Cardamom – A greener mouth freshener

We all know cardamom as one of the most popular Indian Spices, which works wonderfully in both sweet and savoury dishes. No payasam or kheer is complete without that dash of crushed cardamom (powder). You may wonder if I have confused my food blog with the green one…No, I have not. I wanted to write about use of cardamom as a mouth freshener and as a way to reduce our carbon footprint. Sounds out of syn?

If you are among those who are used to munching a strip of a mouth freshener of your choice, you have just voted for the existence of at least three different industries – the Gum industry itself, Sugar processing plants, packaging industry and the transportation and retailing industry. And supporting these industries by chewing a strip of gum did not necessarily translate to over all economic growth.

On a personal level, you have invited a few health issues for yourself. How you may ask! Think about the amount of sugar you have consumed (without even realizing it). This is apart from causing a decent amount of damage to your jaw (applies to frequent chewers). You also consume all the artificial colours and flavours which went into manufacturing this gum and they aren’t good for your kidneys.

Waste management…
You have generated unnecessary garbage by disposing three layers of packaging for every strip of gum consumed. Can we forget the thin plastic film which was used to protect the gum’s “freshness” ? (If you dint know- every product packaging includes a layer of plastic, even the tetrapacks).

The label printed must have had a small amount of ink that used up some resource (from its raw material to final product and shipping stage. Plastic container used to ship the ink cant be ignored).

Image source: newsguide.us

How could we ignore all the cartons the company uses it to ship boxes of the gum to dealer warehouses and to the retailers for shelving. We could explore the entire value chain piece by piece and this post would never end!Β  All this is similar to every other consumer product, but a chewing gum doesn’t necessarily have any utilitarian value in your diet and it doesn’t really freshen your mouth. It leaves an after taste and also makes your teeth prone to germs, thanks to the sugar added to it. Even the “sugarless” variety has saccharides which is just a sugar replacement.

Phew! It is hard to see all this when you reach out for your pack of gum, but shifting to eat a simple Fennel/saunf or elaichi works well for you as well as for the environment. It is not a major shift to being green because of growing, harvesting, packing and shipping these spices surely has an impact on the planet. What we do by reducing our dependence on at least one processing industry is that we reduce the strain on resources by say 50%.Β  Shifting to natural products is not a fool proof solution, but only a trade off for the planet. Not just the planet, you are being kinder on yourself. If Elaichi seems like an expensive option, then we could explore similar natural breath fresheners. Most spices such as cinnamon and clove have similar freshening effect on our breath. Clove plays a dual role by not only freshening your breath but also being good for our teeth and gums.

Time and again, I have been advocating that green living doesn’t have to be just black and white. It is more of a learning process with each passing day. All we need is an open mind and will to change for the better. As a civilized society, we have reached a stage where most of us refuse to go back to living minimal. But starting off with a decent set of trade offs would be better than trying to believe that “one change wont really make a difference”. May be, with an shift like this, we would be able to explore more such ways and means to reduce our take it easy mentality. We could take a step further in reducing (human) impact on the planet. {I seem to be saying everything possible for the processing industry to gang up against people like me πŸ™‚ }

Saunf
Image source : wiki

On a lighter note…we could avoid this….

Image source: sustainabilityninja.com
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3 thoughts on “Cardamom – A greener mouth freshener

  1. Good old saunf πŸ™‚ No wonder it is still used as the only mouth freshner in Asian countries. But I did not know that cardamom can be used as a mouth freshner.. how do u use it… peel it off and use only the inner dark seeds?

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