Eating our way through zodiac ~CANCER~
The Summer solstice marks the entry of the Sun into the sign of Cancer. From this climactic moment we start the slow descent into darkness. From now until the Winter Solstice the days will get shorter and moon time sets out to dominate the sky. This Grande Dame of the zodiac has a mighty force and purpose and at the heart of her motivation is the protection and security for her home and her family. Cancer is symbolized by the crab, who carries its protective home on its back. Threaten Cancer’s security and sharp pincers will attack with an instinctual and vengeful strike. For Cancer, logic does not factor into survival and safety…this moon ruled sign runs on emotion and instinct. Cancer naturally rules the fourth house of home and endings, so it holds a special place for the past, ancestry and nostalgia. Its ruler is the moon and from luna we see through that hard protective shell, revealing a deeply sensitive and emotional intelligence, which holds the gifts of intuitive, psychic perceptions and grace of empathy. The moon in our charts reflects our relationship to our mother, our driving needs for safety and our instinctual responses. The moon by sign, shows how we process and express our emotions and by house shows the environment where we feel most comfortable … or not. The moon reflects our unconscious hold and memories of past experiences, and projects them to the conscious world.
Cancer rules my 11th house, Sagittarius in on my 4th, and my anxious 29 degree moon is in the 9th in Taurus. In some of the most difficult periods of my life I have run to large, foreign cities to escape. In my early 20’s I moved to London, England so I may feel safe, to be alone and to find some inner security. I fed my Taurus moon with art, theatre and music festivals. I discovered the goddess, my kinship to mother earth and the beauty and mystery of a land I felt deeply connected to. Crazy as it sounds… my time in London was the beginning of my journey into nourishing foods and the relationship that I had with food and sustenance as a vehicle for love and self protection.
In the body Cancer rules our protective coverings - of the brain, the pericardium and meningeal covering and the covering of organs. It rules the chest, breast, sternum, bone marrow, posterior pituitary. It rules the uterus or the womb when in use (when not holding the fetus it’s rulership is given to Scorpio). It’s most prominent domain is the digestive system and in particular the stomach. This water sign is phlegmatic in nature and fluids in the body are often out of balance. Excess water shows as edema, swollen parts of the body, asthma due to excess fluid and excess mucous. Lack of water can result in an inefficient removal of toxins in the body. Imbalances of the pituitary may show in excess or lack of oxytocin which affect uterine contractions, or antidiuretic hormone- which plays a part in water balance. In the stomach there may be lack or excess of hydrochloric acid. Many imbalances in the body of the Cancer native are triggered by emotional responses and they are prone to stagnation, depression and unhealthy relationship with food as a way of externalizing the response to internal stimuli.
Cancer’s temperament is wet and cold and slow but Cancer time is in the heat of the summer here in the northern hemisphere so a delicate balance is needed to nourish our Cancerian sensibilities. If one is prone to damp, stagnant imbalances we need to include some bitter constituents to rev up the digestive juices. Making salads of fresh dandelion, arugula, endive or mustard greens are perfect for stimulating digestion and stagnation. If on the other hand there is lack of water or there is excess heat in the body, then bring on the watermelon, cucumbers, lettuces and watercress. Nervine herbs are generally good for all the Cancer types to support the emotional swings they are vulnerable to, but choosing herbs that move gently in the body are preferred, like chamomile, angelica, lavender, verbena and lemon balm. You can make beautiful ice teas with any or a combination of these herbs. Drop a few fresh berries in the cool tea to infuse a delicate sweet flavor.
For my Cancer meal I invited my favourite and most cherished family member for dinner – my son Harry. Although I think that I always cook with love (well… almost always), cooking for my son brings out an intentioned infusion of nourishment and tenderness. For this hot summer night I conjured a meal that would satisfy my need to feed my son something wholesome, without being too obvious (wink!), but also something he would appreciate and enjoy. Harry has discerning taste buds and he appreciates quality…. His mom worked many years in the restaurant business before becoming a nutritionist! I took a peak in the fridge to remind myself of the veggies I had pick up at the market… and it all came together.
Grilled Lingcod with Salsa Verde and Kohlrabi, Fennel, Carrot Salad
Salsa Verde 1 cup (packed) parsley leaves and 1 cup (packed) cilantro leaves 1 large clove garlic coarsely chopped 2 teaspoons capers 4 cornichons (little sweet pickles or use half a large pickle) ¼ cup chopped red onion ¼ teaspoon chili flakes Zest of one lemon 2 Tablespoons lemon juice 2 Tablespoons olive oil Salt and Pepper to taste.Put all ingredients in food processor and pulse until all the leaves are finely chopped. I don’t over process. I want it to have texture and not look like a pesto. Transfer to small bowl and put in fridge until ready to serve.
Kohlrabi, Fennel and Carrot Salad 1 small Kohlrabi bulb (mine was about 3 inches by 2 ½ inches) remove leaves and gently peel off outer skin of the bulb ½ small fennel bulb 1 carrot 1/4 small red onion 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 Tablespoon lemon juice 2 Tablespoons olive oil.Using a mandolin, slice the kohlrabi, fennel, carrot and onion on the thinnest setting. If you do not have a mandolin, cut in the thinnest slices possible. Arrange the paper thin veggies on plates. Put Dijon, lemon juice and olive oil in a small jar and shake vigorously. Wait till serving to dress the salad.
Fire up the BBQ to medium/hot (I tried to keep it at about 425 degrees). Clean and oil the grill. Rinse and pat dry the lingcod. Season with salt and pepper and oil the fish. I used avocado oil. It has a high smoke point and the best option for using oil on the grill. You can put the fish in foil, but I took a chance and put it directly on the grill. I put skin side up first… apparently this will help hold the fish together when you go to flip it… and it worked! I put the fish on for about 6 minutes and then flipped the skin side down and grilled for another 10 minutes. The fish was a thick cut so adjust the cooking time depending on the fish and its thickness. When the fish is done set alongside your salad, drizzle dressing over the salad and top the fish with a generous dollop of the salsa verde.
You can substitute any fish for this menu. Salsa verde (including all its variations) compliments just about any protein source. You will have extra salsa verde. It will last in the fridge up to 5 or 6 days. I originally pictured halibut for this dish, but my local fish monger –Hooked on Danforth, was out and suggested the BC Lingcod, which was delicate and delicious. If you don’t have a bbq, you can pan fry or bake your fish.
Written by Jane Sloan, Nutritionist (RNCP), Metabolic Balance Coach.