In my Revive + Thrive yoga health-coaching group, we are working on introducing more plants to the diet.
We are looking at the energetic benefits that each part of the plant provides, for example root vegetables like potatoes, kumara and pumpkin provide comfort, grounding and nourishment while the leaves and flower add lightness and space to the body.
A great way to introduce a wider variety of plants into the diet as well as adding more nutrients is to go wild and add weeds to your meals.
Dandelion is one of the most iconic weeds. Dandelion is high in iron, calcium, vitamins A, B6, E and K, thiamin, antioxidants and beta-and alpha-carotene. Dandelion tea is known to be great for the liver and did you also know; if you add a dandelion leaf to your red wine an hour before you drink it, the toxic effects on the liver are reduced. Other weeds like thistle and stinging nettle are packed with vitamin C and calcium and are great for the skin.
Green leafy veggies have the highest nutrient per calorie ration of any food and weeds naturally growing in our ecosystem are 2-3 times more nutrient dense than anything we can grow. This is because weeds have to struggle to survive, think of the weeds growing up between cracks in the concrete. This builds up resilience in the weed and increases the nutritional value of the plant. As opposed to a cultivated crop in a field that is protected from bugs where they don’t need to struggle to grow. I also think it makes them taste better.
Urban living doesn’t give much opportunity for foraging for wild weeds, (they could be sprayed by local councils) but there is opportunity for meandering around a farmers market. It also helps to have the local farmers knowledge to identify the different species for you.
I’ve been blessed with a great farmers market on my doorstep and lately I’ve been trying different weeds. Last week I found water spinach, this plant is classified as a noxious weed in some areas in America. Just like other dark green leafy veggies, water spinach is a powerhouse of nutrients. It contains iron, vitamin C, vitamin A and other nutrients. You should always cook aquatic plants and I stir-fried it in some sesame oil and added tamari, garlic and chili (pictured). It was delicious!
I would really recommend opening up your repertoire of plants in your diet and explore the different tastes of different species and definitely add some weeds!
Ref: ‘The Weed Forage’s Handbook by’ Adam Grubb & Annie Raser-Rowland