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Living the Herbal Lifestyle: Cooking with Herbs

Living the Herbal Lifestyle: Cooking with Herbs

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In order to prevent illness that would have us running to our medicine cabinets for relief, we must be consuming real, whole foods on a regular basis – food that is faithfully depositing and not withdrawing from our body’s nutrient stores.

For this reason, herbs are as important in our kitchen cabinets as they are on our natural medicinal shelves.

Herbs are a perfect addition to a real food diet but we need to make eating them a LIFESTYLE if we desire to reach ultimate vitality.

How to Live an Herbal Lifestyle…

Living an herbal lifestyle is simple.  Really simple.

We’re not talking about the pressure of following a strange diet plan, eating lots of green algae, or buying strange super foods.

Just eat your herbs.spices20spoons1

Why Eat Herbs?

Herbs are nutritious, whole foods.  They are plants, and like other plants, cooking allows their nutrients to be more readily absorbed by our bodies.  This is what they were designed for!

There is no need to take herbs in capsule form.  Only drugs should be encapsulated, since they obviously taste bad. 

That said, I don’t recommend anyone go enjoy a cup of Goldenseal or Passion Flower Tea.  Those are just downright nasty!

Herbs not only boost the flavor of our meals, herbs also increase the nutritional content.  We need herbs more than ever before to fill the nutritional void in our food caused by poor soil and conventional farming methods. Thankfully, herbs are packed with vitamins and minerals and are more nutrient-dense than most plants.

Herbs also contain antioxidants! And the process of cooking further enhances their antioxidant levels!  (Source)

What Herbs Should We Eat? 

Herbs are incredibly powerful plants.  The scope of their medicinal and nutritional value is expansive, but keep in mind that some herbs are downright dangerous to use on a regular basis. That’s why Faith and I are huge fans of adaptogenic herbs

Adaptogenic herbs are non-toxic and safe to use (with some exceptions) if you’re taking prescription medication.  Furthermore, this herbal group facilitates strength and wellness in the body, increases the body’s ability to cope with stress, and produces an all-encompassing state of balance and health!

But best of all, many adaptogenic herbs are considered weeds (by the unsuspecting public), which means they are often free and easily accessible.

There’s no argument: adaptogenic herbs give you substantial, nutritional bang for your hard-earned buck.

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A New Habit, Made Easy

Rumor has it that it takes 66 days to form a new habit.  (Source)  Well, we’re going to help you do it in half the time!

Faith and I make it our weekly goal to bring you one or two new recipes featuring the addition of a different herb each month.  We want to show you just how easy it is to live the herbal lifestyle… right from your own kitchen!  

That dish you make over and over again?  

Throw in a few tablespoons of herbs!

And while herbs like garlic and basil are used quite frequently in the kitchen for their notable flavor and aroma, why not make it a point to use some less common, less flavorful – but invaluable and highly nutritious – herbs?

You might be very familiar with basil, but what about holy basil?  Nettle?  Astragalus?

These herbs can be used fresh or dried and offer quite a nutritional punch.

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Some herbs, like nettle or dandelion, are delicious fresh, and their steamed young leaves can be used just like spinach.  Dandelion leaves can also be served raw and tossed in salad.

Fresh and dried herbs make a fabulous addition to soup or stew, whether it be cold soup – like this garden-fresh gazpacho — or hot – like this chicken nettle soup.  

In fact, one of the easiest ways to cook with dried herbs is to simply toss them into a simmering pot of bone broth.  

Hearty herbs and roots, such as astragalus and dandelion root, can simmer for several hours.  More delicate herbs and leaves, such as nettle and alfalfa, can be added about a half hour before the bone broth is done. 

Throw fresh or dried herbs into burgers, patties, sloppy joes, fajitas, salads, saucesmuffinspancakesfrittatas – even sorbetsThe list goes on and on.

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You can also incorporate these herbs into fermented foods and beverages, like this strawberry-dandelion smoothie or this herbal kefir iced tea.

Powdered herbs are also a wonderful addition to the kitchen cabinet.  Keep in mind that powder has a shorter shelf-life, so for best results, purchase the herb in its whole form and powder the leaves and petals as needed using a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder.  The powder can then be added to absolutely any preparation, including condiments, sauces, and dressings.

Toss powdered herbs into yogurt, sour cream, salad dressing, or hummus.  They are also wonderful in sweet treats like cinnamon rolls or scones.

In fact, powdered herbs can be used in baked goods by simply replacing a small amount of flour or oatmeal with equal parts herb powder.  Try them mixed with honey or maple syrup and other ingredients for an easy on-the-go snack, like these coconut alfalfa energy bites!

Dandelion Banana Muffins

For Best Results… Keep Herbs within Arm’s Reach

To get you fast on track to an herbal lifestyle, make sure you keep your herbs out and in plain view where they are easily accessible.  

Put them on display somewhere in your kitchen.  

Dedicate wall space to a cubby or shelf and line up your herbs in mason or storage jars out of direct sunlight.

By keeping your herbs easily accessible and always on hand, you will make them part of your culinary routine in no time! 

I promise you these herbs will become invaluable tools in your arsenal of real food.  

And pretty soon, they will become a lifestyle, too.

 

This post has been shared at: Natural Family Friday, Better Mom Monday, Modest Monday, Make Your Own Monday, Homestead Barn Hop, Natural Living Link-Up, Thank Your Body Thursday.

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