Guest Authors on Natural Health

Raw Honey: The Complete Story

Thursday, August 15, 2013 by Guest Bloggers

The Story of Raw Honey

It comes perhaps as no surprise that our human species has an innate sweet tooth. Although not everyone seeks out the delectable taste of sweet flavors, most of us do fall into this category with some very obvious eating habits.

evolution addiction to sweet flavors

Having an attraction for sweet flavors, and thus sugars, has been an evolutionary benefit for thousands of years but a huge disadvantage to our population over the past century. As sugar processing became more advanced, and sugar became a cheap commodity, it seemed that it was added to almost every processed food in one or more ways.

We saw chronic disease rates rise, and we know today that high sugar consumption is related to major problems like weight irregularities, mood disorders, diabetes, cancers, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and lowered immune function.

Therefore anyone who becomes health conscious, naturally searches for other options. One of the first and most obvious being a reduction in the consumption of any, and all isolated and/or processed sugars. The second option is making sure that any isolated sugars consumed, come from more natural, beneficial and nutritious sweeteners. This is where raw honey takes the center stage.



What Is Raw Honey?

Raw honey is honey (nectar from flowers) that is pure, unheated, unpasteurized and unprocessed. This is perhaps one of the most important characteristics and health benefits of the final product, as it preserves all the natural vitamins, enzymes, phytonutrients and other nutritional elements. True raw honey is quite different from processed, commercial honey for these main reasons.

Raw honey has been used by humans for at least 10,000 years, and has played a vital role in health, healing, religious and cultural traditions. 

what is raw honey

                                                                                        

 

Characteristics of Raw Honey

Raw honey can be in liquid or solid (creamed) form when you purchase it. If you purchase raw honey that is in the liquid form, it may crystallize or solidify over time. It can be clear, or opaque, or milky. Its color can vary from white, to various shades of yellow, and even brown. All of these characteristics will depend on the type of flower that the bees retrieved the nectar for the honey from. It is not possible to tell whether a honey is raw or pasteurized based on color, taste or form (liquid or solid) alone. Some honey experts believe that they can detect a pure, raw honey by taste alone, but this will not be the case for most of us.

To be sure that your honey is raw, it must say so on the label. Currently there is no widespread, uniform regulation or certification for raw honey. Words like "untreated" or "unpasteurized" can help, but may still not be indicative of a truly raw product. And it goes without saying that any honey labelled as "pasteurized" is not raw. Additionally, terms like "natural" or "pure" normally have little significance when it comes to knowing if it is actually "raw" honey. Some beekeepers may not necessarily pasteurize their honey, but they may still heat it to some degree. Therefore if we want a truly "raw" product we need to inquire about it specifically. You can for example call the company whose honey you are interested in to learn how they prepare their honey. But better yet, find a local farm or beekeeper whom you can trust when it comes to knowing exactly where the honey comes from and how it is prepared.

In fact, it is most optimal for our health to consume honey from our local area anyway, rather than honey that came from the plants of another area. While non-local, raw honey won't hurt us, local, raw honey will have more benefits for us. There is a growing belief amongst the natural health experts and community that raw honey from local sources is beneficial for treating seasonal allergies like Hay Fever, as well as helping with asthma, and being most beneficial for your immune system's particular environment needs. 

It is always best to source out raw, organic honey, but whether your raw honey will be organic or not will greatly vary depending on its source as well. Some experts believe that there is no such thing as truly organic honey, however organic honey certification is available. Beekeepers have to meet stringent production standards and conditions to be certified organic. Raw, organic honey cannot contain any pesticide residues or environmental pollutants. Organic hives also cannot use non-organic honey, sugar, or any antibiotics or pesticides for their bees.

Depending on your source, it is normal for raw honey to contain particles of bee pollen, honeycomb bits and propolis. These in themselves have health benefits which make raw honey sought out for even more health reasons.



Natural Health Benefits of Raw Honey

First and foremost, being a sugar, raw honey most obviously offers a quick source of energy. While this came in very handy to early humans that used this food source, it is more of a drawback to us today, living in a culture of abundant calories.

The main health benefits for which we revere raw honey today come from the unique blend of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, phytonutrients and other health components that it possesses. The two key beneficial components of truly raw honey are bee pollen and propolis.

 

raw honey healthy ingredients bee pollen and bee propolis



Bee pollen in Raw Honey

Bee pollen is a super nutritious compound, containing all the nutrients required by the human body. It is a source of proteins, vitamins, minerals, beneficial fatty acids, carotenoids and bioflavonoids which are antiviral, antibacterial and helpful to cardiovascular health.

 

bee pollen in raw who - who should avoid



Propolis in Raw Honey

Propolis also has antibacterial and antiviral qualities, as well as antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This, along with some of its other characteristics, makes honey highly sought after. The health benefits and uses—both internal and external—of propolis are too numerous to list here.

Some phytonutrients found both in raw honey and propolis have been shown to possess cancer-preventing and anti-tumor properties. Other benefits of raw honey include boosting the immune system, being a cough suppressant, decreasing allergies to pollen, aiding blood sugar regulation, aiding cholesterol regulation, healing ulcers, and treating various bacterial infections.

Raw honey does not ferment in the stomach and can actually be used in aiding stomach upset and nausea. Unlike most sugars, raw honey is not known to aggravate things like indigestion or acid reflux. It has also been linked to helping with Candida problems.

Additionally, raw honey is alkaline forming unlike processed honey which is acid forming. For best natural health, our daily food supply should be higher in alkaline forming foods, rather than acid forming foods.

 

raw honey alkaline foods


 

Drawbacks to Raw Honey

It would truly be a sweet thing if there were no disadvantages to purchasing and consuming raw honey, however there are a few that every health- and planet-conscious individual should be aware of:

  1. Extra Calories – Honey is a fast way to add calories to a meal. 1 tablespoon on average yields 60 calories. Thus, if you are interested in losing weight, or not gaining excess pounds, you have to be careful how much honey you use, and how often. Normally, due to honey’s intensely sweet flavor, it is hard to consume a lot of it at once.
  2. High Sugar Content – Honey is about 40% fructose and 30% glucose, with the remaining carbohydrates including maltose, sucrose, and other complex carbohydrates. Even though raw honey has been studied in actually aiding insulin regulation, regular or high consumption of any sugar can cause various imbalances.
  3. Bacterial Contamination – Due to the fact that honey is very low in water content and very high in sugar content, this makes it undesirable for microbial growth. However, in rare cases endospores of Clostridium botulinum (the bacteria that can cause botulism) have been found. This is normally never a problem for an adult digestive system, but the reason why honey should not be given to infants.
  4. Animal Welfare – Depending on how the honey bees are housed and maintained, beekeeping can become a controversial animal welfare issue. Some beekeepers have been known to burn or starve the colonies at the end of the season to avoid costs of maintenance out of season. Hence, buying honey from local beekeepers whom you know or companies who practice humane treatment is key when purchasing raw honey.
  5. Disappearing Bees – Scientific reports show that bee numbers are on a sharp decline and this is naturally troublesome for our future food forecasts. We must remember that bees are responsible for the pollination of most of our plant food crops and without them, we face serious problems. Thus lowering a demand for honey has been proposed as a way to let bees thrive in their own natural habitat. Various chemicals, climate change and electromagnetic radiation are also being investigated in the issue of declining bee numbers.

 

raw honey infant safety

 

Is it Safe to Eat Raw Honey?

In the end, raw honey can be both beneficial and damaging to our health and environment. Hence, it all depends on its source and how it is used.

I do not believe in the “everything in moderation” paradigm, so I will not tell you to enjoy it in moderation, but rather to listen to your body and its needs. If you feel that raw honey is something that can benefit your health as a natural health option, search for the right variety to cause minimal environmental damage and get maximum organic foods benefits.

If on the other hand, you can pass on this sweet substance, don’t forget that the beneficial compounds like bee pollen and propolis are available as all natural health supplements as well. Just search your favorite natural health store (like swansonvitamins.com) to find raw honey or the equivalent health supplements online.

Sources:
www.benefits-of-honey.com
Wikipedia.org
www.whfoods.com
www.naturalnews.com

 

Evita Ochel is consciousness expansion teacher and natural health educator. Her diverse passions and talents include being a holistic nutritionist, web TV host, speaker and author of the book “Healing & Prevention Through Nutrition.” Her health oriented teaching and writing focuses on natural, wholesome, plant-based and organic nutrition to achieve optimal health and longevity. Evita is also the founder and editor of several online publications - EvolvingBeings.com and EvolvingWellness.com, as well as the founder of Healthytarian.com - a lifestyle for the well-being of the mind, body and soul. To learn more about her work, visit EvitaOchel.com.

 

Crazy Healthy Chocolate Cake [RECIPE] by Chocolate-Covered Katie

Friday, August 17, 2012 by Guest Bloggers

 

chocolate covered katie healthy dessert blogger

Hi chocolate chips!

I’m Katie, author of the blog: Chocolate-Covered Katie, also known as the "Healthy Dessert" Blog. On my site, I take traditionally bad-for-you recipes (think Chocolate Bar Pie) and give them a healthy spin, showing that eating healthy can be delicious.
 
Today, I'm sharing one of my favorite desserts. Try it and you'll be shocked at how something so healthy can taste so incredible!  

 

 

Crazy Healthy Chocolate Cake
 
crazy healthy chocolate cake recipe
 
 

Crazy Healthy Chocolate Cake Recipe
 (can be oil-free)

Healthy Dessert Recipe.
 

  • 3/4 cup spelt flour or white flour or Arrowhead Mills gf (120g)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (20g)
  • 2 tsp ener-g powder, or 2 tbsp ground flax 
  • 1/3 cup xylitol or sugar (64g)
  • 1/8 tsp uncut stevia or 4 nunaturals packets (or 1/4 cup more sugar)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup mini chocolate chips (60-120g) (Do not omit. The recipe just won’t be the same if you do.)
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin or prune puree (250g)
  • 1/3 cup milk of choice
  • 3 tbsp oil (or omit and increase milk to 1/2 cup, for a lower-fat option)

 
Preheat oven to 350F, and grease an 8×8 square baking dish. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl, and mix very well. Combine all liquid ingredients and the pumpkin in a separate bowl and stir until super-smooth.  Pour wet into dry, and mix until just combined, then pour into prepared pan and bake 30 minutes. (Or you can try my super-gooey way: bake only 14 minutes and then leave uncovered in the fridge overnight, and it’ll firm up and turn out like fudge! Not everyone likes this undercooked texture; I wouldn’t serve my gooey version to anyone but me!) Let cool completely. After a day, this cake is best stored in the fridge. (I frosted with my Reeses Chocolate Frosting, linked at the very end of this post.)
 
 

crazy healthy chocolate cake with frosting 

Above, topped with Healthy Chocolate Frosting and Healthy Ice Cream.   

 

Life is better with chocolate.
Please do stop by sometime, at Chocolate-Covered Katie, and say hi. I love meeting new blogger and reader friends! 

 

A "Silent Epidemic" You Can't Afford to Ignore [Guest Post]

Monday, August 13, 2012 by Guest Bloggers

Guest post by Emily Croke, a recent graduate of Providence College in Rhode Island, where she studied Psychology, Film, and History. Her specific interests include Health Psychology and documentary filmmaking. After losing her father in 2008 to a number of healthcare-associated infections, Emily is committed to raising awareness in the fight against such infections...
 

In August of 2008, I lost my father to a number of healthcare-associated infections, or HAIs, including C. diff, MRSA, and pseudomonas. As I began my freshman year at Providence College the following week, I started doing research to learn more about what happened to my dad. What I learned astonished me.

Healthcare-associated infections kill nearly 99,000 individuals each year in the United States alone, and infect an estimated 1.6 million other individuals. Such infections can be prevented in many cases through several simple methods, such as hand-washing to remove germs like C. diff, which cannot always be killed by simply using hand sanitizer. Another 200,000 people die annually due to sepsis, which is an illness where bacteria overwhelm the bloodstream. Early detection of such symptoms is essential in order to save the lives of those who develop this toxic blood poisoning.  

With all of the startling information I discovered while piecing together the events of my dad’s final weeks of life, I became dedicated to sharing this information with others to help them from experiencing the horrors my dad and family were forced to endure. My first success came in the winter of 2009, when I spoke at the Rhode Island State House to help pass a bill requiring the reporting of certain healthcare-associated infections. As time went on, I knew I needed to do more to help raise awareness and save lives.

The perfect opportunity arose this past year, when I decided to make a short documentary for a film class about my experience with these infections. The film, “A Silent Epidemic,” features my dad’s story, stories of other people whose lives have been impacted by these infections and sepsis, and the input of several professionals who discuss what can be done to prevent these infections from killing someone you love.  

I’m so grateful to have been able to include the story of Doreen Dupont Bettencourt, who became a nurse after she nearly died from sepsis in 2004. Her inspiring story is one of the many elements that make this film worth watching, as it is heartwarming, entertaining, engaging and informative.

Through my work with this project, as well as several others related to HAIs, I hope to make people more aware about what a serious issue this is, and what can be done to prevent it from happening to them. “A Silent Epidemic” is not in any way an attack on the medical field; rather, it is a calling to all people that there are a number of things that can be done to prevent infections and save lives if we work together. It is the responsibility of every person, including healthcare workers, patients, and their families, to recognize the risks and take action to prevent more lives from being lost to this silent epidemic.

Having to relive the horrors of the six weeks my dad was in the hospital has definitely been a challenge for me, but I know that if my film can save just one life, then it was worth every sleepless night I spent working on it. I truly appreciate the generosity of everyone who has helped make this film possible, and especially the kindness of those who are taking time out of their busy schedules to watch it and share it with others.

I encourage everyone to please watch and share the film to raise awareness. If nothing else, please take my story and the information provided in the film as a way to help yourself and your loved ones. If we work together, I truly believe we can bring an end to this silent epidemic.


To watch on YouTube, click here: http://youtu.be/OibiG-gDXA0.

For more information, or to contact me, please visit http://www.facebook.com/asilentepidemic

My sincerest thanks to Swanson Health Products for allowing me to share my film with their fans. It’s great to see such a well-established and successful company take the time to support and promote projects to help ensure the safety of their customers.

Dog Days of Summer Are Looming: Stay Hydrated with Willard Water (Giveaway) [CLOSED]

Monday, May 21, 2012 by Guest Bloggers

Willard Water ClearHow important is staying hydrated? Well, 75% of your body’s weight is made up of water. Lean muscle tissue is made up of about 75% water, blood is roughly 83% and bone is about 22% water.  So it’s pretty clear that water is incredibly important to a well-functioning body (every single part of the body). And hydration is never more critical to wellness than during the hot months of summer.

How Much Do You Need?

The chart below from MedicineNet.com is a good baseline for gauging how much water you need to drink per day. But when the temps start to rise, you start to sweat... meaning you’ll need to increase your consumption to stay hydrated. One way to help ensure your body is staying hydrated is to add Willard Water to your routine. 

Image from MedicineNet.com

One of Dr. Willard’s earliest experiments on his new invention (Willard Water) was all about hydration. The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology professor had a lot of test subjects at his disposal (his willing students) and the perfect hot climate of South Dakota in which to conduct his tests.

What Dr. Willard and his students found in these first few studies was that Willard Water not only helped deliver nutrients, minerals and electrolytes throughout the body, it also helped the cells absorb and retain the water.

Willard Water appeared to greatly promote hydration within the body. But what’s even better is that further studies on both plants and animals indicated that Willard Water actually worked better under extreme heat and dehydration conditions!

So, as the temperature starts to climb in the days and weeks ahead, consider adding some Willard Water to your daily hydration routine.  Right now, get entered to win a couple of bottles to get you started...
 

GIVEAWAY [closed]

We’re giving away two bottles of Willard Water (1 Clear and 1 XXX Dark Willard Water) to one lucky reader. To get entered into the random drawing, leave a comment below telling us what your favorite summer time beverage is...one you’d be adding your free Willard Water to if you win!

Congrats to our Winner: Allan Turcotte!