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LettuceIn this current heatwave the UK is enjoying the consumption of salads is almost certainly increasing, but could the humble lettuce be more than just a leafy salad green? According to an article in the Daily Mail lettuce had a racier function in ancient Egypt.

A distant relative of the cos lettuce was taken as an aphrodisiac and used as a phallic symbol by the ancient Egyptians, according to one egyptologist.

Salima Ikram of the American University of Cairo said that lettuces can be seen on the walls of tombs dating back to 2,000 BC and were supposedly the Egyptian god of fertility, Min’s favourite food.

The god, who is often depicted with an erect penis in ancient wall paintings and hieroglyphs, was described as the ‘great of love’ in a text from the Edfu Temple.

And he might have lettuce to thank for this generous title because lettuce was believed to help Min ‘perform the sexual act untiringly,’ said Professor Ikram.

Lettuces have been eaten for millenia and the earliest version of the salad ingredient resembled a cos or romaine lettuce that we enjoy today, according to Smithsonian.

In ancient Egypt in around 2,000BC, the leafy vegetable was not munched as a light meal or appetiser, but taken as an aphrodisiac, according to Professor Ikram.

She specialises in ancient Egyptian food.

Professor Ikram said Min’s role changed over 3,000 years, but his association with the lettuce remained.

It is thought that the first depiction of the god with his favoured lettuce appears around 1980BC in The White Chapel of Senusret, although Ikram said there might be earlier examples.

A relief from the funerary temple of Rameses III, shows Min’s harvest festival.

A statue of Min is pictured in the centre and behind him is a procession of priests holding small lettuces.

The god is also sometimes depicted wearing a long red ribbon around his forehead to signify his sexual energy.

Professor Ikram told Smithsonian: ‘One of the reasons why [the Egyptians] associated the lettuce with Min was because it grows straight and tall—an obvious phallic symbol.’

The lettuce was thought to be sacred to Min because of its straight growth as well as the milky liquid that it exudes when first cut, which could be viewed as a symbol of a mother’s milk or even semen.

Interestingly the ancient Egyptians discarded the deep green leaves and instead of using the leaves in a meal, removed the seeds from flower buds.

The Egyptologist said that the seeds were pressed to extract their natural oils, which were used for cooking, medication and even mummification.

The leafy vegetable is also used as a traditional remedy for hair regrowth in modern Egypt.

Lettuces became recognisable salad ingredients thanks to the Greeks and Romans in around 85 AD during the reign of Domitian.

Professor Ikram said that a salad was included at the beginning of a meal to stimulate appetite.

It was eaten again at the end of a lavish meal to aid digestion, according to author Gill Marks.

The Greeks and Romans used lettuce to help people sleep, Professor Ikram added.

Apparently emperor Domitian forced his guests to eat the leafy vegetable before their meal so they would struggle to stay awake for the remainder of their visit.

Get your juice on!

I love juicing lettuce and leafy greens. They are especially good when mixed with a little cucumber, celery, apple and lime ;-). Leafy greens are great for maintaining health. If you don’t like eating them why not juice yours too! If you are inspired to start juicing and need to buy a juicer? Click here to get a 5% discount at Juice Master! (Note: discount is applied at check out)

2013 Miles in 2013

This year I am trying to complete 2013 miles self-powered miles. It is has been 10 years since my cousin’s son Adam lost his fight with Cystic Fibrosis. Adam was just 18 years old when when he lost his lifelong battle with CF, the UK’s most common life-threatening inherited disease. Despite spending large parts of his short life in hospital Adam never once complained, not even of a headache and was determined to make the most of everyday.

My 2013 miles in 2013 challenge is in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust as I have been surprised since I started fundraising for the CF Trust just how many people are unaware of this disease and so I hope my efforts will not just raise money, but also awareness of the UK’s most most common life-threatening inherited disease.

The first person to commit to sponsoring my 2013 mile challenge has committed to 1p per mile (£20.13 in total) and this got me thinking. I am hoping that as many as possible of those reading this will commit to do the same and the best thing is, if each person does this on a “pay as you go” type approach all you will need to part with is approx £2 just after each pay day. In January I completed 205.9 miles, in February I completed a further 200.9 miles, in March I completed 185.7 miles, in April I completed 192.1 miles, in May I completed 168 miles and in June I completed 145 miles. If you can please spare £10.98 to help the Cystic Fibrosis Trust it will be greatly appreciated.

The easiest way to give your sponsorship is to visit my Just Giving page: http://www.justgiving.com/2012-AYearWithoutBeer-CF.

2013 Miles in 2013 – The rules

The rules for my 2013 miles in 2013 challenge are quite simple:

  1. All miles must be completely self powered (no motors, sails, etc)
  2. I must be able to evidence all miles, either via GPS or with a picture of any static gym equipment

To complete my 2013 miles I will be running, cycling, rowing and who knows, I might even try a few other self powered methods along the way.