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Hi guys and gals

My partner, Jon and I are doing a walk for Leukemia & Lymphoma this October. I have a goal to raise $100 for this cause, if you’re interested in helping my fundraising efforts please check out the link below:

http://www.active.com/donate/ltnSanFr1/2126_bohemianink

Thanks for the support.

I’ll post about how the walk goes 🙂

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Courtesy of everystockphoto

I first tried figs this summer when volunteering at our community garden. I enjoyed picking the fruit in the community garden’s large fig grove. The canopy the large trees left me under felt magical and what an adventure it was to search and high and low for figs.

At some point along the way I became hesitant. One of the volunteers was spreading her wisdom out for me. She said to be careful of the white sap that can dribble off the stem when harvesting figs, its irritating to sensitive skin, but a cure for worts. I examined the fruit closely. How odd this purple tear drop was… would it taste good?

I took some home and contemplated what to do with them. For some reason my instinct did not drive me straight to the internet for answers. I day dreamed. I came up with the idea of having figs with cheese. My partner thought I was loopy he’d never heard of anyone eating figs with cheese, but that night I got my way and set our table with an array of fruits: figs, pears, plums, and peaches from the community garden. A large salad with nuts and a homemade vinaigrette. Pieces of smoked salmon and of course a large slab of locally made brie.

We each took a bite and I found heaven. Sweet and creamy… I couldn’t get enough. My love for figs and cheese was found and the adventure had only just begun.

Later this summer I prepared breakfast for my father and siblings in Nevada. The breakfast was inspired by a recipe in a Jamie Oliver cookbook I had given my dad. We sat down at the table, piled high in the center were huge extra ripe figs and next to them? A sauce made of ricotta cheese and honey. Again, heaven.

As part of dinner last night Jon and I whipped together a fig salad. 2 figs each cut into quarters and set on top of baby greens. Drizzled on top I made a plum sauce dressing. Very tasty. I look forward to making it again.

And today for lunch I am eating figs drizzled with a little agave syrup, crunchy toast, and Mediterranean cheese yogurt (if you like cream cheese and you like yogurt you Must try this. I’ve only been able to find it at Trader Joe’s, but keep your eye out for it :))

Figs are a fruit that should not be feared. Beneath their smooth purple skin lies sweet, soft goodness that pairs well with soft cheeses like those described above as well as meats like prosciutto and Parma ham.

The figs used in the dishes above were all fresh, simply washed and cut into quarters, halves, or eighths depending on the size of the fruit and what it was used with. This is only the tip of the ice berg for cooking with figs.

If you are interested in picking up a fig cookbook try:

Fig Heaven by Marie Simmons

Local Sonoma Restaurant, The Girl and the fig (cookbook)

Or see what turns up in an internet search for figs:

Cornish hens stuffed with brandied figs

100 year old fig preserves

Grilled Figs

I highly recommend picking your own figs if possible, the hunt for figs makes the treat of eating them much more enjoyable I’ve found. I also think the fresher figs are the better they taste (I am also not a huge fan of dried figs). If you don’t have a fig grove in your community garden or if you don’t have a nice neighbor who likes to share 🙂 maybe you should look into growing your own fig tree. After all, who can pass up on this Fitness fruit that is said to have come from the Tree of Life? Figs pack a powerful punch of fiber, minerals, and nutrients... no wonder Buddha sat down under a fig tree to find enlightenment.

What is your favorite fig recipe? Send me an email or leave a comment!

Personally I know when summer gets into full swing I can expect to have a few headaches every week due to my exposure to heat. Researchers at the City of London Migraine Clinic have found that “Increased body heat as a result of exercise, a hot bath or the environment resulted in cluster headaches within one hour in 75 of the 200 patients.” The researchers also found that “Avoiding factors that raise body heat may reduce the frequency and severity of attacks”

Because I suffer from headaches and migraines frequently (as do many of my family members and friends) I am always on the prowl for headache remedies, especially natural ones.

If you are also a member of the migraine/headache club give these a try:

Chrysanthemum Tea

Chrysanthemum Tea

Also referred to as “Scholar’s tea,” Chrysanthemum tea is great for those who do a lot of reading or other eye straining activities. Because the tea cleanses your body reducing the internal temperature it is great for mild sunstroke, fevers, as well as headaches. The tea has seen many uses in both Chinese and Western medicines who use it as a recovery aid for influenza, sore throats, and varicose veins.

  1. Wash and drain your flowers
  2. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 8 dried chrysanthemum flowers. (You can pick these up at most Chinese or natural food stores)
  3. Cover and steep for 3-5 minutes
  4. Strain and drink hot with honey

Take up to four cups a day.

Li Shou

Li Shou is a simple Chinese headache remedy that drawsblood (and painful head and pressure) away from your head and into your hands.

  1. Stand relaxed and twist your waist, swinging your arms gently from side to side in an arc around your body until your hands begin to feel warm (about 1-2 minutes)
  2. Stroke your face with your warmed hands in a gentle circular motion around your eyes
  3. Repeat the whole exercise several times or until the pain is gone

Ginger Tea

Ginger tea is helpful to headaches because it decreases the production of pain causing prostaglandins. It is also beneficial to eat or drink when you feel a cold coming on, need to warm up (ginger tea is a diaphoretic tea meaning it warms you from the inside and promotes perspiration), clears up nausea, and has been used in studies to relieve the pain from rheumatoid arthritis.

Safety: Ginger contains moderate amounts of oxalate. If you have a history of oxalate containing kidney stones please avoid over consuming this food!

  1. Combine 2 teaspoons of fresh grated ginger in 2 cups of water in a pot
  2. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes
  3. Remove from heat and add 2 teaspoons of dried linden blossoms and 1 teaspoon dried chamomile
  4. Cover and steep for 10 minutes
  5. Strain, sweeten, and drink while hot

Drink up to 3 cups a day

Heat your Feet

Another technique to relieve headaches is to draw blood away from your head. Try soaking your feet and ankles in hot water while placing a cold compress on your forehead for 15 minutes. According to Tori Hudson a professor at the National College of Naturopathic medcine this will cause the blood vessels in your feet to dilate and those in your head to constrict. The blood in your body will spread more evenly, relieving the painful pressure!

Almonds

In place of taking an aspirin to relieve your pain try eating 12 almonds (if you are not allergic of course!) Almonds contain salicin the active ingredient in aspirin and have been used as a traditional headache remedy in many cultures where almond trees are grown.

Causes?

As stated earlier heat exposure can be a cause for migraines and headaches, but there are countless other causes. If you are experiencing frequent headaches try to find a pattern in what you did prior to getting a headache, avoiding or limiting the cause may be the key to getting rid of your problem for good!

Some things to look at:

+ Heat exposure

+ Food allergies (in many cases plays the primary role in tension and migraine headaches… if you aren’t sure if you have a food allergy ask your doctor to give you an allergy test or talk to a nutritionist to take a food elimination test)

+ Stress

+ Sleep habits

+ Poor posture

Do you have any remedies for headaches or migraines? Please share in the comments!

Sources:

http://www.pharmj.com/Editorial/19991030/clinical/headaches.html

http://www.enjoyingtea.com/tearecipes.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysanthemum_tea

http://www.santafenm.gov/cms/kunde/rts/santafenmgov/docs/207438086-01-19-2004-16-13-00.pdf

Secret Natural Remedies by Natural Health Magazine

The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray N.D.

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