You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘oats’ tag.

You know how much I like to eat. But right now, where I am in our pregnancy, my relationship with food is ambivalent at best.

But breakfast, at least, I’ve got tucked away. Each evening, I put in a small bowl some rolled (GF) oats, a pinch of sea salt, a drizzle of agave nectar, and a spoonful of astragalus powder. Over this, I spoon a moderate amount of plain whole milk yogurt. After sitting in the fridge overnight, the oats are softened and toothsome, and the astragalus and agave impart a sweet, slightly nutty and buttery flavor to the mix. The yogurt provides good fats and probiotics to help with that touch-and-go pregnancy digestion. The whole mix is highly nutritive and supportive.

oats with yogurt and astragalus

Oats with yogurt and astragalus – an easy breakfast before getting to work.

It occurred to me this morning that this is an herbal remedy for me right now.

For any of you dealing with morning (or all-day) sickness, you might give this a whirl. On really rough mornings, I pair it with some spicy chai to get the digestive tract warmed up. Often this is followed with a hot cup of nutritive herbal tea  mid-morning.

The rest of the day is still touch-and-go, but mornings I’ve got pinned down at least.

As a side note, all astragalus powders are not created equal, so you might try a small amount before committing to a one-pound bag of an unfamiliar brand. I’ve had the best luck with Mountain Rose’s astragalus. I’ve had other astragalus powders that tasted slightly (weirdly) bitter—no idea why, but I know I didn’t like it.

What’s your herbal morning regimen? Favorite morning sickness remedies?

When I was a freshman in college, I stopped eating, sometimes coasting on half a bowl of oatmeal a day. The smell of food made me ill. I lost a lot of weight, and my normally boundless energy was utterly deflated. Taking 21 credits at a time, exhaustion and frequent spells of dizziness and even fainting soon became a big issue. I had countless blood tests run, but no one could tell me what was wrong with me. But we knew what the symptom was: anorexia. I couldn’t eat.

The symptom anorexia (with a lower-case “a”) simply describes the often extreme loss of appetite in an individual, and is most often as a symptom of a larger disease or condition. The symptom anorexia is not to be confused with Anorexia nervosa—commonly referred to, confusingly, as Anorexia for short—which is a psychological disorder characterized by an intense fear of being or becoming obese, often marked by extreme diet and exercise and/or binge-and-purge eating patterns.

I remember being horrified by the weight I lost and the difficulty I had just navigating my day-to-day; it’s hard to even imagine it now. Looking back now, I think it’s very likely that my anorexia was a symptom of celiac disease, though I didn’t figure out I had celiac until ten years later. Unfortunately, anorexia is a common symptom of many diseases and infections,  including tuberculosis, cancer, AIDS, kidney failure, liver failure, dehydration, and countless others; and as a symptom, the best long-range treatment for anorexia is to find the underlying cause—in my case, celiac disease—which is not always easy for doctors to diagnose. Anorexia was not my only symptom of celiac disease, but it was certainly the most frightening.

In addition to needing to find the underlying cause of the symptom, there are herbs that can help relieve anorexia symptoms, especially those that act as appetite stimulants. Because people who have been struggling with anorexia are often malnourished as a result, it is also important to consider adaptogenic and deeply nourishing herbs and foods to help build back their vitality.

Herbs specifically recommended for treatment of anorexia include dandelion roots and leaves, oats, oatstraw, and seaweed (Weed 144, 147, 201, 227); as well as ashwagandha and medicinal rhubarb (Foster III, 23, 105).

If you or someone you know is experiencing anorexia, please see a doctor and get help.

I love oats (gluten free oats, of course). It is probably my number one comfort food. Even if I’m sick with low appetite, I can eat oats, but they’re also my breakfast of choice—they just soothe the soul, you know? I love them cooked, especially on weekends when time isn’t as much of an issue, but I also love to eat them uncooked, just mixed with some yogurt or water, a pinch of sea salt, some fresh fruit or agave syrup, a dash or two of cinnamon, let it sit overnight or for an hour and enjoy at room temperature. Oats are unique in that they can be eaten raw, with no special preparation necessary for our bodies to be able to digest them. You get the picture: I am awfully fond of oats.

Meanwhile, there’s this lovely set of herbs called adaptogens of which I’m a big fan. Adaptogens are wonderful because they are tonic to the adrenals (which is to say that they help our bodies to cope with stress), they can be taken daily and indefinitely, and they have no undesired, harmful effects. They are simply, deeply nourishing, and I don’t know about you, but my adrenals are very grateful for the help some days.

Usually in the past I’ve eaten my adaptogens in paste form, which is lovely, but recently I made a fabulous discovery. Astragalus, probably my favorite herb in this group, is not only “not bad” or “tolerable,” it’s downright delicious! I ran out of paste last week and didn’t have time to whip up another bowl before heading off to work, so I mixed half a tablespoon of powdered astragalus into my bowl of oats (soaked overnight) along with the cinnamon and agave nectar. I figured I could stomach the result in the interest of getting my herbal goodness in. I didn’t expect to never want to eat oats any other way! Astragalus gives a nutty, almost buttery or creamy flavor… you just have to try it.

I’ve also heard a few people say that they like to put larger chunks of dried astragalus in soup for herbal benefit and additional flavor. I haven’t tried this yet, but oh, I will be trying it very soon…

Robbie's farm

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to be invited to camp out with a bunch of herbies (“herbies” is like “foodies,” but for herb enthusiasts *grin*) at Robbie Wooding’s farm. Robbie is as warm and welcoming as you could imagine, genuinely pleased to share his home with us for a couple days. He’s been practicing herbalism for a good long time, and between him and Kathleen Maier and all the other herbies in attendance, we had a wealth of information and wisdom at the table. A veritable summer solstice bounty.

Kathleen speaking about vitex

The farm has been in Robbie’s family since 1790—originally a land grant from the King of England—and his family have been there ever since.

The weekend was marked by lessons both formal and informal, long walks, plant ID, shared meals, new points of view, sustainable living alternatives, fireflies blinking long into the night. As a special treat, as if all this weren’t enough, we had a big potluck Saturday night and a wonderful bluegrass band—some of the best bluegrass I’ve heard in years.

Bluegrass in Halifax

I’ll be posting a couple more items this week related to the weekend on the farm, specifically on harvesting inner bark and drying herbs. For now, here’s a tour of some of the beautiful herbs we encountered.

Echinacea purpureaEchinacea, Purple coneflower. Echinacea purpurea.

SassafrasSassafras. Sassafras albidum.

MulleinMullein. Verbascum thapsus.

MotherwortMotherwort. Leonurus cardiaca.

ButterflyweedButterflyweed, Pleurisy-root. Asclepias tuberosa.

Red CloverRed clover. Trifolium pratense.

VitexVitex, Chaste Tree, Chasteberry, Monk’s Pepper. Vitex agnus-castus.

GoldensealGoldenseal. Hydrastis canadensis.

PokePoke, Pokeweed. Phytolacca americana.

AsparagusAsparagus. Asparagus officinalis.

PassionflowerPassionflower, Maypop. Passiflora incarnata.

OatsMilky oats. Avena sativa.

YarrowYarrow. Achillea millefolium.

GreenbrierGreenbrier, Catbrier. Smilax rotundifolia.

LizardThis lizard was just chillin’, hanging out on a tree in the middle of our motley group. Anyone know what kind of lizard this is?

BlackberryBlackberry. Rubus ursinus.

Black-eyed SusanBlack-eyed Susan. Rudbeckia hirta.

St. John's WortSt. John’s Wort. Hypericum perforatum.

Queen Anne's LaceQueen Anne’s Lace, Wild carrot. Daucus carota.

GinsengGinseng, American ginseng. Panax quinquefolius.

Robbie with American ginsengRobbie showing the ginseng root – look at that dancing root! What a beauty.

Lamb's QuartersLamb’s Quarters, Lamb quarters, Pigweed. Chenopodium album.

ComfreyComfrey. Symphytum officinale.

MilkweedMilkweed. Asclepias syriaca.

ElecampaneElecampane. Inula helenium.

Elecampane flowersAnd the fireworks finish? Elecampane in flower – something I’ve never seen in person before.

What a marvelous weekend. Time for sleep. Check back later this week for more posts on harvesting inner bark and drying herbs. Till then, sweet dreams.

Categories

Enter your e-mail address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by e-mail.

Join 78 other followers

%d bloggers like this: