Love, Romance and Aphrodisiacs.

I can't tell you how to find love.  And in my experience love finds you, you don't find it. What I can say about love is that it transcends romance and should permeate every extension of our existence. Love is not just for lovers, it is for all of us. We are all, therefore, lovers in the highest sense.

 

If you are a meditative person, and I hope you are, meditate on love. Let it radiate from you like the golden light of the sun. It will act like a magnet pulling you towards a future that will be full up with love.  We focus on the one aspect of love and forget that love is a multifaceted gem. Romance is great yet so is every other type of love.

 

I am all about family love, neighborly love, love for nature - all love, really! Still, there is a time when we highlight this romantic type of love. So, I will wax a little less philosophical and share some romantic notions both vegan and indigenous in nature.

 

I still remember the first meal I cooked for my now husband. I made him wild rice and he is not a fan of wild rice. Not the romantic meal I had envisioned! Yet still we made it past that plated blunder (and many others) to a place of mutual culinary coziness.

 

The is no perfection in love or on a plate. Both love and lunch thrive with touch of an artist, of a lover. So if you plan on making a meal for your beloved, let the love flow through you as you prepare their food. Intentionally make your love the first ingredient. It can only help your efforts!

 

Now onto a more blood pumping topic: aphrodisiacs! Most people will probably not put a lot of stock into the true potency of any given edible love elixir. I can understand why, with so many strange things being labeled as aphrodisiacs. Who could sort them out? Well, I have a simple rule of thumb to regulate which ones I deem valid. I just ask this question: Does it improve circulation?

 

Did you ever think of circulation as romantic or sexy? Turns out it plays a big role in romantic activities. Poor circulation (often due to blockages and other heart issues) can lead to decreased activity levels and even impotence. That's the opposite of what we are looking for when it comes to romance! We want to promote virility and vitality.  Vitality is sexy and vitality is built on a foundation of healthy heart circulation.

 

So to make your partner feel zesty and romantic feed them the proper aphrodisiacs. All of the following aphrodisiacs promote circulatory health and are indigenous to the Americas. Let's start with breakfast:

 

Stare at your lover over a cup of hot coffee. I don't personally like having coffee because it gives me heart palpitations but if you can enjoy it without the jitters, drink up for love!

 

Make Chocolate Acai smoothie bowls! Per bowl just blend 1 pack of frozen Acai (usually 4oz), 1 banana, 1/4 cup nondairy milk of choice, ½ cup ice, 1-2 tablespoons cocoa powder or cacao nibs. For fun toppings can include fresh berries,  shredded coconut and/or sliced strawberries.

 

Lunch: Anything! Just add cayenne pepper and/or avocado for an added aphrodisiatic boost.

 

Dinner: Again, I wouldn't dare to impede your creative culinary endeavors so cook away! Just add the herb Savory to spice up your evening.

 

Other native herbal aphrodisiacs*:  Damiana, Guarana, American Ginseng, Deer's Toungue Leaf (Vanilla Leaf), Maca and Echinacea.

*Please remember to exercise caution when using any herbs and heed any warnings or directions associated with your chosen herb(s). Please consult your doctor if you or your parter have any heart or relevant health issues.

 

I hope you are finding all kinds of love in your life and I hope that it's delicious! Enjoy!

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Acai bowl with berries on my Instagram.  

Food is Good Medicine.

I have been inspired by a friend of mine that is an actor, a writer and mother to write about food as medicine. It was going to come up soon anyway! My friend has a child that suffers from eczema. I actually have many friends whose children suffer from this condition. I know adults with it, too. Before I go on I think it's important to note that I am not a doctor or a nutritionist. I am simply a proponent of healthy eating and believe in the many beneficial "side effects" of proper nutrition! Always seek the care of a doctor if the situation calls for it. 

So, on to eating for health. It is the current understanding of my native folks to seriously limit sugar intake. Also, when possible, eat local and with the seasons as this is nature's way of giving you what you need, when you need it. Today, specifically, we will be tackling skin health. I have done some research and have come up with a few recipes and tips to help your skin heal. The first is an alternative to bone broth which is said to heal skin issues partly due to its rich mineral content. You can choose to add or subtract things from this recipe and you will still find it satisfying and healing. Here is a recipe mineral-rich vegan soup that is sure to please your palate, as well! 

 

Mineral-Rich Vegan Soup*:

*Note - If you are like me and like to have homemade beans as a staple in your house, great! Just add two cups to the soup. Otherwise...

1 can of rinsed beans (chef's choice) 

3 potatoes, diced (skin on preferably!)

3 cups veggie or mushroom broth

1 small onion, diced

2 cups water

2 cloves of garlic, diced

1 cup of chopped spinach (tightly packed) 

1 cup of medium chopped broccoli  

1 cup of finely chopped cabbage

2 tablespoons olive oil

 

In a large pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat; cook and stir in the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes until they are clear and soft. Add in broccoli and garlic and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring often. 

Pour in the broth and water. Add potatoes and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender (approximately 20 minutes). Add the beans and the rest of your ingredients. Add salt and pepper, if needed. Cover and simmer for about 20-25 minutes. 

Pro Tips: I didn't add any real seasonings to this recipe but it should be full of flavor! Feel free to add herbs and seasoning to your tastes! Also, I highly recommend making as much of this soup organic as possible. The health benefits can diminish significantly when pesticides, insecticides and gmos are in the mix. Also, if eating something that costs fifty cents more can save you an expensive doctor visit in the future, it's probably worth it! 

Mineral-rich soup: Yum!   Did you know that common beans (like pintos)and potatoes are both originally from Peru? It's true!

Mineral-rich soup: Yum!   Did you know that common beans (like pintos)and potatoes are both originally from Peru? It's true!

 "But my kid won't eat veggie soup!", you say. Well, say no more because I also have a complimentary smoothie recipe! This recipe focuses on vitamins that are vital to skin health. As with the soup recipe, ingredients can be added or removed and you should still receive the overall health benefits of this yummy treat!

 

Vitamin-rich Tropical Smoothie:  

1/2 large apple, diced

1/3 cup diced pineapple  (fresh or in its own juice)

1/2 cup fresh, diced papaya  

1/3 shredded beets

1/2 cup blueberries and/or cherries (fresh or frozen) 

2/3 cup coconut yogurt  

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed and/or chia seed

1/4 cup chopped walnuts. 

 

Add all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. 

Pro Tip: Put a little bit of the berries, walnuts and/or seeds aside to sprinkle on as topping(s). Feel free to add ice and/or banana when blending your smoothie, it's good either way!

Other foods for skin health: 

Avocado (my favorite!) 

Raw almonds

Raw seeds

Kale

Cooked tomatoes

Peppers

 

Foods to avoid:  

Peanuts

Milk

Soy

Fish

Wheat

Eggs

 

Traditional Herbal Medicines for Eczema:  Garlic, Goldenseal, Plantain, Dandelion. Sassafras, Puffball, Black Walnut, Slippery Elm, Shepherds Purse, Yarrow, Sumac, Spleenwort Fern and Serviceberry. Most of these, like goldenseal, would be in a poultice or a tea and placed directly on the inflamed area. An additional natural medicine is a small piece of absorbent cloth, like flannel, that can be soaked in castor oil and applied to the area in need.

Final Pro Tip: Make health a family affair! Have the kids break up cruciferous veggies, like broccoli and cauliflower, and some sweet peppers. Then mash some avocados for some family-style guacamole. Finely diced kale can be folded in for some added health benefits. Use cut veggies as guacamole dippers and enjoy!