BittEr, AStringent, PunGent

To have more balance in my life I should be eating more Bitter, Astringent and Pungent foods. I wasn’t even sure what Bitter, Astringent and Pungent meant, as I had been so long in the Sweet, and Salty aisles.

Should is not a word I like to use but as I am going along my path to better eating habits and lifestyle I am giving Ayurveda a look.  I was reading about the types, Vatta, Pitta and Kapha.  (I know what you are thinking, who wants to be put into a neat box and labelled but I thought, keep an open mind.) If it makes me healthy and it does no harm then I will try it.  I seem to be Kapha, hence, the Bitter Pungent and Astringent food suggestions.

I had a Sweet food relapse two nights ago, milk chocolate covered marshmallow Easter eggs and  licorice.  What a shame the eggs weren’t dark chocolate!

Here are some examples in no particular order:

Bitter Pungent Astringent
Dark Chocolate Black Pepper Cranberries
Spinach Ginger Beans
Grapefruit Mustard Peas
Eggplant Anise Lentils
Coffee Anchovies Pears
Brussels Sprouts Red Pepper Apples
Zucchini/Courgette Onions Broccoli
Kale Cumin Turmeric
Radicchio Horseradish Jasmine
Citrus Peel Vegemite* Rye
Cloves Fish sauce (nampla) Quinoa
Dill Sardines Buckwheat
Fenugreek Sansho Asparagus
Tea Kimchee Artichoke
Olives (uncured) Brie Cheese Cauliflower
Mustard Greens Roasted Garlic Dried Fruits

I was pleasantly surprised to see dark chocolate on the Bitter list, more specifically dark chocolate over 60%, preferably 80% and over. (Milk chocolate contains only has about 40% chocolate if that.) I am not a great fan of radicchio because it really is bitter, but I am willing to give it a try again adding something else to disguise the flavour.  Something to think about in summer.  Kale, I can try growing. Uncured olives are a bit too bitter, much prefer the cured ones.

On the Pungent list I saw Anise. I love licorice which is not the same as anise but of a similar flavour. Sansho (a Japanese spice) is great as a condiment with eel. I love this in summer. It is supposed to give you lots of energy, but I think they were meaning the eel.
I cannot get enough anchovies or sardines. I just love them. Kimchee, I overdosed on it over the summer and now don’t want to look at it.  Just give me a little time. Vegemite. Superb.  Love it.  I have a tub of it in the  fridge.  I also have peanut butter, a local one that is made just from pressed peanuts.  It is very natural tasting.  I am now a huge fan. Crunchy is without salt, Smooth with added salt. Just picked some more up yesterday.

Astringent quinoa (pronounced KEEN-WAH) is from Latin America and is the seed of a leafy plant that is related to spinach but it tastes and looks like a grain.  I have looked for it and found it in health food shops.  It is very expensive to buy here in New Zealand.  I haven’t tried it yet. Will look at recipes to see what I can make first. Buckwheat soba noodles I love, and it tastes very nice with grazed daikon radish and soba dipping sauce.  The perfect lunch.  I don’t eat nearly enough beans or lentils.  Time to get the recipe books out again.  I love food.  Eating, cooking, smelling and looking at it, sharing it. Makes me hungry just thinking about it.  Time to go. Ciao!

*Vegemite is an Australian black paste made from yeast extract that is used as a breakfast spread on toast.  Very high in Vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B9. Similar to Marmite.  It is an acquired taste.

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