Angela’s Herb Walk

in Montano de Oro
in Montano de Oro

I like walking. I love walking with a purpose. Today I am taking you along on Angela’s Herb Walk. We start at Coon’s Creek Trail in Montano de Oro State Park in Central California. We don’t even leave the parking lot before Angela, a wonderfully skilled herbalist, points out horehound growing from under a bench.

Parking lot horehound
Parking lot horehound

Angela describes the medicinal value of horehound and gives some caution about how to use it. Not even out of the parking lot, and we’re already stepping on nature’s bounty.

cool, dry beauty
cool, dry beauty

The area is dry from lack of rainfall, but the day is fresh and cool.

Coon Creek Trail
Coon Creek Trail

Every few feet along the path, we stop and touch-smell-even taste the herbs.

Wild, and flowering
Wild, and flowering

And admire the wildflowers.

even ladybugs like it
even ladybugs like it

I find out my favorite herb is Mugwort. Mugwort? Yes, it’s fresh and clean tasting. Angela says it would make a good tea. She says a lot more, but I am concentrating on the zest and the springtime aroma.

We see this

green goodness
green goodness

 

and Angela gives it a name – horse tail – and explains how its high mineral content helps keep hair, nails, skin healthy.

 

We see this. Nettles. Our guide tells us that if you can pick just one herbal remedy

best herb on the planet
best herb on the planet

 

 

 

 

for what ails you, use nettles. Just be careful of the powerful sting of its tiny prickles. Fold the top of the leaf over the stings and you can chow down on a vitamin factory.

And the good herb,

yerba buena
yerba buena

 

 

yerba buena, which tastes sweet and calming. A member of the mint family, it is a helpful pain reliever.

There are so many more plants she introduces. I am amazed at what is in my backyard, available for everyone, if we only walk with Angela and learn what is around us.

Never let your loved ones talk you into watching “The Walking Dead.” Your formerly pleasant drives around town will be filled with ‘what house would be best for surviving a zombie apocalypse?’ and ‘where would my water supply come from?’

beautiful, but no water to drink
beautiful, but no water to drink

Stanley says there is a way to convert sea water to drinking water, but I wonder just how practical that is when Zombies are wandering the streets and there is no electricity.

Day 20, 21 and to eternity: The Quest is Over

The quest is over, but I have not found the holy grail of diets. This is just another diet fad, and though it may help many people, really, what was always true remains: Marsha is what Marsha eats. We all are what we eat; all of us need to figure out what it is that we can live with and what we can’t.

good, and good for you
good, and good for you

The real ‘skinny’ of this diet: I did not lose a pound. I did find out that soy and milk products will stay out of my grocery basket, and that grass-fed beef will occasionally find its way home with me. Was it worth it? Yes, and no. No holy grail, but a good piece of information or two.

Day 17, 18 & 19: The Never-ending Quest for Health

Leave it or Heave it?
Leave it or Heave it?

Nothing on this diet has been difficult, except me and my attitude. I am suspicious about why we always feel we need to change our outlook toward foods. At different times, red meat has been good then bad and now good again; soy is now evil; whole wheat is on the verge of being a bad food. Although I get a bit tired of the author’s ever-loving cheerfulness (she’s a ROCK STAR and she ROCKS!!!!!,) I’ll follow her recommendations if they work for me. But does that mean my supply of Trader Joe’s Multigrain pancake mix, the one that makes wonderful waffles, will have to be tossed? That somehow just doesn’t seem right.

Day 14, 15 & 16: The Never-ending Quest for Health

Some people had said that as you re-introduce items to your diet, you would find out fast if you could tolerate them or not. In the case of milk products and me, they were right.

Saying goodbye to the cream
Saying goodbye to the cream

This is one food group I don’t mind giving up. It doesn’t include cheese, does it????

Day 12 & 13: The Never-ending Quest for Health

If you want to test your memory, there’s nothing like those songs you sing in your youth. Like this little sweet thing from camp:

I´m a little  coconut
Sitting on my coco-butt
 Everybody laughs at  me
Because I am a nut, you see

(Chorus)
I´m  a nut (*clap* *clap*)
I´m a nut (*clap* *clap*)
I´m a nut, I ´m a nut, I´m a nut (*clap* *clap*)

MacScouter Book of Songs

I feel like I’ve been singing that song all week. Coconut oil, coconut juice, coconut milk, and -surprise- coconut. Mostly, though, I relate to the chorus, because following all this diet advice is a bit nutty.

It wasn’t so long ago that soy was magic. And before that, corn. And I find it absolutely wacky that this

everything but the coconut
everything but the coconut

is not on my diet.

Happily, though, since I had been dairy-free for several weeks before this venture, tomorrow I am re-introducing cream in my coffee. And maybe some yogurt, if I’m still feeling nutty.