Sunday, 25 May 2008

The future is...

It's not 'sexy' or exotic, like the durian (OK - opinions will be divided...) or young coconut. It didn't enter the Raw Fooders' International Top Ten Favourite Foods ( I can't claim it's locally-grown (at least not for me in the UK, but I'm very glad other countries share it with me), it's very unassuming, and generally considered quite commonplace, but please give a big fanfare for the SUPER, SUPER food that is...


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.'


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!))


Lucy said...

Wow debbie I so agree about oranges. i never paid them much attention until I bought a pack in waitrise, well they were reduced and I'll buy anything organic , reduced and raw. the said oranges wre so tasty i have carried my fling into a full blown affair!! But i find oranges a jealous lover which dont like to be shared with anything else, unlike those bananas who will get into the blender with any old fruit!!.

Debbie Took said...

Hi Lucy
Like the analogy! I have no problems digestively with oranges juiced with carrots, peppers, pineapple etc. I rarely include oranges in smoothies, so can't comment from direct experience, but, coincidentally, did see a forum thread today that included posts from raw fooders who also feel that oranges, like melon, might be best eaten alone.

Anonymous said...

i eat my citrus alone. it just seems to taste better that way.

and, wow...thank you for this debbie. i having breakfast with a dear couple tomorrow morning, at a DINER, and i am already starting to think: What am i going to eat? because i have started on a juice cleanse..and quite frankly, the juices at a diner will NOT be fresh or, then i thought: FRUIT! but, the 'fruit cup' they tend to serve is a food-combining disaster.
then, something in me said..'see if they have oranges or grapefruit fresh'.
then, i read your post. ^___^

i DO have a quick question though, i have had a DEVIL of a time digesting Organges, in particular, not to much trouble with it's cousins like tangelos, mandarins, etc. Whenever i have oranges, alone (can't have them with any other non-citrus fruit). . i get stomach pains! do you think it could be because the oranges are 'working' something out of my system? or, can people be sensitive to oranges. i know i am allergic to conventional orange juice. break out in hives on my arms.
would love your thoughts.


Mila ^___^
(a friend started calling me that and says it suits me. though, still like lulu. anywhoo..)

Debbie Took said...

Hi Mila

You say when you have oranges alone you have stomach pains.

I wouldn't have thought this is detox. My immediate thought is that, although you are eating the oranges alone, are you eating them on an empty stomach? To put it bluntly, are you eating them in the first half of the day after having gone to the loo first thing in the morning, or are they going into your body on top of food that hasn't 'left' yet, ie is still being digested? Because if that's the case, they may ferment, causing gas and pain. As I said in the article, I 'got away' with eating them in the evening, perhaps because recently I've been 'eliminating'(!) two or three times a day. But it's often been the case with me in the past that if I ate fruit later in the day, even alone, when there was already food in my stomach that hadn't left, I'd suffer the consequences!

Other than that, it could be an allergy, and as I'm not sufficiently knowledgeable in that area to comment, suggest a google.

But I'm hoping that my first suggestion is the reason - best wishes!

Anonymous said...

you know deb. i DID have them first thing in the morning..and i am not full raw yet...i have not been consistent in my movements. never have been. even when i did a master cleanse, if it were not for the laxative at night and the salt flush in the morning, i would not move. I have a sluggish digestive system. though it is improving. that being said i have taken the oranges always on an empty stomach. 3hours after my last meal, or like i said first thing in the morning. so, i guess as my digestion improves from going full raw (i hope it helps that and my circulation. not to mention clear my candida) the oranges may not cause trouble.

though, i never seem to have a reaction with the other fruit. i am going to google it too. thanks!!

sorry for the long posting on your blog.

Kira G Goldy said...

Great article Debbie. The other week I had a problem with my wisdom tooth and ended up in hospital which was vile, they pumped me full of their awful drugs and offered me tea and toast - yikes, but I told them I wanted fruit so a nurse went off and reappeared half an hour later proudly presented me with a whole orange. She has to trapse around the wards to find it (!) And oh my goodness it was the best thing I had ever eaten. Being in that horrible environment with a tube in my arm, feeling all medicated and plastic, that orange was nothing short of a miracle!!
So now I won't have them juiced any more because of the headache thing, I will only eat them whole, which doesn't give me a headache, just intense pleasure ;))
Love Zoe.

Debbie Took said...

Zoe, I can SO imagine how welcome that Wonderful Orange must have been..! In fact, I'm going to eat one right now in celebration.

Anonymous said...

Debbie ((thank you)) for another fabulous and well-researched article!

Oranges are, of course, now at the top of my next shopping list. Along with PH strips.

I loved navel oranges as a child in Australia. Impressed? Maybe less so when I tell you that we ate them sprinkled with sugar. I know! Actually we ate them with the tops cut off (like an egg) and a teaspoon. I can remember scraping out those orange cases with my spoon. who knew what benefits I was getting from the nutritious pith ...

By the way, I met Amy Webster at a raw food dinner party course run by Russell James in Brighton today and we raved about your Essene bread.

I hope you've enjoyed this wet Bank Holiday weekend - and that it's done your garden a world of good :-)

Debbie Took said...

Hi Antony

Don't worry - a lot of the fruit I ate as a child was in sugar syrup -

It's interesting to test with the pH strips but can get a bit obsessional (believe me, I know...:-) If you get the pH Ion ones, note the arithmetic in the leaflet is incorrect; divide by 78 not 80 (it makes a significant difference).

Good to hear you've met Amy and Russell. Russell's responsible for my 'Drink Your Greens' article on here - I fell in love with green juice after drinking his.

My spinach and lettuces are nearly ready and the rain and the sun that's sure to come will have everything doubling in size, including the 'weeds' (some of which I now eat).

E*phi said...

Oiii, thank you so much, Debbie, for another interesting, (r)awesome article!
You always happen to write about my favourite foods :)
I love oranges generally, but recently, like about a month now, I'm virtually obsessed with them *lol* I go through a net a day... I eat them peeled in segments, like a tangerine. I just enjoy making a juicy mess, hehe... (another plus for mangos and watermelons!).
I always heard the same, that citrus shouldn't be mixed, but I found that I don't have any trouble at all mixing them with other fruit or even with tahini in a dressing! (Wouldn't have them with more complicated stuff or grains etc though... don't know just doesn't "feel right" or attractive to me)
I love your orange-sun pics! They really do make you gloom! :)
Have sunny orangy day and keep updating this amazing blog! (I wish I had more time to post comments, but I ALWAYS take my time to read your articles!)
Blessings and an orange hug!

Debbie Took said...

Hi Eevie

I'll take it they make you gloom because we haven't seen any sun for a while...but my Orange tells me some sun is on the way later this week. Many thanks for comments. This article has generated more comments than any other! The Wonderful Orange is feeling very proud.

David Cohen said...

This is why I like the raw food life style so much. You sign up, you receive great support, and read a very interesting article. It tells you about something you didn't know (the pith and why it's just as good as the rest), it immediately inspires you to buy a bag of oranges, and you then proceed to eat them in the way the article describes. Hey presto, you've added another little change / tweak to your repetoire. Debbie, you _are_ a star.
David Cohen

Debbie Took said...

Well, thank you David!

And, although it's late, and I'm always advising people not to eat late at night, your comment has made me feel rather like eating something - it's round, it's juicy...

Anne said...

Great article and photos Debbie ♥
Thank you for sharing your beautiful writing.
My home is full of beautiful locally-grown organic Oranges and it is wonderful to read other Orange-lover's testimonies ♥
Love and Peaches,
from Anne XX.

Debbie Took said...

I'm very envious!

It would be lovely to have oranges at the peak of ripeness, as sometimes the ones in the shops are good and sometimes not, and I only twigged recently that that's most likely because some of them are picked not quite ripe.