I found a secret food for digestion.

I live for Saturday mornings, especially May through November Saturday mornings.

Those are the mornings when the world feels as though it’s right at my fingertips….I have everything to be excited about, and nothing but time, play, and relaxation on the agenda.

Part of this bliss is because of the Farmer’s Market. I never had this growing up, and each Saturday I’m able to partake in California, I feel so grateful.

New Finds

One of my goals when I grocery shop or go to the Farmer’s Market is to buy something new or find a new food to either purchase and cook with or research and decide upon later.

I had been stalking this one stand at the local Farmer’s Market for quite some time. On the left side of the stand, there are always very common things: carrots, eggplant, celery, tomatoes, etc. But on the right side always lies what looks like piles and piles of weeds.

It’s intimidating….even for a foodie like me.

So I played the observant role for many weeks, watching as people would grab bags and bags of these weed-like foods.

And then a couple weeks back, I decided to simply start asking the stand’s owners what exactly those weeds were.

Turns out, they were not weeds. The bulk of greens that I referred to as weeds were really Yam Leaves and Bitter Melon Greens.

A Secret food for digestion sarahkayhoffman.com

A Secret Food for Digestion

Click HERE to save this post for later.

A Secret Food for Digestion www.sarahkayhoffman.com #healthyliving #guthealth #food

The first week I told them I’d take one bunch of Yam Leaves and one bunch of Bitter Melon Greens.

They said,

The Bitter Melon Greens are very bitter. You might not like the taste. However, they are great for the digestive system and for those who have diabetes.


Got home, stood proudly with both.

A Secret food for digestion sarahkayhoffman.com

And then I began cooking. Naturally, I also began tasting. (Cooking and baking can never happen without tasting!)

Just like that, my facial expressions turned to, “wow – way too bitter.” I had to make many adjustments that first time cooking with Bitter Melon to enjoy eating it.

Bitter Melon, like other very bitter foods, stimulates digestion. The Bitter Melon,

Stimulates easy digestion and peristalsis of food through the bowel until it is excreted from the body. Thus, helps in relieving indigestion and constipation problems.

I could not give up so easily on Bitter Melon.

The next week I went back to the stand. I bought two bunches of Yam Leaves to just one bunch of Bitter Melon.

I then made a wild salmon, rice, and greens meal.

Wild Salmon, Rice, and Greens

Wild Rice, Salmon, and Greens
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • one bunch Bitter Melon greens
  • two bunches Yam Leaves
  • several huge handfuls spinach
  • olive oil
  • Wild Salmon fillets
  • 1 cup rice (I used white)
  • Add-ins: basil, cilantro, freshly-grated ginger, Tamari sauce, sea salt, lemon and chopped garlic
  1. Saute greens (pull off just the "leaves" for your greens - you don't need the stems) in olive oil and a little water until about ¾ way cooked (I had a ton of greens, so I had to make a few batches, setting cooked greens aside in a large bowl)
  2. Set all greens aside
  3. Broil the salmon (topped with chopped garlic and lemon) on low for 5-7 minutes (not fully cooked)
  4. Boil 2 cups of water in a separate pot, and add 1 cup of rice. Reduce heat, and stir frequently. Cook until about ¾ done
  5. In a large saute pan, mix all pieces: greens, salmon, and rice
  6. Mix in liberally: basil, cilantro, freshly-grated ginger, Tamari sauce, sea salt, lemon and garlic

Notes: You will definitely want to continue to taste this as you cook, to get it to the level where the bitter is not so bitter anymore. Even after doing all of this, there was still a “bite” to the meal. I loved it this time; Ryan not so much. Obviously, you can always leave out the Bitter Melon from this recipe.

p.s. One other thing about Bitter Melon….it’s been said that there are contraindications for Bitter Melon and women who are pregnant or who are trying to get pregnant. 

Tell me: Ever had Bitter Melon greens? How about Yam Leaves?


Similar Posts


  1. I’ve never had either, but your meal certainly makes me want to try them. I love our farmers market too and am so thankful to have such an active one. We always find so many great things there to try and I love that it supports local business and farmers.

  2. I’ve never heard of either… but I’d definitely try it if I could get my hands on it! I just cooked bok choy and collard greens this week (I’ve had them before, but never made them myself), and YUM. I also threw some turmeric into the bok choy per your suggestion, and I can’t wait to incorporate the spice into more stuff!

    1. Awesome…love to hear it, Danielle. And I’m a huge fan of bok choy. I probably cook with it 1-2 times per week!

Comments are closed.