Using herbs and spices | Genesa Living Foundation to present a community conversation | SierraSun.com

Using herbs and spices | Genesa Living Foundation to present a community conversation

Special to the Sun

Evgenij Mymrin/Thinkstockphotos.comAdd a dash of this and a pinch of that for flavor and nutrition in your cooking. Learn more Dec. 15 during the and#8220;Using Herbs and Spicesand#8221; presentation at Trokay Cafe in Truckee.

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; The Genesa Living Foundation is providing a monthly series of free presentations held at Trokay Cafe, 10115 Donner Pass Road Truckee, in Downtown Truckee. These presentations will be community conversations to become educated and learn from one another, striving for community wellness and optimal health. Each presentation will cover different topics and/or include guest speakers. Topics will relate to how we can eat, obtain and share fresh and healthy food.

Tool #12: Using herbs and spices

The use of herbs and spices for both cooking and medicinal use has been around for centuries. Today, there is resurgence in the use of both fresh and dried herbs in cooking as the American palate has become more sophisticated.

The reason for using spices and herbs in your cooking is simple: to enhance the flavor and freshness of your food while providing additional nutrient value to your meals. An added benefit to using spices and herbs is they contain no calories or fat. And many types of herbs and spices can be used as a substitute for salt, which is important for people wanting to reduce the amount of sodium in their diets.

and#8220;Socrates once said, and#8216;your food is your medicine and your medicine is your food,and#8217;and#8221; said Suzanne Peabody Ashworth of Del Rio Botanicals. and#8220;We have gotten away from that. Before our food became so enhanced with corn syrup and salt, we used herbs for flavoring.and#8221;

What Socrates was talking about, according to Ashworth, is the connection between herbs and spices and health. Many herbs and spices have powerful medicinal qualities, that the typical American diet lacks due the over processing of our food supply. and#8220;Take fresh salsa, for example,and#8221; says Ashworth. and#8220;Fresh salsa has cilantro, garlic, lemon juice, onions and tomato. It is literally a vitamin pill when it is prepared fresh. The stuff in a jar you buy at the grocery store has none of that nutritional value.and#8221;

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Herbs and spices can pack such a nutritional punch, adding just small amounts to your meals not only enhances the foodand#8217;s flavor, but its nutritional value as well. and#8220;Just one sprig of fresh parsley is equal in vitamin content to an entire head of iceberg lettuce. You can still have the iceberg lettuce salad you crave, but why not add some freshly chopped parsley? It will make the salad taste delicious and add a lot of extra nutrition,and#8221; said Ashworth.

Aside from the nutritional benefits, herbs and spices are what make cuisine so unique around the world. An herb like cilantro is used world wide, but the way it is used varies greatly from culture to culture. and#8220;Herbs are the flavor that changes the cuisine of the food,and#8221; said Ashworth. and#8220;Take zucchini squash, for example. Zucchini squash is used around the world, but how it is prepared in Japan, Peru, Italy, Germany, etc. largely depends on the spices that are used with it. The spices make it unique. Zucchini prepared in Japan will taste vastly different than zucchini prepared in Peru. Without different spices, the food is no longer unique.and#8221;

Ashworth says once people wean themselves off of fast and prepackaged foods, they will automatically be weaning themselves off of corn syrups and salt dependencies. Eating fresh and close to the ground is the key, she says, to being able to add herbs and spices and have your food taste wonderful and unique.

To learn more about the 12 tools, or to watch a free promo for and#8220;Love of the Land,and#8221; visit http://www.toolboxfortheinformedeater.org.

Kaili Sanchez of Kaili’s Creative Kitchen will demonstrate how to prepare a healthy holiday pumpkin bread using cocoa flour, Dec. 15, 5-6 p.m. at Trokay Cafe, 10115 Donner Pass Road, Truckee, 530-582-1040.

About the founder: a local chiropractor, micronutrient specialist, and organic lifestyle entrepreneur, Dr. Dan has 25 years of experience assisting patients on the road to wellness.

and#8212; Submitted to aedgett@sierrasun.com