Islas Ballestas, Peru, or ‘the poor man's Galapagos' as it is commonly called, is famous for the large number and variety of species of birds, especially the Humbolt Penguin (sooo cute to watch move up and down the rocks, and into the water), sea lions, and a bird byproduct, guano.
Because of its high nitrogen and high content of trace minerals, the Ballestas produce the best guano in the world. Even better than the more talked-about bat guano. Prior to mass produced fertilizer, the phrase “worth its weight in gold” was an insult to this guano as it was higher priced than gold.
It's still gathered today, but now in ways that are kind to the Islands and to the people who do the harvesting. Criminals and slaves used to harvest the guano in conditions so brutal, suicide was sometimes the preferred option.
Sad that the workers of yore were giving up their health and lives for a substance that people used so their crops and other plants would be stronger and healthier.
To be strong and healthy, we also need trace minerals to do a myriad of activities in our bodies and brains.
Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.
~Michael Pollan (#1 below)
He showed the words “chocolate cake” to a group of Americans and recorded their word associations. “Guilt” was the top response. If that strikes you as unexceptional, consider the response of French eaters to the same prompt: “celebration.”
~Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto (#2 below)
There is a low stress way to ensure you are getting your trace minerals, according to journalist Michael Pollen.
Pollen loves to do deep dives into a subject. When researching, topics were always more complex and nuanced than he originally believed. Until he studied food. With food, he found the opposite. He found it could be boiled down to seven words: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."
In addition to his seven words, he has seven rules. From what I’ve read, the rules can be boiled down to two:
#1. Eat whole foods. If it has an ingredient list, then its not a whole food. Shop the perimeter of a store or go to a farmers market to get whole foods.
#2. Stop and enjoy the food you eat, regardless of what you are eating. When eating unconsciously, we often mindlessly eat addictive foods. As well, if we are eating when stressed, our body’s react to the food in a less optimal way.
If starting to cook meals from whole foods sounds daunting, let me make it easier:
1. Don’t remove anything from your diet, yet. There is a reason this is #1. For long-term success, continue to eat the foods you love.
2. Add whole foods, mainly veggies.
a) Cut up veggies for snacks or to eat prior to getting the meal on the table (veggie appetizers, of a sort).
b) Include a basic salad with evening meals. Keep is simple. Buy ready to serve greens, add other chopped veggies, maybe some seeds (like pumpkin or sunflower) or bits of fruit (like apples or grapes) and a dressing.
Over time, I’ve switched to making my own dressings. My most common one: lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (with mother, to add good bacteria) mixed with oil, sometimes mustard, and salt and pepper. Or become part of the movement towards flavoured oils and vinegars that are now available. Evoolution, for example, is an Albertan company serving that market.
To make it easier to eat the salad, when I first place the lettuce in the bowl, I cut it into bite-sized using food scissors. I hold one handle in each hand, point the scissors down into the lettuce in the bowl and chop the greens into smaller pieces. It only takes seconds and makes it less awkward to eat.
c) Or add steamed veggies. They really don’t take that long to prepare and cook.
d) If your family doesn’t like veggies, add a sauce or a dip, for now. The most important thing is to introduce more nutrient-dense foods.
e) Change the shape of the veggie. Spiralized zucchini and other veggies can be purchase, or make your own.
f) In general, focus on adding veggies, especially cruciferous (watercress, Chinese cabbage, collard green, kale, arugula) and green leafy (chard, beet green, spinach, chicory, leaf lettuce).
g) To make preparation quicker and healthier, with organic root veggies such as carrots, no need to peel. Wash and cut. Soil‐based organisms (SBOs) support gut health (helps heal leaky gut syndrome) and support the immune system.
h) The chewing of raw veggies is great for regulation, the fibre for eliminationand the water that is found in plants, helps with hydration.
3. If eating clean, as in keeping clothes clean, is an issue, then try our Catch-All Bib,Perfect Pocket Bib and Perfect Pocket Smock.
Have a crunchie munchie week.
Providing calmness & comfort, learning & laughter,
P.S. Want someone to find whole food recipes and create meal plans for you? Done!
I'm personally looking for great veggie recipes. If you have some to share, I'd love to get them.
Websites used in this article:
http://www.ourcolombiamission.com/paracas-peru-las-islas-ballestas-the-grim-tale-of-guano-november-2015/ for more information about Las Ballesta guano
https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20090323/7-rules-for-eating#1 Michael Pollen’s rules for eating
https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2014/13_0390.htm University of New Jersey study on nutrient dense foods
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110602162820.htm dirt for gut health
https://draxe.com/eating-dirt/ dirt for gut health