Since learning about Ayurveda and working with my excess of vata dosha through diet, bringing in foods that ground and “pacify” my airy spaciousness, I have had to recalibrate my relationship with “sweetness”. For all too many years I had made it “wrong”, throwing out the baby with the bath water of rejecting processed cain sugar by falling out with all else that was sweet. Sweeteners in my diet only seemed to exacerbate my nerve sensitivities (thus pain) inducing migraines and worse; even those so-called “healthy alternatives” such as agave syrup. I recently discovered I am intolerant of coconut, that other favourite alternative source of “sugar” (I shouldn’t be surprised, in the light of Ayurveda, since coconut is “cooling” and vata dosha simply doesn’t need any more cooling down!) so I had pretty-much learned to sidestep all the sweetness that life has to offer except for eating beets and the smallest amount of local honey.
Yet in my cupboard stood an altogether different jar of honey – Tropical Forest Honey – and its darkness both called and repelled me. I had been cooking with it, for goodness sake (honey should never be heated, I now learn; it coagulates and produces toxins or ama). Suddenly I was compelled to add it to my porridge (at the end of cooking, once removed from the heat) as part of my new, warm and sweet, sustaining diet to keep my vata constitution well grounded at the start of a day. This turned out to be a very good instinct; the tropical honey utterly transformed my half-hearted porridge and, suddenly, it was my new favourite meal. This honey comes from hundreds of different species of forest trees and still contains the pollen (which contains many proteins and enzymes) since it is pressed from the comb and uses minimal filtration; the sheer complexity delivered by its sweetness unpeeled into layers as it hit my tongue. More than that, I could feel it was unpacking inside my cells, making me newly robust.
Something kept nagging and nagging at me to look into it further. Coming as it does from organic African sources (unique bee hives that are many hundreds of miles from inorganic farming practices) I felt almost convinced it was being harvested at the base of the northern hemisphere’s twelfth degree longitude (to “get this” you need to cross reference with my posts about the Nine Waves of Creation). After all, its effect was serving to ground me at my very base; reaffirming my cellular attachment to the earth so why wouldn’t it derive from the “base” of that powerful energy line – that would be such poetic outcome. I wasn’t far wrong; it comes from sources in three locations, one of them Cameroon, right on top of the twelfth degree. This is the bubbling spring of the planet that humanity birthed out of…the root chakra of the world. When I eat this food, I’m going back to base.
When I looked into the honey more, this is what jumped out of the page the most; it is harvested without wearing any of the western-style protective gear…no face masks, no gloves. It takes courage but also a kind of inner stillness, gentleness, an intention not to harm. Yes, a small amount of smoke is used to shoo the bees from the entrance to the hive but not so much that it disorients the bees; and the fact that those collecting are seldom stung speaks volumes as the bees are clearly not provoked into becoming defensive.
The whole process feels more like collaboration; the timing of the harvest ensures that the hive is refreshed, keeping it healthy. The hives, made of hollowed tree trunks, are distributed randomly across a broad area of natural forest. This traditional practice of bee keeping goes back 100s of years but was on the verge of dying out until the director of the UK company that imports it took an interest over thirty years ago. He expected to teach these people western methods…but found that traditional ones were just as productive and less costly to set up. The benefits of this revival in beekeeping spiral out into the communities that produce the honey, where quality of life is good (bee keepers can put their children through school, have a pretty good standard of life with the things that they need and can earn even more than teachers if they are hard-working). Young people are able to stay in their self-sufficient villages because of this ready source of income, even in remote locations. Then, of course, the bee population is massively encouraged whereas it would be scant without this burgeoning interest in tropical honey. In short, this scenario is sweet for everyone involved, including me.
There are so many layers of broader relevance here about how we look forward to the future and what practices we use, for instance how we marry the best of traditional and modern methods (not always bowing to the latter…), how we take the quality of life of those producing the product into account and how their personal attributes (especially where this involves handling living things) feeds into the quality and the vibration of that product. Above all, there is something to be learned about how the sweetest and most nutritious things tend to come out of practices that involve the least interference, and bully tactics, of man. This approach to “harvesting” anything feeds into its energetic imprint when it reaches our cells as we eat it; you can literally taste the difference. When we snatch and grab at what we think is ours, the food tells a very different story. Its one of the main reasons why I am vegan; though I have no issue with eating honey derived in this way. Intention is such a BIG part of the process, from beginning to end, when it comes to producing high-vibe food to sustain us for life; its a vibrational message that our bodies know how to interpret at the subtle-cellular level.
This food-source is honestly the first sweet food type I have been able to tolerate without my energy crashing or an episode of nerve pain in such a long time, and it allows my health to stabilise with the warm sweet diet that it craves, enabling me to become more grounded day-to-day and in the longer term. Since introducing it, I have been able to introduce some other naturally sweet food sources such as dates though I couldn’t tolerate them before. In ways hard to pinpoint, I am feeling systemically stronger. There is so much more to all this than just a very “nice” metaphor; it is truth. Western processed diet is just not sustainable at any level of the practice. It steadily undermines those who consume it (as it did me for the first few decades of my life), those who produce it and the ecosystem of the places in which these industries play their heavy-handed part. Like the very antithesis to all that, I have found my sweet spot in the jungles of a far simpler life…and I eat it every day for my breakfast!
Images with gratitude from the Tropical Forest Products website