Doctor’s Orders

Rx…Local Honey Is Beyond Sweet

Surprising to many, honey is NOT vegan.  We think of it as plant-based since it is derived from the pollen/nectar of many plants.  After all, without the bees, there would be less pollination and therefore fewer plants for us to eat.  However, in the strictest sense of the definition, honey is part bee regurgitation, and bees are insects, and insects are animals…thus, not on the vegan menu.  Many vegans claim that bees are often harmed in the harvesting process of honey.  Some would argue that these are very fine lines to draw in the sand.  If we put aside the “sticky” ethical issues surrounding honey for the moment, we can explore the health benefits of honey and why we should eat it.

To get the most nutritional benefit out of honey, you have to eat raw, unfiltered honey.  Raw, unfiltered honey is a naturally-occurring and unprocessed food.  Much of the honey sold in bulk at super market chains is actually refined and pasteurized.  When analyzed, it contains NO pollen.  Most believe that pollen is integral to the healing and nutritional powers of honey.  In addition, without the pollen, it is impossible to determine where the honey came from; you should know that investigations have found that at least a third of all the honey consumed in the United States was likely smuggled from China and could be tainted with illegal antibiotics and heavy metals.

As for its health benefits, honey has been used in ancient and modern times as an effective cough suppressant; it has also been shown to aid in the healing and prevention of infections from burns and other skin wounds.

Lower in glycemic load than many other sweeteners, honey does not raise blood sugars as much or as quickly as other options such as sugar, agave, and high fructose corn syrup.  This minimizes the release of insulin, the hormone that promotes fat storage in the body; elevated levels of insulin have also been linked to increased cardiovascular disease.

Heavy in B vitamins, magnesium, phosphate and zinc, honey is one of the “sweetest” options when looking for a sugar alternative.

Best of all, it is easy to find local sources of honey.  Buying from the honey tent at your farmer’s market supports local business, minimizes your carbon footprint, and ensures you are buying a safe product.

Let’s hear it for the bees!

Dr. Weinstein’s Orders…Stock Up on Local Honey

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