Spring detox for family and pets

Barbara Reale shows us the natural way to abundant energy through simple diet changes and offers a couple of easy recipes–using garden ‘weeds’ dandelion and nettle–to “make your liver smile”.

If you don’t have pain below the right side of your ribcage, you might think your liver is happy. But that’s not necessarily true. Most people’s livers don’t function optimally, although blood tests may indicate ‘normal’ liver activity. The main reason is that the intake of too many carbohydrates, pain-killers, birth-control pills, fatty foods, and food additives, coupled with toxins generated by fermentation or putrefaction of food in the intestines can overload the liver. The liver’s activities become impaired, chemical reactions are slowed down and the metabolic engine stutters as the body moves into low gear. Add lack of exercise and sleep and the situation can be even worse.

How the liver works

The liver is the most important filtering gland in our body and, like a car filter, needs periodical cleansing to work optimally. If not cleaned effectively, its filtering action is impaired and it starts to underperform. As a consequence, we develop symptoms such as migraine, painful periods, pain between the shoulder blades, haemorrhoids, a bitter taste in mouth, morning sickness and nausea. We become easily hung over, feel irritable and develop sensitivity to things such as perfume, smoke and chemicals.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), spring is the liver season.  In spring fresh herbs are readily available and animals instinctively seek out fresh herbs and fruits. Spring and summer are rejuvenating periods when animals shed their winter coats and change their diets.Even if we live in a world ever more dominated by cyber space, our instincts towards healing food are still alive and kicking.

Unlike creatures of the wild, domestic animals and human beings often need help when it comes to rejuvenation and rely on herbal detoxification to help remove unwanted substances, induce cell turnover and increase energy levels. So, adding some fresh fruit and raw minced veggies to your daily meals at this time of year is beneficial, and easy to apply to the whole family, pets included.Ginger

Dandelion salad with vinaigretteApproximately 2 c. chopped new dandelion leaves.
Approximately 2 c. chopped ripe tomatoes.
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced or chopped.
2 Tbsp. chopped spring onion.
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil.
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar.
1/2 tsp. salt.

Barbara RealeToss together chopped dandelion leaves, tomatoes, onion and eggs. Pour the dressing over the greens and toss gently. If flowers are small and fresh, add them as well. Dandelion leaves are a little bitter, but are delicious in combination with tomatoes and boiled eggs. This ‘salad’ herb is considered a delicacy in Italy.

Nettle risotto

8 oz (260 g) tender young nettle tops (net weight).
11 oz (320 g) risotto rice (e.g. arborio).
3 large shallots or 1 small onion.
4 tablespoons olive oil.
1 oz (30 g) butter.
4 fl oz (120 ml) dry white wine.
1 cube msg free vegetable stock.
1 oz (30 gr.) grated Parmesan cheese.
Salt and pepper.

1. Wash the nettle leaves.  Blanch for 2 minutes in 22 oz (64o ml) boiling salted water. Drain (keep the nettle stock simmering on the fire) and chop finely.
2. Heat olive oil in a large thick-bottomed saucepan (a heavy base is important to prevent burning)
3. Peel the shallots, chop finely and cook gently in the saucepan for a few minutes until tender. Add the chopped nettles and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring.
4. Pour in the wine and let it evaporate for 2 minutes, then add all the boiling nettle stock. When boiling again, sprinkle in the rice, stir and cook on a gentle flame, uncovered, until all the liquid has evaporated, without further stirring.
5. After cooking for about 15 – 20 minutes, the liquid should be evaporated and the rice tender but with some ‘bite’; take the pan of the stove and stir in the freshly grated Parmesan cheese and the butter which will melt and make the rice look glossy.

Further suggestions:
You can boil bigger leaves and stems to make a delicious vegetable stock for the whole family. When dark green, remove stems and process the leaves and the green water with a blender.

Remember that your pets need nutrients as well in this period, so add this remineralising stock to their food. They will love it!


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