We are fortunate to live in the Pacific Northwest where the soil is rich, the air is clean and the Puget Sound supports an abundance of food resources. I am forever grateful for the first human caretakers of our corner of the world, native Americans, and the obligations that every generation has to protect the environment for seven generations past themselves. Because of this and also folks protecting our rain and temperate forest, and coastal areas we are able to forage and gather nutrient dense and healing foods in our 'backyards'.
Today we gathered coastal foods in preparation for a meal. We always stop at a food stand on the weekends and select a flower bouquet along with a seasonal vegetable or two. Farm stands are small road side pay-on-your-honor stores. All of the food is grown in small personal home gardens, and is usually picked the day it is put out for donations. We have a favorite that we go to. The flower bouquets consist of wild flowers with incredible textures, colors and shapes. Because the stand is at the end of a private road, we've never seen the actual garden or house. Very intriguing.
Today we choose to pick up with green cabbage. Cabbage contains a good amount of an amino acid called l-glutamine. L-glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body and functions in an incredible amount of vital roles. When we are thinking about cancer treatment, the glutamine becomes important in maintaining gut flora balance (which affects digestive functions and immune function), and also helps to stave off peripheral neuropathy which can be caused by the chemotherapies: Taxotere, Taxol, the platin drugs and Velcade in particular. We'll be combining the sauteed cabbage with some lobster mushrooms that we foraged last fall in the Olympia area.
We continued down the road to some of the best beaches in Northern Washington for collecting seaweed, clams and crabs. We intended to collect clams this trip. Prior to leaving we checked the tide schedule. Today low tide was at -0.85 feet
, good enough to find Butter clams which are typically prepared by steaming and eating, or for use in clam chowder. We had to hike about 0.5 to 0.75 miles to a point, and then looked for starfish. We always seem to have good luck finding clam beds around the same area of the starfish, though we don't disturb the starfish or dig around their habitat. With some searching we found several Butter clams. They were placed in a bucket of sea water. We finished with about 7 clams (they are large), and gave thanks. The bucket with the clams were kept in the cool until we started on our way home. They will remain in a bucket overnight while they siphon out the majority of the sand in their guts.
Clams filter algae and other green 'elements' of the sea. These elements contain a good amount of omega 3 fatty acids which are helpful in skin and tissue repair, and also make up the anti inflammatory prostaglandins that are essential to immune cell communication. In addition, clams contain a good amount of magnesium. Magnesium is involved in hundreds of metabolic processes in the body. One in particular that is essential in cancer treatment is the detoxification that occurs in the liver (phase I and phase II detoxification). Chemotherapy and the stress that occurs with radiation are notorious for depleting the body of magnesium. Often times patients will need IV rehydration for magnesium, or will have symptoms associated with magnesium deficiency including muscle cramps or fatigue.
We'll be steaming the clams in white wine. The alcohol will act as a solvent to mineralize some of the nutrient out, and as cooking proceeds the alcohol will evaporate. We'll also be adding garlic, onions and butter to the steaming mixture. The butter will help with Vitamin B12 absorption as well.
I'll post some pictures of the final meal and the process, as well as a recipe.
I hope you are inspired to be well! I am grateful for our resources.