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Honey is one of my favorite sweeteners.
When I taste it often feels like an ecstatic meditation for my taste buds that makes me ponder, how did this ambrosia of the Gods get here?
Honeybees are phenomenal creatures, as they travel to hundreds of flowers (in North America clovers, dandelions, berry bushes and fruit tree blossoms) to collect nectar.
Once they return to the hive, they pass the nectar to worker bees that chew it for about thirty minutes. Nectar, which is mostly made of water with some complex sugars, gets broken down to a more digestible form that is protected from bacteria during storage.
The bees then spread the nectar throughout the honeycombs where the water evaporates turning the liquid into rich syrup. To expedite the drying process, the honeybees fan their wings vigorously. Once the honey is gooey, each cell is sealed with wax.
A colony of bees make anywhere from 120 to 200 pounds of honey each year. With all of the effort honeybees put into their trade, no wonder it tastes so divine.
But not all honey is equal.
Conventional honey is heated to high temperatures so it will remain liquid in toxic plastic bottles and therefore, it loses its beneficial nutrients and enzymes.
Some companies overseas even mix corn syrup with honey, under lax production regulations.
So keep it local when it comes to purchasing the sweet nectar.
Buy raw honey, which won't be liquid but can be easily melted (place a spoonful of honey in a tiny glass bowl, place bowl in hot water, wait a minute or two for honey to melt).
Local honey helps during allergy season in the Spring, contains B-vitamins and vitamin C, and can fight off certain pathogenic microbes that cause ulcers.
Raw honey also supports sharper reflexes, mental alertness, and helps heal IBS, burns, and sore throats.
Honey can raise blood sugar, so be mindful. To ease its effect, sprinkle an ample amount of cinnamon, combine it with almond butter, coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, or hempseeds.
Bees in danger
Finally, it is important to note that Honey Bees are also one of the most important creatures in terms of human food supply.
Over 70 of 100 primary food crops are pollinated by bees.
Over the last several decades, bee populations have been in decline. Some theories for this decline include pesticide usage, GMO's, and now, new research on cell phone towers.
More reason to support local beekeepers and farmers.
Savor the sweetness of raw local honey, support your body, and pause to remember the interdependence we humans have on even the smallest creatures.
To learn more about colony collapse disorder, check out this Vanishing Bees trailer:
More about Danny Arguetty, M.A.
Danny Arguetty, M.A., a Nutrition, Health and LIFE (Living in Free Expression) Counselor, has been involved in the health field for the last decade. He guides and works privately with clients utilizing customized programs based on bio-individual needs and diverse life situations.
He specializes in yoga privates, weight loss, digestive disorders, healthy aging, sugar/caffeine dependencies, persistent fatigue, chronic stress, relationship support, life coaching and practical healthy living strategies.
Arguetty is also a faculty member at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Adjunct Faculty at Williams College, and author of Nourishing the Teacher: inquiries, contemplations & insights on the path of yoga. He leads 200hr Yoga Teacher Trainings in Southern California and Advanced 500hr Trainings in Kerala, India.