Thursday, March 31, 2011

Reviewing past content @ Learning Holistic Wellness (May 2009 - Mar 2011)

It's has almost been two years
since I first started to do blogging.
And before I realise,
there have already been almost 200 posts.

Hence, I thought it would be useful to
consolidate some special blog postings that
are worth re-visiting.
This content page will also provide convenience
for readers to access to some important wellness information :)

Happy reading!


Vegetarian Wellness:

Appreciating the intrinsic ingredient of life -- Water
Awareness on the Rice
The Fats of Life
The Healing Power of Juices
The critical veg issue of Vitamin B12

Organic Living:

When is organic food truly organic?
How to kick start with Organic Living

Biogenic Living:

Raw Food with the OMMH!
Super Whole Food: Raw Sprouted Beans
The true life force behind Biogenic Cuisine
Life Force Recipes - Explanatory Notes

Holistic Science:

Stories Untold Behind Cancer
The humble truth of genes

Holistic support:

Vegehub.Org: A new landmark for vegetarian landscape
Enhanced Search Engine for Organic Living!
Putting Vegetarian Theories into Practice (Comparative listing of good water systems, edible oils and veg outlets)
The stories behind Simple Vegetarian


Should there be any questions about the topics discussed above,
please do email :-)


You may also subscribe to Learning Holistic Wellness by Email,
if you would like timely notice of future blog posting.

Well regards,
Kee Yew

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

Sunday, March 27, 2011

How to kick start with Organic Living (4)

In the beginning,
organic newbies are likely to face some teething problems.

If newbies are not nurtured well in this beginning stage,
they may easily give up, hence the following suggestions are recommended:

Suggestion 7:

Look for technical and emotional support (group)

Often it is the lack of skill and technical information,
that intimidate and hinder organic newbies from venturing further into organic living.

Simply, they do not know what are the viable options.

Therefore, it's important to do a lot of humble learning (and unlearning + re-learning)
when one has decided to step on an organic path.

There are a lot of technical support information and channels,
   Holistic Wellness Search Engine,
   Health Foodshops Listings,
   Easy Sprouting Protocols,
   Vegetarian Wellness Courses

that I have set up in the past 5 years
to nurture and support the general public on an organic path.

Also, when on a bumpy ride along the organic path,
one will easily feel lonely,
swayed away by negative sentiments against organic lifestyle
and eventually give up a quality lifestyle.

From the very beginning, it's vital to submerge oneself
among a group of postive minded people,
especially friends who are supportive of organic concepts.

In view of that,
I have also created several channels to serve this function, e.g.
   Cielo Sereno Organic Tours
   Organic Living Meetup Group

Please make good use of all these resources to support your personal growth,
(for they will only exist for as long as there is a need).


Suggestion 8:
Embrace organic living with a well-wishing attitude and heart-felt gratitude
The organic landscape in Singapore is actually still in its infancy stage,
strictly speaking.

Like nurturing any newborn, we need to give them love, words of encouragement
and forgiveness for their mistakes.

In the past 10 years, I have seen organic retails opened and closed.
Many many of them who are still "surviving" are just barely breaking even
and or still in deficits.

These organic players stay on (in the organic circle)
for a big dream to heal the Earth
and by great compassion for the general welfare.
If they were to stay for profits, 90% all of them would have been extinct by now.
(no exaggeration)
Therefore, we should give them our kindest understanding
and most positiveness thinking and deepest gratitude.

A simple question:
If we don't offer our full support to sustain their businesses,
when they close down, where are we going to get our organic supplies?

Mutual appreciation,
that's the key to help organic circle in Singapore grow strong and united.
When the organic community is united and has enough muscle to flex,
then only we have hope to bring the price down by economy of scale
and eventually overturn our fate of chemical intoxication!

Utopic as it sounds,
but it doesn't seem like we have any other choice.

Hope this blog series have given you clarity and
the courage to take on an organic path.

-- Buy your favourite organic item today :)

With love,
Kee Yew


{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

How to kick start with Organic Living (3)

Planting potted edible plant
is also part of organic living
Going 100% organic is not quite possible
in Singapore just yet,
mainly because:

i) Singapore doesn't have
big enough land to grow large enough variety of organic produce,
and has to constantly rely on imported food.

ii) there is not sufficient awareness yet to justify larger range of
organic food to be imported

iii) foreign organic food producer may not even
have sufficient quantity to export to Singapore.

When organic food is not accesible,
try the following suggestions:

Suggestion 5:

Go for unpopular local / Malaysian produce

Unpopular produce means
produce that are not quite appreciated by general public
because they are too common,
offer less gastronomical satisfaction or
have less commercial value (from farmer perspective)

For examples:
 .small-and-ugly-easily-perishable local banana,
 .non-Sarawak-cultivar 'siap-siap' pineapple,
 .not-so-sweet fluffy-flesh papaya,
 .course texture wild spinach,
 .mostly-unheard ulam Raja,
 .thought-to-be-poor-people-food sweet potato leaves,
 .sour-tough-texture-seedy guava etc...

All these fresh produce are usually
non-cultivar, traditional wild type crops that don't sell particularly well.
Hence, altho' not organic,
they have less chance from being sprayed or sprayed with less pesticides.
-- pesticides also incur substantial cost to farmers,
hence they need to justify whether to spray by considering the commercial value.

Why local/Malaysian ones only?
Because the distance is relatively short,
and the chance of dipping the produce in strong preservatives is lower.
(e.g. ugly Malaysia banana vs beautiful looking Filipino banana)

Also, because if the produce are native species,
they tend to grow more robustly and attract less pest problem (hence pesticides)

Suggestion 6:

Grow your own favourite edible plants

This is definitely not a solution to suffice the your organic need at home,
but it's a way to 'cut cost' and to minimise purchase of tainted food out there.

Growing a few edible plants at home,
will also reduce the commercial value of that particular type of plants,
and help farmer justify less spraying.

Usually these are small edible plants which are suitable for HDB flat corridors
e.g Basil, Pandan, chilli, sprouts and some TCM herbs.

Going organic isn't just eating organic food.
As you can see so far,
it also involves make-over of one's lifestyle and eating behaviour =)

It's fun!!!

Enjoy organic,
Kee Yew


{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

Friday, March 25, 2011

How to kick start with Organic Living (2)

What cost is the Earth?
Often, I make remarks that organic food isn't truly expensive.
Most people may not agree with it unless
we compare organic food to chemically farmed food
from these perspectives:

1. price / unit nutrition
    .. all other factors being the same,
       organic produce has at least 2-3 times
       more nutrition than chemically farmed ones.

    .. say an organic tomato which is 3 times more nutritious
       costs twice the price of a non-organic one,
       the organic tomato is still 30% cheaper per unit nutrition!

2. environmental cost (cf account cost)
   .. organic farming allows sustainable usage of farm lands and
      the renewability of farm lands
      renders organic produce cheaper in long term.
   .. whereas in the case of chemical farming,
      lands are permanently destroyed after a few decades,
      This will eventually push up the price of the produce,
      because the acquisition of deminishing agricultural land
      will naturally become more and more expensive...

That is speaking in long term and broad perspectives.
In short term,
in order for organic newbies to cushion the initial hike in food bill
try the following suggestions:

Suggestion 2:

Go big on super nutritious foods

Organic whole grains and sprouted beans/seeds are superbly nutritious.
They are relatively cheap compared to other food groups
and they are also less perishable (hence reducing wastage and eventually the cost)

Some examples of whole grains are millet, quiona, brown rice, barley, oats etc
Sprouted beans/seeds include mung beans, lentils, adzuki beans, peas, chickpeas etc
(check out Super Whole Food post for more info)

With super nutritious foods,
one will easily get enough nourishment to sustain their day to day living
and eliminate chances of over-eating and cravings
(which may jack up the food bill).

Suggestion 3:

Minimise manufactured organic foods

The process of food manufacturing doesn't only compromise the nutrition of organic food,
but also add on extra costs (labour, packaging, middleman, transport etc).
In the end, the value we get is very small per unit price.

Get fresh produce for maximum nutrients and
to avoid compromising our buying power.

Note that some manufactured food may be cheaper than fresh produce,
but be reminded, the nutritional value may be even lower and
may not offer the nutrients and life force our body needs
except the calories to satisfy our stomach.

Sugestion 4:

Minimise the frequency of eating out

This is by the same principle as that of Suggestion 3.
Eating out usually will add on extra cost (labour, rental, overheads, transport etc)
to our organic food bill.

Hence, if one is truly interested about eating cheap, nutritious organic food,
one should cook at home, where the cost of home cooked organic meal
is basically the cost of fresh ingredients plus minimal home electricity/gas bill =)
[big savings!]

Understand these suggestions imply that
we need to put in more energy
into our day to day food preparation
and enjoy less convenience.

if we want to go thrifty on organic food bill
we can't keep paying convenience fee for
manufacturers, middleman, waiters and chefs to serve us.

As mentioned before,
in the beginning, it will be a drag,
but we have 6months to 1 year to get adapted to it ;)

Some people may get talked out of organic living at this very juncture.
Ever, people told me that
they'd rather go back to conventional food
due to the fear of food preparation at home.
-- this fear is exactly the cause of high organic food bill.

Indeed, organic path is not an easy one,
but with a clear purpose,
it's doable.

Next, more tips on how to ensure a smoother start of an organic path =)

With metta,
Kee Yew

p/s: by the way, what's your purpose of going organic?  -- I mean the real big purpose ;)

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How to kick start with Organic Living (1)

A long journey to
Organic Living
starts with just
one baby step.
Most people that I talked to,
know very well the goodness of organic food
and are aware of the environmental impact.
And, they very wish to impart organic food into their daily lives.

Although when implementing such a lifestyle
some people may face hurdles like financial constraints
and ease of accessibility etc,
Organic Living isn't necessary a far-fetch dream.

There are some suggestions here to help
the big-hearted ones,
the intelligent ones,
the curious ones and even
the helpless ones to kick start with a dignified new organic life :)

Suggestion 1:

Take one baby step at one time

Some people, who are perfection-inclined,
when given an idea of organic living,
he or she may want to go 100% organic right away.

While some events in life allow us to do things by 100%,
the relatively immature "Organic atmosphere" in Singapore
may not offer the perfect condition to go 100% right away.

So, why not sit back, relax and nurture this new organic path
by taking one small step at one time?

In other words,
no need to rush into 100% organic;
-- start by doing 5%, 10% or 15%...

There are a few steps to do this:

i. Make a vow to go organic and give a big big reason why go organic:
be it for the environment, for the next generation/love ones or your own good health

ii. Pledge to go 10%, 20% or 30% organic by a certain date
(give yourself a comfy period of 6months, 1 year or so to implement)

ii. Start right away, buying just one favourite organic iterm today

iii. Allocate a small budget to go for 1 organic meal per week. -- 1 organic meal out of 21 meals per week,
that is already 5% organic -- Bravo! this is a good start eh =)

iv. after 3 months, increase to 2 organic meals per week (10%!!)

v. another 6 months later, make it a routine to organic during breakfast or dinner (this is now 30% - Congrates!!!) 

During the year-long process of
gradual and progressive increase of organic meals,
we allow ourselves to
  plan our budget,
  re-prioiritise/re-adjust our expenses,
  go through some trials and errors,
  also, a lot of buffering time to learn ways to save on organic food bill.

30% organic may not be everybody's target,
but the example above is to demonstrate the principle
of doing it step-by-step to easen the intensity/pressure
due to individual financial or mindset constraints.

More tips to come.. especially on how to go organic cheap and nutritious :)

Kee Yew


{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Systemic solutions for a sustainable future? (4)

Go Organic for our next generation.
One common remark about organic foods
is the relatively high price.

While I personally believe,
organic food is not necessarily expensive*,
I do agree that there is some substantial investment involved.

Incidentally, I attended an ISO training course recently,
and the trainer was quoting this very meaningful line:

"If Quality Control costs,
what cost is the mistake we make?"

Extending the remark above to Organic Living,
we could also ask:

"If Organic Produce costs,
what cost is the pesticide we take in?"

-- in other words,
when we grumble about "pricey" organic foods,
are we actually being penny wise, pound foolish?

If we all want a sustainable future,
we need to work this out together,
that is to do a paradigm shift in our mentality,
and to take one baby step at a time,
to gradually adapt to organic living.

It will be tough in the beginning, like anything else in this world,
but we will get better, day by day,
when we know how to plan our diet and nutrition and lifestyle
to reduce the cost of organic living :)

It's do-able.

The issue lies in whether we are willing to expand our comfort zone =)

With love,
Kee Yew

[*compare organic brown rice set of SGD5.50 at Ci Yan Organic Veg Cafe, 8 Smith St,

to a McChicken Meal of SGD6.25 at MacD, we can't be calling organic food expensive :P]

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Systemic solutions for a sustainable future? (3)

An orchid could look
more enchanting
when showered with
 organic spirit.
On yet another occassion, with yet another colleague,
I went do surveillance on an orchid farm.

Same drill, abuse of pesticide observed.
According to this colleague,
because orchid is not for consumption,
there is no penalty on abuse of pesticides.

Hence, according to him,
these orchids are constantly sprayed with pesticides
to ensure the flowers are "perfect" looking.
-- constant = sprayed daily or every other day.

My colleague also mentioned that
the orchid farm workers were not supposed
to do spraying without the presence of their supervisor.
Because under the relevant rules,
spraying can only be done by a personel
who went through pesticide training and offered a licence
or under supervision by the licenced personel.

Without the presence of the licenced personel,
the workers who knows nothing much about the pesticides,
are likely to overdose and mishandle the pesticides...

Altho' orchids are not meant for consumption,
the pesticide applied directly harms environment
and indirectly compromise the survival of mankind.

A simple reflection here:
once the 'bug' (pesticide) is in the system,
a lot of funny problems will occur.
And these problems are almost unpredictable

Why not remove the bug once and for all?
by supporting Organic Living?

Kee Yew

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

Monday, March 21, 2011

Systemic solutions for a sustainable future? (2)

On another occasion,
I went local vegetable farm (conventional) surveillance
with another senior colleague,
to check out for vegetables with certain type diseases.

When we were there,
we saw a plot of vegetables growing very well,
looking robust.
But, on top of vegetable leaves,
there were milky liquid (freshly sprayed pesticides).

My colleague commented:
"Geez, these veggies are ready to be harvested in the next two days
and they are still spraying!"

According to pesticide usage rules and regulations,
vegetables are not supposed to be sprayed with pesticides
within 14 days prior to harvesting.

While the relevant authority do impose fine on farmers who break the rules,
farmers usually take the risk of being fined,
as the financial impact of not spraying is bigger than the fine,
according to my colleague.

Because veggie pesticide testings are done randomly
(and relatively infrequent),
farmers sometimes do get away from being detected in pesticide abuse,
my colleague further explained.

The incidence reminded me that
there are always loop holes in implementation of regulatory systems.

We should be grateful that there is authority controling/monitoring
the usage of pesticides (otherwise it will be a disaster),
but if we the consumers opt for organic produce,
we will altogether eliminate all of those loop holes/risks
as well as unnecessary expenses/resources by the nation
to control and monitor abuse of chemicals...endlessly...

By good will,
Kee Yew

p/s: my colleague who has been doing vegetable/plant surveillance for 5 years, isn't a particularly health conscious person, but when she takes veggie nowadays, she can't help relating to those horrifying scenes in the farms. Gradually she is opening her mind to support organic produce/products.

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Systemic solutions for a sustainable future? (1)

Pesticide cycle
"Dr X, it is raining. It must be bad for your pesticide field trial"
I started a dialogue with my colleague at work some two weeks back.

"Oh, not a problem, the pesticide was administered this morning,
the rain in the afternoon doesn't matter." Answered Dr X.

"I see."

"The pesticide was drenched into the soil, and
it would have been absorbed systemically within 3 hours;
after that it doesn't matter whether it rains or pours"
Dr X added.

"Even the surface-applied pesticide once dried up on the leaves,
the rain doesn't deter much" Dr X snapped again.

It was a simple conversation between myself and a colleague doing a
new pesticide approval trial.
1600 brinjal plants were planted in a field initially without chemicals
and then newly imported pesticides were applied to see the efficacy of the pesticides
in getting rid of insects.

The day the pesticide was applied, it rained.
So, curiously I asked if that would affect the studies.
The answer was no; which is good for the study,
but sent a shiver down my spine -- you get what I mean.

Along the days I promote organic living,
I read about how pesticides abuse is harming our environment and health.
That's why I insist on organic lifestyle no matter
how "pricey" and how difficult to fetch those quality organic food.
Now I see it with my own eyes, hear it with my own ears.

Students in my class sometimes complained that
organic lifestyle requires substantial financial capacity,
but little that people know that organic living doesn't necessary need to be expensive
given the proper knowledge and planning.

Knowing how our food is severely pesticides intoxicated
(systemically from the tip of the root to the tip of every leaves).
there isn't other choice other than organic living.

As my finance teachers taught me,
focus on how to solve the problem
rather than on how oneself is suffering from the problem.

Hence we should focus on how we could find ways
to feed ourselves with organic food,
rather than to drill into the matter of
being victimised by toxicity and insufficient financial capacity.

More pesticide stories to come in the next blog...

With metta,
Kee Yew

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}
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