Being grateful for our bitter sensing tastebuds

A sensitivity for the bitter tastes in life may be linked to the pain relief and other healing benefits we gain from the phytonutrients that are the active ingredient in the pain relief tablets of Aspirin TM. Salicin/salcylic acid/salicylates are a group of phytonutrients found in berries and other fruits and some vegetables and in many spices used in India. A reduced cancer rate in people of rural India is speculated to be associated with the increased use of traditional foods and cooking spices in the their diet. (

Some people may have food sensitivities or allergies to the group of phyotnutrients and a list of foods lower in the nutrients then other foods and those, such as buckwheat, that have more of the nutrients available than average here:

Aspirin was developed from analysis of the Willow Bark Tea, which was a traditional medicinal remedy for pain relief.

Some people have more sensitive perception of the bitter taste and it was found to be associated with increased sensitivity to the salicin content of foods. The genetic difference developed around 1.1 million years ago.

Addition 5/12/18: I had a genetic screening test done recently and learned that I do have a genetic difference in my ability to taste bitter flavors that may have made me more sensitive to lower amounts of bitter substances as a child and then might have gotten used to more bitter flavors as an adult.

So a spoonful of medicine may need a little sugar to help the bitters go down better.

(pun intended, Bitters was an old type of medicine based on quinine that was occasionally used in alcoholic mixed drinks and was called Bitters because of it’s bitter, sour or bittersweet flavor,

This article about a study with less than 1000 people that is making links between food taste preferences and psychiatric tendencies is sensationalistic and unreliable with such a small group of people. Certain illnesses and some medications can cause an increased sense of bitterness in taste whether or not the food is very bitter to the average person. bitter+taste+preference+and+inflammatory+conditions

I’ve written about this topic before with excerpts from two research articles. The post includes a list of some foods and spices salicylate content: Carrots, spices and Baby Aspirin may help prevent cancer and inflammation

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Orange Walnut Buckwheat Cake

Orange Walnut Buckwheat Cake -. – A protein rich dessert like this walnut cake would be a nice with a lower calorie meal of salad, soup or stew. This recipe makes two cake layers or quick bread loaves or it could also make about 24 cupcakes or muffins. Bake at 350’F for about 45-60 minutes or until a clean knife blade test. Muffins might take 30 minutes.

Mix the walnuts and coconut with the juice and let soak:

  • 1 cup Orange Juice
  • 3/4 cup Coconut Flakes
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped Walnuts

Mix with a whisk.

  • 1 cup Buckwheat Flour
  • 1 1/4 cup Oat Flour – may be source of trace amounts of gluten
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda

Beat the eggs and oil together separately and then add to the dry ingredients.

  • 3 Eggs
  • 3/4 cup Oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon Orange Oil Extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract (I increased this because vanilla is good for us.)

Add the orange juice/nut mixture to the flour/egg mixture and combine.
Pour into two loaf pans or two greased 8 inch cake pans.
Bake for 45 minutes to one hour or until a clean knife blade test is reached.
Let cool in the pans for ten minutes and then remove and cool before frosting.

  • A Pillsbury recipe for a similar type of cake with Coconut Pecan Icing: [ ]

Fruit jam can be good between the layers of a layer cake – used as part of the liquid content of a frosting recipe, or in a thin layer. Example: Raspberry Jam ButterCream,

Blueberry Rhubarb Jam

Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of Fair Use. It is not intended to provide individual guidance. Please seek a health care provider for individualized health care guidance.

Orange Buckwheat Cake tastes a little like rainbows

This is a quick bread with ratios similar to a rich muffin or cake like brownie. Oat flour may have traces of gluten but it helps reduce the crumbliness of buckwheat, millet and corn flour products.
  • I have been focusing on developing recipes that use less commonly used ingredients that are rich in phospholipids and other nutrients. Rotating in more unusual ingredients into the weekly or monthly diet adds trace nutrients. Coconut and walnuts add variety to the types of fats in the diet. The saturated and mono-unsaturated fats benefit the diet by improving the ratio of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids but without having to add animal based fats. Omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids are found more in oily seeds, while olive oil has a higher ratio of mono-unsaturated fats and coconut is rich in saturated fats. Walnuts are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids to the point that excessive daily use could lead to problems with blood clotting and bruising easily.
  • The fat content of a meal also is needed for the stomach to tell the brain that the meal was satisfying and that eating could stop.
    Variety and moderation are the essential factor to a healthy diet. Using a variety of whole food ingredients in the daily diet boosts intake of trace nutrients and other phytochemicals. Many important antioxidants are also the actual pigment colors in the plant.
  • Taste a Rainbow” of fruits and vegetables is a campaign that some school lunch programs have embraced. The changes in the school lunch program had been anticipated since 2009. Registered Dietitians in larger school districts have been revamping menus since then. Student participation has been encouraged with sampling days where new vegetables or other foods are available for everyone to try even if they brought a sack lunch.
  • Produce requirements have doubled from requiring that 1 and 1/2 servings of fruit and vegetables be offered per meal to 2 servings of vegetables and one of fruit (roughly- the numbers are listed in cups).
  • The following article adds that “French Fries” that are served in school cafeterias have been baked for years and frequently are sweet potato fries. According to the following article in the magazine, Today’s Dietitian, deep fryers are not generally found in school kitchens. :  [New Standards Unveiled for School Lunches – Soon Kids Will Be Eating More Fruits, Veggies, and Whole Grains, by Lori Zanteson,  todaysdietitian Vol,. 14 No. 5, p 14]
Trial Three showing the interior texture. I ran out of frosting.

Orange Buckwheat CakeTrial 1
Makes one 8 inch by 8 inch pan, bake at 350’F for about 35-40 minutes
***This combo is good but a little dry and stringy. Commercially purchased Coconut Pecan Frosting was the perfect finish which led to Trial Two with raisins and walnut additions.

1 cup Buckwheat Flour
1/2 cup Oat Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Coconut Flakes
1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
2 Eggs
1/2 stick/ 4 Tbs Butter melted or 1/2 cup Oil
1/2 tsp Orange Oil Extract
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup Apricot Nectar or Orange Juice

Trial one and two = lots of cake to eat.

Orange Buckwheat Cake – Trial Two – I’m aiming for a variation of Carrot Cake. the coconut by itself stands out as an odd stringy texture that suddenly needs to be chewed more than the rest of the quick bread. When carrots and coconut are used with raisins or chopped nuts the combined textures and shapes blend into a mixture that makes chewing expected and more natural.

1.  Let soak while gathering the other ingredients:    Trial Three – the raisins were a little odd but the level of moistness was better.)

5.5 oz can Apricot Nectar                             2/3 cup Orange Juice

1/2 cup Golden Raisins                                 1/2 cup Coconut Flakes

1/2 cup Coconut Flakes                               1 cup chopped Walnuts or Pecans

1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts

2. Whisk Dry Ingredients together:

1 cup Buckwheat Flour                               3/4 cup Buckwheat Flour

1.2 cup Oat Flour                                       3/4 cup Oat Flour

1/2 cup Sugar                                             3/4 cup Sugar

1/2 tsp Salt                                                  1/2 tsp Salt

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder                             1/2 tsp Baking Soda

3. Beat the eggs and oil and then add to the flour along with the soaking fruit and nut mix.

2 Eggs                                                        2 Eggs

1/2 cup Oil                                                  1/2 cup Oil

1/2 tsp Orange Oil Extract                           1/2 tsp Orange Oil Extract

1 tsp Vanilla Extract                                     1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Bake King cake pans with sliders. eBay

4. Bake in a 8 in by 8 in square pan for 45 minutes or  in two 9 inch round cake pans for about 35 minutes or when they pass the clean knife blade test and the center springs up lightly when pressed.

*** I put Trial Three in two cake pans. The batter is excessive for one pan but a little short for two. Trial Four, eventually, will test a larger batch size of Trial Three to better fill two cake pans with no other modifications to the ratios or ingredients. It’s good just short and dense.

My mother used the Bake King cake pans with a center slider. Buttering or oiling the pan and then sprinkling that with flour is the traditional method for improving the chance of getting the cake out of the pan unbroken.

Some bakers trim the edges and flatten one layer before frosting.

PS – The orange extract is good with the strong flavor of the buckwheat but just the vanilla would probably also be good. I  used Apricot Nectar in Trial One and Two because it is less acidic than orange juice. If using orange juice substitute 1/2 teaspoon of Baking Soda for the 1 1/2 teaspoons of Baking Powder. The Baking Powder has an acidic component that would be unnecessary if Lemon Juice, Buttermilk or Orange Juice are used in the recipe.

PPS: The orange juice plus baking soda worked very well in Trial Three.

PPPS: This type of frosting is traditionally used on German Chocolate Cake and only the top of the layers are frosted. The crisp edges would not be trimmed away when using Coconut Pecan Icing.

  • Ovenex Cake Pans with Sliders -[link] a brand that seems comparable to Bake King. The center of the cake pans have a slider attached that cuts the cake loose from the bottom of the pan. The center of Trial Two stayed behind as I removed the cake from the square pan.

Wheat is rich in Albumin – so are egg whites and ginger

Albumin is also listed on Dr. Duke’s database as having no biological activities. However it is protein that is essential for healthy plasma and blood pressure control. More importantly at trace levels is the allergy risks. Egg allergies are common and the reactive agent is most typically the albumin found in egg white rather than the nutrients that make up egg yolk. Sensitive individuals may be able to use egg yolk but not egg white or whole eggs.

Albumin would be commonly found in any food that contains egg whites. A very sensitive individual might react to trace amounts rather than just to entree’s that are egg based. Scrambled eggs and omelets are obvious sources but egg white is also in meringue. Marshmallows are based on egg white and coconut macaroons need egg white as the binder. So crispy rice treats could be an allergen due to the marshmallows and  it turns out that grains of wheat themselves might be allergens due to the protein albumin as well as the gluten.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Albumin  Biological Activities: No activities reported for ALBUMIN

Plant species with highest amount

[Triticum aestivum] L. — Wheat; 30,000 – 50,000 ppm in Seed;
[Zingiber officinale] ROSCOE — Ginger; 4,984 – 45,924 ppm in Rhizome;
[Aloe vera] (L.) BURM. f. — Aloe, Bitter Aloes; 1 – 5 ppm in Leaf;
[Ricinus communis] L. — Castorbean; in Seed;

The Albumin information is from Dr. Duke’s Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases
 [ ] (but this no longer goes to the original link.)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
***Interesting list  The presence of albumin in the wheat seed could help explain the increasing frequency of “gluten intolerance:” Actual cases of Celiac Sprue are rare. Celiac sprue is a genetic gluten intolerance characterized by a missing enzyme that is necessary for digesting gluten.

  1. A shared set of predisposing HLA-DQ genes account for the epidemiological overlap of celiac sprue and microscopic colitis. []
  2. A study in Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Jan;24(1):59-63. links HLA-DQ types of celiac disease with Type I Diabetes-presence of both found in 11% of Libyan children in the study (n=218):  []
  3. Persistently positive gliadin antibodies without transglutaminase antibodies in the elderly: gluten intolerance beyond coeliac disease. Dig Liver Dis. 2011 Oct;43(10):772-8. Epub 2011 Jun 8. []
  4. Transglutaminase seems to be involved not only with gluten, albumin, but also with glutamine and calcium and also with the thyroid gland, healthy endothelial tissue and healthy bovine lens tissue (***gluacoma is a disease of the lens that is also commonly found in diabetes patients): []
  5. Relationship between glaucoma and diabetes, hypertension. ScienceDaily (Aug. 17, 2011)[]
  • BTW magnesium deficiency is common to diabetes, hypertension and glaucoma.
  • Irresistible Quote about magnesium:

Mg is very similar to a great opera singer: it is very demanding, but when everything is right, it can perform wonders. It is demanding in that its absorption requires a host of conditions and is inhibited by several factors. Moreover, Mg will leave the body, without hesitation, if any of a series of conditions are not met.”   by S. Johnson,  published in Medical Hypotheses

and more details:   “Mg absorption requires plenty of Mg in the diet, Se (selenium), parathyroid hormone (PTH) and vitamins B6 and D. Furthermore, it is hindered by excess fat. On the other hand, Mg levels are decreased by excess ethanol, salt, phosphoric acid (sodas) and coffee intake, by profuse sweating, by intense, prolonged stress, by excessive menstruation and vaginal flux, by diuretics and other drugs and by certain parasites (pinworms).”    by S. Johnson,  published in Medical Hypotheses

“The multifaceted and widespread pathology of magnesium deficiency”, Medical Hypotheses (2001) 56(2), 163–170 © 2001 Harcourt Publishers Ltd doi: 10.1054/mehy.2000.1133, pdf []


***This section on Albumin allergy made it into an attempt to make the Ginger page shorter – cutting out the Albumin section made sense if the goal for a page on ginger was shorter not longer.
***I will be testing gluten free quick bread mixes. I no longer prefer to eat wheat, it makes my symptoms flair up. Had to test the batches though, never having found a written copy of my recipe for the basic mix, but the memory cells were right this time: Pancakes in a jiffy, quick bread mix. Also see the webpage on, G8. Cookies & Bean Soup.
Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.