Monday, 9 October 2017

Busybody about my body: Dealing with Flu Naturally

I do not know of anyone who has never gotten a flu and it is a common disease that I think people look at it less seriously.  However, not taken care of, it can lead to other complications such as pneumonia, sepsis, inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) as well as aggravating some other conditions like asthma.  So whilst it is common, I do not take it lightly.  The symptoms include :

  1. sore throat
  2. runny or stuffed nose
  3. fever
  4. muscle aches and pains
  5. headache
  6. fatigue.
It is cause by a virus and nowadays there are so many variants.  Often, when you visit a doctor, you can expect to get three types of medication: one for fever, one for sore throat and congestion and of course antibiotics.  Most literature strenuously point out that it is important to complete the entire course of the antibiotics for it to be effective.

Last week I caught the flu.  I knew I was going to get it because my son came down with it in a bad way and there is no way I can avoid contact with him.  He was literally stuck to my side and with his high fever, I was monitoring him very closely.  Being only 4 years old, he has a higher risk of complications.  When his fever rose to close to 40 degrees Celsius, we headed to the hospital.  I wasn't taking any risks.  We managed to bring his fever down about 2 hours later but he was still feverish.  As for me, the minute I saw he caught the flu, I began my regime of 1 tablespoon of EVCO every 4 hours and 1 tablespoon of honey twice a day.  At the same time, I also gave my son EVCO every 2 hours along with his fever medication every 4 hours until his fever was all gone, which was a day later.  He also was on antibiotics for 3 days which caused diarrhoea so now he is also taking probiotics daily to re-balance his digestive system.  My son is still on daily 1 teaspoon of EVCO and 1 teaspoon honey, twice a day until he fully recovers.  He is not taking any other medication.  Then it was my turn.

I was flat on the bed for about 16 hours and during this period, I continued with hourly tablespoon of EVCO and every fours 1 tablespoon of honey. Then it was the morning on the next day and my fever was gone but I felt the muscle aches.  It was time to start taking my Bentong ginger and turmeric concentrate - 2 tablespoon diluted with warm water with 1 teaspoon of honey every 4 hours.  By evening, I was left with a slight cough and slight congestion.  So, I continue with my three times a day of 1 tablespoon of EVCO and 1 teaspoon of honey.  I have also added drinking Roselle juice twice a day to boost my immune system and to prevent any more fever.

There is pharmacological and studies backing the treatment that I chose for myself.

  1. Flu is cause by virus (and there are many strains) and can be complicated with bacteria.  To address this, the EVCO has strong anti-viral and anti-bacteria properties.  Honey too has strong anti-bacteria and anti-viral properties.  This composition gives me a wider range of defence.  It also helps in strengthening my immune system.  This also became a source of food for me.
  2. Muscle aches and pains makes movement painful so the Bentong ginger and turmeric helps to ease these aches and pains as well as reduce any internal inflammations.  It has strong anti-inflammatory properties as well as digestive system protection properties.  At the same time, since my appetite was non-existent, I barely ate so this combination help reduce any stomach problems.
  3. Roselle has good immune boosting capabilities so is a good option to take during the recovery period.
I prefer going the natural route as I do not like drugs and antibiotics because of all the side effects including destroying the good bacteria necessary for a healthy digestive system (one of the reasons why people also tend to get diarrhoea when they get flu).  With no appetite, I didn't have to try and stuff something in me before I took the EVCO, honey, Benton ginger & turmeric or Roselle as they are all food.  They were also my food.  It is also hard to overdose on these because as we age, all types of body parts need maintenance and repair as well as some rebuild.  Throughout this whole flu experience, my brain remain active, alert and lucid even when I had my eyes closed.  Being down for only a day was good as the next day, my son was ready to play.

As always, we have choices.  What is important is that we are aware of what we are doing, monitor our condition and be sure that what we are taking is pure, natural items which are organic and processed in a way to ensure maximum properties and nutrients are preserved.  Be knowledgeable in taking care of your health.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

From fresh to prepared: SHL Naturals

Since 2007, I have been building my farm, Suria Helang Lui, and practicing organic natural farming. We do not use any chemical herbicides, pesticides or fertilisers and our water source is natural water source just outside a forest reserve where it is clean.  I started the farm focussing on organically grown produce and over the years, have developed our own natural product line which is now called "Suria Helang Lui Naturals".  We use mainly our farm-produced ingredients to create our products.   We do not use any colouring, artificial flavours or preservatives.

The concept of our SHL Naturals is using locally grown produce to create food products that can be easily incorporated into your daily diet or meals which is packed with nutrients and preventive, healing or curative properties.  The idea is to make eating healthy enjoyable and easy to become a normal part of our lives.  All of the products in this line is packed in glass containers.

The Suria Helang Lui Naturals include:
1.  Bentong Ginger and Turmeric with Black Pepper concentrate
     This is a concentrate and can be consumed directly or used to create drinks or incorporated into cooking.  Since it contains no preservatives, it needs to be store refrigerated and can last stored at least 3 months.  This combination provides for many benefits including anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti inflammation , anti-cancer as well as helping with our digestive system and immune system.  It can be turned into either a hot or cold drink by diluting with water accordingly.  In making drinks, you can also sweeten it with a sweetener of your choice though I suggest you use natural sugars and not refined white sugar.  It can also be added to regular tea.  In cooking, it can be used to flavour dishes and as a marinate.  It is the choice for people who want to have the drink easily available - just add hot or cold water and it is ready to consume.  Some people just drink 1-2 tablespoon straight.  Each bottle contains 375ml.  Price per bottle is RM 18.

2.  Roselle Probiotics Concentrate
     This probiotic is created via fermenting roselle calyces with natural sugar over a period of at least 4 months.  Probiotics helps with improving our digestive and immune system.   It is a concentrate and is very sour so I suggest consuming it by diluting it with water,  You can just consume 1-2 tablespoon straight.  It can be stored at room temperature hence does need to be refrigerated.  It can be stored for over 12 months.  The dark red color is the natural color from the Roselle calyces.
 Amongst its therapeutic benefits are high in vitamin C and high in antioxidants.  This is a good supplementary drink for cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy as it assists in the rebuilding of the immune system and improving gastrointestinal system.  As it is made from roselle, it bring with it the other benefits such as reducing high blood pressure, assisting in cell repair and growth as well as for respiratory problems like flu and cold.   Each bottle contains 230ml.   Price per bottle is RM 30.

3.  Roselle Concentrate
     This concentrate contains no added sugar and has the natural sour flavour of Roselle.  It is made from a combination of Roselle calyces and leaves.  It is stored refrigerated and lasts at least 3 months.  This concentrate can be used to create drinks and in cuisines.  In cooking it can be used in any dish that you would like to add a sour taste element and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes.  It can also be used to make iced desserts.  It is high in vitamin C and antioxidants.  It is a good drink for people undergoing chemotherapy as it helps the body to remove toxins as well as in building up the immune system thus countering the side effects of the treatment.  For children, it makes a great source of vitamin C in a drink form.  It bring with it the other benefits such as reducing high blood pressure, assisting in cell repair and growth as well as for respiratory problems like flu and cold.    Each bottle contains 375ml.  Price per bottle is RM 20.

4.  Pure Calamansi Juice
     This is made from cold-pressed calamansi fruit resulting in a juice.  No other ingredients are added to it.  It needs to be stored refrigerated and lasts for at least 3 months.  It can be used to make drinks or cooking.
It is high in vitamin C, antioxidants , vitamin A and various other minerals such as calcium and potassium.  Amongst its benefits are it boosts the immune system, helps in growth and repair, soothes the acidity in the stomach, lowers cholesterol and detoxifies the body.
    Since this is our juice, it is very sour.  When making drinks, it is diluted with warm or cold water and can be sweetened to taste.  It can also be added to regular tea to make a refreshing tea that we call "Teh-O-Limau".  Each bottle contains approximately 375ml.  Price per bottle is RM 20.

5.  Calamansi Juice with Lemongrass Concentrate
     This made from a combination of are calamansi juice and lemongrass concentrate.  It can be used to create drinks and in cooking.  Being preservative-free, it needs to be stored refrigerated and last at least 3 months.  This combination contains anti-oxidants, anti-cancer, anti-bacteria with high vitamin C, A, B-complex as well as minerals like calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, iron, phosphorous.  It contains no added sugar so it can be sweetened with natural sweeteners like honey, molasses or brown sugar, to create hot or cold drinks.  It also brings in all the benefits of calamansi with the added benefit from lemongrass such as reducing insomnia, lowering cholesterol, improving the health of gastrointestinal system and fighting the pathogens in this system, tonic for the nervous system, and reduces aches and pains.  Hence this concentrate can be beneficial for people with health issues such as gastrointestinal problems, migraine,  and respiratory issues.  Each bottle contains 375ml.  Price per bottle is RM 18.

6.  Calamansi Juice with Blue Pea Flower Concentrate
     This made from a combination of are calamansi juice and Blue Pea flower resulting in a purple coloured concentrate.  It can be used to create drinks and in cooking.  Being preservative-free, it needs to be stored refrigerated and last at least 3 months.  This combination contains the properties of calamansi juice as well anti-oxidants, anti-depressant,from the blue pea flower.  This concentrate brings all the benefits of calamansi as well as the benefits from the blue pea flower such as improving vitality, reduces premature skin aging and reducing aches and pains.  This is a drink that is good as an evening drink as it helps to soothe you to sleep and promotes the body repair work as we sleep.Each bottle contains 375ml.  Price per bottle is RM 18.

7.  Dehydrated Ground Bentong Ginger
     Using this variety of ginger allows us to concrete a rich ground spice.  The ginger is dehydrated and then ground to create this product.  It can be stored at room temperature and last at least 6 months.   To prepare a drink, use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of powder and add just-boiled water or very hot water.  Allow it to steep for a couple of minutes and it is ready to consume.  You can add ice if you would like to have it cold or allow it to cool down a bit to drink it warm.  You can add natural sweeteners if you would like it to have a sweet taste.  You can also add it to regular hot tea to turn have a ginger-flavoured tea.
As this is made of pure ground Bentong ginger, it is strong and you normally use half of what you use with normal ginger.  So when you use it in cooking, be aware or you may end up with a strong ginger taste in your dish.  This item is available via mail with additional shipping charges.  Each jar contains approximately 50 g.  Price per jar is RM 25.

8.  Dehydrated Ground Bentong Ginger and Turmeric with Black Pepper
     Both the ginger and turmeric is dehydrated before being ground with black pepper to create this spice mixture.  It can be stored at room temperature and lasts at least 6 month.  It can be used to create drinks, either hot or cold, as well as in creating dishes for your meals.
It provides for the same benefits as the Bentong Ginger and Turmeric concentrate with the difference being you will have to prepare it differently.  To prepare a drink, use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of powder and add just-boiled water or very hot water.  Allow it to steep for a couple of minutes and it is ready to consume.  You can add ice if you would like to have it cold or allow it to cool down a bit to drink it warm.  You can add natural sweeteners if you would like it to have a sweet taste.  This item is available via mail with additional shipping charges.  Each jar contains approximately 40 g.  Price per jar is RM 25.

9.  Dehydrated Ground Turmeric with Black Pepper
     The turmeric is dehydrated before being ground with black pepper.  We do not add any fillers and this is pure turmeric with black pepper.  The black pepper is added to improve the bioavailability of cur cumin for the body.  It can be stored at room temperature and lasts at least 6 months.
    It can be used to create healthy drinks like turmeric milk.  To prepare turmeric milk, you can use this mixture and follow the many recipes available but since this is pure, you only need to use between 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon.  In cooking dishes, you only need to use a small amount depending on the size of the dish.  As it already contains black pepper, be sure to taste it first should you wish to add more black pepper.  This item is available via mail with additional shipping charges.  Each jar contains approximately 40 g. Price per jar is RM 20.

10.  Dehydrated Ground Lemongrass
       The lemongrass is dehydrated and ground to create this herbal product.  It contains only lemongrass and can be used to create drinks or in cooking.  It can be stored at room temperature and lasts at least 6 months. To prepare a drink, use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of powder and add just-boiled water or very hot water.  Allow it to steep for a couple of minutes and it is ready to consume.  You can add ice if you would like to have it cold or allow it to cool down a bit to drink it warm.  You can add natural sweeteners if you would like it to have a sweet taste.
As this is pure lemongrass, when using in cooking 1 flat teaspoon is approximately 1 lemongrass which is rich in flavour.  This item is available via mail with additional shipping charges.  Each jar contains approximately 20 g.   Price per jar is RM 15.

11.  Dehydrated Ground Bentong Ginger and Lemongrass
       Both the ginger and lemongrass are dehydrated before it is ground to create this herbal mixture.  It can be used in creating drinks or in cooking.  It can be stored at room temperature.  Being dehydrated, it makes it easy to bring it along when you travel.  It makes a refreshing tea and can be sweetened to taste.  To prepare a drink, use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of powder and add just-boiled water or very hot water.  Allow it to steep for a couple of minutes and it is ready to consume.  You can add ice if you would like to have it cold or allow it to cool down a bit to drink it warm.  You can add natural sweeteners if you would like it to have a sweet taste. This item is available via mail with additional shipping charges.Each jar contains approximately 20 g. Price per jar is RM 20.

12.  Dehydrated Roselle Leaves Tea
       Made from mature Roselle leaves which are dehydrated and coarsely ground, it can be brewed as tea to make a refreshing drink either hot or cold.  It has a fruity, sour taste.  It can be stored at room temperature and lasts for at least 6 months.
To prepare a drink, use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of tea leaves and add just-boiled water or very hot water.  Allow it to steep for a couple of minutes and it is ready to consume.  You can add ice if you would like to have it cold or allow it to cool down a bit to drink it warm.  You can add natural sweeteners if you would like it to have a sweet taste.  This item is available via mail with additional shipping charges.  Each jar contains approximately 30 g. Price per jar is RM 20.

13.  Dehydrated Soursop Leaves Tea
       Made from mature Soursop leaves which are dehydrated and coarsely ground, it can be brewed as tea to make a refreshing drink either hot or cold.  It has a subtle soursop fruit flavour.  It can be stored at room temperature and lasts for at least 6 months.  This item is available via mail with additional shipping charges.
       It can be brewed just like tea.  I suggest using 1 flat teaspoon per cup and using just-boiled water and allow the tea to steep until it is warm to drink.  Alternatively, you can use a claypot to create a concentrate and store it in the refrigerator to make it readily available for when you want to drink it.  This tea is often consumed for anti-cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure as a health maintenance tea.  People with DVT should avoid this but people with anaemia should add it to their drinks list as it encourages red blood cell production.  Each jar contains approximately 20 g. Price per jar is RM 35.

14.  Dehydrated Cat's whiskers Tea
       Made from mature Cat's whiskers (Misai Kuching) leaves which are dehydrated and coarsely ground, it can be brewed as tea to make a refreshing drink either hot or cold.  It can be stored at room temperature and lasts for at least 6 months.   To prepare a drink, use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of tea leaves and add just-boiled water or very hot water.  Allow it to steep for a couple of minutes and it is ready to consume.  You can add ice if you would like to have it cold or allow it to cool down a bit to drink it warm.  Most people drink this tea as you would Chinese tea.  This item is available via mail with additional shipping charges.
       Traditionally, this is a tea that is consumed by people to help control their blood sugar level such as those who are pre-diabetic and diabetic.  It is also consumed for high blood pressure and for blood cleansing.  Each jar contains approximately 20 g of tea leaves.   Price per jar is RM 20.

15.  Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
       Produced from cold-pressed coconut milk which is processed using permaculture method to create pure coconut oil.  It can be stored at room temperature and lasts fro at least 15 months.  If it is stored at temperatures below 23 Celsius, the oil will solidify.  With medium chain fatty acids (MCFA), it is a great alternative oil for health conscious consumers.
      With its anti-viral properties, it is also used in alternative medicine for colds and flu.  Personally, at the first sign of flu, I will take 1 tablespoon of it.  I like this as an antibiotics alternative because it doesn't damage the "good" bacteria in my gut system.  It is known as an alternative treatment for Alzheimer's disease and also as a health maintenance for the brain cells.
       As it is non-carbohydrate based, it doesn't breakdown into sugar but ketones hence making it a good alternative oil for people with cancer and diabetics. Each bottle contains approximately 250ml.  Price per bottle is RM 30.

16.  Dehydrated Roselle Calyces
       This is made from only Roselle calyces which are dehydrated and ground.  It can be prepared into a drink, either hot or cold and sweetened.  I suggest using pure, sugar-free honey.  It can be stored at room temperature and is designed to be travel-friendly.  To prepare a drink, just use 1/2 teaspoon and add to hot water and allow it to steep for a few minutes.  If you would like to turn it into a cold drink, you can add ice-cubes.  You can also prepare a larger portion and store it in the fridge and have it readily available when you would like a drink.
       It has strong immune booster properties as well as good for people with high blood pressure and hypertension.  It is also  great alternative drink when you have fever and throughout the recovery period.  In alternative therapy, this drink is consumed at least twice a day to control high blood pressure.
        Each jar is 75g and is available via mail-order with additional postage and handling costs.  As this is a popular item, and it is prepared in batches, please check for availability.  Price per jar is RM 40.

17.  Dehydrated Blue Pea Flower (Bunga Telang)
       Made from dehydrated petals only of the blue pea flower, it has multiple ways of consumption.  It is traditionally used for blue food colouring and it provides the added benefits as a calming agent.  As a natural food colouring, it can be used to create the traditional blue rice (Nasi Kerabu) as well as in making cakes, jellies and puddings apart from making a blue-colorer drink.  In making a drink, if calamansi (limau kasturi) is added to the blue pea tea, the resulting drink will be a purple color.  So, by adding calamansi to your blue jelly mixture, you will get purple jelly.
        It can be serves as a hot or cold drink, sweetened or unsweetened.  To make tea, just add 1-2 flowers into just-boiled water and watch the liquid turn blue.
        This is available via mail-order with additional postage and handling costs.  Each jar costs RM 15.

Updated: Oct. 10, 2017

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Natural Preventive and curative: My Basics

The main purpose of the farm is to produce chemical-free and hormone-free edibles and through the years, I have selected some staples for a reason.  I still continue to plant and nurture many different plants as I am ever the optimist in believing that I will have time to study them further for their benefits so until them, I will care for them.  The staples that I have narrowed down to is based on what I feel is the basics for my health from a preventive and curative view.  So what are my basics: ginger, turmeric, coconut, and roselle.  Why you may ask?  Simple, I need to keep my immune system and my central nervous system (including the brain) healthy.   I am not a doctor so I do not do diagnosis or pharmacological advise.   I practice natural food therapy in my daily life so I share what I experience and know.

The largest organ in my body for the immune system is the gut which includes the stomach, intestine and bowel.   It performs the key function of removing toxins and wastes from our body as well as allowing absortion of nutrients by our body.  If our gut cannot function properly, the food is not digested properly, our body doesn't get the proper nutrients, and our body doesn't eliminate the toxins and wastes properly.  If the gut is not healthy, it can also cause toxins and harmful bacteria to enter our blood system which can result in other organs being damaged and allergies.  For me, the easiest way to care for them is to incorporate ginger, turmeric, tapioca and roselle into my normal food intake, either as solids or liquids.


To care for my central nervous system, especially my brain, I look to coconuts which I either consume as a drink or using extra virgin coconut oil (EVCO).  Studies have proven that the ketones in coconut oil can help rebuild or repair our brain cells.  An illness that many of us are aware of that affects the brain is Alzheimer's.  It has been shown that consumption of EVCO can improve and even cure this condition and best of all, no negative side effects - this is something that almost all the drugs cannot claim.  I choose EVCO because it is the purest form of coconut oil and when produced from organic coconuts does not contain contaminants.  It is produced using cold-pressed method from fresh coconuts.  It doesn't undergo any chemical process or drying that can contaminate the coconut.

Of course, ginger, turmeric, coconut, tapioca and roselle also have other benefits so by incorporating them in my diet, I get to enjoy them too.  These 5 provides antibacterial, antiviral, improve the immune system, helps to lower cholesterol, improves blood circulation, helps to improve high blood pressure condition, improve digestion, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer - to name a few.  One of my key focus is to share what can be planted by everyone or if not, what can be obtained locally with the cost also being a factor.  Ginger, turmeric and roselle can be planted in containers for those who do not have much planting space.  If you have a small space, you can plant tapioca and dwarf coconuts but if you can't, they are easily purchased.  None of these need to be imported as they can be obtained locally so this can make it affordable to many.  Try incorporating them into your normal daily diet and I hope you can reap the benefits of a better health.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Bentong Ginger: What we do

Amongst my favourite rhizome is the Bentong Ginger.  Its benefits are well documented and it is a popular herbal spice.  At the farm, we grow it and we have to keep rotating the area where we plant it because it "eats" a lot so I need to let the soil rejuvenate before planting in the same location again.
Although it stores well, I always like to process it as soon as it is harvested.  Apart from using it fresh, we do process it to a concentrate drink and to a dry, powdered form.

Our concentrate is a blend of the ginger, turmeric and black pepper.  As it is a concentrate, it can be diluted to prepare a drink, either hot or cold.  It is also used in cooking as well as a marinate.
As no preservatives or additives are used, it needs to be stored refrigerated.  This is one of our popular products and we produce it in batches as needed.  Our customers use it for many reasons:

  1. to maintain their digestive system and as a preventive measure against leaky gut
  2. to control cholesterol
  3. to reduce gas and bloating
  4. to reduce joint aches and pains including for arthritis
  5. as a post-natal supplement.
Personally I use it as a preventive measure so it is something that I consume everyday, in different forms.  Making it as part of my daily normal essential diet has been key to enabling me to continue consuming it for the benefits without feeling bored, something which can easily occur if you are popping pills.  I treat it as a natural therapy and it assists my body in healing itself.

The second processed product is our new product: producing ginger powder.  The ginger is sliced and dehydrated using a dehydrator which allows me to ensure maximum retention of nutrients as well as prevention of contaminants such as dust, dirt or other types of contaminants.  This dehydration process reduces the ginger to approximately 10% of its fresh original weight.  What it means is if 1 kg of fresh ginger is dehydrated, the dehydrated ginger will weigh around 90-100g.
The dehydrated ginger is then ground to a powdered form.  The end product is really concentrated so you do not need to use much of it.  No additives or preservatives are added to it so it is pure ground ginger.  It can then be stored in an air-tight container in the cupboard or if you prefer, in the refrigerator.  This ground ginger can be used in many ways: used in cooking and marinating as well as in creating drinks like ginger tea or added to other teas to flavour it.  The dehydrated ginger will also be used to create our ground spice mixes such as with lemongrass and turmeric.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Eat for Life: Naturally maintaining my gut

We often are more reactive than proactive and we tend to want miracle cures.  I decided to change my diet from being reactive to proactive and one of the major changes is the diligent inclusion of turmeric and ginger, roselle probiotics and virgin coconut oil in my diet.  This combination provides a wealth of health benefits but in a proactive measure, one of the main ones that I want is the care and maintenance for my gut.  I have done a lot of research on this and will continue to follow developments from both the medical world as well as the alternative holistic therapies.
Our gut is the biggest immune organ in our body with the main function of processing our food and removing toxins.  It is basically our digestive tract.  Over the last few years, more and more information has been disseminated regarding a condition called leaky gut.  A leaky gut causes allergens and toxins as well as bacteria and viruses to enter out bloodstream leading to many illnesses including infections to other organs like the brain, heart, kidney and others, allergies and autoimmune.  The symptoms are many and is often misdiagnosed resulting in our medical treatment addressing the symptoms but not the condition.   Some of the symptoms are:

  1.  allergies
  2. infections to various organs and within the body
  3. body aches and pains
  4. bloating
  5. cramps

The symptoms and manifestation of the problem is common enough that the treatment is often for the symptom and not addressing the underlying issue.

Some of the causes are:

  1. age
  2. gluten
  3. antibiotics
  4. food additives
  5. carcinogens


How to avoid a leaky gut?  Easy but can be difficult to do for some: take care of your gut and prevent the lining from breaking down or having holes.  Basically, one needs to take care of what one consumes.  A healthy gut has good digestive tract walls and good bacteria.  As we age, our body will breakdown and need repairing so similar to having a car, one needs to do maintenance.  Some repairs here and there, replacing what is worn down, etc.

In my proactive mode, I have added 3 items which not only is good for my gut health but also contains other health benefits:

  1. Bentong ginger and turmeric with black pepper
  2. Roselle probiotics
  3. Extra virgin coconut oil


These 3 items promotes the repair work, addressing the symptoms with its anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti inflammation properties and then continues to promote the health of my gut with the probiotics and "cleaning" activities.  They are simple to add to my daily diet and doesn't require major changes to my routine and readily available.  I am a firm believer that if we cannot make something a normal thing to do, it will be hard to remain diligent and sustain it as a normal course in our life.  Whilst some of this are available in pill forms, a few factors make it less desirable:

  • I do not know what is added during the process to convert it from natural state to pill or capsule
  • The cost is higher than the natural state
  • While it may be convenient, over a period of time, I will become bored and lazy to pop the pills and ultimately, just stop doing it
  • There is no fun in pill popping - there is no enjoyment in consuming it and it becomes a to-do task as opposed to something I do normally


My focus has always been on organic and local so that it is easily available and affordable.  After all, if it is expensive that it is out of reach to the masses.  As with everything you consume, do find out about the source of what you consume and that it is natural, organically grown without hormones as well as additives-free and this includes preservatives, sugar, colouring.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Go organic and go local

Over the last few days I have been involved in many discussions regarding GMO vs non-GMO, organic vs non-organic, local vs imported.  The underlying grievance was the cost issue.  So I thought I will lay down my take on it.
GMO vs non-GMO
GMO food inherently contains carcinogens at the cell level so if is just about impossible to get rid of it.  The purpose of GMO was to alter the natural state of the produce at a cellular level so that it can contain pesticides to enable the plant to produce more and or standardised product.  This is great for commercialising a produce as you can have high yield at a lower cost. The major GMO produce are corn and soy and more will probably be added in the future.  These two items appear in many forms,  For corn, some of the items are  fresh corn, frozen corn kernels, corn oil, corn syrup, corn flour, and breakfast cereal.   Another item often forgotten is animal feed as many use corn which are GMO so the toxins gets transferred from the feed to the animal and to us such as in chicken, beef and fish and shellfish and also in milk.  For soy, some of the items are soya bean oil, soya sauce, soy milk and soy flour. The pesticides are carcinogens and though Big Businesses claim that it is safe, there are many non-industry sponsored studies that show otherwise including the proliferation of a new disease called Autoimmune.   Good for business but bad for people.

Organic vs non-organic
Organic produce is produced without using any chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilisers.  The soil has also got to be toxic chemical contaminant free.  Hydrophonic method is not necessarily organic.  For non-organic, anything goes.  Organic farming is also more labor-intensive.  For my definition I also include avoidance of plant hormones.

Local vs Imported
For some reason, many are ignorant and automatically assume that if something is imported then it is good.  Not necessarily so.  Imported costs more as there is transportation costs, handling costs and other related costs.  So the higher price doesn't mean that it is of better quality.  It goes back to knowing your source.

What it boils down to is: "Do you want to pay now or pay later?".  So, if you think that choosing organic, non-GMO and local is more expensive or not of high quality, do be sure to add up the costs properly.  The other hidden costs are medical bills, transport costs (for treatment and related services required), pharmaceutical bills (bear in mind that sometimes you will be prescribed a few drugs as the first is for your condition and the others to treat the effects of the first drug), future higher food costs (as then you can only eat foods that meet the criteria for your condition), loss of work days, lower quality of life and other costs.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

The bountiful God's Crown (Mahkota Dewa) Fruit

With such a grand name, Mahkota Dewa (God's Crown) is traditionally used in many ways.  It's botanical name is Phaleria Macrocarpa.  At the farm, our 4 years old tree stands about 2 meters.  I haven't trimmed it since I propagated it from
seed and it is now fruiting in abundance so I will wait a little while before I prune it a bit.  Watching its growth, I would say it is a slow grower in height but that doesn't mean the same for the fruiting.  It starts fruiting in about 1 year.  The fruit is a dark red color when it ripens and it is at this stage that I harvest.
The outer skin of the fruit is slightly waxy and the flesh is fibrous and white in color.  For the first 3 years, I only fertilised it about once every six months so there wasn't much fruits produced.  However in the last year, I fertilised it quarterly and I see a marked difference in the quantity of the fruit.  I use organic, farm-produced fertiliser since I wanted to ensure as best as I can that it is free from toxins and chemicals as ultimately, I plan to use it as a health "supplement".
I use the fruit to produce my tea.  It contains alkaloid, flavonoid, polyphenol and antioxidants making it rich in benefits in traditional preventive and curative therapy.  I drink the tea at least once a week as part of my detoxification regime with its alkaloid content.  It helps to cleanse the liver, kidneys and digestive system.  It is also antiviral and antibacterial which helps strengthen my immune system.  Sometime I drink more times depending on how I feel.
Amongst its other uses in traditional therapy are:

  1. To help lower the blood sugar for diabetics due to its saponin content
  2. To cleanse the blood due to its flavonoid content
  3. To improve the body's metabolism due to its flavonoid content
  4. To reduce cholesterol due to its flavonoid content
  5. As an alternative tutor and cancer therapy from its antioxidants and alkaloids
  6. To reduce the fats in the blood due to its flavonoid content
A noted point is pregnant women and post-natal women shouldn't consume this.

I checked around for dried Mahkota Dewa fruit and the price ranges from RM 50-60 per 100 gm.  As I cannot verify that it is organically produced nor using the method that least introduces contaminants, I decided to make my own.  I produce the tea by first harvesting mature fruits, slicing and dehydrating them.  Traditionally, it is sun-dried but I prefer to dehydrate so as not to introduce contaminants.  Once dried, it can be stored
for many months - at least 3 months - though I tend to prepare mine at regular intervals.
I use a claypot to are my tea, about 10gm per litre of water.  I bring it to a boil and allow it to cool in the claypot before drinking it.  It looks like regular tea and the taste is slightly bitter (like when you are too strong tea) with fruity undertones.  To make it more bland, you can always add more water to dilute it but I find that it is not necessary.
With all the benefits and the taste, I find it easy to add it to my regular drinks list.  In case you wonder what is on my regular drinks list, they are misai  kucing tea, soursop leaves tea, Bentong ginger and turmeric drink, Roselle (tea and drink) as well as variations of calamansi drinks (with lemongrass or bunga telling).  With this variety, I am never bored but I feel that it makes going organic and natural brings lots of benefits to my health maintenance.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Bedroom must-have plant: Mother-in-law plant or Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

As part of natural therapy and incorporating simple ideas into our daily lives, I began to look for plants that improves our environment.  For me, hands-down, this is the plant to have in every bedroom and not just one, tiny plant but several if you have the room.  The Sansevieria trifasciata has 2 main varieties that most of us are familiar with: the one with the yellow stripe along the leave outer edge is also known as the Mother-in-law plant and the one without the stripe is knows as the Snake plant.  Both have geometric patterns that look like scales all over the leave except for the edges.

This plant is very easy to care for as it requires minimal sunlight as well as can withstand long periods without watering.  What this means is if you place the plant near a window that gets minimal sunlight, you are set.  If you place it in a space that receives no sunlight, just let it sunbathe once in a while.  If you are one of those who always forget to water the plants, this plant can tolerate weeks of not watering.  so, when you remember, you water it.  I know of no other plant that is so resilient and easy to care for.

For barely caring for this plant, you reap tremendous benefits.  It is one of the best natural air purifiers and has had numerous studies done including by NASA which has ranked it as the top plant for air purifying as it purifies over 100 different toxins including formaldehyde, xylene, benzene and nitrogen oxide.   The main source of xylene is the automotive exhaust and various solvents.  It is also released in petroleum processing such as refineries.  So, if you have an office at a refinery, you should have this plant in your office.  You can read more on the toxicology report published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC).  Formaldehyde is also commonly emitted from furnishings such as wood or plywood furniture, carpets as well as from automotive combustions.    A more detailed report on emissions can be found in an article from the U.S. National Institute of Health as well as other regulatory bodies.  Formaldehyde affects your respiratory system and is also classified as a carcinogen.  With new furniture, it may emit for several months.  So, if you just move into a new home, an easy way to detoxify the air is by having this plant throughout your house.  Formaldehyde can also be emitted from candle burning, incense burning and cooking - activities which seem harmless.  You can research more into the other toxins but you can be assured, there is nothing good about them.  Just by having this plant in your home or office space, you can improve your air quality substantially and it is a painless method that requires very little effort on your part but delivers tremendous benefits.

Unlike most other plants which use oxygen at night, this plant releases oxygen.  So while your body is doing its repair work while you sleep at night, you are also getting "oxygen therapy".  The leaves are not toxic so the plant is safe around children and pets unlike the money plant, which has toxic leaves.

As a result, over the last month, I have been seriously cultivating the plant and placing it all over my home, especially in the bedrooms.  I also place it in the bathrooms.  This is one plant that I think is wonderful as a air purifies and providing additional oxygen at night whilst requiring very little effort on the owners part.  I can think of no reason not to have this plant in our homes.  Can you?

SHL Edible Products: Going forward

It has been over 10 years since I embark on my organic agriculture journey and over the years, I have planted over 100 types of plants and trees, researched and experimented the use and benefits and processing some of them to form products, a step beyond its natural form.  As I move to the future, I have made moves to streamline our produce and plants.

I have a keen interest in making food as medicine and to make it as a normal part of our daily diet with the ultimate aim at preventing diseases and illnesses whilst at the same time having therapeutic values. This is a way to adjust our diets without making it a chore and working through natural healing which takes time.  I am not a medical practitioner nor do I presume to be an expert.  However, I do consume what I produce and it is a tenet of the farm that we do not sell edibles that we do not eat ourselves.  What I produce for my own consumption is what we in turn productize.

All the products are based on what we grow at the farm as it is important for me that the source materials are as clean as possible from toxic chemicals either from the ground or what is used during its growth and processing.  I have streamlined our  products to those that I find is easiest to consume and with loads of benefits


Bentong ginger and turmeric
Ginger and turmeric are well-known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, antiviral and antibacterial properties as well as for the benefits for reducing cholesterol, improving the immune system and digestive system.  Our concentrate also includes black pepper to further aid in the absorption of curcumin into the body.  This combination aids in the healing of many inflammatory based illnesses like gout, many forms of arthritis, and muscle pains.  It also has anti-cancer properties especially for the digestive system as studies found that it kills the heliotrope bacteria which is found to support activation of cancer cells in the digestive system.
There are many ways to consume our concentrate:
  • Dilute with water – either hot or cold to make a drink that can also be sweetened
  • Use in your cooking to add flavor


Blue Pea Flower (Bunga Telang Biru)
This flower can be used as a natural food coloring and is a must if you want to create authentic nai kerabu – using blue coloring is just not authentic or good for you.  The flowers are dehydrated and it can be stored in a cool, dry area or in the refrigerator for longer term storage.
Like many colored natural food, this flower is rich in antioxidants.  Another property that it naturally has is as an anti-depressant.  It can be used to create a blue-colored drink and when mixed with calamansi juice, turns purple and can serve as a relaxing drink after a stressful day.
In traditiinal or alternative therapy, it used:
  • To Improve eyesight and eye strain
  • As a blood cleanser
  • To detoxify
  • To relieve stress
Calamansi
It is a great source for vitamin A and C.  The main acids in this fruit is citric acid and ascorbic acid.  Using cold-pressed pure juice, I have created the following
  • Pure calamansi juice which can be turned into a drink on its own by diluting or used in flavouring cooking
  • Pure calamasi juice with lemongrass which brings the benefits of lemongrass as well as a refreshing flavour
  • Pure calamasi juice with blue pea flower (bunga telang) which adds more antioxidant properties

Cat’s whiskers (Misai Kucing)
Our dehydrated Misai Kucing tea is made from the leaves and flowers and can be turned into a drink by steeping in just-boiled water for at least 5 minutes.  It can be served hot or cold.  The many health benefits that have been reported include :
  • It has properties that enables it to be used to regulate the blood sugar hence is used as an alternative treatment for diabetes
  • This herb inhibits blood platelet from sticking together and has powerful hemolytics that can lower blood pressure thus making it an alternative treatment for high blood pressure as well as for reducing cholestrol, which is often used in traditional medicine.
  • This herb has the ability to clean toxins within the blood hence it is also used in traditional herbal medicine in the process of detoxification and in removing metabolic waste within the body.  This in turn makes it a useful addition to weight loss efforts.
  • It also has diuretic properties making it beneficial in the treatment of kidney stones and for flushing the kidney and urinary tract.  It helps to flush out the uric acid as well as block the production of uric acid.  This in turn also helps other conditions such as gout and inflammation of joints due to high uric acid levels in the body

Another health property of this herb is its ability to act as an anti-inflammatory hence its use in the herbal treatment for athritis and rheumatism

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Only in the last decade or so that this much maligned oil has been proven to be good for you.  It has strong antiviral and antibacterial properties as well as being rich in lauric acids.  Amongst its benefits are:
  •  Improving the immune system
  • Improving the brain cells regeneration 

It is often used in alternative therapies such as:
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Viral infection including flus and colds

It can be consumed on its own or incorporated into you cooking and even in flavoring coffees.

Gingertorch (Bunga Kantan)
Gingertorch is a popular addition to flavor dishes especially laksa, asam pedas and various other local Malaysian dishes and a must-have for many in nasi kerabu.  

Sometimes it is hard to find and when fresh, doesn’t last long.  So I decided to produce dehydrated ginger torch flower which can be stored in the cupboards or for longer storage, in the refrigerator so that it is on-hand when you want it.

It has antioxidant properties.  In traditional or alternative therapy, it is used:

  • as a blood cleanser
  • to increase mother's milk during post-natal
  • to reduce body smell

Lemongrass
A popular herbal spice which can be used to make a tea or in cooking which has been dehydrated to make a dried lemongrass flakes which can be stored in a cool, dry area or the refrigerator for longer term storage.  To make a tea, just steep in just-boiled water and serve hot or cold, sweetened or not.  It has high antioxidant , antiviral and antibacterial properties.  In alternative therapies, it is used for:
  • Digestive system problems
  • Treatment of certain types of cancers
  • High blood pressure
  • Rheumatism


Roselle
Roselle is rich in vitamins A and C and is good for the immune system.  Amongst its properties is it is anti-oxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.  Based on a study by Purdue University, it is high in calcium, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin C and iron.  It is also caffeine-free hence it can be made as an after-dinner tea for those who cannot consume caffeine after late afternoon or they have a hard time sleeping.  It has anti-hypertensive properties so it is also good for people with hypertension of high blood pressure.
We have 3 different types of products:
  •   Roselle concentrate which also contains the calyces
  •  Roselle tea concentrate which is made from the leaves
  • Dehydrated Roselle tea which you can make a drink by steeping in just-boiled or hot water and sweeten to taste if desired.

The concentrates need to be stored refrigerated and can last at least 3 months.  It can be used in cooking to make jelly or in dishes that you want to have a sour flavor addition like assam pedas and singgang. 

The tea leaves should be stored in a cool dry place, just as you would store any other tea.  The drinks help chemotherapy patients as it helps to flush out the toxins from the body as well as helps to improve the immune system. It is a good alternative drink especially for children.  It has often to likened to Ribena.

Snakegrass
The snakegrass tea is produced by dehydrating mature leaves and crushed to form loose tea leaves.  It is prepared by steeping in just-boiled water for at least 5 minutes.  In traditional and alternative therapies it is used to treat:
  •  Certain types of cancer such as lymphatic, ovarian, breast and prostate cancer
  •  Kidney disease
  •  Improving the immune system
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Lowering blood pressure


Soursop
We created soursop tea by dehydrating it mature leaves and crushing them.  It is prepared into a drink just like any normal herbal tea, using just-boiled water and allowed to steep for at least 5 minutes.
Based on research by USDA:
  •  It is an excellent source of vitamin C
  • Has a high fiber content which can prevent constipation
  • Contains half the potassium in bananas which can help prevent leg cramps
  • Its high magnesium content can help prevent water retention especially for women who experience this in PMS.
  • Good source of thiamin, the B vitamin needed for aerobic energy production, the process where oxygen is used to convert sugar into usable energy 
  • Loaded with the trace material copper which is essential for healthy bones.  It also helps boost the effectiveness of vitamin D, which promotes the absorption of calcium.
  • A good source of niacin which studies have shown to have significant benefits on levels of HDL, the good cholesterol
  • Good source of folate which is a mineral that is recommended to prevent deficiencies during pregnancy for pregnant women.
  • Good source of iron, an essential element in the body producing healthy red blood cells
  •  Rich in riboflavin where studies have shown can help prevent migraines.


With the iron and vitamin K, it promotes red blood cells production hence it is good for anemic but not for people with DVT and similar “rich blood” illnesses.  It is rich in antioxidants and is often used as either complementary or alternative treatment of certain types of cancer.