My visit to the Natural & Organic Products Show 2009 (3)12 April, 2009
Continuing the series on my visit to the Natural and Organic Products Show on 6 April 2009.
Maharishi honey is organic and produced according to the ayurvedic principles of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. (Those who are Beatles fans will have had their bells rung as, for a short time, the Beatles embraced the philosophy of this yogic practitioner.)
I’m no stranger to biodynamic farming which encourages the use of biological sprays and planting according to planetary cycles to enhance crop vibrancy.
However, Maharishi honey seems to go one step further in influencing the wellbeing and quality of honey produced by playing mantras to the bees as they forage and when the honey is harvested. Furthermore, the Institute believe that honeys harvested at different times of the year have different tastes and a positive effect on different parts of the body.
It all seems very airy-fairy, but I picked up some leaflets from the stand which included scientific research into the efficacy of Maharishi honey.
One study (conducted by the Food Research Laboratory in Japan) compared the antibacterial activity in Maharishi Honey with Manuka Honey (UMF 30).
(Now, the little I know about Manuka Honey is that the higher the UMF rating, the stronger and more reliable the properties of the honey. So UMF 30 is pretty high up the scale. Because of its potency, Manuka Honey has been used in the treatment of digestive disorders and burns.)
Interestingly, the test show that after one hour and even after three hours, Maharishi Honey showed considerably greater anti-bacterial than Manuka Honey.
I’d always meant to try the honey, and this year, after humming and haaing over which type to buy, the assistant on the stand took pity on me and quite out-of-the-blue, presented me with a small sample of their Madhu Taste 8 (enhances the sense of Taste and sense of Sight). She told me that everyone they’d given samples to usually ended up purchasing more later on.
Who knows? Perhaps by writing it up in my post last year, I’d somehow attracted it into my life.
2. Gaia’s Organic Kombucha. I used to make Kombucha. It’s a kind of fermented tea drink, which has health-benefits. The fermentation is carried out by a special type of rubbery fungus called a scobie. I stopped making Kombucha when the fungi multipled and threatened to take over the house, so I’m always on the lookout for commercially-produced Kombucha which would give me the convenience of a Kombucha drink without the hassle of having to make it.
Most commercial Kombucha suffers from one problem: pasteurisation. This destroys most of the living enzymes, probiotics and amino acids in Kombucha. Which means that most shop-bought Kombucha is essentially a dead substance and no better than a cordial.
Until today I thought the only brand of “live” unpasteurised Kombucha was made by Lewtress. So it’s great that Gaia’s Organic Kombucha also offers live, unpasteurised Kombucha. While Lewtress’ Kombucha are fermented with herbs, Gaia’s are infused with fruity flavours which may be a more gentle introduction for newcomers to Kombucha: Original Green Tea, Green Tea and Peach and Green Tea and Blackcurrant.
The creator of Gaia’s Kombucha is Gary Leigh and he represented everything I enjoy about the Show – the passion to create a product that will help people, and the enthusiasm to share his knowledge and expertise about the product. He showed me how fresh and “alive” his Kombucha was – in one of the bottles, a little Kombucha culture floated, with the potential to become a fully-functioning Kombucha fungus. His Kombucha does not need to be refrigerated, although refrigeration will slow the fermentation process down. He claimed that an unopened bottle would stay potent for up to 10 years.
I tasted some Gaia’s Kombucha – it had that Kombucha kick to it: slightly fizzy, tart with a warming effect. My favourite was the Original Green Tea flavour because I’m a purist when it comes to Kombucha tastes. Definitely a must-try for Kombucha addicts.
3. Argital green clay. I’d come across bentonite clay during a detox – taken internally it is supposed to absorb toxins. However, Argital green clay is extracted from a pit near the seas of Sicily. It is suppsoed to be more potent than other types of clay because of its marine origin which is rich in mineral salts and other elements.
I took a pinch of the clay between my fingers – it felt like talcum powder. The person I talked to at the stand told me that he mixed a teaspoon of the powder in a glass of water every morning, let the clay settle and drank the remaining solution. It was, he said, the secret to his good health because the liquid contained all the minerals that the body required. It was also supposed to be good for pets who would recognise that their water now contained all the right elements. Needless to say, I had to have some, but unfortunately he only had a few packets available, so I had to make do with a few tablespoons in a plastic cup, sealed with a wodge of kitchen towel!
4. Devon Cottage Organic Fudge. All I can say is, it’s delicious. It is the only organic AND Fairtrade fudge available on the market. Added to that, unlike many other fudges it is made with butter, not with the cheaper palm oil. (I’m also a bit wary of palm oil which may be highly-processed).
I spoke with the owner, Richard Dennison who described how he still makes the fudge in small quantities, in a cottage-type enterprise. The fudge is still hand-stirred by himself, so it truly deserves the label “home made”.
He sources all his organic ingredients from the UK (which can only be good for our farmers). The exception is the milk powder (which is used to produce condensed milk used in the fudge recipe) because apparently despite the plight of the British milk industry, there is no one in this country who has capitalised on excess milk stocks to manufacture an organic milk powder!