When does a banana, or any other fruit for that matter, become ripe enough to eat? And at what point do they become over-ripe: too ripe to eat?
I ask because both my partner and I have witnessed what to us is a huge waste: fruit that to us is still perfectly edible, but which other people are throwing away! Bananas are the case in point. We like our bananas ripe: where black spots are beginning to appear on the skin. But others, it seems, see any small sign of blackness on the outer skin a sign that they’re no good to eat . . . even though the fruit flesh inside is unblemished. I also seem to remember reading that under-ripe bananas, e.g., when the skins are still a bit green, are not actually very easy to digest, so maybe not so good for us.
Of course, much of this is personal preference. I like my pears a bit crunchy; my partner likes then on the squishier side. This may have to do with how we were brought up, with what was normal in our family or culture. Or we could just be different!
For most fruits there probably are extremes of un-ripe or over-ripe that make that particular fruit not good to eat, but I doubt this is universally agreed! And other factors come into play: like not wanting to be wasteful. Or being afraid of ‘eating something we shouldn’t’. How do we navigate through all of these mental what-ifs?
Enter our intuition or inner knowing. Look at, smell, and hold a piece of fruit and our bodies will tune into it. At a deep, sub-conscious level, we’ll know which are OK to eat, which are particularly good for us . . . and which are best left alone.
At this time of year, in the UK at least, it can be hard to buy good fruit: it’s all out of season so won’t be at its best. It may have travelled huge distances (so not good from the carbon-footprint point of view) or may have been forced: when the concept of ‘ripe’ takes on whole new, and generally unhealthy possibilities! Each piece of fruit has to be treated on its individual merits.
During our weekly shop at our local market, I was selecting navel oranges, examining each possible piece of fruit carefully. I knew that there are 3 factors that indicate its ripeness: whether the navel is developed, how dark the orange colour is, and how smooth the skin. Each of these, in their own way, being a sign of how developed that particular orange is. But none of the fruits available had all 3 indicators. I tuned in. My intuition agreed with my logical analysis: some of these will be OK, but none are really ripe. I bought the two best ones. Sure enough, just as I’d predicted from a combination of logic and intuition, they were OK, edible and not sour . . . but they were bland.
There’s no doubt that developing our intuition is a great way to complement our nutrition training. Part of this comes with practice (as with my oranges!), but we can learn to tune-in or, rather, remember this natural ability. One way of doing this is by taking up Usui Reiki. This natural approach to health and well-being not only helps us with self-healing and relaxation but also encourages and enables an inner knowing: just the intuitive ability we need when choosing our ripe bananas!
Dr. Beasley teaches Usui First Degree (Reiki for beginners) here at the BodyMind Institute.