The Prickly Pear
Some of you might remember how I have noticed that whatever a person needs can be found in the ground where they live. It just works that way. Well, this week I have decided to take the plunge into an experience that has been waiting for me and available in the physical for me for at least 6 years. The prickly pear aka Nopal
Where to begin,
such a wonderful plant,
similar to aloe, with amazing medicinal and nutrient- rich properties.
Prickly pear cactus is a plant. It grows abundantly in parts of Central America that I know of and I imagine other parts of the world, of which I know nothing yet.
Prickly pear is healthy. It grows in the garden, is easy to prepare and it known to hydrate, be overall cooling and light like aloe, and as such can be used to support lower Pitta and Kapha type symptoms and issues such as diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, alcohol hangover, colitis, diarrhea. It is also known to be used to fight viral infections.
It can be eaten raw or cooked being mindful of the preparation considerations to remove the little thorns on the outside. More on that here: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/cacti-succulents/prickly-pear/harvesting-edible-cactus-pads.htm. check this rice dishes, omelettes, and as I discovered... even smoothies :) We discovered how to do it just by trial and error and listening to our intuition and neighbours here in Nicaragua and then while prepping to cook decided to cross reference which led to adding raw into our smoothie of the day:
Smoothie of the day:
-almond milk/ water/ (milk for my son.. he loves chocolate-banana smoothies and milk gets the best pass)
-1 pad of prickly pear
-pinch of fresh ginger
too easy, and sooooo very yummy!!! I'm so excited to be able to eat from the garden. I feel so energized, thus how I know its the path! another time I'm sure I'll add mint from the garden and possibly some aloe..
Kitchari of the day:
This is what started off the whole enjoyment of Prickly Pear..
Every day, almost, I make fresh some kind of kitchari for my son in the rice cooker, leave it for the day to enjoy and for any guests that come by.
Kitchari (Tri Doshic) <3 <3 <3 Om Shantih
see bottom of this recipe for what we made today. All quantities can be increased or decreased, substituted, to taste and/ or intuition Infinite ways to make this dish. Using the food guidelines make a dish to suit you in the present moment. This is a recipe that has come to be one of my favourites. Soon after the birth, simplify this, later you can add things like yams, and broccoli etc " 1 Cup yellow mung dal (yellow mung beans) or orange, or substitute lentils 1 Cup basmati rice 1 inch fresh ginger- peeled and finely chopped 4 tablespoons shredded, unsweetened coconut (dry or fresh) 1 bunch of cilantro 1⁄2-1 cup water/ and or coconut water (for blender mix of ginger, coconut, cilantro) 3 tbsp ghee/ coconut oil 1-2 inch piece of cinnamon bark 5 cardamom pods 5 whole cloves 3 bay leaves 1-2 tbsp turmeric 2-3 tbsp of cumin seeds 2 tsp coriander powder 1-3 tsp of mustard seeds pinch of salt pinch of NATURAL sugar if any- **do not cook honey, but it can be added after... 6 cups water (to 8 cups) can use hemp seeds, leafy greens, root veggies for grounding (but not if feeling lethargic) "
30" Mothering the Mother" Gentle Birthing Guide Soak mung beans or lentils overnight for better digestibility (to lower Vata- gas, constipa- tion, anxiety). Wash the mung dal and rice until water is clear. " If possible, in a blender mix the ginger (great in damp, cold weather if no Pitta symptoms are showing up- I often omit in summer and most of the time..), coconut, water/ coconut, cilantro and blend until liquefied. Heat a large saucepan on medium heat and add the ghee, (and possibly some coconut oil ), cinnamon, cloves, mustard seeds, cloves, cardamom pods, cloves, bay leaves, pep- percorns, coriander powder, turmeric, salt. Stir until mustard seeds pop, careful not to burn/ until fragnant / lightly browned. Then stir in mung dal, lentils, and rice and mix well. Pour in the 6-8 cups of water, cover and bring to a boil. Let boil for about 5 minutes then turn down the heat to very low and cook lightly covered until the dal and rice are soft (about 25-35 minutes)
Here's another one of my favourite garden green (thank you Celia & Hobson for the divine spinach and Joci for helping me make the spinach trellis ) dishes..
For me there is something so satisfying about eating from the garden.. from the land, sharing food with friends, knowing that the intention and your etheric body are growing your food, and feeling it really.. I am so fortunate and feel so grateful to recognize this medicine and to have been given the opportunity to connect in this way. From where I came from (modernity/ disconnection) to where I am now (connected, grounded, energetically safe). huge. and every day I give thanks
Todays kitchari was a take off of this recipe, as it always is here at Grateful. We pick and choose out of what is available and what is best for the dosas types in the house that will be eating. Today it was black beans, onions, green pepper, garlic, cilantro, prickly pear (what a name :)), hmm what else.. Chaya. That was it, nourishing and simple.
Broccoli and Spinach Subji
or Cauliflower and Potato Subji (Tridoshic) 4 cups mixed broccoli and spinach, or cauliflower and potato 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
add some peeled Prickly Pear for nice vegetable 2 tablespoons shredded coconut bunch of fresh cilantro, to taste 1 tbsp turmeric 1 tsp black/ yellow mustard seeds 3-5 tbsp oil/ ghee 1⁄2 cumin seeds coriander powder to taste pinch of salt 4 cups water wash the veggies and cut into small pieces cook ghee on medium heat add spices, cook until seeds pop. Then add the veggies, stir until all is mixed, then pour in the water, cover and cook until soft. Then let cool a bit, blend and serve.
"How does it work?
Prickly pear cactus contains fiber and pectin, which can lower blood glucose by decreasing the absorption of sugar in the stomach and intestine. Some researchers think that it might also decrease cholesterol levels, and kill viruses in the body." ~ https://www.rxlist.com/prickly_pear_cactus/supplements.htm
Improves heart function
Aloe Vera juice is very useful for cardiovascular problems, problems of blood and blood vessels, associated with the imbalance of Pita dosha.
The Ayurvedic medicine uses prickly pear for treatment of hypertension, hypotension, bleeding, anemia and other.
Reduces cholesterol levels
The cholesterol is a silent killer, that prevents blood circulation and clogs the arteries. Causes for high cholesterol may be many – from poor nutrition to immobilization or genetic predisposition.
All hail the prickly pear, especially if you live in a hot country. You can always try it in small amounts and see if it is a great addition to your diet and lifestyle
Benefits & Nutrient Content
Here's a little bit about its Nutrient Content from ~https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-cactus-fruit#1
"Cactus fruit may look intimidating, but once you get past its spiny outsides, it yields a mild and nutrient-rich flesh. This fruit is delicious eaten raw, added to recipes, or turned into a refreshing beverage.
Cactus fruit comes from the Opuntia cactus species that's native to Central America and the drier, desert parts of North America. There are about 90 species of Opuntia in the United States alone, and all produce cactus fruits.
The fruit, both the flesh and the skin, ranges in color according to the variety. Even within the most common species — Opuntia ficus-indica — you might see fruit that's white, green, purple, yellow, red, or even orange.
Opuntia ficus-indica is a domesticated type of cactus used as a crop plant, but wild species of Opuntia act as food sources too. The fruit of the cactus is also known as prickly pear, cactus pear, prickly pear fruit, nopal fruit, tuna, sabra, Barbary pear, and Indian fig.
Cactus pads and cactus fruit have long been tied to indigenous cultures all across Mexico, with people using them as food as far back as 9,000 to 12,000 years ago. Today, you'll find Opuntia grown as a crop throughout Mexico, the Mediterranean, northern Africa, Chile, South Africa, the Middle East, and California, as well as other parts of the southwestern United States.
The fruit of the Opuntia cactus contains health-boosting nutrients like amino acids, fatty acids, and antioxidants like betalains, polyphenols, and flavonoids.
Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health
Cactus fruit nutrients are variable, but all cactus fruits contain a variety of antioxidants known to protect cells. These antioxidants help to reduce triglycerides and bad cholesterol levels in your body. They're also able to reduce body fat percentages and help lower your risk for metabolic syndrome.
Cactus fruit can help to improve your digestion, thanks to its betalain and potassium content. Potassium helps food be better absorbed, while betalains are anti-inflammatory and help to protect your digestive tract.
Cactus fruits are rich in a number of vitamins and antioxidants, with betalains being the most plentiful. These fruits are also good sources of:
so fun ! and like I said, so nourishing