Back in the 580s B.C. period, the Kingdom of Babylon, led by King Nebuchadnezzar, took captive the Kingdom of Judah. According to Biblical records, the reason for this captivity was because Judah kept sinning against God, so God rose up King Nebuchadnezzar to punish his people.
Of course, it's never a good thing when one nations conquers yours! Your entire lifestyle changes. You get hit with taxes, could have your property taken away, and you could even become slaves. Imagine that everything that you have right now, everything that you've worked so hard for, was just taken away. Your children are drafted to serve in the army of your new master, and you are forced to work without pay. You would call that a pretty bad situation, right?
Plus, the worst thing is that you'd be living in this condition for many, many years. You'd most likely not live to see the day when another nation sets you free.
Now, what if someone were to tell you to make the most of your situation? You would think that person lost his or her mind! How could you make the best out of being ruled by another nation?
According to the Bible, God told the Hebrews that instead of praying that they would escape Babylon, that they should make themselves comfortable there. "Build houses and settle down. Plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters. Find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there. Do not decrease." (Jeremiah 29:5-6) God also tells them in that same passage: "Pray to the Lord for it [Babylon], because if it prospers, you too will prosper" (verse 6).
Despite living in a bad situation, these people were told to make the absolute best out of it, because it was clear that they weren't leaving it any time soon.
Sometimes, you have to ask yourself, "What if my situation does not change?" So many of us are just living for the day when life works out the way we want it to. We long to get that better job, to make better money, to find a spouse, to have children, to move to a different location, to go to school, etc. We think that life will one day change for the better and we'd be happy again.
Well, what if none of that ever happens? What if you just can't find that right job? What if your business just doesn't work out? What if you never get cured of your sickness? What if you are stuck living in your neighborhood? Instead of longing for that story-book happy ending, we need to prepare ourselves for the fact that our situation may NEVER change.
However, just because your situation may not change doesn't mean it's the end of the world for you. It means that you just need to learn to work with it. Instead of leaving your situation, you need to learn to THRIVE in it.
In history, whenever a nation conquers another, the sole purpose of the conquering nation wasn't to wipe out the other nation. The conquering nation's sole purpose was to expand its kingdom. Very often, the conquering nation would allow other nations to continue with their way of life with some adjustments. When Rome took over as the world power, the Kingdom of Judah was one of the nations Rome controlled. Rome allowed the Jews to continue with their lifestyle as long as they paid their taxes and don't participate in any kind of revolts.
However, the Jews revolted two times against Rome, and eventually, Rome just destroyed Judah around 70 A.D. Had the Jews just learned to work with what they had and learned to THRIVE where they were, they wouldn't have had to suffer such a horrific loss.
Sometimes, trying to force your situation to change could harm you. The best way to change your situation is to WORK with it. When you work with what you have and learn to THRIVE in it, you'd be much better off than you'd be if you try to force your situation to change.
You see, you can't really live life when you're always dreaming about "one day." You know, "One day, my dreams would come true," "One day, I will find my happiness," "One day, I will feel complete." Well, what if that day never comes? Then what? What are you going to do, just curl up somewhere and die or find a way to THRIVE where you are?
Many of you are NOT where you'd thought you'd be in life. You're looking at the success of your friends and wish that you could be them. Well, you're NOT them. You are YOU, and you are where you are now. Don't cry about not having things turn out your way. Look at how you could use your situation to your advantage, and one day, things will ultimately work out.
You have to be like a weed: thrive where you've been planted. Weeds don't look for the perfect place. Wherever the wind blew the spores of the weeds, it will be there that the weeds will sprout and take over a garden!
So, start living TODAY, even in a bad situation. Make adjustments, tweak a few things, and see how you could better yourself where you are right now.
Looking for happiness? Well, stop looking! You won't find it. You can't find happiness. You could only create it!
Happiness is a state of mind. As such, you CHOOSE to be happy in whatever circumstances.
The only way to be happy is to decide to be happy!
Happiness isn't a thing. You can't find it. Happiness is not a result. There is nothing in your life that could produce happiness. The only way to be happy is to change your mindset.
A man and a woman get married. The woman might say that her wedding day was the "happiest day of her life." Five years later, she's talking about divorcing her husband. Why? Well, according to her, her husband doesn't "make her happy anymore." What happened? Did she leave her happiness at the church when she got married? Why isn't she happy anymore? Did her happiness only come at her wedding day and didn't follow her into her marriage?
You get a new job. You call up everybody telling them how happy you are. Three years later, the job is making you miserable. What happened? I thought getting the job made you happy? Why didn't your happiness continued into your work life?
You lose 50 pounds. You're happy! Your family is happy for you. One year later, you're miserable and gained 50-plus pounds. What happened?
You moved into a new home. You're happy! Six months later, you're complaining about life. What happened to your happiness?
You finally received your college degree. You're happy! Four months later, you're drinking yourself into misery. What happened?
There is nothing in this life that would make you happy. Only YOU decide what you're going to be happy about. Happiness is learned, not inherited. Happiness is a skill. It's something you must master. It cannot be given to you.
When you were a kid, you were happy about certain things. You were happy when you got your way, right? Why? Because you were taught to be happy whenever you got your way and to be miserable if you didn't. Whenever Mommy or Daddy caved in and got you what you wanted, your parents were teaching you what to be happy about. In this case, you were taught to be happy by being spoiled!
If you were raised in poverty, you were taught to be miserable! Everybody else had new cars, cool clothing, could eat out any time they wanted, had jobs that "made them happy," and they didn't seem to have a care in the world. But your parents always talked about how miserable they are in their poverty. Now you're being taught to be miserable in your poverty -- which means that you're also being taught to be happy when you "make it big" in life. So until you are able to get all the nice things in life, you'll be miserable.
Thanks, Mom and Dad, for teaching me how to be happy only when I'm able to get nice things!
Before I got married, I have determined that I would be happy whether single or married. I didn't want to depend on someone else making me happy. And I wanted to marry someone who also determined to be content whether single or married. Well, I suppose our determination made God "happy" because my wife and I found each other. We've been married for almost ten years and have two children together. To this day, I don't depend on her for happiness. I was happy without her and I am happy with her. I was going to be happy either way because I CHOSE to be happy either way.
Whether I have a lot of money or little money, I'm going to be happy. Whether with children or without children, I'm going to be happy. Whether single or married, male or female, fat or skinny, healthy or sick, I WILL be happy.
Now, does happiness mean that I will never be sad about anything? Of course, not! However, what you choose to be happy about will also determine what you would be sad about.
My grandmother passed away recently. I was actually HAPPY for her. Why? Because she was in a nursing home for 10 years. She was away from her home and from all the activities she previously enjoyed. Since she was also a stroke victim, she wasn't the same person. She was barely able to talk or comprehend certain things. Why continue that kind of life? It was time for her to rest in her heavenly Father's arms.
Being in her situation was actually sad for me! Yes, she was alive, but what kind of life was she living???
So, on the night before she passed, I visited her hospital bed and prayed that the Lord would take her so she would have peace. On the next day, she saw her children for the last time and passed away.
That made me happy. I wasn't happy that she died. I was happy that she is now with Jesus.
Obviously, you see that I have a positive view on death.
Yes, you're going to get sad at something -- initially. Yes, you're going to get angry at things -- initially. Yes, you're going to feel hopeless at times, stressed out, overwhelmed, you name it. But if you choose to REMAIN angry or sad or stressed or whatever, then that is your CHOICE. You're not forced to live in misery. You only choose to live that way.
Only YOU choose to be happy in whatever state you're in.
Choose happiness! Choose peace! Choose to be content in this life no matter where you find yourself in.
I don't care how old you get. As long as you keep your muscles challenged, you could do everything that young people could do!
Keep in mind that I said "challenge your muscles," not just simply use them.
You use your leg muscles all the time when you walk. Your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and butt muscles are always activated when you're walking. But people still lose the ability to walk without assistance as they get older.
People use their arm muscles all the time when they pick up something. They stimulate their biceps, triceps, forearm muscles, and shoulders whenever they push or pull anything. If you go shopping and use a shopping cart, you're not just using your arms, but also your chest muscles. Yet, you could still get weak in these areas as you get older -- so much so that pushing a walker would be a problem.
You are always using your muscles. But are you CHALLENGING your muscles? When you challenge your muscles, you are not just keeping them active, but you are also keeping them from deteriorating.
Think about it like this. I teach dance fitness classes twice a week and I have a following of over 60 people per class. Let's say that I've decided to stick with the same exercise routines and the same music for every class. A month goes by and I'm still playing the same music and using the same exercise moves. Three months go by and I'm still sticking with the same moves. It's nauseating just thinking about this!
How many people do you think I'll still have coming to my classes? Right, not many! People would get bored and start dropping out. They won't refer anymore friends to me. Eventually, I may have a class of five people, all of which are new. They'll keep coming until they get bored of the routines and music and they'll leave. Then I won't have a class anymore.
Same thing with your muscles. You may keep them activated by continuing your daily routines, but eventually the body won't see anymore use of your strength. So as you get older, your muscles would decrease in size and your strength would slowly go away. Eventually, you'll be the patient who calls 911 because you fell down and can't get up. You're not strong enough to get up! You know how toddlers could fall and jump back up? Well, you'll be weaker than them!
Even if you were to exercise regularly, if your exercises aren't challenging your body, then you'll still get weak and broken down.
Yes, you walk everyday. So what? You'll still lose your leg strength if you only walk, especially if you walk the same distance. You'll find that walking is getting harder and harder. You'll find that you're getting out of breath more easily. Eventually, you'll stop walking.
Are you an avid jogger? If your exercise is at the same intensity, then eventually you'll break down.
Even if you lift weights, if you're lifting incredibly light weight and don't challenge yourself to lift more, then your muscles will break down.
The same applies to your brain. I don't care how much you read, if you're not challenging your mind, then you, too, will suffer from deteriorating diseases of the brain.
No, you don't have to learn a new language or become a math whiz. You just need to seek new things in life. Start writing books, take new classes, learn a new skill. Do something different for your brain. If all you do is read the newspaper and watch the news, then your brain will eventually break down.
If you want to live a healthy, vibrant life well into old age, continue to challenge your mind and body.
Businesses understand that if they don't continue to change how they do things, they won't grow and would eventually go out of business. Recently, I've noticed that the Federal Postal Services are putting out these catchy commercials advertising new services that they provide. For the longest time, you just simply went to the post office to mail out a letter -- and MAYBE send out a package. Now that UPS and FedEx are around, we don't really need the post office to send out packages. And now that most businesses offer their customers to pay bills online or have their money debited from their bank account, there's really no need to use the post office to send checks or money orders.
Heck, I used to buy lots of stamps because I was always sending out mail. Not anymore! If I need a stamp, I'll just pay for one when I get to the post office. I don't need a booklet of stamps anymore.
As time changes, using the postal service won't be needed anymore. So if the U.S. postal service wants to stay in business forever, they would need to change how they do things and offer more to their customers.
Any business that fails to change with the times and meet new challenges won't grow and will go out of business. The same thing with your body. If you continue doing the same thing as you've always done, your body will eventually go out of business.
Start a new business. Offer more services in the business you have. If you're an exercise instructor, change up the routines often. Change the music often! If you lift weights, then lift more weights and lift them differently. If you have a college degree, get another one. If you have a certificate in something, get another one. Travel more often. Learn new skills. Learn new languages. Seek different things in life. Do the usual things differently. Always seek to be better, to do better, and to live better. Once you become complacent, that's when you stop changing and that's when you start deteriorating.
Some situations you could work with. Some situations you need to remove yourself from.
I was a public school teacher in New York City for less than 3 months! I've taught middle school social studies. It was the worst experience in my life! My time teaching there was so bad that it was changing who I was. My wife was getting scared! I had no peace, not even on the weekends because I knew that I would have to go back to school. The best time during the school days was the bus ride to school!
Man, just writing about this experience is making me edgy!
I had some hopes that things would get better. But, I just couldn't take it anymore. I left. The students were sad, but sorry, I couldn't do this work anymore! It was just better to completely remove myself from the situation.
My wife had a similar experience as a dental assistant. While she still lived in Buffalo, New York, she worked for this one particular dentist for a very short time. This dentist was a very difficult person to the point where my wife had no peace on that job. She had to leave it.
Sometimes, it's better to leave than to stay. Sometimes, it's better to just start over than to fix something. Sometimes, it's better to take another road than to keep traveling on a broken one.
One of the hardest things to understand is when to leave and when to stay. We don't want to be quitters, but we also don't want to live in constant disturbance. When should we just give up the fight and find another battle? Perhaps the best way to answer this is to ask yourself how much the situation means to you?
When I've left my public school job, I did it because it didn't mean much for me to stay there. I didn't care for the administration, the structure teachers had to follow when teaching classes, and the whole entire public education system. So, I didn't lose any sleep when I left it, as harsh as that sounds. It was affecting my life in a negative way. It was time to go!
Same thing with my wife when she left that dentist office. Working there had a negative impact on her. Being a dental assistant at that particular office didn't mean that much to her. So, she left.
If it means little to you and it's affecting you in a bad way, then leave.
But what if something does mean a great deal to you, but fighting for it would be useless? How would you know to move on instead of fighting for it?
One man in my church had recently gotten divorced from his wife of many years. He admit that he made mistakes in the marriage, but he wanted to fight to save it. His wife also made mistakes in the marriage, and one of the biggest ones was committing adultery. The husband actually forgave her, but she didn't care. She not only cheated on her husband, but while they were separated, she was seeing somebody else. She made it clear to her husband that she wanted out of the marriage. Sadly, they have three YOUNG children.
In addition, she not only wanted a divorce, but wanted more than just joint-custody of the children.
Was she worth fighting for? You may think not, but any marriage is worth fighting for. But obviously fighting for her was useless. All attempts the husband made to save the marriage failed. She made her choice and was sticking with it. The husband just had to let her go.
When a situation shows no signs of improvement despite your BEST efforts, then you just need to let it go.
Some marriages can't be saved. Some job situations won't improve. Some business pursuits would lead to nowhere. Some dreams just won't come true.
Maybe you're trying to start a business. Five years later and no signs of improvement despite your BEST efforts. I think it's time to spend your energy on another business venture that would work for you.
You and your husband tried having children of your own for years. You're approaching your 40s and there's no positive sign that you'll have a baby naturally. It's time to consider adoption. Most of your other friends already have kids that are in middle school! Adopt a child now before your friends' kids are old enough to be your kids' college professors!
You and your father may never work out your differences. You and your mother may never be at peace when in the same room. Your boss may always have a hard heart. Your teenage child has chosen a life of sin and has no intentions of changing heart. Some situations won't change despite your best effort. It's time to move on -- or "let go and let God."
When it's clear that things won't get better, then remove yourself from the situation.
Don't let some things become parasites to you. A parasite is something that doesn't benefit you, but hurts you! Don't let your job, certain family members, or business pursuits become your parasites. Rip them away from your life and pursue bigger and better things.
You know of toxic people. These are the ones you need to stay away from. They are a bad influence. Nobody likes them. These are the people who post discouraging things on their Facebook pages. They have bad attitudes, poor outlook on life, and they just make you downright depressed.
But ask yourself this question: are YOU a part of this toxic group?
We focus on how other people are toxic. We like to talk about how other people are no good, how negative other folks are, etc. But, we don't realize that WE OURSELVES could be toxic to others.
On my Facebook page, I would see several posts from my friends about "stupid people." Stupid people this, stupid people that. If you are always posting about how stupid people are, then what does that say about you? It says that you're easily frustrated, that you have no problems insulting other people if they "deserve it," and that you're vengeful. These are excellent ingredients for being a toxic person.
Since we're talking about Facebook, let me throw out a few more examples!
I have friends who are always posting about how much their lives suck. They can't find a job, or maybe they have a job that they hate, nothing is going well in their lives, and it feels like there is no God. What does that say about you? It says that you're negative, have a poor outlook on life, and don't mind making other people feel sad. Those are some toxic ingredients!
I have atheist friends that love to make fun of religion. They love to post articles about how Christians are hypocrites, why you shouldn't believe in God, how science proves there is no God, etc. What does that say about you? It says that you aren't culturally sensitive to others, that you have no problems disrespecting someone else's belief, and that you have some other unspoken issues that you need to deal with. You need a major detox, my friend!
Ah, and then there are those political zealots who like to make people feel bad for not agreeing with them. They insult government leaders, insult political parties, and make others feel bad for not agreeing with them. They also post degrading political photos. What does that say about you? You're insensitive to others who have a different worldview, you have no respect for authority, and if you keep posting anti-government statuses, you may have the FBI and CIA keeping watch over you.
I don't want to be at home with you when the SWAT team comes jumping through your windows!
Oh, and I can't forget about those who post about bad relationships. They are always in a different relationship. They talk about how there are no good men or women out there. But then you'll find that they are in yet another relationship -- and then they're not in a relationship anymore. Then you see more posts about how frustrated they are with the world and how they're going to take a vow of celibacy. But guess what? They find themselves in another relationship. And they're posting all of their business on Facebook? What does this say about you?
No, I can't forget those who post inappropriate statuses on their Facebook. It could be a sick joke that's inappropriate (such as a joke about someone with special needs), a sex joke, foul language, or anything that you don't want your kids to see. What does that say about you?
If what you're posting doesn't contribute to anything positive in someone's life, then it's not a worthy post. It's a toxic one. If what you say brings people down, insults a group, reflects a poor view on life, and shows how bad your relationships are, then it's toxic.
Listen! People want to be uplifted! They want encouragement. Some of your friends may find some humor in your photos of you sticking your middle finger at the White House, but that humor does nothing positive for them.
Your posts about always being sick may make someone in your situation feel like they're not alone. But then again, you're just reminding them how poor their health is. That's downright depressing! After a while, you yourself won't want to hear about other people's sickness. You want to see that there is some hope out there for you!
Your other atheist friends may think it's funny that you've posted a ridiculous photo of Jesus doing something inappropriate. But you're also encouraging them to be insensitive to their friends' religious beliefs. It's really a way for you to spread hatred.
Yes, you and your other Republican friends may get a kick out of anti-Obama photos. Or you and your other Democratic friends may get a laugh out of Mormon jokes about Romney. But what you're doing is encouraging others to be disrespectful to government leaders.
If you're encouraging your friends to promote negativity in this world, you are a toxic person. If you are spreading hatred, disrespect, and a poor worldview to others, then you are a toxic person.
Do you know what a "toxin" in the body means? You've heard of detoxing your body or getting rid of toxins from the body. A toxin is anything that the body has no use for, and if that toxin remains, it could damage the body.
If you're a toxin, then you're damaging! You damage people's values, their beliefs, their sense of worth, their morality. If you encourage someone to be worst than they are, then you are a toxic person.
In the Bible, there's a beautiful passage that shows what makes a person not toxic. "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)
One of the last things you need is someone telling you that you're no good for them. I surely don't want to be "defriended" as someone's Facebook friend because I was too toxic for them. I don't want people to walk the other way when they see me. I don't want others to feel more depressed when I'm around. When I come into the room, I want others to think, "Man, I don't know why, but somehow I feel like everything is going to be all right!"
How do people feel when they're around you? Can they breathe easier or are they more stressed?
You could find apples anywhere in the United States. But did you know that apples didn't originate from the U.S.? Well actually, nobody really knows where apples came from. Since they are one of the world's oldest cultivated fruit, heck, they could have originated anywhere!
Even though there are apples ALL OVER the U.S., China is the largest producer of apples in the world. The U.S. comes second, and the only reason the U.S. even produces apples is because early English settlers brought them to the U.S. in the 1600s.
The only apples available in the U.S. during that time were the crab apples, and they weren't edible...or they just tasted nasty. So, the folks from England brought over apple seeds to the "New World," and then came mass planting of this fruit all over the U.S. But one man in particular, John Chapman, was famous for planting apple seeds all throughout Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. This earned him the nickname "Johnny Appleseed."
We could credit the English for bringing apples to the U.S. And the English could credit the Romans for bringing them apples when the Romans conquered them back in the first century B.C.
So, when you see an apple tree or an apple at your local supermarket, remember that the apples were a result from lots and lots and lots of crazy planting from European settlers. They loved apples so much that they wanted this country to be filled with them.
One thing about kiwi fruits are that they're sweet yet bitter. You either love them or hate them. But when added to drinks, they taste great!
We typically associate this fruit with New Zealand, but the kiwi fruit didn't originate in New Zealand, but in China! In fact, it was once declared to be China's national fruit! Other varieties of the kiwi fruit came from India, Japan, and even Siberia!
This fruit is actually considered a berry. The early Chinese used to call it "yang tao," which means "strawberry peach." The Europeans would later nicknamed the fruit "Chinese Gooseberries."
Back in the early 1900s, a New Zealand missionary brought back kiwi seeds to New Zealand. In the 1930s, New Zealand started to produce these fruits commercially and this fruit became a BIG HIT in New Zealand. In fact, in the 1960s, the fruit was given the brand name "kiwi" (since the kiwi bird and the fruit shared similar characteristics). For some reason, New Zealand never did trademark the name Kiwi, so now everybody calls the fruit kiwi and don't have to worry about getting sued for infringement rights!
One of the most potent nutrient in the kiwi is vitamin C. It perhaps has more vitamin C than an orange! I might pick an orange over a kiwi, though...oranges aren't as sweetly bitter!
When kids think about bananas, they think about monkeys. When comedians think about bananas, they think about the old slipping-on-a-banana-peel gag. When athletes think about bananas, they think about a powerhouse snack that's loaded with energy-blasting carbohydrates.
Bananas are one of the most widely consumed fruits in the world. This fruit is entirely imported from other countries that have the perfect climate to grow these fruits. So, you won't see banana farms in the U.S.
The banana that we are familiar with (as shown in this picture) is called the Cavendish banana. Did you know that this banana was actually man-made??? Okay, no, we don't have the ability of God to make fruit, but we certainly have the ability to "play God" and cross-breed different varieties of bananas until we get one that we like.
This cross-breeding perhaps took place in Africa around 650 A.D. As a result, seedless bananas developed and they probably looked similar to the Cavendish banana that we eat today.
Now, why make a banana without seeds? Well, obviously eating fruit where you have to constantly spit the seeds out is a pain in itself (just think about a watermelon with seeds!). But the "wild variety" of bananas (the natural ones you could find growing by themselves) have seeds that are very large and very hard! You can't just peel them and eat...unless you want to break a few teeth!
As for the origin of bananas, well, no one is really sure where they came from. Some archaeological studies would suggest that bananas have been cultivated first in Papua New Guinea and that they spread all over the world from there.
One of the things bananas are famous for is their potassium content. One large banana could have anywhere from 300 mg to 500 mg of potassium. But with the amount of potassium inside of a banana, a small amount of it is considered potassium-40, which is naturally radioactive. Potassium-40 is used in geology for potassium-argon dating of rocks. Wow...who knew that one fruit could be used for a science project?
India, Uganda (Africa), and China are the largest producers of bananas in the world. However, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Colombia are the world's largest exporters of bananas, so when you get your bananas from a supermarket, it most likely came from one of those South American countries.
Man, I love me some cantaloupe, especially when they are ripe! They are just so delicious! I could eat cantaloupe ALL day long. Heck, I would love to have a backyard full of cantaloupe!
There are two varieties of cantaloupe: the American and European. That should be simple enough! The photo here is the American version.
Christopher Columbus is credited to having introduced the cantaloupe to the American indians in the 1490s. We have been eating cantaloupes on this North American continent ever since!
Back in 1700, the Armenias brought cantaloupe seeds to Italy, which were then grown in a small town called Cantalupo. The French referred to this fruit as "cantaloup." Finally, the Anglicans just had to add an "E" at the end of the word, so that now the fruit is currently known as "cantaloupE."
Both the European and American cantaloupe are, believe it or not, related to the squash fruits -- including pumpkins. The cantaloupe (as well as watermelon and honey dew melon) is just the sweet variety where you could eat it without gagging. Ever tried to eat a pumpkin or butternut squash raw? Me neither!
The cantaloupe is highest in vitamin A and beta carotene (which could also turn into vitamin A when consumed) due to its intense orange fresh.
The foundation of any salad is lettuce. When we think about lettuce, we think about the bland, taste-less, nutrient-deficient "iceberg lettuce" (shown in the picture. But there are actually several varieties of lettuce, and we eat them in our salads today because of the ancient Egyptians.
Records show that lettuce have been cultivated in Egypt back in the 2680s BC, and they were grown mainly fortheir seeds to make oil. But then lettuce started taking on other meanings for the Egyptians, including religious meanings.
The early lettuce in Egypt were leafy and tall, about 30 inches high. No iceberg lettuce for the Egyptians. If they had that kind of lettuce around, they probably would have start planting them!
The Egyptians passed on the lettuce to the Greeks (perhaps when Alexandra the Great conquered them), and the Greeks passed on the lettuce to the Romans (perhaps when the Romans conquered them!). It was the Romans that named this plant "lactura" ("lac" meaning "milk," referring to a milky-like substance that came out of the stems of the lettuce). The Anglos adopted the word lactura and put their middle English twang to it, calling it "lettuce."
This leafy veggie was introduced in North America by Christopher Columbus in the late 1490s AD.
Since lettuce has such a short life span (heck, it's like when you buy them at the store, they start going bad before you get home!), you were only able to buy them at a close market. Pretty much, if you didn't have a farmer's market in town that sold them, then you just wouldn't get any lettuce. There was no way you could grow lettuce across the country and ship them without them soiling.
However, during the 1900s, the U.S. started developing packaging techniques to ship these veggies to distant places. During the 1950s, the U.S. finally developed a cooling and packaging technique for lettuce so that you could ship them from New York to Florida without them going bad. Or from North Carolina to California...whatever!
There are different kinds of lettuce. The iceberg lettuce is considered a "crisphead" type. Then you have your more nutrient-dense Romaine variety. Besides the appearances, the main things that distinguishes these varieties of lettuce is the nutritional content. In general, all lettuce are high in vitamin A and potassium. Romaine, however, is VERY high in vitamin A since the leafs are so dark green. Romaine is also high in calcium. But get this: Romaine also has protein! But not just any protein, but "complete protein," meaning that it has all the essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own.
Iceberg lettuce is perhaps the least nutrient-dense lettuce. This doesn't mean it's useless! If anything, it has a HIGH water content, so if you eat enough of these, then you'll be getting plenty of water to meet your daily water intake needs. Okay...well...you probably won't eat that much of this lettuce. But as far as nutrition goes, it has vitamin A and potassium, as well as fiber and small amounts of vitamin C.
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