Spring is a time of renewal, and Mother Nature has provided everything we need to shed Winter’s layers and open ourselves up to sunshine and increased activity. Perhaps ironically, autoimmune flares often happen during seasonal transitions such as this, so it is helpful to have transitional plants and tools on hand to help us move through these setbacks and heal again.
Spring is absolutely my favourite time of year. Most of my favourite foods and plants arrive in abundance, making me a very happy girl! Among the dandelion greens, nettles, fiddleheads and edible flowers, rhubarb and strawberries have long been dear to my heart. Rhubarb is astringent and sour, and in Ayurvedic tradition, astringent foods are cooling, lightening and tightening; tonifying to the tissues and healing for a wintery, bogged down liver and digestive system. Sour foods are slightly more heating, but also immediately grounding and focusing for the mind. Rhubarb is a great Spring tonic – cleansing and refreshing to the whole body!
Gelatin and collagen peptides are amazing tools for healing with autoimmunity. They contain numerous essential amino acids which are the building blocks of tissue and skin and bone. In autoimmune conditions and flares, these amino acids can significantly aid in healing skin conditions and permeable gut, preventing drastic tooth decay (from interrupted metabolism/blood flow/nutrient absorption/etc., and keeping hair and nails stronger. Gelatin and collagen are a great source of easily absorbed and used protein – perfect for when nutrient absorption and metabolism are hindered.
Gummies are something that I’ve learned to keep on hand because they are easy to eat when fatigue is at it’s height, are portable, kid-friendly, and can be modified to suit many ingredients and needs (have you tried these delicious turmeric gummies yet for inflammation and pain relief?). When you just can’t handle another cup of bone broth, this winning combination of strawberry and rhubarb will satisfy your sweet tooth, your pie tooth, and your protein requirements, no sweat.
(Special thanks to my Mother-in-law for graciously allowing me to plunder her rhubarb patch!)
Strawberry Rhubarb Gummies (AIP/Paleo)
4 c. chopped rhubarb
2 c. frozen or fresh strawberries
1/2 c. water
1-2 Tbsp raw honey or maple syrup (to taste)
5 Tbsp gelatin
Simmer fruit with water until soft and starting to disintegrate, stirring regularly to incorporate and prevent sticking. Turn off heat and slowly add gelatin, whisking to fully integrate without lumps. If you do get lumps, allow mixture to sit for a few minutes with a lid on to allow the gelatin time to dissolve. Add honey or syrup to taste (I love it a bit sour!) and stir again. Spoon mixture into greased silicone moulds or pour into a large roasting pan (to be cut into squares) and place in the fridge for about an hour. When firm, remove from moulds or cut into squares and store in an airtight container in the fridge up to a few weeks.