Everything that we do to the earth, we do to our bodies also.
The only nutrients that plants need from the soil are water and minerals. Minerals are the foundational component of our physical structure including our bones and teeth and are involved in every physiological process in the body, including building and repair, muscle contraction, oxygen exchange, the formation of hormones , and immunity to name a few. Unfortunately, our soils have been greatly depleted by modern-day farming practices and it has been shown that today’s soils have 1/4 the amount of minerals than they did at the turn of the last century. This means that our food also has 1/4 of the minerals, and that our bodies are trying to function on less than they need.
There are many ways to increase and enhance the amount of minerals that we take in:
- Choose organic foods because organic farmers replenish the soil with various substances to increase minerals levels.
- Steam vegetables rather than boiling them so that you are not losing minerals in the cooking water.
- Soak grains, nuts and seeds to make more minerals available.
- Improve digestion so that you are absorbing well. Minerals need a good acid soak in the stomach and many digestive enzymes as they pass through the intestinal tract. Chapter 2 in The New Enlightened Eating outlines many guidelines for improving digestion.
- Add green smoothies to your diet. The blender breaks the cell wall of the greens, making the contents more available to your body.
- Add fresh juices to your diet. A glass of fresh juice contains a high concentration of minerals because of the amount of produce used.
- Avoid mineral depleters: coffee, sugar, refined foods, pop, lack of activity, lack of sleep, stress, excess protein.
- A wonderful way to use up produce in your fridge and pantry, take advantage of the free wild foods in your area, and take in a significant amount of minerals without the bulk, is Mineral Broths.
To make Mineral Broth you can use a variety of vegetable s and other foods:
- Vegetables that are past their due date: onions and potatoes that have started to sprout, carrots and other root vegetables that are soft and/or shrivelled, greens that are starting to get pale.
- Vegetable trimmings from other recipes: dark leek greens, kale and collard stems, asparagus ends, celery leaves.
- Wild greens: nettles, dandelion, wild spinach, garlic mustard, purslane, mallow, etc. Wild plants are generally far more mineral dense than the produce that we get at grocery stores, or even markets or home gardens. They have deep roots which enables them to access more minerals, and often grow in undisturbed richer soil.
- Sea weeds: dulse, nori, kombu, kelp, arame, etc. These are an excellent source of highly concentrated bulk and trace minerals
While you can simply search your fridge and pantry for vegetables that are past their prime, here is a sample recipe for Mineral Broth:
Put 4 inches of water in a large soup pot and bring to a boil.
large handful kale and/or kale stems
1 cup dark leek greens
1 – 2 cups cabbage
1 sweet potato (optional)
1 celery root (optional)
fresh or dried parsley
fresh or dried thyme, or oregano
1 or 2 bay leaves
wild greens, up to 2 cups
1 nori sheet
2 tablespoons dulse
1 kombu strip
Keep the skin on all vegetables (many minerals are concentrated here), and simply coarsely chop them…
Add water as needed to keep it about 2 inches over the vegetables.
Simmer, covered, for 2 to 3 hours, until the vegetables are discoloured.
Strain through a colander and then a fine strainer. Compost the remains.
Keep the broth in a glass jar in the fridge and enjoy warmed up as is, with a pinch of salt, or a tablespoon of miso. You could also use the broth as a base for soups and as the liquid for cooking grains.