Weekly Ways to Replenish Yourself

The kitchen is my meditation room. There I make the food that will allow me to thrive, nourish my family's health, delight friends, and hopefully inspire you to try the same. The Archives section of Replenish PDX houses the newsletters where I write about recipes, nutrition information and the wellspring of reflections that come from those kitchen meditations. With these words, my hope is to bring you deeper into the connection with food your body and your understanding of how you feel and function. This is where you get to take it all home.

an herb with benefits

Posted on: August 28th 2014

RecipEmails, from Replenish PDX are a monthly recipe delivery with a side of information highlighting one key ingredient.

This month’s featured ingredient:



iStock basil2in this RecipEmail:

▪ a note from Andrea about green thumbs

▪ a recipe for Pesto the AIP Way

▪ the facts and fun of basil


My not so green thumb. . .

When I think back on my love affair with food, cooking, nutrition and healing, it all started with a few good authors. I’d scour the shelves at the bookstore to find the writers who could speak both eloquently and practically about what I like to call curative cuisine.

These authors were writing about what you and I know well. Food Matters!

And while I stand by my philosophy that no one size fits all ~ that there’s no one food or one diet that will feel good to all systems and do the trick to invite remedy for all ailments (though it sure would make life easier!) ~ there are some key classical culinary legends we can all learn from.

One of the cookbook legends from those early days that I return to again and again for some of those insightful lessons is The Good Herb by the food and health author Judith Benn Hurley. At this point it’s an oldie, but a goodie. A real goodie! The pages of my book are worn, smeared and dog-eared.

And one of the herbs that Hurley touts as being good for your mood, your breath, your skin and your hair is. . . . you guessed it, basil! The herb that may be growing in your garden like a weed right about now.

When I first picked up The Good Herb I was living with my husband (then boyfriend) in a San Francisco flat deep in the Mission District. We didn’t have a garden, but we did have a back deck that looked over our landlord’s lush but small yard.

When spring rolled over the hills of the city, I decided to turn that deck into an urban herbal landscape. I bought window boxes to line the perimeter and stocked up on baby herbal seedlings. Well, no such luck with my intentions.

You may not have seen my thumbs lately, but they’re not so green. At least not in the classical sense. (My son now tells me I’m not allowed to buy plants because he thinks its cruel that I make them suffer.) Instead, you can find me in my kitchen, with chopped, blended, shredded, diced, steamed, sauteed and ribboned greens. And that most definitely includes basil any time I can get my hands on it.

You may have the green thumb that I don’t (I hope you do). But whether growing herbs is your thing or not, go get yourself some basil and get your late summerhappiness on!

basil fun facts for you!

▪ Basil leaves contains oils and flavonoids that protect the body from illness and infection. Very small concentrations can kill harmful bacteria and even help to prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and stroke. (Pesto anyone?)

▪ There are over 60 varieties of basil, all differing somewhat in appearance and taste. The taste of sweet basil is bright and pungent while other varieties offer unique and unexpected tastes. Lemon basil, anise basil and cinnamon basil all have flavors that subtly reflect their name.

▪ The name “basil” is derived from the old Greek word basilikohn, which means “royal,” reflecting that ancient culture’s attitudes towards an herb they considered to be very noble and sacred. The tradition of reverence of basil has continued in other cultures. In India, basil was cherished as an icon of hospitality, while in Italy, it was a symbol of love.

If I could, I’d hand you a sweet bouquet of basil as a token of my love, affection, and my committed desire for your optimal health.



P.S. Stay tuned for a quick note from me tomorrow where I’ll invite you into a special insider’s conversation about our September topic of the month. . .Hashimoto’s! If you’d like to hop into the inner circle now, head over to this pageand enter your name and email and I’ll bring you the inside scoop.


Basil Pesto the Autoimmune Paleo Way

Pesto is a staple in my house. In fact it was one of the first foods that my son Gilbert could make on his own. It was like mix and match fun in the food processor ~ pick a green, pick a nut, add some garlic and oil and go.

Some people may choose to put cheese in their pesto, but that was never an option for us (as we’re dairy-free). In place of the cheese, we typically added a bit of miso for the pungent, “umami” taste. And while nuts are a typical ingredient in pesto, not all of our clients can eat those either!

Don’t let your nut-free needs (whether they be due to an allergy or an autoimmune protocol) keep you from the ease and flavor of whipping up some pesto with that basil in your garden or at your grocer. Give this sauce a whirl atop some salmon, salad or noodles, like we talked about last week.

IMG 0308ingredients
2 cups tightly-packed fresh basil leaves
zest and juice of 1 large lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add more olive oil or water if you want a thinner sauce or dressing.
Makes about 1/2 cup

Bonus Tip: Pesto freezes perfectly so make a big batch and freeze it in small mason jars or ice cube trays for the fresh taste of summer all winter long.


iStock basilherby tips from the garden

Preserve basil by combining 1 cup olive oil and 1 cup of finely chopped basil leaves. Mix well and pour into ice cube trays and freeze. When we’re no longer in basil season you can pull out the cubes to add to soups and stews (get a great burst of basil in January!)

Create a basil infusion by combining 2 cups of olive oil with 1/2 cup chopped basil in a small sauce pan and heat on medium low for 10 minutes. Strain the leaves from the oil and enjoy basil infused oil for salad dressings and dips.

Infuse water by combing fresh basil, freshly squeezed lemon and filtered or sparkling water to make lemon basil water. It tastes refreshing and can help relieve headaches.


basil with benefits. . .

▪ rich in flavonoids, including orientin and vicenin, that protect cell structures and chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage

▪ good source of vitamin A (through its concentration of carotenoids including beta-carotene) which protects the epithelial cells from free radical damage and helps prevent cholesterol in blood from oxidizing, helping to prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and stroke

▪ high in vitamin K, essential for blood clotting

▪ the volatile oils in basil (estragole, linalool, cineole, eugenol, sabinene, myrcene, and limonene) provide anti-bacterial properties that help protect against unwanted bacterial growth

▪ the volatile oils are also anti-inflammatory and block the activity of an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX) making it a natural version of anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen (combine with olive oil to double the benefits!)

▪ good source of magnesium which promotes cardiovascular health by prompting muscles and blood vessels to relax, eases constipation and promotes sleep

▪ also provides a nutritional boost of manganese, copper, vitamin C, calcium, iron, folate and omega-3 fatty acids

replenishlogoflowerYour comments and feedback are always welcome.

Let us know what you want to know!

Andrea Nakayama
Functional Nutrition
503 866.8079