A little while back I was incredibly lucky to be invited by The Local Honey Man to see their honey production behind the scenes first hand and to sneak a peek at their new and beautiful products and logo.
The Local Honey Man (LHM) produces raw honey in Essex and London and is run by Curtis who learnt the bee keeping trade from his uncle.
LHM works tirelessly to better the situation for the world’s bees, who are nearing extinction because they have nowhere to feed in an increasingly urbanised world and because big agro are fond of using bee killing pesticides. (Which can also produce cancer in humans by the way… Choose organic!)
Bees, while being beautiful beings in their own right, are also vital to the ecosystem in that they help pollinate the plants that all species need in order to live.
This is why, in addition to selling raw honey and beeswax products, LHM also sells bee keeping equipment and holds bee keeping courses so that anyone who is interested can take up a rewarding hobby and help save the planet at the same time!
Personally I am not sure if I am ready to take on a hive for myself just yet, but at home we have planted a wildflower meadow in order to give the bees a safe feeding ground and I urge everyone who has a garden to do the same. Not only will you help the quickly diminishing bee population, but you will have gorgeous (and some edible!) flowers all summer to cherish outside or to pick and display on the dinner table.
As raw honey is unpasteurised and unfiltered it contains an incredible amount of beneficial enzymes, phytonutrients, macro- and micronutrients.
Honey is often heat-treated and “purified” before reaching the market and this strips off its natural anti-oxidant, anti-fungal, antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties. This is why raw honey is excellent ON the body as well as IN the body! More on this later.
The nutritional content of honey varies with the floral source, but often include the B complex vitamins and vitamin A, C, E and K, minerals like copper, zinc manganese, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and an abundance of amino acids.
In comparison to “purified” commercially sold pasteurised honey, raw honey is incredibly more nutritionally beneficial. For instance, raw honey is alkaline forming in the body in contrast to pasteurised or refined honey which is acidic.
Raw honey also has a relatively low glycemic index score (how quickly the sugar is taken up by the bloodstream – the higher score, the bigger spike in blood sugar) of 30 to 40, while pasteurised honey can reach up to 80.
Raw honey has been linked to treating candida overgrowth, aiding the digestion, boosting the immune system and relieving infections and hay fever.
Raw honey is antiseptic and anti-bacterial, it minimises the chance for inflammation of the skin which causes redness and blemishes and this is why it is great as a face mask.
My favourite facemark and scrub consists of raw honey only. The true mark of raw honey is that is crystallises when it gets cold, so if you keep a small jar in the fridge it is great as a scrub and then it can be left on the face for 30 minutes after. Rinse with warm water and you are good to go! I use this scrub/mask at least once a week.
LHM has also released a raw honey lip balm in their product range. As we eat most of our lip balm throughout the day, I think it is only logical to opt for a natural option and this one is lovely.
I cook with raw honey all the time and it is not only for desserts!
I love playing around with it in the kitchen and this is why I would like to share with you three everyday-recipes using raw honey as well as dedicate my next post to the perfect raw honey autumn dessert. Stay tuned…
Meanwhile, enjoy these inspiring and simple ideas for using raw honey!
ON ANYTHING ANYTIME SALAD DRESSING
This is so easy that it is hardly a recipe, but I find that this salad dressing can liven up even the most bitter-tasting wilted salad (old dandelion greens laying around, anyone?).
It is sweet, sour, salty and pungent all at the same time, which is why it goes with anything. I also adjust the ratios to suit the salad in question: a sweet salad with root vegetables need less honey for example, while a sour salad with sorrel can use a bit more mustard and honey.
The key is to have the best ingredients available and because you only need to use a little bit of everything each time it is cost-effective in the long run.
1/2 tsp strong mustard
1 big tsp raw honey
1 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
1 good pinch pink himalayan salt
2 good grinds of black pepper
Mix everything together in a glass or small cup and add to any salad. Suitable for a salad serving 2-3 people
TURMERIC RAW HONEY SHOTS
I recently started making these shots after visiting Boulder, CO, where it is all the rage and so I won’t take credit for inventing them.
What I will say though is that this is the ultimate cold and inflammation fighter!
Raw honey is, as you know by now, anti-inflammatory and alongside turmeric and ginger this is a very powerful shot for the immune system to kickstart the body’s anti-inflammatory response. The carrots sweetens this powerful drink and the black pepper aids the uptake of curcumin (the main curcuminoid in turmeric).
When my man suffered from an inflamed achilles after too much running I fed him this daily.
4 finger sized pieces of fresh turmeric
3 large thumb sized pieces of fresh ginger 2 carrots
1 tsp raw honey
Freshly ground black pepper
Juice the turmeric, ginger and carrots in your juicer. Mix in the raw honey and add a few good grinds of pepper. Swirl and drink.
This makes one very powerful shot, so you may want to sip it rather than shoot it!
SUPER POWER OATS
This is my favourite thing to eat after a hard workout as these oats contain a fine balance of everything you need after a training. Carbs, anti-inflammatories, calcium, iron, protein, antioxidants and healthy fats… It’s all in there. And you can make it the night before so that you can hit it straight after you finish your training!
To recap from my post on exercise and diet:
the oats provide healthy carbohydrates to replenish your energy storage and promote metabolic hormone function; the anti-inflammatory functions of the raw honey help prevent damage to ligaments and muscles; the chia and flax seeds provide a healthy dose of omega 3 and protein; bone and blood minerals are supplied by chia seeds (calcium) and maca powder (iron); antioxidant heavy goji berries prevent inflammation and the ghee supplies the body with healthy building blocks for cells and hormones in the shape of saturated fats.
In short, the perfect recipe for promoting metabolism, building the body and preventing damage. Raw honey is particularly great for this dish as an enzyme present in the honey called amylase has the ability to pre-digest grains and make them easier on your digestion.
(For 1 person)
70-100 grams oats (depending on the intensity of your exercise regime)
1 tbsp goji berries
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp maca powder
1 tbsp flax seeds (if you have the time and patience, grind them up beforehand: this allows for better assimilation)
1 large tsp raw honey
1 pinch himalayan pink salt/unrefined sea salt 200-250 grams almond milk (depending on how much oats you are using)
1 large tsp ghee
In the evening before bedtime find yourself a jam jar or an old coconut oil jar (I have quite the selection) and add the oats, goji berries, chia and flax seeds, maca, honey and salt.
Mix everything with a fork before adding the almond milk and stir as you go.
Pop the lid on and leave in the fridge overnight.
In the morning after your exercise (or no exercise!) add the ghee, stir and enjoy!
The next post will tackle the perfect autumn treat as well as looking into fermented honey and how to cook with it.
I want to thank The Local Honey Man for giving me such an educational experience and I hope this post has inspired you to incorporate more raw honey into your diet!