Using herbs as food

Most of us try to live a healthy lifestyle: eat a good diet, exercise regularly, and tread lightly on the planet. Even so, sometimes it can be hard to incorporate herbs into our regular routine and keep it up when we don’t have a pressing health issue. I know I have this issue and as the daughter of a health care practitioner I would imagine I might be in the habit of taking herbs more regularly than a lot of people. (You should see my mini-pharmacy!) One way to make this easier is to incorporate herbs into your diet.

  • Don’t forget that culinary herbs are often times what we are taking in tinctures or pills and can be just as beneficial. If you don’t have a mini herb garden already, why not? It’s inexpensive to grow, can take as much or as little room as you’d like, and greatly enhances the flavor of any food you might make.
  • Herbal teas and tea blends are a great way to introduce new herbs into your diet. Again, you can grow many varieties in your own garden if you have the wherewithal. You could also blend your own teas. Tea is a great place to add pre-made tinctures.  If they are alcohol based, the hot water will help that evaporate if that is a concern and it is simple to disguise the flavor if necessary.
  • Use herbs as digestives.  Again, you can make your own if you’re feeling adventurous, otherwise you can find any variety herbal bitters at the liquor store these days that can help digestion. Micro distilleries are springing up everywhere and are a great source of hand crafted liquors using local and seasonal ingredients.
  • If you’re interested in a non-alcoholic option, try adding your herbs to sparkling water. You could further enhance your drink with additional fresh herbs, lemon or lime, cucumber, or fruit.  Really, only your imagination limits you.
  • Fresh herbs are also great in salads and sandwiches. They impart an intense burst of flavor and can improve an average dish. Have you ever tried making banh mi and not including fresh herbs? The beautiful thing about a sandwich like this is that it only gets better with a wider variety of vegetables and herbs.
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