This article was printed in The Reading Eagle on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Find it in the Berks Country Magazine section under “Strength in Plants” by Kate Murray.
You know the bitter greens, the ones that don’t exactly make your taste buds sing: dandelions, arugula, broccoli rabe, swiss chard, collards, mizuna, mustard greens, radicchio, endive, beets, and chicories. When hear the expression “eat more greens” people are not talking about a few spinach leaves sprinkled on your salad. Spinach is actually pretty easy to incorporate into your diet when you think about it, as are the less bitters such as kale and bok choy. It’s the super bitters that are harder to swallow. Why, exactly, are they so important and how can we make them more palatable?
Bitter greens sometimes have a peppery bite to them. The taste is sharp, and many perceive it is unpleasant and disagreeable. However, there is an important component to eating bitter greens. When the bitter taste hits our tongue, something called bile is produced in our digestive tract, where certain enzymes (produced in our gall bladder and pancreas) aid in digestion. It happens from the moment you begin chewing. The saliva and process of chewing the bitters produces a biological symphony, coordinating a miraculous process inside your body that simply cannot be replicated by taking a vitamin. So what ails you, baby? Is it lack of energy? Allergies? Weight gain? Premature aging? Mood swings? Chronic disease? It’s time to embrace the paradigm shift and become truly aware of what really happens when you eat. From the moment food touches your lips, you gain a clear understanding of real nourishment. Disease can be literally washed away and carried out of your body by eating the right foods. How can you learn more about your gut? Local physician, Aparna Mele, MD of Digestive Disease Associates in Wyomissing is very concerned about overall health and wellness. She is so passionate in fact, that she has created a health and wellness fair right here in Berks County. Details about the inaugural event will be available soon. Join in the discussion with Dr. Mele at facebook.com/MyGutInstinct. There will be an abundance of guest lecturers on digestive health and wellbeing including not just medical doctors, but holistic experts, nutritionists, yogis, acupuncturists, and children’s health.
We live in a toxic world. A strong core is a great place to begin, especially for those who need to get rid of some extra fat around the belly. Following through with leafy greens, especially the bitter ones can help ward off disease and provide a foundation for a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. You don’t need to over think your food choices, just eat more plants!
A Healthy Homemade Raspberry Vinaigrette Makes the Bitters more Palatable
1/4 cup tarragon vinegar
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. tarragon
1/8 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. raspberry liqueur (such as Chambord)
3-4 fresh or frozen raspberries
It’s best to mix this dressing with a high speed blender.
Any bitter greens can be used, the ones I used in this salad are:
beets (shredded, raw)
Garnish with walnuts