John Kohler came to the Big Island, found my book, and did a great interview with me. John is quite famous in the gardening world. Enjoy!
Hippocrates was revered for his great teachings, one of which was: “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.” Yes, we need to look to nature for health and healing. Natural foods contain a vast array of naturally-occurring phytonutrients. “Phyto” means plant. In addition to containing the always-important vitamins and mineral complexes, plants contain the genetics to be able to produce thousands of additional phytonutrient molecules, many of which have medicinal qualities.
Most of today’s foods are only a shadow of their former selves. They have been bred or genetically-modified without thought for their nutrient content. They have been produced on soils lacking essential nutrients needed to produce medicinal-quality foods.
Plants actually have a lot greater array of genetic material than we humans do. They have to create their own food through photosynthesis. We can’t do that! They also create certain compounds to protect themselves from pests and diseases. Some of these special compounds are useful to us to prevent or treat our own diseases. This is where many medicines start. The drug companies isolate specific phytonutrients which have certain effects and then create similar patentable molecules. Unfortunately, this is not the way of nature. Isolated compounds do not have the same effects as those with naturally-occurring complimentary phytonutrients. Also, similar, but not bio-identical, compounds do not have the same effects either. Then we can get undesirable side effects.
Phytonutrients are also what we sense as flavors. Oranges taste like oranges and cinnamon tastes like cinnamon because of the varying arrays of phytonutrients.
Growing plants in properly balanced soil allows them to express their full potentials for forming phytonutrients because they have the raw materials they need to do so. If plants don’t get the specific nutrients they need as building blocks, the production of specialized compounds will stop. The plant may not die, but it cannot express its full potential either.
The love and care we give our plants by our supplying the raw materials they need will return to us many fold when we eat them. The plants will supply us with abundant yields of tasty foods, packed with health-giving phytonutrients. It all starts with a comprehensive soil analysis, followed by amending the soil. Plant leaf tissue analysis can also help us know what the plants need so we can help them out with foliar nutritional sprays.
Go forth and grow yourself some medicinal quality foods with long forgotten flavors!
To your health,
Dr. Jana Bogs
Learn more by clicking around on the various pages on my website, www.BeyondOrganicResearch.com. For a more indepth look, check out my book, Beyond Organic…Growing for Maximum Nutrition and Flavor. It is available on my website (with free shipping) as well as on Amazon.com, where the e-book version has hit #1 in two categories.
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Respiratory distress and irritated eyes can be caused by sulfur compounds called sulfites which are present in smog and vog (a combination of volcano smoke and fog). These are real concerns for some Hawai’i residents, especially children living in voggy areas.
Molybdenum (Mo) is an ultra-trace element (mineral) which is needed as a cofactor to enable certain enzymes in the body to work. Dr. Carl Pfeiffer, a biochemist and physician who helped run the Princeton Brain Bio Center, felt that sulfite sensitivity may be due to molybdenum deficiency since he had seen consistently low blood levels of Mo in his patients. Molybdenum is needed to activate the enzyme sulfite oxidase, which changes toxic sulfite to harmless sulfate. The oxidation of sulfites is necessary to prevent neurological damage and allergic/asthmatic symptoms. Other Mo-activated enzymes are responsible for some aspects of amino acid metabolism.
Also, be aware that sulfites are added as preservatives to many foods, such as wine and dried fruits to preserve the colors. Ever heard of someone having a sulfite allergy? Probably just a lack of molybdenum.
We should be getting adequate molybdenum in our well-grown foods. However, molybdenum levels in soils or foods are rarely tested. Because of its importance, this element is included in the Beyond Organic comprehensive soil analysis. I often see very low (deficient) levels.
In the crop growing world, molybdenum is an enzyme catalyst for changing nitrate (NO3–) to ammonium (NH4+), a plant-useable form of nitrogen. This trace element also enhances protein formation. Molybdenum is needed for atmospheric nitrogen fixation by bacteria growing symbiotically with legumes as well as non-symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Molybdenum is used in the conversion of inorganic phosphorus to an organic form and is necessary for ascorbic acid (vitamin C) metabolism. Gross deficiency symptoms include chlorosis of leaf margins, distortions in leaves and flowering bodies, and decreased fruit set due to less viable pollen.
Ultra-trace elements such as molybdenum and others can be supplied to soil with applications of naturally-occurring rich sources of trace elements such as Azomite, greensand, seaweed (i.e. kelp), and ocean fish. When soil levels are very low, it is good to supplement the soil with small amounts of a concentrated version of molybdenum, such as sodium molybdate. Seaweed and fish hydrolysates can also be used as ingredients in fast-acting foliar sprays.
Rejoice! Help with vog and smog is on the way! You might just need Mo’ molybdenum!
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Come to the Kona Coffee Farmers Expo this year to hear special guest speakers, see displays of various resources, and talk story about technical issues. It is being held at the Old Airport Pavilion in Kailua-Kona on Friday, March 18, 2016, from 10am-4pm. Beyond Organic Consulting will have a free prize drawing and show specials. Hope to see you there!
“The best year ever in terms of what?” you may ask. Well, what’s important to you? Feeling great–having excellent physical and mental health–is a big deal, and can help all areas of your life to be more successful and fun. Financial success, great relationships, and achieving your dreams–like having an amazing farm or garden–all are influenced by your health. And your farm or garden can be one of the most important factors in keeping you healthy, especially if you grow with Beyond Organic methods so your plants supply you with amazing nutrition.
Building great soil is an on-going process, taking more intensive work the first few years, but paying big dividends over time–in terms of your plants’ health and your own health. Most soils need to have nutrients added every few months to achieve the best balance, especially items like sulfur and boron which wash out of the soil quickly. These nutrients are critical for development of essential amino acids needed for our health. When beginning the soil building process, it’s good to have your soil analyzed every 6 months, with a minimum of once a year.
Leaf tissue analysis can tell us what the plants are lacking. Fortunately, custom foliar nutrition sprays can be used to help plants make great food quickly, while waiting on the soil to become well balanced. Take care of your soil and plants, and they will take care of you so you can have the Best Year Ever!
Here’s a video by Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a professor from MIT who also lives in Hawaii part of the year. She has done amazing research on the effects of glyphosate (the main active ingredient in Roundup© herbicide, the world’s biggest selling chemical). In this video she discusses its connection to major health problems. People have been led to believe that Roundup© is safe, however it is now known to be an endocrine disruptor in parts per trillion! The manufacturer, Monsanto, hid animal studies which resulted in cancer, but the data has now surfaced. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared glyphosate a probable human carcinogen–classified “probable” due to the lack of human studies.
Dr. Seneff has a lot more videos on YouTube and published scientific papers alerting people of the dangers and how to overcome the problems. One of the main things is to eat organically grown foods that are nutrient dense and free of toxic agricultural chemicals. By definition, organic foods are GMO-free. Just avoiding GMOs is not enough because even many non-GMO crops like wheat, other grains, beans, etc. are sprayed with Roundup© just prior to harvest. Roundup© is systemic, which means it can’t be washed off the food. Meat and dairy animals in our country are mainly fed GMO feeds with high levels of glyphosate. This comes through to the consumers of the meat and dairy products. Even fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds can be contaminated.
Also, don’t use Roundup© in your yard! Members of my community are working to stop the roadside spraying of this chemical by the county. Many countries have already banned its use entirely. It needs to be banned worldwide!
Are you ready to explore SOIL? It is the groundwork (figuratively and literally!) of any healthy, hearty garden!!
Our guest is Dr. Jana Bogs, a Colorado State University graduate with a PhD in horticulture and food science, who firmly believes that soil is the foundation to growing nutritionally dense food.
Jana’s passion for optimizing health began when she was a young girl and led her to become a nutritionist. After working in the field for several years, Jana realized that food’s nutritional quality was not what it could be or even what it once was! These insights resulted in her understanding that soil quality needed to be improved to grow better quality foods. Her mission then became “creating health from the soil up”.
Through the ‘Beyond Organic Growing System’ that Dr. Bogs created, a farmer, home gardener, or market gardener can have their soil tested. Following analysis, and with the direction that Dr. Bogs provides, appropriate amendments can be made to then grow plants that will express their full potential with better cell wall integrity and increased nutrient density.
Along with extensive ties to the academic community, Dr. Bogs also stays on the cutting edge by studying techniques from the organic agriculture industry, as well. She provides a terrific explanation of how going ‘beyond organic’ is important because it not only leaves the chemicals behind but results in foods that are increased in nutrition so truly promote health and longevity.
Here’s the link to the recorded interview–
National Geographic explorer, Dan Buettner, studied long-lived communities around the world to determine best practices for longevity. His book, Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer, was released in 2008, and became a national best-seller. Then he worked to implement the practices in various places and measure the successes. He reports the outcomes in his latest book, The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People.
Blue Zone community projects are starting all across America, with three kicking off here in Hawaii. Two of these three communities are located on the Big Island in Hilo and Waimea (Kamuela). The celebratory starting day was October 17 for the Big Island Blue Zone projects. Fun and educational activities and booths were followed by Dan Buettner’s presentation and book signing.
So what are the 9 Lessons (or what he calls the Power 9)?
- Move naturally. He especially emphasized vegetable gardening!
- Purpose. Why you wake up in the morning.
- Downshift. Release stress. Connecting with the Earth in the garden is one great way!
- 80 percent rule. Stop eating when your stomach is 80% full.
- Plant slant. More beans and vegetables, and only small amounts of meat about once a week.
- Wine @ 5. One to two glasses of wine with friends and/or food.
- Right Tribe. Social circle that supports healthy habits.
- Community. Attend weekly faith-based services.
- Loved ones first. Life partners and keeping family close together.
“What can I put on my crop to kill the pests?” seems to be the question that comes up the most from growers. Whoa! Wait a minute! That may be the wrong question.
First, let’s ask why the pests are there eating the crops in the first place. “Because they’re hungry?” Well, yes, but why are they eating this particular crop right now? “Because they like it?” Yes, but why do they like it?
Let me share an analogy– A horse looks at a beautiful field of grass and wants to eat it. We look at the same field of grass and think what a beautiful field it is, but we don’t want to eat it. Similarly, realize that insects are not humans, and their ideal food is not our ideal food. Insects have a different digestive system than we do.
Quality food for humans has fully-formed molecules of proteins and carbohydrates. Insects have a hard time digesting these big molecules. They seek fragmented molecules which are easier to digest. Plants which are healthy are able to fully form their molecules. These fully-formed molecules work properly in the plant to do various jobs and keep the plant growing, reproducing, etc.
Now let’s say the plant did not get enough zinc (or some other mineral element) which is needed to activate an enzyme in the plant so that it can fully form needed molecules. The plant now contains fragmented molecules that can’t perform the tasks needed by the plant and the plant gets sick, though perhaps not noticeably at first. Insects are attracted to the plant because it contains fragmented molecules that they can digest.
Keep in mind that more nutrients are not always better. It’s achieving the right balance that counts. For example, applying too much material rich in nitrogen can cause aphids to be a problem.
If plants are healthy, they can also make compounds which discourage insects from eating them. But again, they must have the right balance of nutrients they need to do so.
Our soil needs a vast array of beneficial microbes which make nutrients available to the plants and crowd out detrimental microbes. Microbes need nutrients for their own health, then when they die, the plants uptake the decomposed materials.
Also, having optimal amounts of nutrients in your plants, especially silicon, strengthens cell walls, physically making it more difficult for insects to feed on your plants.
Think about this gem which was shared with me by Dr. William Jackson– “Insects are nature’s way of taking out plants that are not worthy of reproduction.” This is how plants evolve over time to become stronger instead of dying out as a species.
So take good care of your soil and plants, and let the harmful insects fly on by to eat some unhealthy weeds down the road.
John Kohler has a popular blog where he encourages people to grow their own food. Recently he visited the Big Island and came across my book. Intrigued, John asked me for an interview. Here it is!