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EDITOR:
Steve Van Nattan

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BITTER FOODS FOR GOOD HEALTH

The health factors and uses for bitter foods and herbs must be returned to our diet



 

The bitter gourd from India is totally avoided by Anglo Saxons and most cultures around the world. Admittedly, this is because it is hard to find, but it IS easy to grow, and you DO have an Asian food store in the city nearby, right? I grow this, and it loves dry and wet weather and lousy and rich soil. No excuses friend.

Bitter food has gone out of fashion in modern life because bitterness is thought of as bad, even dangerous. But, recent research has found that bitter food is very helpful for digestion and in weight control.

This article explores the weird but rather happy world of bitter flavors in food and the benefits of them, both to the soul and body. And, I am not talking about New Age nonsense.

You will learn much here, and you might be somewhat amused at my weird sense of humor. If you are a Baptist, you will end up a bit nervous, but I tell you how to get your bitters without ending up on church discipline or getting "churched."

THE SIX TASTES

The six tastes, according to me anyway, are:

Sweet, Salt, Sour, Bitter, Dry, and Hot (either capsicum or aromatic).

Dry, which is also called astringent, is often not included, but I believe dry is a taste just as much as the others. Deepak Patel agrees with me, and that may not impress you, given he is a Hindu space cadet. I personally do not give a fig whether or not I balance my Vata. In fact, Deepak and his gurus better stay out of my Vata. Dry gin would also not pass the approval test in the UK if it did not grip their mouth a bit with dry after taste. And, the clever people at Coca Cola add phosphoric acid, also used in toilet bowl cleaner, to give their famous drink a dry bite. Of course, they add a very small about, just enough to eat the enamel off your teeth.

So, though we usually cover up bitter food with sugar, such as with coffee and chocolate, we do crave the bitter taste. You will often hear someone whine that the cucumber was bitter, but they are addicted to the bitter taste in coffee.

 

THE CULTURAL PROBLEM WITH BITTER TASTE

Prohibition

Prohibition brought on the basic product- alcohol. There was no class needed with drinking your corn from a Mason canning jar, as in the Tennessee State song, Rocky Top. It was delivered that way, and you just started sipping. When you were about to drop the thing, Billy Bob would wrest it from your hands and sip the rest.

So, fancy names and classy additives were left behind. It seems that adding bitters has made a come back in the USA. It never went away in Europe, especially the UK.

Proverbs 27:7 The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

So now, if you want to be thought of by the geek mob as up beat, you order a cocktail which is known to include bitters.

The truth is, 90% of those who climb up onto a bar stool just want to get their nose full of gin or whiskey. But, there is a strange discipline in ordering an expensive drink in an up scale cocktail lounge. It sort of inhibits the unbridled imbibing done in a Lazy Boy recliner at home. Those drinkers are the sloppy drunks, while the gin and tonic sippers are the intellectual drunks.

The cool heads in the lounge show off by ordering a Bahama Mamma, or a Mulled Claret, which have bitters as an ingredient. What hubris when the bar tender says, "What's that, sir?" Schooling a bar tender is SOOOOO impressive to the bar flies hanging around, right? And, when you tell the bar man to add a bit of Angostura Bitters, you may even get to school the bar fly, who says, "You are soooo cool, Mister?"

 

The British and Bitter Taste

NOTE: You health nuts must not skip these historic and clever thoughts of mine. I have mined the world for this information in situ, and I expect you to sit up and take notice and chuckle tolerantly at my glib humor. We will get to the raw terrifying information presently.

Perhaps the most world famous spin off from the era of the British Empire is gin and tonic. This is a drink made of Gordon's Dry Gin, carbonated water, and quinine. This was thought to be a better way to take quinine by the British colonial nabobs ruling the tropical world, such as India and Africa. They took the quinine as a prophylactic to fend of malaria, and they made the bar drink in order to raise the medicinal onus to the level of a cultural drink. Add a bit of lemon, or some "squash" (fruit juice concentrate), and the thing was quite tolerable and addictive, especially at sun-downer cocktail parties.

English lesson: Quinine is pronounced "kwaee nayne" by Americans, and "kwee neen" by the British. If Latin is the etymological source of the word, then the British are right. Only from this journal can you carry away an abundance of free worthless information like that. You see, I just want to be a blessing to you.

Other than the use of quinine in booze, I know of no other lust for the bitter taste in the UK. They love anything which is boiled to death, but they also love their curry, which was added to the British diet by the Raj of India long ago. Otherwise, most of the Anglo Saxon world is terrified of anything bitter that was not baptized in sugar.

Lest my Fundamental Baptist friends panic over my expertise at mixed drinks, I must inform you that I have lived in the British Empire while growing up and as a missionary later. I know more about British Empire culture than 85% of the British living today. So, my knowledge of drinking issues is not earned by tipping the glass, but by tipping the waiter, whatever that means. I like clever word couplets, and nerdy suppletes (a comment at dinner time). Any new words used here by me are public domain.

 

 

India and Other Countries Eat Bitter Food

We now leave the two District Officers, sitting beneath the banyan tree in the Hill Country of India, sipping their gin and tonic. We move down to the flat lands of India where it is hot part of the year, but very hot the rest of the year. For some reason the peoples of the world who live along the equator, and who suffer terrible heat, want to eat hot food also. Consider the Indians, the Mexicans, and the Thai people. One theory is that hot food makes you sweat, and when you sweat you feel cooler, assuming you are sitting in the breeze on the verandah.

The curry shop in the photo is at
25 Wormwood Street, London EC2

The most famous hot food eaters are in India of course. Thailanders come in a close second. The Indians had NO heat in their dull banal food before the era of the European explorers. No tomatoes, no peppers, and most other spices were unknown. Nor was there tea or coffee. The first taste of capsicum from the New World was brought by the Portuguese who were famous for taking food they discovered in one part of the world around to another part of the world. The Spanish did the same thing later, and the British added even more as they arrived in India. Thus, hot peppers came to India and Thailand.

The principle reason for spices, including the hot and bitter ones, was to cover the off taste of old meat. This was especially true in Europe. There was no refrigeration long ago, so second, third, and fifth day old meat needed something to cover the fact that is was seriously going south. Hot pepper and curry are wonderful at covering the stink of death in the meat. Eventually, the British made a class distinction out of using curry, turmeric, fenugreek, and many other spices. This was because only the rich could afford the imported spices, and this stuck after refrigeration became available to the average European. The heat and bitters in food evolved to become simply a sign of good taste and sophistication. Curry shops abound today in England.

I have wondered for years why the British demand the dullest food, like boiled dinner and boiled bacon and boiled pudding, from their own heritage, but they nip off to a curry shop once a month to have the roof of their mouth totally burnt off. I think it is all summed up in the word, BRITISH. Do not try to make logic of them.

The Chaat Shop (curried snacks) is mobile and found at various locations in downtown Austin, Texas.

The irony of the curry story is that there are some very bitter ingredients found in curry powder, and they are the key to an authentic flavor.

 


This is a exceptional recipe book of Indian dishes. We have the book, and we drop it on the coffeed table when friends who love to cook drop by.

SO, ARE BITTER TASTES GOOD
FOR YOUR HEALTH?

Your body says, YES

It has recently been found that we have taste buds in our stomach and other strange places other than our tongue.

It seems that our digestion is greatly enhanced when we eat bitter food. The stomach fluids are altered as soon as the stomach senses the bitter taste. Do not meditate on this too long. We are conscious of the sensation of tastes and flavors only with our tongue. However, there is research showing that the taste buds in our stomach do signal the brain when sweet is tasted, causing us to crave more. When bitter is sensed in the stomach, other mental responses transpire.

Here is a list of bitters used in drinks. Most of them were originally concocted as health elixirs long ago, which suggests that they have natural herbal medicinal qualities:

Angostura Aromatic Bitters
Angostura is probably the most recognizable bitters brand thanks to its yellow cap and over-sized wrapper. These aromatic bitters — with flavors like cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon — are a key ingredient in classic cocktails like the Manhattan.

Peychaud's Bitters
These bitters are named after Mr. Antoine Amedie Peychaud, a pharmacist and Creole immigrant from what is now known as Haiti. Peychaud began dispensing curative bitters with anise notes out of his pharmacy in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1838. Peychaud dispensed his bitters in Cognac and fans began to ask for them by name at bars throughout the city.

Orange Bitters
This is an area where you can try a few different types of bitters, based on the flavors you like best. Angostura Orange Bitters, has a straightforward orange flavour. Regans' Orange Bitters No. 6 is spicy with cardamom. Many other bitters companies offer an orange bitters, so you can have fun with different kinds. Again, the fact that these bitters products are used in bar drinks does not limit them to classy drunks. You can add a touch of bitters to all sorts of pie and pastry products. A little, which is not dominant, will stimulate the taste buds for a fuller experience and fool the diner into thinking you are a genius. I add a bit of instant coffee to gravy and curries, and I add a bit of sugar. You do NOT want people to catch you. All you are doing it sneaking up on their taste buds and trying to turn on all six.

Grapefruit And Other Citrus Bitters
Choose grapefruit bitters once you want to expand your collection. It's a fun twist on the citrus. Vancouver company Bittered Sling makes a grapefruit and hops bitters, as does Bittermen's.
Other options for citrusy bitters include Scrappy's Bitters in lime and Fee Brothers in lemon.

Spicy Bitters
Add a kick to your drinks with bitters that recall spicy cuisines like Mexican and Thai. Parsons recommends Bittermens Xocolatl mole bitters, which contains cacao, cinnamon, and spices and is recommended for use with aged liquors. Bad Dog's Fire and Damnation bitters contains a hint of smoke and capsaicin spice. Jerk bitters from Bitter End add considerable heat to a cocktail and black pepper bitters from Twisted and Bitter is great in a Caesar.

Fruit Bitters
You don't have to stop with citrus flavors — there are fruity bitters options for every taste. Cherry bitters, like the one by Fee Brothers, is nice in bourbon or adds a fun hint of cherry cola to a rum and coke, while Bittered Sling's plum and root beer bitters create a different carbonated beverage. For an unexpected flavour, try Bar Keep's apple bitters.

Celery Bitters
This is one to add to your collection if you're a fan of Caesars or Bloody Marys — it's a great compliment to the celery salt used in both drinks. They're also an excellent addition to a gin and tonic. Celery bitters were reintroduced by The Bitter Truth, but you can also try other varieties like the ones from Scrappy's Bitters or Fee Brothers.

You Fundamental Baptists will have to buy your bitters in the super market in the liquor section when no one is watching, and then hide them in the kitchen cupboard with the spices. Even take the label off maybe. Just don't grab one and put it in the whipped cream, thinking is was vanilla. Ain't it hard being a successful legalizer? If you come to my house, you will find my Vodka in the back closet. We use it to extract our own vanilla from beans. If you doubt that, put me on church discipline.

 

BITTERS AND HEALTH

10 Reasons to Use Bitters for good health

Including bitter foods in the diet is not simply a matter of reviving tradition or taste. Bitter flavored foods also have a rich history in the healing arts. From the wine infused herbal concoctions used by Ancient Egyptians to the 16th century prescriptions of the famous physician Paracelsus and beyond, elixirs brewed from carefully selected bitter herbs have been treasured as cure-all remedies across the ages. Studies have confirmed that getting an adequate amount bitter flavor is important for digestive balance and linked with many related health benefits. Eating bitters regularly has been shown to:

1. Curb sugar cravings- This is because the taste buds in the stomach sense bitter and reset the stomach for bitter tastes, and we crave less carbohydrate foods. There seems to be a stomach to mind link, thus causing us to not crave carbs.

2. Soothe gas and bloating- This is because the stomach fluids which cause bloating are restrained.

3. Relieve occasional heartburn- Why, I do not know, but it seems to work.

4. Encourage digestive enzymes, bile and HCL production- This probably explains 3 above.

5. Calm upset stomach and nausea

6. Increase absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K

7. Help maintain healthy blood sugar levels

8. Balance appetite

9. Ease constipation and regulate bowel movements

10. Support liver function and healthy skin

BITTERS
AT MY STORE ON AMAZON

Pay the same price, but help me get a bit of commission from Amazon.

 

Where to Find Bitters

With processed foods delivering artificial, tongue-tingling flavors and spices to addicted mouths, it has become difficult to find quality bitter foods in the marketplace. Even the fruit and vegetable varieties packed into produce departments have been intentionally hybridized and bred to minimize bitterness, selecting instead for qualities of sweetness, bright color and shipping survival. While these traits certainly make veggie shopping more appealing to browsing consumers, they also represent a tragic limitation of nutritional value and an overall lack of phytonutrient, anti-oxidant and flavonoid variety in our foods.

Today, true bitter flavor is enjoyed in just a few commonly munched-on items such as greens (particularly dandelion and arugula), coffee, hops, olives, marmalade, and dark chocolate. To make up for the general deficit of bitter flavors in most modern diets, many health experts recommend the use of a supplemental herbal tonic or tincture. Common botanicals that have a natural bitter flavor include: gentian, quinine, cascarilla, cassia, fenugreek, orange and grapefruit peel and cinchona bark among others.

Bitter tonics can be found at many health food stores and online, but bitters are easily found in the liquor section of a large super market, or in a liquor store. Again, make sure no deacons are watching. For those wishing to avoid the alcohol that is traditionally used as a solvent and preservative in bitter tonics, Flora Swedish Bitters offer a non-alcoholic style that is equally as potent and beneficial. Simply squirt on the tongue after meals. Use also to inhibit carbohydrate urges. Add a few drops to a cup of herb tea. Tea also contains bitter tannin, a powerful antioxidant.

Angostura bitters has none of the angostura plant in it. The whole plant is poisonous, so it makes us wonder if, long ago, it did have some of the plant it was named for, and in small amounts it was useful. It was originally a health tonic in Venezuela. The modern recipe is made from other spices and herbs, and it is used for health benefits or bar drinks. Almost all bitters products were started as health aids.

 

Common Bitter Herbs

As noted above, some bitter herbs may surprise you. Yet, their classification is based on taste and as with the other primary tastes — salty, sour, and sweet — there are degrees of bitterness. As an introduction, here are 10 to ponder:

Angelica :
Angelica archangelica. Dating back centuries, it’s been used to remedy colds and ailments such as rheumatism. Its properties make it a stimulant, stomachic, and tonic. For liquors, it’s been used to flavor gin.

Chamomile :
Matricaria chamomilla. A mild bitter herb used as a sedative and antispasmodic. Its curative properties include relief of both fever and restlessness.

Dandelion :
Taraxacum. A mild bitter herb used as a blood cleanser and diuretic. Also said to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Still used in traditional cooking in the Mediterranean and parts of Asia.

Horseradish :
Horseradish is hot, and that seems to cover the bitter taste. Horseradish is the "bitter herbs" of the Passover in the Bible and in the modern Jewish Passover. It was meant to remind the Jews who escaped from Egypt not to want to go back to Egypt. This was because people tend to forget the bitter experiences from the past and long to "go back to the leeks and garlics of Egypt." I suggest that you who have finally gotten your weight under control keep a bottle of ground horseradish in the frig, and when you are tempted to snack on carbs, go eat a half teaspoon of horseradish. You will forget the carbs, and your stomach taste buds will help by changing your stomach fluids and your mental cravings. Even sniffing the open jar may work. Breath deep, fatty.

Exodus 12:8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.

Goldenseal :
Hydrastis canadensis. A strong bitter herb used to stimulate appetite and eliminate infections. In Collections for an Essay Toward a Materia Medica of the United States (1804), Professor Benjamin Smith Barton declared goldenseal a tonic, observing, “The root of the plant is a very powerful bitter.”

Horehound :
Marrubium vulgare. Dating back to Ancient Egypt, horehound is believed to be another one of the original bitter herbs of the Bible. It has been used for colds and respiratory ailments (such as in cough syrup and throat lozenges). It sure makes you forget Egypt.

Milk Thistle :
Silybum marianum. Also known as “sow-thistle.” In healing, it’s known as a powerful liver detoxifier, as well as an antidote for Amanita-mushroom poisoning.

Peppermint :
Mentha piperita. Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder wrote of peppermint, “The very smell of it alone recovers and refreshes the spirit.” The ancient herb is used as a flavor, a fragrance, and medicine. Peppermint oil is used to allay nausea and stomach aches.

Rue :
Ruta. A strong bitter herb used as an antispasmodic, a sedative, and a mild stomachic. Mentioned in the Bible as “peganon” and in William Shakespeare’s Richard III — “Here is this place/I’ll set a bank of rue, sour herb of grace.”

Wormwood :
Artemisia absinthium. A perennial plant used as an antiseptic, tonic, diuretic, and stomachic. The herb’s strong bitter taste is still used in wines and spirits, such as vermouth. It has been found to be a powerful cure for malaria, and research shows it kills cancer, though the cancer Mafia is doing its best to cover this up. Artemisinin is the extract of wormwood which is used pharmaceutically with nervous caveats from the FDA.

Quinine :
Cinchona succirubra. A derivative of a tree, this has long been used to prevent and cure malaria. As a bitter, it has all the possibilities of any bitter. Caution: Continual use in larger doses is associated with eye degeneration. But, casual use is totally harmless. You can find Tonic Water in the liquor or soda pop section of grocery stores. It is laced with quinine, and it makes a great addition for fruit punch.

Yarrow :
Achilles millefolium. A flowering plant that produces a mild bitter herb used as an astringent and cold remedy. The entire herb can be used.

Source:

http://herbs.lovetoknow.com/List_of_Bitter_Herbs

http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/abcs-of-nutrition/bitters-the-revival-of-a-forgotten-flavor/#sthash.TmjAxnOZ.dpuf

 

CONCLUSION

Eat your marmalade. Save orange peelings, dry and grind them small, and add them to pastry. Eat lots of garden herbs, especially arugula, to salads. Stop having a panic party when the cucumbers are bitter. Just slice and add them to the salad, and add a bit of honey to the salad dressing to balance the flavor.

The only bitter you really should avoid is the bitter in your soul. When we are bitter in our soul, usually this means we are off with God and our fellow man. There is a reason. Find it, confess the sin, and have a big bar of 80% chocolate. Get right with God, and get right with your tummy.

We end with council from the Bible:

Proverbs 27:7 The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Proverbs 5:3 For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:
4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.

Chasing whores and strange women is deadly. In the era of AIDS, who can still gamble on this one?

The moral is, get your bitters from the garden, not from wicked people.

 

LINKS:

HERE IS PROOF YOU HAVE TASTE BUDS IN YOU STOMACH
AND OTHER CURIOUS PLACES

Keep your gustatory nerves happy.

Sources:
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/videos/
http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/201
http://www.diabetesincontrol.com/arti
http://jcb.rupress.org/content/190/3/
http://www.the-scientist.com/?article

THIS VIDEO WILL TEACH YOU THAT YOU ARE SATISFIED WITH FOOD
IF YOU EAT SLOWLY AND CHEW LONGER

One reason weight control is so difficult is because of mobile fast food and
tight schedules. Think. Are you rushing to a heart attack because you do not
eat slower and savor your food? Finally, take time to inhale between bites.
You may finally realize what rubbish a Big Mac really is.

 

 

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