Monday, 9 December 2013

Let's hear it for (RAW) honey...

Bob, the honey man, as I've named him, kept me going yesterday at Wetherby's Dickensian Christmas market. I shared a stall with him and his wife, and his wit and repartee made him very entertaining. Not only that though, I learnt a lot about honey...

 I only came across RAW honey two years ago when I had to drastically change my diet due to a digestive health issue. I was told to take all refined sugars and carbohydrates out of my diet to help my gut, and after my initial panic started looking for alternative sweeteners. RAW honey soon became top of my list and is now number one sweetener for my Sweet Enough recipes.

Processed/filtered honey is generally what we buy on supermarket shelves and it's very different to the RAW stuff. Processed honey has been heated and even sometimes watered down! Not only does this remove the pollen and the propolis, but it can also remove the phytonutrients. 

RAW honey hasn't been treated or heated. It's straight from the hive and is as nature intended. It can help sleep, it's calming, it relieves anxiety and does wonders for a sore throat along with hot water and lemon. It can help wounds to heal, it can help decrease LDL cholesterol, it's rich in enzymes and vitamins, it's antiviral, anti fungal, antibacterial and anti carcinogenic. It's also anti inflammatory and boosts immunity ... So an all round boost to the health.

Please don't confuse RAW  honey with the refined variety which contains very little health giving properties, and can be likened to refined sugar in that the body reacts to it in the same way... negatively. I'm not going to go into detail here on the negatives involved in eating too much refined sugars, as this post is to promote RAW honey, but I have written several other blogs on the sugar subject; in fact it's probably the subject I 'bang on about' more than any other!! has some great info and some videos on the subject of RAW honey versus processed honey, and there's also a great book if you'd like to read more on the subject called Seven Health Secrets From The Hive by Charles H Robson.

If you're into experimenting there are lots of tests you can do to check whether the honey you've bought is 'real' or 'artificial' :

1. Thumb Test 
Drop some honey on to the end of your thumb. If it spreads around right away or spills, it's not pure. If it stays intact it is.

2. Shelf Life Test
Pure honey crystallises over time, artificial honey does not

3. Water Test
Add a tbsp of honey to a glass so water. Pure honey will lump and settle at the bottom of the glass. Artificial honey will start to dissolve.

4. Light A Fire
If you put some honey on the end of a match and strike it , real honey will light, artificial honey will not because of the moisture in it.

Have a go with what you've got in your cupboard! And if it's not real bear in mind it will not be health giving.

If you know a local beekeeper ask them to sell you some honey straight from the hive and check out the difference, it's so much more full of flavour. Just be a little cautious if you suffer from allergies, as there are more allergens left in the honey; propolis, pollen ... Even bits of bee! 

Failing that, most health food shops stock RAW honey, you can buy it online, Amazon have a great variety, and now Waitrose stock RAW honey, and I think it's manuka.

I eat it straight from the spoon if I need an emergency energy boost: it's beautiful , and works really well in energy balls and truffles with nut butters, coconut oil and cacao butter/powder.

Happy Monday... Here's to a healthier week.


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