Last post we talked about some personal reasons to forage. Things like relieving stress, learning life lessons, getting in touch with nature and yourself. However there are other reasons to forage. In this post we'll talk about the health benefits that foraging can provide. It's no secret that health problems are becoming rampant in this modern society. High cholesterol, blood pressure, heart disease, bone and joint problems, hormonal imbalances, personality disorders, and more. How did we get this way? How does the highest animal on the food chain become one of the sickest? Some will say the industrialization of our food, the addition of excess sugars and preservatives, excess fats and food comprised of empty calories and very little nutritional value. Others will say our lack of consideration for our health in trade for what tastes better combined with a lack of exercise. No matter where you stand on the issue, one fact remains. Our health as a nation, and as a people.
So what can we do about it? Well a lot of things really, but foraging for food and medicine can vastly improve your physical, mental, spiritual, and financial health. I know that sounds like too much, or too good to be true. Can plants really make such an impact? Yes, they absolutely can, and here's why. Plants are one of the lowest organisms on the food chain. They support the majority of life on this planet from insects to squirrels to wolves and bears, all the way up to humans. Without plants none of us would have beef, pork, or chicken today. You would not have Doritos or snickers with out plants. No tacos, no pizza, no beer, no whiskey, no chocolate, and no coffee. Plants gave us the origins of medicine, the reasoning for the calendars invention and tracking of the solar system, and presumably were a partial reasoning behind developing systems of language to communicate and teach. That's a pretty big impact on humanity and a big reason to want to learn about plants in your area. They are the origins of what you know and love today.
So how does foraging fit into that? A couple ways. Surprisingly all of our domestic crops like potatoes, tomatoes, corn, wheat, carrots, oranges, raspberries, grapes, and more came from wild plants at one point. Many of their wild relatives are still out there, probably even invading your lawn or garden just waiting for you to re-discover them. A lot of these wild plants are also chocked full of nutritional value. Did you know that the two leafy greens with the most nutrition are wild plants? That's right our domestic powerhouses spinach and kale have been beaten by plants much older than them. Ha! Take that modernization! Why are nutrients important? Well many vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, amino-acids, and other compounds found within healthy foods and wild edibles are actually preventatives to a lot of the diseases that are facing us today as a nation. Over the past few hundred years we have consumed more and more domestic and man made food and gained weight and diseases in the process.
That's not to say that domestic food is inherently bad or unhealthy, because that would be a load of bollocks! It's just that wild plants represent a balance for us in this modern age. A way for us to regain the lost health and vigor of days past while getting back to basics. Wild plants can also be a beneficial source of medicine and are increasingly being studied for effectiveness on diseases like high blood pressure, arthritis, gout, HIV, MRSA, and more. As they get studied scientists are re-discovering the amazing power of herbs for medicine and it's due to the fact that many medicinal plants contain more than one medicinal compound. Plants are chemical factories and produce so many chemicals it has been hard for science to study them accurately until recently. Interestingly enough, science basically just confirms traditional uses from primitive or traditional cultures around the world and none of those people had a laboratory. It was out of knowledge, experience, time, and faith that our ancestors learned the power of herbs and it can make a profound impact on how you view the world once you start reconnecting with that older part of your history.
Reconnecting with that history, nature, yourself, and your god brings you to a more complete place spiritually. Not in the sense of being spiritual, but in the sense of your inner being becoming more recognizable to you. It allows you to see the world a little differently, to be able to look within and find strength, reasoning, humility, and truths from things which others may not be able to see. Not because your psychic or "see dead people." but once you reconnect with nature, your history, yourself, and your god you also gain a connection with the energy that flows from those things. The energy that contains their experiences, their knowledge, their wonders, and their downfalls. The question becomes can you decipher it in the end?
Today the price of food is something that many also worry about. Some are seeking ways to cut costs as much as possible while retaining their original diet. That can work for some, for others a drastic change in diet is extremely crucial for their long term health. Changing a diet is not easy, but for those with a healthy diet then adding wild edible to your meals or using them as replacements for ingredients from time to time is most certainly feasible and the best way to go about foraging in a modern day. Doing this will help to whittle down your food costs for sure. Being able to replace OTC medicine is another great way to save some money from foraging due to the fact that many edible plants are also medicinal and can be used to make medicine. There are also many plants that just have medicinal uses, and again plants are the origins of medicine so there is plenty of variety. Things like pain relievers, anti-biotics, anti-inflammatories, anti-coagulants, astringents, and more can be found in the plant world.
Another thing worth mentioning is that saving money through foraging does not happen instantly. It takes time for you to learn the plants that you like and enjoy the most, the plants that work the most effectively and safely for you, and experimentation with said plants. That within itself can be dangerous if you are not sure what you are doing, or make a mistake, which when foraging or consuming wild plants for food or medicine can be fatal! Oftentimes when getting into foraging for the first time people start to get very excited. They are learning new things, of course they are excited and that's good to be excited. Just don't let that excitement get you into a rush which causes you to overlook important identification features, or cautions with using a certain plant for medicine, or cautions on it's toxicity. Whether that be cumulative, indirect, or direct.
Hey guys, I'm Josh. I'd Like to welcome you to the Trillium: WE blog. Here I'll share things with you like wild food meal ideas, harvesting tips, conservation of wild plants, wild plant book reviews, and more! I'll also be including pictures from scrapped videos for entertainment purposes as well. Stay tuned!
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