Just before reaching maturity, the poppy plant produces a flower. After about a week, the flower petals fall off, leaving a capsule. Raw opium gum is harvested from this capsule. The surface of the capsule is cut, or “scored,” with a knife containing three or four small blades, and the opium gum oozes out through these cuts. The next day, the farmer scrapes the gum off the capsules with a flat tool called a scraper. Each capsule is usually scored in this manner three to five times, or until scoring produces no more gum. Poppyfields contain thousands of poppy capsules, so harvesting is very labor intensive. Once the gum is collected, the farmer sets it out to dry for several days, then wraps it in banana leaf or plastic. The gum is stored until a trader comes to the village–opium gum has a very long shelf life and can gain value over time. After the harvesting process is complete, the capsules are cut from the stem, allowed to dry, then broken open so that the seeds inside the capsule can be used for next year’s crop.
Now, caloric restriction is good to a point – if you expend more energy than you take in, you should lose weight – but this only works to a certain degree. Our bodies are designed to store fat. This is because our bodies evolved by not knowing when the next meal might be. So if you starve yourself, guess what happens – you go into fat-saving mode. Exactly not what we want. So feel free to cut some calories back from your fat-maintenance baseline, but don’t go crazy, or else your body will hate you and it will show.