Synergy of green living

The synergy of green living is about the quite unexpected benefits of this new lifestyle. The bees have meant better pollination of the vegetables; not just the honey. And fresh, wholesome food has resulted in far fewer visits to the doctor; a lot less pain and misery too.

Acquiring free-range poultry has brought another surprise; the bugs plaguing our green beans and sweet potatoes are history in an environmentally-friendly way. The hens go scratching in the soil in search of grubs, so gardening has become a lot easier; except that they also took a fancy to my pea seedlings this year.

So I've been building cages to protect our gems.

Bees workforce busy with pollination and bringing in the nectar is an essential part of our green living.Bees pollinate the flowers and provide natural honey

This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 4th March, 2023.

Once you have started on the green journey and got hooked on the blessing issuing from the well, so to speak, your interest will be piqued. I have found myself looking for new fruitful avenues to explore.

For example right now we are looking at a natural way to enjoy probiotics without taking supplements; by making sauerkraut and kefir. A patient brought me samples; they are delicious. He tells me it is dead easy to ferment these foods; and so it is.

Talking of pills incidentally, a recent ten-year research study published in JAMA shows that calcium supplements deposit the mineral in the inner lining of the arteries, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease; but from your food, it lowers the chance of heart complications and stroke.

Kefir is an excellent natural source of calcium.

My first venture into natural living was more than half a century ago; when I was still a boy my grandfather passed on to me his love of beekeeping. You've no doubt started the green journey at a different station.

Now we're amazed at the fruitfulness of our garden; the pollination is astonishing. This week we are coming to the end of a crop of green peas that has gone on bearing for months. Inoculating the seeds with rhizobia greatly helped; in fact probably doubled the yield. And the bugs added nitrogen to the soil.

Yes it is a fag reaping and podding your own peas; we think the fresh sweet flavour makes it worthwhile. Often there'll be a dozen bright green gems in our Eggs Hilton at breakfast.

Green pea flowers rely on pollination by the bees.Green pea flowers rely on pollination by the bees.

Shelling peas may be easy but it does take time. One has a choice; spend an hour or two growing and enjoying legumes or taking ten times as many consulting doctors and pharmacists.

Another unexpected benefit of enjoying plant protein like peas and garbanzo beans has meant we are eating a lot less red meat. My urologist nearly fell from his chair when he read the result of my latest PSA; 0.9 is off the scale for a man in his seventies. A normal prostate is such a blessing for older men.

Remembering that one of four mouthfuls we eat is dependent on these fierce little insects, the honey bee crisis[1] is actually a problem for all of us.

Eggs Hilton panThe start of Eggs Hilton; see the peas?

Synergy of green living

The synergy of green living explores such things as solar power and rainwater harvesting; and the worm farms that feed our hens and provide wonderful humus for the vegetable garden.

Residential solar panels provide the power for a synergistically good shower and cooking our breakfast.

Solar power energy

We first got into building a solar generator on our roof because of need; the grid kept dropping electricity for extended periods and voltage surges damaged computers and TVs. The synergy of green living meant reliable power for pumping our own rainwater during the extended droughts plaguing South Africa.

Now we are to all intents and purposes off the grid

There was quite a lot of "by guess and by God" when we started, making some fundamental mistakes; like unbalanced solar panels. They really should have the same voltage for optimal function.

An indulgent shower can be enjoyed without guilt because of the synergy of harvesting sunshine for heating the rainwater collected and stored in the reservoir.

So if you decide to take this step into the synergy of green living, make sure you read every single one of my solar pages so you don't make the same mistakes. It has been one of the most satisfying projects and we now use no more than ten dollars of grid electricity per year; usually heating water during an extended period of inclement weather.

In fact in an update I've just read the meter for the first time in 4 years; we have used only 43kW in that whole period. That is under $10.

Talking of the weather, the next step on our green journey was to build an underground reservoir for harvesting and storing rainwater. One of my serious indulgences is a fifteen minute shower with a huge head. Now I can enjoy it entirely without guilt or cost.

Both the hot water and the electricity driving the pump come without charge, thanks to the synergy of green living; and the heavens that provide all our needs.

Then there are our free-range chickens. We got started on them perhaps more out of curiosity than anything else, until we discovered the importance of choline and betaine; and how the average person on the "industrial diet" has less than half of these very important vitamins.

A deficiency means a host of serious diseases.

But that is long term planning; not wanting to get Alzheimer's disease or suffering from cardiovascular conditions.

In the short term, it has been the wonder of worm farms that has brought us a quite unexpected synergy of green living; we started them for their leachate. But they have multiplied in such abundance, doubling in numbers every month that they have become the main source of protein for our hens.

It is known as backyard permaculture; trying to work with nature rather than against it.

Worms

Then there was the discovery that Eggs Florentine makes the most wonderful breakfast since we planted spinach and leeks; and started making our own low GI sourdough bread recipe. Together they provide the satiety we all seek; a very satisfying meal that gives the "subsequent meal effect." It stays with you all day.

Age-onset blindness

There is a huge synergy by providing strange sounding phytonutrients with names like lutein and zeaxanthin that help us avert macular degeneration and cataracts; carotenes and betaines that have other important functions. Prevention always was and still is better than a cure; I have no desire to go needlessly blind just because I wouldn't eat my greens.

None of this take a great deal of time, except perhaps reaping a leek instead of plucking an onion from a bag; or collecting a pile of greens every morning. Opening a box of expensive, tasteless cornflakes is quick and so easy but just watch your blood sugar soar; your weight too and you will be famished at 11 o'clock.

Of interest the farmer sells a kilogram of maize for R4 in South Africa, yet 1.2kg of a popular brand of cornflakes retails for seventy rand; it is highly processed with most of the vitamins, minerals and bran extracted for pig food.

Some is returned it is true, fallaciously called enriched. The least important part, the endosperm, goes to feed unconcerned humans.

You have probably heard of the research done at the University of Michigan that rats eating the cardboard box that the cornflakes came in all lived longer than those fed the contents.

Both groups died long before those fed normal rat chow; which was probably largely unprocessed maize.

Eggs Florentine

Create your own synergy of green living by making a unique Eggs Florentine. Spinach is great but add freshly-podded peas and it's better still; or beet tops and curly kale.

Swiss chard for eggs Florentine from your own hens is the epitome of green living.

Now drop a couple eggs onto the steaming spinach and you have the perfect breakfast; on a slice of toast made with 100% flour. Butter is back, of course. It should never have been banished to Coventry in favour of margarine in the first place; trans-fats are toxic.

Whole grain wheat flour can only be had if you grind it yourself; using solar power from your own generator it's a great example of the synergy of green living.

Can you tell the real McCoy from the sham? Millers are allowed to call it "wholemeal flour" provided they haven't extracted more than 40% of the goodies. Important vitamins like choline and the nourishing oils are found in the bran and germ. We get the wheat from a local farmer.

The hens go crazy over our stale 100% wheat bread but are disdainful of a commercial so-called wholemeal loaf. White rolls they won't touch; they are smarter than humans. Here they are into a gourmet worm farm meal.

A gourmet feast by our free range hens on the produce of our worm farms is another power synergy of green living.

These hens have sorted out the Mexican bean beetles and sweet potato weevils; we almost gave up growing them. That's the synergy of green living.

Mexican bean beetle fruit damage is partly addressed by the hens in our green garden.

Chickpeas and kefir

There's a wonderful synergy between legumes and fermentation, combining to mean a happier colon and lessened likelihood of serious neurodegenerative diseases.

Despite the many great benefits of legumes, they do have what are being called anti-nutrients that inhibit the absorption of important minerals. Rinsing and fermenting your legumes and the use of kefir, will mean far less problems from these substances.

It's very complex biochemistry but just accept that the benefits of fermented foods like sauerkraut and miso have a strong underlying scientific basis.

Kefir benefits are vast and it behooves each of us to find out about these foods. It takes us less than five minutes each day to process our probiotic. The sustenance is unimaginably vast; the most readily absorbed form of calcium for example.

Did you know that there is an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and dementia if your mother takes calcium supplements[2]? We are unashamed disciples of Hippocrates; let your food be your medicine.

Bernard Preston

Bernard Preston has become something of a solar geek; it's  amazing what we humans can learn if we are prepared to apply our minds to a new subject. The synergy of green living has lead us down many exciting different avenues; yes, some of them do turn out to be cul de sacs.

This week it was planting a curry leaf tree to complement the coriander that we grow for cilantro in our green salads.

And now for the chicken curry we love.

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Newsletter

Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself and Mother Earth for future generations; and your family too, of course. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books.

Here are the back issues.

  • What are ultra-processed foods?
  • Investing in long-term health
  • Diseases from plastic exposure
  • Intensive lifestyle management for obesity has limited value
  • A world largely devoid of Parkinson's Disease
  • The impact of friendly bacteria in the tum on the prevention of cancer
  • There's a hole in the bucket
  • Everyone is talking about weight loss drugs
  • Pull the sweet tooth
  • If you suffer from heartburn plant a susu
  • Refined maize meal and stunting
  • Should agriculture and industry get priority for water and electricity?
  • Nature is calling
  • Mill your own flour
  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
  • Wear your clothes out
  • Comfort foods
  • Create a bee-friendly environment
  • Go to bed slightly hungry
  • Keep bees
  • Blue zone folk are religious
  • Reduce plastic waste
  • Family is important
  • What can go in compost?
  • Grow broad beans for longevity
  • Harvest and store sunshine
  • Blue zone exercise
  • Harvest and store your rainwater
  • Create a cyan zone at your home

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56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa

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