Giving thanks for Mom’s applesauce

Variety of locally grown apples

Variety of locally grown apples

There’s nothing better than a recipe handed-down through generations that stands the “test of time”.  We grew and harvested apples at my nearby childhood home.  My parents accepted donations for the hand-picked, polished and proudly prepared produce they carefully cultivated nearly half the year.  They were acknowledged for their earnings as pioneer supporters of ‘Heifer Project International’, helping others to feed themselves via sustainable farming.

Old-fashioned apple corer and peeler.

Old-fashioned apple corer and peeler.

In the tradition that was uniquely my Mother’s, I share this classic process with you, slightly expedited but with all the goodness of simple down-home cooking.

Cored and peeled apples

Cored and peeled apples

Pour 1 C. filtered water into a Crock Pot on low setting for all day or slow, overnight cooking, or on high for a couple of hours.  Peel and core 12-15 quercetin rich apples of different varieties.  I chose a combination of local McIntosh, Jonathan, Cortland and Granny Smith, the same we grew on the homestead.  This blend of firm textures, crisp flavors and a balance of sweet and tart complement the slow-cooked concoction, satisfying diabetic requirements.

BAApplePeel

Additional anti-inflammatory ingredients include about ½ tsp. each:  Penzey’s “Cake Spice”

with star anise, high-grade cinnamon for depth, dried orange peel for brightness and a generous grating of fresh nutmeg.  Top it off with about a Tbsp. of raw organic sugar cane or agave syrup to sweeten.  I ceremoniously add ½ C. of cinnamon red hot candies to the first batch of the season, in memory of my Mother.

Anti-inflammatory spices and basic ingredients

Anti-inflammatory spices and basic ingredients

Place all ingredients in order listed into slow-cooker.

Place all ingredients in order listed into slow-cooker.

Use your best judgment should you opt to use sweeteners and organic and/or locally grown produce.  In the 1980’s, I was reprimanded by the self-proclaimed “food police” for providing preschoolers unhealthy snacks containing sugar and poisonous apple skins.  The very suburb criticized in today’s newspaper as a top city to avoid by French tourism (the capital of haute and nouvelle cuisine). Currently, they are well known for their innovative restaurants but it is often the misinformation that can be most dangerous. Today we have more information about what constitutes “healthy” food v. foods to avoid, and why.  HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) was not as prevalent an ingredient over a quarter a century ago.  GMOs were virtually unheard of while little differentiation was made between “organic”, “natural” and “locally grown” produce, and not as widely available.

Soft and warm applesauce cooked to your liking.

Soft and warm applesauce cooked to your liking.

Advertisements

Finding Your Foundation

For any foundation to be stable, it requires a minimum of three supports to create harmony and balance…

Spiritual

                              Emotional                                        Physical

When out of balance, illness results.

Image

Biochemical Alchemy label

Paracelsus is attributed to having said: “Man is a microcosm, or a little world, because he is an extract from all the stars and planets of the whole firmament, from the earth and the elements; and so he is their quintessence.”  Discovering the fascinating capabilities of our bodies solidifies our integral understanding of life’s perpetual cycle. This, in turn, supports our own ability to heal.

Image

Essential botanicals

Healthcare is a balance of what has been distinguished as conventional and alternative practices, effective when used in concert.  Also known as “functional medicine”, this philosophy is an approach designed to enhance outcomes.  If the body is treated holistically, then a broad spectrum of modalities should be taken into consideration.  When allopathic medicine is initially administered, it renders alternative approaches impotent by the medical model.  Take for example, the action of surgical and pharmaceutical procedures.  These so-called “alternatives” should be chosen as the primary approach because it elevates the body’s ability to heal itself.  The exception is in a true medical emergency.

Image

Versatile healing plant

I am truly amazed how versatile herbs are.  Not only the plant themselves, but the many forms in which they may be employed.  One herb can serve multiple purposes.  This utilitarian concept illustrates the convenience of over-the-counter (OTC) meds and prescriptions that are manufactured to treat one symptom, or symptoms; period.  We have become programmed to being highly specialized in our healthcare at the expense of our own health.  Focusing on ailments, we continue to treat the symptoms rather than addressing the source.  Choosing to seek several different doctors for each set of symptoms and diagnoses whilst losing sight of the broad spectrum of holistic practices.

 How Plants Heal

According to Master Herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar, “The prevailing scientific view is that all disease is caused on a molecular level.  A chemical drug produces its effect by entering a cell through a receptor that conforms to the shape of the molecule like a “lock and key”.  In contrast, medicinal plants are described by their adherents as working on a higher physiological level making them more versatile.” 

Herbal adaptogens contain multiple constituents working together to produce a combined effect surpassing their individual potential.   This botanical synergism is the science of “nutrigenomics” – highly active substances from food and natural resources that serve as potent dietary signaling molecules, effecting genetic expression.  Taking a synthesized supplement is not equivalent to the multiple benefits from eating fresh, whole food.  Modes of preparation and ingestion are also important.  To illustrate, hepatotoxicity occurs with concentrated pyrrolizidine alkaloids present in comfrey root.  Aerial parts of this plant contain less and are absorbed transdermally.  Oral consumption of comfrey is ill advised as a direct route for ingestion.  Allantoin and rosmarinic acid are anti-inflammatory constituents primarily present in leaves and flowers, therefore; of therapeutic value.

Image

Prepared plant parts

Plants impart wisdom to those of us willing to learn.  They offer a unique pathway to healing and healthcare.  Herbal preparations range from household products and cosmetics to prescriptives that maintain a chemical balance throughout for plants, animals and people alike.  The most outstanding gift of plants is that they strengthen our relationship with life and the natural world supporting the “permaculture” philosophy of how our biological beings relate synergistically to our physical environment to work in harmony.  Herbology is considered an alternative modality, though it offers an elegant biochemical for healing.  In its most basic element, a nutritive protocol, a philosophy and a lifestyle practice, Herbology is naturally the “art of healing”.

As a Certified Herbalist, I plant my own healing garden I harvest to prepare herbal tinctures, blends, remedies and food to maintain vitality.  A lifelong practice, herbalism is a craft carefully cultivated from intuition, science and strong belief.  These are the elements to necessitate transformation.  These are the ingredients connecting us with our roots that formulate a balanced lifestyle.

 

Where are the bananas when you need them?

Image

Bananas in Pajamas

This is so obvious, it’s painful.  Lately I’ve been experiencing a series of leg cramps in the middle of the night.  Severe spasms occurring mostly in the Achilles area, shins and arches.  During the wee hours of the morning when pain is mysteriously magnified I ask myself “Are you thinking what I’m thinking B1?”  “I think I am, B2”.  I typically don’t have muscle spasms and have always taken calcium/magnesium with additional electrolyte replacements to help manage chronic inflammation and Crohn’s symptoms.

Following a characteristically long winter, the weather permits me to dig in the dirt, further releasing harmful contaminants.  Just as early spring pollinators take flight, I find myself coated with similar resurrected earthly particulates, redistributing boundlessly throughout the atmosphere and infiltrating my mind.  Bzzzzzz… Somewhere between deep REM sleep and sudden painful interruptions, my mind goes conspiratorial.  Convinced I am poisoned by neurotoxins from both myths and facts about chemtrails, glyphosate and mold spores, circulating in the air and various social media.

Image

‘What makes bananas so amazing?’

Image

“Banana Bike”

For years I have eaten a banana every day.  The potassium content is just enough to rebalance electrolytes, plus moderate the cardiovascular system. Considered a “mood food”, the tryptophan in bananas synthesizes vitamin B6 and serotonin upregulation.  The natural combination of sugars maintains a healthy glucose balance between meals. It is one of the few whole foods that travels well.

As evident as the oxygen we all breathe, it occurs to me that I have NOT been eating bananas. How did this happen?  WHY did I allow it to happen?  Known as the “Banana Lady” (a distinguished title with which I proudly identify), I was dependable, sharing my bananas with Patients’ children and dogs alike!  Yes, Shala LOVED bananas as much as I and I wondered if she craved them for similar reasons.  Our ritual involved a piece for the child, one for the dog and one for me – until it was all gone.

Image

Congratulations banana!

The children have grown and Shala has since passed.  Perhaps this is why I have gotten out of my banana habit.  Without the daily prompts I was forgetting to take my “medicine”.  I guess not all habits are bad.  What is your “Achilles heel”?