Stress

sweetening life

I must admit that I have a strong sweet tooth! Despite my devotion to health and longevity, I have realized that my spiritual need to what I desire on a very fundamental and simple level – sweetness to life – must be satisfied. And so, I have been on a short and small quest to re-discover some of nature’s nectar. And what I also discovered, is that less is more, and my craving is satisfied with a tiny amount.

This is paramount to many sweet-toothed people around, as refined sugar – devoid of all mineral and nutritious value – does the opposite! In fact, what it does is  satisfy both hunger and sugar craving quickly, but soon after the desire returns. Furthermore, because it is refined, there is very little nutritious value to the « food » which is why people who consume lots of white sugar, are in fact starving. What is the point of eating it?

In Chinese medicine, the sweet-tooth is indicative of a deficiency in the energetic organ system of the « Spleen/Stomach ». This organ system is depleted by worry, excess mental activity, continuous care-giving, and bad diet. To strengthen the Spleen/Stomach would mean to take in more bitter foods to increase digestion in the stomach, and allow the timely and efficient digestion of food. This way, food is broken down to its simple compounds of carbohydrates and amino acids and can reach tissues to properly nourish cells. Despite all the knowledge of biochemistry and nutrition, the simple element that the sweet craving is present, is the spirit talking. And so, allowing just a little of sweetness, in a wholesome and nutritious way, is best for both body and soul.

Maple sugar and taffy is one of these foods. Maple taffy is sap from the maple tree that has been boiled for a very long time. The water is extracted and what is left is the sugar and minerals from the sap. The benefits of maple taffy or syrup include high amounts of manganese and zinc, both beneficial for the immune system. We live in a northern climate, and plant species endemic to this area include maple and pine trees. Pine needles are very high in vitamin C and were used many moons ago to treat and prevent scurvy: that awful disease where you loose your teeth. The sap of maple trees are also high in immune-enhancing agents. It is not a coincidence that plants develop those agents necessary to maintain health in a given climate, as the environment is one of a few tenants to health.

The season for maple taffy is coming to an end soon, and so I encourage you to spend a day with loved ones to enjoy the sweetness of life. Not only does it satisfy a deep craving for sweetness, it also works the entire organ system of the Spleen, since getting outdoors for a nature hike always decreases worry and excess mental activity, and just being with loved ones is enough to show how much you care. And what better way to welcome the rootage of spring!

On a side-note, other good sweeteners to replace white sugar include honey, agave syrup, stevia, and un-sulphured molasses (blackstrap is best, although bitter).

And so, there is no wonder that care-giving may cause worry… it is bittersweet! Remember to keep yourself safe by walking the path of integrity, and doing what is right.

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