The Healing Power of Basil

Day 3 of the detox, and day 4 of being home after five weeks gone, and I dropped another 2 pounds this morning. I’m sure it is water weight, blah blah blah, but it sure made me feel better to see that number on the scale and know that things are moving in the right direction.

I made the awesome cold/raw tomato soup that my nutritionist turned us onto the last time I did the detox, and it is truly awesome, especially since it is currently 94 degrees outside.

Making it reminds me how healing it is to cook (or prepare, since I didn’t heat this) with fresh basil. The intensity of the aroma alone makes you feel like everything is going to be OK. When my mom had cancer, I remember making her pesto, splurging on a huge bag of pine nuts, because I was convinced that the right combo of basil, garlic, and pine nuts would help her heal.

[She’s a 12-year survivor at this point after 2 bouts with some pretty rough stuff, and while I am not so naive as to think it was the one time I made pesto, I do think that it surely helped her get through at least one awful day.]

If you’re someone who isn’t crazy about veggies, but is trying to eat a healthier diet, it will be worth the time and money to experiment with fresh herbs. Even lowly parsley—which I call lowly because you’ll even find it garnishing plates in greasy spoons and cafeterias around the country—can add an incredible essence of freshness to just about anything.

I’m not going to claim this recipe is healthy, but if you hate eating green things, try this. Get some frozen french fries and bake them, spritzing them with a bit of good olive oil. Right when you get them out of the oven, dump them in a bowl with a full head of parsley (flat or curly, doesn’t matter) that you’ve minced super-fine, and one or two minced gloves of garlic. Stir it around to coat the fries. Amazing, and you’ve added greens to fries, which has to count for something.

If you like cilantro, you can do this with cilantro and sweet potato fries. And, rosemary works well with each, but in smaller quantities and really well-minced so you don’t get any woody stems.

Hmmm … wonder why I’m fixating on french fries …

I’m thinking that even though this detox plan has 10 days, I may cut out one of the middle/hardest days when you only eat cruciferous veggies and a bit of protein powder. I’m already feeling so much cleaner, and my skin, I kid you not, has started to clear up. I’m anxious to get back to eating reasonably, with my protein coming from eggs, fish, and lean meats instead of a jar of powder and various combinations of legumes and grains.

Have a great weekend! I’m off to do research for a work project at a couple of our museums in town. I feel lucky that every once in a blue moon, my work calls for a field trip like this.

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