Thursday, January 26, 2017

Vegan Briyani Rice

Over the summer my brother grew over a hundred tomato plants, and of many varieties--romas and san marzano (both meaty and rich and great for sauces), brandywine and black brandywine (new), big boy, cherry and grape tomato varieties, and some volunteers in the compost. Every year he experiments with other tomato varieties, mostly heirlooms, and this year he grew something called a pineapple tomato. It did have the pineapple-yellow glow to it too, and tasted quite good, a bit sweet in fact.

So with all the tomatoes we were harvesting, we started drying the huge surplus. I have a 9-shelf excalibur food dehydrator and we kept that baby busy for weeks. Since we had so many tomatoes that were small like the cherries, the grape tomatoes and some tomato that was a bit smaller and just as meaty as the romas, that was what we principally dried. The larger tomatoes we saved for juice, pizza sauces, and homemade chili. Anyway, so the baskets of tomatoes were heaped when we were loading the dehydrator. We counted on one occasion 220+ small tomatoes, mostly grapes and small romas, for one load in the dehydrator. [Cut them in half or quarters so they would dry faster.] At the end of the summer before I returned to Korea, my bro told me my birthday present this year was 1,000 tomatoes and he gave me 5 3#-coconut oil containers filled with dried tomatoes! Wow, what a birthday present!

So today in the fall season I have "fresh" homegrown, organic tomatoes, and many of them are very very red because they were so recently dehydrated. No sulfurs or chemicals were used in the drying process to "aid in their preservation". Simply WOW in flavor! So tonight vegan Indian briyani, a warming food for the cooling weather, is on the menu.
Vegan briyani in the crockpot: 
2/3 cup brown rice
1/3 cup brown lentils
1 t freshly minced ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 c dehydrated tomatoes
1/2 t black pepper
1 t cumin powder
2/3 t turmeric powder
1 t rosemary
1 t thyme 
add salt later -- it corrodes the crockpot

Notice the variety of reconstituted tomatoes in the briyani. They look different and they have a different tanginess too--quite the pleasant blend for this rice dish.
The briyani cooked on the brown rice setting takes about an hour. In the past I've added fresh whole chestnuts for an added richness. Possible other additions could be a couple tablespoons of uncooked millet, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg ... but the recipe depends on the creator and his/her mood. But simple blend really has harmony to me. Simple and nice.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Drinking Water 101

Here's an article on a topic very dear to my heart since I've had so many problems and reactions to the water here in Seoul. The articles is published by Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida, a 100% raw food lifestyle education center. 


Clean Water 

Water is the most important nutrient for your body second only to air. You can go for months without food but, you can only go for a few days without water. Water not only keeps your tissues and organs hydrated but it also assists in the absorption of nutrients to your cells. The water you drink becomes your blood. It gives you energy, reduces inflammation, improves your skin, lubricates your joints, and helps keep you young and healthy! But, what is the best kind of water to drink and where can I find it? 

Wild Springs 

When it comes to making the safest and healthiest water for human consumption it is a good idea to try to re-create the same conditions in which nature delivers the purest water to us. The best water on earth rises from great depths from free-flowing, natural wild springs. This water is scrubbed by the rocks in a natural cleansing action as it rises by its own volition until it joyously springs forth on the earth’s surface in a celebration of life ready to be consumed. Wild spring water has been distilled by nature and preserved deep within the earth for many hundreds (in some cases thousands) of years far removed from human contamination.

On its long journey to the surface the water rubs itself against many miles of rocks and crystals. This movement against dissimilar materials charges the water, restructures the water and gives the water energy and life. This process makes the water molecules more linear and structured in such a way that it is more easily absorbable and better hydrating. It also makes any minerals in the water living and organic by charging them in the same way the plants charge the minerals through the xylem in their root structure. This movement prepares and arranges the minerals in such a way that your body can utilize them. Still stagnant water creates dead inorganic minerals.

But, not all spring water is created equal. Some springs are better than others. The best springs are typically found in the mountains. Curiously near the peak of the mountains, not near the bottom. Here are some other signs of a good spring:
  1. The water will be consistently cold in every season indicating a very deep aquafer
  2. The water flow rate will be consistent even during periods of little or no rain again indicating a very deep aquafer
  3. The pH will be close to neutral
  4. The total dissolved solids (TDS) will be low
  5. A high number of turns per foot
There is a list of wild springs in your area at This online directory is a community and user created database of natural springs around the world. Some of these springs are in public state parks and some are on private property. If you bring your own bottles almost all of them will allow you to collect the wild spring water for free or with a voluntary donation. Some of these springs will have water test results posted. I recommend that you have your wild-crafted spring water professionally tested in a lab to be sure it is safe to drink. 

Filtered Water

Not everyone is fortunate enough to have access to good quality wild springs or have the inclination to go and get collect their own water. Even if you do I would still recommend that you have a really high quality whole house water filtration system professionally installed. This way every time you shower, bath, brush your teeth, wash your clothes, wash your dishes, water your plants, or drink from any faucet in the house you are using clean water. Some whole house water filtration systems simply perform better than others. Typically, these systems are multi-staged since it takes different kinds of filter media to remove different kinds of contaminants.

Here is what to look for in a high quality whole house filtration system:
  1. Outputs water with a low TDS (less than 50ppm)
  2. Removes chlorine
  3. Removes fluoride
  4. Removes heavy metals
  5. Removes pharmaceuticals
You will probably notice a drop in water pressure after you install a whole house water filtration system. This is because water filters have to slow the water down in order to be effective. You may want to consider installing a booster pump to maintain your normal water pressure. Water filtration technologies are constantly improving and new and better products are becoming available every year. I teach a class called “Water Wisdom” as a part of the Life Transformation Program where I share with our guests the latest and best technologies and products available and where to get them. There are water filters that will remove most of the contaminants listed above. 

If you do not own your home or you are otherwise disinclined to install a whole house water filtration system I would recommend that you at least install shower head filters on all your showers and use a portable water filters in the kitchen for drinking, preparing meals and in the bathroom for brushing your teeth. You can also get an RV inline hose water filter for watering your outdoor plants. Again, consider coming to Hippocrates to get the full download on the latest and best portable water filter technologies and products available and where to get them.

Bottled Water

While bottled water is an environmental disaster it is a reality for some people because of the lifestyle they have created for themselves. I would recommend that you use a reusable water bottle whenever possible preferably made from glass. Bottled drinking water is not regulated by the USDA nor the EPA so there are now laws governing and there is no oversight. As a result the industry is rife with abuse. In fact, 50% of all bottled drinking water tested is nothing more than just plain old tap water. On a scale of one to ten (ten being the best) here is my scoring system for bottled water: 

Enhanced Water

Once we have effectively filtered the water the next step is enhancement. It is a good idea to attempt to re-create the same conditions in which nature delivers the purest water to us – freely flowing water from natural wild springs. This movement is nature’s way of energizing and enhancing the water and preparing it for consumption. These natural conditions can be replicated at home with some of the following items:
  • Pouring
  • Stirring
  • S-curves
  • Whirlpools
  • Vortex
  • Sacred geometry
  • Magnets
  • Crystals
  • Light
  • Positive thoughts 
This will prepare the water for your cells making it healthier, better hydrating, and better tasting. Water has consciousness and it craves our respect. These types of water enhancements will reenergize, restructure and rememorizes water that has in some cases been abused. Municipal tap water has been unnaturally mixed with chemicals and exposed to pollution, forced through miles of pipes, valves, pumps and machines exposing it to chaotic energies alone its long arduous journey. There are devices that will accomplish the type of desirable enhancements such as the ones listed above. We utilize some of these devices here at Hippocrates for providing the best water for our guests, our associates, and for our plants.

Here are Hippocrates we take a holistic approach to the natural healing arts. We believe and we teach that if you give your body the right substances, forces influences and conditions that your body will take care of itself. This includes:
  • Adequate Sunshine
  • Pure Fresh Air
  • Clean Water
  • Plant-rich, Nutrient-dense diet
  • Exercise
  • Adequate Rest
  • Spiritual Outlook
  • Positive Thinking

Of all the things you can do for your optimal health the two acts of simply consuming only the best clean water and breathing only pure fresh air are by far the most important things you can do for your body.

Article by Brian Hetrich, Greenhouse Manager