Off To Georgia (Not That One, The Other One!)

We are headed off on a new adventure, this time to Georgia (the former USSR republic, not the place they grow peanuts) and Armenia. Yes, Armenia – not Algeria, nor yet Albania, but Armenia. Why? Well, first its no secret to readers of this blog that I hardly need an excuse to travel. But why here, now?

Well, several reasons. Primarily, there are persistent stories of the Caucasus having some of the oldest people on earth. Well documented reports run up to 170 years of age. A friend of mine who emigrated from the Ukraine told me that at any given time, the oldest person in the USSR was always in the Caucasus.

There are three places in the world claiming exceptional longevity, Vilcabamba, where I have been (See my article about it, Shangri-lost), Hunza in Pakistan where I have not been (yet), and Georgia where I am going now. In Vilcabamba I found that while old people once did exist there, due to the importation of French fries and the western diet in the 1970s by the Peace Corps, now they are just as unhealthy as anyone else in Ecuador – which is to say, vastly healthier than your average American, but still nothing fantastic.

The USSR frequently closed down entire factories to send workers to weeklong retreats in Georgia and Armenia to increase health and efficiency. The USSR wasnt known for wasting money and time to make its workers happy, so its a good bet they believed it really made a difference.

Second, and what prompted the visit now, is that I have researched the connection between better-tasting food and healthier food and have found a distinct correlation; after all, all things being equal if you have two strawberries, one of which tastes sweet and one tastes like the package it came in, the one that tastes sweet tests to have higher mineral content and being more healthy. Thats why we were made to like the sweeter fruits, a sort of built-in quality checker. We override it with massive amounts of sugar, but the sense is still there for a reason.

In my trip to El Salvador I discovered that their food tasted much better than anywhere else in Central America; and I noticed that El Salvadorans in general were happier, had better teeth and wider dental arches (something Weston Price associated with good food and health beyond any question in his research), and in general were stronger than Americans. I saw a woman much smaller than me haul 100 pound sacks of corn a good hundred yards through thick, soft sand – something Im not sure I could have done. And she hauled about 8 bags in a row – something practically no American woman could do. And this was quite common there. I saw men racing uphill with a dozen 1 thick clay tiles on their back – which must have weighed 150 pounds. And they did this all day, and seemed to enjoy it.

So the point is, El Salvador had the strongest, happiest, healthiest people in Central America. And they had the best tasting food. If youve never tasted food from outside the US – not imported food, but food actually bought and eaten there – youve probably never tasted real food. The difference is incredible. And so when I read on Wikitravel that both Georgia and Armenia had food that made their counterparts everywhere else on Earth pale by comparison, and whose taste would make you unable to go back to eating Apricots at home, after eating the delicious apricots from Armenia, it told me that Armenia might have a higher quality produce, and that might explain the higher quality health and longevity.

I found this sort of off-hand comments in the Lonely Planet guidebook, and in the separate wikitravel pages on Georgia and Armenia, and in several independent sources around the net. Ive never seen that sort of comments about anywhere else. So that is why Im going there.

The reason Im going now, is the harvest season is in September, and I didnt want to wait another year to find out just how good this food is. Good food can be tested for sugar content with a refractometer, commonly used for checking grapes for harvest, and good food is called high brix food, brix being the measure of sugar in the food. So Ill be checking that against the standard American fruits and seeing if there really is a difference.

Also, on an unrelated note, the Caucasus mountains is why European and Americans are called Caucasian, because historians trace back our white-skinned ancestors to the Scyths in the area of the Caucaus circa the 6th century BC – a tribe very numerous and fully developed, with no apparent history. I hope to go through the museums and discover links to connect them to other peoples who migrated into that area from the south.

But who am I kidding? Im going because I want to see whats over that next hill. The rest just excuses :)

One Response

  1. Bobby Ludwig (Luis) Says:

    Wow! And he keeps taking over the world, a country at a time! :)

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Posted on August 19th, 2010 by Natnee and filed under Georgia/Armenia |

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