Rise up to Spring: Dandelions!

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Dandelion blooms

Dandelion blooms

I woke up this morning with a gentle dewy breeze slipping through my window, tickling my face. Slowly I opened my eyes and noticed right away that there was a new and distinctive quality of light in the sky. I rose up to start the day- starting with my prayers of gratitude. Then gathered myself to go hike and run through Central park nearby. The warmth of the morning sun and the cool breeze had Spring written all over it. I’m solar powered, so the sensation of evanescent warmth ignited in me a vigor to be active and explore the outdoors.

I have a background in plant sciences and botanical studies, so I always take note of the plants, what they are doing, how they are growing, as I am well aware that Mother Nature speaks to us through her intricate plant world. Sometimes I stop and pick what I consider to be powerful plant medicine-dandelion, red clover, plantain leaf, lamb’s quarters, mullein; all growing in a most peculiar way. It amazes me that a tiny seed would see fit to germinate, take root, and sprout up through the cracks of asphalt- that’s what I call an Uprising! Such determination inspires me to do the work that I do with mothers at Mama Glow. Sprouting seeds and budding new life giving hope and possibility beyond what we can imagine.

Look around- these powerful weeds are nestled in with other vegetation, so you may not even notice them at first glance. I’m starting to see a lot of dandelion and red clover bunches which indicates that it is time to collect these plants and do our own spring cleaning- internally. Dandelion is a strong bitter herb that has an astringent and cleansing action on the liver and kidneys. It helps to break down fats stored in the liver and gallbladder and promotes healthy colon function. Its a great plant to introduce especially as we transition from eating hearty winter foods to light spring inspired meals. The young leaves are a great addition to salads, and sandwiches.

Take a moment to check out some tasty ways to incorporate these spring cleaning greens into your diet. Enjoy.

Dandelion greens & crushed red pepper

Dandelion greens & crushed red pepper

Sauteed Dandelion Greens with Garlic 

2lbs dandelion greens, thoroughly washed

2 tbsp olive oil

5 cloves garlic, bruised and smashed open

crushed red pepper to taste

sea salt to taste

Boil the greens in salted water for up to 2 minutes. Shock in a bowl of ice water to stop the greens from cooking, and to retain the green color. Drain and lightly squeeze out water. Heat the oil in a skillet then add the garlic, cooking over low heat, as the garlic begins to brown add in the greens, stirring, to mix in the garlic flavor, cover and allow to cook, increasing the heat for 3 minutes. Season with sea salt and crushed red pepper. Please buy organically grown dandelion because since most folks consider them a pesty weed, they are usually heavily sprayed.

You can also add Dandelion greens to a mixed green salad, to pack in some extra protein, add some raw pumpkin seeds, or walnuts, or hemp seeds. Sprinkle some dulse flakes, add some avocado slices, and add your favorite salad dressing and you’re in business.

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