Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Hydroponics is a Latin phrase meaning “working water.” Today, this is the process of growing plants without the use of soil. Hydroponics uses mineral nutrient solutions in water. Hydroponics has been proven as a successful way to grow healthy, stable, and high-yielding plants. When fruits and vegetables are grown hydroponically, the plants are nutrient-rich and tasty.

The two techniques for growing by hydroponics are medium culture and solution culture. Medium cultures use a solid medium such as sand or gravel to facilitate growth. Solution culture does not use these elements, and simply uses the nutrient solution.

How do Hydroponic Plants grow?

Plants grown hydroponically grow so well because they are getting all the nutrients they need in an ideally balanced environment without soil, which forces plants’ roots to search for their necessities. This means the plant can spend less effort trying to ingest food and more effort on vegetative growth and reproduction.

Hydroponic plants may grow completely in liquid or use small amounts of gravel, dirt or sand. Your hydroponics system can be in a mass fashion with many fertilizers, different mediums and automation or as simple as a single plant growing in a hand-watered bucket.

Creating a Positive Environment for your Plant

When growing hydroponically, it is crucial to remember that the nutrients and minerals soil-plants receive naturally, your plant relies on you to receive. A healthy hydroponics environment must have water, aeration, nutrients and physical plant support.

One thing you can do to ensure a healthy environment when using foliar feeding for hydroponic plants is to use a small amount of EM-1 Microbial Inoculant . While this does not substitute for nutrient solutions, it does maintain recommended dilution ratios for your plant. It is also a good idea to condition the water you are feeding your plants with EM-X Ceramics. Specialized hydroponic fertilizers can be used to ensure your plant grows as healthy as possible.

Part of hosting a positive environment for your hydroponic plants also means maintaining an ideal pH level. Similar to soil plants, very high or very low pH levels in hydroponic systems disable plants from absorbing the nutrients they need. Fortunately, like many other aspects of hydroponic systems, pH levels are much easier to monitor, test, and control than soil plants.

What are the Benefits of Growing Hydroponically?

Because of the absence of dirt, nutrients are more accessible and create greater yields. The absence of dirt also means less space is required.

Plants in hydroponic systems are maintained in a controlled environment. Should the plant show mineral or nutrient deficiencies, the concentrations of these ingredients applied in water can be easily altered. Additionally, soil plants are frequently subjected to soil-born pesticides, diseases, weeds, and pesticide use. These risks are almost completely eliminated with hydroponics.

There are a number of methods and mediums used to create hydroponic plants. It has become very easy and affordable to experiment with hydroponics at any level. So try it out and start seeing higher yields soon!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fermentation: The Nutritional Benefits

Humans have been fermenting their food and drink since the beginning of time. Jars containing wine dating back 7,000 years in present Iran, leavened bread in ancient Egypt, fermented milk in Ancient Babylon; the list goes on and on. We can’t know if these people understood the health benefits of consuming fermented food and drink, but it’s pretty obvious they liked it.

Fermentation Today
Contemporary humans have taken a liking to it as well. Beer, wine, ketchup, Tabasco, chocolate, cheeses and many other favorites are all based in traditional fermentation processes. Unfortunately, commercial interests are causing the foods most accessible to us to be fermented in manners that lower the nutritional benefits of fermentation. Pickles, onions and sauerkraut are being fermented in acidic vinegar as opposed to natural salt; bread is leavened with commercial yeast as opposed to wild yeast; and wine, beer, yogurt, milk and cheeses are heavily pasteurized in high heats. Contrary to lacto-fermented processes, all these methods kill of the good bacteria and enzymes that fermentation naturally provides.

What’s So Great About Fermentation?
The fermentation process involves the breakdown of carbohydrates and proteins by microgranisms such as bacteria and yeast. This creates great advantages in health and food preparation.

Food Preservation
The primary goal of fermentation in ancient times which holds functionality today is food preservation. Fermented food lasts weeks and sometimes months longer than fresh food. Consider how much longer a pickle stays fresh than a cucumber.

Digestion and Immunity
By fermenting food and allowing it to break down on its own, it naturally processes our food even before we eat it. Traditionally fermented foods are also rich in enzymes which allow food to be digested easier. Fermenting food also allows your body to take in and process the nutrients and vitamins in your food.

Naturally fermenting food creates full, fresh and rich tastes in food and drinks.

Easy and Inexpensive
Fermenting your own foods and using them in healthy and tasty recipes is easy. With a few products, like E-1 Microbial Inoculant, fermenting your own food was never so easy or cheap!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Can Probiotics Cure Autoimmune Diseases?

The benefits of probiotics are plentiful and many people incorporate them into their diet as an add-on. However, few people realize that these micro-organisms may be the key to decreasing the severity of symptoms related to autoimmune diseases. If you have been diagnosed with celiac, type 1 diabetes or lyme disease, there is good reason to believe that including these beneficial bacteria (link) into your treatment plan will provide significant health benefits.

The Journal of Leukocyte Biology published a study in May 2010 that concentrated on the link between celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder in which gluten attacks villi in the small intestine, and probiotics. This study replicated the environment of a celiac patient’s intestine which included certain types of harmful gram negative bacteria. A bifidobacteria probiotic was introduced and immediately had a strong anti-inflammatory effect. The findings of this study supports previous speculation that probiotics can offer significant benefits against celiac disease by decreasing serum CRP levels and the bacteria-induced production of proinflammatory cytokines, while simultaneously up-regulating the expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines. By decreasing the inflammatory effect of celiac probiotics may be able to restrict the primary symptoms of the disease, which are severe stomach problems, fatigue and vitamin deficiencies.

Similar research has been found in regards to Type 1 diabetes and the use of probiotics. Diabetics’ cells are starved of nutrition and consequently starved for energy production. Probiotic bacteria found in supplements such as PRO-EM 1 help your body absorb nutrients and reduce constant stress on the immune system. Probiotics may also help prevent and treat yeast infections which high blood sugars resulting from diabetes often trigger.

Treatment for lyme disease typically involves long term use of antibiotics which often kill the good bacteria in the gut. A study by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University recommends that physicians prescribe probiotics as part of the core treatment of lyme disease. Not only do probiotics re-establish the intestinal tract’s beneficial microflora, they also up-regulate the immune system so that it can successfully fight lyme disease pathogen. The lyme disease pathogen, Borrelia burgdorferi, is a potent pathogen that burrows deep into body tissues until it re-emerges weeks or months later. An up-regulated immune system from a probiotic cleanse may be of significant benefit during the latency period.

There may not be enough concrete research to deem probiotics a cure for celiac, type 1 diabetes or lyme disease yet. However, the scientific findings above illustrate the importance of incorporating these beneficial bacteria into your core treatment plan. Even if you have not been diagnosed with celiac, type 1 diabetes or lyme disease, probiotics are still extremely beneficial to your health and may decrease the likelihood that autoimmune disease symptoms will develop in your future.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Why Use Natural Soap? The Benefits of Using Castile Soap

Recently natural soaps have been making a comeback, as more Americans are diagnosed with skin sensitivities and conditions. While many major brands have begun manufacturing "natural" or "botanical" versions of their soaps, there’s little understanding of what sets these soaps apart from the regular commercial varieties. In many cases, there’s little actual difference between these soaps. Therefore, consumers looking for fragrance free, dye-free, SLS-free or chemical-free soaps should opt for pure soaps (also known as castile soaps) instead of commercial varieties of soaps.

What is Castile Soap?

Unlike commercial soaps that rely on SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) to create a soapy lather, castile soap's bubbles come from saponins in the oils that are released from the reaction of lye and oil.

Benefits of Pure Soap

1. Doesn’t Cause Irritation
Many skin irritations like itchiness, flaking, and redness are a result of dry skin. In the commercial soap making process glycerin is removed from the oil used to make the soap so that it can be sold for more expensive applications (facial creams, cosmetics, etc.). This glycerin is what provides moisture to your skin. When pure soap is made all of the glycerin is retained so all of that moisture stays in the soap- allowing your skin to be hydrated with every use. With the moisture content so much higher, pure soap can even be used on babies and children.

2. Won’t Clog Pores
Pure soap actually opens pores, unclogging them and allowing for a deeper clean. Subsequently, people with severe acne have reported that using pure soap has allowed for their pores to be gently unclogged- reducing acne breakouts and the occurrence of blackheads.

3. Accelerates Healing
Pure soap can actually accelerate skin’s natural healing properties- allowing for scars and stretch marks to become less visible over time.

4. Good for Skin Conditions/Sensitivities
People with eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, and SLS-sensitivity have a hard time finding skincare products that won’t irritate their skin or worsen their condition. Pure soap is the best solution for these conditions or sensitivities because it is very gentle on the skin and can greatly improve overall skin health.

5. Carries Fewer Serious Health Risks
Commercial anti-bacterial soaps contain a chemical called triclosan, which is actually registered as a pesticide by the EPA. Triclosan can lead to endocrine system issues, birth defects, decreased fertility, a weakened immune system, and even cancer. Pure soap does not contain triclosan.

6. Better Value
Pure soaps are only slightly more expensive, and the high-quality ingredients used are pure and all-natural, whereas commercial soaps use low-quality ingredients composed mainly of cheap chemicals and additives.

With all of the natural soaps out there, which one should you use? Our favorite pure bath soap is called Shabondama, which means "bubble" in Japanese and can be found on our website!