Lent by Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz
Food as medicine may be a trendy (and relatively) new concept in the wellness world, but for Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz, it’s a lifestyle. She is a curandera (traditional healer), a native food activist, a natural food chef and author of Soil Medicine: Ancient Wisdom, Healing Recipes and Wellness Rituals from a Curandera ($ 22.49, barnesandnoble.com). It took Ruiz 23 years to achieve the title of curandera; she spent that time studying healing practices and natural medicine from a variety of teachers. She was attracted to plants from a young age, and her great-grandmother taught her to cook game. “She was my first plant teacher,” Ruiz says. “She was known in her community in Old Town Albuquerque, New Mexico, as a curandera.”
In his 20s, Ruiz began learning more traditional ways of curanderismo. “I started learning body work, herbal therapy and aromatherapy; working with sacred aromatics and plants,” she says. “It’s a lifelong learning journey.” Most of her teachers were native grandmothers in the Southwest. “Our family was detribalized during the Spanish conquest of northern New Mexico; I found homes, taught, and learned with teachers willing to share with me,” Ruiz explains. “They were not from my tribe, but we had similar plants and healing ways.”
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Book of Ruiz, Soil medicine, is a culmination of 25 years of training and includes wellness recipes and rituals. It is divided into four main sections (Water, Air, Soil, Fire) and contains nourishing recipes for eating and drinking, beauty recipes and instructions for spiritual work in each section. “With Soil medicine“I want everyone to learn to be their own healer,” says Ruiz. all begin to return to inner harmony. “
One of the recipes in the book that Ruiz is most excited about is Frijoles de la Olla, pinto beans cooked in a Mexican clay pot with onions, garlic and epazote leaves. Ruiz owned a restaurant called Lola in Phoenix for five years before the Great Recession hit. The menu was plant-forward, with nutritious, nutritious dishes. “One thing that people always said about my restaurant was that the taste of the food was very simple,” she says. When it came to curating recipes for Soil medicine, she would include simple recipes that make people think of home. Being from the southwest with Mexican descent, beans were a natural choice. “Prayers are such a source of comfort,” she explains. “The recipe is simple, but it’s about connecting to the element of earth, and how all our cultures boiled in clay.” The end result feels and tastes like home.
For Ruiz, the release of Soil medicine is an important step in raising awareness of indigenous foods as well as increasing Native American representation in the wellness area. “After I had to close my restaurant during the recession, I looked around,” Ruiz says. “Healing, food as medicine; these concepts were not new to me. What was hard for me to see was that there were no Indians or very few brown people talking about our own food. It seemed like , no one knew what native food was at this time; we did not have Native American restaurants or native restaurants, and I have never seen a native on TV with a cooking show or people in magazines talking about our food. It was always other people. who talked about our food. ” Since then, there has been a gradual shift, with native chefs opening restaurants around the country: Owamni by The Sioux Chef in Minneapolis, Wahpepah’s Kitchen in Oakland, and Tocabe in Denver, to name a few. “We’re starting to represent our own food,” Ruiz says. “Even with this book, it’s about having a platform to share that we also have foodways.”