EAT MAINE-April 2012
By Joe Ricchio
If you are kind to your body, it is much more likely to forgive your less prudent behaviors down the road. Here are a few foods that will help you get started...
Summit Spring Water
It's not a coincidence that the first item on this list is easily the most important, outside of oxygen, in terms of maintaining your health. Drinking more water benefits nearly every bodily function—don't forget that we are all largely water—and Summit Spring products are bottled from one of the oldest sources in North America. Raw Water receives no treatment or filtration whatsoever, resulting in a pure, bracingly refreshing experience—hence the term "raw." It is so pure, in fact, that I actually question whether or not I deserve such an experience after living such a sinful, wasteful existence.
Harrison | 207.583.2286 | summitspring.com
The Honey Exchange
I find it intriguing that so many people swear that honey is both an energy booster and a sleep aid. It possesses antioxidant and antibacterial properties that aid the digestive system, and its natural sugars are known to speed up the oxidation of alcohol by the liver. While it's common knowledge that honey soothes sore throats, its use as an antiseptic that helps keep wounds clean and free of infection may not be so obvious. The folks at the Honey Exchange have taken great measures to offer raw and unfiltered honey from local beekeepers, with each jar showcasing the unique flavors inside. It is nice to finally see the bees repairing their reputation after the disastrous blows to their image delivered by the music video for Blind Melon's "No Rain."
494 Stevens Ave. | Portland | 207.773.9333 | thehoneyexchange.com
Urban Farm Fermentory
A lightly effervescent tea-based beverage that the Chinese have called the "elixir of immortality," kombucha is made by fermenting different varieties of tea with a solid mass of yeast and bacteria. It is a raw, "living" food that is rich in bacterial acids and enzymes that the body produces and uses to detoxify itself, which provides huge benefits to the liver. The tea element can also help boost metabolism and promote weight loss. Urban Farm Fermentory produces a particularly potent incarnation of what I often refer to as "nature's hangover cure," and though some may find the flavor to be a bit off-putting, I am a firm believer in "no pain, no gain."
200 Anderson St. Bay 4 | Portland | 207.773.8331 | urbanfarmfermentory.com
Hippocrates, whom many revere as the "father of medicine," was often overheard referring to elderberry as his "medicine chest." Extremely rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, elderberry is one of nature's most powerful immune-system enhancers for combating flu and cold symptoms. Maine Medicinals has harnessed these restorative properties with Anthoimmune—a proprietary syrup produced in small batches and composed of organic elderberries, elderflowers, and wild Maine blueberries that are all harvested at their peak and processed immediately. Coincidentally, I strongly suspect the syrup would be delicious when added to hippocras, a spiced-wine beverage named after Hippocrates that was popular with the Romans.
555 Gardiner Rd. | Dresden | 207.737.8717 | mainemedicinals.com
Maine Squeeze Juice Cafe
For those who don't necessarily consume enough green vegetables day to day, an easy remedy for this oversight is a potent shot of wheatgrass juice. It is, admittedly, an acquired taste, but it does help to increase energy and improve digestion, metabolism, and blood circulation. Wheatgrass also reduces bad breath and body odor, while fighting against tooth decay and high blood pressure. There are so many health benefits to "liquid sunshine," as some have called it, that I'm tempted to indulge my addictive personality by purchasing an outlandishly expensive juicer with the sole intention of finding out exactly how much wheatgrass constitutes "too much wheatgrass."
5½ Moulton St. | Portland | 207.775.6673 | Find them on Facebook
Homegrown Herb + Tea
At Homegrown Herb and Tea, owner Sarah Richards specializes in custom teas designed to combat whatever ailments you may be experiencing. She also offers a different tonic for each season—for example, the "spring" blend is a cleansing, restorative mixture of sarsaparilla, nettle, dandelion, milk thistle, oat straw, hibiscus, lemon balm, and orange that is carefully engineered to benefit the liver and blood. Simply watching her concoct these magical potions is enough to induce a state of calm—that is, before I'm jarred back to reality after impatiently succumbing to the siren's song of her blisteringly hot tea. But don't worry about me, I'm sure the restorative powers of the tea will quickly repair the skin that's been burned off the roof of my mouth.
195 Congress St. | Portland | 207.774.3484 | homegrownherbandtea.com
Whole Foods Market
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil has been proven to reduce stress and depression, while lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels to help prevent heart disease. Maine Natural Health is producing OmegaMaine oil locally, in a range of pleasant flavors, and is even offering festive, fish-shaped spoons to "help the medicine go down in an ever so slightly more delightful way." Those who choose a more meat-heavy existence should take note, since a small amount of fish oil every day can help fill the nutritional void created by a steady diet of wings and ribs.
2 Somerset St. | Portland | 207.774.7711 | wholefoodsmarket.com
I personally regard any hot, aromatic bowl of soup as "restorative food," but Avena Botanicals goes a step further with Immune Soup, a combination of organic herbs and mushrooms designed to stimulate the production of immune cells in bone marrow, increase red blood cells, and improve overall energy levels and well-being. It can be consumed on its own as a broth, or even added to a rich, hearty chicken soup to help bring you back to life after even the most rigorous weekend. Medicinal herbs have been used in Chinese cookery for thousands of years, and this practice has yielded much more positive results than the Campbell's Chicken and Stars Soup I was fed as a child whenever I became stricken with a cold.
219 Mill St. | Rockport | 207.594.0694 | avenabotanicals.com