Leeks – or – It’s Not About Taste

When I was a girl, learning to cook, if leeks were an ingredient in a recipe, my mother always said, “just substitute onions.”  Later when I started the Blood Type Diet and began exploring the Type O and Type A food lists, I saw that leeks were Beneficial for Type As, but Avoid for Type Os.  That meant I couldn’t use them in a recipe that my whole family was going to eat.  So, I kept substituting onions for leeks as my mother had taught me.

One week, leeks came in my share from the organic garden.

I got out the vegetable cookbook that I rely on when trying new veggies.  It had many wonderful things to say about leeks, and highly discouraged substituting onions for them, saying that the flavor was completely different.  Then I read something that intimidated me.

“The method of keeping leeks white by mounding soil up the stalk tends to result in dirt seeming down between the leaves, especially during rainy periods…Take extra care to clean them well.”

Great.  I’m getting ready to serve my husband an unfamiliar vegetable that I’m not going to eat.  The last thing I need is for him to crunch down on dirt!  I usually triple wash my produce.  I probably washed the leaks four or five times, cutting away way more than I needed to, and pulling apart the layers.

I decided to sauté them in ghee and add them to a rice dish.  As the leeks began to cook this delightful aroma filled the kitchen.  They didn’t smell at all like onions!  They smelled so good, that I was seriously disappointed that they were avoid for me.

I did not make a big deal about them to my husband.  He is not particularly interested in talking about the ingredients in his food.  But he really liked the rice dish, and though he didn’t know it, he was eating a new beneficial food.

The smell of leeks cooking reminds me of something I often say when I am trying to explain the BTD to someone.  I will mention an avoid food for their type, and they will say, “But I really like that food.  I can’t believe it’s bad for me.”  My come back line is this – “It’s not about the taste.  It’s about how it makes you feel afterwards.  How your stomach feels a couple of hours later, or how your joints feel the next day. ”

I tell them that I love the taste of wheat – but when I eat wheat I carry three pounds of water weight for about three days.  I tell them that I love – seriously love – cheddar cheese.  And I can eat it once in a great while and not feel any ill effects.  But if I eat it twice in a week, I get serious heartburn (GERD).

Another Type O avoid – peanuts – used to be a staple of my diet.  But I always felt sleepy after I ate them.  Now I inhale deeply when I am making homemade peanut butter for my Type As, but I no longer eat it.

I’m going to do the same with leeks.  I’ll enjoy the smell of them cooking.  But I will continue to substitute onions in my own food.


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