Sunday, March 26, 2017

Minimal Energy, No Heavy Machinery, Only Hand Tools and a Lawnmower

Natural Farming is sometimes called Zero-cost Farming in some developing countries. Mini Natural Farm tries to use only hand tools, not only as a means to minimize cost, but also as a means to minimize energy consumption. Some people is still in some delusional states by not admitting the fact that our fossil fuel reserve is close to its ending stage. Some scientists have already warned us that cruel oil reserve might not last more than a hundred years, meaning that it can be used only for at more five to ten human generations. Not only that, towards the end of oil production era, the cost of fossil fuel will start to increase exponentially, making most poor people, mainly farmers, unable to afford using it as a source of energy input.

Meat (Even Lean Meat) and Dairy Products are Major Causes of Obesity in the U.S.

Ignoring tiny countries with population smaller than 10 million people (88 countries in total), the U.S. is the #2 most obese country in the world. The worst country is Egypt. [1] Amongst all Aermcians, 47.8% of Blacks, 42.5% Latinos, 32.6% of Whites, and only 10.8% of Asians are obese. [2] I don't believe it is race that matters. Instead, I believe it is the diet they receive.

Asians don't consume at lot of meat or diary, and hence they normally don't have too much animal saturated fat in their diet. In fact, most Asians are lactose intolerant, just like myself, and don't consume too much milk. A major problem with milk is that it is a liquid that contains tons of proteins and fats. Drinking milk won't give you fullness, but gives you too much high energy nutrients. Milk and dairy products have become a major part of human diet, only until recently. Thanks to mainstream medical doctors and nutritionists.

Meat is obviously another culprit. Meat contains not only tons of proteins, but also saturated fat. Some people wrongly believe that proteins (from lean meat) will not lead to obesity. Again, thanks to mainstream medical doctors and nutritionists. Some people believe that eating lean meat will make you lean. This belief is naive and WRONG!

Adults need proteins only for maintenance and production of hormones, enzymes, and immune defense materials. The proteins that are eaten but not used will eventually go through a process called deamination so that they can be safely excreted through our urinary system in the form of urea.

All proteins consist of amino acids. Most amino acids contain more carbon atoms than nitrogen atoms. For instance, tyrosine contains 9 carbon atoms and only 1 nitrogen atom. A urea molecule contains only 1 carbon atom and two nitrogen atoms. If you eat proteins that contain tyrosine, you end up accumulating carbon atoms (in the form of carbohydrates and fat). This is simple accounting.

Eating proteins does not automatically allow you to build muscle (using both carbon and nitrogen atoms) or provide you with energy (by the burning of carbon atoms to exhale as carbon dioxide), unless you do a lot of exercise. An adult who eats a lot of proteins without doing a lot of exercise will end up accumulating carbon and hence fat because humans don't store too much carbohydrates, except for a small amount of glycogen in the liver. Most unused carbohydrates (after the deamination of unused proteins) will be transformed and stored as fat.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Hearts of Biennial Members of the Brassica Family

The brassica family is a large family of edible vegetables (European greens and Asian greens), including collard green, kale, broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, daikon, radish, turnip, etc. Whereas some of the members are annual vegetables, others are biennials. Most biennial members of the brassica family are more cold hardy, heat tolerant, and drought tolerant. Perhaps these are their evolutionary adaptions allowing them to survive both heat and cold so that they can live for two years, instead of just one.

Unlike the annual members in the brassica family, biennial members do not bolt even in the hot summer in their first year. Instead, all biennial members of the brassica family, such as cabbage, collard green, and kale, will grow stems and then flowers in their second year. They can start "bolting" (growing stems and flowers) as early as early spring, and all the way to late summer before they finally die off.

Although you can eat cabbage heart raw, I prefer to saute them using a little bit of vegetable oil, soy sauce, and ginger powder. If you haven't tried this before, you have to cause it is just super tender, flavorful, and yummy! They are like no other vegetables that you have ever tried before. BTW, the second year leaves of cabbage that pop up in late winter and early spring are also much more tender, sweeter, and more flavorful than their first year counterparts because of the cold weather. I prefer not to eat them though cause I want to get more hearts out of the plant. You need more leaves to support more hearts!

I don't have enough cabbage hearts for sale this year, so they are mainly for my own consumption. Starting from next year, I will have collard green hearts, kale hearts, daikon heart, and cabbage heart for sale. So, stay tuned.

Quail Eggs (not available now)

Antibiotic-free and hormone-free quail eggs are now available. They are $2 a dozen and $3.5 for 2 dozens. Quail eggs are more nutritious than chicken eggs and they don't have the after taste of chicken eggs. They are softer and hence easier to digest. They can be stored in your fridge for a month.

See my recipe HERE.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Organically Grown Aloe Vera Plants are Available Now!

I have some organically grown aloe vera plants for sale. Large ones are $3.5. Large ones with babies are $4. Medium small ones are $2. Babies for transplants are $0.5 each. They are grown in tree debris and composts. They can tolerate down to 40F without any damage. So, you can grow them in the garage with just some light and water even in the winter. 

Vegetable-based Fermented Food is Good for your Digestive System

Why are fermented vegetables good for your digestive system?

A very recent study of the microorganisms present in Kimchi shows that the fermentation process of Kimchi produces a lot of good bacteria, such as Leuconostoc mesenteroides and Lactobacillus, and also bacteriophages. Leuconostoc mesenteroides has the ability to inhibit the growth of other bacteria. Lactobacillus is a latic acid bacteria which is considered as a probiotic. Bacteriophages are predators of bacteria.

Whereas the beneficial effects of fermented vegetables are not fully understood, their merits cannot be underestimated. Whether you have Native American, African, European, or Asian ancestors, most if not all adopted some kind of diets that have included fermented vegetables in them. Pickled cucumbers or other vegetables, for instance, has been a common food item for almost all Europeans throughout history. Whereas the pickled cucumbers you buy from supermarkets may not be fermented, true pickled cucumbers are.

Apple cider (or other fruit) vinegar is also fermented. Whereas the apple cider vinegar that you buy from the supermarket is filtered (does not contain the mother), true apple cider vinegar containing the mother may be as healthy as Kimchi.

Modern diets and commercialization of fermented vegetables have changed the diet that we have inherited from our ancestors without being noticed. This may be a critical reason why more and more people have digestive system problems, such as SIBO (small intestine bacteria overgrowth) and  IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Making and eating your own fermented vegetables may revert this trend.

J Y Jung et al. "Metagenomic Analysis of Kimchi, a Traditional Korean Fermented Food," Appl. Environ. Microbiol. April 2011 vol. 77 no. 7.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

We are closed on March 16, 2017 (Thursday)

We are closed on March 16 Thursday and will be open on March 17 Friday. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Cook Using Vegetable Oil, instead of Olive Oil

Many so-called chefs are now using olive oil, instead of corn oil or vegetable oil for stir frying vegetables. They certainly have no knowledge of some of the critical properties of these different types of oil. The following properties of these different types of oil make corn oil and vegetable oil a better choice than olive oil for cooking:

First, olive oil contains saturated fat (in addition to unsaturated fat), such as palmitic acid which is also contained in most meat. So, eating olive oil does not prevent the problems caused by eating animal fat. Saturated fat is considered a possible cause of cardiovascular diseases. Neither corn oil, nor vegetable oil contains any saturated fat.

Second, olive oil becomes part of the diet of many people in the world population until only recently. Most of our ancestors had never used olive oil. It is doubtful that we can adapt to a large quantity of this new item in our diet without having any potential problems.

Third, olive oil has a very low boiling point due to the presence of saturated fats. A low boiling point results in a lot of smoke even at relative low temperature. On the other hand, corn oil and vegetable oil only contain unsaturated fat and hence have much higher boiling points, resulting in much less smoke. Cooking smoke not only makes your kitchen greasy and dirty. A lot of cooking smoke will also have harmful effects to the cook, especially to the lung, in the long-run.

Finally, olive oil is much more expensive. It is just not worth it.

Olive oil is good for salad only because it is thicker, due to its higher viscosity. When it comes to cooking, olive oil is a poor choice!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Vegetable starter tray inserts for sale

606 has 36 cells for each tray, whereas 1206 has 72 cells per tray. They are all extra deep. They are standard sized that can fit into standard starter trays. 

1206 is $1.5 each. If you buy 3 or more, it will be $1.2 each
606 is $1.8 each. If you buy 3 or more, it will be $1.5 each

1206 vegetable starter tray inserts:

606 vegetable starter tray inserts

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

New Life, New Meaning

The first quail chick just hatched
Then came the second and third

People are looking for the meaning of life. And yet life itself is the meaning all by itself. It has always been there, no more and no less. The meaning of life cannot be sought; you only need to live your life to realize it. And yet people don't see it.

My new baby quail chicks just hatched last night, making my night sleepless. Well, you can't win. But life is not about winning or losing anyway. The new quail chicks just live with or without knowing the meaning of life cause they realize the meaning of life without knowing or understanding it. They live in the meaning of life, namely, life itself.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Sufficient Amount of Calcium without Drinking Milk

Calcium is not only important for building and maintaining your bone, but also important for many chemical reactions in your body metabolism and immune, and other chemical reactions at the cell level. Even today, many medical doctors and nutritionists suggest that you drink a lot of milk or take calcium supplements.

Unfortunately, many calcium supplements, such as calcium carbonate, are not very effective because of its low water solubility and its alkalinity. A more readily absorbed form of calcium is calcium acetate which is more expensive of course. Calcium acetate can be created by cooking natural ingredients. If you add a little bit of acetic acid (vinegar) to some beef or pork bones, you will obtain calcium acetate in the broth.

If you are a vegan or being lactose intolerant, you can still obtain tons of calcium from your diet without relying on milk or bones at all. The entire family of "Brassica" green vegetables contain tons of calcium. You can obtain more calcium by consuming these vegetables than by drinking milk. Raw collard green, kale, bok choy, Japanese mustard spinach, ... belong to the brassica family and they all contain approximately the same amount of calcium as milk per cup. If you lightly cook your vegetables, you can actually obtain more calcium than by drinking milk. By eating 2 cups of lightly cooked vegetables, you are effectively eating 4-6 cups of raw vegetables which is equivalent to drinking 4-6 cups of milk.

Eating these vegetables also gives you tons of vitamins A, C, E, and K, plus tons of minerals, such as magnesium. The most important thing from eating these vegetables, of course, is fiber that is essential for a healthy digestive system. Milk does not contain vitamin C and it does not give you dietary fiber. Milk also contains too much saturated fat and lactose. 90% of the world population has some degree of lactose intolerance. Drinking milk can mess up your digestive system in the long-run, if not immediately. Commercial milk may also contain lots of hormones and antibiotics that can cause cancer, digestive problems, etc. Last but not least, milk does not give you the sense of fullness, so that you tend to eat more, possibly leading to obesity.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Complete Amino Acid Profile for Protein Intake for Vegans

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins in all living organisms. Humans, like all animals, must obtain amino acids by eating. Most amino acids can be transformed from other amino acids. However, out of the 20 amino acids that are used, there are 10 amino acids that cannot be obtained by humans via transformation and hence must be obtained via eating. They are arginine, histadine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.

Most vegetable (non-meat, non-egg, non-dairy) proteins do not contain a well-balanced amino-acid profile of the 10 essential amino acids. One can check the amino profile imbalance by simply looking at a food item's protein score and the different essential amino acids contained in it. The only vegetable sources that contain a well-balanced amino acid profile are quinoa and amaranth seeds. Most vegetable proteins may have a deficiency of lysine or methionine or both.

There is a way for you, as a vegan, to obtain sufficient amounts of vegetable based proteins with a well-balanced amino acid profile even if you don't always consume enough quinoa or amaranth seeds. That is, you can complement a vegetable that is deficient in certain essential amino acids by consuming some other vegetables that have an abundance of those essential amino acids.

For example, fava beans have a protein score of 84 which is not too far away from quinoa or even eggs. However, it does not contain enough methionine (a sulfur amino acid). Therefore, you may want to complement fava beans by eating something like walnuts in the same week that you eat fava beans. Whereas walnuts has an abundance of methionine and a deficiency in lysine, fava beans has an abundance of lysine and a deficiency of methionine. Therefore, fava beans and walnuts complement each other.

Another strategy for a vegan to obtain proteins with a well-balanced amino acid profile is simply to diversify the different vegetables that you consume. Do a lot of mix and match everyday and every week.

Notice that the so-called "complete or well-balanced amino-acid profile" is something developed by some nutritionists who compare the amino-acid profile of a food item with that of an egg. There is no reason to believe that eating egg protein is "perfect" for humans. Plus, there is no one single standard for the composition of human body proteins. Humans are all different with different levels of tolerance. So, don't be too concerned if you have a slight deficiency in a certain amino acid in your diet!

You can check the essential amino acid profile of a particular food item by checking websites such as:

Friday, March 3, 2017

Lightly Cooked Vegetables are Better than Raw

A lot of people wrongly believe that eating raw vegetables is better than eating cooked vegetables. Oftentimes, people argue that heat will destroy the nutrients in vegetables. This argument, however, is only correct when you cook your vegetables with high heat, say by baking or deep frying (e.g., in Tempura). If you lightly cook your vegetables, you not only will not destroy the nutrients, but will also have many advantages over eating your vegetables raw. The following is a list of the advantages of cooking your vegetables lightly:
  1. Some chemicals, such as lycopene, in tomatoes, will increase after cooking.
  2. Antioxidants may also increase by cooking.
  3. Light cooking does not reduce the available amount of vitamin C by too much. In fact, light heating will break down the cell walls of vegetable cells much more effectively than simple chewing, allowing more nutrients to come out. 
  4. Light cooking reduces the amount of toxins present in some vegetables, such as phytohaemagglutinin in some beans and ginkgotoxin in ginkgo seeds.
  5. Vegetables will shrink and becoming more tender after light cooking allowing you to eat more. Normally, 2-3 cups of raw vegetables will turn into 1 cup of cooked vegetables. So, if you eat 2 cups of cooked vegetables, you are actually eating 4-6 cups of raw vegetables.
  6. Most people will add too much salad dressing (mainly oil) to their raw vegetables. You only need less than 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil when lightly cooking your vegetables. Eating too much oil or fat is a reason for the accumulation of low density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) which is a cause of cardiovascular diseases.
  7. Cooking vegetables containing vitamins A, D, E, and K with a little bit of vegetable oil allows these vitamins to dissolve in the oil so that they will be readily absorbed by your small intestine.
I will discuss how we can lightly cook our vegetables in an untraditional, but easy and relaxed fashion in another post. Most American (or even Asian) chefs DO NOT know how to cook vegetables properly! I will also discuss why vegetable oil is a better choice than olive oil, opposite to most so-called chefs have been practicing, for cooking vegetables.  

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Snow Peas Can be Planted Early

Snow peas are easy to grow. They are very cold hardy and survive at least down to 28F.  They don't need any nitrogen fertilizers because they belong to the legume family, just like fava beans. They have symbiotic relations with nitrogen fixing bacteria in the soil. In fact, they add nitrogen to your soil making it more fertile over time. They will grow happily if you give them some rotting leaves, pine needles, coffee ground or any organic matter. Snow peas can be black walnut tolerant, heat tolerant and drought tolerant. However they need afternoon shade in a hot summer to remain productive. You can grow snow peas on the east side of a deciduous tree or shrub so that they receive full sun in spring and have afternoon shade in summer.

The entire snow pea plant is edible, including leaves, pea pods, and peas. You can eat them raw or lightly cooked (say by stir frying or steaming). Our snow pea starters will start producing pea pods in about 1 1/2 months after transplanting to your soil depending on the weather (if we have enough sun in spring). If you buy it in early March, you can start harvesting in mid or lateApril all the way to July or even August (if you water them well and provide them with good afternoon shade in a hot summer).

Snow peas and sugar snap peas have a protein to carbohydrate ratio of close to 1:1 and hence is good for weight loss. Who can resist the sweat taste of snow peas? However, it is not really reliable as the only source of proteins because its amino acid profile is not as complete as fava beans. To complement snow peas, a vegan needs to eat lima beans and some nuts to obtain more histidine and sulfur amino acids. If you are not a vegan, it is much easier because you can add a little meat, such as beef or pork to your peas to make your protein intake complete. Snow pea pods are a reliable supply of dietary fiber facilitating your digestion and digestive system health. Plus, they also contain a lot of vitamins A, C, K, and a lot of minerals, such as iron and magnesium.