Like a promise of better things to come, early spring gives birth to many of our traditional foods. In March the herring are spawning, chinook salmon return to their ancestral rivers, salmonberry and thimbleberry sprouts come out to play, native violets bare their delicate flowers and with the pain comes the pleasure of stinging nettles. These native foods are diverse and based on the seasons. They teach us the power of being in the moment and harvesting what is available today.
Eating seasonal foods increases your nutrient intake and prepares you for seasonal changes as well. In this way, traditional foods help our bodies to function optimally. Many of our modern foods lack nutrients and do not contain the same medicinal qualities that traditional foods have. That is why eating traditional foods regularly can make a big difference in your health.
I believe that these foods heal people on many levels. They provide nutrients and medicinal properties that are needed for good health. Chinook salmon, sprouts and sauteed nettles are more than food, they are a prescription!
The foods of spring have many teachings. For example, nettles teach us to wake up and cleanse our bodies so we can be strong for the year to come. Our bodies and spirits respond to our native foods with profound recognition and knowing. That is because they are woven into the Northwest Coastal Indian Culture, and are an integral part of our identity.
This month I will write about a few foods that will be available in March. Stay tuned for more about nettles, sprouts, violets and the spring salmon- Chinook.
Yay Spring! ~V