i wanted to write this article for WHEN: Women Health Environment Network (of Toronto). because when i found about them online i wanted to be part of what they do in anyway. i messaged them and they told me that i could write about how my experience has been with switching to healthy food ( and how it was like given the fact that i am from syria) i wrote this and another relevant article on lifestyle in syria.   (see the other article here .. )

here is the article:


I am originally from Syria, it is where I also spent most of my life.

Syria is not only a Mediterranean country which its diet is mostly vegetarian based but also it is a country with rich ancient heritage and culture, and even though most of it is unfortunately gone and unacknowledged, some artisanal professions and handcrafts have remained… people in Syria for example are used to using the laurel soap.. a natural traditional soap which Aleppo in particular is very famous of producing. laurel soap is even more abundantly available and cheaper than the toxic brands who formulate their soaps in accordance with western modern industrial formulas. I used this traditional soap to wash my hair also..

Another thing I love about Syria, especially Damascus, is that there are no high huge buildings in every street downtown.. it is not an industrial country with huge grey or black buildings that have mirror-like windows! Architecture also affects our health.. the environment with all its components..  architecture is a very important part of this.. Toronto or New York have an architecture I can describe by “heavy on the chest”.. it is literally depressing because it presses on my chest! it creates a gloomy grey cloud over the city…  I love feng shui because it speaks of how the environment and architecture affects our health and well being, and everything I have read about feng shui was what I already knew and practiced intuitively. U just know its true.

The architecture in Damascus is simple and heart-warming… it is even more so in the old part of Damascus, where i can feel the “ancestors” souls when i touch a stone of the Omayyad mosque. There is something rejuvenating about the energy of Damascus. The water has a special taste, it seems to be charged with rejuvenating energy.. at least I know for sure it does not taste and smell like chlorine. the tap water in Toronto or new york smells strongly like chlorine unfortunately..

Another very important thing to note is that Syrian Government has always been reluctant about dealing with American corporations. That is therefore why The watermelon and the grapes’ seeds that the farmers plant in Syria are seeded, not seedless.. unlike in North america where it is becoming more and more difficult to find seeded watermelons or seeded grapes! The seeds in the fruits are the most condensed part of the fruit.. seeds are the origin of creation.. they are the heart and core. They are the storage of life force.. Eating fruits that are genetically bred to be seedless contributes to infertility.. you become seedless when u consume seedless plants. Yes, we literally are what we eat.. if we eat food that has little or no life force, we will also have little or no life force.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in Syria, and macdonalds:

There has never been any mcdonald’s in Syria. Not one American franchise restaurant there. There are no GMOs in Syria, except the wide-spread American yellow Corn, though there are other local non genetically modified varieties of corn available still everywhere, like the famous white corn.

Organic farmers market in Syria:

Recently (in 2006) the first organic farmers’ market in Syria has been created, uniting organic farmers of Latakia. There is another one also now in suedaa city and soon in Damascus I hope..

 they sell hand-made artisan crafts and educational tools and books and DVDS there too.. it is such a delight to attend one of these weekly farmers’ markets. The same people who organize these markets also have been organizing environmental educational workshops for kids, and trips for planting Trees and for cleaning the beach etc. I am very happy about this… a community of caring like-minded individuals is forming and widening.

And if u live in Damascus and want to use natural cleaning products you can easily make your own from safe ingredients and grated laurel soap that u can buy in bulk in many shops of old Damascus…

Natural skin care also has become available in Syria recently, with the opening of a company called “Biocham”. They make cold pressed oils, floral waters, essential oils. And even though there is a good Syrian company called “kessab herbs” which manufactures and sells natural skin care made from local Syrian ingredients, the company sells the products abroad to foreign countries because of their high prices that the majority of locals can’t afford. But there is one shop in old Damascus that sells their products…

And even before I knew of these companies, I heard of floral distilled waters and oils abundantly available wherever I went in Damascus.. I just had to choose the good quality kind. because these are part of tradition.. I remember when I first started noticing these natural alternatives… it wasn’t because anyone told me natural is better, I just intuitively loved to follow this.. I was “following my heart” it seems.

 So at first I started buying products some shops would claim are natural, then after a while I would read the ingredients and figure out they contain preservatives and synthetic perfume, etc.. I remember I went to the shop owner and complained about that skin care moisturizer he claimed he made by hand. I told him it has many synthetic ingredients, so he told me about how good Rose water is for the skin, and how its an all natural alternative. It was such a joy learning about that stuff.




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