Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Those of you who know my work, know that integrative approaches to health and healing goes hand-in-hand with social justice. Too often, poor health comes out of social inequities like chronic stress due to bigotry, discrimination, poverty and food insecurity.
Chronic stress creates inflammation which is the underlying cause of most chronic diseases. Cultural resilience and connection with kindred spirits, combined with self-care and social justice action is essential to restoring personal health and community wellbeing.
Alongside this, we can sustain our commitment to the role of nature and her healing anti-inflammatories. There is a powerful link between social justice and reclaiming natural, traditional and culture-based foods and medicines.
One of my favorite anti-inflammatory fruits is the papaya. We usually eat papaya when it is ripe and then discard the rest of the fruit. But in Mexico, I learned that the milky substance, papain, is an enzyme found just under the unripe skin and it is a powerful anti-inflammatory medicine. In traditional indigenous practices, papain is a meat tenderizer, is used to draw out the pus from an infection, or is applied to a bee sting to soothe the pain.
I also use papaya as the base for a barbecue sauce instead of tomatoes which can increase inflammation. During the American colonial era, Caribbean pirates popularized a dish called "boucan" or "buccan", which was meat marinated with allspice berries. Among the Taíno people in the Caribbean, the pirates were referred to as the boucaniers, or buccaneers. Buccan is also related to what the Spanish called barbacoa, which later became "barbecue."
Try this delicious barbecue sauce. I love it because it's delicious and is so healthy for us.
Rudolph Ryser's Papaya Barbecue Sauce Recipe
This is an exotic and healthy alternative to traditional barbecue sauce. If you want to make an anti-inflammatory, nightshade-free version, just leave out the crushed red chili pepper.
1 tablespoon organic extra-virgin coconut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper
½ teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 cup dark brown sugar
5 drops of stevia liquid
1 lime (zest and juice)
½ cup apple cider vinegar, to taste
2 lbs. papaya, diced
½ teaspoon sea salt
3-4 drops liquid smoke
1 Lime (zest and juice)
• Cook onions and garlic in oil until onions are translucent. Add chiles, cumin, and oregano.
• Add sugar, stevia, lime, and apple cider vinegar. Bring to a boil.
• Add papaya and salt. Return to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
• Remove mixture from the heat and allow it to cool. Puree in a blender until smooth.
You can learn more about papaya and its benefits on my video (above), and more about Traditional Medicine in my book, Natural Woman.
Leslie Korn has lived and worked in Banderas Bay since 1973 conducting research in Traditional Medicine of Mexico. She is a Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health-educated clinician in clinical practice in Mental Health Nutrition, Integrative Medicine and the prevention of dementia and cognitive decline. She is the author of 8 books, including 'Natural Woman: Herbal Remedies for Radiant Health at Every Age and Stage of Life.' To learn more about her work, visit DrLeslieKorn.com. She can be reached at lekorn(at)cwis.org.
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