by Andrew Martin |
In 2004 Julia was diagnosed with Idiopathic Thrombocytopaenic Purpura (ITP) or low platelets, meaning she bruised easily as her blood didn’t clot blood very well. It is an auto immune disease. After trying various alternative and conventional treatments, in June 2008 Julia had to have a hysterectomy.
Three months after that operation she suffered a stroke when the platelets were again extremely low although it is not clear whether the low platelets caused the stroke or not. She spent six weeks in hospital, surrendered to the healing process of having to relearn how to use her left hand and to walk again.It is with total gratitude, a lot of loving family support, a positive attitude and determination that Julia completely recovered and today lives a vibrant, healthy and energetic life.
How can that be?
Julia puts it down to a combination of western medicine and edible weeds, leafy greens and fresh fruit turned into a rich green smoothies. Julia has now been drinking smoothies for a few years now. Julia first heard about them from the gardening expert Wally Richards who lives in Palmerston North, where I also lived until 2008. Wally talked about the benefits of leafy greens and making them into a smoothie.
She was interested in this idea but it took until September 2010 for her to take the leap and start making green smoothies. She recovered from the stroke but noticed how stiff she felt, she suffered from aches and pains in her joints and this is what prompted her to start making smoothies. She realised that she wasn’t getting nearly enough nutrition from her diet before the stroke happened. Now Julia drinks between 1-2 Litres of green smoothie every day. It has become her breakfast and there’s usually some leftover for afternoon tea!
What are the benefits of green weed smoothies?
The benefits are increased amounts of enzymes, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids and fibre. They help boost the immune system, maintain the correct pH balance in the body, cleanse our inner organs and are a complete, easily digestible superfood. Julia notes her energy levels have increased, she needs less sleep and when she awakens feels fresh and alert.
She has lost weight and is not stiff anymore, with significant improvement in joint pain. She recovers quickly from heavy physical work, noticed she doesn’t have low blood sugar in the afternoon anymore and her platelets are very stable. Julia is currently establishing a food forest and permaculture garden that maximises what one can grow in a small space as well as conducting workshops and helping people discover the benefits of edible weeds.
Julia’s golden rules for enjoying wild edibles responsibly are:
Weeds are often thought of as undesirable, but some of them happen to be superfoods, packed with nutrients we all need. It is VERY IMPORTANT however, that you identify weeds carefully before eating them.
- If you donʼt know what it is donʼt eat it. Learn to identify plants that are edible and get to know those that are poisonous. The best way is learning from a local expert. Second best is from books and the internet.
- Make sure the plants you harvest are not sprayed or from contaminated soil.
- Sample new edibles in small amounts to start with; if you have no adverse affect after some time a little more can be eaten.
- Get permission if harvesting from someone else’s property.
Below are some of the edible weeds Julia uses in her green smoothies and other recipes including a new venture into cultured weeds..