Times are not as good as they once were in many areas across the globe, and whether we see it or not in our home towns, poverty is at an all time high. There’s no shortage of news stories that share the horrific reality of how those living in poverty have poor health issues; this is a travesty. No one should be without healthy, nutritious food – and they don’t have to go far to get it either as it is right under their feet.
It truly pains me to see people having to rely on food banks and getting lots of mac and cheese and canned foods. There is nothing healthy in those mac and cheese boxes, just plenty of carbs, and in my opinion, ingredients not fit for human consumption. However, they are cheap and they help people make it to another day without going hungry. The sad reality is that they may not be hungry for food, but their bodies are starved for nutrients.
Adding wild edible plants is an incredible way to take a cheap food item and boost the nutrition levels that your body will thank you for. It’s also a great way to create a variety of tastes that everyone can enjoy.
I decided to practise what I preach and prepared a healthy meal that tasted good and cost under $4 for my husband and I. Cardboard pizza is something many people buy so I purchased a frozen $3 pepperoni pizza and a bag of mini tater tots that were on sale for $1. After foraging for a half hour I brought home chickweed, leeks, trout lilies, stinging nettles, violets, garlic mustard, dandelions, shepherd’s purse and red clover leaves. Combined, pretty much every mineral, vitamin, phyto-nutrient, and even Omega-3 was in the foraged goodies.
After cleaning and chopping up the greens I added some to the frozen pizza; and I also grated a small amount of cheese to add to the pizza as there wasn’t much on it to begin with. Of course I made a wild salad and the salad dressing consisted of a small amount of olive oil, white wine vinegar, granulated garlic and a small amount of salt. I cooked half the bag of tater tots so only .50 cents worth got used. In total this meal for two cost about $3.70. No where can you eat for so little and still have all the vitamins and minerals you body needs!
Adding wild edible plants to canned beans, mac and cheese, a tin of tuna, or even to mashed potatoes only makes sense in order to maximize nutrient intake. Even for those wanting to eat something fast but nutritious, add edible plants. If you have some hummus in the fridge, spread some on a slice of bread, put lots of wild greens on and et voila – a very healthy sandwich.
Considering the overall poor quality of produce these days eating wild is something we all should consider. Bottom line, no one should be without healthy, nutritious food and knowing that it grows right under our feet is reason enough to consider eating wild!
(Note: We each got half a pizza to eat but for photographic reasons a quarter piece on the plate looked better!)