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An unexpected benefit of asparagus

Perhaps you are one of the many aficionados of the tender long green stalks that herald spring in some parts of the country, namely asparagus. These fibrous vegetables can often be found in ditches, growing wild, waiting to be picked for their succulent spears, or grown in your garden. For those in other climates like here in SoCal, they are more likely to be located in a supermarket produce section. In any case, asparagus is normally meant for the kitchen and eventually on your plate, right?

Not for everyone—such as a British woman, Jemima Packington, who labels herself the one-and-only “asparamancer” in existence. To elaborate on that title, Ms. Packington uses asparagus stalks to predict the future. Really.

Along the same lines as those who interpret I Ching or examine chickens' entrails in order to forecast events, the use of asparagus is dependent on how the stalks land when they have been tossed randomly. They allegedly form a pattern by which the asparamancer is able to divine what is to come. In a recent article in The Kernel, by Ned Donovan, more detail is given about the methods and meanings of this rare and unique form of determination of things-to-come (see

So, if there are no other practitioners of this type of divination, one might wonder how it is to be learned, what guidelines there are in asparamancing, and how Jemima Packington learned her craft. Unfortunately, there are no hard-and-fast answers to these questions. However, there are certain things you can learn from this delicious vegetable, namely its health benefits. Packed with fiber, it is certain to help your digestive system function. As it also has diuretic qualities, asparagus may be able to tell you when certain body parts are going to need quick attention, ie., heading to the bathroom. For both reasons it would be a wise choice when you need detoxification of the gastrointestinal and urinary systems.

Vitamin K, important for blood clotting, is another important reason to choose asparagus for food rather than forecasting. If you are prone to forming clots (and not already on blood thinners), use of this vegetable can tell you are going to have less trouble in that area of health. Vitamin A, beneficial for the eyes, will also assist you in seeing in general, although you may only be able to see into the present rather than the future. Along with these and the B-vitamins, which help with skin-associated problems, and potassium, calcium, and iron, all of which are essential minerals, there are a plethora of other trace minerals and antioxidants that make asparagus a very worthwhile addition to your menu. No one needs to see how the stalks fall into the pot or on your plate to know that.

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