Sat 5/9/09

A Daily Walk With DietPower

Walking is the best exercise for weight loss. And the things you see!

Dandelion poll

Today I found a dandelion gone to seed on Roundhill Road. In this closeup you can clearly see the silky parasail attached to each tiny brown seed in the center.

Thanks to its windborne seeds and amazingly rapid growth, the dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is one of the most successful plants on earth. Althought it evolved somewhere in the Old World, it has spread to every continent but Antarctica. Its English name is thought to be a corruption of the French dent de lion, "lion's tooth," referring to the plant's jagged-toothed leaves.

Dandelion leaves are edible when young. They have a bittersweet flavor, something like endive, and are rich in antioxidants. My mother used to serve them in a sweet bacon-and-egg-yolk dressing—which, come to think of it, I crave right now because I haven't tasted it in 50 years. (If you know a good recipe, please .)

My best friend's grandmother, who, like my mother, was mostly German, swore by the health benefits of dandelion. Famously frugal, she also bragged that she could live absolutely free on the harvest from her lawn. She died just two weeks shy of her hundredth birthday. Relatives say she did it on purpose, to forestall their spending on a planned birthday bash.

Dandelion leaves are also diuretic. That's why the French call the dandelion a pissenlit (pronounced PISS-un-lee), "urinate in bed." Similarly, British folk sometimes call dandelions "pissabeds," and northern Italians refer to them as piscialletti (piss-yuh-LET-ee).

I guess it's best to eat them for breakfast.

Download DietPower and lose poundsAbout this page: Precisely at noon each day, I step out of my office for a 3.5-mile walk around my Connecticut neighborhood. I carry a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TX5 pocket camera with a Leica 10x optical zoom lens. My object is to make an interesting photograph of at least one thing that is different that day. I post the results here, hoping they will inspire you and your friends to walk, too.  Terry Dunkle, DietPower founder and CEO.

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All My Yesterdays

Friday, May 8: A Pack of Boston Terriers

Thursday, May 7: Underground Passage

Wednesday, May 6: White Violet

Tuesday, May 5: Singing His Heart Out

Monday, May 4: Kenny's Secret

Sunday, May 3: Monument to an Afternoon

Saturday, May 2: Gasoline Rainbow

Friday, May 1: The Duck and the Bashful Maiden

Thursday, April 30: A Poison Ivy Sandwich

Wednesday, April 29: The Very Picture of Spring

Tuesday, April 28: A Busy Bumblebee

Monday, April 27: Electric Pink

Sunday, April 26: Saturday Night Special

Saturday, April 25: An Old Oak Falls

Friday, April 24: How an Ant Sees a Daffodil

Thursday, April 23: The Nameless Brook

Wednesday, April 22: Weeding Time

Tuesday, April 21: Wet Apple Buds

Monday, April 20: Mr. Allen and the Crew Team

Sunday, April 19: Bloodroot II

Saturday, April 18: Green Jellybeans

Friday, April 17: Bloodroot

Thursday, April 16: Skunk Cabbage III

Wednesday, April 15: Find the Critter

Tuesday, April 14: Blessing of the Animals

Monday, April 13: The Crow Who Said "Wow!"

Sunday, April 12: A Quirky Church

Saturday, April 11: Self-Portrait in a Pothole

Friday, April 10: Easter flowers

Thursday, April 9: Dumb as a Squirrel

Wednesday, April 8: April Snow

Tuesday, April 7: Egg Trees, Connecticut Style

Monday, April 6: I Carry My Lunch

Sunday, April 5: A Tree in Spring

Saturday, April 4: Pigs with Drivers Licenses

Friday, April 3: Forsythia

Thursday, April 2: Skunk Cabbage II

Wednesday, April 1: Mystery of the Hanging Shoes

Tuesday, March 31: Downy Woodpecker

Monday, March 30: 300-Year-Old House

Sunday, March 29: The Broken Fence

Saturday, March 28: "You're Such a Delight"

Friday, March 27: Skunk Cabbage

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