1

votes

Lets talk spices... of all kinds. Almost paleo and healthy? or ....

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 09, 2012 at 3:00 AM

I don't just mean "spicy" spices. I just visited a local spice shop and came home with a few glorious smelling spices from other cultures. Everywhere from the middle east to Russia! I have no idea how the spices I picked out should be used.. I just went with what made me swoon upon smelling.

It seems like spices have been with us for so long culturally who can even remember their origin. Whether they be for killing parasites, keeping meat longer or just pleasure They have been around.

So here is my question. Now that we have the exact opposite problem as before- our food is overly sanitized and we are not nearly as prone to parasites etc are spices still healthy? I have heard many people say that the heavily spiced food of various traditional cultures makes them sick. Nightshades alone which are so prevalent in many cultures are known to cause serious problems in others. Supposedly consuming hot peppers protected against parasites making them worth the side effects?? Various Indian dishes especially curry is too much for some folks. (though I LOVE IT)

On the other hand I have been studying and using herbal medicinal traditions for years now (not the hippy kind the I don't have medical insurance and its hella useful to be able to take care of common stuff on your own kind). And I know just how powerful herbs can be. So why not spices? I have read in a few places that the heavy consumption of seaweed protects the Japanese against mercury consumption.

Im not really sure what I asking. I just hope to open up a dialogue about spices/herbs/cooking and health. Are they now obsolete powerhouses of random chemicals that may or may not be harmful? Or are they still uber healthy and the more the merrier?

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on August 03, 2012
at 01:45 AM

You and your curry, Josh! Dude, can you send me the recipe on FB? Sounds amazing!

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on February 09, 2012
at 03:42 AM

OOhh!! great link candy!! Thank you- I will read look at these right away.

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on February 09, 2012
at 03:41 AM

Wow thanks! I dig Susan Weed for sure but Rosemary Gladstar is my fav herbalist. But still its cool to see such a crossover between my interests!

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5 Answers

5
6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157

on February 09, 2012
at 03:30 AM

Herbs are good sources of nutrients:

http://paleodietnews.com/2975/paleo-herbs-and-spices/

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on February 09, 2012
at 03:41 AM

Wow thanks! I dig Susan Weed for sure but Rosemary Gladstar is my fav herbalist. But still its cool to see such a crossover between my interests!

3
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on February 09, 2012
at 03:37 AM

Even if they brought no value nutritionally, their use makes eating nutritious food more enjoyable.

Would we still reproduce if sex didn't feel good? Probably, but no where near as often...

Same thing with food. Enjoying healthy food is paramount to being healthy.

Me personally, I will find a spice and "run it into the ground" by using it in everything until I am sick of it, then I move on. This week is cardamom, coriander, and star anise - all in savory dishes that taste curry-eque. I made a baked beef scotch egg tonight seasoned with the above (as well as green onion, garlic, and parsley) and it was awesome.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on August 03, 2012
at 01:45 AM

You and your curry, Josh! Dude, can you send me the recipe on FB? Sounds amazing!

1
Medium avatar

(10663)

on February 09, 2012
at 03:38 AM

I personally use garlic powder, smoked paprika, crushed red pepper, and black pepper regularly. Other spices I use are onion powder, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne pepper but less often. I'm trying to use turmeric more, however, to season vegetables. I think they bring variety to the same Paleo dishes. I can't imagine my sweet potato fries without smoked paprika!

Regarding your question about protection against parasites, in the book On Food and Cooking, it says: It has been suggested that people first began to use herbs and spices, particularly in tropical countries, because their defensive chemicals helped control the microbes that control food poisoning, and thus made food safer to eat. Most effective spices for this are garlic, cinnamon, cloves, oregano and thyme. Some, like black pepper, may actually carry millions of microbes (including E. coli, salmonella, and aspergillius) because it takes long to dry out in tropical climates. So they've been fumigated with various chemicals and radiated to eradicate these microbes.

Some more info about spices:

Why We Use Spices

Health Benefits of Herbs & Spices

Aflatoxins in spices

Antioxidants in spices

Effect of cooking on spices

C836b2644e7319bb957fbb794a97708e

on February 09, 2012
at 03:42 AM

OOhh!! great link candy!! Thank you- I will read look at these right away.

0
Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 03, 2012
at 02:25 AM

The basil is going crazy right now. I'm using it like lettuce, topping meat and making caprese salads with mozzarella and tomatoes. The fresh leaves might have some minor nutritional value but it's the scent and taste I'm after. Cilantro is the same deal, I just get hungry for that scent and taste. 100% guilt-free reward.

0
Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 03, 2012
at 01:41 AM

I think like anything with medicinal properties they will have benefits and negatives. This makes me question their regular inclusion in large quantities in food. But the again, I think this is more like a case by case basis.

It would really ideally be something somebody researches carefully. Most people are more concerned about the positive effects of herbs and spices - thats what might get grants and media attention. Theres less study on negatives.

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