Spike Your Next Meal With Herbs!
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Spike Your Next Meal With Herbs!

Do you feed yourself or do you nourish yourself? Do you eat whatever foods satisfy your hunger or do you observe the food in your plate to make sure you have all your nutrients?

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food.” This is the far most truthful findings and teachings by Hippocrates.

Food is the medicine for our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. This quote has inspired me for most of my life to create meals that are “nourishing” rather than “filling”.  “Foods for the Soul menus”, are a collection of meals I created and served today at the retreats held at Sacred Triage Cottage in Penetanguishene, in partnership with Liliana Guadagnoli, filled with healing nutritional benefits and studied according to each individual participant. When I look at food, I look at it as a life source, like air and water. Our life depends on a proper nutrition and when I prepare meals I look at all aspects of wellbeing. When combining ingredients I’m present to the fact that they all have beneficial nutrients and the combinations create great remedies for aiding our body functions. The catalysts that bring enhanced benefit to our meals are the herbs. I use them in all my meals and combine them according to what I want to enhance in my body, for example, if I want to ease my digestion because I had a heavy meal the day before, I add fennel seeds, bay leaves, rosemary and sage into my meals for a few days or make an infusion with those herbs to drink during the day. I’m passionate about cooking and creating highly digestible and totally absorbed meals. When looking at recipes I find a way to make them healthier, keeping in mind the delicious flavors and pleasurable textures.

Let me share with you my experience of how I think when I cook, through a simple recipe… tomato sauce with meatballs. Now, many know how to make it, not many know that the acidity of the tomato may slow down the digestion, but can be enhanced by using fresh or dried herbs like basil, parsley, oregano, celery, tarragon, thyme, cardamom, onion and garlic, which can be all used together or just pick and choose according to your taste. Personally, I prefer fresh basil…lots of it!… fresh garlic and onion. By chopping the ripe tomatoes with a knife rather than using a blender or processor, the flavors of foods stay fresh and the levels of digestion rise because there’s no air in the food that accumulates during processing. I prefer cooking at low heat to keep most of the nutrients intact.  If you wish to put a protein in the sauce, like meatballs, I have a few suggestions that will help you digest the meat and taste the flavors to the fullest. When choosing the meat for meatballs, prefer mixing chicken with one of turkey, beef or veal. Some use pork in their meatballs, I suggest avoiding pork as its tough on the digestion. When preparing the meatballs, try using this blend of fresh or dried herbs to break down the proteins during digestion: parsley, hyssop, sage, rosemary, oregano, thyme and a sprinkle of sesame seeds which are rich in calcium and magnesium. Brown the meatballs in olive oil with chopped garlic and onion and a splash of white wine, the alcohol and sugar of the wine will evaporate, leaving in the meat the flavor of it. Add in the ripe chopped tomatoes with the herbs and let simmer at a low heat for about 40/45 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked and the water of the tomatoes evaporate. You’d like to have a nice thick texture. Enjoy on your choice of pasta, polenta or rice, topped with chopped fresh basil, grated grana cheese or crumbled feta cheese. I love dunking a piece of fresh homemade bread it! Mmmm, my soul feels good!