Monday, August 08, 2011

A Recipe for Love – My Heart is an Artichoke

This post is very appropriate since I am working hard to teach Bhakti - teh way of the heart - if in LA check out my class or visit the website if you would like to take one online

Is there anything more difficult to get to than an artichoke heart and is there anything more difficult to find than true love? Like love we need to painstakingly peel away each thistly protective leaf to find a sweet heart.

The origin of the artichoke dates back to 371- 287 B. C. when the naturalist and philosopher  Theophrastus discovered them in Sicily and Italy. The Greeks however made them into legend involving the God Zeus. Seems Zeus visited the Island of Sicily where he found a beautiful mortal girl. She did not fear Zeus and he was quite intrigued; deciding to make her a Goddess and take her back to his home in Olympus where he would have his way with her when his wife was out of town. The Girl missed her family and returned to Sicily for a visit. Zeus was enraged by her return to her mortal ways so he turned her into an artichoke.

The ancient Greeks considered the artichoke an aphrodisiac. The plant spread from Greece to Rome, to Europe and to the United States where today the biggest crops are grown in Northern California. Artichokes have become big business.

Scientists have discovered that artichokes contain phytonutrients that not only lower bad cholesterol but raise good cholesterol. If it’s good for cholesterol control it’s good for the heart and anything that’s good for the heart has to be good for love.

Furthermore the artichoke is chock full of good for you nutrients such as magnesium, which works with calcium to create strong bones and teeth. Magnesium is also necessary regulating the body temperature. Artichokes contain potassium. In fact, a medium sized artichoke has almost as much potassium as a small banana. Potassium is necessary to maintain your heart rhythm, nerve function, fluid balance and muscle. Artichokes are also a great source for vitamin C, beneficial for the immune system and building collagen.

In the plant world, color pigments offer protection against the elements. The pigment, anthocyanin, which gives artichokes their color, also gives you powerful antioxidants when you eat it. Scientist believe that anthocyanin may lower your risk of losing memory function, help prevent cancers and improve urinary tract health.

Now I must admit that harvesting through those prickly leaves in search of the heart is a daunting task. But once the heart is found it is worth every arduous step. For love is like the artichoke; it does not come without a little effort.

From the "Book of Nature," by Dr. Bartolomeo Boldo in 1576, "it has the virtue of . . . provoking Venus for both men and women; for women making them more desirable, and helping the men who are in these matters rather tardy."

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