The Problem With the Standard American Diet

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 like Coriander and Coriander Oil.

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.

Role of Bitter, Pungent, Sour, Salty, and Astringent Flavors in Digestion

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 was used by the Indigenous Peoples of Meso and North America to spice up a diet heavy in bland and cooling corn, beans, and squash.

Properties of Coriander Seed in Ayurveda

Now comes this report, from the New York Times, on my favorite cooking spice, Coriander Oil, which is found in a vast array of dishes in Indian cuisine.

“Researchers from the University of Beira Interior in Portugal report that the essential oil extracted from coriander seeds can kill bacteria related to food-borne diseases, like E. coli.  Coriander oil has been used for centuries as a folk remedy for a number of ailments. Researchers have also previously found that this essential oil may ease cramps, aid in digestion, soothe fungal infections and reduce nausea.”

Ayurveda describe Coriander seed as sweet, aromatic, pungent, bitter, astringent, and cooling, not hot. The green leaves of the Coriander plant, called Cilantro in Spanish, are very very cooling, and are used in Indian and Mexican cuisine to balance the hot pungent taste of chile.

In Ayurvedic Medicine  because Coriander has tastes that pacify each of the doshas, it is considered “Tri-Doshic.” This means that is a fine spice for any of the three doshas, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, and can be used quite liberally. It is the first ingredient in Garam Masala, and typically is used liberally, along with turmeric, in Curry Powder .

An interesting tidbit about Coriander as a flavoring even in European and EuroAmerican food. Coriander seed or powder is, along with garlic, salt, and black pepper, the main flavoring agent in kosher hot dogs, and also kosher style cucumber pickles (which also use clove and dill), in both cases serving both as a preservative to inhibit unwanted bacterial growth, and as a digestive agent.



copyright eyton shalom, all rights reserved, use w/permission june 2017

Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego

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