Monday, November 16, 2009

parsley! hella cleaner!

I'm gonna be honest, I didn't know a damn thing about parsley until recently. There's this BBC show that Emilie and I used to watch (and still would, except neither of us have BBCAmerica anymore), called You Are What You Eat, which I think is really good, for a reality show. Basically there's the tough but loving nutritionist, who analyzes individual people's diets, helps them lose weight and live healthier. A lot of the time she starts them off on a near vegan diet, cuts off a lot of boozing and sugars, it's all stuff that, from a nutrition standpoint, makes total sense to me. But as Em and I spent more and more time watching it, something kept striking me as odd, and that was the fact that the smart British lady always had them using parsley. And I was like, um, why? Because even though we sold a lot of it through the organic produce distributor I used to work for, I just for some reason thought that there was a lot of dishes that needed a lot of garnishing.

So I hit research mode, and I found out some stuff. Which I will of course now share with you. Before I do, and before you start nibbling, there's some downsides to parsley which I will cover at the end, so read it all. Or just skip to the WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS STUFF section.

i.) Vitamin K (there's a lot), as well as C, A magnesium, calcium, B, and Iron.

ii.) Cancer be gone! Okay, again, let me just point out that none of you should have cancer at this point. However, I know there's a lot of people that smoke. I did too, for 8 years or so, and I can only chock it up to being a jackass while younger, and being an addict while older. It happens. I just passed two years nicotine free, and I'm pretty stoked about it. For those of you that can't/haven't/don't want to quit, I feel for you, it's a hard road to travel. And not like this is a good way to justify your smoking, BUT, if you are, maybe you should do all of us who love you a favor, and work some parsley in your diet. Parsley contains a series of volatile oils, which, I know, sounds terrifying and not something that you want to eat. However, these oils, especially myristicin, have been shown to stop the production of tumors, especially in the lungs. The hydrocarbons that come from smoking, grilling, burning things, or whatnot, are said to be expelled from the lungs thanks to the magic of parsley. And what sounds more magical than MYRISTICIN?! I wanna start an epic wizard band with lots of synths and call it that, but I won't be bummed if you steal the idea from me. So, smokers, get with the myristicin. Or, you know, quit smoking.

iii.) Flavonoids! So many great veggies are chock full of these magics, which are antioxidents that help with daily life, as well as the ability to reduce cancer possibilities.

iv.) KIDNEYS, BLADDER, BLOOD, INTESTINES! BE CLEAN! I look at parsley like this, and I'm okay with this not being the most scientific explanation: It cleans everything. It's a diuretic, it clears out both kidney stones and gall stones, it helps against bladder infections, it cleans toxins from your blood, and I've heard it recommended for people with irritable bowel syndrome. When you've been living your life in an active and say, less than healthy way, really, parsley is the answer of how to clean everything. And who doesn't need to tidy up every now and again?

v.) The rumors: Okay, in doing research into this, I've found people saying that parsley helps everything from deafness and ear problems, to sexual problems, to curing bruises as a topical application. And there may be anecdotal research to support a lot of that, and it all seems like good information, but it seems like there's not a lot of science to back it up. And you know I'm not Mr. Science Pants or whatever, I just like it better when a bunch of hippies AND some science guy come to the same conclusion. So, I'm gonna leave a lot out of my list of health benefits. Possible benefits are everything I've mentioned, plus more, but I feel like I should already have sold you on it. Plus, it tastes great, so eat it.


Just like damn near everything else I really like, I am prone to throw these guys in soups of all kinds. I've also steamed parsley and used it over rice, and in dishes where I'd typically use spinach, I've added parsley and subtracted a bit of spinach. It's flavor isn't a spinach substitute, but it's texture is comparable, and color, of course, and I like the slightly sweetness of fresh parsley, which also goes well with dandelion leaves, if you're one who cooks with weed parts like I am. Parsley's flavor is really fresh and somehow sweet and peppery, but none of these are overpowering, and if you cook in the "let all the ingredients fight it out" way that I do, it's taste will get a bit lost in the mix, which could be bad, but also means that if you're not into it, you should be able to hide it pretty easily behind some other flavors.


Okay, so there's some debate, and not a lot of great research, but here's the lowdown. Parsley eaten in excessive amounts can be bad for you. It appears that those cleaning agents, which are so good for you, can be a bit much in large quantities. Basically, while they are stripping the sodium from your kidneys, they have been known to strip other things as well, like calcium. So don't eat parsley in large quantities.

Now, what the hell is a large quantity? There's the question. And I have no idea what the answer is. I DO know that the same people that say that too much is bad DO recommend eating up to two ounces a day. And unless you are either juicing, or REALLY into parsley, you probably wouldn't go over that anyway. So, maybe it's not a concern? Maybe it's over cautiousness on my part to even put this out there? So be it.

Another problem can come with people that are on blood thinners, either because they are trying to 86 an existing clot, worried about possible clots, or because of whatever other reason they put people on blood thinners. Parsley has high amounts of vitamin K, which helps your blood clot. So if you're on blood thinners... Well, I'm sure you got it. People that I've talked to that are on blood thinners should have already had this explained by their doctors, and many vegetables should be avoided, but you should be talking to your doctor about this.

PREGNANCY! Really. Parsley has the ability to induce a period, can induce contractions, and can lead to problems with your baby's blood. Now, from what I've read, parsley isn't so intense that it will induce an abortion, but it seems like it's at least possible that it will do so. It also seems like this is another example of "IN LARGE QUANTITIES IN CAN BE BAD FOR PREGNANCY", which, again, no one's 100% sure what large quantities means. But you know what? I'm just gonna go ahead and say that if you're someone who eats large amounts of parsley/juices with parsley/cuddles with parsley at night, you might want to avoid being pregnant. Or kick parsley to the curb if you are or think you are pregnant. Though, if you think you are pregnant, the first thing you should do before worrying about parsley, is go get a pregnancy test. Right guys?

So, that's seemingly all of the contradictions. That's all I know of. Check up on it yourself if you're concerned, please. I'm going to keep on using it when I get sick, and on a semi-regular basis to keep everything cleaned out. Because I'm pretty damn sure I'm not going to end up pregnant, and because I have no need to be on blood thinners. As per usual, this stuff is amazing for you, as long as your doctor doesn't disagree. And if she does, then listen to her. Because she's probably smarter than me.


  1. Tabouli:

    1 lrg. Bunch of Parsley
    A Handful of mint
    1/3 cup cooked bulgar
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    1 tomato
    3 green onions
    1 cucumber
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    1/4 cup olive oil
    salt and pepper

    chop it all up, mix it together, let it marinade for a couple of hours in the fridge.

  2. Just discovered your blog and I gotta say A-W-E-S-O-M-E!! I like to roughly chop parsley then toss it into a bowl that has thinly sliced red onion "pickling" in lemon zest, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, touch of olive oil, and some sea salt/black pepper. Then toss in a few cut up tomatoes. Parsley heaven!

  3. And here I was thinking that parsley was just that thing you picked off the top of your meal and put at the side of your plate. I'm definitely going to try the recipes in the two comments above. Great post!

  4. Amy: I LOVE tabouli, but have some serious problems with raw garlic, so I actually stay away from it unless it's fully cooked. But I've done it minus the raw garlic (I sauteed some garlic and put it in after), and it's delicious.

    John: That sounds delicious, and like something I'm going to try in the future, no doubt.

    I'm a pretty big soup person, making soup at least every other day in the winter. I just made the following today, and it was great. The parsley was a bit over powered by the spice, but I could still taste it, and still raked in the health benefits.
    half a sweet potato,
    1/4 bunch parsley,
    handful of broccoli,
    a couple stalks of green onion,
    a habanero pepper,
    black pepper,
    chicken soup bullion,
    a bit of left over veggie broth,
    olive oil,

    it was spicy as all hell, but I am so chock full of vitamins and endorphins I'm feeling great. Made enough for two big bowls, ate them both. After posting this recipe to a friend, I realized that I had forgot to add mushrooms to it, which is unlike me, as I add them to everything. But yeah, great meal, all in all.

  5. i had no idea parsley was so great. i make soup 3X a week at least so this will be easy to incorporate and become a power house of awesome. also, this is my new favorite blog, fo sho.

  6. Glad you included the cautionary section. My first thought was "I should juice a shitload of this stuff!" I will juice a bit instead.

  7. We should discuss your views on garlic in the future. I understand garlic has a low toxicity level, but I think that it's fairly relative as far as food toxicity. What I had hear before was that cooking garlic reduces some of its positive effects. I found this article to support what I remembered.

    I like cooked garlic too.

  8. Jessica: Hooray for soup! I love it. I could seriously eat soup every day. Perfect thing to stay healthy.

    Jason: Dude, it's been a while. We should hang out soon. I'm still at the Dead Moon house, you still in Portland?

    Amy: I used to put raw garlic in everything. And then something changed, I'm not sure what. I know that the turning point was when I was eating mashed potatoes FILLED with raw garlic, and I was like, "Cool, I LOVE garlic." Then I spent the next 12 hours with massive stomach cramps, and I couldn't eat garlic AT ALL for the next couple of months. I kind of forced myself back into it, mostly because I had such a love affair with garlic previously. But even now, something like five years later, if I have raw garlic in a dish, I have massive cramping a couple of hours later. I'd say it might just be all in my head, except there's been numerous times where I didn't (consciously) know there was raw garlic in the food, and it still happened the same way. A friend of mine made pasta, and I saw them sauteeing the garlic before hand, and didn't know they had put raw garlic in at the end, and it was all downhill after. It's a shame, but I'm a cooked garlic only kind of guy from here on out.

  9. One. How can I follow your blog? I don't see an option to.
    Two. Parsley is soo good in salad. I chop up Romaine lettuce and Parsley and mix it in a bowl. The bold flavor is perfect with an organic italian dressing. Thanks for the article!