NETTLES, DANDELIONS, FIDDLEHEADS, RAMPS AND YOU!

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How do these Cleanse and re-energize you? By: Tosca Reno and Dr. Rachel Corradetti, ND

Creating the recipes for my Spring Cleanse had to be based on using those ingredients found predominantly in the cooler months of spring.  They also had to be effective in helping the body remove accumulated toxic waste.  Nettles, dandelions, fiddleheads, and ramps are among these and we knew they were good at their job of waste removal, but we had no idea how much confusion they would generate in our audience.

Many of you wanted to know if this was a hit list of weeds.  Hilarious!  You are partially right and that is the interesting thing.  Some of these are weeds, but by whose definition?  When a dandelion is sitting in your lawn, you are offended by its’ presence.  When it is presented on your plate, it is welcomed, even glorified for its health benefits.  Fickle us!

I recently had the opportunity to eat at The Berlin in Waterloo, Ontario, where Chef Jonathon Gushue whipped up a cleanse recipe, even without calling it that. His forte is vegetables.  My appetizer salad included local mushrooms, fiddleheads, greens and a perfect dressing.  My entree featured a delicious piece of fish, topped with stinging nettle dumplings, hen of the woods mushrooms, greens and woodland mushroom broth. It was divine.  The food was some of the best I had tasted in a long time and all of it was cleansing food.  

This made me think how proud I am of the menu I have created for my Spring Cleanse experience and that I am introducing you to new and wonderful foods, possibly for the first time.  I want you to embrace the weird and wonderful goodness of these foods because beyond the delicious factor, their health value is supreme.

Stinging Nettles: This unusual plant has a long history of medicinal use, particularly in the treatment of urinary tract issues, inflammation, muscle and joint pain, eczema and boosting the immune system, especially during seasonal allergy. It is a diuretic and anti-inflammatory agent, it is nutritionally dense and is in season in the spring.  Sip some nettle tea or use nettles in the delicious Nettle Pesto recipe found in my Spring Cleanse.

Dandelion Leaf:  Dandelion leaves also contain diuretic agents, helping to flush excess fluids from the body.  The root has beneficial effects on the liver.  You should notice less puffiness, bloating, and swelling when consuming these ingredients.  Make sure if you are harvesting your own, not to gather those sprayed with pesticides.  Dandelion leaf is nutritionally dense and in season.

Fiddleheads:  These tightly curled vegetables are actually the early sprouts of ferns and are plentiful in early spring and only then.  They contain omega 3 fatty acids, more antioxidants than blueberries and plenty of fiber.  And they taste fabulous!  Get yours while you can because as quickly as they appear, they are gone.  Fiddleheads are nutritionally dense and in season.

Ramps: This term refers to wild leeks, a member of the allium family.  These lovely green plants grow in large swaths in lightly dappled forests and can be gathered by the armload.  Don’t confuse with Lily of the Valley which is toxic.  They contain selenium and chromium, excellent minerals for managing blood sugar and thyroid function.  Ramps, leeks, and onions, in general, assist in getting rid of the winter bloat. These too are plentiful in spring.  

Fill your plates with these nutrient dense foods.  Need recipes? Find them in my Spring Cleanse.  Haven’t started yet? Don't worry, you can do my 4-Week Spring Cleanse any time during the spring from April to June.

Get your copy here.

Hugs and love,

Tosca and Dr. Rachel

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