Sugarkind*

Most of us don’t read the ingredients content’s on the food packages, and freshly baked bread most of the time doesn’t have it. So, we don’t know exactly what we eat.

Why am I tackling this topic at all, when it is hardly interesting? Well, I guess I’m some antiquity or something like this. Maybe I’m in the years when the world, the so called progress and human endeavors look awkward.

The thing is, that one day I went to a local store and wondered how come that I see so many obese people around me, while there were practically none in my youth. Okay, we were mostly walking to the school and spent afternoons playing outdoors or helping our parents and relatives, neighbors or friends.

So we were moving a lot and burned the so called calorie intake in no time.

But there is yet another thing that passes us unnoticed.

Here. I’m going to list you some of the daily commands from my childhood:

  • Don’t overeat yourself.
  • Don’t eat sweets for a breakfast.
  • Don’t eat sweets before a regular meal.
  • Don’t eat sweets – it makes holes in your teeth.
  • Don’t eat too much before you go to sleep.
  • Drink water, if you are thirsty, or bitter lukewarm yeast&chicory coffee on a hot summer day, or unsweetened tea.
  • Eat an apple if you a hungry during meals.
  • Chew the food thoroughly.
  • Eat slowly. Don’t throw the food into yourself like into a sack.
  • Looks like these words still resonate in me and compose my diet.

When I look around, it looks like now everything has to be sweet and fast. If we look the packages we bring into our dwellings more closely we might be surprised. I was.

But before that I read a sentence that raised my interest to look this topic more closely. The sentence goes  as follows: »At the beginning of the 20th century – before the widespread cultivation of sugar beets and imports of sugar from cane – intake per capita in Europe was below 5 kg per year rising to the 40-60 kg per year seen in Europe today.« (Health in All Policies, Prospects and Potentials, 2006, http://www.eu2006.fi )

Actually sugar is in many products, we wouldn’t expect it in. Sugar is a preservative, but we used it in preserving sweet food, like jams, jellies, stewed fruit, and cookies. Now, if you read the ingredients content’s you can find it in meat, bread and stewed sour vegetables – in many foods you won’t expect to find sugar.

And guess what, now children eat their cereals in milk for breakfast, and a cup of it contains so much sugar as 6 doughnuts, was told on The Doctor’s TV several years ago (sorry, I can’t find the archived file to state the exact time when the show was aired).

This is one side of this scenario. The other is that people producing sugarcane are mostly so poor they can’t afford themselves much more than to eat one raw sugarcane stalk a day. So on one side we have people getting obese and sick from the excessive intake of a product of a processed plant that is actually a medicinal plant. And on the other side we have starving people who survive by the day consuming that very stalk of that plant.

For the doubters: medicinal properties of sugar cane (http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/benefits-of-sugarcane-1882.html), and the same seems true also for the sugar beet http://herbs-treatandtaste.blogspot.com/2012/03/sugar-beet-source-of-sugar-in-cool.html

*In accordance with the saying ‘you are what you eat’; the humankind seems to have turned into sugarkind.

Toothpaste

A decade ago I read a book written by Waris Dirie, where she describes how they brushed their teeth in the desert with a tooth stick made out of Neem tree (Salvadora persica). Until then I didn’t pay much attention to the toothpaste, except that I wanted as much herbs in there as possible. Later I found out that in Europe people brushed their teeth with mastic tree (Pistacia Lentiscus or Pistacia Therebintus) tooth sticks or with sticks made of Hazelnut bush. Oil made of mastic gum or leaves helps to keep the teeth in place and prevents paradontosis and kills the bacteria Heliobacter Pylori – as some of the studies state.  While in India people used the Neem tree (Salvadora persica).

http://www.google.si/books?hl=sl&lr=&id=y3_vZIUVVj8C&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=sugarcane+medicinal+properties&ots=nqBme2M_1h&sig=Z0N0BB4nN_CVMZDRL1y844-zAso&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=sugarcane%20medicinal%20properties&f=false

Well, they certainly didn’t have problems with bacteria loaded toothbrushes – we should disinfect them in alcohol solution, I guess.

Just recently I stumbled upon an explanation that Chinese traditional medicine considers teeth as the endpoints of the meridians.

Here is a Meridian Tooth Chart:  http://www.meridiantoothchart.com/tooth_charts.html

What I did notice though is that after using very natural toothpaste (bought or self-made) for some years it also had a healing and soothing effect on my intestines. Actually it worked like daily medicine for my alimentary canal, while the ordinary toothpastes work just the opposite.

Together with the explanation of teeth in TCM I also found an interesting German Tooth gel with 35 various etheric oils to activate each meridian of the teeth. I haven’t tried it, so don’t consider this as an advertisement. It is maybe worth considering this thing called daily mouth hygiene – do we help our intestines with it?

Grapevine

It was sad to watch the vine producers how they crying out of rage pluck the still unripe grapes to receive the 5000 € subsidy for not producing wine last year. In recession the produced wine is more difficult to sell and the wine as well. Yet, most of them don’t have the needed savings to overcome the years of scarcity.

However, I ask myself, if it wouldn’t be a better way to give the subsidies for the production of the ripe grapes and donating them to the kindergartens, primary, secondary and high schools, student’s organizations, Karitas, Red Cross, food bank, crisis center, women/men refuge and similar institutions. Or, they would invite the schools on a field trip, where they would participate in grape-harvesting, and the harvest would be taken to the school and partly home and maybe they could participate in making pasteurized grape juice.

Years ago, when I was still working in my profession, I didn’t think about this, yet I have been meeting lots of people to whom such a solution would be very helpful. Back then, people, if they had at least a bit of spare money, rented a gardening plot to produce their own vegetables for the summer, when the school meals weren’t available. If the hail destroyed their tomatoes, they cried, because it was the only tomatoes they could possibly eat that summer.

The period we live in now has much similarities with the one described above. That’s why it is worth trying. Maybe we will all be less angry, disappointed and sad.

The grapevine, though, is useful also for some other uses not only for making wine, especially, if it is of organic produce. The grapevine blossoms make good tea and help to improve eyesight and revive nerves. The leaves make a pleasant refreshing, a bit sour tasting tea, and are good for treating arthritis and other diseases. Tendrils taste sour as well, and are good for leveling the skin pigmentation freckles and cleaning the face skin. The grapevine juice from the stem is used against dandruff, skin diseases and hair loss. Grapes are good also to make juice, jelly and jam. And the washed out pips are used to make oil. These are only some medicinal uses of grapevine from folk medicine.

In organically produced grapes it is said to work well, if the rape is sown beneath the grapevine, hence it evaporates enough sulphur, so the use of phytopharmaceuticals isn’t necessary. The onion is supposed to work in the same way as well. I guess it also depends on the weather. Some also let the sheep to pasture in the vineyard, so the sheep graze all the grass and the grapevine leaves up to 1 meter height and also manure the vineyard. So the byproduct is also sheep milk, sheep cheese and wool.

So there are quite some other possibilities, and maybe it’s worth a try.