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Thought for the Day: Do Something Green

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“Tip #142:  There are billions of aluminum cans in use today, and it’s important that we recycle every single one.  Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours.”

Thanks to Bob & H – From:  PositivelyGreenCards.com

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Images from: https://www.google.com/search?q=free+images+aluminum+cans&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiPhM6CjpPRAhWkjlQKHaW2DEgQ7AkIRQ&biw=1129&bih=748

Let’s get all those aluminum cans in the recycle bins.  Aloha, Renée

 

 

What Foods Are Best?

We’ve just celebrated our annual Thanksgiving feast in the U.S.; the Christmas and New Year season with many gatherings and parties is ahead.  So we don’t balloon up in size, it’s a time to be particularly conscious of our eating choices.  But making conscious choices can be more than just looking at the calories we consume.

At the Bali Vegan Festival in October,  in the presentation, “Why Veganism is the Best Choice,” Judit Németh-Pach, the Hungarian Ambassador to Indonesia, provided many compelling facts and reasons to become vegan.

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Judith Németh-Pach provided compelling reasons to consider veganism – at the Bali Vegan Festival in Ubud.

One source she sited was EatingOurFuture.com with its compilation of many convincing articles and scientific studies.

Given our anatomy, what foods are best for humans?

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“As a group, vegetarians/vegans live longer than meat-eaters. Furthermore, vegetarians/vegans generally enjoy better health:

  • having less of the serious chronic diseases than the meat-eaters suffer;
  • with less of the associated disability and pain than the meat-eaters suffer; and
  • being less of a financial & social burden on their family and friends than are the meat-eaters with their higher rates of chronic degenerative disease.

Being healthier overall, vegetarians have more potential for the freedom & ability to live life to the full and independently for a longer time.”

 https://eatingourfuture.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/human-biology-indicates-our-optimal-food-diet-a-comparison-of-digestive-systems-for-frugivores-omnivores-carnivores-herbivores-hires.jpg

What food choices are sustainable?

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“Agriculture, particularly meat & dairy products, accounts for 70% of global freshwater consumption, [and] 38% of the total land use.”

Go to: https://eatingourfuture.wordpress.com/

How do food choices affect greenhouse gas emissions?

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Greenhouse gas emissions from different foods.

Yikes!  Nooooooo.  Low fat, organic cheese is worse than pork in creating greenhouse gases!! (I love good cheeses)!

What about eating fish and seafood?  Aren’t they good protein options?

“1/. The United Nations reports: “According to a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimate, over 70% of the world’s fish species are either fully exploited or depleted. The dramatic increase of destructive fishing techniques worldwide destroys marine mammals and entire ecosystems… oceans are cleared at twice the rate of forests…”
http://www.un.org/events/tenstories/06/story.asp?storyid=800

2/. “Global marine populations slashed by half since 1970: WWF… Populations of marine mammals, birds, reptiles and fish have dropped by about half in the past four decades, with fish critical to human food suffering some of the greatest declines… “Overfishing, destruction of marine habitats and climate change have dire consequences for the entire human population… The pace of change in the ocean tells us there’s no time to waste,” Lambertini [head of WWF International] said. “These changes are happening in our lifetime. We can and we must correct course now.”…”
http://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/world/global-marine-populations-slashed-by-half-since-1970-wwf/ar-AAelC44?li=AA59G3&ocid=iehp

3/. “Seafood hit by climate change, Australian study finds…  “There will be a species collapse from the top of the food chain down.”… Around 61 per cent of wild fish stocks are “fully fished” and 29 per cent “over-fished”, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Just 10 per cent are under-fished, the organization’s 2014 World Fisheries report said…”
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/seafood-hit-by-climate-change-australian-study-finds-20151012-gk6xck.html

4/. “Rich countries pay zombie fishing boats $5 billion a year to plunder the seas…” – http://qz.com/225432/rich-countries-pay-zombie-fishing-boats-5-billion-a-year-to-plunder-the-seas/

And there is more –

The United Nations “urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet.”

So, what can we eat to be healthy — and have sustainable food sources?

If you give up meat, seafood, and dairy to eat french fries, you will not be healthy.  Vegans need to be conscious of their choices too.

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You can be healthy – and happy on a vegan diet

http://www.vegancoach.com/vegan-food-pyramid.html

So what about me?  Have I become a vegan?  I’ve been vegetarian since 2003 and that isn’t hard.  In fact, it is getting easier all the time with almost all restaurants and even gatherings in homes offering tasty vegetarian options.  However, giving up eggs and really good cheeses is a challenge for me.  Right now,  I’m an aspiring vegan – for my own health and for that of our planet.

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Grim – but true.

What about you?  What conscious choices about your food are you or could you be making?

Aloha, Renée

Banner image is of a healthy vegan choice at Paradiso  –  The World’s First Organic Vegan Cinema – and major sponsor of the Bali Vegan Festival. When you go to Ubud, Bali, be sure to go to Paradiso for daily movie screenings, family afternoons, workshops, thematic festivals, live music shows, art exhibitions, private events, and excellent food. http://www.paradisoubud.com/

Image –  https://www.facebook.com/baliveganfestival/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1769340653328856

 

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Thought for the Day: Trees

“Our world is falling apart quietly.  Human civilization has reduced the plant, a four-hundred-million-year-old life form, into three things: food, medicine, and wood.  In our relentless and ever-intensifying obsession with obtaining a higher volume, potency, and variety of these three things, we have devastated plant ecology to an extent that millions of years of natural disaster could not.  Roads have grown like a manic fungus, and the endless miles of ditches that bracket these roads serve as hasty graves for perhaps millions of plant species extinguished in the name of progress,” says American geochemist and geobiologist  award winner Hope Jahren in her memoir Lab Girl. . .

Planet Earth is nearly a Dr. Seuss book made real: every year since 1990 we have created more than eight billion new stumps. . . [O]n my good days, I feel like I can do something about this.

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Hope Jahren, formerly at UH Manoa, now at the University of Oslo

Every single year, at least one tree is cut down in your name.   Here’s my personal request to you: If you own any private land at all, plant one tree on it this year.  If you are renting a place with a yard, plant a tree in it and see if your landlord notices.  If he does, insist to him that it was always there.  Throw in a bit about how exceptional he is for caring enough about the environment to have put it there.  If he takes the bait, go plant another one.  Baffle some chicken wire at its base and string a cheesy birdhouse around its tiny trunk to make it look permanent, then move out and hope for the best.

There are more than one thousand successful tree species for you choose from, and that’s just for North America.  You will be tempted to choose a fruit tree because they grow quickly and make beautiful flowers, but these species will break under moderate wind, even as adults.  Unscrupulous tree planting services will pressure you to buy a Bradford pear or two because they establish and flourish in one year; you’ll be happy with the result long enough for them to cash your check.  Unfortunately, these trees are also notoriously weak in the crotch and will crack in half during the first big storm.  You must choose with a clear head and open eyes.  You are marrying this tree: choose a partner, not an ornament. . .

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Boy with large breadfruit (Hawaiian ulu tree). Photograph copyright Jim Wiseman.

Image from: http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2014/09/12/breadfruit-could-be-vital-food-source-in-extreme-climate/

Jahren continues, “Once your baby tree is in the ground, check it daily, because the first three years are critical.  Remember that you are your tree’s only friend in a hostile world.  If you do own the land that it is planted on, create a savings account and put five dollars in it every month, so that when your tree gets sick between ages twenty and thirty (and it will), you can have a tree doctor over to cure it, instead of just cutting it down.  Each time you blow the account on tree surgery, put your head down and start over, knowing that your tree is doing the same.  The first ten years will be the most dynamic of your tree’s life; what kind of overlap will it make with your own?  . . .

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Memoir and science. After you’ve read this book, you’ll never look at a tree in the same way.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Z3FYQS4/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Feature image:  oak tree – http://hollywoodpark-tx.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/loan-oak-tree.jpg

Read a book.  Plant a tree – and take care of it.  You’ll have a great day.

Aloha, Renée

P.S. Update 11/29/2016

After reading this post, my friend Gail from here on Maui wrote, “Agreed with everything but planting on property that doesn’t belong to you. One of our biggest problems here and on the mainland with rentals is that long-term tenants start to see the property as belonging to them; which includes the planting of trees. We had to remove two weed trees that were ruining the foundation, and maintenance of palm trees has become exorbitant. Fruit trees for sustainability is a more rational approach and should be encouraged.

Probably Hope Jahren is not a landlord, so Gail’s advice seems reasonable: Check with your landlord first before you plant a tree.  Check with your local botanical garden, farmer’s union, municipal government . . . to see where and what trees can be planted.  You could become a part of a  community group that plants and cares for trees in your town.

When I searched for “planting trees on Maui,” the first on the list was http://plantawish.org/

“A few years ago, Sara and Joe (founders of Plant a Wish) crowd-funded a journey to hold native tree planting events with communities in all 50 states.”  Now they are still planting trees – and raising funds to make a documentary about their experiences.

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Plant a Wish founders – Joe and Sara

Wherever you are, you are likely to find tree planting groups in your area.  Join others to plant trees.  Have fun while doing good work.

And to walk my talk, I’ve planted two trees, little saplings with long taper roots, that were generously given to me on Thanksgiving Day by Courtney, an Up-Country Maui friend.   One sapling is a moringa.

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Moringa – the “miracle tree.”

Image from: http://miracletrees.org/

From “Eat the Weeds and other things too” at <http://www.eattheweeds.com/moringa-oleifera-monster-almost-2/>

From Deane Green, I’ve learned, “If you have a warm back yard, think twice before you plant a Moringa tree.

Is it edible? Yes, most of it. Is it nutritious? Amazingly so, flowers, seeds and leaves. Does it have medical applications? Absolutely, saving lives on a daily basis.  Can it rescue millions from starvation? Yes, many times yes. So, what’s the down side? They don’t tell you that under good conditions it grows incredibly fast and large, overwhelming what ever space you allot to it. It can grow to monster proportions in one season.”  Green says the tree grows more than 10 feet each year.  “[E]very year I cut off 15- to 20-foot branches. It requires constant attention. Despite its impressive growth pattern, it’s an extremely brittle tree. A man can easily break off a branch four inches through,…. It’s nice to feel like Hercules now and then.”

So it is likely to do really well in the  warm and sunny all year climate of Kihei.  I do know now that if I can keep my little sapling alive for the first three years, I will likely need to cut it down to a three-foot stump as Green does every year.

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Moringa leaves – super nutritious

Image from http://www.eattheweeds.com/moringa-oleifera-monster-almost-2/

Courtney also gave me a sapote sapling.

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These fruit are white sapote – a creamy custard texture.

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Inside the white sapote fruit.

The sapote taste is sweet and delicious, with no acidity, much like a custard dessert with a hint of banana or peach.

Images from http://www.strangewonderfulthings.com/138.htm

I don’t know which kind of sapote my sapling is, but I’ve read that some can grow to be 100 ft. (over 30 meters) tall, so I will need to be careful  when I place my sapote in my yard.  They fruit within eight years.  I look forward to picking my own sapote and gathering the moringa leaves and pods from trees in my yard in the years ahead.

Good luck with your planting too.  Aloha, Renée

 

 

Thought for the Day: Our Farmers

Since President Abraham Lincoln declared it a national holiday in 1863, those of us in the United States have been celebrating Thanksgiving  Day on the final Thursday in November.   We give thanks and count our many blessings – and usually eat too much with family and friends.

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One important blessing is our many farmers who provide the food we eat.

A way to become more conscious and make more informed choices about the food we have offered is to get to know our local farmers and their concerns.

 

If you live in Hawaii, a great way to do that is to join the Hawaii HFUU 2016 colored w microns Farmers Union United, a vital community group.  Whether you are a family  farmer, an avid backyard gardener, or just like to know where you can get good local produce, HFUU offers wonderful workshops, informative meetings, and works on important agricultural concerns.

For more information and to join, go to: https://hfuuhi.org/

Current President of Maui Farmers Union United and Vice President of Hawaii State Farmers Union United, Vincent Mina says about the challenges of farming (and everything else),

“If you do anything substantive, it will be hard.  Just get on with it.”

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Vincent Mina – from the HFUU home page.

Wherever you are in the world, check out what your farmers are doing.   “Get on with it.”

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family — and all who provide for you.

Aloha, Renée

 

The Sea Shepherd: “Are you willing to die for a whale?”

“All systems of oppression need to be challenged,” said a speaker at the Bali Vegan Festival in Ubud, Bali last month.   Doing just that since 1977, Sea Shepherd,  a non-governmental, non-profit environmental organization, has been using direct action tactics [along with lots of media attention]  to protect marine life [and to educate consumers].

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Sea Shepherd seeking poachers

If you want to volunteer on a Sea Shepherd crew, you will be asked that question, “Are you willing to die for a whale?”  The boats carry no guns but use film and public education to achieve incredible  change.  Their important work continues.

Sea Shepherd claims responsibility for damaging or sinking multiple whaling ships, through sabotage or ramming. The group has attempted to intervene against Russian, Spanish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Makah, Faroese, and Japanese whalers in multiple campaigns around the globe.  Those actions have included scuttling and disabling commercial whaling vessels at harbor, using limpet mines (a type of naval mine attached to a target by magnets) to blow holes in ship hulls,  ramming other vessels, throwing glass bottles of  butyric acid (stinky rancid butter) on the decks of vessels at sea, boarding of whaling vessels while at sea, and seizing  and destroying drift nets  at sea.   Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson has said that the organization has  destroyed millions of dollars worth of equipment.  The Sea Shepherd media extravaganzas have highlighted whaling, long-line fishing nets, and shark fining to get people everywhere informed and conscious of the destruction of life in our oceans.

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Scalloped Hammerhead Shark – over fished, few regulatory guidelines

Some shark populations have decreased by 60-70% due to shark fisheries.

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Scalloped Hammerhead Shark

 

image from:       http://knowledgebase.lookseek.com/Scalloped-Hammerhead-Shark-Sphyrna-lewini.html

Gary Stokes, Asia Director for Sea Shepherd, has spent the past 10 years on documenting, investigating, and exposing the shark fin trade. He was a guest speaker at the Bali Vegan Festival in Ubud last month.  Indonesia is the #1 exporter of shark fins; Spain #2.

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Shark fin    Image from <ocean-news/shark-finning-sharks-turned-prey>

There is much economic pressure to ignore the international bans on shark finning.

Fishermen often choose to keep just the shark fins—only one to five percent of a shark’s weight—and throw the rest of the shark away rather than have the less valuable parts take up space on the boat. The finned sharks are often thrown back alive into the ocean, where unable to swim properly and bleeding profusely, they suffocate or die of blood loss.  Shark meat sold to restaurants and markets is often used in seafood curries and stews.

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Shark fin soup – a sign of status at $100 U.S. a bowl.

Image from: http://ocean.si.edu/ocean-news/shark-finning-sharks-turned-prey

Gary says that now 60% of the fish and seafood in our oceans are in terrible condition. Global fishing fleets are now at 2.5 times the sustainable level.  Just one poaching boat, the “Lafayette” which works the waters off Chili and Peru around the Faroe Islands processes 1,500 tons of fish a day!!    Much of that is Chilean tooth fish; in restaurants, it’s called “Chilean Sea Bass.”  😦  Much of caught sea food goes to animal feed.

“Chilean sea bass”/ tooth fish

A result of Sea Shepherd and other activists groups like Greenpeace and loud voices, many people now know to make conscious choices.

According to a National Geographic article, we now know to “look for the blue eco-label of the Marine Stewardship Council, or ask where in the world the fish comes from. . .[to] help you find the best and avoid the rest”

http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2013/04/12/chilean-seabass-goes-from-take-a-pass-to-take-a-bite/

Stokes reports that forty percent of the tuna that comes into the U.S. is from illegal, unreported fisheries in Thailand.  And forty percent of all fish caught is used for animal feed. 😦  If the world continues to consume and destroy marine life at the current rates, Stokes says that by 1948 there will be no fish!

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The Sea Shepherd Fleet now has nine ships including the Steve Irwin, the Bob Barker, and the Brigette Bardot.

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Shark products.   Ask where, how, and by whom the fish were caught.

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Sea Shepherd goes after ships that  fish illegally

Recently, Sea Shepherd Asia had a hiatus, a year off, when Japan temporarily halted whale hunting.   Gary and his team got to go after other notorious pirate fishing vessels.  For 110 days, a Sea Shepherd ship chased the “Thunder” – #1 on the Interpol list of pirate fishing vessels.  Finally, the captain of the “Thunder” sunk his own ship rather than be caught with the incriminating evidence of illegal fishing!!    But while part of the Sea Shepherd crew was saving the “Thunder” crew, other Sea Shepherd volunteers entered the sinking ship in time to collect computers and other evidence that has the captain and crew serving time in a Nigerian jail.  [It would seem the owners of the pirate ships should be in jail too].  The photo above shows what has happened to other illegal fishing boats that Sea Shepherd has targeted.

Gary says of the ocean marine life, “We are losing everything.”  We must all learn and act.

So why was Gary invited to speak at the Vegan Fest?  The people who volunteer for the Sea Shepherd crews are ardent animal activists.  Many are vegans.  Since 2002, all Sea Shepherd vessels serve only vegan meals.  It would be hypocritical, says Gary, to eat meat while chasing people who are killing marine life.   Gary has been a vegetarian since 1980.  When he first started going out on Sea Shepherd missions, Gary was more worried about what he would get to eat than about the possible confrontations the crew would meet.  But, he has learned that the vegan meals are delicious, healthy, and accommodate everyone on board, and all religions.

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Vegan meals on the Sea Shepherd

The Sea Shepherd logo – a pirate to protect marine life:

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“If the oceans die, we die! We cannot live on this planet with a dead ocean,” said Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson

Watch the following documentaries; you will likely cry, cheer, and laugh.

Paul Watson: The Whale Warrior: A Pirate for the Sea

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nzbTsrOUxw

and

Confessions of an Eco-Terrorist – a full documentary film

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOSo_LHZeTw

Seafood Watch has a free app for iPhone and Android that’s updated as recommendations change.

Please be ocean-friendly when you shop for seafood.  Even better, eat vegetarian/vegan.  Think about it.  And tell your friends.  Do what you can do.

Remember that ardent animal rights Sea Shepherd crews don’t have guns.  Gary Stokes says that even one pissed off vegan is a force to be reckoned with.

Full steam ahead, Sea Shepherd.  We need you now more than ever.

Aloha, Renée

Coconuts – virgin coconut oil

Endless Benefits, Endless Uses – Coconut trees have been used for thousands of years for building materials, food, oil, milk, water, medicine, a high energy fuel source, and more. (In the 2010 movie Cast Away, Tom Hanks survived on coconuts – so we know how important they can be).

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Given proper care and growing conditions, coconut palms produce their first fruit in six to ten years, taking 15 – 20 years to reach peak production.  In good conditions, coconuts grow rapidly once established, can produce up to 100 coconuts a year, and live to be 100 years old.

Virgin or cold pressed (non-refined, non-bleached and non-deodorized) coconut oil is often described as a super oil, the “healthiest oil on earth,” and thanks to its important health benefits, it has been declared the new power food.  Extensive research confirms that those who use coconut oil are healthier, have less heart disease, cancer, and colon problems than unsaturated fat eaters.

In a Bali Advertiser feature article, Ines Wynn, notes,

“The Health Benefits of cold pressed Virgin Coconut Oil are numerous; its major properties include:

  • Nutrient rich:  It is nature’s richest source of lauric acid, which protects your heart by reducing total cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol.  It has a small amount of vitamins and minerals like choline, iron, and, important for cardiovascular health, vitamin E and vitamin K.
  • Thyroid-stimulating: Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids (triglycerides) that stimulate metabolism and give you more energy.
  • Diabetes inhibitor: Helps keep diabetes in check.  It does not produce an insulin spike in your bloodstream.  Instead it helps control blood sugar by improving the secretion of insulin.
  • Immune system supporter:  The rich lauric acid supports the body’s immune system.
  • Candida inhibitor:  Coconut oil has a good quantity of caprylic acid in it which is well known to kill off excess candida by targeting harmful bacteria.
  • Weight loss aid: Even though it is a fat, it actually helps with weight loss.  The medium chain fatty acids do not circulate in the bloodstream like other fats; they are sent directly to the brain
  • Brain nourishment: Studies show that it improves cognitive function, and stalls, or even reverses, neurodegenerative diseases in their early stages.
  • Skin protection: When applied externally, it forms a protective antibacterial layer shielding the infected body part.  Also, coconut oil speeds up the healing process of bruises by helping to repair damaged tissue.

Although refined vegetable oils are now known to have low heat tolerances and release toxins called aldehydes when heated to high temperature, Virgin Coconut Oil is heat resistant and due to its high levels of anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties does not go rancid even after one year at room temperature. Virgin Coconut Oil has no detrimental side effects and unlike other vegetable oils, it does not form harmful by-products.

Worldwide, eleven million farmers in 90 countries grow coconut.  Over 80% are situated in Asia-Pacific, with Indonesia and the Philippines being the largest producers.  Virtually all these farmers are poor and receive little benefit for their toil. Consequently they are not investing in replanting, and coconut plantations have declined as a result. Possibly as much as 30% of the Indonesian coconut plantation area is considered as senile, meaning very low productivity.

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Drying coconut husks – Bal. rr photo

Generally, consumers are unaware that Virgin Coconut Oil may be produced in various ways.  Most virgin coconut oil in Indonesia is derived from coconut milk, generally as a by-product of the large desiccated coconut industry [copra].  In the same way, many consumers are unaware that most coconut water packed in Tetra Pak is made from mature coconut water derived from other bulk processing coconut industries.

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Tetra Pak containers

Image from: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetra_Pak&gt;.

However, virgin coconut oil is suitable for human consumption in its natural state immediately after extraction and filtration requiring no return to the original copra trade model of production” (27).

A good link for information about the difference between copra production of coconut oil (the most common and cheapest available coconut oil) and that of virgin coconut oil, go to http://www.naturepacific.com/page/36/learn-about-coconuts-%7C-virgin-coconut-oil-versus-coconut-(copra)-oil

In part, that article says,  a villager “first gathers coconuts that have fallen on the ground, cuts the nut in half and removes the white coconut meat. The coconut meat is then usually dried on a rack over a fire (they call them copra smokers) which helps to dry out the coconut meat and it turns a grey colour and has a rancid smell. The biggest and most abundant amount of wild coconuts are found in remote villages scattered across the Pacific and Asia. Sometime it can take up to 3-4 months before the villagers can get their bags of smoked copra to the big copra mills in town. The mills are usually situated 100’s of miles away from these villagers. The copra mills resemble a smaller version of a sugar crushing mill and processing of the copra is similar to that found in the sugar mills. The copra is pressed and because the coconut is very smoky or rancid they use chemicals to bleach and clean the oil. This happens in all the basic edible food oils today in the market place. This is also the reason why this style of COCONUT OIL (Copra) processing became known in the old days as poor man’s oil or dirty oil.”

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Sun drying copra (coconut meat) on Rabi Island, Fuji

The writer also warns, “Today because of the high demand for Virgin Coconut Oil many unscrupulous manufacturers [or companies that are more focused on making their shareholders happy] are getting cheap copra oils and running them through centrifuge spinning machines to clean up the oils and also state they are ORGANIC. While the centrifuges remove the smell and all flavour from the oils the Copra COCONUT OIL is a much thicker oil that will NOT quickly absorb into the skin and does contain TRANS FAT. Except for a higher level of lauric acid it is very similar to all other trans fat food oils on the market due to the processing. If you put this type of oil on your skin it is just that OIL and will clog the pores of your skin.”

Image and text from- http://www.naturepacific.com/page/36/learn-about-coconuts-%7C-virgin-coconut-oil-versus-coconut-(copra)-oil

This is again another example that we should know our farmers and how our food is produced and processed.

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However, today “in Bali and other parts of Indonesia, Kokonut Pacific, an internationally focused organization, is actively involved in establishing virgin coconut oil and down-stream value added opportunities [coconut water, coconut skim milk, and coconut flour. . .] for small scale coconut farmers, using an entirely different approach to making Virgin Coconut Oil.  By taking the processing right back to the farm level, it enables rural families to produce pure virgin oil within one hour of opening their coconuts.  These coconuts are grown and processed locally and organically, without the use of fertilizers or other chemical inputs. . . .

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Direct Micro Expelling® for Fresh Coconut Oil

Dr. Dan Etherington – a pioneer of VCO – from Kokonut Pacific Australia, invented DMR (Direct Micro Expelling) technology, a process that  produces pure, natural, virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil from fresh coconuts.  Currently, this technology is being used in Bali, Java, and Sulawesi where Kokonut Pacific works collaboratively with over 600 certified organic farms in projects designed to be models of sustainable healthy living for the individual and for the planet.

VCO is available in many retail outlets.  But be a discerning customer.  Not all oils labeled Virgin Coconut Oil are that.  Many are mixed with other vegetable oils and the labels do not always indicate that.  buy from a reputable palace and avoid the cheap varieties.

If you want to combine being good to your body with being good to your soul, look for SoleOil, an organic VCO marketed by Yayasan Solemen, one of the most visible NGS in Bali.

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SoleOil’s story is rather special.  Together with the Tree of Life Project Bali it aims to support the small-scale farmer project in Tabanan while receiving Rp 10k per bottle for Solemen’s many projects.  The SoleOil project is not only a way to support small-scale farmers, it also is a means to empower rural women whose access to a sustainable business is restricted by their location.

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VCO – SoleOil

From a food crop to a health crop, coconut is now becoming a sunrise industry.  It is best positioned to become the world’s healthiest sustainable plant-based edible oil.  At a time when concerns of agricultural productivity and global nutrition form a central part of policy development for all countries, the coconut palm offers an opportunity for a viable alternative to unsustainable, harmful mono-culture agricultural systems.  . .

When properly handled, coconut culture means zero disruption to biomass or peat soils.  No clearing of rain forest.  No displacement of local populations.  Coconut palms are a valuable, existing, in ground plant-based resource of healthy nutrition and numerous downstream products.

To read more about Virgin Coconut Oil and the DME production process, go to www.kokonutpacific.com.au

Text from: Wynn, Ines. “The Tree of Life Project in Bali.”  Bali Advertiser, 12 – 26 October, 2016, p. 27.

Be healthy.  Have coconuts in your life.

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A coconut to drink – and Virgin Coconut Oil dressing on my salad. Wonderful! rr photo

Aloha, Renée

Photos from: SoleOil, NaturePacific, & Kokonut Pacific.

In Costa Rica: San Luis Ecolodge

One of the most interesting adventures we had in Costa Rica was experiencing the University of Georgia’s research facility and eco-lodge in San Luis, which is just a short “as the crow flies” distance from Monteverde.

Check-in wasn’t until noon.  We’d gotten an early start,  and the public bus didn’t come for 45 more minutes.   We’d walked to the Quaker meeting the day before, and according to Google Maps, the eco-lodge was just kilometers beyond.  How bad could it be?

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View toward the Nicoya coast

We started walking to the UGA San Luis Eco-Lodge.

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Artist studio on the way toward San Luis

The sun was shining – and the wind blowing –  at 25 miles an hour – with gusts much higher.

The views were  stunning.

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View down to San Luis

What we couldn’t tell from Google is the walk included several kilometers of a very, very steep grade down toward San Luis – at about 25%.  It’s so steep that trucks and buses are prohibited.

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A 25% grade-no trucks or buses are allowed on the road to San Luis

Much of the road to San Luis is not paved.

At times, I thought I’d be blown over the edge by the gusts of wind.  Barry was backpacking all our stuff, and before we got to San Luis, he said it felt like about 100 pounds.

However, the walk was beautiful.  And we did make it, but what we thought would be about a one-and a-half-hour walk turned into about three hours.

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Cows near the San Luis Eco-Lodge

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Welcome sign

We did arrive about 15 minutes before lunch.  Perfect.

And we had a great lunch – a buffet.   I ate two full plates!

And then we got to go with naturalist Dan, an enthusiastic, knowledgeable intern, on a three-hour hike/lecture to the Eco-Lodge farm and through a forest.

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Naturalist Dan – at the UGA sustainable farm in San Luis, Costa Rica.  David, on the right, from the U.S.

Along the way, we saw three white-faced capuchin monkeys, a coati, and an agouti – a big rodent that is the favorite meal of pumas, and, of course, we saw many colorful birds.

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An arguti in Costa Rica

We saw cool birds, animals, bugs, interesting trees and plants.   You would love it there.

At the farm, we saw innovative practices to promote sustainability.  One of their composting strategies is using black plastic tarps, which we are trying at home.

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Dan sharing wisdom of the forest

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Raised beds, rotated crops – beautiful lettuces

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A symbiotic relationship of stinging ants and this tree give the ants a home and a sweet nectar to eat, and the tree gets defense so it can  grow tall quickly.

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Leaf-cutter ants are busy day and night. They can strip a tree in one day!

Before dinner, we went up and sat on the great deck in wooden rocking chairs, drank delicious Costa Rican coffee, and chatted with other tourists and University of Georgia interns and staff.

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Waiting for the next meal at UGA Eco-lodge

Again, I got two full plates for dinner.  We’d heard the hot chocolate served after dinner was stupendous; it was.

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Dinner with the interns at the San Lois Eco-Lodge

Then we had an interesting lecture about the history of Costa Rica.  We could have chosen a night hike looking for frogs and snakes, but we’d had enough of hiking for the day.    I was asleep by about 9 that night.

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UGA – Costa Rica staff

The next morning, we went at 6:20 to milk cows and see the biodigester that converts  all the waste materials into cooking fuel.

 

We had a  medicinal plants lecture and field trip after breakfast.

Among many other facts, we learned from Dan that guava is good for hangovers; coffee is anti-Alzheimer and Parkinson’s diseases; dumb cane is for toothaches; catnip is like cocaine for cats, but as a tea, is calming for people; papaya is a good meat tenderizer; yellow oleander is very poisonous; the root beer plant is for headaches – put a leaf on your forehead . . . The reason aloe is good for sunburns is because it holds in moisture which allows the skin to heal.  The sap from the dragon-blood tree is anti-fungal and an antiseptic. . .

After lunch, we got an an introduction to bird watching.  Costa Rica has 850 species of birds; 250 species are in San Luis near the eco-lodge – beautiful and diverse!

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The rain brought rainbows

After dinner, I took a night hike seeking mammals.  Because it was windy and rainy, we mainly found spiders, moths, leaf-cutters, and other small beings.  Again we slept well in our beautiful and comfortable bungalow.

The next morning, we went out at dawn for bird-watching with a naturalist.

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We watched for birds from the deck on this rainy morning

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A bird on the deck railing

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After breakfast in the San Luis dining hall, Barry trying a Spam can strung like a guitar!  With Susan Stanley of The Hobohemians, a blues, folk, jazz group

Generally, we did lots of activities – and then we’d eat again.

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Another great meal

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No burning of cane as is done on Maui. On this conservation land, the cane is just dug up at its roots.

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On our coffee tour

Actually, there was much more!

But you get the idea: you will  learn about plants, animals, bugs, sustainability, Costa Rica, coffee,  history, and more from enthusiastic and knowledgeable interns and naturalists, meet other travelers, eat well, enjoy hot water and a new, clean bungalow, and have an eventful and wonderful time at the beautiful Ecolodge San Luis.

For more information and to reserve your visit, go to the website: https://dar.uga.edu/costa_rica/index.php/tourists/-/tourists

You will love the experience.

Pura vida, Renée

P.S. To leave the eco-lodge, did we walk back up the steep road?  No!  We took a cab. 🙂

Learning to Eat from the Land

This is a terrific site for information about growing your own food in Hawaii. If you aren’t quite ready, remember to support your local farmers.

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Reprinted from Hawai’i Homegrown Food Network Newsletter 25 JULY 2013.

Here’s an article that sums up some of the main thoughts on eating very local that I’ve had since starting this blog.

Learningtoeat Laderman image003Harvest for a Marketless Monday, left to right in a circle (sort of): cane syrup, jackfruit, eggs, daikon, dried coconut, lilikoi, bananas, lime, yakon, sweet potato, air porato, orange, avocado, blue corn, peanuts, and papaya.

I moved to Hawai’i Island close to three years ago, straight from a desk job in a small city in the northwest U.S., to my lifetime dream of learning to live off the land. My kids were mostly grown, and I was disillusioned with the effectiveness of my job as an environmental health educator. I had a new partner who shared my desire to go “back to the garden.” But unlike me, Dan had planned ahead and owned 20 acres off-grid along the Hamakua…

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