Understanding Intelligence in the World of Plants

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By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

I started reading The Secret Life of Plants, by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird quite a few years ago. I had purchased it on Amazon (Again, one of their recommendations. Thanks, Amazon!).

It sat on my bookshelf with all the other books waiting to be read, and then a friend whose knowledge I deeply respect, Dr. Sue Morter, saw it sitting, and mentioned that her mother had recommended that book to her. She read it and had found it fascinating.

So I dusted it off and dove into it for a bit, and I found it deeply fascinating as well.

I also found it exciting to read about this whole new world of plants and how they communicate, and learned that although they have no nervous system and brain as humans do, they do utilize quite an intricate system for communication.

Now, this was about 10 years ago, and back then I didn’t share much of what I read with too many people – I knew they wouldn’t be very receptive.

Years later, when I went to a presentation given by Deepak Chopra, he mentioned Cleve Backster, author of Primary Perception, whose studies were referenced in this book.

I became even more excited, as the information exposed in the book was becoming more widely discussed. I began sharing what I had read, and surprisingly, others were intrigued as well.

Given how passionate I am about growing food the best way possible – for the benefit of humans, animals, and the environment – I am feeling a mental nudge to open it up and refresh myself on all the information.

I’ve always felt that plants have an innate sense of intelligence – I mean, how could they produce such amazing things like flowers or fruits or herbs or trees from seeds if they didn’t?

My mind always wants to know how and why, and I guess that’s why I love this book. It shares the scientific research behind the intelligence in plants and their relationship to humans.

I also purchased Secrets of the Soil by Tompkins and Bird, and I’m hoping for time to crack that one open as well.  But, yet again, I am feeling nudged to start reading it, especially as we are trying to bring the soil in our original horse pastures back to health. I’m hoping I will find some interesting answers as I read.

I love stuff like this – it pushes the boundaries of what we think is reality, and opens up a whole new world of perceptions and possibilities.

Perhaps therein we will find many of the answers we need to start healing the planet.
Intriguing stuff!

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Will an Apple a Day Really Keep the Doctor Away?

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By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

Apples are one of my favorite fruits. I know… I say that about a lot of fruits – cherries. Strawberries, obviously. Oh yeah, and blueberries, of course…!

But, in terms of how often I eat a particular fruit, I would have to say that I eat more apples in a year than any other fruit, and probably any other food in general! I’ve always felt pretty good about the apples and homemade peanut butter snack I have every day – this one IS my favorite snack, no contest.

Unfortunately, the more I am learning about food and our food system here in the States, the more I’m realizing just how vigilant I need to be when choosing which foods to put in my body.

You would think I would have figured this one out sooner, but I didn’t. It was only within the last year that I started buying only organic apples (or apples from a local farmer who could tell me how they were grown), and here’s why:

Did you know that apples top the “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and vegetables? This is the list of the fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticide residue – even after they have been washed.

Pesticides showed up on 99% of apples tested – and it wasn’t just that pesticides were present, which is bad enough. Each apple actually shows a wide variety of different pesticides!

Also, non-organic apples (along with a number of other non-organic foods) are irradiated.

Irradiation is a process where food is given a specific dosage of ionizing radiation with the intent of increasing its shelf life and killing possible pathogens. The challenge with irradiation is that it has been found to chemically alter the food, as well as decrease its nutritional content. Currently, it is widely accepted that irradiated food is inferior to non-irradiated food in terms of its nutritional integrity.

So now, just when I feel good about eating organic apples, I find that organic apples (and pears) are allowed to be sprayed with the antibiotics tetracycline and streptomycin to manage the disease Fire Blight.

Organic farmers can use these antibiotics until October 21, 2014, but under pressure from organic apple and pear farmers, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is considering extending the date to 2016.

Antibiotics on organic apples?! Isn’t that an oxymoron?

Looking back at all of the apples I have eaten over the years – organic, and non-organic – and thinking about my gluten sensitivity, I can’t help but wonder if there may be a connection.

Do the pesticides sprayed on the apples have a similar effect on the gut flora as glyphosate from RoundUp (check out my previous post on the health issues associated)? After all, one of the harmful effects of taking too many antibiotics is that they can kill off our beneficial gut flora.

Our food industry has made it extremely difficult to eat foods that are nutritionally dense and healthy. So many of the foods Americans eat set the stage for disease, inflammation, and deterioration, and sometimes they masquerade as healthy (organic) options, when they may be just as harmful as another variety.

Ask questions. Know where your food comes from. There has never been a more critical time in history to be a Foodie Bitch!

Cooking With What’s in Season: Kale and Garlic Scape Egg Scramble

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By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

I was trying to think of something to make for breakfast that would include some of the produce I picked up at the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids this past weekend.

There’s still not a ton of produce available this early in the season, but I did get a few cucumber plants to replace the ones I planted that didn’t make it. I also picked up some Lacinato Kale to try out.

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While walking around, I saw these green, curly things that a few of the vendors had out, but I had no idea what they were.

I overheard one of the farmers explaining that they are the tip of the garlic plants. They trim them off the plant early in the year to divert energy back to the bulb of the plant, where the clove develops.  They are called “garlic scapes” and they have a mild garlic flavor.

They looked quite unusual, so I decided to buy some. Why not, right?

Later that day, I was watering the garden, and I looked at our own garlic. I was excited to see that we had some scapes growing in our garden as well! I clipped a couple off and took them in to show everyone.

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So, this morning, I decided to combine them with a few other things for a delicious egg scramble. Here’s what I did:

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Ingredients:

1 bunch Lacinato Kale, finely chopped

3 garlic scapes

1 cup cooked rice

6 organic eggs

6 sliced cooked bacon (I used Creswick Farms‘ Black Pepper and Garlic with Sea Salt)

3 Tbsp. crumbled goat cheese (I used Dancing Goat Creamery herb and fennel)

4 Tbsp. olive oil

Instructions:

Cook the bacon in the oven:  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and put the bacon in the oven on an aluminum-foiled lined pan as it is preheating. Cook for 15 minutes. Some cuts of bacon may need to cook longer.

Heat a skillet and add coat with the olive oil.  Add the kale and garlic scapes, and sauté for 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat another pan over medium-high heat, and add 1 Tbsp. olive oil.  Add 1 cup cooked rice and stir to evenly coat.  Fry the rice until it is just slightly crispy.

Add the rice to the kale and garlic, and fold in to let the flavors mix.

Scramble the eggs in 1 Tbsp. olive oil.  Season with sea salt and pepper.

Add the kale, garlic scapes, and rice to the scrambled eggs.

Divide the scramble onto 4 plates and sprinkle with the goat cheese. Top with crumbled bacon.

Serve and enjoy your organic, gluten-free healthy morning meal!

Beachbody’s Shakeology – Foodie Bitch Approved

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

I don’t make a habit of having meal replacement drinks… but, as I’ve mentioned, there are days that I’m running around crazy, and I may be on my way out the door in need of a QUICK – but nutritious – snack.

That’s when Beachbody’s Shakeology comes in handy.

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I’ve been working out with Beachbody’s P90X and P90X2 for a couple of years now and I love it (although I’m usually opting to choose other four-letter words than “love” while I’m doing them). They’re the most intense workouts out there, but what I love about them is that they don’t promise those quick and easy results that most others do, but can’t deliver.

You have to work hard and put a ton of effort and have discipline, but the results speak for themselves.

And so it is with their Shakeology.  They didn’t skimp on the research that went into developing the formula, nor did they cut any corners with the quality of ingredients that goes into their mixes.  Reading through the list of ingredients you’ll see great super-protein foods like chia, quinoa, and amaranth.

There’s also superfruit and antioxidant foods like camu-camu, goji berry, and green tea.

Then there’s the adaptogen foods (foods that decrease cellular stress levels) like ashwagandha, ginkgo, and maca.

And, finally, a probiotic and digestive enzyme blend that may include yacon root, lipase, and lactase.

I love how I recognize all of the ingredients – nothing I can’t pronounce, though some are certainly exotic.  I also love that they don’t use any artificial sweeteners. If I were to make a meal replacement drink, it would look pretty similar to Shakeology – which says a lot!

How about the taste?

My family opts for the chocolate flavor, which is the best tasting chocolate meal replacement drink I’ve ever tried. Seriously. They even have options for vegans.

When I make Shakeology, I substitute coconut water for regular water, add ice, and top it off with 1 to 2 Tbsp. of organic peanut butter.

Sometimes, like I mentioned, I will drink it when I’m out of time and need some dense nutritious food quickly, and other times I will use it for a mid-morning, mid-afternoon, or evening snack. No matter when I need it, it’s delicious, it fills me up, and I feel satisfied for hours after drinking.

Oh, and a bonus – it’s gluten free!