Saturday, 16 June 2018

Hydrating and loaded watermelon

Being a proponent of local foods, I decided to do some research on the health benefits.  Watermelon is easily available in Malaysia and at an affordable price.  Hence it can be added into our daily diet effortlessly without doing damage to our food budget.

Why do I love it?  Many reasons.  The nutrient value is good with rich in vitamin C, Vitamin A, the various vitamin Bs , calcium, potassium as well as containing the enzyme lycopene (like those found in tomatoes at a fraction of the cost) and the amino acids arginine and citruline.  Some studies has indicated that citruline is more bio-available when consumed as a juice so I tend to blend it.  It also has a respectable dietary fiber content.  Being alkaline in nature, it also helps to neutralise the acts our body produces especially after food digestion of proteins, fats and sugars.  So, it is my go-to drink during the festive season as a pre-emptive measure from all the variety of foods that is consumed during this period.

In caring and maintaining our health, the nutrients in watermelon contribute towards:

  1. care of our gastro-intestinal system
  2. helps in lowering blood pressure
  3. helps in caring for our heart.
Being high in water content (about 90%), it is a great juice to drink on our hot days whilst providing nutrition to our body.  It is also a great post workout juice to consume as whilst it replenishes the fluids lost during the workout, the citruline also helps remove the lactic acid produced by our body and helps speed up our muscle recovery.  So instead of reaching out for those manufactured post-workout drink, just blend some watermelon and replenish with all the natural goodness.

So, why not blend some watermelon for a great breakfast drink, hydrating drink on hot days and a post-workout drink and reap the benefits naturally.  As with everything, I consume it in moderation as part of a daily diet with a boost depending on what activity I did :)


Monday, 11 June 2018

Plants and trees want a good home, food and water too

I started my farm from basically ground zero without any formal training or education in botany, horticulture or agriculture but I wanted to plan for my retirement.  Along the way, I have discovered many things, experienced the wonders of nature and developed a better understanding of the connectivity between the various forms on earth.

1.  Plant for the climate
We are often trying to plant things that aren't suitable for our climate without making adjustments and this includes flowering and fruiting plants.  If we do not take climate and environmental factors, we are setting ourselves up for failure and disappointment.  Hence, I would always encourage newbies to plant local plants for their initial.  We have an abundance of local plants covering a wide array of taste so let us set ourselves up for success as we learn and gain knowledge.  Just looking at what we can plant for vegetables, there is so many to choose from.  For initial quick success, try planting one that you can harvest within 30-45 days.  It may seem like a long time when you first start out but as you observe the progress, you will find that time just flies by.

2.  There are no guarantees
Life is filled with the unexpected and challenges and it is applicable to when we try to grow plants too.  Even if you follow step-by-step directions, it doesn't guarantee you will get the same outcome every time because the natural factors are fluid.  However, if you start with good soil conditions, you have increased your probability of success.  The soil for the plants need to be suited for the plant we want to grow.  For example, if you are planting orchids, you need a soil composition that allows for quick drying of water as it doesn't tolerate soggy soil conditions well.  On the other hand, if you are planting vegetables, you need a soil composition that allows the soil to remain moist longer but not soggy to provide water to the roots throughout the day especially during the hottest part of the day.  Hence, if you plant in unsuitable soil composition, you can end up with unhealthy plants or dead plants in spite of you attempts at fertilising, watering and pest control efforts.

3. Army of underground soldiers
Many are not aware of the army of underground soldiers that contribute to the health and welfare of you plants.  The smallest size ones are beneficial microbes which amongst its function is to make the nutrients in the soil bioavailable to the plants.  In human terms, it is like you preparing and cooking the chicken before you consume it.  You need to do that before you can eat it so your body can
process it to extract nutrients for your body.  Similarly, these microbes will breakdown the complex form of the nutrients into a form that can be assimilated by the plants for it nutrient.  The planting soil lacking these can result in the plants not being able to absorb sufficient nutrients it needs so although you may be putting fertilisers aplenty, the plant may not be getting the benefits because it isn't in a form the plant can "eat".
Another soldier that we want aplenty in our planting soil is earthworms.  They help loosen the soil and aerate it as well as process the raw soil producing nutrients that can be "eaten" by the plants.  Hence, in recent years the rise of vermicompost and vermicast as well as the use of worms to process organic waster to produce food for plants in the form of vermicast and vermicompost.
However not all these underground live forms are friendly so you need to get rid of the unfriendlies.

4.  Army of aboveground soldiers
If you have a fruiting garden, these aboveground soldiers are important as they help in the pollination process hence you need to consider having flowering plants that encourage these friendly soldiers to visit your garden.  Bees and ladybirds are my favourites for effective pollination.  If you do not get regular visits from these friendlies, you may find that your fruiting garden doesn't produce fruits in spite of it flowering boundlessly and this includes fruits like cucumber, melons and various other non self pollinating plants.  Hence some people find that they need to resort to hand pollination i.e. personally mimicking the activity of these pollinating insects such as using light brush strokes from the male flower to the female flower.

5.  Food for plants and trees
Different plants and trees need different types of food but the basic separation is between leaves only and flowering/fruiting plants.  The basic nutrients we often see mentioned is Nitrogen(N), Phosphorous(P) and Potassium (K).  This is the starting point.  From then on, to have a bountiful plant, there are additional nutrients that will help and support the plant development.  Fruiting plants need magnesium to help support the development of fruits.  Calcium also support certain aspects of the plant development.  Then you also have fish amino acids.  There are so many different types of fertilisers that at times it boggles the mind and sometimes, we can get carried away with purchasing fertilisers because we have heard that it is good without thinking if it is useful or practical for our own usage.  Some we end up with bottle of fertilisers and at times also cause over-fertilising which inadvertently kills the plants.  Just think of it similar to humans bulking up on a certain nutrient or supplement and getting a toxic reaction to it which could also lead to organ failure and death.  It is easier to cause death by over-fertilisation using chemical fertilisers than natural organic fertilisers so I always opt for the latter.  Over the years I have narrowed down my fertilisers to 3 kinds: (1) fish amino acid based fertiliser (2) goat manure based fertiliser and (3) enzyme based fertiliser.  I find that applying them at appropriate times gives me the results that I want and it has helped me "declutter" the fertilisers.

6.  All live forms need water
Water is important to our plants and it is essential that we understand their needs.  Some thrive in abundance of water while others will drown to death.  Some thrive in just "touching" water whilst others will die of thirst.  Some just want regular watering and some want to have moisture available all the time.  Select the plant you want to grow based on your water "availability".  This way, you can reduce your chances of killing a plant.  The right type of water can also affect your plants.  Some plants can tolerated slightly acidic water whilst others may get sick.  To be safe, try to water with "clean" water.  If you capture rain water and you are living in the city where there is significant traffic pollution, you might want to consider letting the water  "sit" for a couple of days after capture so that the acids have a chance to dissipate from the water.

These are some of the basics that I live by now but then again, it is not the end.  I continue to encounter new discoveries and gain new knowledge that it keeps me mentally challenged and physically active.  To this end, I can see it as an activity that I can continue to do in she Allah till the day I die and continue to have a fruitful, contributing life.


Friday, 20 April 2018

Seeds oh Seeds. Which one shall I choose?

Recently I received quite a few question about seeds so I am sharing what I know in the hopes that it will be useful to people interested in it.  The selection of seeds for planting is very important.  Selecting the wrong seeds can lead you to disappointment, especially after you put in so much effort. So let's start with the kinds of seeds.  There are basically 3 types of seeds.
F1 Hybrid Seeds
These are the most often type of seeds you find in the market.  It is essentially produced by selective cross pollinating 2 parent plants to produce the "first children" so to speak.  Quality F1 seeds can produce quality plants as the dominant qualities from each parent is present in the F1 seeds.  Through this selective cross-pollination or hybridisation, the resulting seeds can be engineered to have specific qualities such as in the taste and size.  However, if you obtain seeds from F1 plants, you may find that when you sow the seeds. they do not germinate.  You may have followed advise from your friends to germinate them and still find that it didn't germinate.  You did nothing wrong as most seeds that result from F1 plants through genetic engineering are sterile or do not produce plants true to their parents. So, even if you manage to germinate some, you will find the results may not be satisfying.  This is how the seed companies stay in business.
Heirloom seeds
Unlike F1 seeds that are produces through selective cross-pollination, heirloom seeds are generated from plants from open pollination and possess most of the characteristics of their parent plant.  Subsequent plants from these heirloom seeds will continue to have most of the characteristics of their parent plant.  If you planted using heirloom seeds, then you can select the best seeds to future planting.  Obtaining heirloom seeds is getting to be more difficult and harder to come by.  Why?  The seed companies can lose business hence why nowadays you find F1 seeds but rarely heirloom seeds.  For seed banks, it is best to use heirloom seeds.  At the farm, when I have heirloom plants, these are the seeds that I will retain.
GMO Seeds
These seeds are different from the above two types of seeds and are done in laboratories using gene splicing technology.  At this stage certain elements can be added into the genes, modifying it genetically from its original stage.  Certain chemicals to make the seeds resistant to pests and other types of chemicals used in herbicides and pesticides can also be added.  Inherently GMO seeds contains pesticides that does not wash away or disappear magically so eating produce from GMO seed plants means you are consuming pesticides intentionally.  So, even if you use GMO seeds and follow organic planting practices, your produce cannot be considered organic.
My Conclusion
Where possible, go for heirloom seeds.  When not possible, you will just have to continue purchasing F1 seeds and keep the seed companies like Cargill and the like in business.  At all cost, if you are for your health, say no to GMO and keep pesticide out of your daily food intake.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Maximizing Nature's bounty in our lives: SHL Products 2018

Yes, it has been 10 years since the farm was built and through the years we have experimented and researched and market-tested different produce and products.  Our farm is currently undergoing certification under myOrganic and has passed the basic requirements for organic farm, soil test as well as produce test.  There are several audits done during this certification process and we are currently awaiting for the next step.  For 2018, we have the following products:


Our Edible Products
All our edible products do not contain any artificial colouring, flavour or preservatives and made from organically farm-grown ingredients unless stated otherwise.  We do not sun-dry our fry products but dehydrate to prevent contamination as well as to safeguard quality.


1.  Dehydrated Roselle Calyces
This is made from Roselle Calyces which are dehydrated and ground.  Each jar contains 40gm of the ground calyces.  There are many ways to consume it:
  • You can use 1/2 teaspoon and add hot water to create a drink.  To serve warm, just add more water to cool it or you can add cold water to turn it into a cold drink.  You can sweeten it with a sweetener of your choice such as honey and organic sugar.
  • Can be used as a flavouring and colouring to make jelly or agar-agar which is red in color and with a tart flavour.
  • Can be used in baking to add flavouring or color.
  • Can be used in cooking to add flavour and color such as in asam pedal.
As this is pure, a little goes a long way and you can use in accordance to your taste buds.  Price RM 40.

2.  Dehydrated Roselle Leaves Tea
This is made from only mature Roselle leaves which are dehydrated and crushed to produce the tea.  It can be consumed as a tea and produces a reddish liquid.  The tea can be sweetened with a sweetener of your choice and can be served hot or cold.  
However, it is not limited to just consuming it as a tea.  It can be used to flavour dishes when you want to have a sour taste added to your dishes such as in broth, soups or savoury dishes.  For me it works well when cooking seafood dishes.  It will also add some color to your dish.  Each jar is 25gm.  Price : RM 25


3.  Roselle Enzyme
This is made by fermenting Roselle calyces for at least 4 months to produce a rich red enzyme concentrate.  As it is a concentrate, it can be diluted to make a drink or can be consumed around 1 tablespoon a day.  It contains the natural Roselle enzyme, amylase as well as has probiotics benefits.  Each bottle is approximately 230ml.  Price: RM 25

4.  Roselle Enzyme Vinegar
This is made from the Roselle Enzyme which is then further fermented to create a vinegar.  You can consume 1 tablespoon a day, similar to Apple Cider Vinegar.  It can also be used to create a salad dressing as well as used for marinating meats like beef and chicken.  It is best to store it away from direct sunlight and can be stored at room temperature.  Each bottle is approximately 325ml.  Price RM 35.

5.  Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Made via cold-pressed fermentation method, the ensuing oil produce is rich in coconut flavour and can be consumed in many ways, either on its own at 1 tablespoon per day or in cooking and in salad dressing.  
It is best stored out of direct sunlight and can be stored at room temperature.  If stored refrigerated or store below 23 Celsius, it will solidify but once it reaches above 23 Celsius, it will liquify.  Each bottle is approximately 250ml and is bottled in a dark brown bottle.  Price RM 35.

6.  Dehydrated Moringa (Kelo) Leaves
This product is made out of dehydrated Moringa leaves.  It can be consumed as a drink by placing 1/2 teaspoon into just-boiled water and allowing it to steep.  Alternatively, it can also be:
  • Added to scrambled eggs
  • Added to soups
  • Sprinkled on hot/warm rice
Each jar is 25gm.  Price: RM 20.

7.  Dehydrated Soursop Leaves Tea
This product is made out of dehydrated, mature soup leaves.  Can be prepared as a tea by placing 1 flat teaspoon in just boiled water.  Alternatively, you can place it in a pan with water and brought to a boil before simmering it for a few minutes.  This enables you to prepare a drink that you can store in the refrigerator and have it ready for drinking.  Each jar is 25gm.  Price: RM 35.

8.  Dehydrated Snakegrass Leaves Tea
This product is made our of snake grass leaves and can be prepared as a tea in a similar manner to other herbal teas.Each jar is 25gm.  Price: RM 25.


9.  Dehydrated Peperomia Pellucida (Sireh Cina) Powder
Made from dehydrated Peperomia Pellucida (Sireh Cina) which is then ground to powder form.  It has a slight peppery taste.  Can be consumed as a drink by adding hot water first and then further dilution to achieve drink temperature of your choice.  It can also be consumed in other ways:
  • Added to scrambled eggs and it will also impart a subtle peppery taste
  • Added to soups
  • Sprinkle on salads or added to salad dressings
Each jar is 40gm.  Price: RM 25.

10.  Dehydrated Holy Basil (Selasih Hitam/Ruku or Tulasi)
Made from dehydrated Holy Basil leaves and flowers, it has a flavour similar to anise.  Can be consumed as tea, prepared in a similar manner to other herbal teas.  t can also be consumed in other ways:
  • Added to scrambled eggs and it will also impart a subtle anise taste
  • Used in marinates
  • Used in cooking savoury dishes to add flavour
  • Sprinkle on salads or added to salad dressings
Each jar is 25gm.  Price: RM 20.

11.  Dehydrated Misai Kuching Tea
Made from dehydrated Misai Kuching leaves and florals, it imparts a floral undertone to this herbal tea.  It is prepared in a similar manner to other herbal teas.  It can be consumed wither hot or cold.
Each jar is 25gm.  Price: RM 20.


12.  Dehydrated Turmeric Powder with black pepper
Made from dehydrated turmeric with no fillers added, the natural bright orange color is a good indicator to its purity.  It is prepared with organic black pepper in order to provide piperine which will increase the bioavailability of curcumin for absorption by the body.  There are many ways to consume this:
  • Used to make drinks such as turmeric milk
  • Added to other tea drinks
  • Used in cooking savoury dishes like curries
  • Used in marinates such as with chicken, beef or fish
Each jar is 40gm.  Price: RM 25.


13.  Dehydrated Bentong Ginger and Turmeric Powder
Made from combining Bentong ginger and turmeric at a ratio of ginger:turmeric of 5:3, it can be turned into a drink by first mixing it with hot water and then further diluting it with either warn or cold water to make a drink of a temperature you desire.  Can be sweetened with a sweetener of your choice.
Other ways to consume it include:
  • Adding to other tea drinks for flavour
  • Used in cooking sweet or savoury dishes
  • Used as an ingredient in marinates
Each jar is 40gm.  Price: RM 25.

14.  Dehydrated Bentong Ginger Powder
Made from dehydrated Bentong ginger with no fillers, a little goes a long way.  Just 1/2 a teaspoon is sufficient to create a ginger drink that can be sweetened if desired.  Other ways to consume it include:
  • Adding to other tea drinks for flavour
  • Used in cooking sweet or savoury dishes
  • Used as an ingredient in marinates
Each jar is 40gm.  Price: RM 25.

Planned Edible Products for 2018
We are in the process of producing a few new products which is expected to be out in August 2018.  As each of these products are processed naturally without chemical inducement, it takes months to produce them.  The products are: 
1.  Papaya Enzyme (Papain) Concentrate
2.  Papaya Enzyme Vinegar
3.  Tomato Enzyme (Lycopene) Concentrate
4.  Tomato Enzyme Vinegar


Our Organic Fertilisers

1.  Fish Amino Acids with Enzyme and EM1
Made from formalin-free fish source, it also contains our farm-produce enzyme and patented EM1.   This fertiliser can be used for leafy plants as well as for flowering and fruiting plants and trees.  Suggested dilution is 1:100 or 10ml to 1 later of water and watered around the base of the plant.  It can be used weekly.   Each bottle is 1 later.  Price: RM 20.

2.  Goat Manure with Enzyme and EM1
The source goat manure is from our farm goats which consume totally organic, chemical pesticide, herbicide natural food.  It is further processed with addition of our farm-produced enzyme and patented EM1.  Just use sprinkle around the base of the plant.  Can also be used to mix into soil in preparing soil for seeding and transplanting plants.  Suitable for all types of plants.  Each pack is 500gm.  Price: RM 7.

Book

G.O.S.H.: Our Ancestors Are Clever.
This book covers 5 plants/trees which are Coconut, Ginger, Roselle, Tapioca and Turmeric from planting to harvesting to consuming.  It also has ideas of what you can do with the raw produce to transform it to products for alternative consumption.  The concept is for it to be simple to add into ur daily diet and easily grown in our local Malaysian climate.
Published price: RM 75.  Currently on promotion to September at 25% off published price: RM 60.

Upcoming books
Two more books are planned in the G.O.S.H. series.  One is on our local super fruits and the other is on our local super ulam (the closest translation I can find in English is salad).

Ordering information
All our dry products are available for delivery by mail.  Mailing charges will be dependent on the weight at Pos Laju Malaysia rates.
For all liquid products, they are available for pickup either at the farm or Kg. Warisan, Kuala Lumpur.  For alternative arrangements, please ask.
For further details or queries, please whatsApp at +60172821219 or e-mail at suria.helang.lui@gmail.com.
From time to time, we do events and they will be made available then.  Do visit our FB page at Suria Helang Lui for notifications.

Monday, 26 March 2018

My love affair with tomatoes

To grow your own tomatoes organically, I think one of the prerequisites is having a love affair with it. Why?  It is nor easy to grow it organically because pests love it - take your choice: white flies, aphids, grasshoppers, mealybugs, sooty mold and others.  Hence pest control is important.  It also requires good, balanced fertilisation to produce a healthy, fruiting plant.  However, if the plant is healthy and an organic pest control routine is implemented, the rewards are great.

Everyone knows tomatoes are good for you: rich source of vitamin A, C, enzymes like lycopene and other nutrients.  The taste of vine-ripened tomato is simply delicious.  Growing your own organically allows you to reap these benefits without the toxic chemicals either in the growing stages or after harvest to preserve its appearance.

I always opt for non-GMO tomato seeds, preferring to select one of the many hybrids available.  It takes 3-7 days for the seed to germinate.  I germinate them in individual polybags to reduce stress on the plant when I want to transplant them.  The plants can be grown in containers or in the ground and they require support as they grow.  Hence, I will always set the support system from when the plant is a seedling to prevent undue breakages or toppling.  The soil mixture I use is always one that is rich in organic matter with some sand and not heavy clay.  This always for the soil to retain moisture without clogging the plant root system.  I just water it once a day, always in the morning, although when we have very hot spells, I will also water it in the early evening.

I have always wondered why the term "vine-ripened" tomato was use as I didn't associate it with a "vine" plant like grapes.  In my latest planting, I finally saw why and saw proof of why this plant care regime was better,  My previous planting efforts always seem to have one main stem with some branches.  This time around, I saw lots of offshoots at from the main stem and also on the branches, making the plant growth seeming to be haywire making using a single stake support system not viable.  As I was testing different ways to provide support for the plant, I found that having a line support system works well as it allowed for the vine to grow how it wants and yet have a support.  I just use rafia strings  (tali rafia) and strung it along with ends tied to supporting poles - a simple and inexpensive way of providing support to the plant.

My pest control regime consisted of varying amounts of borage, citronella and enzyme concentrate diluted with water and sprayed on the plant twice a week - hence making it an pampered plant.  Controlling pests is key to having a great tomato to harvest as these pest will damage the plants and fruits.  I vary the herbal ingredients as I do not want the pests to develop resistance to it hence the concentration of each component is varied often.  It is important to spray under the leaves as well as all over the plant.  As you need to frequently spray the pest control solution, by using organic sprays, there is no need to worry about eating fruits that have just been sprayed, unlike when you use chemical pesticides.  I will also periodically remove yellowed-leaves.

I have experimented with many types of organic fertilisers as well as frequency of fertilising.  What I have had most success with is a combination of fish amino acids with magnesium and enzymes including EM1 applied on a weekly basis.  Periodically, when the roots appear at the surface, I will top-up with soil mixed with organic matter and chicken or goat manure.  These fertilising regime encourages flowering and fruiting with the necessary nutrient support.
It takes a few weeks from once the initial fruit forms to actual harvest.  Personally, I like to leave it until it has turned red as I find the sweetest and rich taste is when it is left to be ripened on the vine.  

My preference is to eat it raw, often with some grated mozzarella cheese on top without any other seasoning.  The contrast of the sweet and tart flavour of the tomato against the creamy and slightly salty taste of the mozzarella is simply delicious.  Consuming it raw also retains maximum nutrition.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

More than a vinegar

Many have asked me how do I make Roselle Enzyme vinegar and requested for my recipe.  However, my Roselle Enzyme Vinegar recipe is a trade secret.  What I will share with you is basically how to make a vinegar of your choice.

  1. First you need a starter.  If this is the first time you are making it, the easiest starter is using unpasteurised organic apple cider vinegar.  There are many brands available so choose one you like.  What we are looking for is the bacteria that will cause a reaction with your fermented liquid to form acetic acid which is the key component in vinegar.
  2. A fermented liquid - could be from rice or fruits for example.
  3. I will always use a glass container to ferment my vinegar as I can be assured that my container will not cause any undesired chemical reaction with my vinegar throughout the fermentation process.
  4. The basic ratio of starter to fermented liquid is 1:1.  So, if you have 500 ml of starter, use 500 ml of fermented liquid or juice.  Place in the container and cover it with muslin clothe so that air can still enter the container but not the bugs that will be attracted to it during the fermentation process.
  5. Place in a cool area without exposure to sunlight and allow it to sit for at least 3 weeks.  You can tell the vinegar is ready when you take off the muslin covering and you get a strong aroma of the vinegar.
  6. To store vinegar when ready, just strain the liquid through a strainer such as using an unbleached coffee filter.  Bottle the strained liquid and your vinegar is now ready for consumption.  It can be stored at room temperature and lasts for month.
If you plan to make another batch of vinegar, just bottle half of the vinegar produced and retain the other half to be the starter for making another round of vinegar.  Under the right conditions, a mother of vinegar may be formed which is essentially cellulose with acetic acid bacteria, the key item that enables your liquid to turn into vinegar.

You can allow your vinegar to be fermented longer than 3 weeks in the fermenting container.  I find that the longer I leave it, the resulting vinegar is "smoother".

Locally, we have many options for creating our fermented liquid to be turned into vinegar so you can experiment and see which vinegar you love most.  An area of consideration is what special nutrients or items that the source of the fermented liquid can bring to the final vinegar produced like enzymes and antioxidants.  I suggest that if you are going to take the time and effort to make your vinegar, do select the best ingredients free from chemical toxins as well as hormones.  Happy trying :)

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

A different tale: G.O.S.H.! Our Ancestors Are Clever

Since I started my organic farm 10 years ago, I have always looked for books, talked to experts in
their areas and met up with practicing farmers, all in the quest of knowledge.  I found that most books centered on one aspect of it.  I wanted my farm to be a complete cycle farm.  To me, a complete cycle would be from planting to caring and maintenance to harvesting to consuming to end other uses and finally recycling.  Then the idea of writing a book that covered this was born.  My emphasis has always been on local plants and what is traditionally used as this would mean that we would not rely on imports and maximise what is doable and available here in Malaysia.  While it is nice to have imports but this would mean that we would be dependent on another nation and also subject to currency fluctuations as well as lack of controls and varying regulations and control.

I have always believed that you should always depend on yourself first before going external.  To this end, the plants selected are what can be grown in Malaysia and that which will flourish in our climate. This will set us up for success as we can maximise what is available.  The book also contains many photographs all taken at the farm and my home as I feel that photographs can clearly illustrate the idea or item.

Some have asked me what the book covers and how is it different that the many available out there.  For starters, the five selected plants are what I grow at the farm organically and continue to grow due to its health and therapeutic benefits.  It is also what I consume hence it is the viewpoint of a practicing farmer who consumes what she produces.  Over the years, I have spent time in researching the benefits from a nutritional standpoint as well as ease of consumption.  Another aspect that was important to me was the ease of incorporating it into my normal diet.  Although I subscribe to the principle of "Eating food for medicine and not medicine for food". I didn't want to feel like I was eating medicine.  This would surely make it something that I would get bored eating and stop consuming after a couple of months - something that happens with supplements.  I preferred the normal route of making it easy to consume.

I selected 5 plants that I feel form the basics to supporting and maintaining health of our immune system, gastrointestinal system and brain.  Without a song immune system, our body will not be able to fight off diseases.  Without a good gastrointestinal system, our body will not be able to extract the nutrients needed for our body as well as enable proper elimination of wastes.  And, of course the health of our brain is important.  These plants are easy to grow and care for and it is described in the book.  It also covers when to harvest and what you can harvest and consume.  It also provides ideas of how to use some parts of the plants for non-consumption purposes.

While the harvest can be consumed in its simple form, I find it is good to have options either due to abundance of harvest or as alternative ways of consuming to enable us to incorporate it into our normal diet in a variety of ways.  The alternatives include processing them to produce other edible products like oil, teas, drinks and flour.  The book also includes some simple recipes to give the reader some ideas and suggestions.  However, I am sure that you will get more ideas.

This book is geared for everyone who has a love of eating well, gardening and experimenting with edibles.  The published price is RM 75.  Until March 7, the introductory price is rm 55 with additional delivery charges.  At the moment, it is not available in bookstores.  If you would like to order, please whatsApp me at 017-2821219 or e-mail to suria.helang.lui@gmail.com.