Chocoholics Have no Fear, Chocolate Pudding Fruit is Here

By Anupum Pant

I’ve heard of all sorts of fruits. But this is something I came across just yesterday and I think it is worth mentioning. I bet you haven’t heard of it too. This fruit is called the Black Sapote (the scientific name is Diospyros digyna, in case you need it) also known as the Chocolate pudding fruit or Black persimmon.

Description: The chocolate pudding fruit or Black sapote (not related to the more common mamey sapote) is an apple sized, olive-green colored fruit found in eastern Mexico and Central America. When ripe, it turns from bright green to a lighter shade of green. At this stage it is plucked and allowed to soften for 3-6 days. After it is allowed to soften, the skin turns brownish and the fruit becomes very soft. Now, when it is cut, a smooth and silky textured brown colored chocolate like pulp is obtained from the inside.

Although Black Sapote is slightly larger, It looks a lot similar to the apple like fruit that grows in the world’s most dangerous tree.

Taste and Recipes: Not that I’ve eaten it. Still it is interesting to know that the fruit might or might not have seeds, is delicious and tastes very close to chocolate pudding. The texture is free from any gains and feels smooth in the mouth like papaya. It is often used as a substitute for chocolate in milkshakes, ice-creams, smoothies and juices to impart a creamy rich chocolate color and flavour. It is also mixed with orange juice and served with cream. Other times it is mixed with wine, brandy, cinnamon and sugar.

Health and Fitness: For chocolate addicts, this fruit is actually very healthy. Mostly because it does not fatten you – it is low in fat. At the same time the fruit is pretty rich in Vitamin C. One fruit is said to normally contain four times as much as Vitamin C as an Orange! I don’t have to tell you that Oranges are known for their Vitamin C content.

I wonder why it doesn’t grow in India. The climate pretty much suits it! Or do you have it in India too?

Article In a sentence: There exists a fruit that goes by the name of Black Sapote or “chocolate pudding fruit”. It  tastes, looks and feels a lot like chocolate pudding, is actually low in fat and has about four times as much Vitamin C as an Orange. [Video]

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The Tarahumara People Can Run for 400 Miles Non-Stop

By Anupum Pant

The marathon is one of the most popular long-distance running events and is followed by people from around the world. An athlete, to even finish the ~42 km race, has to go through a training that lasts several months (or years).The training is designed to develop the slow twitch muscle fibers which enables athletes to run for a long distances without getting tired. But, lacking access to all the hi-tech training equipment, there are people who can run fifteen times that in one session.

Tarahumara people or ‘Running people’ are a group of Native American people living in the north-western Mexico who can run 400+ miles in around 50 hours! Sounds impossible, but it is true. Astonishingly, the entire tribe consisting of men, women, old and young, every one of them is capable of running at least 250+ miles in a single run, without shoes. Such extreme feat of endurance has never been seen among humans anywhere else in the world.

They are the kind of people who run to live. They have running events lasting more than 200 miles regularly. They run to send messages and they run for food; Like Michael Stevens from Vsauce says, as hunters humans who can run persistently, can outrun even horses.

In fact, I thought about writing this after I watched a very interesting video on Vsauce and was feeling uneasy that Michael had missed the Tarahumara people. – [Video]

Where do they get the energy? – Unlike athletes who last on energy gained from Gatorade (or other drinks), these people run on copious amounts of a beverage made from corn, to keep up with the amount of calories they burn in a single event – around 43,000 calories. A great workout indeed!

One thing that has confused me: If they can run 400 miles with ease, why don’t they take part in the marathon events? I’m guessing that they run for long but don’t run as fast as a marathon runner. If you know why, tell me in the comments section below.

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Axolotl – A Walking Fish That can Regenerate Limbs

By Anupum Pant

If you are looking at an Axolotl for the first time, it will confuse you. With an oddly shaped body that resembles both a catfish and a salamander, you’ll wonder if it lives in water or on land. [Image]

What is it?

A fish? Axolotl, commonly known as the Mexican Walking Fish, isn’t actually a fish. It is an amphibian, which means it has both lungs and gills. They almost never come out of water, hold their breath and take in oxygen using their gills (those three pairs of parts coming out at the back of its head are the gills). They can hold their breath for a year, beat that Mr. David Blaine.

Or Salamanders? They are closely related to salamanders and interestingly the adult Axolotls look like baby Salamanders. They have long abandoned the usual amphibian-transformation from a larva stage to an adult. Unlike Salamanders, they don’t transform into adults that can live outside water. They stay in water and walk around on the water-bed.

However, strange species of Axolotl was once delivered to a zoologist Auguste Duméril, which had somehow transformed like salamanders and would happily come out of water. But this transformation (metamorphosis) shortened their life span. Later it was found that this process can be artificially triggered by injecting iodine. (Do NOT try this at home)

As pets: Today, these animals are fairly common and are used as exotic pets all around the world. Especially in Japan, people love to have them in their aquariums.

Side note: Like several other Pokémon based on real animals, Whooper and Mudkip were actually based on Axolotls.

Regenerative Powers

Besides having the ability to walk underwater and its unusual appearance, there is something that is much more interesting about them. Unlike, almost any other vertebrate, they have the power to regenerate various cells. Not just cells, Axolotls can regenerate complete body parts – limbs, gills, eyes, kidneys, even large portions of its liver and its heart muscle. Even portions of its spine and brain can be regenerated. They are able to grow back a severed limb in span of few months. This is the reason scientists love these creatures and conduct a number of studies on them every year.