Ten years ago, Tulalip tribal member Mary Jane Topash was enjoying her undergrad experience at the University of Washington when the opportunity to view an informing documentary about bees presented itself. She quickly found herself captivated by their importance to the environment and high level of interconnectedness. The dream to someday become a beekeeper was created that day.
Fast forward seven years to Mary Jane perusing Facebook when an advertisement for a local business, Snohomish Bee Company, offering classes to become an apprentice beekeeper pops on the screen. Her interest again sparked, she clicked on the ad and followed through with the class.
“It didn’t cost that much at all, like $100 maybe, and for two days they taught me all about the lifecycle of bees, beekeeping, and honey production,” recalled Mary Jane about the apprenticeship class. “There’s a short test at the end. After passing you get officially certified as a beekeeper. The best part was getting to learn a bunch of cool facts about bees and why they’re so vital to a healthy planet.”
Cool facts like at least 30% of the world’s crops and 90% of all plants require cross-pollination to spread and thrive, and here in the United States, bees are the most important pollinators. Bees earn their reputation as busy workers by pollinating billions of plants each year, including millions of agricultural crops. Their importance cannot be understated. Small bees play a big role in one out of every three bites of food we eat. Without them, many plants we rely on for everyday nourishment would die off.
After receiving her beekeeping certification in 2017, the ambitious tribal member was eager to put her skills to use, but was forced to wait until the timing was right. She needed to accumulate the necessary supplies and have enough dedicated free time to properly nurture a start-up hive. That’s time she just didn’t have while working fulltime at Hibulb Cultural Center and balancing her school work in the pursuit of a Master’s Degree in Cultural Studies from U.W.
Enter the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and a state-wide ‘stay home, stay healthy’ order. It may have taken a few years, but all of a sudden Mary Jane had an ample supply of free time to achieve her beekeeping dream. Plus, the Tulalip Tribes had just issued their membership a stimulus check to help cope financially in times of uncertainty. Well, uncertain for some, but not the aspiring Tulalip beekeeper. The same day that stimulus payment hit her bank account, she purchased the necessary gear and supplies to create her own colony. The most important supply? The bees, of course.
“Bees are purchased in pounds, so I bought a 3-pound box of Italian honey bees. That’s about 10,000 – 12,000 bees and one queen,” explained Mary Jane. She started her own bee hive on April 29th. “In the beginning stage they are completely reliant on me to provide them with food, which is sugar water. I’ve gone through a 25-pound bag of sugar in just one month. In a few more weeks they’ll be self-reliant and won’t need me to feed them. Until then they are my bee babies.”
That previous spark of interest fully aflame now as a passion project, the 30-year-old revels in the time she’s had to build a reciprocal relationship with her bee colony. From planting them their own garden with a variety of flowers to learning their behavioral patterns from dawn until dusk, Mary Jane proved she is meant to bee. So much so that she’s already looking forward to expanding her bee family next spring.
“This whole experience has been a great way to channel energy. Overcoming the natural instinct to run or swat around bees, especially an entire hive, is an intellectual challenge,” admitted Mary Jane. Overcoming those fear-induced natural reactions, like to not flinch if a bee is buzzing by her face, shows a level of understanding about the nature of benevolent bees.
“This is my way of giving back because honey bees are so important to our environment,” she continued. “From our plant life to water to honey and their own hive, how these little guys all work together for a common goal is just amazing.”
The value of teamwork in a honeybee colony is a lesson humans could definitely benefit from, especially now in an age of seemingly endless polarization and incessant squabbling. One worker bee makes only about 1/8th of a teaspoon of honey in their entire life, but a thriving colony where everybody is doing their part can produce 10+ pounds of honey per year.
Speaking of the liquid gold, Mary Jane is curious as to what flavor of honey her bees will produce. They are surrounded by a cove of blackberry bushes and towering maple trees to forage nectar and pollen from, so odds are the locally sourced honey will taste of maple berry. The flavor won’t be confirmed until the fall when the honey is ready for harvest.
“It would be pretty cool to incorporate Lushootseed into the name of the honey,” said Mary Jane of using the traditional language of her Coast Salish people. “Haven’t decided how just yet, but it makes sense because everything my bees use to produce their honey is given from the Tulalip land.”
Lessons and valuable teachings offered by beekeeping is something Mary Jane looks forward to passing on. Recently, her 10-year-old niece Jada has shown an interest and joined in on the veiled activity. Overcoming a fear of being stung is already quite the accomplishment for a fledgling helper, and with more time maybe her curiosity will lead to becoming a nurturer of bees like her aunt.
Until the ‘stay home, stay healthy’ order is lifted and Mary Jane returns to the normalcy of her day job as an assistant director at Seattle’s Burke Museum, she will continue to enjoy her gifted time sitting on the porch watching her young pollinators perform their dance between surrounding flowers and blackberry bushes. She can’t help but beam with happiness witnessing her bee babies play their critical role in managing our ecosystem. Her decade old dream now fully realized.
By SNAP-Ed Program Coordinator, AnneCherise Jensen
Spring is here, now is the perfect time to grow your own food! If you want to eat local, know where your food comes from, save money and reap healthy rewards, try starting a home garden. Gardening is a fun physical activity, providing you with great tasting produce and, ultimately, saves you trips to the store. Not to mention there’s a harvest of benefits when you involve kids in the process.
Research shows children living in a home with a garden eat significantly more vegetables than those without access to a home garden. Gardening as a family is the perfect opportunity to acquire an active hobby, get some fresh air, learn more about plants and become self-sufficient. Gardening can be overwhelming if you haven’t had much experience, so here are 8 simple tips to help get you started.
Calculate your space. Before buying plants or seeds, calculate how much space you have (ground or container) that gets adequate sun. Most vegetable plants require at least six hours of light each day. Some plants require more space than others, such as squash, others require much less space, such as spinach and lettuce. Herbs can also be grown with very little space, even inside. You can purchase plant starters at most garden stores such as Lowes, Home Depot and Walmart.
Know what grows. When buying your plants, ask what varieties will do best in the conditions you have to work with. For example, several compact tomato plants do particularly well in containers, and some plants are easier to grow, such as potatoes, strawberries and snap peas. If you have friends, family or neighbors who garden, ask them what has grown well in their yard. There are multiple online resources, magazines and books that can help guide you through the details of this process.
Soil Matters: Soil is the strong foundation to any healthy garden.Good soil provides access to nutrients, water, air, stabilizes plant roots, and assists plants natural resistance to pests and diseases. Before planting your starters or seeds, make sure your soil is ready to support the growth of your plants. Your soil may benefit from added compost or adding specific nutrients depending on what you’d like to grow. Check out this site for more information about varieties of vegetables that grow well in the Pacific Northwest, and soil nutrients that may be helpful for certain plants. You can also ask an associate at your local garden center to point you in the direction of the perfect soil products, they are a wealth of knowledge!
Start Small. Remember, you don’t have to start with an extravagant space when first starting out. The easiest way to become a sufficient gardener is to start small, slowly building in space and knowledge, there is always something new to be learned year after year! Your new garden can be as simple as a few window boxes of herbs to installing a few garden boxes in the backyard. Think about what produce you and your family will eat the most and try panting those. Salads are a great place to start, plant salad greens, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, and even berries — all are kid-friendly and easy to grow. Sunflowers are another fun addition to the garden. They grow quickly and can be dried for the seeds.
Make Kids Part of the Planting and Growing Process. Depending on their age, children take to gardening differently. For example, preschoolers tend to be fascinated with exploring dirt, digging holes, planting seeds and working the garden hose, while older children may be more interested in how a single seed turns into an edible plant. Try a few fun, reliable plants such as carrots, potatoes, squash and lettuce. Ask children which fruits and vegetables they would like to grow. Teach children responsibility by assigning each child a watering, harvesting or weeding task. Allowing children to be involved in every step of the process will get them excited to taste the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor.
Encourage Taste Testing. Gardening exposes us to a variety of fruits and vegetables, and so encourages taste testing straight from the ground (after a quick rinse to remove dirt) and at the dinner table. Show kids how a tomato can taste delicious from the vine or in dishes such as fresh salsa, marinara sauce or tomato soup to bring the experience full circle.
Go Herbal. Herbs are perhaps the easiest plants to grow and can be a good place to start when gardening. Herbs usually grow easily, so you’ll probably have more than enough. Choose a few herbs to start, such as parsley, cilantro, basil and rosemary. Don’t worry if you have too much by summer’s end. An excess of basil can be made into pesto, frozen in ice cube trays and stored in the freezer to use during the fall and winter. And, all herbs can be dried.
Gardening in Small Spaces. No yard? No problem! Try using large pots placed on the patio or porch to grow foods such as tomatoes, salad greens and even cucumbers. Most herbs can grow in small pots on indoor window sills. No matter how much space you have, there is always room for a few, flavorful plants.
If you’d like to learn more, visit Tilth Alliance for Online Gardening Classes, a Gardening Hotline to answer your questions, and other gardening resources for families during this time of social distancing.
Whether you start a small or a large garden, learning about the growing process is a great educational opportunity for you and your family. Odds are kids and parents alike will enjoy the time they spend together outside while learning something along the way. Gardening is the great opportunity to know where your food comes from, while becoming self-sufficient on your own food supply. If you start now, you’ll be surprised as to how much food you will harvest by the end of the growing season. Not to mention fresh produce and homemade canned goods are the perfect gift for friends and family. Remember to have fun, be creative, and get a little dirty along the way – it’s all part of the process.
**This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
By SNAP-Ed Program Coordinator, AnneCherise Jensen
Looking for a healthy, fun and creative way to try Nettles this summer? Check out this Nettle Berry Popsicle recipe. It’s the perfect healthy summer snack for kids! As warmer weather approaches, this is a great way to turn any herbal tea into a crisp, refreshing treat for your friends and family. Since Nettles are in abundance this time of year, this is a great activity for not only in the kitchen, but outside as well. So grab your basket, gloves, and scissors and check your local woods for a nearby Nettle Patch! We have some wild crafted popsicles to make.
Stinging Nettle, or sc̓ədᶻx̌, has been used as a traditional Coast Salish medicinal plant for thousands of years. This highly valued plant is often found in streambeds, forests and disturbed areas with rich wet soil, usually facing the sun. Stinging Nettles, can be found from the coast to the mountains, and are found in abundance on the lush Tulalip soils. Stinging Nettle, scientifically named Urtica diotica, is a perennial herb with opposite deep green leaves with serrated edges and tiny greenish flowers. The stems are square, and plants grow 3-7 feet tall annually.
Harvesting season runs March – June each spring. Once the Nettle plant begins to seed in the warmer summer months, the leaves can only be used for drying purposes. If consumed raw past this point, nettles can be toxic to the liver and kidneys. When harvesting Nettles, be sure to wear thick gloves as they will sting you! The stalk and underside of leaves are covered with stinging hairs that rise from a gland containing formic acid. Avoid harvesting in areas that are nearby pollutants, roads, pesticides and other chemicals. Cut off only the first 6 inches in the top of the plant. We do this to protect the plant and make sure it grows back the following year. Once you have your basket filled, the nettles can then be processed by blanching, drying or simply steaming them. Any of these methods will inhibit the formic acid glands (stingers) from stinging you. In this recipe, we will be using dehydrated nettles to make a sweet Nettle tea.
When dehydrating Nettles, we want to use only the leaves of the plant. The stems are generally not used for food purposes, but can be used for making nets or are effective in compost. There are a few ways to dehydrate herbs; air-dry, dehydrate or an oven-dried method. All methods work effectively, but vary on resources and preference. I personally like to air-dry my herbs, but it can take up to a week. Either way, whatever way you choose, be sure to rinse your foraged herbs in a colander before drying. This also allows any bugs to escape that may be hiding in your basket. P.S. don’t forget to wear gloves – this is the prickliest process of all.
Dehydrator/Oven Method: Using heat is the quickest way to dry herbs. The dehydrator method requires a heat of 120-140 degrees F for about 12 hours in your average dehydrator. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can also use an oven. Place herb leaves on a cookie sheet one inch deep or less. Put herbs in an open oven on low heat, less than 180 degrees F, for 2-4 hours. To see if the herbs are dry, check if leaves crumble easily. Oven-dried herbs will cook a little, removing some of the potency and flavor.
Air-Dry Method: Gather 5-10 branches together and tie with string or a rubber band. The smaller the bundle, the easier and faster they will dry. Put the bundle of herbs, stem-side up and hang them by the stem in a warm, well-ventilated room. You can do this by using string and clothespins, amongst other things. Your herbs may be dried and ready to store in as little as one week. This is personally my favorite method, as it preserves the potency and flavor of the herbs.
Nettles are known to be one of the most nutrient dense plants on the Earth and are considered a super food in many cultures throughout the world. They contain a wide range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help maintain the body’s function and mobility. Nettles also contain a high amount of amino acids that are highly valuable chemicals used in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food industries. Nettles contain extremely high amounts of Vitamin C, vitamin A, Vitamin D, iron, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium (29 times more than spinach), magnesium, silica, trace minerals and protein (more than beans). No wonder they are called a superfood! If you aren’t already consuming nettles, you should be. (Krohn)
Traditionally, Nettles have been used both internally and externally for a wide variety of uses. Nettles have been revered worldwide throughout the ages for food, fiber, and medicine. Many people say Nettles help to alleviate allergies as they contain antihistamine qualities that may be effective for acute allergic reactions. Other well-known uses of Nettles that are still being studied include; the strengthening of teeth, bones and hair, insulin resistance in Type 2 Diabetes, prostate health, blood detoxifier, increased hemoglobin for overall energy, reduced pain, menstrual cramp aid, and asthma. (Foret)
This plant is so versatile, it’s even been used to make natural dye with shades ranging from yellow to deep green. The nettle fibers/stem makes strong cordage and was used for making rope, fishing line and nets. Rosemary or horsetail with nettle are made into tea and used as a hair rinse to make the hair glossy and stimulate growth. “Sting yourself on purpose… really? Yes, it is true. People have stung themselves with nettle to ease pain. This is officially called urtication and its roots go deep into history on several continents.
Both in the Pacific Northwest and in Europe, people have stung themselves to cure arthritic joints and to stay awake and alert during battle or hunting. Traditional knowledge is now validated by scientific research. Compounds including histamine, acetylcholine and formic acid are injected into tissue causing an awakening of cellular responses, lymph flow, and nerve and capillary stimulation”. (Krohn)
As you can see, Nettles are a highly prized and sacred plant that can help keep you and your family healthy. Now that you’ve learned a little more about Nettles, it’s time to put your foraging skills to the test. Here is the summertime recipe you and your family will love.
If you are a Tulalip tribal member, and don’t have access to nettles but would like some, please contact AnneCherise Jensen and she will supply you with the dehydrated nettle tea.
Nettle Berry Popsicles
4 cups purified water
¼ cup Nettle Tea (Dried Nettle Leaves)
½ cup Fresh or Frozen Berries
2 -3 Tablespoons Honey or Cane Sugar
Infuse dried nettle leaves in boiling water. Let steep on low heat for about an hour. The longer you allow the Nettle leaves to infuse, the more nutrients the tea will absorb.
Add 2-3 Tbsp of honey or cane sugar to the lukewarm nettle tea. Mix well.
Add the ½ cup of desired fresh or frozen berries to the nettle tea. Stir for a few minutes and allow the berries infuse in the water for about 5-10 minutes.
Pour nettle tea mixture into a Popsicle mold. These can be found online or at Walmart, price ranging from $10- $25. If you don’t have a Popsicle mold, you can also use a small plastic cup and Popsicle sticks.
Freeze for 2-3 hours, until firmly frozen.
**This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
http://wildfoodsandmedicines.com/nettle-restorative-food-purifying-medicine-guardian/ / Research provided Elise by Krohn
The Alchemy of Herbs, Rosalee De La Foret, pg 189 – 194
If you spent this past holiday season reflecting on the last ten years while scarfing down a carb-loaded plate of leftovers and vowing to make personal changes after the last second of 2019 ticked, you are definitely not alone. Now more than ever, people nationwide are practicing better organization skills, picking up new hobbies, reading more books, setting higher goals and planning a brighter future. For many, the new calendar year marks a fresh start, and during this phase people take the time to give much-needed attention to certain areas of their life that they’ve been neglecting.
Perhaps the most shared new year resolution globally is the desire to better one’s health. And as a result, the produce sections at the local grocer are often overcrowded as are thousands of gyms across the country. But more often than not, as the weeks pass by, people start to give in to their old habits and give up on their goals of self-development and personal growth. Staying true to your resolution weeks down the road after the ‘new year, new me’ adage loses its luster is a difficult task to say the least. For this reason, AnneCherise Jensen of the Tulalip SNAP-Ed program took some time to offer a few tips and advice to those beginning their new health and fitness journey in 2020.
We made it to a new decade! Let’s begin by talking about the importance of fueling up with proper nutrition and treating our bodies with respect.
Our bodies are a gift we’ve been given by the creator that carries our mental being; our spiritual side and physical side. It holds our heart, our mind, our love and compassion. Everything that we feel, do and think – it all stems from our body. In order for us to thrive as human individuals, we should respect our body and know that everything that we put into it is either feeding disease or fighting disease.
Where is a good place to start for those who are setting out on their first quest for overall better health?
A first good step is to start cutting out the bad foods. Think about the most-unhealthy things that you’re consuming and try to taper away from those foods and drinks. If you’re ordering really sugary beverages every day, that have about ten pumps of syrup, work on slowly reducing it down to two pumps or learn how to make your own syrups. This past weekend I made a homemade elderberry syrup and added it to sparkling water; it was sweet, tasty and still really healthy.
Also, try to cut back from the unhealthy foods like salts and fat and slowly supplement the bad foods with healthy foods. If you’re eating one serving of fruits or vegetables a day, try to up it two.
Any tips on how to incorporate more greens and fruits into your everyday diet?
Don’t be lazy and cook, number one rule. Meal prep ahead of time, buy vegetables and don’t let them sit in your fridge. Cut them up in half and roast them and have them ready to go for the week. Same with fruit. Have those foods around and available in your house, and learn how to utilize them; prepare snack trays for the kids after school, add more veggies to your everyday foods. Like with your pasta, you can add mushrooms, onions, peppers, garlic. You can cook big batch dinners, just throw all your vegetables into your crock pots or Instapots.
Find out what foods your family enjoys and stick to those so that way you’re not wasting your money on food your family is not going to eat. Start with the foods you know people are going to like, find easy recipes that are going to help you make those foods manageable so they actually fit into your diet and then slowly branch off that and try new foods as you go.
With the popularity of the Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat burger on the rise, many are experimenting with meatless meals. Any advice for people curious about switching to a plant-based diet?
If you’re going meatless, avoid the meatless burgers at fast food restaurants. Those are full of artificial hormones. The food at fast food establishments, especially McDonalds and Burger King, contain some of the highest carcinogens, or cancer causing agents. They also cause a lot of inflammation as well.
It honestly depends on how much protein you need. There are a lot of good plant substitutes for proteins, especially beans, legumes, almonds. As long as you’re getting adequate amounts of protein, that’s great. But I would highly discourage you from eating the vegetarian burgers from the fast food joints.
A lot of people, especially Natives, are in fact returning to the diets of their ancestors; wild game, native plants and fish. What are your thoughts on the traditional diet?
I think going back to the traditional diet is amazing, it’s something that I’ve been practicing myself. Over the winter break I harvested four different kinds of mushrooms and a couple different types of trees and am learning how to make medicine with it. Nature is jam-packed with more medicine than we can ever imagine. I always recommend making your own teas, going and getting cedar from your backyard, letting it dry overnight and making a tea with it. You can do that with pine needles as well. Once the nettles start coming out in a couple weeks, you can make nettle tea. There’s always something you can forage at any given time of the year.
Many health experts encourage people to increase their daily water intake. Why is it important to stay hydrated?
We’re living in a society now where sugary beverages are all around us and it really can be the enemy of our health. Water is good not only for our bodies but for all of our metabolic functions. It helps us digest food, stay awake, stay energized, build muscle mass and rid toxins from our body. As good stewards of the earth, we want to try to avoid plastics as much as we can. Today, we are finding so many chemicals in our water – fluoride, mercury, plastic. So it’s always good for our health to carry a reusable water bottle and have a good water filtration system. For flavor, I like to infuse natural fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, raspberries and strawberries. Frozen fruits are fun, cheaper and add an icy texture. Fruits and vegetables naturally contain a lot of water in them so the more fruits and vegetables you eat; the more water content you’re getting. Try to carry your water bottle with you every day and make it a goal to drink 16-32 oz. of water a day.
Some people are finding it easier to stick to healthy meal plans by including a cheat day once a week. Should people plan out their cheat days in order to see more success?
It really depends on where you’re at with your personal relationship with food. A lot of people are dealing with food disorders and may overeat and over indulge. Or you might be the total opposite and suffer from anorexia. You have to find the right balance and know your relationship with food. If you can control it, give yourself a cheat day where you have a little more forgiveness for yourself and leniency. On the weekends, I’ll eat two servings of pasta and have some desserts those days. It’s always good to not only feed your body, but feed your spirit because you also want to be able to have those foods that make you happy, so its finding that right balance between the good, the bad and healthy moderation.
What are a few fun ways to stay active during these winter months?
If you’re into snow sports, there’s snowboarding and skiing. You can also go snowshoeing as well up in the mountains. We are getting a lot of rain and it’s kind of yucky to be outside, but there’s always the gym. Right now is a great time to go to the gym because you can get a lot of people motivated in your family to go with you. Do some simple chair yoga and desk exercises. Hiking is really fun too. Some trails are open like Lake 22, Heather Lake, those are local. And just take time to walk at the beach and get outside on those days when we have a bit of good weather.
Any last pieces of advice or words of encouragement for those working to attain a healthier lifestyle and stay true to their goals?
Know that we’re all human. We all have those days where you’re literally driving for half the day and all you can do is go to a drive thru. Just get back on track the next day and give yourself forgiveness and grace because we all have days we mess up, but don’t let that discourage you. It’s okay. Don’t be hard on yourself, just try better the next day.
We have to find strategies that work for us and get together as a community, with our family and friends to overcome the easy convenience foods that like to feed disease. We need to go out into nature and reconnect with those foods and work as a team to eat healthier foods.
Tulalip SNAP-Ed regularly hosts a number of classes throughout the year, such as the Eat Smart, Be Healthy course. To stay updated on their upcoming events and classes, be sure to like the Tulalip Food & Nutrition Education Facebook page. And for additional details, please contact the SNAP-Ed program directly at (360) 716-5632.
Budget-friendly recipe. A special stew that celebrates the return of successful hunters, this can be made with venison or beef. Serves 6
1 pound venison or beef stew meat cut into large chunks
2 Medium onions diced
8 cups Water
6 Cloves garlic minced, or 2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary minced
3 Tomatoes seeded and diced, or 1 ½ (15 oz.) cans low-sodium diced tomatoes
1 Bell pepper seeded and diced
2 Medium potatoes diced
2 Carrots sliced thickly, or ½ cup baby carrots
1 cup fresh or frozen okra
1 cup Fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 stalk celery chopped
2 tablespoons Parsley chopped
2 teaspoons Ground black pepper
½ jalapeño chile seeded and minced
In a heavy soup pot, combine the meat, onions, water, garlic, rosemary, paprika and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to very low, cover and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours.
Stir in vegetables, parsley, chile and black pepper. Simmer, partially covered for 1 hour, or until meat is tender. If using frozen okra and/or corn, add to the pot during the last 15 minutes.
Squeeze lemon wedges over stew before serving. Serve with Whole Wheat Fry Bread or whole wheat bread.
Nutrition Info and more
Serving size: 2 cups. Total calories: 275 Total fat: 9.1 g Saturated fat: 3.3 g Carbohydrates: 25.9 g Protein: 24 g Fiber: 5.9 g Sodium: 580 mg
Publication: Young, Indigenous, and Healthy: Recipes Inspired by Native Youth Author: Leah’s Pantry; Source: Leah’s Pantry
Budget-friendly recipe. Make this on a Sunday so you can heat up leftovers for an easy breakfast throughout the week. Serves 8
1 1/2 pounds Seasonal vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, turnips or bell peppers
2 Medium onions
4 ounces Low-fat cheddar cheese
12 Medium eggs
1 teaspoon Dried dill, thyme, or oregano
¼ teaspoon Salt
¼ teaspoon Ground black pepper
Non-stick cooking spray
8 ounces Mushrooms optional
¼ cup Fresh parsley, thyme, or basil
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Rinse and cut seasonal veggies evenly into small pieces. Peel, rinse, and dice onions. If using, slice mushrooms and rinse and chop fresh herbs.
Grate cheddar cheese.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add seasonal veggies to boiling water. Briefly boil, about 30 seconds. Using a colander, drain the veggies.
In a large bowl, whip eggs with a fork until well blended. Whisk in dried herbs. Set aside.
Coat medium skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. If using mushrooms, add now. Add boiled seasonal veggies. Continue cooking until soft and some of their juices have evaporated, about 5 minutes more.
Coat 9-by-13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
Layer ingredients in the baking dish in the following order: veggie mixture, egg mixture, cheese, salt, and pepper.
Bake until eggs are firm and cheese is melted, about 35 minutes. A thermometer inserted in the middle should read 160°F.
If using, garnish with chopped fresh herbs.
Cut into 8 equal-sized portions.
Nutrition Info and more
Serving size: 1 slice. Total calories: 160 Total fats: 7 g Saturated fat: 3 g Carbohydrates: 7 g Protein: 13 g Fiber: 3 g Sodium: 350 mg
Author: Arthur Birnbaum; Source: Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters
The beautiful and peaceful Wellness Garden Trail, located behind the Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic, officially opened on the morning of April 27, as the community of Tulalip gathered to celebrate the first Garden Day of 2019. After a long, cold winter, the plant beds were ready for a new beginning and approximately seventy-five volunteers arrived bright and early to prune and replenish the garden boxes with fresh soil and new plants.
Garden Day is hosted by the Tulalip Diabetes Care and Prevention program and is held periodically throughout the year. Participants of all ages learn how to grow and maintain a garden by cultivating a variety of produce, fruit trees and traditional medicinal plants. The crew, equipped with gardening tools, gloves and trash bags, as well as piles of fresh soil, worked hard while enjoying good company and a view of Tulalip Bay on a gorgeous spring day.
“We’ve been doing Garden Day since February 2011,” explained Diabetes Program Coordinator, Veronica ‘Roni’ Leahy. “It started at the Hibulb Cultural Center and then it moved to the health clinic in 2014. Diabetes prevention is really what it’s all about. To prevent diabetes, we’re looking to promote exercise and healthy foods. If we can achieve 5-7% weight loss by exercise or nutrition, we reduce our risk of developing diabetes by 57%, by just making little tiny changes. The prevalence of diabetes within Native American communities is higher than non-Native communities. For us, the foods we would’ve traditionally eaten are not readily available to us.”
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Indigenous Peoples are at a substantially higher risk to develop diabetes than any other race nationwide. Previous records show that for decades, Native diabetics experienced kidney failure due to complications from diabetes. But because of programs like Diabetes Care and Prevention, individuals are now learning how to properly manage their blood glucose and sugar levels, and therefore the amount of kidney failures amongst Native diabetics dropped by a whopping 54% since 2013.
During the event, the health clinic provides free screenings for both blood pressure and blood sugar levels as hypertension and diabetes are widespread amongst tribal members. Based on the results, the clinic can offer advice and refer them to the appropriate specialist. Throughout the day, about thirty volunteers took the time to participate in the screening to get an update on their health.
In addition to learning about diabetes and growing plentiful green gardens, participants are also treated to a delicious and nutritious breakfast, snack and lunch prepared by the Tulalip SNAP-Ed program. Traditional foods were incorporated into the meal, including nettles in tasty brownie deserts, as well as fruit-infused water. The event also included a giveaway where prizes were raffled off such as gardening tools, watering cans, children’s gardening kits and seedlings of strawberries, cabbage, peas, broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes, green beans, and cucumber plants.
“I came out today because Roni inspired me to start my own garden,” expressed Tulalip tribal member, Tempest Dawson. “This is my third year working on my own garden, and I like to come to Garden Day and follow her around because she knows a lot about gardening and I pick up whatever she has to teach me. It’s important to continue to teach our people about the land and that there are natural foods that we can live off of, instead of relying on the grocery store or processed foods.”
Roni explained that five years ago, tribal member Walt Campbell purchased a shovel, painted the tool gold and brought it to Garden Day to gift to the hardest working green thumb of the day. Since then, gifting golden shovels became quite the tradition, adding a bit more fun at the end of each Garden Day. This time around, two golden shovels were gifted; one to Tulalip youth, Cohen Ramsey, the other to Marisol Raza and her children.
“We won the golden shovel award,” Marisol exclaimed. “It’s for being a hard working person, taking part in Garden Day. We’ve been coming for about three years or so and we absolutely love it. Today we cleaned up the plant beds, removed old plants and pulled weeds, as well as added new soil and compost. We planted cabbage and broccoli. Enjoying that final product is going to be awesome.”
Because the gardeners meet up four to five times annually, they’ve developed close friendships over the years. Young Tulalip tribal member, Kaiser Moses, has attended every Garden Day with his mother since its inception and looks forward to helping out at each event as well as visiting with his fellow gardeners.
“I’ve been participating in Garden Day since I was about four,” Kaiser said. “It feels like old friends reuniting every year. It’s really fun and great for rebooting for your mental stability. As a group, we all work together to make the garden better and plant some new plants in the garden beds. There’s a bunch of friendly, kind-hearted happy souls who come out every time we have a Garden Day.”
The Diabetes Care and Prevention Program will continue its busy year, promoting overall health and wellness with a number of classes, programs and Garden Days including the new 26-week Diabetes Prevention class, for those who’ve been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. More details will come before the start of the program in June. For more information, please contact the Tulalip Diabetes Care and Prevention Program at (360) 716-5642.
Tulalip’s own Diabetes Prevention Program is dedicated to making the community healthier by educating any and all motivated individuals who are willing to learn about nutritional awareness and healthy eating. With diabetes and obesity prevalence continuing to rise in Native communities throughout the United States, many families feel a need to change their eating habits, but just don’t know where to begin.
Adjusting to a healthier lifestyle and diet can be an overwhelming task, therefore, the Diabetes Prevention Program has created The Gift of Food & Good Health, an all-new series of cooking classes offering guidance and hands-on instruction. Hosted every Tuesday at the Tulalip Dining Hall from 3:00pm to 4:30pm, these classes are uniquely created for our people to enjoy while learning about the many health benefits of our foods. The classes are open to tribal members, their families, and patients of the Tulalip Health System.
The latest class, occurring on Tuesday, September 18, communicated the importance spices and herbs can have in creating healthy meals.
“Herbs and spices make food tastier while boosting your health,” shared Jessica Bluto, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator for the Tulalip Health Clinic. “We should all be cooking with herbs and spices regularly and, if possible, using several at a time.”
Herbs, like basil, are the leaves of a plant, while spices, like cinnamon, are usually made from the seeds, berries, bark, or roots of a plant. Both are used to flavor food, but research shows they’re chock-full of healthy compounds and may help prevent illness and disease.
Chef Brit (left) explains best cooking practices while preparing a nutritional meal.
Adding herbs and spices to your diet has another benefit, “Because they’re so flavorful, they make it easier to cut back on less healthy ingredients like salt, sugar, and added fat,” explained culinary chef Brit Reed. “Herbs and spices contain so much nutritional value, from cleaning out toxins in your blood to fighting inflammation to even lowering blood pressure. We’re all about promoting healthy foods habits that can really make a difference with a variety of health issues our people may be going through.”
Tulalip elder Marvin Jones attended the September 18 session as a first-timer. He enjoyed learning about the variety of health benefits herbs and spices can offer, even though he admitted to not enjoying the flavor of most of them.
“I don’t like the taste of most seasonings, but I’ll try to eat them and come up with a combination that works for me because I want to eat better,” said Marvin while going through the process of mincing garlic. “I want to learn to cook healthier foods and meals. These classes will help me with that.”
Tulalip elder Marvin Jones minces garlic during a class devoted to benefits of herbs and spices.
The exciting hands-on learning experience walked each class attendee through the food preparation process, to the large Dining Hall kitchen for cooking as group, and then back to the table where a grilled chicken and broccoli meal was enjoyed by all. The meal was made flavorful with the aid of garlic (anti-inflammatory), basil (digestive aid), ginger (nausea reducer), and thyme (antimicrobial), along with a variety of fruits and vegetables.
“The staff here have been so helpful in teaching me which foods to eat more of and how to make sense of a nutritional label,” shared Joyce Alexander, a Haida elder. Joyce routinely attends healthy cooking and food classes offered by the Diabetes Prevention Program. “I was diagnosed with border line Diabetes two years ago and was told by the doctors it could be reversed by changing the foods I eat. Since then, I’ve lost nearly 52 pounds just by changing my diet and staying away from processed foods. I’ve taken back control of my life and it feels great.”
The Gift of Food & Good Health series will continue next Tuesday with a class dedicated to tender, juicy steak. As always the Diabetes Prevention Program welcomes any community members interested in learning about the many health benefits of food.
“There is so much information available about healthy eating and cooking skills, and we want to aid, however we can, in our people being comfortable applying these skills in their daily lives,” said Chef Brit. “This series of classes will cover a whole range of health benefits. And don’t worry if you can’t make them all. If you can make time to attend just one or two, we’d love to share a nutritious meal with you.”
To find out more information about The Gift of Food & Good Health series please contact Brit Reed, Diabetes Program Culinary Services Provider at 360-716-6594 or Veronica Leahy, Diabetes Program Coordinator at 360-716-5642.
On a recent hike my sweetie and I noticed a bright spot of color peeking out from behind the scrubby gray remnants of last year’s underbrush. Nettles, one of the first foods of spring, were perfect for picking. We also noticed a gigantic sign that indicated no harvesting local plants. But now we knew these tasty treats were growing, so we made plans for the next day.
The freezing morning made them a little hard to spot, but we quickly found a patch of nettles. A short half hour of harvesting netted us two grocery bags of the tasty greens. After finishing our hike, we settled down for a cup of fresh nettle tea and got to work on dinner, a spinoff of lasagna minus the noodles and tomatoes and featuring our freshly picked nettles.
You may be thinking, no noodles? No tomatoes? That’s not lasagna. Nailed it! However, it is a tasty and low carb lasagna-like dish. Instead of a traditional tomato sauce, roasted red peppers provided the base for a meaty red sauce and the lasagna noodles were swapped with thin slices of zucchini. If you can’t find nettles, or aren’t interested in risking stings, you can substitute spinach.
If you’ve ever shopped for groceries or cooked with me, you know I believe we vote with our dollars, so when I shop I prioritize local, seasonal, organic and grass fed. If I have to choose, I’ll buy grass fed and organic meat over organic produce. Every year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) produces the dirty dozen and clean 15 lists, which can also help you decide what to buy organic vs. conventionally grown. The dirty dozen are the most pesticide contaminated fruits and vegetables, the clean 15 are the least contaminated, you can find them on the EWG’s website, www.ewg.org.
Spring nettle lasagna
wilted nettles – two grocery bags, fresh
6-8 medium zucchinis – salted and drained
1 large onion, diced
1 cup diced celery
4 cloves of garlic
1 pound of grass fed (preferably organic), ground beef
12 oz package mushrooms, chopped
2, 16oz jars of roasted red peppers, blended until smooth
½ cup fresh basil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp lemon juice
Salt/pepper to taste
Parsley cheese mixture
½ cup chopped Parsley
2 cups Ricotta
1 cup Parmesan
2 cup Parmesan
2 cups grated Mozzarella
Preheat oven to 350, and oil a 9 x 13” baking dish. Prepare Nettles and Zucchini, roasted red peppers and cheese mixture. Prep your nettles by removing the leaves and discarding the stems. Rinse thoroughly to remove dirt or contaminants. Place in a large pot of water, boil until wilted, drain and set aside. Slice zucchini into ¾ inch slices, salt to draw out the moisture and let drain in a colander. Blend roasted red peppers until smooth, using no more than 4 tsp of the reserved liquid (use water if additional liquid is needed) and set aside. Combine parsley, ricotta, and eggs in a small bowl, set aside.
Meat sauce: Coat bottom of pan with olive oil, bring to medium heat. Sauté onions and celery over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add garlic, ground beef and mushrooms. Cook until meat is brown and crumbly. Add blended roasted red pepper, basil, oregano and lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 15-30 minutes to reduce and thicken sauce.
Assemble: In a 9 x 13” baking dish, spoon enough of the meat sauce to cover the bottom of the dish. Layer zucchini slices to cover the dish, then 1/3 of remaining meat sauce, 1/3 of the parsley cheese mixture, and 1/3 of the nettles. Repeat until the ingredients have been used up. Top with parmesan and mozzarella. Bake for about an hour, or until dish is bubbling and cheese is browned. Let cool slightly before slicing.
The skies were clear and the sun was shining on the first day of summer 2017. As the temperature reached the low seventies, the Tulalip Bay waters were glistening, providing both a cool breeze as well as a beautiful view for the Tulalip community as many gathered for the Summer Solstice Celebration. The June 21 event, held near the gardens behind the Karen I Fryberg Health Clinic, is the second of a four-event series, hosted by the Tulalip Diabetes Care and Prevention Program, in which the community honors and welcomes the turn of each season.
During the first celebration, the Spring Equinox, the Diabetes team reached out to honorary Tulalip tribal member, Father Pat Twohy, to bless the newly constructed Medicine Wheel Garden. During the ceremony, the Tribe honored Father Pat by gifting him a pair of moccasins accompanied with a foot-washing ceremony. After the success of the Spring Equinox event, community members requested more time with Father Pat during the upcoming events. Revered by the Tulalip community, Father Pat served as Priest to St. Anne’s Catholic Church for twenty years, according to Dale Jones, Elder Advocate for the Diabetes Care and Prevention Program.
“[Father Pat] is the top dog, but he don’t act like it. He only wants to serve the people,” explains Dale. “Everybody loves him and nobody wants him to leave – ever. He’s been here with the Tribe for about twenty years. I’ve known him personally for forty years. You couldn’t ask for a better guy than Father Pat.”
The Summer Solstice Celebration offered the opportunity for attendees to walk through the Garden Trail and the Medicine Wheel Garden to view the various plants and vegetables growing in the garden boxes, on the longest day of the year.
“The summer solstice is a special time for a lot of Indigenous people,” states Diabetes Care and Prevention Program Coordinator, Veronica ‘Roni’ Leahy. “Here at Tulalip, because of the opening of the Medicine Wheel Garden, we thought that this year we would celebrate the equinox and solstice through prayer.”
During this season’s event, Father Pat met individually with community members and shared an intimate conversation, before providing a prayer. Numerous community members attended the event for the opportunity to visit with Father Pat.
“We asked Father Pat to be here for the Spring Equinox, the Summer Solstice, the Autumn Equinox and he’ll be here again for the Winter Solstice,” says Roni. “Each season he’ll come back and visit with us and pray for the people. We asked him to represent the spiritual side of the medicine wheel. Jennie Fryberg said Father Pat is our medicine; so having him here is really special for the people. His words have an impact on our hearts and minds and gives us fortitude to continue our work and move forward.”
For additional information regarding future equinox and solstice events please contact the Karen I Fryberg Health Clinic at (360) 716-4511.
At an amazing vantage point overlooking Tulalip Bay, community members met behind the Karen I Fryberg Health Clinic, on April 29, to attend the first Tulalip Bay Garden and Trail Class of the year. The class is hosted by the Tulalip Diabetes Care and Prevention Program and unites community members, youth to elders, to educate as well as promote both healthy eating and living habits by planting a variety of fruits, vegetables and flowers.
For centuries, Native American ancestors practiced sustainable agriculture as they incorporated the crops into their everyday diet. Due to events such as the Indian Removal Act and Assimilation, many tribal nations lost the tradition of passing down ancestral knowledge, regarding the growth and harvest of produce. This resulted in poor diets in many Native communities as they transitioned to the modern western diet of high saturated fats and empty carbohydrates. This diet often leads to diabetes, a disease that unfortunately continues to spread throughout Native America as studies show Indigenous People are twice as likely to be diagnosed with the disease, as opposed to other cultures.
Since 2014, the Wellness Garden and Trail has been the outdoor homeroom to participants, many of whom faithfully attend the once-a-month classes between April and September. During each class, participants are presented with an opportunity to learn how to grow produce and are treated to a spectacular view of the bay while walking along the trail that connects the garden and the clinic. Dietician Susan Adams spoke to the community about the importance of proper nutrition and this year participants planted apple trees, carrots, onions, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, herbs and an assortment of over 14 berries including blueberries and goji berries.
Garden class participants are encouraged to start the day with a good stretch, by means of yoga, in the newly constructed Medicine Wheel Garden. Tulalip community member and Native American Yoga Instructor, Lisa Foster, provides information about the medicine wheel as she guides participants through each pose, making sure to face all four directions through each sequence.
Attendees were treated to a gift box full of fruits and vegetables donated by Klesick Family Farm as well as lunch, prepared during a live cooking demonstration by community member Brit Reed who is currently attending the Seattle Culinary Academy. During the upcoming months of June and July, Brit will offer cooking classes on Mondays at the Kenny Moses Building for the Diabetes Care and Prevention Program.
Dale Jones, Elder Advocate for the diabetes program states, “[The Tulalip Bay Garden and Trail Class] is here to help people eat right, make the right choices for their health and open their eyes to other choices than McDonalds. Teat-mus used to say ‘it’s pretty funny we have a clown that’s killing our people.’ With all the bad choices we make eating, we’re all guilty. But, we can teach our kids to live better lives than us.”
Tulalip tribal member Jose Diaz, who is only ten years of age, offered to perform the opening prayers as well as the meal blessings for each class held in 2017. Upcoming classes will be held on June 16, July 15, August 26 and September 30.
The diabetes program intends to begin weekday classes in the near future, geared towards adults, where attendees will be working exclusively in the Medicine Wheel Garden. The diabetes program also recently purchased the plants for many programs in Tulalip including the Betty J Taylor Early Learning Academy, the Boys and Girls Club, Youth Services as well as the Senior Center as they recently began growing plants and vegetables in their own gardens.
For additional information regarding Tulalip Bay Garden and Trail Classes and the Tulalip Diabetes Care and Program, please contact the Karen I Fryberg Health Clinic at (360) 716-4511.