Some things are very intuitive, and we follow our intuition. Like coming inside during a thunderstorm. Slowing down when the car in front of us hits its brakes. Eating dessert after dinner. (except every once in awhile, when dessert first is necessary so that you have room for it) Other things, which should be obvious to us, well…they just aren’t. For instance, my neighbor’s yard a few weeks ago was so lovely. The devil’s strip part, or the curb lawn if you aren’t from my neck of the woods. It had bright green clover, a sweet tiny purple flower, and tall, mighty yellow dandelions in it, mixed with grass. Truly stunning! Grass, as we know it, isn’t indigenous to our area. But many wildflowers that would fill our yards are. We call them weeds. And we do whatever it takes to kill them. Too bad, I think they’re really beautiful, and the bugs like them better, too. The same bugs that pollinate my garden…and the farmers’ big gardens a few dozen miles away. But, we don’t follow our intuition here. We kill the “weeds” and plant grass. Why? We seem so drawn to uniformity and order. Interesting. We didn’t really like the idea of communism, but…. Oh, I digress!
As you know, I have begun a love affair with green things. It actually started with Kermit the Frog who reminded us, “it ain’t easy being green”. At first, I wasn’t crazy about eating green, I dabbled in the “green” movement. My kids wore cloth diapers. I never bought paper towels, paper plates, or paper napkins. I saved milk and juice cartons, cleaned them, nested them together, and voila, my kids had blocks of different sizes. Then, four kids later, life got busier, and laundry got overwhelming. I caved into paper. But, I did try to buy unbleached paper. Geez, it’s hard to find!
Now, my green passion revolves around green food. Turns out, if you EAT green, your insides stay pretty clean. From acne on the outside to your colon on the inside, and everything in between. Green is the color of….magic! You’ve heard about the greatness of broccoli, kale, cabbage, and spinach. But, there’s more greatness to consider. It is likely lurking in your yard right now. Unless you’ve already rounded it up with everyone’s favorite weed killer (Round Up, of course.) It is that pesky Dandelion. One hardy weed, right? You know why? Because it is trying to make its point. You kill some on Monday, and by Wednesday, there’s five more. They want to remind you. They want you to keep looking at them, thinking about them. They want you to know they can help. You need something to lower your cholesterol? Look! Your face breaks out occasionally? Look! You get bloated after you eat, especially fatty foods? There they are! You have issues with your heart, maybe some cancer floating around? Still, they are in your face!! Quit killing me, they are saying, I’m only trying to save you. Gees, I’m getting corny.
Fact is, dandelions are your nemesis. Your neighbors hate when they see them in your yard. I’ve certainly dug out my share. Then, I go to the grocery store, and I buy them. Talk about counterintuitive! But, that’s what I do. I am suggesting, urging, that you do the same. Perhaps to keep the proverbial peace, we need to yank them out of our property. But, thankfully, some farmers have sense. They grow them!!! How easy must that job be, right? Then, they harvest them for us. All we need do is pick them up and buy them. Then, the magic begins. Blanch the greens and throw them in your soups. No, the flowers aren’t sold. Dandelion greens are readily available in your grocer’s produce aisle, though. Shred them up and throw them in a salad. Check out your tea aisle. Try some dandelion root tea. The Europeans call it “dandelion coffee” because it brews up so dark.
Dandelions are a highly medicinal weed. Perfectly legal. They grow all over the place. We think we don’t want them to, but they just want to be noticed and loved! So give them a chance. According to http://www.nutrion-and-you.com, here are some benefits…
Almost all the parts of dandelion herb found place in various traditional as well in modern medicine.
- The principle compounds in the herb have laxative and diuretic functions
- The plant parts have been used as herbal remedy for liver and gall bladder complaints.
- The herb is also a good tonic, appetite stimulant and is a good remedy for dyspeptic complaints.
- The inside surface of the flower stems used as a smoothening agent for burns and stings (for example in stinging nettle allergy)
And, according to http://www.incrediblesmoothies.com, a blog which used info and condensed it, as I’ve read this info on other sites, gives you ten reasons to eat/drink the ol’ weed…
#1 – High in Calcium: Dandelion greens are loaded with calcium. Just one cup of chopped dandelion greens has 103 milligrams (10% of the recommended daily value) of calcium! That’s slightly more than kale! Add two to three cups of dandelion to a smoothie with calcium-rich fruits like orange, kiwi, fig or papaya and you’ll have a green smoothie that has more calcium than any dairy product!
#2 – Rich in Iron: Next to fresh parsley, dandelion greens have a high iron content. One cup contains 1.7 milligrams of iron.
#3 – Low Calories: Like all leafy greens, dandelions are low in calories. One cup of chopped dandelion greens has only 25 calories. While leafy greens are a low calorie food, I actually prefer to use dandelions because they have more calories than other greens. Since I try to get as many calories as I can into my morning smoothies, I add up to 4 cups of dandelion which adds 100 calories of nutrient-rich food!
#4 – Loaded With Antioxidants: Dandelion greens are high in vitamin A in the form of antioxidant carotenoid (beta-carotene) and vitamin C. Vitamin C also helps facilitate iron absorption.
#5 – The Ultimate Detox & Cleansing Green: If your goal is detoxification and cleansing, dandelion greens should be the ones you use in green smoothies! They are said to help cleanse the liver and many detox recipes call for them.
#6 – Lots Of Minerals: Dandelion greens are rich in minerals. Besides calcium and iron, they are a good source of copper (10% RDA), manganese (8% RDA), phosphorus (5% RDA), potassium (5% RDA) and magnesium (5% RDA).
#7 – 14% Protein: Dandelion greens have more protein per serving than spinach. The greens themselves are 14% protein and contain all essential amino acids so it’s a complete protein. One chopped cup contains 1.5 grams of protein.
#8 – Multivitamin Green: Besides vitamin A as beta-carotene (186% RDA) and vitamin C (21% RDA), each cup of chopped dandelion greens are also good sources of vitamins B1 (9% RDA), B2 (11% RDA) and B6 (11% RDA), vitamin E (13% RDA) and especially abundant in vitamin K (357% RDA).
#10 – Health Benefits of Dandelion Greens: The nutrients in dandelion greens may help reduce the risk of cancer, multiple sclerosis, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and stroke. Dandelion contains anti-inflammatory properties which may provide benefit to those with asthma and other inflammatory diseases.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any great advantages to smoking this weed. You could try it in brownies, though!
And, lastly, as the Rolling Stones said, “Dandelion don’t tell no lies. Dandelion will make you wise.” hmmm…enjoy this…