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Food on Friday ~ Healthy Recipes

healthy eating is a way of life

Most Americans are unhealthy.  The USA spends twice as much on heathcare as the average OECD country, yet has the lowest life expectancy and highest suicide rate among the 11 OECD countries.  Almost half of adult Americans are obese, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the USA, and almost 35 million Americans have been diagnosed to have diabetes.  Most of these illnesses can be put down to unhealthy lifestyles ~ about one third of Americans are classified as ‘physically inactive’, and the US Department of Health says 80% do not take enough exercise to be even moderately fit and healthy.  Things are not much better here in England.

To eat a healthy diet, to live with a healthy lifestyle, isn’t difficult.  It does mean giving up a couple of things; drinking and smoking chief among them.  There are also some things we should consume a lot less of; refined sugar, caffeine, stuff made with white flour, dairy, canned food, fast food, processed food, take out meals, sugary carbonated drinks, and anything and everything with high fructose corn syrup in it, (HFCS).

Now that I have to control my recently diagnosed high blood pressure, the kinds of dishes I’ll be eating are shown here.

Petra at Food Eat Love has a great recipe for Beef with Ginger and Grapefruit.  Beef is more than just OK, and both ginger and grapefruit are great for keeping one’s blood pressure under control.

Beef with Ginger and Grapefruit

Oily fish is very good for our health and so are cilantro and citrus.  Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb combines these ingredients in her Baked Honey Cilantro Lime Salmon in Foil.  An easy and healthy 30 minute dish.  Supposedly, honey has some surprising health benefits.

Baked Honey Cilantro Lime Salmon in Foil

A good breakfast is important to maintain a healthy blood sugar level.  Jessica Merchant has a collection of her 10 Favorite Weekday Breakfasts.  From that I’m featuring these Pumpkin Protein Pancakes, so easy and so healthy.

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

A healthy hearty diet need not be lots and lots of salads, we can also eat comfort food and Holly at Spend With Pennies has a great side dish of Colcannon ~ mashed potatoes and cabbage, fabulous served with corned beef.  Potato and cruciferous vegetables are good for helping to control one’s blood pressure.  (there is the obvious farting issue when it comes to eating lots of cruciferous vegetables)


Joy the baker has this very interesting dish; Mushroom and Brussels Sprout Hash.  Brussel Sprouts are cruciferous vegetables and really good for us, and mushrooms have lots of potential benefits when it comes to preventing cardio vascular diseases.

Mushroom and Brussels Sprout Hash

Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest has this very attractive recipe for Healthier 25 Minute Kung Pao Chicken.  I have just got to try this easy, healthy dish ~ using brown / wild rice.

Healthier 25 Minute Kung Pao Chicken


jack collier



alcohol is not part of a healthy diet

but a glass of good red wine is probably beneficial most evenings of the week

Psychotropic Herbs ~ Sage


Like most herbs, common or garden sage is a plant packed with complex organoleptic phytochemicals.  These compounds are why herbs are great for flavouring food.  Organoleptic means affecting the senses, and as we all know there are a lot more than 5 of those.  It’s commonly held that humans have 13 senses, but that list may not even scratch the surface.  For example, how do you always know when someone is staring at you?  Not only that, the complicated stuff in the plants we commonly use as herbs would also seem to bypass the senses and work directly on the brain to affect a person’s mental state.  The unregarded sage, Salvia Officinalis, is chock-full of interesting compounds which would be illegal if you tried to buy them over-the-counter.


Sage ~ The Psychotropic Herb

As any organic chemist will tell you, if you add chemical compounds together, you will often create something that is more spellbinding, than the sum of the individual effects.  That is also what happens when we ingest herbs.  The separate ‘drugs’ in herbs are engaging, but in combination they can be enthralling.  The unique combination of chemicals in sage has a particularly strong influence upon adult women.

The modern urban man with a bit of a garden, balcony, doorstep can easily grow sage.  Like a lot of herbs it it very tolerant of poor soil and sun.  Sage also comes in a host of varieties ~ different sizes, colours, leaf patterns, in fact you could make yourself a sage garden.  Sage reaches a height of about 2 feet, can be pretty rampant, grows best in full sun in slightly acid soil, pH 5.5 to 6.5, and the old growth should be cut back by about half in early spring.  The herbs to grow along with common sage are parsley and clary sage.  Neither sage nor clary will grow well indoors.


Sages in the garden

Sage is one of the essential culinary herbs, and it’s brilliant for the aspiring cook, as there are many recipes where you can make sage the single herbal ingredient, without having to bother with a host of other strange bits of green stuff with strange sounding names.  One classic recipe is Fegato alla Toscana (sage seared calves liver, Toscana meaning Tuscany).  The recipe also calls for parsley, sometimes called ‘the poor man’s marijuana.’


Diviner’s Sage Salvia Divinorum

While common sage, (Salvia officialis), is packed with psychotropic drugs, diviner’s sage, (Salvia divornorum), is so psychedelic that its legality is under consideration in some US states.

The effective parts of the plant for culinary and medicinal uses are the leaves and flowering tops, and these are best gathered in spring.  The active compounds in sage include; asparagine, borneol, camphene, eucalyptol, oestrogens, pinene, salvene, saponin, tannin, and thujone.  Thujone has a very similar effect on the human mind as does the THC in marijuana.  If you can get hold of a plant, diviner’s sage, (a.k.a. Mexican Mint Sage), contains a lot of Salvinorin A which targets the brain’s kappa opoid receptors.   Salvorin A is the strongest natural hallucenogenic.  Basically, sage has similar stuff in it as the wormwood used in absinthe.

Sage is best picked fresh and used straight away.  You can easily dry it for use all year around, but dried sage isn’t always as effective as the fresh article.  Don’t pick it after early autumn, in fact don’t pick much sage after the flowers have all gone.

Two very important words of warning.  Diviner’s sage really is a potentially potent hallucenogenic.  Pregnant womenshould avoid clary sage, it can bring on child labour.  In fact if you are thinking about using sage for medicinal purposes, then it may be best to have a word with your doctor before you start experimenting.

Sage, especially clary sage, (Salvia sciarea), is a woman’s herb.  The other spices herbs and oils to use with it if it’s to help a woman with anything at all are; cinnamon, geranium, jasmine, sandalwood and  lemongrass.  Mixing these with a lot of alcohol is not necessarily a brilliant idea unless the effect you are looking for is euphoric desire.  In that case, run your lady a tub and add sage oil or fresh sage leaves to the water.  Get a couple of scented candles in jasmine or sandalwood.  Mix your lady an aphrodisiac drink ~ creme de cacao and tequila are good.  Wash her hair and give her a head massage using fresh sage leaves or sage tincture ~ which also treats dandruff.  If she’s a smoker give her a sage cigarette, which is also good for asthma.

The various types of sage have the following properties;

  • Anti-asthmatic.  If you suffer from asthma and must smoke, add dried sage to your tobacco, or just smoke sage and parsley.
  • Antiseptic.  ‘He who would live for aye, must eat sage in May.’  Sage kills staphyloccocus.
  • Athrtitis.  Sage is a useful anti-inflammatiry.
  • Aphrodisiac.  Enhances desire and performance.
  • Aids digestion of food.
  • Antisodiferous.  Stops breath, flatulence, and  sweat from smelling bad.
  • Carminative.  Cleanses the bowels. Helps deal with colic, flatulence, bloating, and belching.
  • Cholagogic.  Promotes the flow of bile from the gallbladder to the duodenum, aiding digestion and emulsifying fats.
  • Emmenagogic.  Helps to promote and ease menstrual discharge.
  • Grey hair.  If one rinses the first grey hairs with extract of sage, the natural colour will return.
  • Hallucinogenic.  Particularly diviner’s sage.
  • Lesions.  Sage helps with bed sores, nettle rash, and insect bites, itches, eczma, burns and cuts, and herpes.
  • Heart disease.  Particularly Salvia miltiorrhiza can be used to treat coronory artery disease such as angina.
  • Soap.  Women can usefully use fresh sage as part of their hair-care routines, remembering the possible side effects..
  • Soporific.  Especially clary sage.
  • Magic.  Salvia means to save, or to heal, as in; apply a healing salve.  Sage is the symbol of the Virgin Mary, even though the herb itself is given masculine attributes.  Sage is said to ease the pain of mourning, grant wishes, assist longevity, promote wisdom, and to offer protection.  Sagacious means wise or shrewd.

Maleficent ~ sage is a powerful soporific

The flowers, leaves and seeds of sage can be used fresh or dried.  Fresh sage will keep a while in the refrigerator, and you can freeze it.  Dried sage goes in the kitchen cupboards or just hang the stuff in bunches.  Culinary Sage is used as indicated by whatever recipe you are using.  One can also use fresh sage in salads, sauces, stuffings, tea, alcoholic drinks, fruit drinks, smoothies, floated in bath water, and as soap.  Dried sage has a more intense flavour than fresh sage, and one can smoke the stuff.  You can smudge both fresh and dried sage.  Sage makes a good addition to dried flower arrangements and potpourri.

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