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Nature is calling
September 11, 2022

Nature is calling

Greetings from Bernard Preston to this our twentieth newsletter about creating your own Cyan Zone; greater wellness for both your family and the planet. Our theme this month is how nature is beckoning, offering amazing and perhaps undeserved gifts.

Nature is calling has two prongs; experience what she can do for you, but then you have the responsibility to payback and return her gift. We cannot expect her to give without reserve indefinitely, whilst we kick her in the teeth; some would say raping her.

There is a profound spiritual element to all of this; 'tis more blessed to give than to receive. We have been taking so much, and returning so little to Mother Earth.

With humans in urban areas spending up to 95% of their time indoors, even before lockdown, this drive is a reminder that direct well-being results from spending time in nature. Is it time for you to reconnect with her?

Recent scientific evidence has pointed to the fact that being immersed in nature has a profound impact on our brains and behaviour, helping us to reduce anxiety, brooding, and stress; and increases attention capacity, creativity and our ability to connect with other people.

Mother Nature has provided us with the mountains for an escape. This 12 hour hike to 11,000' asl was exhilarating.

Is this really possible for a person in their eighth decade with no training? Certainly if you are a Cyan Zone person; constantly seeking to care both for yourself and the planet.

That means plenty of good food too. It's interesting that in all five Blue Zones of the world they grow broad-beans, also known as favas. They are the only common source of the precursor of dopamine, a very important neurotransmitter. A deficiency causes Parkinson's disease.

You are most unlikely to find them in the shops; you have to grow them yourself.

Whether you are a vegetarian or an omnivore, God forbid a meat and potatoes man, legumes, eggs and chicken will provide you with all the protein you need.

Vegans have to work a lot harder at it; they are very prone to brittle bone disease and a vitamin B12 deficiency. Fractures and the attendant frailty are common otherwise.

Chickens and pigs have the advantage that they produce far less greenhouse gases. Neither are ruminants; they do not burp out methane, far more deadly than even carbon-dioxide at trapping in the sun's heat.

Eat more chicken, pork and fish

Eat more chicken and less beef; our world is already in flames and global warming is getting steadily worse. If we do not payback to Mother Earth we can expect a conflagration every summer in many parts of the world.

Eat less beef, and sadly less dairy too. Testing has found that oats milk is the most acceptable to us. Make it yourself and do use the fibrous remains in other dishes; definitely do not toss it.

I'm a cheese man, so I am struggling with this myself. Giving up minced or ground beef has been easier; feedlot meat does not appeal to me.

Chicken, pork and fish are the better alternatives.


Harvest the rain

In every part of the planet we are increasingly being told that water even more than food is going to be the issue of this century; both the quality and the quantity.

The price too is a factor; it has gone by a massive 50% this year alone in our village.

It's been a game-changer for gardeners; unless they harvest the rain their prime hobby is rapidly becoming an unaffordable pastime. And makes us increasingly reliant on commercial agriculture and supermarkets for our food.

Pay back to Mother Earth by harvesting the rain, and benefit yourself. That means either water tanks or an underground reservoir.

It's not a bad thing that we are being forced to consider these alternatives; tap water is increasingly loaded with very toxic substances that utility companies are simply unable to remove.

Fibreglass tanks are in every way better than plastic.

Mulching and composting

Mulching and composting are both very important ways for gardeners not only to reduce loss of water from their plants but also to help capture carbon-dioxide and get it back into the soil. This current crop of broad beans is by far the best we have ever grown, the plants rising to over two metres. It's the first time we have mulched but also watered nitrogen-producing rhizobia bacteria onto the roots.

“We found that higher protein intake was associated with a 30-percent lower risk of losing functional integrity with time; it clearly demonstrates the potential importance of a higher protein diet.”

- Prof Paul Jacques

More protein is important for both children and the elderly to prevent frailty syndrome; but longevity research is pointing to less during the middle years; and more from legumes.


Plant an avocado tree

If you live in a temperate climate without heavy frosts then consider planting an avocado tree. This Hass is now four years old and I've just counted 90 fruit on it; they often get up to 500 in alternate years.

It's good policy to feed avocado trees with worm-wee and chop off one major branch every year; then they will bear annually.

Don't plant a pip; they grow far too tall and will not bear until 10 years or more old.


Plant a lemon tree too

This lemon tree is over 40 years old; I've just counted 150 fruit on it. At a quick rough calculation it has yielded something like R50,000 ($3,000) worth at today's prices.

And probably contributed ten times that to our wellness. The beta-cryptoxanthin in citrus alone, the most powerful known phytonutrient that helps prevent the onset of dementia, is one good reason.


Toxic sprays

There's no question that modern agriculture and the whole industrialised food system is polluting the air, water and our soils through the use of biocides and inorganic fertilisers.

Researchers have found that around 25% of greenhouse gases are produced by modern agriculture.

When Farmer Jones is spraying his fields it's time to high-tail it out of the district for the day. Just how much of these toxic poisons will be found in the meat of that sheep seen in the corner? It is both breathing in the fumes and will be feeding on the fodder.

The man living adjacent to this field was twice stricken with lymphoma.

"The epidemiologic studies provide ample evidence for an association between exposure to Glyphosate (Roundup) and an increased risk of lymphoma."

- A Review and Update with Perspective of Evidence that the Herbicide Glyphosate (Roundup) is a Cause of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Will our grandchildren still have a livable planet to look forward to after our fields are each year subjected to this abuse? But what are the alternatives? Hoeing out the weeds?

Would we be willing to spend more on our organic food, knowing that we would be paying fewer visits to the doctor?

Most of us will feel helpless faced with all these Cyan Zone issues. What can one person possibly do to care for themselves and Mother Earth?

"Not being able to govern events, I govern myself."


I will put it to you that if every family did just these three things it would make a huge difference to both our own health and that of the planet.

1. Start a small vegetable garden using organic gardening methods; or visit the farmers' markets.

2. Start harvesting rainwater for both your own consumption and the vegetables in your garden.

3. Get more of your protein from legumes and less from red meat.




Not readily seen are the parsley and different coloured lettuce plants.


If we are concerned about both our own wellness and that of the planet then we need to be ready to make major lifestyle changes. For me as a Christian it's really a spiritual issue. Firstly understanding that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and I'd better not desecrate it. And grasping that this is God's world and we have a sacred trust to care for it. Just because most couldn't give a damn does not absolve me of these responsibilities.

Nature is calling; I either heed her call or both I and the planet will get very sick.

On that subject, if you get cancer and survive, make a total change of lifestyle. Nature is calling very loudly and it behooves us to listen or it will strike right back.

Biblical account

"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own."

- 1 Corinthians 6:19

Fake meat

In the future we will take a look at fake meat, a ticklish issue that is becoming increasingly topical.


"Evil is unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our own table."

- W.H. Auden.

So, what's eating at your table?

And more literally, what food are you putting on your table? If it doesn't matter to you, then perhaps it's time to unsubscribe; this newsletter will only irritate and get you stressed.

Nature is calling, offering sublime gifts; will you partake of them or continue to turn up your nose at rabbit food?

"He who overcomes others is strong, but he who overcomes himself is mightier still."


To sum up

It makes a lot of sense to care for both ourselves and Mother Earth; it's not only other people who get seriously ill.

King Charles III

I have always felt a certain kinship for Charles, being the same age, born only three months apart; and a sadness that his family forced him to abandon Camilla, the love of his life as a young man. How that came back to bite them.

"Away from royal duty or campaigning, Charles is happiest in the garden at his Highgrove home in west England, or, like his late mother, walking and fishing."

We wish him well; may he help unite his increasingly fragmented kingdom.

Next month

Next month we will look at the benefits of milling your own corn, or maize as we call it in South Africa.

Take care of yourself; take care of the planet. Plan to live to a strong and zestful ninety, and who knows perhaps even one hundred.

Till next month,


Create a cyan zone at your home

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1. Bernard Preston Homepage.

2. Back Issues for Create a Cyan Zone at your home.

x Nature is calling

x Bake your own sourdough bread

x Alternative types of water storage

x Wear your clothes out

x Comfort foods

x Create a bee-friendly environment

x Go to bed slightly hungry

x Keep bees

x Blue zone folk are religious

x Reduce plastic waste

x Family is important

x What can go in compost?

x Grow broad beans for longevity

x Harvest and store sunshine

x Blue zone exercise

x Harvest and store your rainwater

x Create a cyan zone at your home

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