Raw Honey.......More than just a sweetener.
First off, honey is a wonderful sweetener. I especially enjoy Raw, Crystallized Desert Blossom Honey. Since it is crystallized, you have to use a spoon or a knife to extract it from the container. It doesn't pour out of the container like processed honey. It is lower in moisture content than the processed or regular honey that you buy in the stores, which helps to concentrate the natural flavor and sweetness. Raw honey doesn't go through the same processing as commercial honey and it readily crystallizes, which explains the deep golden color of raw honey. (Incidentally, you can warm up crystallized honey and it will become more viscous and you can pour it, but you run the risk of losing out on the beneficial enzymes.)
Growing up, I really enjoyed sports. I had one soccer coach who used honey to help rejuvenate tired athletes after games. He would provide different honey foods and snacks after games to help with muscle fatigue and provide a natural boost to tired bodies. As a missionary in Argentina, a simple yet effective tonic for many illnesses, including soar throats, was warm lemon water and honey. The natural antioxidants of lemons and honey, coupled with the other health benefits of the two often produced great results in a relatively short amount of time. Most nutritionists seem to agree that while white sugar and other processed sugars weaken the bodies immune system, honey can help in healing.
We use raw honey as a wonderful spread on toast. Instead of grabbing a so-called energy drink, toast some bread, add a little butter and spread with raw honey. This will provide a bit of an immediate pick-up, while helping to sustain energy. One of our favorite uses of raw honey is to add a bit of sweetener to breakfast smoothies. We also use it for homemade barbecue sauce recipes. It is especially great for sweetening hot breakfast cereals like oatmeal, corn meal mush, farina (creamy wheat) and cracked wheat.
I am not a nutritionist, but from past personal experience and from research I have conducted, I feel like there are wonderful benefits of honey, especially raw honey. Raw honey has nutural enzymes that assist in digestion and assimilation. Honey has natural antioxidants that help with our immune systems and assist the body's natural defenses. Honey, when collected from local sources, is also considered to assist in helping individuals with allergies. This comes from the fact that the bees are harvesting local pollens for their hives.
Raw honey can be difficult on infants because of the natural enzymes and other factors. Also, many folks store honey but don't regularly use it. If you go from white sugar and white flour to honey and whole wheat, your body is going to be in for a shock. So, the best advice is to incorporate these into your diets now on a regular basis. This is not only to help you from a transition standpoint, but to provide your body with more nutrition.