Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Recipe For Lentils & Warning of Pine Nut Food Poisoning

lentil tacos
Lentil Tacos

Okay, you guys. This week is about what's cooking in our kitchen. Laura posted a wonderful recipe for Spring Rolls yesterday. It's just a week that we can share recipes we have been making and love. It sounded ideal since I had gorgeous heads of fresh garlic (that had never been dried like the kind you get in the store) from the farmer's market and I had three bushels full of kale to cook for the end of the kale season. I was excited to write down some of those recipes for ya'll. However, something very interesting has happened to me this week. I lost my taste and the only taste I can taste is bitter. This has been going on for a week now. I've also had a bad headache, and I honestly cannot remember the last time I've even had a headache. The first day or so I was a little worried, but mostly just sad. The next few days I honestly started to panic a little. I did every single thing I could think to cure this. Vitamin B, Vitamin D, Cell Food, Enzymes, Essential Oils, ACV, Probiotics. Everything. You see, eating is very important to me, obviously! I also have to be able to taste so that I can check the measurements in the recipes I write down for you guys. The main reason I was upset was mostly just because I love food. Food is a huge part of my life and who I am. It always has been ever since I can remember. I love enjoying delicious food. I love the memories that come with it. I love making food. I love sharing it with others. I remember even when I was a little girl trying to "feed people." Not being able to taste food has been alarming, to say the least. So, I have literally been scrambling. I have done everything natural that I know of and/or could think of. I even called a regular doctor and got some medicine for thrush. Ya'll, I was desperate! 

It wasn't until this morning that I mentioned all of this to Laura. She immediately asked me if I had eaten pine nuts in the last week. I have. In fact, I've eaten them a few times. She told me to look up pine nut toxicity. I did and I started finding tons of other people who experienced the same symptoms as I have been and they all linked it back to eating pine nuts. The reason behind this is that there are some pine nuts that come from China that are essentially poisonous. The condition is called "dysgeusia" or "metallogeusia." It's not an allergy but more of a poisoning.  From what I've gathered, a lot of pine nuts are shipped from China because it's "cheaper" and they're more plentiful there. The only problem is that those specific types of pine nuts have been deemed as unfit for human consumption because it's basically food poisoning to your system, yet there are no regulations fit to keep those from our kitchens-- except to buy them from the USA and a completely trusted source. The funny thing in all of this is that I am extremely cautious as to where I buy things from and where my food comes from. One of my naturopathic professors once said she does not allow anything in her home or pantry that comes from another country beside the US. I thought that was a bit overboard, but honestly I follow the same strict standards with my food. These days you have to or you are opening yourself up to a whole host of unknowns. I did not buy the pine nuts I put all over a salad I made recently for the herb vinaigrette I posted. My dad did. He was in town for Father's Day. Being that I don't want to be a jerk of a daughter or person, when someone cooks for us or buys food for us, I gladly accept and partake. I just close my eyes and tell myself I'm not going to be a crazy woman and demand to know where it's from or not eat it because it's either A) not organic or B) from outside of the US. So being the good daughter that I am, I ate a lot of those pine nuts. The next day I woke up and everything I ate or drank, including water tasted extremely bitter. I could barely keep anything down without gagging at how horrible everything tasted. Fast forward to today, after I did my research I looked at the bag of pine nuts my dad bought from Winn Dixie. Where are they from? Yep, China. This my dear readers is why I eat local and mostly organic. My mouth still tastes bitter and it's been a week since I could taste anything I've eaten without grimacing at the bitter taste in my mouth. Check where your pine nuts come from so this does not happen to your sweet tastes buds or your family's. I want to be able to trust the people that grow the food that I put into my body. I want to know what's in it and know that it's safe for me and my family. This is also why I so love going to farmer's markets and developing those relationship with the farmers. Morningside Farmer's Market in Atlanta adheres to strict standards for how the food at their market is grown and what is (not) put into it. Being able to meet the people that grow the food that colors our table and that we ingest is an amazing blessing that we are privileged to have that I do not take for granted. So, here's to the farmers that I've come to know and love and here is to being able to taste sometime soon, hopefully!! In the meantime, you can enjoy this family favorite recipe of lentils~ 


Anyone who knows my family knows that we LOVE lentils. My family has cooked lentils since I was born practically.  My dad loves to stand over a pot of these and tell the Bible story narrative of when Esau sold his birthright to his brother Jacob just for a bowl of these lentils.  Although I can't say I would sell my birthright for these, they are that good.  They're extremely easy to make, and they're also completely full of nutrition. This is a perfect one pot meal to take over to a friend's house for dinner when you're dinner sharing. It's also great to make for company. You can eat them over a bowl of rice, a bowl of pasta, by themselves, or even  in tacos as in the picture above. It's a great dish to make this summer for Meatless Mondays, as a wonderful meat-less option for tacos. Everyone loves them. 

Here's the recipe! They're addicting.

1/3 cup of olive oil (Could use coconut oil as well)
1 big onion (or 2 medium) diced
3 carrots peeled & chopped
3 stalks of celery chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic chopped
1 pound of light red lentils lentils 
(any color of lentils will do really-- cooking times do vary with each color)
2 bay leaves
5 cups of chicken stock  
(you could use water if you don't have stock-- or a mix of water and stock)
1 1/2 cup of water
1 1/2 TBSP. of tomato paste
1/2 tsp. of red pepper flakes
salt + pepper

*It is important to note that I do soak my lentils. I do this because beans contain phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. I soak them (along with all other beans) in a bowl of filtered water overnight with 2 TBSP of acidic medium (Apple Cider Vinegar or Fresh Lemon Juice). I soak them overnight and then rinse them well before I cook them.*


Begin by warming your olive oil and then add in the carrots, celery, and onions. Salt + Pepper. Let these cook until translucent. Once these are cooked add in the garlic. I don't add the garlic in at first, because it usually burns and turns bitter.


After the garlic is stirred in and cooked for a minute, add in the broth, water, bay leaves, lentils,  and tomato paste. Again add in salt and pepper. (You want to add in at least 2 teaspoons of salt)


This picture was before I added the stock and water.

After everything is added and stirred, bring to a boil. When it comes to a boil, put the lid over the pot keeping it slightly ajar and bring it down to a simmer (low). Keep it simmering for 30 minutes. At this point check the lentils to see if they have enough liquid and are cooked. If not then keep simmering them. Taste for seasoning.
Serve with tacos as seen in the picture above, rice, or pasta!


Disclaimer: PRTLIVING (and all of those feature and interviewed) is limited to providing self-help education in natural health matters and advocating of a healthy lifestyle for the sole purpose of sharing personal experiences and historical information about the traditional use of God-given herbs and natural remedies. This information is not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any specific disease. No medical claims are made. If you have a medical problem, please seek the advice of your medical doctor.
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