The problem with the standard American diet is the preponderance of heavy sweet tasting foods: wheat, dairy, meat, potato, sugar, and the absence of pungent, bitter, astringent, and sour tastes, such as is found in condiments, pickles, and spices in other lands.
Part of this is traceable to the Puritan revolution in England, part of it to dominance of the early immigrant groups who all came from bland culinary lands, such as Germany, England, Scandanavia, and Ireland, and, on top of all that, I suspect, from the pioneer experience.
It is spices, and intenser flavors, such as you get even in mustard (bitter, pungent, astringent, sour, salty) that help digest heavier blander foods. Like the way chile is used in Latin America against corn, beans, and squash.
Now comes this report, from today’s NY Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/30/science/30obcoriander.html?_r=1 on my favorite cooking spice, Coriander, which is found in probably 50% or more of Indian dishes. Coriander is aromatic, pungent, bitter, astringent, but cooling, not hot. The green leaves, Cilantro, even more so. Coriander is also considered sweet. So it is a fine spice for any of the three doshas, and can be used quite liberally. It is the first ingredient in Garam Masala, and typically in “Curry Powder,” too.
Years ago when I read “The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna,” I http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifnoted a passage in which Sri R. used as a metaphor the preservative action of Indian spices on curries; something about keeping a goat curry for x # of days. This is of course before refrigeration.
While I am not about to recommend keeping a goat curry out w/out refrigeration, clearly spices have anti-bacterial as well as potent digestive effects.
One reason, I believe, that children who won’t eat meat will eat hot dogs, are the spices as well as texture. Guess what a major spice in old fashioned hot dogs (like Hebrew National, or Nathan’s, is? Coriander.
Here is the link to an article on the antibacterial properties of coriander.
Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diegohttps://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com