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~ Herbal Holidays ~ > THANKSGIVING

26 Oct 2009

 Thanksgiving is a time to ge grateful for EVERYTHING--family, health, circumstances, and at times, even adversity. What binds it all together are the foods of this holiday--and what makes the foods special, are the Herbs & Spices! Coming at the time of year when it is getting colder and we are inside more, contagious diseases appear. Our ancestors knew nothing of scientific evidence, but somehow holiday traditions evolved that took weather/health into account. All of the spices we think of for Thanksgiving offer good immunity building properties and also make heavy foods safer from spoilage and easier to digest.

PUMPKINS ~ The flesh and seeds contain nutrients that balance blood sugar and sort of re-set the body to its use of carbohydrates for winter energy. Aside from pies and breads, try pumpkins as the major ingredient in a facial mask (good for all skin types-raw or cooked-then pureed), use roasted pumpkin chunks as a component in a vegie medley (beets, carrots, potatoes, parsnips, wild artichokes, onions). Use the seeds for prostate health--just a handful a day(fresh Pepitas or roasted). All many seeded foods are good for male and female reproductive health and most hollow foods are beneficial to our hollow organs (lungs, bladder, uterus, eyes, gallbladder) Pumpkin, especially so, as it is orange in color--indicating lots of Vit. A/Beta Carotene--which is healing to skin and mucos membranes that line our organs.

YAMS ~Such a shame that most of us know this food only as smothered in melted marshmallows!! The WILD Yam-a cousin of the sweet potato/yam we buy at the store--is the basis for the components found in Birth Control Pills. Conversely, in cultures where wild yams are eaten as foods, there is a large percentage of multiple births. No worries of instant fertility from your Thanksgiving supper, but all yams to tone reproductive organs. Like pumpkins, their orange color indicates huge quantities of VitA/Beta Carotene that aids hollow and mucos lined organs--the very ones that are prone to infections during the colder months. Though called "sweet potatoes", they actually are good for diabetics--IF EATEN SAVORY-NOT with marshmallows!!!! Try them roasted with sage and/or rosemary, which pair with yams nicely--and butter or olive oil.

POULTRY SEASONING ~ Rosemary, Marjoram, Thyme and Sage--Most people have no idea what poultry seasoning is, but it is no more than these herbs combined. They all pair well with meat--and veggies. What these herbs have in common is they are ALL digestive aids, powerful anti-bacterials and immune builders and they preserve foods from spoilage. separately, they each have a unique flavor to add to various dishes, but together, it is one of the flavors we think of at Thanksgiving.  Use this seasoning on all kinds of things-popcorn, random veggies, herb breads, eggs, Fall soups.....

PIE SPICES~ Nutmeg, Cinnamon--powdered, give us our pie/bread flavors. Both are anti-bacterial and nutmeg is a bit of a poison! If you note, recipes call for very small amounts of nutmeg and anyone who has cooked with it knows a little tastes WONDERFUL--and a little too much is a sure recipe ruiner. One nutmeg, eaten by a small adult, will cause death. However, SMALL/INFREQUENT amounts of poisons can rev up our immune systems. Cinnamon is showing promise as a great blood sugar stabalizer for diabetics. Try cinnamon in your morning coffee, on toast(whole wheat, of course).

CRANBERRIES ~ These hard,  tart little berries are astringent and full of Vit C. Astringent means "tightening"--it tightens tissues made boggy by illness/injury/poor nutrition- making them less hospitable to bacteria/virus/lactic acid deposits. Women have learned that PURE cranberry juice can prevent/cure bladder infections. Buy these fresh. They keep for months in a refrigerator, ready to be quickly boiled down into compotes, jellies, sauces.

CORN ~ Another many seeded food and seen as a symbol of fertility. Corn provides protein and carbohydrates, fiber and silk--also good for urinary tract infections. Many people don't even work corn into their Thanksgiving menu, but it is used as decoration--WHY? We carry our ancestors understanding of the power of symbols in our lives. Corn, like the many seeded pumpkin/squash equated fertility with Plenty.

   So, our foods speak to us by flavor, for sure, but also in the symbols of our needs/hopes and desires.

While celebrating Thanksgiving, keep in mind these foods, that through their structures and nutrients, enable us to appreciate and be thankful for the plenty in our lives





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