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Positive Energy 405 - Pesto Power!

Bitter greens are powerful medicine. They aid digestion, support liver function, improve bowel function, promote healthy, beautiful skin, minimize gas, and help regulate blood pressure and cholesterol.  Sounds pretty awesome doesn't it?

Now let's address how to add bitter greens to your diet while still enjoying the taste of your meal. One winning  strategy is using them in pestos. My favorite bitter greens to use are watercress, dandelion, arugula, stinging nettles and lambs quarters.

Pestos are delicious added to pastas, salads, pizza, quinoa, rice, steamed vegetables or spread on bread.  I also use them as a base for an impromptu raw blended soup, or salad dressing.  They freeze well so I like to have a few in the freezer when I need to put together a quick and tasty nutritious meal.

The trick is to use the bitter greens with a flavorful herb that will cover their bitterness.  My top two favorites are basil and cilantro pesto.  The secret is to use a ratio of about 3 to 1.  I have slowly increased the amount of bitter greens I use to a 2 to 1 ratio but it's best to start on the conservative side so that everyone in the family loves the taste and looks forward to them. Here is a sample of my quick pesto recipes:  

Basil/ Dandelion Pesto
3 cups (large handfuls) of fresh basil
1 cup (large handful) fresh dandelion greens
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
unrefined salt to taste
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts

process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  

Cilantro/Watercress Pesto

3 cups (large handfuls) fresh cilantro
1 cup (large handful) watercress
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
unrefined salt to taste
1 ounce fresh lime or lemon juice
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds/pepitas

process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

I don't eat a lot of cheese so I make my pestos without cheese but you can add parmesan cheese if you want an extra layer of flavor.

Eating bitter greens regularly is a great discipline that transforms your kitchen to a place of health and healing instead of a place of sickness and degeneration.  This simple habit brings many good things to you and your family with minimal effort.    

Play with the recipes and what you add them on.  The variations and possibilities are endless.  I have used them in place of tomato sauce on home made pizzas, made quick soups by adding a couple of home grown tomatoes, green onions and using 2 tablespoons of pesto. Take time to experiment and learn what your favorite combinations are. Here are some of the specific benefits you can look forward to if you start adding these bitter greens to your food:  

Dandelion: Rich in vitamin A, K and calcium.  Helps you avoid diabetes, skin problems and liver issues.

Lambs Quarters: It's high in calcium, iron and vitamin C.  It's also useful for digestive upset and helps relieve diarrhea.

Arugula: Supports healthy skin, bones and eyesight.  It's full of antioxidants that lower the risk of cancer and supports healthy metabolism and brain function.   

Watercress: Supports healthy bones, thyroid, cardiovascular system and lowers cancer risk.

Stinging Nettles: Supports respiratory health, healthy bones, good circulation, supports gallbladder and kidney health, is anti-inflammatory and eases symptoms associated with PMS and menopause.

Basil and Cilantro are my favorite herbs for pesto but dare to experiment and discover your own signature blends.

"True healthcare reform starts in your kitchen, not in a government office." - Anonymous

"Good food, good mood." - common sense


“Pounding fragrant things -- particularly garlic, basil, parsley -- is a tremendous antidote to depression. But it applies also to juniper berries, coriander seeds and the grilled fruits of the chilli pepper. Pounding these things produces an alteration in one's being -- from sighing with fatigue to inhaling with pleasure. The cheering effects of herbs and alliums cannot be too often reiterated. Virgil's appetite was probably improved equally by pounding garlic as by eating it.”
- Patience Gray, Food author

All the best,

Bodywork, Movement & Holistic Lifestyle Design

recommended beginner activity: make one of the above pesto recipes and add it to a pasta or grain dish.

recommended advanced activity: Make both of the pesto recipes.  Freeze half of each pesto, divide the remaining amounts into two parts for each pesto.  Add the first part to a dish to eat and put the remainder in a jar to share with a family member or friend. That will leave you to try each pesto and have 2 types to share with someone else.  Spread the love to someone who will appreciate it.

It's not your age, it's your lifestyle.

Want to take your health to the next level?
Email me at, let's talk about solutions.

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