MLK Quote

MLK Quote

Nature's Inspiration Movie -- Nature's Inspiration Movie: The photographs in this short video are from award-winning photographer, Ken Jenkins, and they are breathtaking. However, this video is much more than beautiful photographs! Peggy Anderson has compiled beautiful quotations from the likes of Emerson, Thoreau, and many others that truly capture the beauty of nature and solitude. Absolute must watch for nature lovers.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Food from backyard

Yesterday (December 28, 2011), I posted pictures of all the greens that I picked up from our backyard. It consisted of radish, radish-green, beet-green, mustard-green, three types of lettuce, celery-leaves and celery-stalk, baby swiss-chard, baby-spinach. I can harvest all these because of the greenhouse, and that there has not been any snow/blizzard here yet - a big proof of climate change. So, using all those greens, I cooked up three different dishes.

The radish was chopped up in small places and immersed in white vinegar, salt and sugar. This is how radishes and carrots are often served, before the food, in many Chinese, Thai restaurants. The overgrown radish green were chopped up and sauted with garlic. All the other greens were made into a salad with pine-nuts, boiled cracked-wheat (also sometimes referred to as Bulgar in the US, though two are very different), lemon-juice and salt.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Food Matters

I often wonder why I love gardening, especially growing fruits and vegetables. I watched Food Matters again today. Perhaps, these types of documentaries are responsible for making me grow fresh organic produce in my own backyard. The documentary was produced in 2008 and is about one hour twenty minutes long. Indians have a long ancient tradition of respecting Mother Earth, growing fruits and vegetables, going to market everyday to purchase freshly picked produce and freshly caught fish and cooking food, at least twice, for lunch and dinner. My old parents back home still go to market every morning to buy fresh produce. The fresh produce are cooked for lunch and consumed. Then, again in the evening, the remaining fresh produce are cooked for dinner. And, the scene continues the next day. While growing up, we were constantly told two things: 1. You are what you eat and 2. Do not waste even a small crumb of bread and we never dared waste anything; food is part of our religion and we even worship a Goddess, Goddess Laxmi, for food, health and money. Though I forgot about number 1 until I started watching documentaries like Food Matters, but I religiously follow number 2 because food is so precious. Food Matters tries to uphold number 1 and 2. Here are some important facts and points discussed in the documentary and I hope I got all these correctly:

1. Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be your food, as told by Hipocrates
2. Modern medicine revolves around a pill a day, targeting only one particular type of disease. Less than 6% of doctors trained in the USA learn anything about diet and nutrition.
3. Heart Disease and Cancer are the two leading causes of death in the USA. Additionally, 39,000 people, every year, die due to errors in hospitals; 80,000 people die annually due to infections in hospitals. 106,000 people die due to adverse side effects from drugs and pills that doctors prescribe to them. 89% of patients in the USA suffer from nutrition-deficiency after staying in the hospitals.
4. Heart Disease is not only preventable but even curable if one goes into a strict vegetarians, organic, fresh diet, and it's proved by research.
5. As the documentary claims and as many other documentary, research claims that cancer is preventable and curable if one eats fresh organically grown fruits, vegetables, nuts, grasses, seeds, beans, pulses, legumes, etc, etc, everyday. Gerson Therapy advocates this only.
6. The food that is available in any supermarket in the USA has traveled at least 1500 to 2000 miles and at least a week old!! If you are lucky, then you will get just 40% of the nutrients from those food .
7. The foods in the supermarket are not nutritious because majority of the food in the USA are grown on large industrial scale using herbicide, fungicide, insecticide, fertilizers and all sorts of other chemicals. Also, the crops are not rotated on the fields. As a result, the soil on which the foods are grown are like desert soil with no nutrients available. Soil needs at least 52 different minerals besides N-P-K.
8. The enzymes in the food are lost even if they are lightly steamed. Dr. Kurchoff first proved that the body produces lots of toxins if one eats 51% of cooked food. Thus, the motto is one should eat at least 50% raw food everyday.
9. Solid food requires lots of water for digestion so that the liquid digested food can be absorbed by our bodies. Thus, it is best to drink fresh fruits and vegetable juice everyday so that the nutrients can be at once absorbed by our bodies.
10. Multi-vitamins should be taken regularly. In the last twenty-three (23) years, there has been less than ten (10) deaths that are due to vitamin consumption, though the real cause of those deaths are not yet proven.
11. In the UK, about 10,000 people die every year due to adverse drug reaction. In contrast, only 3500 people die every year due to car accidents and about 9,000 people die to prostrate cancer. People in the UK are extremely concerned about such high deaths due to prostrate cancer or car accidents though the number of deaths due to such reasons are smaller compared to death due to drug reaction.
12. But still, drugs are prescribed at an alarming rate in both the USA and the UK for any minor complications. 25% of all the TV time in the USA are drug commercials. In the North America alone, the Drug Industry is a 300 billion dollar industry!!
13. The Drug Companies in the USA need to do just two successful trials to get the drug approved . Each trial might consist of less than 100 people. Thus, experiment the drug on only 200 people and then prescribe that drug to millions of people without doing a systematic, detailed study on side effects and other adverse effects from the drug. Also, all the trials and experiments and even FDA are controlled by these drug industries (for that one needs to watch all the other documentaries that are out there). Thus, they might not include all the side effects in their label warnings. Prozac-R is the greatest example. Trial showed that suicidal thought is one of the side effect of the medicine and yet it was not initially included in the warning labels.
14. One of the scientist in the documentary claims that consuming two handfuls of cashew nuts give the same dose of anti-depressant as given by Prozac.
15. Another scientist in the documentary claims that at least 3000 mg of Vitamin B Niacin cures depression.
16. When drug companies claim that they have an 80% success rate with a cancer treatment, that means they are claiming that 80% of people live 5 years after the treatment. They cannot guarantee anything beyond 5 years. However, statistics have shown that 70% of all patients die within 5 years even after all the modern cancer treatment.
17. Good food and nutrients is the key to avoiding cancer. Research has shown that high concentration of Vitamin C given through IV can kill all cancer cells in the body. Gerson Therapy and other alternative medicines have also proved successful against cancer. However, doctors in the USA are not allowed to prescribe any alternative medicines to the patients. If they do so, their medical license can be revoked. The Cancer Treatment Industry is a 200 billion dollar industry in the USA alone.
18. Research is constantly showing that people with Mediterranean diet, Japanese diet (based on green tea, seaweeds and fish) and other diets that are based on fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish have the lowest rate of cancer, heart disease or any chronic disease.
19. Modern medicine, drugs, medical advancement are absolutely required and we all need to use. But, the doctors also need to be trained in diet and nutrition and therapy through nutrition/diet should be a big part of any diagnosis/treatment.

Now, what do I believe? I actually believe in all the above points that we need modern medicine but at the same time, we also need to pay attention to our diets. My personal experience has taught me that nutrition and vitamins are extremely essential. We also need to pay attention to our climate, environment and nature because polluted air is not going to help us. We will also lose the urge to live if we destroy nature. Thus, keeping all these in mind I am going to make salad from freshly picked greens and a radish from our backyard :-).

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Here are my Rosemary plants in the small herb-patch that I had this summer. The patch had rosemary, basil, mint, pineapple-sage and lemon-balm. Lemon-balm and mint have gone for winter-hibernation. I am not sure what will happen to the pineapple-sage plant - will it come back next year? Basil plants have of course passed away :-(. But, I hope that these beautiful rosemary plants will survive the winter. So far, they are really doing well in this freezing twenty-two or twenty-eight degree Fahrenheit temperature. But, I read everywhere that Rosemary plants do not survive cold, wintry, freezing temperature. So, keeping fingers crossed.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas - 2011

I am spending the Christmas buying plants from Burpee. So far, I am loving Burpee. Burpee's seeds are indeed guaranteed to grow; at least, that has been my experience so far. They also seem to be pretty cheap. So, I browsed through their 2012 catalog today and ordered two grape plants, a black chokerberry plant and six Delphinium plants. Now, I have to wait patiently for their arrival in March/April and enjoy the time growing my winter plants. Here are some plants - coriander, parsley, mint, lettuce, fenugreek, cactus, aloe-vera, basil and various house-plants - that are growing in our mud-room.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Onion and Garlic Bed

This is our bed with Onion and Garlic plants. I have put lots of leaves mulch and other organic matter because apparently garlic and onion likes rich soil. Onion and Garlic are remarkable plants. They will survive and their frail looking leaves will stand erect even under the most harshest snow. And, they pop up wherever you drop the garlic clove and the onion bulb. And, they also produce beautiful, showy flowers. They are so easy to grow and so tenacious that it is amazing people don't grow this; rather, garlic is imported to the USA all the way from China!!!!! At least we all can drop some garlic clove here and there in our garden and lawn and help boost the US economy and the US farmers, instead of spending money, polluting the environment to import "in-organic" garlic all the way from China!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


My Dear Hubby has built this greenhouse from scratch for me. It is made with 1/2 inch PVC pipes. So far, it has been sturdy against strong wind. Hopefully, it will withstand big blizzards. Of course, this is not a professional greenhouse and thus we can't grow plants that require hot temperature like tomatoes, eggplants or pepper. Temperature do drop inside during the night. However, we are growing plants that can withstand even below 20 degree Fahrenheit and these plants are thriving beautifully inside this greenhouse. The plants that are inside are leafy-lettuce (all kinds), spinach, mustard-green, fenugreek-green, celery, garlic, radish, chinese cabbage, beet, peas, swiss chard and some argula.

First Row: the greenhouse from outiside (left), the door to get inside the greenhouse (center), an inside portion of the greenhouse (right).
Second Row: more greens growing in a pot inside the greenhouse (left), pea on a pea-plant (center), another side inside the greenhouse (right).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Radish and Leafy Greens

Radish (on the left) and celery, chinese cabbage and other leafy greens (right image), freshly picked from the garden. The radishes were grown using Burpee's Organic Radish Seed. The packet says that the radish will be ready within 22 days. It is true. The seeds are tiny. But, just scatter them around and within next day, seedlings emerge, and start growing fast. Strangely, the seedlings emerge and grow even if there is not enough light, and the outside is freezing (22 degree Fahrenheit). However, I left these radishes in the ground for more than 22 days as I had other things to eat. I have heard people saying old radishes taste bad, bitter, hot, are stringy and what not. But, I did not notice any such thing with these radishes though they were growing in the ground for more than two months. Very nice tasting radish.

We (Indians) also eat the green leaves of the radish plants. I usually saute all these green leaves using garlic, pepper flakes (or a big jalapeno) and sometimes mushroom. Absolutely yuuuuuummmmmmmyyyyyyyyy...Thats' what I did this morning and had it for breakfast :-). Whenever I pick green leaves (for cooking), I usually pick the leaves those are closer to the ground or those that have lots of holes, chewing mark, etc (art work of slugs, snails, aphids and other insects). I leave the healthy, fresh looking leaves for the plants. In that way, the plants survive and keep on providing me with food; I also get to eat fresh organic vegetables and leaves :-).

Friday, December 2, 2011

Growing Pumpkins and Watermelons

I started growing vegetables in 2010. 2011 was my second year and I ventured out to try growing something new (well, from my experience point of view). I planted iced-watermelon plants and Bonnie's pumpkin plants.
My husband built a small raised-bed and a trellis, using whatever wood were lying around in the basement, to raise the plants. Pumpkin plants hardly need any care and they can easily overrun the garden. Luckily for us, the Bengalis, we cook and eat not only pumpkins but pumpkin flowers, and the plant - everything of pumpkin is considered delicacy and variety of dishes are cooked using either the flower or leaves and stem or the vegetable.
We not only enjoy the pumpkins but even share some with our animal-friends and animal-neighbors. Our animal-friends never destroy or attack our vegetables. This was the last pumpkin that was growing; weather got chilly and most of the food-sources of our friends got depleted. Then only they came to try out the pumpkin.