bag which – to her delight – she discovered she has better access to her activities and media. She rolls her eyes. The worst thing is that she just looks at me like her face is dead.  It’s hard enough when I am gross or stupid, but that dead look really gets me.

I guess I am going to have to get used to that. It will put my self-esteem on the chopping block. It used to be so easy to be …esteemed.  Now – I just have to Esteem Myself…. Be myself. Otherwise – everything I do is just too embarrassing to do, and I can be me at all.  That won’t happen! But – it is still hard!


So here we go.

On our trip.

We’re going to drive all over the country on the wrong side of the road. I am going to be embarrassing.  While doing this, I will be working on my self-worth.  At the end of 10 years or so, I should be bomb proof!


All this being said, there will be a lack of recipes for a few weeks. I hope you can tolerate it.  So, hang on, we’re going to go for a ride. I should be back to herbs in a few weeks.




Burnout and Stress

Check in number Three – Increased anxiety

Check in number Three – Increased anxiety


In addition to quitting my profession, and beginning the set-up of a new business with my fiancé, I also have to parent a teenager. I have a rental house that has to be remediated after tenants did thousands of dollars of damage.  This property, which I am fortunate to have, is five hours away.  Plus, I’m going on a trip to England, which I can scare afford at this time, now that I have quit my jo and profession. Also, I’m getting married. All before summer ends.


I’m feeling a little stressed.


I’m sleeping better, certainly. My self-esteem is improving.


My busy-ness factor however has not reduced. I’m completely stressed out over how I measure my self-worth if I’m not bringing in income. About not bringing in income.  For 21 years there’s been one way I earn income which I’ve equated with self-worth. Now I have to find a new system to find my own self-worth. That’s quite a challenge!


In addition, the list of things to do with starting a new business, or even managing a life, is overwhelming and never ending.


I’m learning new skills, every day. I’m learning how to use WordPress,  Siteground,  Webbly, and how to build a website.  I’m learning how to promote a new business. I’m involved in several courses for new certifications. These are very exciting to me: I am a skills junkie. It is a central aspect of my Busy-ness Factor.


In addition to these ‘hard skills,’ there are dozens of  ‘soft skills’ to learn in these transitions. Learning how to work with a business partner, when to flex, went to capitulate completely, when and how to divide tasks, how to change the task division, division of labor when things are going well, how to rescue or be rescued when things aren’t going as expected. How to have a regular work schedule and be productive.


Then there are new relationship skills: How to be supported, How to have a shared income and spending system. How to negotiate purchases. How to save for retirement, or even for a new dryer we desperately need.


There’s a sense of urgency in, however, with the new business to do list.


Sometimes – it makes me want to throw up.


Really I just want to stay at home. And cook. And make herbal preparations. And work out. And parent. And be a lover.  And meditate. And take yoga teacher training. And mindfulness-based stress reduction certification.  And go to school. And start a couple women’s groups, continue to develop my Threshold Choir, and my abilities to be a director, which also it means taking piano lessons, and possibly voice lessons.  Oh, and travel. Maybe I want to much to really want to ‘just’ stay at home.


I think I need another teen hood/early 20-year-old. In my life.


I need the space and time to re-create my life and who I am in it. Carving that space out is actually only half the battle. Utilizing the space – that’s the harder half. Doing so in a time and place where I still need to bring in income – well that of course is trickier.


It’s a privilege I experience in this moment to be able to face these questions and battles. I know that. And in my soul, I’m deeply grateful. At the same time I’m completely freaked out.

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.