In my cooked life I'd always considered oranges a bit boring. This would in no small part have been due to the fact that as a child I'd understood oranges as synonymous with that diluted sugary drink called 'squash'. As a young adult, packaged juices came onto the market, but most were made from concentrates, and although in the years to follow, non-concentrate juices were introduced and I drank and enjoyed the juice, I still tended to give the fruit itself the cold shoulder. Why? Because, compared with satsumas and clementines, the fruit seemed a bother. Messy to eat in quarters, and a pain to peel (it would have taken me, um, a whole minute maybe?!)
In the first six months of raw I remained unexcited by the orange. Until, one evening, I felt a little thirsty. I peeled an orange and cut it into thick slices. It was...a revelation. SO much sweeter than I'd remembered, and as I experienced the joy of the taste, the feeling of a glow inside, and gulped down the copious water it gave me, I felt as if I'd discovered a NEW fruit.
The orange is beautiful, and whether its outer garments are present or not, such a treat for the eye. The photographs for the pictures on this page were all taken in the kitchen, and outside, on a dull day, but when I looked at the pictures...well, you can see that the sun found a way of shining through!
If you're an orange-lover, you'll need no pitch from me - maybe you'll just bask in the pictures then go eat an orange. But, if, like me, you've been relatively unmoved by the orange for the first 'x' years of your life, now you're raw I urge you to rediscover this gorgeous fruit,which wants so much to give us its good things!
Don't juice it, don't put it in a smoothie, dressing or sauce. Although I blend and juice most days, I'm suggesting that you rediscover the orange by sampling it as it is - unfractured, unpulverised...although do peel it. Although I advocate eating the peel of some fruit and veg, I don't feel we should be eating orange peel - the taste and toughness tell us that. But one thing that juicing does take from the orange is the...
The 'correct' name for pith is 'albedo' (sounds much better than pith, doesn't it? I think I'll call it 'albedo' in future!). My googling reveals that this contains almost as much Vitamin C as the flesh of the fruit and contains pectin, the soluble fibre that helps ease the passage of food through our digestive systems. David Wolfe ('Sunfood Diet Success System') tells us that the pith (albedo) is high in nutrients generally, so...keep that pith! Rather than keeping the peel on, quartering the orange then sucking out the juice, peel it and cut into thick, albedo-ey wedges!
So what nutrients do oranges contain? Well, amongst others, Vitamin C, B vitamins (niacin and thiamine), potassium and...
And in fact the calcium issue is what prompted me to write this article. I regularly test my wee with pH strips. For those unfamiliar with the acidity/alkalinity issue (Dr Robert Young, 'The pH Miracle' and others), briefly, the things we do each day create acid in our bodies, our bodies need to keep the blood alkaline, and they will do whatever's necessary to restore balance (bodies that are too acidic are breeding grounds for illness). If lots of acidic foods are eaten (eg cooked food, meat, fish, pasteurised dairy, alcohol etc) the body has a tough job, and calls in mineral reserves (eg calcium) to help. We can help enormously by eating alkaline-rich foods (plant foods).
Now, as a 100% raw vegetarian, and more recently, vegan, raw fooder, I'd been disconcerted to find that, whilst my pH levels during the day were alkaline, my 'first morning wee' was very acidic. Now it's true that the first morning wee reading will always be the least alkaline of the day, but mine was below the 'safe' level, according to all the sources I checked (and believe me I checked a few, just to be sure!). I wasn't sure why this was - perhaps I was having stressy dreams (stress creates acid, and running two businesses has taken a bit of a toll recently) - but, as a woman 'of a certain age', I didn't want my body leeching calcium from the bones...
So, what happened? My fruit-eating is generally biased towards the first half of the day, as fruit is best eaten on an empty stomach. This, for those who are unaware and who regularly suffer from 'football tummy', is because fruit digests quickly, that is, it needs to pass through and out quickly. If it is eaten on top of, or with, slower-to-digest food such as nuts/seeds/grains, its path out will be blocked, and it will ferment, causing gas...
But, anyhow, sometimes I break the rules, and don't always suffer the consequences, and a few days ago I did eat a lovely, lovely orange in the evening.
The next morning my pH level had shot up to the highest I'd ever seen for a first morning wee, and well into the 'safe' zone! Repeated the orange-eating a few evenings more, and every morning good news on the strips! I'm wondering if it's the calcium - cheers to the orange for saving my bones!
And ever since then I have indeed been on 'Planet Orange' and known that the orange had to have an article all to itself.
And, in case anyone's puzzled, although oranges are termed 'acid fruits', they have an alkalising effect on our bodies.
From Dr Leon A Wilcox's essay 'The Wonderful Orange' in Hilton Hotema's 'Man's Higher Consciousness' (italics are mine):
'For twenty years I have been trying to put over a message about the wonderful orange and the benefits to be obtained from its use...Citrus fruits will always return an alkaline reaction when taken into the stomach by themselves. These fruits (in fact all juicy fruits) should never be eaten at the same meal with cooked or baked foods, nor should they ever be eaten with sugar.' He goes on to say 'cooked foods contain a certain amount of starch. When fruit juices come in contact with starch in the stomach, the reaction is certain to be fermentation. The fermenting process is what generates acid. So you see it is not the fruits that make the acid; it is the food combinations. A common sight in any restaurant in the morning at breakfast is people drinking a glass of orange juice or eating grapefruit, followed by a sweet roll, then washed down with a cup of coffee. This makes a nice acid breakfast and, if continued long enough, will produce an acid stomach, neuritis or some kind of rheumatic condition.'
LIVING ON ORANGES?
The Hilton Hotema book also includes reports of people who achieved radical health transformations by living on oranges/orange juice only for relatively long periods. Two articles ago I looked at historical accounts of people who, it is claimed, subsisted on only two or three types of food. According to Herodotus, the oldest inhabitants of Greece lived on 'dates and oranges'.
Recently, I read raw fooder Victoria Boutenko tell us how her son Sergei used to spend days ski-ing with friends. They'd feel tired regularly and need to re-fuel (so they thought) with large meals. Sergei on the other hand felt continually energised on a diet of just two oranges a day!
One more specific from my own experience: on a raw diet, my sinuses are a lot clearer than they were when cooked. But, all the same, I've noticed on occasions that very shortly after eating oranges there has been a marked effect in that I've felt even clearer and without going into too much detail have felt a little mucus being freed. In Arnold Ehret's book 'Mucusless Diet Healing System' he reprints Ragnar Berg's Table, which organises foods by their acid-binding potential. The higher the food's acid-binding potential the greater its ability to dissolve mucus. Olives and figs come in highest, but the orange is still relatively high and can be described as an excellent mucus-dissolver (and thanks as so often to David Wolfe's 'Sunfood Diet Success System' for this information).
The orange is a SUPER food! Oranges make me GLOW!
Have you heard of the 'Doctrine of Signatures'. That says that the appearance of a plant, of a food, gives us a clue as to how it can benefit us. Think of a walnut, rich in Omega-3s, good for the brain. Now what organ does the walnut resemble? Left and right hemispheres?
Now look at this picture of an orange. What does it resemble?
(EDIT - since writing this article I've 'juiced' oranges in a new way (my thanks to Dr Doug Graham) which gets around some of the disadvantages of juicing. Juice several oranges, then stir some of the pith back in. Makes a wonderful slushy drink (though you'll need a spoon!))