—Creator of Sous Weed
Creator of Sous Weed®, Monica Lo embraces cannabis as a superfood as opposed to merely a psychoactive addictive. Through her blog, Sous Weed, one can discover the versatility of Cannabis and how to utilize this nutrient-dense vegetable as a wellness tool in their daily routine.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started Sous Weed.
Hi! My name is Monica and I’m a photographer, creative director, and the creator of Sous Weed®. Sous Weed began as a passion project to document my cannabis creations using the sous vide method when I injured my back. It was a really long process, but I was able to wean myself off opioids and take a plant-based approach to my healing.
I grew up with my mother preparing Chinese herbal medicine and remedies; and didn't grow up popping a bunch of pills. That’s when I realized I needed a gentler, more holistic approach to my pain management. I wanted to cook with cannabis but lived in a small, strict apartment building with a no-smoking policy. I needed a way to discreetly make my edibles and since I worked at a sous vide company at the time, I thought, "why don’t I sous vide my weed?" And it worked! That’s how Sous Weed was born.
What was your first encounter with cooking/first awareness of Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Since I was a child, my mother always prepared TCM concoctions for me as a first measure, before turning to Western medicine. She would make Si Wu Tang, 四物汤 (Four Substances Decoction), a medicinal black chicken soup, to help with menstrual pains. At the first sign of a cough, there was a pot of a Chinese pear tonic steaming on the stovetop. At some point during puberty, I was even drinking snake soup because I had so much acne!
As we’re beginning to see a mass shift to Eastern medicine, adaptogens, and plant-based wellness in the marketplace, it is more important than ever to come out and correct the narratives on cannabis use and our ancestral medicines. These historical narratives will allow us to better understand its healing properties, and also pave the way for cultural accessibility.
This beneficial herb has been met with strong resistance. By reclaiming cannabis as a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine’s (TCM) healing repertoire, I hope we can help de-stigmatize and demystify this herb within our Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. I truly believe cannabis is a healing herb that belongs in the kitchen pantry and in your medicine cabinet!
Anything you want to say on the connections between TCM and cannabis?
Yes! Cannabis is an incredibly versatile plant that evolved about 28 million years ago, on the eastern Tibetan Plateau. More than 4,000 years ago, Chinese farmers used it for oil and fiber. Over 2,500 years ago, the Chinese used it for medicinal, spiritual, and recreational purposes. Although in China, cannabis is still heavily shrouded in misconception – to this day – ironically, China is the world’s leading producer of hemp, and holds over half the world’s cannabis and hemp patents. It's mind-blowing!
I recently spoke on Cannabis in Ancient Asia, at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. You can watch it here on YouTube.
What are your must-haves in your kitchen?
These days, I've been building a spice cabinet filled with a plethora of dried chilies and hard-to-find spices. I'm also working on a variety of ferments like wildcraft sodas, kombuchas, hot sauces, and pickled vegetables. Since we're unable to travel right now due to COVID restrictions, I'm bringing all the unique flavors of the world into my home kitchen. I've also been decolonizing my cookbook shelf and holding space for BIPOC authors and marginalized voices. These are the stories I want to read!
What's your favorite 420 recipe? Would you share with our audience?
Of course! Let's go back to the basics and learn how to infuse cannabis using the sous vide method. With this recipe, you’ll infuse cannabis into your favorite cooking oils like coconut oil, olive oil, lard, duck fat...you name it! After you have your infused oil, the possibilities are endless! For example, you can take your Sous Weed Lard to create Cannabis-Infused XO sauce. I adapted my mom's recipe for XO sauce and combined it with the infusion. It's one of my favorites and I keep a jar in the freezer for special occasions or when the craving hits.
Besides cannabis, which herb/healing ingredients do you use most often and why do you use them?
I use a lot of osmanthus blossoms in my kitchen. Osmanthus has the most lovely floral and ripened apricot scent, and is a TCM herb that is known to improve your skin. My mother used to grow it in our childhood home and every season, she would pick and clean the tiny flowers and infuse them in honey or maltose syrup. Last time I was in Taiwan, I got an osmanthus branch tattooed on my arm to represent the strong matriarchs in my family.
Which body constitution do you have and how will your daily ritual change after finding out?
It turns out I have Type D: Constitution of Yin Deficiency. It's pretty accurate as I often find that I run warm and my skin gets quite dry, especially my hands. I also consume a lot of spicy food daily, which I will need to reduce. In terms of food therapy, I decided to whip up the Yin Nourishing Pork Soup that was recommended in the test. It's filled with delicious ingredients like lily bulbs and lotus seeds that I already keep in my pantry. I've also included Chinese yam, my latest obsession, which is also one of the ingredients recommended for my body constitution.
Find out your body constitution here!