canada thistle

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The Man who Tried to Eat Canada Thistle

By | 2017-10-29T15:42:17+00:00 July 11th, 2010|Health Tips|

Randy Does It Again

randy holding mouth small


I have had various experiences with the wild plants in my yard and garden. Some of them are pleasant experiences, and some of them are not.  This story falls into the second category.


During our recent set of interviews with Health Tribe Forum, Diana was talking with Stephen Buhner, a world plant expert. He explained that THISTLES are actually quite good for your health. He also explained in the same breath, that Chickweed (or Lamb’s Quarters) is just wild spinach. 


It happens that Chickweed and Canada thistle are some of the healthiest plants in my garden.  I like eating chick weed so was very interested in the thistle idea. I was intensely curious whether you could actually take away the prickles. I couldn’t imagine how this could happen.  Visions of millions of happy Canadians feasting on enormous salad bowls of this prickly plant filled my mind. I wanted to ask about Canada Thistle in particular but didn’t want to interrupt. Perhaps I should have.


I had also heard that you can either cook or blend thistles.  Blending is easier so that is what I tried. I pulled out several young plants (because that is what you are supposed to do) and just threw them in water and blended.


Amazing – the prickles were gone.  I could not feel them with my fingers in the blender or the few cautious drops in my mouth.


But the SMELL! It started drifting up even when I first started blending and got even stronger as I went along. Imagine blending up someone else’s smelly socks knowing you were going to eat the mixture! How does your body feel as you imagine this?  This is how my body feels several hours after I tried this.

bad smell food

The taste was not AS bad. It didn’t have a lot of taste to begin with but the aftertaste closely resembles the smell. BAD!  I did not throw up but was well on my way!


OK so I’ve learned I can’t eat Canada thistle like this.  But what was Stephen talking about? I will certainly ask him and do some research but perhaps you, as a member of the Health Tribe Forum or Real Food for Life, can help me?  Please leave your comments below. (You can even comment on how dumb I have been.)


This is what the Health Tribe Forum is all about – combining our own direct experience and inner intelligence with the knowledge gleaned by mankind over the ages and combining it with modern scientific […]

Good Weed…Bad Weed

By | 2017-10-29T15:42:27+00:00 August 15th, 2009|Health Tips, Recipes|

lambs-quarters-small-3 I’ve had an on /off  relationship with weeds recently (see Dandelion Madness) and now I’m at it again.

My attention has now gone to yet another weed called Lamb’s Quarters.

This one’s not so pesky to your lawn and it tastes much better.   Actually it tastes almost exactly like spinach – particularly when cooked – and again, it has all kinds of nutritional value and … it’s free.

You can also call it Fat Hen, Nickel Greens, pig weed, dung weed or White Goosefoot.  Some of these names I also don’t love.

Benefits and Facts about Lamb’s Quarters

  • If allowed to mature, Lamb’s Quarters produces a head of thousands of black tiny seeds.
  • Seeds are highly nutritious since it’s species is closely related to the superfood, Quinoa
  • It has been eaten,  perhaps unknowingly,  since the iron age.
  • One cup raw leaves contianes 11,600 IU of Vitamin A
  • Also high in Vit C, phosphorus, Calcium, Riboblavin and Iron.

It now grows wild in North America – and probably most people unknowingly just pull it out of the garden. You can recognize the plant when young because the center of the top is feathery looking with a purple tint. The picture is of a younger plant.

Caution: 
Like every food and plant – there is no PERFECT food that is 100%  good. There is always some small (or big) aspect that is not good for the body. 

That is why it is best to eat a large variety of foods and to know how to combine and prepare foods properly so that that negative effect is reduced.

Greens have such high levels of so many nutrients that it is not surprising that this particular green has its own particular problem .  This means you shouldn’t eat TOO much of it.  This is not likely considering how little people eat weeds but just so you know – it has high levels of oxalic acids in it.  Oxalic acid can bind with other minerals in the body causing mineral depletion and in its worse case – kidney stones.  Many foods contain this ingredient so if you are even relatively healthy there is not cause for concern.

A few raw cups of this thrown in your salad therefor is no problem – or even if you ate several cups cooked but if you were using it a lot over a long period of time than be aware.  If suddenly you are NOT attracted to eating it –  follow that advise from your body and take a vacation.  I personally liked it best when the plants were just big enough to have a head of green seeds. Seeds contain all the vitality of the whole plant.  When green and steamed they have a very delicate flavor. When they start to get brown they have a much stronger taste.

The season is getting along but I encourage you to find some young plants and try it out.  You may like it ……..and of course its free!

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