Easing open the carved antique door to my hotel room in Giza, I was blasted by a sweet and vaguely familiar smell. What was it? The scent was literally filling the room. I had to find it- Aromatic. Sniff. Potent.- Where is it coming from!?
A careful search revealed the origin-an asymmetrical, rather unremarkable, partially-pitted, smallish yellow Guava. All this fragrance coming from just one Guava? As I lifted it to my nose, I was knocked out by the ooze of essential oil. Pow. I have never smelled a fruit like this. This wafting wonder was perfuming the entire hotel suite!
"What is the story with this Guava!?"
My host offered up some wisdom; "These are the original Guavas of this region. This hotel is almost 150 years old, all the fruit is harvested on this land. Egyptians have sourced seed directly from their crops for thousands of years." The food is often smaller, maybe not so pretty but VERY fragrant and full of nutrition. This is the power of original food." He smiled mysteriously "This is what keeps Egyptians healthy and strong."
The concept had never crossed my mind. "What is the difference?" I asked myself. The answer became astonishingly evident after just a few weeks.
Everything I ate from the locals in Egypt seemed so much more appetizing; brighter colors, crunch, pop and well…. overall satisfaction. I seemed to require less food and feel full faster.
But then the other effects started to kick in….more on that shortly.
The first thing you notice about the Egyptian people is the preponderance of wide, authentic smiles. Despite their hard work and long, hot days every Egyptian wanted us come to their home for dinner. They are very generous and proud of the food they make and grow. The people we encountered were very poor, but there was a viable glow to the children. Especially those who grew up on a steady diet of Heirloom crops.
Why is everyone so happy? Could it be the food?
The traditional Egyptian diet consists of fruits, vegetables, nuts & seeds and spice with meat used sparingly and often as a flavoring rather than a main course. The food is inexpensive and abundant for all as The Nile has provided water, rich agriculture and mineral-rich soil for millenia.
In Egypt, it is not uncommon to sit down to a primarily plant-based meal with 5-10 different delicious dishes for a normal daily lunch.
What a Difference a Month Can Make
30 days into working and eating with local villagers from Giza to Luxor, I had unwittingly commenced on an additive-free, heirloom seed diet by geographic default.
The physical effects of eating original seed were at first subtle. Those who know me might smile and nod when I say I am not exactly known for my martial vigor. But quite remarkably, after eating this food for approximately 3 weeks, I noticed profound changes in my mood and energy. I had the inclination to run rather than walk when circumstances permitted. Yes, I wanted to run for no reason at all. I moved more, laughed more and ate less which I attribute to the intense nutritional value contained in these original heirloom ancient foods.
Producers Market brings you access to these and other Heirloom crops in our forthcoming Marketplace.