With any food-centric holiday, we can all count on the groans and bellows of the “I ate too much blues.” You can wear your pig out pants, or discreetly undo your buttons OR you can rock your holiday sparkles and say goodbye to the belly aching by bringing a little bottle of digestive bitters to your holiday table.
For centuries digestive bitters have been employed to aid in digestion. The first formula, in fact, was developed by a 16th-century physician and alchemist, Paracelsus, and was used to treat a number of illnesses. Bitters are herbal tinctures made from a variety of “bitter” herbs like dandelion, gentian root, and angelica root. It has been said that bitter herbs are one of herbal medicines greatest contributions to humankind.
I was first introduced to bitters behind the bar.
Oh yes, true confession of your favorite nutritionist, I was a bartender. I spent the greater part of my 20's serving up spirits in NYC. I learned very early in my training that bitters were a bartender's best friend.
Bellyache? have some bitters. Hangover? have some bitters. Headache? have some bitters. Hiccups? have some bitters. Quite literally any kind of “bar” related ailment you can think of could be cured with a few dashes of bitters. Bitters true purpose behind the bar, when it's not being used as a cure-all, is as a key ingredient in some of the most classic cocktails like a Manhattan or Old Fashioned.
When I entered this wonderful world of wellness and hung up my bar-tending apron for good, I discovered that bitters really belong in everyone's kitchen or pantry, not just a bartender's.
To put it simply bitter herbs are herbs that have a bitter taste. Historically most diets contained a wide variety of bitter flavors, which stimulated digestion. Unfortunately, the modern American diet is now focused on three primary flavors; salt, sugar, and fat with little to no bitter foods or flavors. It is no big surprise that we are also now a society completely reliant on antacids and proton pump inhibitor drugs (commonly prescribed for acid reflux, GERD, and other digestive issues).
Bitter is your digestive friend, you bitter-believe it!
There are bitter receptors at the back of your tongue which when stimulated (by ingesting bitter flavors) a range of responses occur. Bitter stimulates and excites the digestive system, stimulating the production of digestive juices and stimulating the liver and gall bladder for the release of bile.
Increasing bitter flavors/compounds can also help to decrease sugar cravings, relieve occasional heartburn, balance appetite and soothe gas and bloating.
I told you would be grateful for this little beauty!
My very favorite brand of digestive bitters is Urban Moonshine. First of all, how awesome is their name?
Urban Moonshine is a small company based in Vermont that uses all organic herbs to create their digestive bitters. I keep a travel size bottle with me at all times and simply spritz a few drops on my tongue before I eat.
I have recommended this product to many of my clients that struggle with bloating, gas, and/or digestive upset and I am so happy to report that literally each and every client that has begun using Urban Moonshine has had marked improvement in their digestion. Ironically when visiting my big sis a few months ago I was digging through her purse (Sisters are allowed to do this) looking for something and a bottle of Urban Moonshine Digestive Bitters fell out. We hadn't discussed this product before, but what can I say… I have one very smart big sis. She said she has been using it for nearly a year and literally will not go out to dinner without it. LOVE!
Give Urban Moonshine digestive bitters a try!
Can I Help You Meal Plan?
Enter your email below to download my free - one week - real food (mostly plants) meal plan. Grocery list, recipes, prep schedule, it's all there for you 🙂