Counseling Sheet

Seasonings and Spices

Agatha M. Thrash, M.D.
Preventive Medicine

Seasoning is anything that when added to food makes it taste better or bring out its own flavor more, such as condiments, herbs, flavorings, fats, cream, sugar, salt, and lemon juice.


A proper amount brings out the flavor of food. A small amount is beneficial to health. One tsp. of salt to 1 qt. of food is not considered unhealthful.


Toughens the mucous membranes, thus hindering digestion. Commercial catsup, tomato sauce, mayonnaise, salad dressing, French dressing, etc., contain vinegar.


Is very beneficial to health; it makes a good substitute for vinegar.


Add flavor and improve texture of food, thus making it more satisfying. Emulsified fats, such as cream, mayonnaise, or the oil as found in the olive or avocado are more easily digested. Frying food in fat coats it so that the digestive juices of the stomach cannot get at the food. Frying overheats the fat and produces acrolein, an irritant to the lining of the stomach. One Tbsp. fat per 1 qt. of food is usually considered harmless.


Adds palatability to sour foods; also, it makes flat tasting foods more appetizing. Sugar, honey, and syrups are concentrated sweets. Large amounts affect the digestion by causing inflammation of the stomach's walls. Use them sparingly. Not more than 1 ½ Tbsp. should be used in any one meal; 1/3 cup to 1 quart in canning fruits; 1 Tbsp. per each lemon in lemonade; 1 Tbsp. per 2 lemons in mayonnaise.


Irritating spices cause severe inflammation, if used over a period of time; also, they create thirst for alcoholic beverages.

Irritating, stimulating, harmful: Cayenne pepper, chili powder, horseradish, mustard, pepper (black or white]

Strongly aromatic irritating: Cloves, ginger, paprika (Hungarian)

Slightly irritating: Allspice, anise, cassia, cinnamon, cumin seed, mace, nutmeg

Sweet herbs not irritating: Bay leaf, caraway seed, celery salt, celery seed, chives, coriander, dill seed, fennel, kitchen bouquet, marjoram, mint, onion salt, oregano, paprika (Spanish), parsley, peppermint, rosemary, sage, savory, spearmint, thyme, turmeric, oregano.

Italian seasoning: Marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, sweet basil, thyme.

Curry, foreign: Black pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg.

Curry, American: Cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, mace, nutmeg, pepper, turmeric.

Poultry seasoning: Allspice, marjoram, nutmeg, sage, savory, thyme.


Binders: Flour, wheat germ.

Butters: Avocado, nut spreads, fruit spreads, dates. Ingredient exchange: To replace 1 cup butter, shortening, margarine, or oil in baking use, cut fat to ½ or ¼ cup or omit, adding applesauce, water, or juice plus 2 Tablespoons per cup soy flour in its place.

Broth: Chicken/beef: Check ingredients for ready-made broths; look for nutmeg, lactose, whey, mace, some Loma Linda and Worthington products contain egg whites or whey.

Carob: Often used as a chocolate substitute. It is much lower in fat (2% instead 52%) and does not contain caffeine or other stimulating substances. Available in health food stores.

Cheeses: Nut cheeses.

Chicken-style seasoning or broth: Vegetarian seasoning with a chicken-like flavoring. See G. Washington broth and McKay's Chicken Style seasoning... other brands available in health food stores. Mix together: 2 ½ t. each sage, celery seed, thyme, garlic powder; 1 ½ yeast flakes; 3 t. onion powder; 1 ¼ t. each marjoram and rosemary. Blend in a seed grinder. Total yield is 2 cups of seasoning. For yeast free: omit yeast flakes. Use ½ Tb. seasoning instead of 1 Tb., when called for in a recipe.

Cinnamon: Cardamom and coriander (3:1 ratio)

Coriander: Use this aromatic seasoning as a cinnamon substitute by combining 5 parts ground coriander with 1 part cardamom. Usually found in the spice section of grocery store.

Cornstarch: Arrowroot, tapioca.

Eggs: Tofu, garbanzo or soy flour. Beaten egg substitutes: Soak one tablespoon of flaxseed in one cup of cold water for one hour. Simmer 20 minutes and strain. Refrigerate until chilled. The gelled liquid will beat up somewhat like egg white, but will not hold up if heated. “The people everywhere should be taught how to cook without milk and eggs so far as possible, and yet have their food wholesome and palatable.”

Egg substitutes: There are several qualities of eggs that need to be replaced in the kitchen. Nutritionally the replacements are easily found. Whole grains, all common varieties of greens, and legumes will supply the nutritional needs provided by eggs. The binding quality of eggs is provided by the yolk and is needed in certain types of loaves and roasts. This quality can be supplied by any whole flour. The leavening agency of the egg whites needed in certain quick breads can be supplied by soaked soy beans or any kind of legume flour like soy or garbanzo flour. A good substitute for egg dishes can be found in tofu, a soybean product. Ingredient exchange: To replace 1 egg in baking as a leavening agent use 1 tsp. baking yeast dissolved in ¼ cup warm water with a pinch of sugar or honey and add 1 Tbsp. soy flour in recipe.

Food yeast: Also called Brewer's yeast or nutritional yeast. Rich in B-vitamins and protein. Adds a more “cheesy” flavor to foods such as tahini pimento spread, cheeses, mayonnaise, gravy. Not to be confused with baking yeast, a “live” yeast, used to leaven bread.

Gelatin: Agar agar.

Leavening substitutes: (There is no substitute for baking powder) Flour from any bland legume like soy or garbanzos may be used for their slight leavening ability. Use about two tablespoons per cup of other flour. Add extra water as flour from legumes tends to soak up water. Ingredient exchange: To replace 1 teaspoon baking powder use 1-2 tsp. baking yeast dissolved in ¾ cup warm water sweetened with ½ tsp. sugar or honey.

Milk: Soy or nut milk

Oil: Avocado, lecithin, tahini, nut butters

Salt: sea salt

Sour cream: Tofu mayonnaise, soy mayonnaise, with enough added lemon juice to produce a sour cream flavor.

Savorex: Also called Sovex, Vegex, or Marmite. A food yeast concentrate in paste form. See food yeast.

Soy sauce: Braggs Liquid Aminos or La Choy soy sauce (other soy sauces are fermented.)

Sugar: Honey, pure maple syrup, dates, molasses. Ingredient exchange: To replace 1 cup sugar in baking use 1/2 cup and increase flour by 1/3 cup or omit and try date sugar, ground up dates or raisins, and use fruit juices for the liquid.

Vinegar: Lemon juice.

White flour: Unbleached white flour, whole wheat flour, any whole grain flour. Ingredient exchange: To replace 1 cup white flour in baking use 1 cup minus 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour. (For every cup of flour used, exchange 1 Tbsp of the oil with other liquid)

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