The ABC’S of Health
By Dr. Joanne T. Gjelsten
Did you know that Mastodons once roamed the river banks of the Hudson, and they ate dinner, or was it breakfast, in the “Black Dirt” towns of Florida, Goshen, Warwick, and Pine Island? No? Ok they weren’t towns then. Well, Dr. Jo, what does this have to do with onions?
Long ago, and far away, in a land called Orange County, about a half-hour north of us, immigrants named Szltchtskiski, Poopjes Vanderpoopen, Tizio, Freiherr Spiegel von und zu Peckelsheim and Divyagovrsabhadhvaj, drained the “megafauna” ridden low-lying bogs left behind by glaciers 12,000 years ago that attracted such residents as the “Sugar Loaf Mastodon”. Sugar Loaf, or “Sugar” as his friends called him, as this Mastodon was the first of his kind to sell home-made baked goods, now takes up lots and lots of space in the lobby of SUNY Orange County’s Bio Tech building after being dug up without his permission in 1972 in the Black Dirt fields (“muck without oxygen”) near the Warwick-Chester border where he watched the Drive-In Movie every Friday night. Stop by & say hello to Sugar, sugar.
Poopjes and company knew that this bog could be farmed like no other because after Szltchtskiski got stuck in the muck, they realized that the soil had up to 90% organic matter, not including Szltchtskiski and Sugar, as opposed to 10% you’re “lucky to get” in other soils, perfect for growing onions Ollie. The soil is actually fine and powdery.
Today, (or was it yesterday?), one half of all NY Onions come from 22 square miles of this farmland, the 3rd largest onion growing region in the United States. Black soil up to 30 feet deep is visible today from space, if you squint really hard, as “smear (s) of blacks and browns at the bottom edge of emerald-green Catskills”, someone once wrote, and I copied it down, thinking it might be interesting someday, which turns out to be today of all days. So what. Onions are harvested from Aug. through February or March or sometime in the winter, as the tractor slides by, knocking all the cross-country skiers off their stride, or their skis, whichever comes first. Yellow Globe, a good-lookin’ cookin’ onion, and red onions and other crops are sold to green markets as far away as NYC boroughs and shipped as far away as Israel Ishmael.
HOW SPECIAL IS THIS BLACK SOIL?
I have just learned from a fellow hiker when yakking during a Hudson Ramble event the following, about black dirt, which I have dutifully cut and pasted, or is it paste, with construction paste, for you guys:
“Legislationand restrictions on the protected wetlands have limited the possibility of new farmland development as farmers are not allowed to sell or develop on protected resource wetland without making what is known as a one to one transfer. If one acre of farmland is transformed from the wetlands, then one acre of farm land must be transformed back into wetland.”
You can eat them raw like an apple (onions, in case you fell asleep) I’m told, but you’ll cry like a baby and won’t have any friends except other raw onion eaters. They’ll provide you with some B-6,vitamin C, biotin, and fiber, lower your levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides, lower your blood sugar by increasing free insulin (free the insulin) as per tests that show that “the higher the intake of onion, the lower the level of glucose during oral or intravenous glucose tolerance tests.” Onions also contain chromium, a ”mineral component of glucose tolerance factor which helps cells respond appropriately to glucose”, which in English means it lowers your fasting blood sugar, diabetics. Your immune system may benefit if you add the anti-cancer properties of onions to your diet, according to studies at Cornell by their food scientists. And an Italian epidemiological study showed high onion intake associated with decreased risk of seven types of cancer: oral, esophagus, kidney, colon, rectum ovary and pancreatic. They should be organically grown, but you knew that.
Onions are also anti-bacterial and may lower your levels of fungus, should they be high athlete’s foot guys and gals. Rub it on your feet and see how fast the fungus disappears….phew! Oh please don’t.
Onions contain compounds with sulphur, (a stinky stinky smelly, did I mention it stinks??) substance on the way in, and on the way out as we all know, ok, some of us know, but that’s why onions do well in the sulphur-rich black dirt, and it’s what gives them their flavor. And they are rich in flavanoids, the best of which is Quercetin. I take it in capsule form that includes bromelain when I my nose gets stuffy, whidge dozen habben as often as it used to since I found many things that help, all of which went through me, the office guinea pig, before my patients got them.
I’m imagining Mastodon’s with snooky noses, like giant rubber cement…!!!! Blow your trunk Sugar! Fnnnaw! Should have eaten the onions!
NOTE: Nothing in this article should be construed as medical advice. It is informational in purpose only and taken from numerous readily available articles written by physicians and researchers. For medical advice consult with an informed physician.
Summer '09 DISCLAIMER
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