Summer is on it’s way, and below are some beneficial food and drink ideas.

Pomegranate fruit

Pomegranates (Punica granatum)
Pomegranates (Punica granatum)

Pomegranates (Punica granatum) have been in season and we have been enjoying the fruit, and even more so, as we read about the health benefits. Pomegranate is a small tree, which can be pruned to keep to shrub size, thereby making it suitable for small gardens. The tree is deciduous in winter thereby making it suitable for cold climates.

The pomegranate fruit is such a beautiful red colour and keeps a number of weeks when picked and can be eaten fresh in hand, used as a garnish, added to fruit salad, desserts, sauces, jellies, syrups, etc. The juice is a rich source of antioxidants, which researchers say, can keep bad LDL cholesterol from oxidizing. The build up of LDL may lead to the development of atherosclerosis. In addition, pomegranate can help keep blood platelets from clumping together to form unwanted clots (providing a similar action to aspirin, but without the side affects). Pomegranate may reduce the risk of having heart attacks, strokes and Alzheimer’s disease. This fruit is high antioxidants and thus helps support the body’s normal defense in the prevention of certain cancers.

One of the most dreaded consequences of cancer is when the disease metastasizes and spreads from the primary site where it started, to other parts of the body. Natural News, reported findings of scientists at the University of California, that components in pomegranate juice have been found in research, to inhibit the movement of cancer cells and weaken the attraction of malignant cells to a chemical signal that has been shown to promote metastasis.

An Israeli study has demonstrated the fruit’s potential to fight and prevent infection. Researchers discovered that patients with kidney disease who are undergoing dialysis can considerably reduce their likelihood of infection by drinking just a few glasses of pomegranate juice a week.

Pomegranates have a very high content of punicalagins, one of its potent antioxidant components, found to be a valuable health benefit. Pomegranate is also a source of resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant that is found to slow the ageing process. Resveratrol also benefits the nervous system and is valued as an anti-cancer factor. These combination antioxidants, plus vitamins and minerals in pomegranates, provide a powerful synergy, that prevents and reverses many diseases, researchers indicate.


Alehoof (Glechoma hederacea)
Alehoof (Glechoma hederacea)

Alehoof (Glechoma hederacea) a perennial ground cover herb and trailing stems, with attractive scalloped kidney shaped leaves 4-5cm in diameter, and blue two-lipped flowers. The herb has had many traditional folk-lore uses as a tea for indigestion, fevers, headaches, jaundice, gout, arthritis, normalizing heart beat, stimulating circulation, as a strengthener to liver, gall, kidneys, glands, spleen, sciatica, vertigo, ringing in the ears, persistent coughs, and to prevent premature ageing. The herb was held in high esteem as a wash for treating the eyes, whether it was for black eyes, inflammation of watery eyes, conjunctivitis, spots or failing eyesight. Drink alehoof in summer for heat fatigue.

Leaves and flowers can be used in meals and as a garnish.


Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)
Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is a valuable survival food plant, to get to know and eat regularly. It just may be a weed growing in your garden or on footpaths in your neighbourhood; just like in the picture below of a plant growing in a crack in concrete.

Eat the leaves in salads, sandwiches, added to cooked dishes near the end of cooking, whizzed up with other greens in smoothies, and I often use in making pesto.

Picture below shows a purslane sprig used as a garnish on a sao savory biscuit with tomato slice. Also displayed on the plate, sao biscuits with cheese, gherkin pickles, sweet tarragon and red stemmed Ceylon salad leaves.

Purslane sprig snack
Purslane sprig snack

How can I be prepared with Self-Sufficiency and Survival Foods? Scientific discovery in 1980, found that purslane is a valuable source of omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA), means we can have our own rich source of EFA in the garden. For more information on the value to health of EFA refer to my books “How can I be prepared with Self-sufficiency and Survival Foods?” and “How can I use Herbs in my daily Life?”

The purslane leaves are mild in flavor, slightly sour, mucilaginous, and an excellent source of vitamins A and C, also iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. The website of the Association of Women for the Advancement of Research and Education states: Eating 5 sprigs of purslane 10cm long daily, provides over 550mg of calcium. A great nutritional benefit to the bones for any one from toddler to later years.

Salad Mallow

Salad Mallow
Salad Mallow

Greens are valuable to health

A report from NaturalNews stated that diabetes continues to grow at a staggering rate with 1.6 million new cases being diagnosed each year in the US (no doubt Australian figures are similar). Emerging evidence, now clearly demonstrates, that this insidious disease can be prevented and controlled with a diet naturally high in green leafy vegetables.

The results of a study published in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) reviewed six studies covering more than 220,000 people, concluding that one and one half servings of green leafy vegetables per day lowered the risk of Type II diabetes by 14%. We all need to be mindful of the benefits of greens in our daily diet. Let’s all add more salad greens to our plates this summer.

Great ones to grow and use are watercress, salad mallow, sheep sorrel, lebanese cress, rocket… to name a few.
For more on salad greens, download ‘Delicious Salads’ PDF.

Sunflower Salad recipe

Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds

Sprout 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds (use seeds still with the husk on) on a shallow seedling tray (or even an opened up egg carton) filled with potting mix or soil approximately 2-4 cm deep. Start the sunflower seeds by soaking in water for several hours, and then spread over the prepared soil. Cover with 5-6 sheets of damp newspaper and leave to germinate. When seeds start to sprout, remove newspaper. Check the soil daily and water as required. Sunflower sprouts will be ready to pick, by cutting at soil level, when the first 2 leaves turn dark green, which can be from 6 to 9 days, depending on day and night temperatures. Then you are ready to make the salad. If you can’t wait to sprout the sunflower seeds to use the sprouts, the recipe can also be made using hulled sunflower seeds.

In a bowl
grate 6 large carrots
Add sunflower sprouts, or 2 tablespoons of hulled sunflower seeds
½ cup sultanas

Make a dressing by mixing well in a jar or shaker:
juice from ½ orange
juice from ½ lemon
4 to 5 sprigs, of finely chopped fresh rau om (Isabell’s favourite flavouring herb),
or sweet tarragon, or oregano (or any other fresh herbs you like for flavouring)
1 dessertspoon honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon mustard (optional)
Mix all together and serve for a very tasty and nutritious salad.


You can read more about these wonderful plants and recipes in Isabell’s books.



To inspire …


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What you do with your fork impacts everything

Mark Hyman | TEDxChicago

Dr Hyman is a practising family physician, an​​11-time New York Times bestselling author speaker, educator and advocate in the field of Functional Medicine.

He is the Pritzker Foundation Chair in Functional Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic and Director of the Ultra Wellness Center, chairman of the Institute​ of Functional Medicine, medical editor of the Huffington Post, and a regular medical contributor in the media for CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, CNN, The Dr Oz Show and more.

Dr. Mark Hyman is a practicing family physician, a 11-time New York Times bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in the field of Functional Medicine.

He is the Pritzker Foundation Chair in Functional Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine and Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine.

He is Founder and Director of The UltraWellness Center, chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine, medical editor of The Huffington Post, and a regular medical contributor in the media for CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, CNN, The Dr. Oz Show, and more.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.


May your garden bring much joy,

satisfaction and be a beautiful and interesting place,

providing mental and physical therapy and a bountiful harvest for health and vitality.

wishing you health and well-being
Ricky Shipard


* Turmeric image courtesy of Sommai at

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