Here we are, step number 5. How are you going with putting the steps into practice?
One little change each week is pretty easy, yes?
The next step is saying goodbye to heat treated, filtered honey you find on the supermarket shelf and seeking out the real stuff. Gorgeous, golden, raw,
That said, honey is still a form of sugar, mainly fructose, so keep the quantity you eat in perspective and balance with the rest of your diet - don't go crazy with it!
Savour a spoon on your porridge or buckwheat pancakes, in your favorite smoothie or eat a spoon alongside a cup of ginger and lemon tea when you have a cold. In her fabulous wholefoods book Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon writes that honey is "an ideal sweetener for porridge or toast, as the amylases in raw honey help digest grains". (p.536)
Let's take a look at the differences between raw honey and heated honey.
From hive to shelf - raw honey compared to heat treated honey
Bees work really hard to make honey. One bee flies between 100 to 1500 flowers to get their fill of nectar before returning to the hive to deposit it with the 'worker' bees who chew it, and fan it with their wings to turn it from runny nectar into the thick consistency we know as honey.
Ideally, we would all buy honey directly from the apiarist, the person who looks after the bees. If you shop at a farmers market there is a good chance you can do this, but if you miss the farmer's market and don't know someone with hives in their backyard then head to your local health food store and see what's on offer there. Even some health food stores stock local honey, the main thing is you want it to be raw, not treated with heat.
Commercially processed honey is heat treated to kill any naturally present bacteria, to make it easier to filter and pour, and to delay natural crystallisation. The problem with pasteurising and heating honey, is that it kills the natural enzymes, antioxidants, minerals, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties present in raw honey so you are left with an inferior version with no nutritional value:
Why eat raw honey?
For me the answer to this is because if you are going to include sweetener in your diet, raw honey is a natural food. It is a food that traditional hunters and gatherers have eaten for thousands of years and has been celebrated for its rejuvenating and healing properties as listed above; natural enzymes, antioxidants, minerals, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties.
Is raw honey safe for everyone?
Honey, raw or heated, is not recommended for children under 12 months of age. This is because their digestive systems are too immature to digest any potentially harmful bacteria that may be present in minimal quantity in honey, whereas children and adults are able to digest honey safely because their digestive systems are stronger.
For a detailed explanation of the differences between raw honey and heated treated honey and how it is processed go here.
Do you eat raw honey? What is your favorite way to include honey in your wholefood diet? Do you have bee hives in your backyard? Talk to me, tell me your thoughts about honey - yes or no?