BANANAS – what’s the apPEEL?

NB – I applied for what claimed to be a working-from-home blogging job with Chamsima International, a company that raises awareness for hair loss. They asked me to write a sample post about bananas. When my parents and I asked them when I would officially start, could I use a separate blog and, most importantly, about details of payment, they went strangely quiet. Such is life. – 15.11.2015

It’s soft. It’s sweet. It’s a widely accepted superfood. It’s…the humble banana.

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Super? Can a banana do anything more super than develop age spots? Most people do that sooner or later. Don’t take the banana for granted. Before you next reach for a glossy yellow portion of your five-a-day, take a bite of this bunch of benefits.

Health benefits

You may have heard the age-old fact that bananas are high in potassium. But did you know that they specifically contain Potassium-40 – a radioactive isotope of potassium?(1) Besides radioactivity, all that potassium means that eating bananas fights the risk of strokes, unhealthy blood pressure, kidney stones and even early death.(2) Already feeling less complacent?

Cooking

What can you do with an old banana sitting in a fruit bowl going brown? Make banana bread. Mash with yoghurt for a nutritious breakfast.(3) Mix with eggs and make banana pancakes – potassium AND protein. Blend with other fruits for a smoothie or milkshake. Cut, blitz and freeze, and hey presto, you have healthy ice cream.(4) Or just take a photo of it for a blog post…

Cosmetics

As well as potassium, which we’ve already established, bananas are rich in vitamins and minerals that are great for skin and hair. Vitamins C and B6 and manganese help revitalise skin,(5) while the above vitamins plus vitamins A and E, iron and zinc can revive dead hair.(6) Unsurprisingly, they are one of the most popular all-natural ingredients for face masks, hair products and lip scrubs. Neat, eh?

Practical jokes

When I was little and my sister was just a toddler, our mum was unexpectedly rushed to hospital, leaving us in the capable hands of our Grandad. Being the caring older relative he is, he wanted to lighten the situation for us. And so it was that, out of all the bananas he offered my sister that morning, she chose the biggest, shiniest, most perfect of the bunch…before realising it was made of plastic.

Which fruit could have such influence on so many areas of life? What kind of food could have so much power in just one serving? In the words of Gwen Stefani: This is bananas – B A N A N A S!(7)

So there you go. Have a great day and enjoy a banana. But not a plastic one (not so great for the digestive system).

 

 

(1) http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/09/15-facts-you-probably-didnt-know-about-bananas/

(2) http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287212.php

(3) Sam Stern’s Cooking Up a Storm – Sam Stern (p.g. 17)

(4) how-to-make-creamy-ice-cream-with-just-one-ingredient-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-93414

(5) http://www.sheknows.com/beauty-and-style/articles/954609/how-to-clean-your-complexion-for-spring

(6) http://www.top10homeremedies.com/diy-homemade/diy-homemade-banana-deep-hair-conditioner.html

(7) http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/gwenstefani/hollabackgirl.html

Coming out of the Asperger closet

When I was first diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, my parents explained to me that I had a mild form of autism, and my brain was made just a little differently to everyone else’s. On hearing this, my mind was filled with a burning question. I pondered. I mused. And then I thought I would bite the bullet and ask outright…”can I have a piece of cheese?

Throughout primary school, I was dimly aware that I was different to everyone else. I spent most of my time alone. I had obsessive interests. Despite some negative experiences with other kids, my head was in the clouds and initially, my diagnosis didn’t change that.

Secondary school was a different world altogether. Suddenly children were less accepting and more interested in jostling for the top of the social hierarchy than looking out for a kid whose favourite conversation starter was cat breeds. Teachers were less understanding. I had a timetable and – worse – lesson locations to memorise. I made friends, then had no idea what to do when things went pear shaped. In short, I was vulnerable, and all too aware of it.

So from then on, I learned to hate the fact that I was different. I fought hard to form friendships, and often failed. As a result, I was afraid to talk about it to anyone because I knew I didn’t communicate well and was scared of being judged. I even compared telling people about my Asperger’s with talking about periods to a boy! And because they didn’t understand why I was different, people found me weird, stupid, or – and I quote – “boring”. Sound familiar? If I could reach out to everyone still stuck in this vicious circle, I would.

A few years on – the dreaded GCSE era – and things slowly changed. I got invited to a Christian youth event, and had one guy, now a good friend, take me aside and explain how having Asperger’s affected him, and that it was ok to have it. I wasn’t ready to open up to just anyone, but held on to that nonetheless. Several months later, something similar happened after church, when someone empathised with my difficulty with socialising, because she had Asperger’s. I began to talk about my own struggles, and from that day, I was able to explain to people about AS whenever the subject of social struggles came up in conversation. Six years later, and I’ve been wondering how people can’t bring themselves to talk about AS. Before remembering.

How do you tell people? Depends on the situation. If you are struggling in a social situation, just say: I have Asperger’s Syndrome, which makes it hard to read people/understand instructions/deal with change, blah blah blah. Want to explain what AS is? It is a condition that means a brain has more trouble reading people and understanding social interaction. Social dyslexia, if you like. And don’t feel pressured to tell or not tell. Just live your life and explain your condition when the need arises. Might seem hard, but hopefully it will become nothing more than another part of yourself that people discover.

That said, I still have AS based struggles, among other things, but hey, that’s what baby steps are all about (metaphorically). My message to those of you in the Asperger closet? There are people who understand, and people who don’t but are willing to try. You might be walking a different path, but sometimes that is the only way to educate the world. And the only way to go ahead with that is to start.

Me being a complete introvert and undiagnosed Aspie social butterfly at Kindergarten in Taiwan.