You might think I’m joking! Not.
Ayurvedic theory holds that different tastes are helpful to different organ systems. Lately I’ve been all things detox: launched a new cleanse, submitted a medical paper evaluating a regimen that helps with chemical exposures as a way to heal physical aspects of substance abuse…
We sneer at our neighbors whose seed heads drift on the winds into our own manicured lawns…
After studying 100 dietary theories and finding this lovely green in a good number of them, I just couldn’t bring myself to throwing out the massive bags of dandelion leaves, dandelion roots, and dandelion flowers. I walked several times to the waste can… “this is food” said my inner conscience.
Dandelion greens are extremely good liver support, they help open and drain a congested liver. The very presence of a bitter taste in the mouth promotes the flow of bile from the liver and gallbladder, as well as hydrochloric acid from the stomach. Dandelion greens stimulate vitality after a long winter and have been used as a diuretic to support kidneys, urination, and traditionally to help lower blood pressure and relieve premenstrual fluid retention. Dandelion roots contain inulin and levulin, starchlike substances that foster healthy priobiotic gut microbes and may help balance blood sugar. The roots also have a bitter substance (taraxacin) that stimulates digestion.
You can use the whole plant, but the part I really want to talk to you about is the green leaves of the dandelion. The leaves are an amazing source of calcium, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. They have twice as much vitamin A in a one-cup serving than most supplements, and that one cup also has as much calcium as a half a glass of milk.
Eating something bitter, like dandelion greens, before or early on in a meal stimulates digestive enzymes in your body so as your food is passing through your body it is more readily welcomed, digested, and eliminated than it is without the help of our friends, the bitters. Bitter greens like dandelion greens can also stimulate a sluggish metabolism and can help with weight loss goals.
Dandelion has also been used to regulate blood sugar, promote intestinal flora and fight candida, cleanse the liver, and purify blood. It is also used as a diuretic, a laxative, a fungicide, an antibiotic cream, wart remover, sting soother, and as an anti-cancer food.
You can also sauté dandelion flowers and put them in your dinner, and you can grind the root and brew as a coffee substitute.
So I found myself in the kitchen trimming these beautiful fresh spring dandelion greens; with more beta-carotene than carrots, high in folate, iron and anti-oxidants… I even put the parts I didn’t want into my compost so my summer garden could have their minerals and antioxidants too. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still on a mission to keep my lawn weed free. I haven’t used chemicals for years and have hand-picked whatever I don’t want living there.
So tonight I bring you an organic dandelion greens adventure: if you can’t beat ’em, eat ’em.
4-6 cups loosely packed dandelion leaves, washed and trimmed
2 Tablespoons ghee, pasture butter, or coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt and pepper
juice of half a lemon (or the whole lemon, to taste)
1. Bring 4 cups sea salted water to a boil and cook the greens 8-10 minutes. Drain and squeeze out excess water.
2. In a saucepan, sauté the minced garlic in the butter
3. Coarsely chop the greens and add to saucepan. sauté 5-8 minutes stirring often. They will lose a lot of volume.
4. Transfer the greens to your serving dish, season with sea salt and pepper to taste, even drizzle with melted butter if you’d like.
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