If Life Gives You Lemons...

"Mom, my stomach hurts ". Words that every parent is bound to hear! More often than not we open the medicine cabinet in search of a remedy. But why use medication when there is a simple and natural solution that is guaranteed to work on upset stomach, for nasuea or occasional acid reflux? Take the grind of one organic lemon and boil it for ten minutes. Add a tsp. of organic honey and serve it like you would a cup of tea. They call it: " canarino ", which in Italian means " canary " , because of the yellow colour of the beverage. I told you it was easy!

Who did I learn it from? One of the best things about living in Italy (or probably the best thing ) is having access to a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables all year around. Lemons, for instance are always available. My family and I are lucky enough to have five lemon trees in our own garden. The first one was planted by husband's grandfather. It is well over thirty years old, about three meters tall and two and a half wide. The remaining four are younger and under my father-in- law's loving care.

Over a lifetime I watched my grandparents, then my in-laws use lemon in so many different ways that I became curious and started researching about the characteristics of this fruit. Today, Italy is the world's leading producer of this citrus evergreen. But the lemon tree originated in Asia and was imported to the Mediterranean basin one thousand years ago.

All the benefits!  Therapeutic benefits of lemon are mainly tied to the fruit's high content of citrus acid, limonene, pinene and vitamin C. 100 grams of lemon contain approximately 50 mg of vitamin C, conferring for exceptional antioxidant properties, functional in fighting cell ageing and degenerative diseases.

Lemons also contain vitamin A, B, PP, calcium, phosphorus, copper and manganese. The juice of half a lemon taken on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning, has a re-balancing effect on the intestine because of its purifying and detoxifying qualities.

The use of lemon in our diet is furthermore useful against atherosclerosis, high cholesterol and uric acid responsable for gout.

A tip for teens!  The antibacterial and antimicrobial characteristics of lemon make it the ideal skin cleanser. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a small bowl. Use a cotton pad to gently wipe your skin and remove impurities. It may sting a little but it works!

Last but not less important, lemon helps fight certain types of tumors: liver, pancreas, stomach and bowel cancer.

In the kitchen! There are so many recipes out there that include the use of lemon. Here are a couple I learned from my grandmother. I use them, pretty much, on a daily basis.

Vinaigrette for salads - so simple and so good for the whole family. The high level of vitamin C helps our metabolism absorb the iron present in beans and green vegetables.  Two spoons of extra virgin olive oil mixed with two spoons of lemon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Use on any type of salad.

Banana, lemon juice and sugar - kids love this! Slice a banana, sprikle with brown sugar and lemon juice, serve.

This is just another reminder of the goodness of nature to humanity. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to step into the garden and pick a lemon for my children without having to worry about it being full of pesticides. I feel grateful when I watch them cut it, sprinkle a little suguar over the slices and enjoy it, peel and all. The fact is, everyone should be able to harvest the earth's fruits carefree.  I often wonder: will we ever learn to do things the right way? Will we ever understand that acting for the good of all is the smartest investment we can make for the future of this planet, for our children and grandchildren's lives? An old song once said : “ The answer my friend is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind. “

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