This week I got a nice surprise. I lost two pounds without even trying! I'm attributing this joyous occurrence to the only thing I did differently:


At this time of year, if you take advantage of new growth, nature will give you a few gifts. The tender, green shoots of new plants are the best antidote for a body that's become sluggish and slow over the winter months. Historically, people in this part of the world always looked to spring as the time to 'purify the blood' and circulatory system.

If you're outside doing a bit of gardening, save some of those weeds you're pulling. I've got a few recipes for you, but first I'll explain how they can help.

Throw some young Dandelion leaves in your salad, and you'll start to feel mighty. They don't taste bad and do a wonderful job of stimulating the liver as well as offering a mild diuretic effect. If you save a dandelion plant or two and let them mature, you can even use the plant's 'milk' to remove warts.
Young Dandelion Leaves
If you suffer from allergies or hay fever this time of year, or any type of lung problem, Nettles can be your best friend. Just be sure to wear gloves when you gather the new, young leaves. Unlike dandelion, nettles taste less than fabulous, so chop the leaves finely and add a tablespoon full, raw, to whatever kind of soup you prefer. Nettle is rich in loads of minerals, including calcium. It's one of the few plants that contain Vitamin D so it can elevate your mood too. It was once used as a cure for tuberculosis, and daily intake can relieve sneezing and itchy eyes. If you'd like to try nettle soup, here's a link to a nice recipe: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2137636/nettle-soup
Carrageenan, from the garden of the sea, is a traditional Irish cure. It has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, is rich in potassium chloride, has loads of vitamins, and can work wonders for relieving congestion and mucous. It’s also good for treating dry skin, eczema and psoriasis. A seaweed bath can make you feel like a mermaid and does luscious things for your skin. I like to use dry seaweed flakes in my salads. They're a terrific source of Vitamin B12, which offers a jolt of energy, aids weight loss, soothes the nerves and intestines, relieves leg cramps, and can improve homocysteine levels. That last bit is important because it protects the brain from atrophy, making B12 a great choice for anyone dealing with Alzheimer's and/or dementia.
'Carrageen Sprinkle'
Then there's the old stand-by, Apple Cider Vinegar-Lemonade Tonic. This is the one I drank each morning this past week, and it's the one that must've helped me lose those two pounds. Here's the recipe: 
1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar (Bragg's Organic 'with the mother') 
2 tablespoons Organic Lemon Juice 
1 tablespoon Maple Syrup 
1 teaspoon Ceylon (the better, organic cinnamon) 
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper 
Mix together in a pint glass with purified water and drink this in the morning before anything else. 

This drink is a great way to correct your acid/alkaline balance, thereby eliminating yeast and eating up extra starch you may consume. The lemon juice offers Vitamin C, Ceylon is a super antioxidant that balances blood sugar, and Cayenne drops blood pressure and speeds up metabolism. 

So that's where my extra two pounds went! 

Remember, the juice and leaves of plants that are freshly gathered are far more potent than anything bottled, so get out there and celebrate springtime! Because, in the words of the famous Dr. Bach, 'Nature patiently waits and we have only to turn back to her to find relief from our suffering.' 

St. Patrick - Not the Guy You Thought He Was

Before you go diving into a pint of green beer to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, you might want to pause for a moment and reflect a bit on ‘yer man,’ Patrick.

While he may be the patron saint of Ireland, he was NOT the first to bring Christianity to this island. That distinction goes to a bishop named Palladius who came from Gaul and mostly hung out in Leinster when he got here, setting up churches in that small area. He was sent by the pope to preach to ‘the Irish who believe in Christ.’ But Palladius had zip when it came to PR, so people pretty much forgot about him. In fact, if Palladius and Patrick were 21st century authors, Palladius would be the guy who published his own e-book and sold 12 copies to his family members. Patrick would be 50-shades of E.L. James.

How did Patrick get such outstanding publicity in the 5th century? He made up stories, of course.

According to research conducted by Cambridge University professor, Roy Flechner, ‘The traditional story that Patrick was kidnapped from Britain, forced to work as a slave, but managed to escape and reclaim his status, is likely to be fiction. The story was instigated by Patrick himself in the letters he wrote, because this is how he wanted to be remembered.’

Even more interesting, it’s probable that Patrick owned slaves and became a slave trader in Ireland. This is based, in part, on early medieval Irish legal texts which regulate the church’s ownership of slaves. Since there was no monetary economy in Ireland at that time, slave trading was the main basis for the economy. Slaves were also, frequently, used for sex. And, yes, the church was a major slave owner.

Flechner adds, ‘Escaped slaves had no legal status and could be killed or recaptured by anyone. The probability Patrick managed to cross from his alleged place of captivity in western Ireland back to Britain undetected, is small.’

A 7th century cleric wrote that Patrick took a liking to a boy he had converted to Christianity and named Benignus. The boy, ‘took Patrick’s feet between his hands and would not sleep with his father and mother, but wept unless he would be allowed to sleep with Patrick.’ They had a close, lifelong companionship, and Benignus succeeded Patrick as bishop of Armagh.

Another story about yer man Patrick that’s really more symbolism than fabrication is the one about driving the snakes out of Ireland. Since there never were any snakes here, this one is in reference to the fact that Patrick led a fight to have Druid priests and priestesses expelled from the country or killed. His main gripe was that Druids worshipped a Mother Goddess. He seems to have forgotten, their Goddess was his God’s mother. But, of course, Patrick wasn’t the first to wipe out the indigenous culture of a country through religious imperialism.

No matter how you celebrate this green holiday, you might want to follow Patrick’s lead the next time you have to compose your own bio. Maybe add in a little snippet about how you were captured by pirates before you managed to drive all the duck-billed platypuses out of lower Manhattan. You could get centuries of good publicity out of it.


It's springtime--or Imbolc--in Ireland, that quarter of the year from 1 February through 30 April. Traditionally, February 1st is when farmers ready the ground for planting. Potatoes are planted just after Paddy's Day. Now, the daffodils are smiling, and baby animals are being welcomed into the world.

As the Celtic shaman, Caitlin Matthews writes, "Spring is the time to appreciate innocence, truth and justice, to make plans and prepare for the unfolding year." It's time to celebrate with your inner child!

On my walks down to the lake, the earth is positively bursting with life. I can feel the nature spirits--dryads of the trees, undines in the lake, gnomes amid the rocks--on the edge of this world. The air throbs with their curiosity and their willingness to help or hinder.

This is a wonderful time to go to a wild place and stand barefoot on the earth. It may be too cold to do this for more than a few minutes, but if you try it, the earth will give you a gift -- an infusion of it's power and energy to spring forth into this glorious season.