Post 117; Visiting the Lone Soldier Center on Histadrut Street, Medicinal Diuretics-use with caution, Possible Interactions Antiplatelet and anticoagulant drugs (blood thinners),Seeking foods that are natural Diuretics: experimentation: Juniper Berries recipes, Dandelion Allergic Reaction. Genius Kale Salad Recipe

This post is about living minimally, by focusing on a unique soldier and plants that can restore health.

I began this post before I read Catch the Jew by Tuvia Tenenbom. My blogs are created like lesson plans, it’s just out of habit, they are developed simultaneously, 1,2,3 etc and I piece them into a whole.

You probably already know that the IDF is respected, (even though Arab youngsters taunt them), because they are pledged to use restraint in all situations. Tenenbom’s book clearly describes this in his contacts with soldiers as a “Non-Jew”, crossing checkpoints, leaving protected areas, entering special zones, etc. The descriptions are hilarious.


I visited the Michael Levin Lone Soldier Center, which is about 2 blocks from our apartment, expecting to take a yoga class with Shalom Isaac. The class was cancelled.  I started to leave and then noticed  an arrangement of sketches, and poetry by Alex Singer. To my benefit, I  learned a little about Alex Singer, a soldier, who died defending his country. Thru the website I learned more. He was a “lone soldier” who came to Israel straight out of Cornell University in 1987. Had he lived he would be 53 now, perhaps a grandfather.



Alex became an officer. In the website, built by his surviving brothers and dedicated to his memory,  is the standard of behavior demanded of an Israeli soldier. We hear dreadful accusations about our soldiers from the mouths of European NGOS. They claim to be volunteers but get salaries. Pity that each one of them  doesn’t get handed a copy of  the the code of purity of arms (Hebrew: טוהר הנשק‎, Tohar HaNeshek) is one of the values stated in the Israel Defense Forces‘ official doctrine of ethics, The Spirit of the IDF.

Introduction 1. “The Spirit of the IDF” is an expression of the identity, values and norms of the IDF. It underlies every action performed in the IDF by each and every serviceman and woman [henceforward serviceman].

2. “The Spirit of the IDF” draws its values and basic principles from three traditions: a) The tradition of the Jewish People throughout its history. b) The tradition of the State of Israel, its democratic principles, laws and institutions. c) The tradition of the IDF and its military heritage as the Israel Defense Forces.

3. “The Spirit of the IDF” is the ethical code by which all IDF enlisted personnel, officers, units and corps act. It is the norm to guide them in forming their patterns of behavior. They are expected to educate and critically evaluate themselves and others in accordance with these values and principles. 35

4. The complex nature of military activity in general, and combat in particular, may generate tensions with the values and basic principles of “The Spirit of the IDF” and may raise problems of judgement about the proper balance needed between theory and practice. The obligation to fulfill the mission and ensure military victory will be the compass guiding any effort to [achieve this] balance. The striving for proper balance according to this compass will make it possible to preserve the IDF as a body of high quality, imbued with values, and which fulfills its duties and missions appropriately. ***** • The IDF serviceman will fight and conduct himself with courage in the face of all dangers and obstacles; he will persevere in his mission courageously, resolutely and thoughtfully even to the point of endangering his own life. • The IDF serviceman will always go to the aid of his comrades when they need his help or depend on his help, despite any danger or difficulty, even to the point of risking his life. • The IDF serviceman will execute completely and successfully all that is required of him according to the letter and spirit of his orders and within the framework of the law. • The IDF will above all, preserve human life in the recognition of its supreme value and will place himself or others at risk solely to the extent required to carry out his mission. • The IDF serviceman will comport himself as is required of him and will himself act as he demands of others, thoughtfully and with dedication, aware of his ability and responsibility to serve as a role model to those around him. • The IDF serviceman will use force of arms only for the purpose of subduing the enemy to the necessary extent and will limit his use of force so as to prevent unnecessary harm to human life and limb, dignity and property. [There will be special] consideration for the defenseless, whether in wartime or during routine security operations or in the absence of combat or at times of peace. ***** 36 From the section on confronting the enemy: • The IDF serviceman will act, when confronting the enemy, according to the letter and spirit of the laws of war. He will adhere strictly to the principle of purity of arms and to the ethics of combat. • The IDF serviceman will treat enemy troops and civilians in areas controlled by the IDF in accordance with the letter and spirit of the laws of war and will not exceed the limits of his authority. • The IDF serviceman will act fairly with self-control, reasonably and professionally, in carrying out the responsibilities of his position, in all his contacts with civilians in areas controlled by the IDF, whether in the course of battle or afterwards. He will show respect towards the beliefs, values, sacred and historical sites of all civilians and military personnel as they deem proper and to the extent possible, in keeping with the values and basic principles of the IDF and in accordance with military needs and the given circumstances.

Alex was also a keen observer:

I can picture Alex relaxing, making a salad a listening to Andre Watts performing Gershwin. He wanted to write sparsely.


Here is a sample of a piece admired by Alex, John Stewart Collis on the ant. Alex admired it he was keen observer of life in Israel. He describes his interaction with a storeowner. The salad will lack lemon salt, oil and parseley, comments the owner and he sadly adds that he doesn’t have all of the ingredients to sell. But he does give Alex everything except the lemon in a plastic bag. So Israel. Alex interacts with his environment to survive, as a soldier he can appreciate an ant is designed to survive in his environment. We can all lean from this.

“An average specimen of the species presents a formidable design. What it lacks in beauty it gains in function. When we contemplate its two stomachs, one social and one personal; its sting and its poisonbag; its teeth that serve in turn as a battle ax, a pair of shears, a flour mill and even as a leg; its two elongated and movable noses with which it speaks and with which it sees the shape of things and which serve it as a compass when far from home—we feel that personal functionalism could go no further. Yet its individual equipment is enhanced by its resourcefulness in composition, for not only can a single ant become a bottle, a door or a carriage when necessary, but a company of ants can turn themselves into a boat, a bridge, a tent, a ladder, a tunnel or a covered road according to the needs of the hour. (Just like the IDF in action).The strength of their muscles in proportion to their size is such that we must compare it with that of a person who could easily lift their motor car over a fence, while their speed at getting about should be compared with a person going at twenty five miles an hour on foot. Their endurance is so great that some can live without food for three months. They can do without air for a week, or, if drowned, come to life again. Their energy seems indefatigable. This very morning, one having arrived on my book and run across it, I turned the book round so that it ran up again. I kept turning it round every time the ant reached the end. It never paused for breath. A long time passed and still I turned my book around presenting it with an everlasting hill and still it ran at a tremendous rate without need of rest or fuel and making no distinction between the flat and the perpendicular. In the end I grew weary of my role and anxious at its anxiety. [John Stewart Collis] The Worm Forgives the Plough.

Alex Singer is buried in the central Israeli military cemetery on Mount Herzl. The location of Alex’s grave is area Dalet, section 10, row 10, grave 3.



Juniper Berries - Copyright 2009 Kevin D Weeks
You must be cautioned that herbal diuretics are like drugs. I drank teas of dandelion and stinging nettle and limited salt and lost 5 lbs which have stayed off.

On the other hand, a person with edema called ascites, or congestive heart failure would never drink such teas. For one, they conflict with blood thinner medication. Secondly, liquids are limited for these patients to 1.2 liters/per day.

Photo of Juniper Berries.  Copyright 2009 Kevin D Weeks

Juniper berries,  are the key flavoring in gin, which was originally known as jenever (“juniper”) and was developed in the Netherlands. They have a wonderfully piney taste – most like rosemary if you looking for a comparison – but more resinous and with citrus overtones (so if you’re subbing rosemary for juniper, add a bit of lemon juice too).


The berries aren’t actually berries, instead they’re the tiny cones of the juniper bush – a relative of the popular landscaping shrub.  However, note that not all juniper berries are edible, so hesitate before pulling berries off a bush.

Nevertheless, juniper is commonly used with lamb (or mutton) and is particularly good with venison, wild boar, and is soups. I even add them to a pot of chili where I think they add a certain rustic flavor that complements ground smoked chile peppers. I also frequently use them in marinades for lamb before grilling. Again, this is because the delicate resinous flavor goes well with smoke flavors but without being as offensive as cooking over pine would be.

To use the berries, put a tablespoon or so in a zippered bag and lightly crush them with meat mallet, hammer, or wine bottle.

Once flattened, dump them on a cutting board and chop them finely with a chef’s knife before adding to your dish or marinade.

Stinging nettle


Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica and the closely related Urtica urens) has a long medicinal history. In medieval Europe, it was used as a diuretic (to rid the body of excess water) and to treat joint pain.

Stinging nettle has fine hairs on the leaves and stems that contain irritating chemicals, which are released when the plant comes in contact with the skin. The hairs, or spines, of the stinging nettle are normally very painful to the touch. When they come into contact with a painful area of the body, however, they can actually decrease the original pain. Scientists think nettle does this by reducing levels of inflammatory chemicals in the body, and by interfering with the way the body transmits pain signals.

General Uses

Stinging nettle has been used for hundreds of years to treat painful muscles and joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, and anemia. Today, many people use it to treat urinary problems during the early stages of an enlarged prostate (called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH), for urinary tract infections, for hay fever (allergic rhinitis), or in compresses or creams for treating joint pain, sprains and strains, tendonitis, and insect bites.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

Stinging nettle root is used widely in Europe to treat BPH. Studies in people suggest that stinging nettle, in combination with other herbs (especially saw palmetto), may be effective at relieving symptoms, such as reduced urinary flow, incomplete emptying of the bladder, post urination dripping, and the constant urge to urinate. These symptoms are caused by the enlarged prostate gland pressing on the urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder). Laboratory studies have shown stinging nettle to be comparable to finasteride (a medication commonly prescribed for BPH) in slowing the growth of certain prostate cells. However, unlike finasteride, the herb does not decrease prostate size. Scientists aren’t sure why nettle root reduces symptoms. It may be because it contains chemicals that affect hormones (including testosterone and estrogen), or because it acts directly on prostate cells. It is important to work with a doctor to treat BPH, and to make sure you have a proper diagnosis to rule out prostate cancer.


The leaves and stems of nettle have been used historically to treat arthritis and for sore muscles. Studies have been small and not conclusive, but they do suggest that some people find relief from joint pain by applying nettle leaf topically to the painful area. A few other studies show that taking an oral extract of stinging nettle, along with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), allowed people to reduce their NSAID dose.

Hay fever

One preliminary human study suggested that nettle capsules helped reduce sneezing and itching in people with hay fever. Researchers think that may be due to nettle’s ability to reduce the amount of histamine the body produces in response to an allergen. More studies are needed to confirm nettle’s antihistamine properties, however. Some doctors recommend taking a freeze dried preparation of stinging nettle well before hay fever season starts.


Some preliminary animal studies indicate that nettle may lower blood sugar and blood pressure, but there is not enough evidence to say whether this is also true in humans.

Plant Description

Stinging nettle is the name given to common nettle, garden nettle, and hybrids of these 2 plants. Originally from the colder regions of northern Europe and Asia, this herbaceous shrub grows all over the world today. Stinging nettle grows well in nitrogen rich soil, blooms between June and September, and usually reaches 2 – 4 feet high.

Stems are upright and rigid. The leaves are heart shaped, finely toothed, and tapered at the ends, and flowers are yellow or pink. The entire plant is covered with tiny stiff hairs, mostly on the underside of the leaves and stem, that release stinging chemicals when touched.

What’s It Made Of?

Stinging nettle products are usually made from the leaves and stems, and sometimes the roots. Root preparations are used to relieve symptoms of BPH.

Available Forms

Stinging nettle is available as dried leaf, freeze dried leaf, extract, capsules, tablets, and as root tincture (a solution of the herb in alcohol), juice or tea. It also comes in the form of an ointment or cream to be put on the skin. The root appears to have different pharmacological effects than the leaves.

How to Take It


Although available in many combination formulas to treat colds, asthma, and allergies in children, a specific safe and effective dose for children has not yet been established. Talk to your doctor before giving stinging nettle to a child, so the doctor can determine the proper dose.


Stinging nettle is used in many forms, including as teas, tinctures, fluid extracts and creams. The freeze dried leaf capsule is very popular among male physicians.


The use of herbs is a time honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and can interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider.

Stinging nettle is generally considered safe when used as directed. Occasional side effects include mild stomach upset, fluid retention, sweating, diarrhea, and hives or rash (mainly from topical use). It is important to be careful when handling the nettle plant because touching it can cause an allergic rash. Stinging nettle should never be applied to an open wound.

Because nettle can alter the menstrual cycle and may contribute to miscarriage, pregnant women should not use nettle.

Do not self treat with nettle for BPH. See your doctor to receive a diagnosis and to rule out prostate cancer.

There is some evidence that stinging nettle may raise blood sugar and could possibly interfere with diabetes management. There is also evidence that it can lower blood sugar. Either way, patients with diabetes should monitor their blood sugar closely when using stinging nettle.

Stinging nettle can have a diuretic effect. If you have kidney or bladder issues, speak with your physician.

Possible Interactions

Antiplatelet and anticoagulant drugs (blood thinners) — Stinging nettle may affect the blood’s ability to clot, and could interfere with blood thinning drugs, including:

  • Warfarin (Coumadin)
  • Clopidogrel (Plavix)
  • Aspirin

Drugs for high blood pressure — Stinging nettle may lower blood pressure, so it could make the effects of these drugs stronger:

  • ACE inhibitors: Captpril (Capoten), Elaropril (Vasotec), lisinopril (Zestril), fosinopril (Monopril)
  • Beta blockers: Atenolol (Tenormin), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), propranolol (Induran)
  • Calcium channel blockers: Nifedipine (Procardia), amlodipine (Norvasc), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin)

Diuretics (water pills) — Because stinging nettle can act as a diuretic, it can increase the effects of these drugs, raising the risk of dehydration:

  • Furosemide (Lasix)
  • Hydrocholorothiazide

Drugs for diabetes — Stinging nettle may lower blood sugar, so it could make the effects of these drugs stronger, raising the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Lithium — Stinging nettle may have a diuretic effect and may decrease how well the body excretes the drug.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) — In a scientific study of patients with acute arthritis, stewed stinging nettle leaves enhanced the anti-inflammatory effect of diclofenac, an NSAID. Although the effect can reduce pain, talk to your doctor before taking or using stinging nettle if you also take NSAIDs.

Supporting Research

Source: Stinging nettle | University of Maryland Medical Center
University of Maryland Medical Center
Follow us: @UMMC on Twitter | MedCenter on FacebookDANDELION OVERVIEW INFORMATION

Dandelion Allergic Reaction

Some people are allergic to dandelion and can develop skin inflammation and itching from touching this plant, according to the UMMC. Taking oral preparations such as tea can cause mouth sores for anyone allergic to dandelion. If you are allergic to chamomile, chrysanthemums, daisies, feverfew marigold, ragweed, sunflower or yarrow, you should not drink dandelion tea. Anyone allergic to iodine or latex also should avoid dandelion preparations. The UMMC notes that an allergy to dandelion, as with many other herbs, could lead to a dangerous anaphylactic reaction.

Dandelion is an herb. People use the above ground parts and root to make medicine.

Dandelion is used for many conditions, but so far, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to determine whether or not it is effective for any of them.

Dandelion is used for loss of appetite, upset stomach, intestinal gas, gallstones, joint pain, muscle aches, eczema, and bruises. Dandelion is also used to increase urine production and as a laxative to increase bowel movements. It is also used as skin toner, blood tonic, and digestive tonic.

Some people use dandelion to treat infection, especially viral infections, and cancer.

In foods, dandelion is used as salad greens, and in soups, wine, and teas. The roasted root is used as a coffee substitute.

How does it work?

Dandelion contains chemicals that may increase urine production and decrease swelling (inflammation).

Recipe : Nettle Tea:  Use 1 tablespoon of dried nettles per cup of boiled water.  Steep 15 minutes to several hours.  Drink 1-3 cups a day.  You can make a large batch of tea and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  It is fine to drink the tea hot or cold.  Nettle blends well with mint.


Nettle fiber is renowned for it’s durability and has been used for making fishnets, ropes, clothing, and even bed linens.  Cut stems at the base and strip the leaves from the stem (wear thick gloves).  If you are working with fresh nettles, split the stems in half, cutting length-wise with a sharp knife.  Take a rolling pin or round stick to flatten the half-stems.  You can even beat them with a stick or a flat rock to help separate the outer fiber from the inner woody stem.  Carefully separate the outer fibers, trying to keep them long.  Let these fibers dry in a basket or a paper bag.  If you are working with dry nettle stems you can soak them to make them easier to work with.  Continue as above by splitting the stems, flattening them and carefully removing the fiber.  The fiber can then be braided or twisted and made into strong cordage.

Brennnessel / Stinging nettle











101 Cookbooks

Genius Kale Salad Recipe
May 3, 2015

There is a special kale salad in the in the new Food52 Genius Recipes cookbook. A single kale salad that ran the gauntlet, beating out all others, for a slice of limelight in the book. Which is saying something. There is no shortage of kale salad inspiration out there, and I knew this one must be pretty special to make the cut. The whole premise related to the genius recipe series is highlighting recipes that aren’t just great – they need to be more than that. They need to change, or surprise, or shift the way you think about a recipe – or cooking in general. Kristen Miglore selected 100 recipes for the book, and this was the kale salad – special it is! The details – it’s from Northern Spy Food Co. Shredded kale is tossed with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice, and accented with rough-cut almonds, roasted squash (or, this time of year, asparagus), strong chunks of good cheddar cheese, and wispy shavings of Pecorino. I made it with the last delicata squash in my arsenal, and a second time with roasted asparagus. It’s kale salad well punctuated. Meaning, there you are enjoying a fork full of lacinato kale, and along comes an exclamation of cheddar, or all-caps CRUNCH of almond. It’s really nice, and to my palette it’s the well-accented simplicity that makes this version stand out.

Genius Kale Salad

If you give it a go, I’ll encourage deliberate chopping and slicing. Thoughtful, intentional prep is one of the things that takes this salad from good to great. You want the kale stemmed, and sliced into ribbons not too thick, not too thin. Good cheddar is assertive, so you want crumbles that function as good accents on the fork – too big is overwhelming, but you also don’t want to go too small. The book has beautiful photography accompanying each recipe by James Ransom, and they are illustrative as well as enticing. Meaning, you’re able to see the intended result, and can take cues from not only the recipes, but the visuals as well.

Genius Kale Salad

You can prep this a day or two ahead of time. I might wait until you’re relatively close to eating to toss it with the lemon juice and olive oil, but aside from that it’s incredibly simple. And I recommend doing a double recipe while you’re at it. The leftovers were brilliant, wilted for a flash in a hot pan, and then tossed with fresh pasta for a quick one-pan dinner.

1/2 cup / 70g peeled, cubed kabocha butternut, or other winter squash (or chopped asparagus)

Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 bunch kale (lacinato or dinosaur kale), ribs removed, leaves finely sliced, about 2 1/2 cups

1/4 cup / 35 g almonds, cut roughly in half
1/4 cup / 35 g crumbled or finely chopped good, aged cheddar

Fresh lemon juice
Pecorino or any other hard cheese, for shaving

Preheat the oven to 425F / 220C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss the squash cubes (or, in this case, asparagus) in just enough oil to coat and season with salt and pepper. Spread on the baking sheet, leaving space between each piece. Roast in the oven until tender and caramelized, 30-40 minutes, tossing with a spatula every 10 to 15 minutes. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet in the same oven until they start to smell nutty, tossing once, about 10 minutes. Let cool.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the kale with the almonds, cheddar and squash (or asparagus), Season to taste with lemon juice and olive oil (using about 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons oil). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide the salad between two places or shallow bowls. Garnish with shaved Pecorino cheese and serve.

Serves 2.

Adapted from Food52 Genius Recipes: 100 Recipes that will Change the Way you Cook by Kristen Miglore.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s