Friday, July 08, 2011

My Leafy Friends

My leafy friends are back!! Lamb's Quarters at the leash-free dog park are big as small trees (yes, I wash them really, really well). The leaves are four inches long and they stand as tall as me.

Thanks to Victoria Boutenko and her inspiring book, Green for Life, I'm gobbling them up raw in green smoothies. Amazingly, those quarter inch stems turn into froth along with the chickweed, spinach, dandelion leaves, blueberries, plums and apples I put in with them. If the dandelion tang threatens to overwhelm my palette, I just throw in a little stevia and lemon juice. Voila! Perfection.

Now I finally understand why the raw food people get so excited. Eating raw is not a viable lifestyle for me because me teeth are starting to leave me. But when the blender does the work, I'm all over it. Instead of having to count calories, or change my routine, I just add a morning blender drink and
1. I don't have to cook anything
2. I stop craving sugar, coffee and chocolate. (I still eat it. I just don't crave it.)
3. I feel jet propelled as though it was caffeinated
4. Strangely enough, the extra weight I've carried for years is sliding off me since I replaced store bought spinach with the wild greens in the smoothie.
Yep, those wild greens are my buddies and look, four years later, I still can't stop talking about them. Look at earlier posts for photos to ID these amazing plants for yourself. I bet you have them all over your yard. They like foundation walls, telephone poles, fences and, of course, snuggled up to your beets, lettuce, carrots and tomatoes in the garden.

I planted a bed of Jerusalem artichokes this year in rotted horse doo-doo and guess what I got? Wraparound pigweed! Another excellent blender buddy! I don't know why I waste my money on seed.

If you think about it and really notice the difference, cultivated veggies are a distant second in taste and nutritional power to lamb's quarters, chickweed, pigweed, plantain, purslane, burdock leaf stems, and a host of others too good to believe. I get more produce out of my alley, backyard and the city parks than my garden right now!

This blog started five years ago when the collards behind my former house kept reseeding and growing. Six generations of collards with no-gardener-in-sight were producing bigger and better plants than when gardener assisted. Note to self: they don't need us.

Even when I was sneaking back there
(note winter alley grazing outfit) and pulling them out of the snow , all beat up, moth eaten, and winter fried, they were soft and sweet as brand new when steamed.

What I see now is that the most powerful plants announce their nutritional vigor by the way they grow.
1. By being inventive & adaptable, i.e. growing in sidewalk cracks, out of the sides of compost piles, under decks, on roofs, up trees!!

2. By
growing to outlandish sizes, those showoffs.

3. By growing really fast, getting way ahead of conventional, garden-bred leafy greens.

In the plant world, they're clearly athletes.
Don't they just scream out, "Have I Got a Surprise for You!!"

Do you think maybe they're trying a little too hard to get our attention?
As if they know what's better for us than we do?!
excellent burdock photo by Andrew Williams/