Tuesday, April 3, 2012

paying it forward

Over the weekend at the place where i got the free dark chocolate dipped apricots, they were hosting a "Meet Your Local Beekeepers," and i went and met a very nice couple from the next town over who are professional beekeepers.

They had three offerings: regular raw honey, raw honey with a bit of the comb, and stuff they call the "Bees Knees," which is a combination of raw honey and cinnamon. The wife explained that there was a clinical study in Copenhagen where elderly patients were given a therapeutic dose of honey mixed with cinnamon (1 tbsp or 15 mL a day), and 70% reported an efficacious effect regarding arthritis pain: some had 100% reduction in pain, others varying decreases. I said i was sure that it would take several weeks or a few months to notice any effect; she said some patients noticed a change in a week. I was fascinated by that, and when i said i don't have arthritis, she said she thought it was also good for those stresses and strains of when we work too long or hard in the garden. Good for the muscles.

I like to support local businesses as much as possible. This couple's operation is not large by any stretch; they don't migrate their bees, as they think it's too stressful for the bees, and i'm inclined to agree. They collect enough honey to supply the local store, but that's it.

I thought of my recovering MCL and bought a jar. Then i had to argue with myself. To take now or wait until Easter? Honey is, after all, a sweetener. The wife had cautioned this wasn't struedel topping, that the cinnamon was the real thing, and i'd feel the heat. I had purchased it Sunday afternoon, and the instructions were to take a tablespoonful first thing in the morning before eating. I figured i'd pray about it, sleep on it, and i'd have my answer in the morning.

I have often said i'm not a morning person, and i'm not. I'm much better now than i've ever been, but i don't do a lot of thinking in the morning. I just perform on autopilot, and around ten o'clock or so, my brain becomes fully engaged. So, early Monday morning, i opened the honey-cinnamon jar, stirred it up to mix well, and took a scant tablespoonful. I noticed the sweetness of the honey much more than the heat of the cinnamon. I really enjoyed it. And, as i was licking the spoon to make sure i'd gotten the full, therapeutic dose, i recalled a colleague of mine who has arthritis. She mentioned giving up red meat recently to see if that will help. I hadn't asked if the arthritis in the study was rheumatoid arthritis only or all different kinds.

I called my colleague today, and she was very interested. She had heard of cinnamon's anti-inflammatory properties and wondered herself about it. I offered to send her a jar, and she was thrilled. I popped round to the store to pick up a jar for her, and it's now in the post on its way to her house. She's a doctor, so it'll be interesting to get the medical viewpoint. We're hoping she's in the 70% that get at least some if not total relief; if she's not, then it's a tasty way to find out. She thinks that my taking the honey is a therapeutic thing, and doesn't think it voids any Lenten agreement i had about the no sugar/sweetener rule. In study terms, i'd be in the control group, since i don't have arthritis. LOL

One of the women in my knitting group is slated for knee surgery. She's known she's needed it for awhile. She lives alone, and is calling in favours for when she's recovering. One of her grown sons lives nearby, so shall help Mum as he can. We were discussing things she needs to do now to get ready, and i asked if she had a pair of crutches. She does, from when she had another knee surgery, and i suggested she crutch around the house to see where she can navigate easily, and where she can't. The places she can't, we can help her move the furniture or set something up now as a workaround. She thought that a fabulous idea. And i found myself offering many things i discovered with my time on crutches, and one of the most wonderful things i saw only after i was in my walking boot. At the physiotherapist's, a man on crutches had duct taped a large plastic glass below the handle of one crutch, and used that as a carry all. It was so handy for keys, a small flashlight (torch for UK readers), a small bottle of hand sanitizer. I had used my fanny pack (bum bag) exclusively, which made it handy, but not as handy as his duct-taped plastic glass. I complimented him on his ingenuity and said i was remembering that if ever i had to crutch around again. Thankfully, i've not had to do that to date, but i could pass along his fabulous idea to my knitting friend. She said she has just the glass in mind for that, and all of us have duct tape. Himself has a backpack that he used for the boat last summer that is sitting empty at the moment, so that can be loaned for her to use. Well i remember making my tea in the morning or Himself making it for me in the evening and filling a thermos full, so it was easier for me to help myself to a cuppa. I could put it in my backpack and crutch over to the couch, topping off my cup at will.

My mind's been busily thinking up a hundred little things that she can do to make things easier for herself after surgery. Take up all scatter rugs now. Make sure the toilet paper rolls are full ones. Bring up anything you might need over the next three weeks from down cellar now. Other knitters in our group want to help with visits, taking food, and other things.

I find myself being glad to help as i can. Buying a local product keeps a couple employed in their livelihood, and their product may in turn help a dear colleague. Lending an unused backpack before boating season to a friend to make recovery a bit easier. Being a conduit can be fun.


  1. fanny means something VERY different here in the UK!!!

  2. I know, when i used the term "fanny pack" in presence of a UK friend, she about fell off her chair. Funny how we can be separated by a common language!

  3. Oh, and for those who might be wondering...in the US, it's a harmless word meaning someone's back side. On the other side of the Pond, however, it's slang (and not very nice slang) for vulva.

    Not sure if Canadians regard this word more in the US way or UK way, or something completely different. Any Canadians wish to weigh in?

  4. Honey is on the front shelf of natures medicine cabinet. Wonderful stuff. But do make sure it's not been heat-treated; it should say cold-pressed or unfiltered or raw on the label.

  5. Good to know, Cro! And yes, the stuff i have is raw.