It's not the full moon, but I wanted to write to tell you all some things. As the day begins to dawn here in the still snowy woods, I wake up with both a heavy heart and the feeling of the sap rising. I don't know quite how to comprehend the magnitude of the earthquake in Japan and the nuclear fallout (on top of the sad, but sadly unsurprising turn of events in Wisconsin. )
It's so easy to shut down with all that's afoot, but we gotta keep going. I'm writing this morning with some recipes, as I hear the radiation is traveling across the Pacific and we've got plant allies who can help support us in these times.
To bring us courage and nourishment, as well as support our bodies in times of nuclear exposure, we can turn to our plant friends, our human friends, the kitchen, and our own inner resources. The ingredients and recipes below contain powerful medicine to help our immune systems cope with the toxins we ingest and breathe daily, and specifically with radiation. They are simple, relatively affordable, and effective ways we can feed ourselves and our loved ones in belly, heart, and spirit.
YOUR FRIENDS in TIMES OF NEED:
1. SEAWEED*: eat nori, put wakame, kombu, and hijiki in your soups and stews, make crunchy kelp brittle with it. The iodine in kelp helps protect your thyroid and other glands from radioactive uptake and in general is one of the most magical, medicinal foods on earth, grown by the O.F. (that's the Original Farmer also known as the Sea!) (see where to get seaweed at bottom of post)
2. MISO: good medicine full of live cultures, amino acids, minerals, and protein. I'd recommend making a big pot this week, having a bowl everyday and feeding it to all your friends, neighbors, and weirded-out co-workers (like one time when I brought my lunch to work and someone said it looked like a terrarium). recipe follows below.
3. MUSHROOMS: strengthen your immune system with some shitake mushrooms, sauteed or in soups. Mushrooms are the genius healers of the forest- they know how to bring everything (on earth and in the tiny microcosm of your body) back into balance.
4. Eat vegetables, especially DAIKON radishes and BURDOCK root- stick them in your soup too or make a shredded salad (recipe below). Daikon has been used for drawing out radiation, post nuclear fall out- it's cooling and detoxifying. These will make your liver fall madly in love with you.
5. WATER: DRINK it. lots of it. take BATHS in epsom salt and baking soda (1 lb of salt, with a bit of baking soda 2x week). Cry. (see #8)
7. FERMENT (thank you Shoshi!): buy or make homemade sauerkrauts & kim chi or trade with someone who does. This weekend some friends and I had a fermenting party and made buckets of crunchy apple, juniper berry and cabbage kraut, pickled ginger beets, and spicy kim chi. it's fun to massage vegetables in community. These lively foods have the probiotics your gut needs and wants and are deeply nourishing and restorative. my favorite (and very roughly used) cookbook on this subject: Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz
8. LOVE: send prayers, love, healing thoughts for those who need it most. Instead of freaking out or shutting down, let your anger, fear, and grief flow- it's what makes us human and feel connected to what's going on in the world right now. Crying is a potent way to detox, friends.
9. HERBS: if you want to get herbal, some great allies are nettle tea, cilantro (eat a lot of it or take a tincture- it helps draw heavy metals out ), and milk thistle (helps your liver process toxins). Also Yarrow Environmental Essence from FES is a beautiful formula to support the body in environmental disasters.
Magical Medicinal Miso* Soup
Saute one onion, sliced thin til translucent. Add water, seaweed of choice (I like Kombu and Wakame), shitake mushrooms (dried or fresh), burdock root, carrots, and any other hearty roots you like. Simmer for 25 minutes.
I like to add shredded or sliced ginger near the end, so it's strong, and some garlic. You can also add greens, like kale or spinach.
Because you don't want to boil your miso, I usually put a large dollop of miso paste in my bowl and then pour the broth on top to dissolve it.
Drink bowls and offer bowls to all your loved ones and neighbors, kiddos and pets, family and friends.
*I live about 20 minutes from the best miso factory ever, South River Miso, which is made in barrels with lots of love and magic.
Get your Daikon
Easy Shredded Salad
Shred 1 carrot and 1 daikon radish
Mix with sesame oil and a little umeboshi vinegar (also a great medicine!), sesame seeds, whatever fresh herbs you've got on hand (I love mint or cilantro), and a little tamari. Eat and feel alive and well thanks to the plants, the sun, the water and the farmers.
Sesame Kelp Brittle
Another seaweed recipe courtesy of the folks at She Sells Seaweed, given to me by my friend Angie.
~1/2 Cup Brown Rice Syrup
~1/4 Cup Olive Oil
~Dash of shoyu soy sauce
~1 cup sesame seeds
~1/2 Cup crushed Almonds
~1/4-3/4 cup or to your liking of finely crushed kelp (set oven on low heat and bake kelp for 10 min or until crisp and grind in food processor)
~2-3 tsp of fresh finely chopped ginger root
Heat syrup, oil and soy sauce in small sauce pan. When mixture begins to foam up add seeds, nuts, kelp, and ginger, and stir thoroughly.
Line a large cookie sheet w/parchment.
Spread mixture onto parchment and then cover with another piece of parchment and roll out flat w/rolling pin (or glass or jar!). Remove top parchment.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes-- and then for the last few minutes check every minute until golden. Remove from oven and rip away parchment after 5-10 minutes. Break into pieces and enjoy!!
Finally, in times like this, we tend to wildly swing from a state of overwhelm to shutting down, as we try to make sense of something incomprehensible. While the larger consumer culture encourages us to carry on, business as usual, and sometimes that can feel so necessary when the grief and suffering is so immense, it seems to me that that allowing ourselves to feel vulnerable is good medicine. I'm again so grateful for the work I've done with Joanna Macy, who outlines these principles in the Work that Reconnects:
- This world, in which we are born and take our being, is alive.
It is not our supply house and sewer; it is our larger body. The intelligence that evolved us from star dust and interconnects us with all beings is sufficient for the healing of our Earth community, if we but align with that purpose.
- Our true nature is far more ancient and encompassing than the separate self defined by habit and society.
We are as intrinsic to our living world as the rivers and trees, woven of the same intricate flows of matter/energy and mind. Having evolved us into self-reflexive consciousness, the world can now know itself through us, behold its own majesty, tell its own stories--and also respond to its own suffering.
- Our experience of pain for the world springs from our inter-connectedness with all beings, from which also arises our powers to act on their behalf.
When we deny or repress our pain for the world, or treat it as a private pathology, our power to take part in the healing of our world is diminished. This apatheia need not become a terminal condition. Our capacity to respond to our own and others' suffering--that is, the feedback loops that weave us into life--can be unblocked.
- Unblocking occurs when our pain for the world is not only intellectually validated, but experienced.
Cognitive information about the crises we face, or even about our psychological responses to them, is insufficient. We can only free ourselves from our fears of the pain--including the fear of getting permanently mired in despair or shattered by grief--when we allow ourselves to experience these feelings. Only then can we discover their fluid, dynamic character. Only then can they reveal on a visceral level our mutual belonging to the web of life.
- When we reconnect with life, by willingly enduring our pain for it, the mind retrieves its natural clarity.
Not only do we experience our interconnectedness in the community of Earth, but also mental eagerness arises to match this experience with new paradigm thinking. Concepts which bring relatedness into focus become vivid. Significant learnings occur, for the individual system is reorganizing and reorienting, grounding itself in wider reaches of identity and self-interest.
- The experience of reconnection with the Earth community arouses desire to act on its behalf.
As Earth's self-healing powers take hold within us, we feel called to participate in the Great Turning. For these self-healing powers to operate effectively, they must be trusted and acted on. The steps we take can be modest undertakings, but they should involve some risk to our mental comfort, lest we remain caught in old, "safe" limits. Courage is a great teacher and bringer of joy.
What are your favorite recipes for resiliency and courage?
Take care everyone.