Early Summer Foraging!
Eat Your Ecosystem.
This month the local Everyday Ayurveda tribe hit the woods here in Kelowna B.C for an early summer foraging walk.
Ayurveda teaches us that food is medicine.
Much of the remedies offered by an Ayurvedic practitioner are plant based - teas, herbs and spices to balance your mind and body. So simple, and so effective.
Of course, the bulk of the standard Ayurvedic remedies are brought to us from India. Triphala, Ashwaghanda, Gotu Kola, Bacopa, Turmeric…. many have served as a support to myself and my clients.
There’s something to be said about healing remedies from your own ecosystem. Eating local, especially from the woods & wilderness provides more than just a boost to the immunity. Wild foods are chock full of "prana". Consciousness. Thriving energy.
Ayurveda teaches us that what you eat becomes your cells and tissues. Eating wild, thriving roots, shoots, leaves, flowers & berries from your ecosystem will awaken your body and senses like nothing you've experienced.
Here’s a peek into what we found on this year’s walk, and the benefits of these common “weeds” on your physiology:
Purslane - I cannot believe I’ve been pulling these from my garden! Puslane has almost a citrus flavor, yet is sweet and earthy too. A great addition to salads and smoothies and really everything, this weed is a nutritional powerhouse! It has the highest content of OMEGA 3s of any leafy green, it’s a huge source of Vitamin A (which isn’t always easy to get), and also packs vitamin-C, and some B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine and carotenoids, as well as dietary minerals, such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese Watch me gush about purslane on a Facebook live here. For you Ayurveda junkies, use purslane during the early summer to cool your pitta and ground your vata (a great alternative to ‘sweets’ to balance both of these doshas!).
Saskatoon Berry - Have I been under a rock my whole life? How have I not tried saskatoon berries before now?? These beauties are full of antioxidants, calcium, fiber (2x more than blueberries), iron (2x more than blueberries), manganese, magnesium (4x more than blueberries), copper, and vitamin E. PLUS they’re delicious. Another great pitta decreasing summer offering, these sweet but not too sweet berries have a slight almond flavor. Add them to your salad, bake em in a pie, or just eat them by the handfull.
Lamb’s Quarter - another fabulous species I have a bounty of in my veggie garden (sorry lammy for pulling you for so long!). A northern relative of quinoa, lamb's quarters is packed with protein and more iron than Popeye's famous spinach. Losing your stamina? Feeling sluggish? Eat this common weed to feel sturdy, strong, and vital. Lamb's Quarters can feed your family unlike any store bought greens
Lamb's Quarters warms your mouth, is slightly salty, sour, and mildly spicy. It’s lovely lightly steamed or sauteed, adds a rich pungency to soups. Or, add to mixed greens.
Pineapple weed - this grows EVERYWHERE in the Okanagan. Walk ten steps down the sidewalk, you’ll likely see one creeping through the cracks. Also known as wild chamomile, pineapple weed has many medicinal benefits. The indigenous people of north america have prescribed pineapple weed for ailments such as fever, insomnia, parasitic infections, chronic pain, inflammatory conditions, skin irritation, wounds, indigestion, stress, low milk production, anxiety and a weak immune system
Squeeze the flower head to release the sweet, floral pineapple scent. pluck 5-6 flower heads for a calming, slightly sweet cup of tea.
Oregon Grape - Found in massive abundance in Kelowna, Oregon grape is a quintessential bitter plant that has the capacity to cleanse, clarify and enliven body and spirit. Full disclosure here… Oregon grape berries are REALLY tart – the kind of tart that makes your face twist and your eyebrows lift beyond known measure. My daughter loves them and begs us to eat a few so we can make a “sour face.” But, when mixed with sweetener, they are really delicious. In the same way that fine wine carries complex flavors, Oregon grape is earthy and rich with undertones of cherry, raspberry and lemon. Oregon grape and saskatoon berry jam, anyone? Yes please!!
Yarrow - The ancient fertility herb in our own backyard. Yarrow has long been touted for it’s support to the female reproductive organs, and menstrual cycle. Fun fact: Our ancestors have been using Yarrow for thousands of years. Fossilized Yarrow pollen has been found in burial caves dating back 60,000 years ago! Yarrow is extra magical because it has so many oppositional qualities: Yarrow is cooling AND warming
It promotes circulation, yet is extremely astringent, stopping excessive blood flow
Drying and moistening; promotes sweating and detoxification, but strengthens and tightens tissues
Stimulates uterus to bring on menstruation, yet curbs heavy menstrual flow; effectively aiding in regulation of menstrual flow
Cool right? To enjoy yarrow, add 1 tsp. of dried leaves and/or flowers per cup of water. Steep for 10 minutes.
Look deeper into the healing power of your ecosystem. FEEL the prana, or life force, of these wild edibles. The more we get into nature and experience it’s wild abundance, the more we grow to respect it, and protect it.
Have you been doing any foraging? Let me know what you’ve tried in the comments!
oh, and one more thing - in preparation for the walk, I popped out to the pond behind my house and rustled up some cattails to make a cooling summer soup. Check out the how to video here, and grab the recipe below. Happy foraging!