The Low Down

The human body is a metabolic marvel comprised of dozens of little systems connecting to create one complex system. Food is the fuel, the input, for the systems. Our metabolic machinery evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to function optimally on select fuels. These fuels were the original, Primal foods of the human organism. Over these hundreds of thousands of years our Big Game Hunting, small prey capturing, scavenging, foraging, gathering, opportunistic ancestors accumulated experience and wisdom about nourishing themselves. The learned to preserve and predigest foods to maximize the quality of their metabolic fuel. Eventually they learned to cook foods without destroying the important nourishing properties of the food, and then they learned to heal the human body with food. Only recently in the human evolutionary experience, have we abandoned all these hundreds of thousands of years of accumulated epicurean genius. Now we fuel our marvelous, complex metabolic machinery with crap invented to create profits for agribusiness. We have become dumb eaters. As we regain our eating intelligence it doesn't make sense to move back to the savannah and put out our fires or climb into our cave and pretend there is a glacier next door. It makes sense to fuel our bodies with all the primal human foodstuffs, prepared and preserved with accumulated ancestral wisdom and served up for the undeniable desires of the human taste buds. Primal, paleolithic food choices, handled according to ancient food ways resulting in outrageously good food.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

New Hampshire HOPS

"Uses of Hops

Hops are perhaps best known for their use as a bitter agent in brewing beer. But hops also are a nerve sedative and hormonal agent. Because they promote stomach secretions, bitter herbs are good digestive tonics. The bitter principles in hops are particularly useful for indigestion aggravated by stress or insufficient stomach acid and for gassiness and sour burping. Research has shown that hops also may help the body metabolize natural toxins, such as those produced by bacteria.

Hops contain plant estrogens, and women who harvest hops flowers for an extended time sometimes develop menstrual-cycle abnormalities. Its estrogenic constituents make this plant useful in treating menopausal complaints, such as insomnia and hot flashes.

You also may use hops for anxiety and nervous complaints or for indigestion and cramps resulting from anxiety. Use the tincture or tea before bed if you experience insomnia."

As I have mentioned many times, this whole life-in-the-desert gig is a little weird to me. I like greenery, plants, dramatic seasons and my farm girls!! Last summer when I got to New Hampshire I was welcomed with homebrewed beer. Not made from ingredients purchased on line. My former neighbor and Sister Mama, Shannon (with her awesome chef/husband Andy), is one of those people who sees wild hops growing on the roadside, stops, harvests, and brews beer.
Like all plants (you heard me, all plants), Hops has some issues. Hops is extremely estrogenic (like our natural Paleo-life enemy soybeans). This, of course, is ironic since beer is so "manly". We could speculate all day why this relationship developed. Some believe the European governments/religions mandated the inclusion of Hops in beer to reduce the sexual drive in men!!! Tell that to the creators of TV beer ads.

The description above, from an herbal practitioner, talks about the power of hops. This is a plant that we need to treat with respect. Insomnia, mentrual irregularities and digestive issues. I love that my Farm Girl/Sister Mama Shannon can see and feel the presence of a plant like hops growing on the roadside.

Plants like hops can have a place in our lives if we understand the ability of the plant to effect our body. Shannon's brew felt nourishing and deeply delicious to me.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Not in the Mood for a Mess

I love fish, but hate cooking it in the house. The smell and the messy cooking pans are just not enjoyable for me. I cook it outside on the charcoal grill. Same for steak. Outside is better. We needed something easy for lunches this week. Second to last week of school for the kiddos and it seems busier than usual. Decided on Fish Salad Verde. Although it is true that cutting vegetables initiates their deterioration and loss of vitamins, I occasionally pre-cut things if I know the week will be busy. This Sunday I chopped a green cabbage, 5 baby zucchini and a bunch of cilantro. I wedged a couple limes too and bought some salsa verde. Store the vegetables separately so that they retain their individual flavor. I grilled two packages of tilapia. As long as you get the grate of the grill super hot before you put the fish on, and you don't try to flip the fillets until they are a little browned on the side, you don't need to add any oil. I avoid brushing the fish with oil because I don't really want to eat extra grilled polyunsaturated oil. After I took the fish off the grill I sprinkled it with cumin, Mexican oregano and lime juice before putting it away.
It is really easy not to just throw a handful of the vegetables, a piece of fish and a lime wedge into a travel container with a spoonful of salsa verde. If you are looking for some extra fat, avocado is delicious on this!