How do you feel about bitter food? Kale, dandelion, tahini, green tea, brussel sprouts, citrus, cacao, swiss chard…
I’ve always been partial to bitter + salty foods. I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth, but will always go in for a good bag of chips! It’s interesting when I look up my constitution (dosha) in Ayurvedia. I am a pitta/kapha — pitta is associated with salty and kapha, bitter. If you’re interested in exploring your dosha, this quiz is fairly good.
I have been recently reading a lot about tastes and the importance of balancing all the taste sensations in meals: Sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami. I recently taught a workshop on how to make plant-based dips + dressings and we talked about the importance of balance when making a dressing. Umami was a new taste to many, but we explored it through miso. Umami is translated into “delicious taste”. It’s hard to describe the taste, but it gives a depth and fullness of flavour to any dish. I love miso and add it to a lot of my dressings + soups (always looking for new umami uses so send me your recipes!). But back to bitters… I’ll have to research and write a post about umami soon!
So why are bitters SO important? Bitter food helps with digestion. They increase our natural production of digestive enzymes, which help break down our food. Bitter vegetables are also FULL of prebiotic rich fibre. Prebiotics feed our probiotics, which help support your incredible microbiome! (click the link for a great article about your microbiome by Dr. Hyman!) Bitters are also known to act as a natural diuretic, as they reduce bloating + reduce water retention.
You can also purchase liquid bitters (yes, like the ones for cocktails!) and they are incredible to jump-start digestion (and taste delicious!). I love Wild Muskoka’s line of bitters. Check it out here.
I find when I have a balanced meal, in terms of taste, I feel satiated and full. I am not searching to end on that something sweet, or salty. Do you ever end up in that taste game where you don’t know WHAT flavour you want to end up on? Yep! It happens to me when I crave sugar (which only really happens when I am PMS-ing) and it puts me in this weird rollercoaster of needing more and more and not feeling satiated!
Focus on adding all of the taste sensations into your meals — stuck on bitter? Add a spoonful of tahini (tahini is also an incredible source of calcium!) or some steamed chard. It’s something interesting to tune into and notice what flavours you’re into, what you crave, what you don’t necessarily crave but it makes you feel good when you eat it…
Let me know about your cravings!