Historically, sugar was made by pressing the juice from the cane and boiling away the water. The product retained its critical vitamins, minerals and trace nutrients. With industrialisation came new ways to employ less people and the new sugar technology was born.
Now sugar was made by dividing the cane juice into two substances; ultra-refined, 99.6% pure sucrose and nutrient-dense molasses which was fed to animals. The sucrose portion is easily dried, stores for longer, pours easier and transports easier, making it more economical in terms of human labour and wastage. Modern manufacture of sugar from cane juice also employs a potpourri of chemicals such as sulphur dioxide, lime, phosphoric acid, bleaching agents & viscosity reducers.
This new type of sugar was marketed well.
It was white, a very important colour to the growing western middle class mid-last century. To have white goods, white flour, and white sliced bread, white gloves was the height of social success. By the mid 1950s it was considered shameful if your mother made her own brown bread or you had an old-fashioned icebox. Unfortunately white sugar – any refined sugar – creates havoc within our bodies and like anything refined, it is highly addictive. Once refined, sugar is no longer a food, it is a drug. And today, most of the western world is addicted. (One wonders if the supermarket chains would stay in business without pushing it.)
Rapadura along with a traditional Indian
medicine called Jaggery, are the only sweeteners made from sugar cane that are not refined.
They are squeezed, dried, and ground, that’s it. The juice is not separated, dried and then reunited with its more nutritious counterpart (molasses) in artificial proportions, as are raw, brown and black sugar,
Demerara and sucanat.
Rapadura delivers vitamins, minerals and other trace elements as well as the sweet taste that all humans desire, and need. We have sweet taste buds for good reason. Sweet foods in nature provide us with high quality vitamins and minerals, especially magnesium. As long as we balance the sweet taste with the other four (sour, bitter, salty and pungent), according to Chinese medicine, we will maintain good health.
Using unrefined sweeteners like honey, dehydrated cane juice, agave, maple syrup and palm sugar will help bring your sugar addiction under control, as they don’t behave like drugs in the body. However, you’ll still need a little help from your mind to rebalance your body’s innate desires. It helps me to imagine the amount of effort needed to grow, harvest and process the sweeteners I eat. Living in tribal or even semi agrarian society, how much time would be allocated for providing this food? I’ve estimated that sweeteners should be eaten around 3 times a week at most to replicate ancient food ways and I’m guessing that’d be best for my body too. What do you think?
Rapadura is made from organically grown sugar cane from Colombia and Brazil through fair trade programs. For this reason it is more expensive than other sugars which degrade our soils, our water, and our bodies not to mention the standard of living of the 3rd world farmers who grow the stuff. It’s worth it to buy Rapadura from your local health food shop. You can buy it in bulk or packaged, in chocolate (Rapunzel) or drinks (Santa Cruz soft drinks), even the Ozganics range of sauces have dried cane juice. Use it by substituting 1 for 1 with raw sugar in recipes using whole foods such as eggs, butter, cream and other whole milk products, nuts, coconut, arrowroot, fruit and eat the result knowing you are eating a whole food. It tastes mildly like toffee due to the molasses content.
You can order Rapadura in bulk from Santos Trading. As far as I know, Jaggery is not yet available in