Creamy Wild Watercress & Nettle Soup

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watercress nettles motherwort catmint-w

Wild watercress and nettles are sprouting in Wisconsin, and they are quite the culinary treat!

High in calcium, iron, vitamin c, beta-carotene, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, vitamin E, vitamin K, lutein, b vitamins, and many more, watercress is rich in potent antioxidants that help to fight cancer. It’s been found to help smokers or those exposed to secondhand smoke excrete the toxins found in cigarettes via urine more rapidly.

Stinging nettles are my go-to safe alternative to allergy drugs. They help hayfever and any type of allergies, supporting the immune system and anti-inflammatory response naturally, instead of just covering up symptoms like drugs. This plant has been used for prostate problems, PMS, asthma, bronchitis, sciatica, tendonitis, multiple sclerosis, gout, hives, kidney stones, sciatica, high blood pressure, & eczema. Just about one cup of this veggie will give you half the calcium you need for the day, with good amounts of magnesium, manganese, iron, b vitamins, vitamin k, beta carotene, and potassium.

Both greens are great for anemia, helping support detoxification and liver health, and for arthritis.   Note: Be careful not to touch the nettles without gloves- they bite!

Ingredients:

2 cups MSG-free vegetable broth

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or organic butter

1 small onion, roughly chopped

1 bunch of watercress

1 bunch of nettles

2 medium potatoes, peeled & chopped

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives

¼ cup organic whole plain yogurt, extra to garnish (eliminate to make vegan)

Sprinkle of chives to garnish

Himalayan salt & black pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Bring the broth to a boil, and add the potatoes. Meanwhile in a large saucepan, heat the butter/oil over medium heat. Add the nettles, watercress, and onions. Turn heat down a bit and cook until the onions are translucent. Once your potatoes are tender, add the cooked greens mixture to the pot and boil for a couple minutes. Place in your food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Add the yogurt, then season to taste with the salt & pepper. Ladle into bowls immediately and enjoy!

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

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Copyright Megan Normansell 2019.

Wild Grape Juice (The real stuff!)

Yesterday I was invited to a friend’s property to do a plant walk with her.  Lucky for me she had more fruit than she knew what to do with!  I left with a nice supply of autumn olives and wild grapes.

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We love to eat the autumn olives as a snack, or mix with local yogurt.

After getting rid of the bad grapes,  I ended up with about 40 oz. Straight to the juicer!

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Wild grapes are an excellent source of catechins, anthocyanins and resveratrol, as well as many vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and other phytonutrients. This gives this fruit anti-oxidant, stroke preventative, anti-allergenic, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Because they are so tart,  I added 3 organic apples to the mix to sweeten.  The end result: what a treat!  My toddler gulped it down.

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Thanks for visiting!

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

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http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

 

Copyright Megan Normansell 2019

The Hunt for Wisconsin’s Rarest & Most Delicious Fruit

I posted a contest in my herbal medicine group Megan’s Herbal Apothecary the other day- who could identify this native Wisconsin fruit?

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It took quite a few guesses before someone found it. This is the delicious, dangerous, elusive, & highly sought-after Mayapple (Podophyllum), also known by some as Wild Mandrake. I have been searching for this fruit you see here for TWO years, and I had been tracking this particular plant since spring.

So what’s the hype? Well for starters, the fruit is difficult to find- each plant only bears one fruit, and they don’t always fruit every year. The fruits are generally only ripe from the last couple weeks of August to the first week of September in Wisconsin.

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Every part of the plant you see above picture is highly poisonous. Until the fruit turns a delicate yellow color and becomes soft, it is toxic. Ingestion of plant parts (other than ripe fruits) produces emesis and catharsis. Larger quantities can induce coma and death. Even handling the plant can poison you- severe dermatitis, keratitis, and even deaths have been reported from repeated topical application.

Because the ripe fruits are so tasty, they are a favorite of wildlife and are typically enjoyed before humans ever find them. So even if you do find these plants, and do visit them during the right time, there are no guarantees you’ll get to enjoy the literal fruit of your labor.

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Wait… do you see what I see??

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Could it be?? A ripe Mayapple!

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(My actual face when I found it. The toddler was unimpressed.)

Come to find out, one of my favorite parks is full of Mayapple patches. I located about 15 patches, with dozens of plants. Out of that, I got 2 ripe fruits, and 3 green ones that I’m hoping will ripen on my counter.

*update- they do not seem to ripen when they are not attached to the plant, I would not recommend harvesting them green.

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Mayapple plants (on the left) growing next to the walking path.

My first bite of this mysterious and elusive deliciousness.

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The Mayapple (when ripe) has an intoxicatingly deep fruity, perfumey scent. The flesh has the consistency and flavor of banana, paired with the flavor of a very ripe pear and hints of guava & lemon. The tender skins have a stronger hint of lemon to them, with a sweetly pleasant tang. The membranes surrounding the seeds in the middle are even sweeter- a deep, perfumy essence with a touch of vanilla. But don’t be fooled by it’s alluring flavor- the seeds are considered poisonous. I sucked the middle part until I got as much of the membranes off as I could, and spit out the seeds in the woods in the hopes they will become another Mayapple patch next year. (Word of caution- eating too many Mayapples can cause digestive upset. Likely why nature was wise enough to have only one fruit per plant, and make multiple fruits so hard to find!)

What a great experience! I know herbalists who have gone years without ever getting to experience the delight of finding and enjoying this delicious Wisconsin treat.

So if you’re out and about this time of year- do watch for the Mayapples!

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One last shot of my favorite park. (Ooh, what is that in the bottom corner??) 😉

Thanks for visiting!

Megan Normansell, CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

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Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically. We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com – megan@aayushealth.com – 920-327-2221

 

Copyright Megan Normansell 2019

Chunky Portabella Veggie Burgers

What a fantastic veggie-protein recipe, compliments of The Kitchen Whisperer!

http://www.thekitchenwhisperer.net/2014/04/12/chunky-portabella-veggie-burgers/

ChunkyPortabellaBlackBeanBroccoliPatty

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Get Even Healthier!
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

Juicin’ Babes

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Baby Aubrey just enjoyed fresh organic carrot juice. She sucked down the equivalent of 2 whole carrots in less than a minute!

Juicing isn’t just for grown-ups anymore! Instead of buying processed fruit juice from the store, consider making fresh, nutrient-rich juice at home with a juicer. The benefits are tremendous.

Store-bought juice:
• Filtered and pasteurized (highly processed). Pasteurization destroys all of the enzymes & good bacteria. The child’s body must pull from their enzymes stores to digest, which increases their risk of obesity, inflammation, fatigue, and digestive issues as an adult if their enzyme stores run low. Low bacteria levels impair their immune system and digestion.
• Pasteurization, exposure to oxygen, and long-term storage depletes most of the phytonutrients & vitamins from the juice.
• Juice stored in plastic containers can contain toxins that leach out of the plastic.
• Potential for dangerous preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, or added sugar.

Fresh juice:
• Raw and chock full of enzymes and bacteria. These nutrients enhance digestion and overall growth. The bacteria enhance immunity, digestion, and also reduces the baby’s risk of autism.
• Significantly fresher, which tastes better and keeps the nutrients intact.
• “Packaging transparency.” You don’t need a label; all it is is fresh fruits & veggies!
• Getting your child to love healthy, nutrient-dense foods early on teaches them healthy eating habits for life. It’s easier to instill good habits while they’re a baby, than to try to change bad ones once they’re older.

Compare for yourself!

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Always remember to use organic produce with children- they are 4x more sensitive to cancer-causing pesticides than adults. The pesticides in non-organics specifically increase your child’s risk of lymphoma & leukemia. If you are on a budget, consider using the EWG’s dirty dozen list when you’re choosing what to buy organic and what you can save money on and buy conventional. http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

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Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

Do you have this rare form of asthma? (And the top 10 ways to treat it)

Do you have this rare form of asthma? (And the top 10 ways to treat it)

What we all refer to as plain old asthma, is really a condition called “extrinsic asthma.” This is an asthma that is most commonly triggered by allergens and accounts for 90% of all asthma cases.

Then there is the little-known form of asthma called “intrinsic asthma,” of which I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with for a good chunk of my life. Just like with what I’ll refer to as “common asthma,” it produces feelings of tightness & pain in the chest, difficulty breathing, and wheezing. As the names would suggest, extrinsic asthma is triggered by external factors, and intrinsic by internal factors.

Common Asthma triggers:
• Allergens like dust, pet dander, pollen
• Environmental & chemical pollution like smoke, or occupational chemical exposure
• Food triggers like sulfites, food additives, and sugar
This is the form of asthma that affects both children and adults, and can be well-managed by avoiding triggers and by making dietary changes.

Intrinsic Asthma triggers:
• Exercise (aka “exercise-induced” asthma)
• Cold air (aka “cold-induced” asthma or “my gym makes a killing off me in the winter” asthma)
• Air that is too dry or too damp
Intrinsic asthma tends to develop in adulthood (although mind developed as a teen), and is more chronic and persistent than common asthma. Studies show that most sufferers of intrinsic asthma are women.

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Here are my observations about this particular form of asthma:
• Unlike with my husband’s extrinsic asthma, I’ve found inhalers do not help me.
• There appears to be a genetic factor. My mother has the exact same cold-induced asthma that I have. But she also has extrinsic triggers, which is known as “mixed asthma.” I believe this is why I developed it as a teenager instead of after the age of 30 like most do.
• Mine is triggered by both cold & exercise. Once the thermometer drops below 5 degrees, the wheezing immediately kicks in with my first breath in. (Being born an Eskimo would have proved deadly for me!) When I combine the two trigger it’s pretty severe, so I have to wait until the temps hit 50’s or higher to exert myself outdoors.
• I’ve also noticed an interesting difference regarding caffeine. While the symptoms of regular asthma improve with immediate caffeine intake, my intrinsic asthma symptoms can actually be triggered by caffeine. When consuming little to no caffeine prior to a workout, my asthma is sometimes barely noticeable. Today, I went wild and consumed 250 mg of caffeine (equivalent to about 2 cups of coffee) before my workout, and the sharp chest pain was intense and immediate.

Top 10 tips for treating Intrinsic Asthma:
1. Quit smoking. Cigarettes do an incredible amount of damage to the lungs.
2. Boost your immune system. Replace unhealthy junk with whole, real foods, with a focus on cultured & fermented foods.
3. Maintain a healthy weight. Extra pounds put extra pressure on your lungs.
4. Use anti-inflammatory herbs daily like turmeric, ginger or boswellia.
5. Eliminate dairy. Dairy is mucous-forming and causes congestion.
6. Increase your omega 3 fatty acids. They have a very powerful anti-inflammatory effect. See “Top Ten Reasons to Eat Raw Walnuts.”
7. Minimize your exposure to cold. Cover your mouth with a buff or scarf to warm the cold air before it hits your lungs.
8. Exercise indoors in the winter.
9. Keep your workouts moderate, and be in tune with your body. If your chest begins to hurt, ease back until the pain subsides.
10. Manage stress. Both types of asthma can also be triggered by stress or anxiety, so utilize stress-relieving methods to prevent it from affecting your physical self.

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Get Even Healthier!
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221