Food and Nutrition

‘I’m an Herbalist and I Eat Orange Peels Before My Meals to Aid With Digestion’

Emily Laurence

Photo: Getty Images/Westend61
When there's something "off" going on with your digestion—maybe a stomach ache or a bout of constipation—it can lead to feeling either peeved or flat-out pained. Ever try to sit through a work meeting with your stomach hating you from underneath the table? Not fun.

Before you head to the drugstore to buy up all the Tums, know that there are some plant-based ways to support digestive health and ease stomach woes. For example, healthy food blogger Liz Moody swears by fennel and ginger tea whenever she's feeling gassy. And holistic health practitioner, herbalist, and Supernatural founder Rachelle Robinett has a sweet snack she likes to nosh on to prime her gut for good digestion: baked orange peels.

In a recent episode of Plant-Based (video above), Robinett shows step-by-step how to make bitters and use them to support digestion. "Lots of people struggle with digestion," she says in the video. Contrary to the popular belief that bitter foods are something to be avoided, Robinett explains that consuming herbal bitters before meals helps the body catalyze digestion. "Bitter is great, and bitter usually means medicinal. Specifically, when we taste bitters, there are receptors throughout our body—way down low in our digestive tract, also in our lungs, in all these different places—that register that we've had bitters. And they [inform our body to] get digestion going, get ready to receive food, and all get ready to process things down and through the body."

TL;DR: bitters makes the whole digestive process smoother. "I think in five or 10 years, bitters are going to be the new probiotics—I sure hope so!" Robinett adds.

In the video, she walks through the process of making a delicious tincture (a term that refers to a liquid herbal extract) with the bitters, and adds that she loves snacking on baked orange peels before eating a meal. According to Robinett, the crunchy baked orange rinds get those digestive enzymes flowing, too. "It's super simple [to make]," she says. "Just chop up a fresh orange and peel off the peel. Pop it in your oven on the lowest temperature for however long it takes to turn it into chips." That's the whole process of making this tasty, gut-friendly snack. And as an added benefit, you'll also be cutting down on food waste. Talk about a win-win, right?

You can either snack on your baked orange peels as-is, or incorporate them into a gut-soothing beverage as Robinett does in the video. Either way, taking proactive measures to nix digestive issues in the bud before they happen is certainly something to feel good about.

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