Archive for the Food Category

Gardening – Rain Gutter Grow System

Posted in Food, Gardening, Nature with tags , , , , , , , , , on 2016/10/31 by rmolby

Some time ago, probably about two or three years ago, I discovered Larry Hall’s Self Watering Rain Gutter Grow System!

I was impressed, and it filled a concept void in my mind, where something wasn’t right for my logic when it comes to aquaponic and hydroponic systems!

So, let me touch on this last thought process real quick. I need to define a few pieces of information for context here:

  1. Hydroponics – a method of growing plants in a non-soil grow medium like rock-wool and feeding them via the water submerged roots by adding essential nutrients to the water via chemicals.
  2. Aquaculture – a method of growing fish in a man-made pond system, feeding them a commercial diet of fish pellets and cleaning the water of wastes via mechanical and chemical means.
  3. Aquaponics – combining the above methods solves several issues in both systems, and can reduce the need for outside sources of feed and chemicals dramatically, because the plants absorb some of the waste produced by the fish, and some of the kitchen waste (i.e. lettuce cuttings) can be fed to the fish.

So, the problem I have with the systems above is that the plants didn’t evolve to grow in soil-less environments!

Then I discover Larry Hall’s ingenious Self Watering Rain Gutter Grow System! Go watch the video at the link to the left or visit his YouTube channel. I will wait 15 minutes while you watch the video, and when you come back here I will expand on my thought process.

[waiting…]

Alright, you are back? Excellent!

Basically, my beef is with the missing soil food web. You might ask, what the heck is that?

The soil food web is a compilation of organisms that live in the soil in harmony with the plant roots. The organisms feed the plants by converting minerals in soil particles to a plant usable state to be absorbed by the roots, and the plants in turn release nutrients, such as sugars, into the soil via the roots which the organisms live on. You can read in more detail at WikipediA and SoilFoodWeb.

Well, in a purely water based system, this soil-food-web environment is incomplete or non-existent, as in the hydroponic system. But what if we were to put soil back into the system?

The problem I was seeing was that soil submerged as in the ebb-and-flow beds or the floating raft beds of the aqua/hydro-ponic systems is that you create a swampy environment that goes anaerobic quickly and the roots rot in no time!

This is where Larry Hall’s bucket and rain gutter system filled the void. Since the grow buckets only absorb the amount of water that can wick up from the rain gutter through the wicking cup, and the plants will only grow roots as far down as they need to reach the water, we are re-creating the natural water flow of natural, healthy, loamy soils of fields and gardens.

In such environments, water will wick up from the soil substrata as needed to gain hydrostatic equilibrium of moisture in the soil – in other words, water will wick up as needed in order to compensate for water lost at the soil surface due to evaporation and from the plants consuming the water as needed.

In natural systems, this is very efficient and inefficient at the same time.

Efficient in the fact that if the soils both at the surface level and deep soils are moist they will transfer or wick water to dryer areas.

Inefficient in the fact that if the soils get too dry, the wicking action can stop, and then it takes along time for water to reabsorb into the sub-soils, causing saturation during rain sessions where the healthy top soil washes away.

Larry’s system solved all of this by containing the growing soil in buckets, keeping it in place, as well as supplying a continuous source of water simulating the sub-soils by using rain gutters and wicking pots, and if we combine this with aquaculture, we can even get the fish waste nutrients delivered to the plants through soil, and the soil organisms will gladly convert them into nutrients the plants can use.

I really believe that this will become the defacto standard for incorporating aquaculture and horticulture into an integrated food growing system.

With this in mind, I would like to define some new terms:

SWaRGGS – (Larry Hall’s) Self Watering Rain Gutter Grow System

I had another one in my head but my memory is failing me, but once I recall the other acronyms I will come back and edit this post.

I will be doing some additional posts regarding how I am implementing this system at my home.

Since we are going into winter, I am building a leant-to greenhouse on the west side of our house. I’ve wanted to do this for some time and now have the blessing from the wife to pursue this, so I am building this greenhouse with some flavor of SWaRGGS in mind.

I am also attempting to get starter tomato plants buy making my own SWaRGGS pots from small laundry baskets and training side shoots from my in-ground tomato plants through the holes in the baskets and then filling the baskets with soil.

Some of these tomatoes are already basically 3 years old since I have done this with some success with pots the last two winters. I lost a lot of tomato plants during the high heat and now the drought, but if they were inside a SWaRGGS system I doubt they would have croaked.

Anyway, I will post a few more times about this subject; the next project will be documenting my laundry basked pot system.

Catch you later.

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Health – Low Soda (Pop) Intake

Posted in Food, Health with tags , , , on 2015/07/03 by rmolby

Are you trying to lose weight?

The first thing you should do is increase your water intake and reduce your sugary drink intake!

Let me elaborate on this though process.

I am speaking from a Standard American Diet (SAD) standpoint, but this should hold true for most “industrialized” diets. And by diet, I don’t mean the diet fads, but diet as in what we consume on a daily basis.

So, if you look at how many time people eat out these days, the most common thing you see consumed is sugary drinks, your soda, pop, juice, sports drinks, etc.

Want something cold to drink?

“That’ll be $1.08 ma’am/sir” the reply comes from the broken fast food drive-through speaker, announcing to you are about to get a 32oz or 1 liter Coke or Sprite.

I see this multiple times a day myself, including in my own family.

I have been doing research on the subject of sugar for some time now, and it is becoming increasingly clear that sugar, while it has played a major role in nutrition since we as a species starting eating, our bodies evolved to only consume sugars for short periods of time during late summer and fall to propagate plants by spreading seeds.

Our bodies are designed to run on two fuels, fat and sugar, with sugar being mostly available in abundance in fruit for only a short period during the year, while minor amounts are available in certain vegetables that are available for longer periods of time of the year, and some of which can be store for several months, such as fall squash.

However, the preferred fuel for the body is fat. Why do you think that our bodies convert surplus sugar into fat in the liver?

Before refined sugar became so universally available, the sugar surplus of fall fruit could not be all used at once, and our bodies developed ways to convert the sugar to fat and store it in different parts of the body for later use, especially to carry us through winter if living in temperate climates. This took a long time for our bodies to get used to, probably 10’s of thousands if not millions of years of evolution.

Refined sugars have only been around for about 2000 years, and only in the last 200 or so, the refined white sugars have become cheaply available. And the recent advent of man-made sugars such as High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) are only recent developments of the last 50-75 years. So the sugar epidemic is just now really coming to the surface.

Our bodies forgo health to store the surplus sugar as fat, because it is the sucrose the liver can turn into fat quickly to be stored all over the body, and the fructose is stored in the liver itself as a different type of fat due to different way of processing this particular sugar. However, it doesn’t matter if the sugar is white, lacking minerals, or raw and still has some of the minerals in it. The liver only processes the sugars themselves.

If by chance the stomach is able to get any minerals or nutrients from the raw sugar, it is not much. So the body gets virtually no other nutrition from sugar other than to be able to process it into fat. Basically it is like giving your car low octane fuel all the time, eventually it will tear up the engine – same with the body, it will start pulling needed metabolic nutrients from your tissues and bones.

So, since your body doesn’t sense there are any nutrients in the refined sugars we feed ourselves all day long, it just thinks, oh well, I’ll store it as fat and figure out what to do with all the fat later… our bodies are in eternal “store fat for winter” mode. So it is no wonder we have a civilization of obese people!

So, what is the solution?

Water

The best thing you can do for your health is to start drinking water.

If you are one of those people that cannot stand still water, whether at room temperature, cool out of the pipe, or cold from the refrigerator, then maybe you should try carbonated mineral water.

I personally was one of those people that could drink ice cold still water, but only in small amounts. So, in order for me to start getting more water into my system, I started to take sips of still room temperature or cold water, followed by whatever sugary drink I was having at the time.

This made it easy for me to increase the amount of water I was getting. Slowly at first until I got into the habit of taking a sip of water EVERY time I felt like I needed to drink something, even just to get my mouth wet. In time, my sugary drink intake declined when I just needed sip to wet my lips, and I increasingly had a bottle of water at the ready for this purpose.

As more time progressed, I would drink more and more water and less sugary drink, and now, about 1-2 years into the process, I only carry water with me in my vehicle, and virtually all my sugary drink consumption is from taking sips from my wife’s Dr. Pepper or Sprite when I am out of water or she is holding the cup out to me.

Just doing this one simple trick, my weight has gone from the 195-205 lbs (~88-93 Kg) range to about 189-192 lbs (~86 Kg), no extra exercise, not hardly any other changes in my diet.

I have noticed a marked decrease in sugary cravings, and as such I now eat less sweets, which should accelerate my weight-loss a bit more, yet.

So, to wrap up with rather long post, you can do yourself and your body a favor by cutting out the sugary drinks of all types, and gain back a tremendous amount of feeling good about yourself.

P.S. I will be editing this post by adding reference materials as I find time to do so.

Health – Heart Condition Update

Posted in Family, Food, Health, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on 2015/07/01 by rmolby

So, Friday, 19 June 2015, I went in for my heart check.

They prepped me, rolled me in, and I was back out about 4 hours after I arrived at the heart hospital.

Turns out, I am fine, the suspected blockage is only a little plaque build-up, which according to the cardiologist is unusual for someone my age, and yet again he wants me to be on a statin, but I refused once more and stated renal (kidney) failure in my mom being my concern.

He didn’t argue with me but asked if I wanted to try a different statin than Crestor, but I said no thank you i want to try to manage this through diet and exercise.

So, my next step will be to get back with Dr. Lewis in Texas and have him schedule the LabCorp tests he wants to run so he can prescribe his protocol to take care of my issue.

Health – Heart Cath

Posted in Food, Health with tags , , , on 2015/06/22 by rmolby

Last week I updated you about my “heart condition” my cardiologist warned me about.

So, this last Friday I went to the cardiology lab and they performed a heart cath where they went in through my wrist, through my arm artery with a probe, and looked at the “affected” area.

Turns out I don’t have a blockage, I didn’t need a stent, but there is in fact some plaque buildup that is unusual for someone my age, so it still concerns my doctor and he still wants me on a statin.

That is not going to happen, of course, but I will make him happy and say I will take it, but I will pursue alternative means of cleaning up my cardiovascular system using the protocols Dr. Lewis from [insert company name here] in Texas has developed.

Anyway, I just wanted t post this update that I am in better shape than my doctor thought, and to reiterate that the current medical system is all about prescribing questionable medications to keep us paying for the physicians pharmaceutical payroll.

I will post another update after I get to talk to Dr. Lewis.

Health – Energizing your body

Posted in Blogging, Food, Health, LifeStyle with tags , , , , on 2015/01/12 by rmolby

Image credit: Philippe Dessante | Flickr

So I was reading a different article on Entrepreneur.com (to be discussed in another post in the future) when I saw the side link to another article, “How This Showering Trick Can Make You More Energized for the Work Day.”

Here lately I have not been getting the amount of sleep I need to be super alert and energized, and I have been reaching for coffee and caffeinated tea to give me a boost – a LOT lately.

I also read two articles (1/2) of drinking water on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. These two are turning out to be a little bit of an internet exaggeration/hoax, the reason why I say that is because of this debunking, and here, but also I found this article on an Ayurvedic site, semi confirming water consumption in the morning.

So for the last week or so I have been trying to drink one glass or 4-8 ounces (1/10 to 1/4 liter) water every morning. This seem to help with feeling parched, and on some days it made me feel better overall. I will need to increase this to two glasses over time, just to combat my typical American chronic dehydration.

Then seeing the article about the Energizing Shower, I tried this today, and once again, I was surprised, but yes, I felt a little more energized. I really didn’t go THAT cold, but I turned the hot water way down, and I almost wanted to yelp in disgust of the cold water hitting my body.

Did it wake me up? YES!

Did it energize my body? YES, for the first hour or so after I felt very energetic.

Now that I have had lunch, I am dragging again and having more coffee. I think there is a benefit to the shower trick, and I will continue to try to do it every day. Maybe by summer I will have a better feeling as to how effective this technique is.

So, in the not too distant future I will be following up on this post and see how I am doing with this shower technique.

 

Health – Zeal of Life – Day 69

Posted in Blogging, Food, Health with tags , , , , , , on 2014/05/09 by rmolby

Wow, I don’t make a consistent blogger… there is just too much to do in my life.

Alright, so I was going to document my Zeal Wellness 30 day challenge, but this product gave me so much energy and clear mindedness that I ended up being too busy to blog!

Except for about 3-5 days scattered throughout the last sixty plus (60+) days, I have had a Zeal Wellness, Chia Seed & Lifeway Kefir shake every late morning or early lunch. I don’t really notice how much this product helps me keep going, but on those days when I don’t have it I start running down by lunch time, and I usually become useless by early evening.

I would say the most significant symptoms I notice myself is how tired I feel and the foggy or spacey mind, I can’t seem to focus on anything and have no drive when the Zeal Wellness effect wears off.

All I can say is, you really should go try Zeal Wellness. Order a 30 day container and try it, and then not use it for a few days, I guarantee you, withing 48 hours of not taking the product, you will go back to feeling run down the way you feel day to day before taking the Wellness Challenge.

 

Bread baking – loaf 010

Posted in Baking, Food, Health, Home with tags , , , , , , , on 2014/03/02 by rmolby

Wow, it’s been around 6 months since I made my last loaf of bread!

Being unemployed, I figured I should get back into baking bread, especially since I have some flour left. Since I don’t have any sourdough starter, I opened my bread machine manual, and decided to go with the deafult Country White bread recipe, I did slightly modify the recipe:

  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp. Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¾ cup warm filtered water
  • 1½ tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • ½ tbsp. organic cane sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ tsp. Himalayan salt
  • 3 cups Bob’s Red Mill unbleached White Flour (superb for bread baking by hand or machine)
  • 3 tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Oat Flour
  • 1 tbsp. Hodgson Mill Stone Ground whole wheat flour
  • 1½ tsp. bread machine yeast

This time I added all the wet ingredients including the eggs and butter in the bottom of the mixing bowl, then added the flours on top, made the hole for yeast and added that, put the sugar on top of the yeast, sprinkled the salt over the flour dome, selected the basic bread mode and medium, and let her rip.

The dough turned out to be nice and thick, and the machine knead it well. During the rising process, it rose to form a nice dome without flowing over the edge of the baking pan.

It held the dome shape through the first few minutes of the baking, and then dropped a little, but not as much as in the past. Once the baking was done, instead of a dome it was almost flat, but it didn’t collapse deep into the center of the loaf.

I wrapped it in bakers towels as per my fathers instructions, and it is resting now. I can’t wait to cut into it and see what it tastes like.

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