Recently, we’ve been looking through the many years of the Gerson Institute’s Healing News newsletters (available in digital format!). Inevitably, we end up finding little gems that appeared, and then were nearly forgotten. These newsletters go back quite a ways, yet there are many, many entries that contain timelessly useful material. One recently unearthed article related to Gerson cooking, my main focus, is titled “A Strategy for Cooking Gerson Cuisine”, written by a former Gerson chef, Susan Duniphin (Vol. 23, No. 5). The article breaks down the different tastes inherent in foods, and provides tips on how to balance and play different foods with different tastes and qualities off of each other. It’s a strategy that will help ensure that Gerson meals never get boring!
A Strategy for Cooking Gerson Cuisine
by Susan Duniphin, former Gerson chef
“Knowing your produce is the key element to creating great Gerson cuisine. And knowing your produce requires understanding the intrinsic qualities of each individual vegetable, fruit and herb. Before you begin tossing vegetables in the pot, take a moment and think about the predominant flavors and textures of each item. Tapping into the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda (the traditional natural healing system of India) is one way of getting to know your produce. Ayurvedic cooking can help us understand these intrinsic qualities. According to both Ayurveda and the Gerson Therapy, right diet is the essence of disease prevention and few if any fiseases can be healed without it. Ayurvedic cooking methods are not limited to Indian cooking and can be integrated into Gerson cooking. I will be utilizing the concept of rasa or taste to explain how you can combine Gerson approved ingredients to create delicious meals. Let’s explore the tastes and intrinsic qualities available to our palates.
They are: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter, Pungent (spicy or hot), Astringent, Light or Heavy, Hot (increase digestion) or Cooling (decrease digestion). Oily or Dry
Balancing tastes and qualities will help us to easily create great Gerson meals. I recommend the following steps:
Ask yourself, “What is the predominant flavor (intrinsic quality) of each individual vegetable I have available in my home or refrigerator?” Some answers:
- Garlic = hot and pungent
- Yogurt = sour, cooling and oily
- Onion = sweet and pungent
- Lettuce = light and cool
- Radish = pungent and hot
- Greens = bitter and salty
- Carrot = sweet
- Asparagus = sweet and cool
- Potato = cooling and dry
- Pumpkin = sweet and heavy
Which items are high in water content and therefore usable as layers for cooking other vegetables? Some answers: Onion, Summer Squash, Apple, Tomatoes, Oranges, Grapefruit and Lemons
Next, begin pairing up some of the items you have in your home according to their tastes. It often works best if you pair opposite qualities to balance the flavors of the end result. For example, pairing (sweet) tomatoes with (hot and pungent) garlic is always a winner.
But maybe you did not think about pairing (bitter and salty) greens with (sweet and sour) oranges and lemons. Now think about the qualities of light or heavy and oily or dry, which will create the mouth-feel that all too often makes or breaks a dish. An example may be baked (cooked) vegetable-laden brown rice in red bell peppers and finishing it off with a tangy lemon yogurt sauce. Here we have the sweet, heavy and moist attributes of rice blended with the sweet, light and oily red bell pepper and finished with sour, cooling yogurt.
To some, this may all sound daunting while to others, it can be exciting and challenging. I highly recommend that first and foremost, you make it fun and start off simple. Perhaps to begin with using only three ingredients. Then, work your way up to creating a Gerson sauce that is sweet, pungent, slightly salty, sour and heavy. An answer for those qualities could be creamed spinach sauce made with lemon juice, garlic and yogurt. Check out the recipe below!
The possibilities are endless! After all, you spend most of your time at the Gerson Nurse’s Station (a.k.a. The Kitchen), why not make it a fun learning experience? Soon, combining intrinsic qualities of fruits, vegetables and herbs will come as second nature.”
As I’ve alluded to in my previous articles about mindful eating, it certainly isn’t easy adopting the Gerson Therapy in the kitchen. Many feel very restricted by its specific cooking methods and list of allowed and prohibited foods. But developing new and different strategies for approaching these foods and methods will not only make the food taste better, but will also support sticking to the Gerson Therapy’s diet protocol. While the Gerson diet may seem limiting, there is so much potential to unlock within the world of real, healthful produce.
Enjoy this Creamed Spinach recipe using Gerson cuisine strategies!
Creamed Spinach Recipe (servings | 3)
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 pound baby spinach, washed
- Place onion and garlic to cover the bottom of a pot, followed by spinach.
- Cook uncovered on medium heat until the bot begins to steam. After a stead amount of steam has been created, cover and cook until lid becomes very hot to the touch.
- Turn heat to low and cook for 45 minutes.
- Strain and press spinach to remove excess liquid
- 1 cup organic, non-fat yogurt
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Add all ingredients to a small bowl and whisk together.
- Once the spinach is done cooking and strained, add the contents of the pot to a food processor fitted with the S-curved blade.
- Add the yogurt mixture to the food processor, then pulse until all ingredients become well mixed.
- Serve with a piece of salt-free rye toast or enjoy with a baked potato.
We would love to try them out ourselves and share them with Gerson Persons!
Don’t forget to check the new Gerson Kitchen Video Series – over 2 hours of online video tutorials on cooking and juicing for the
Written by: Eric Freeman
Post by: Nicole Ferrer-Clement