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Say's Phoebe - San Antonio NM, April 15, 2010

Eat Wild

I think eating wild foods and foods that themselves grew eating wild things is good for me.

John's Rules

Eating wild foods fits right in with my evolving John's Rules.

Read this

An Ex-Instincto's Guide to Instinctive Eating

I had a remarkable experience

6/9/03 Excerpted from an email to Jane:

But I did try a few wild things with quite remarkable results.

Thursday I wandered off to see what I could gather up from memory, the book already having taken off.

So I find me some plantain leaves, violet leaves, wild onions, and day lily tubers for a salad. Then I make a cup of pine needle tea. And a cup of mint tea. And I use some small burdock leaves and milkweed leaves for a pot herb. All small quantities to sample.

Quite yummy overall. One would expect pine needle tea to taste like hot pine tree - it doesn't - its quite gentle, a little sweet and quite refreshing. The salad was good with some oil & vinegar and salt & pepper except that the plantain leaves I chose were too big and strong tasting. The burdock I made the mistake of putting a tiny sample of the leaf into my mouth raw - now that'll screw up your face with the bitterness! And keep it screwed with the aftertaste! Phew. But boiled in 3 changes of water as directed it becomes mild like spinach. Same with the milkweed. All in all a successful adventure.

Now the interesting part. A few minutes later I had an overall sense of a light, refreshed well being I don't think I've ever experienced after a meal. A sense that this was how food should make a human feel - a sense that it was "real" food. A deep, gut, feeling of well being. Very interesting. And it got me thinking, oh dear me not again! Human beans didn't evolve in the presence of modern agriculture, they/we evolved eating a wide variety of what we now call wild things. Weeds? Things with a far more concentrated and complex basket of nutrients and minerals than is in even the best stuff we get today. And that these complex collections interact and "feed" the body in ways the "simple" stuff doesn't. That there's a synergy at work that has evolved over millions of years.

Now for interesting parts 2. There is something in my environment that I've in the last couple of years been becoming increasingly allergic to. The symptom being stuffed sinuses. Usually it would start in the fall and I'd take 12 hour Sudafed until it went away late winter - early spring . This year it hasn't gone away. And the Sudafed isn't fully relieving the pressure and congestion and the feeling of having a brick in my face full time. Well. An hour after this meal I was aware that something had changed. The pressure was diminishing. So I skipped my next dose of Sudafed to see what was up - all these things are used medicinally as well as for food, but the book had flown the coop and I while I remembered that something, not necessarily any of the ones I'd eaten at this meal, was used for sinus congestion. By next morning the sinuses were still feeling pretty good and I skipped another Sudafed and went about my day. Knowing all the while that I had eaten something important. I decided to try and isolate the magic weed, ie: try them one by one - search the net etc. First thing I did was reach down and pick a small plantain leaf off the lawn in passing, put it in my mouth, and knew instantly, as soon as my teeth broke the surface, that I had the right one. I could intuit it - FEEL it - in my soul. Good bye Sudafed - I haven't felt this good since last summer. I just eat a leaf now & then, 3-4 a day. Gotta note that this isn't treating the underlying allergy - just the stuffed sinuses. That's another project.

A few resources

Weston A. Price Foundation - Principles of Healthy Diets

Learn about Foraging

Lambs quarters page at Kingdom: Plantae

NativeWeb - Indigenous Plants Resources

Beyond Vegitarianism - transcending outdated dogmas

The Paleolithic Diet Page - What the Hunter/Gatherers Ate - a list of resources