Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Top Trends for 2012 Eco-Friendly Home

Over the past few years we have seen a decided move towards eco-friendly homes and lifestyles. 2012 is likely to continue that trend, with new products and common practices making sustainable living more convenient than ever.

Here are the top forecasted trends for 2012.

Improved Efficiency

More green builders and eco-friendly citizens are seeking out strategies for a more efficient home. This trend is all about making efficiency cost-effective and effortless. Homes are trending smaller, with proper insulation and energy efficient windows. Market trends and government tax credits make installing solar panels more affordable than ever before and “greywater recycling” systems allow the home owner to reuse water from sinks and bathtubs. Likewise, rain barrels are a very simple method for collecting rainwater for yard use.

More Composting

Most eco-conscious families are already recycling plastic, aluminum and paper, but new composting systems are making it even easier to recycle food waste at home. Bokashi composting uses fermentation rather than aeration to break down food into nutrient-rich compost and/or compost tea. Mixed with EM-1® kitchen composting accelerant, the result is a faster, less smelly and bug-free compost cycle. This system is fantastic for dense urban communities as there is virtually no decomposition smell to offend neighbors and the only space needed is a couple five-gallon buckets and a place to bury the fermented food wastes. For homes that rely on septic tanks, the very same technology can be applied for septic tank maintenance. Naturally occurring septic tank enzymes and bacteria are supplemented to the tank for greater decomposition efficiency. The result is fewer odors, lower maintenance costs, improved drainfield performance and reduced groundwater pollution.

The Diner Table

Knowledgeable consumers understand that diet not only affects their family’s health but can also impact the environment. Many families are adopting a “paleo style” approach to eating, eliminating overtly processed foods and opting for nutrient dense “real” foods. When given the choice they will always select organically-grown produce and prefer locally sourced foods that require fewer fossil fuels to move from farm to table. They select meats that are produced on farms that are certified organic and avoid mega-farms that produce meat in a non-sustainable way. Many families have even begun producing their own vegetables, fruit, and herbs, or raising their own chickens in backyard coops. Using EM Technology® in your garden will help you produce fruits and vegetables that have higher vitamins and minerals and enzymes. You can also use EM Technology® around chicken coops to control odors and help keep the area clean. Add a little EM Bokashi to the ground area for scratching and the birds will be happy. If raising ducks, you can also add some EMX® Ceramics and EM-1® to keep the water they swim in clean.

Reducing Chemical Output

Most households use and expel dangerous chemicals in their home, including bleach, ammonia, drain cleaner, detergent and hard surface cleaners. These chemicals wash down the drain and end up in our community’s soil and ground water. They may also aggravate chemical sensitivities in family members. For this reason, many families are actively replacing chemically-laden products with green cleaning agents. Likewise eco-families are replacing chemical fertilizers in their gardens and lawns with organic soil amendments and conditioners that naturally improve soil quality without chemical runoff. The result is a home and garden free of harsh chemicals and the associated risks.

Additionally, growing plants in the home helps keep the air inside clean and rich in oxygen. Some plants such as Gerbera Daisies are known to remove Benzene from the air. If you have a new home, off-gassing from chemicals in the building materials could cut down simply by growing some plants inside. Plants also provide therapeutic benefits and aesthetic benefit to a home. Growing better plants is easy using juice from the fermented food buckets to provide a liquid fertilizer and spraying some EM-1® on the plants once or twice per week.

Monday, January 16, 2012

What is EM Technology?

Teragainx is proud to be the exclusive North American distributor of Dr. Higa’s EM Technology®, including EM-1 Effective Microorganisms®, EM® Bokashi and EM® Ceramics. EM Technology® utilizes predominantly facultative microorganisms to enhance agricultural, medical and nutritional processes and products. These naturally-occurring organisms have proven highly effective in a diverse array of applications, from livestock odor control to micronutrient fertilizer amendment and even as a part of daily probiotic cleanse supplement.

EM Technology® embraces the fact that certain microbes are the cornerstone of a properly functioning ecosystem, be that system your garden, a livestock farm or your digestive tract. It harnesses the power of naturally-occurring microbes such as lactic acid bacteria, photosynthethetic bacteria, and beneficial yeast to positively influence the decomposition process. As Dr. Higa explains, decomposition of organic matter is a necessary part of a healthy environment and is, in fact, a “life promoting” process.

A professor in the Department of Agriculture at the University of Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan, Dr. Teruo Higa has revolutionized sustainable agriculture through his development of EM Technology®. His company is structured upon 8 key principals: low cost, high quality, safety, convenience, co-existence, co-prosperity, exchange of information, and sustainability. The company strives to reflect the product it produces. The microorganisms of EM-1 co-exist, co-prosper, exchange information, are sustainable, safe, efficient, and highly effective. If only human behavior could mimic these simple microbes.

These beneficial microorganisms are found is all aspects of nature, from rock crevices to your digestive tract! For this reason, their applications are myriad. Best of all, it is 100% organic, completely natural and will not contaminate your environments or aggravate chemical sensitivities.

EM Technology® EM-1® Applications

  • Household cleaning
  • Deodorizing the home
  • Pet odor control
  • Bathing & skin care
  • Septic tank maintenance
  • Indoor plant care
  • Pond maintenance
  • Soil amendment for gardens or agriculture
  • Drought control
  • Aquaculture
  • Hydroponics
  • Greenhouse maintenance
  • Foliar feeding
  • Hydrogen sulfide removal
  • Ammonia removal, reduction & control
  • Hydrogen Sulfide Odor Control
  • Waste water management
  • Corrosion control

EM® Bokashi Application

EM-X® Ceramics Applications

  • Natural Water Conditioning for Home, Wells & Agriculture
  • Infrared therapy

Pro EM-1® Applications

  • Over-all digestive health
  • Improved nutrient absorption
  • Purge toxins from the digestive tract
  • Improve immunity
  • Treatment for a variety of gastrointestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease
  • Alleviate certain allergies
  • Stave off yeast infections (Candida albicans) and urinary infections
  • Weight maintenance

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Benefits of Probiotics & How to Choose a Probiotic

The human digestive system relies on a series of beneficial microorganisms and digestive enzymes in order to properly digest and support the immune system. These human-friendly microbes are often referred to as beneficial bacteria or "probiotics" and are a critical component of healthy digestion. A growing body of scientific research supports regularly introducing live beneficial bacteria to the digestive tract in order to aid digestion, enhance the immune system, and prevent chronic illness. These tiny creatures aid in breaking down food matter and keep some harmful pathogens at bay.

One method for introducing these organisms is regularly ingesting foods fermented with beneficial bacteria, such as probiotic yogurt, kimchee and various fermented beverages. Many of these foods contain some variety, or strain, of beneficial microbes. They are normally from one or two different genus and, therefore, not very diverse in species makeup. Diverse species is important because one species or one genus of microbe only produces one set of metabolites. More metabolites (enzymes, vitamins, trace minerals, bacteriocins, etc.) mean more dietary and immune support. Metabolites are only produced during metabolic activity. So, if there is no activity, the metabolites are not being produced. Metabolic activity takes place during active fermentation and maturing.

We would like to make a note on yogurt. Most yogurts on the market are not fermented. The milk is often thickened with some type of acid (acetic acid, vinegar, citric acid, etc.) and are inoculated with freeze dried cultures at some point during the processing of the food and then refrigerated to keep the cultures from growing while in storage (no metabolic activity). This means the milk base is not properly pre-digested by the live microbes and you do not get all the benefits of the metabolites that would have been produced by the microbes during an actual fermentation process. There are some yogurts on the market that are fermented. Make sure they are clearly marked on the label. Kefir is another fermented milk product that uses multiple species of microbes and is fermented.

For many, however, these "fermented foods" are not readily available, inconvenient or not compatible with their dietary requirements. Some people may wish to use non-soy, non-dairy, or wheat-free probiotics. For these individuals, a more efficient and reliable solution would be finding the right probiotic supplement to fit their dietary needs. And, since many fermented foods are made with low diversity, getting all you need from food sources becomes very difficult.

Benefits of Probiotic Supplements

  • Allows you to efficiently deliver an appropriate amount of beneficial bacteria and digestive enzymes to your digestive tract on a regular basis.
  • Improves digestion and nutrient absorption.
  • Aids in the expulsion of toxins from the digestive system.
  • Shown to improve immunity and stave off certain illnesses.
  • Proven to be an effective treatment for chronic or intermittent diarrhea.
  • Treats several gastrointestinal conditions that have long mystified conventional medicine, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn's disease.
  • Shown to alleviate allergies in children.
  • Helps to control the yeast that causes yeast infections (Candida albicans).
  • Believed to stave off and treat urinary infections in women.
  • Can be used to support long-term weight loss.

Choosing a Probiotic Supplement

In the US, probiotic products are currently classified and sold as dietary supplements, so they are not subject to the testing and approval process that pharmaceutical drugs would be. For this reason, it is critical that you select a probiotic supplement from a manufacturer like Dr. Higa’s EM Technology® that is respected by both the medical and scientific communities. Look for organizations are based out of first-world countries that culturally value probiotic treatment, such as Japan, Sweden or Norway.

Choose a probiotic supplement that uses raw, fermented beneficial bacteria that uses all-natural and certified organic ingredients. It should contain live (never freeze dried), non-genetically modified microorganisms. You can also find a probiotic that does not contain preservatives, animal products, dairy, wheat and/or soy. There are multiple beneficial bacteria strains, so look for a probiotic that utilizes groups of synergistic naturally-occurring microbes. Also, be sure to choose a probiotic cleanse that is gentle enough for daily use.