Written by John Immel,
Greens are the most common taste in nature. Sweet taste was rare before farms and grocery stores. What is common easily becomes forgotten, and what is rare increases in value. Bitter greens are perhaps the exception to this rule.
Greens are naturally cleansing. Greens are generally bitter and astringent. They are stimulating and energizing. They are light, cold, dry, rough, mobile, and clear. Spring is the best time of year to eat greens. In the fall, greens could aggravate Vata body types, and should be cooked well. In autumn, mix greens with oils and sweet taste, so that they are nourishing.
Raw Salads & Undercooked GreensA few hundred years ago, the concept of a green salad was unknown. Since the Ice Age and discovery of fire, greens were consumed cooked not raw for proper assimilation by the body. On the other hand, agriculture breeding has removed much of the bitterness from farm selected greens. These days, romaine lettuce is more like a dessert than a bitter. We should approach romaine lettuce the way rabbits do, as delectable, desirable, and more like a dessert. If romaine lettuce tastes bitter to your buds, it's a sign that our taste has been sugar coated by modern agriculture.
While Pitta has the digestive strength for raw foods, greens should otherwise be cooked well until they are soft. Hard to chew is hard to digest! For more on the raw versus cooked debate, click here.
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BITTERBitter is disagreeable and stimulating rejection, and a strong taste often associated with black coffee, dark chocolate, and most salad greens.
PRANAPrana is the Sanskrit word for vital life energy (Qi in Chinese Medicine, pneuma in Greek). Many herbs stimulate your energy, or improve the flow of prana through your body. Generally, prana needs to be increased in spring after a sleepy winter.
About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.