Should we buy organic produce?

Recently, the Food Standards Agency released a damning report on the nutritional values of organic produce compared to that of mass-scale farming. The result was that they didn’t find much difference in nutritional benefits between organic and non-organic produce. One needs to remember that the research conducted did not take into account the effects of pesticides, which is one of the main concerns for people opting organic food.Honestly, I was not surprised by the findings. When organic products first became fashionable 10 years ago, I told all my friends that I didn’t think it would make much difference in terms of nutritional value. If it did, then all the fertilisers that are used by mass-scale farmers would be in vain.10 years on, I still believe that there isn’t much difference, but my perspectives changed. Organic farming isn’t about nutrition, although some findings suggest that dairy products are found to contain higher omega-3 in organic produce. Whether this is conclusive I don’t know. But it certainly sounds more pleasant to know that your cows had chewed on meadows rather than cramped in a cage fed with grain day in day out.Now, I don’t eat meat, but I still care where my milk or eggs come from. I want to know that they have been raised naturally, rather than in an industrialised environment. I have seen tv programmes showing chickens in barns. There was so little space and no natural sunlight. Some of the chickens couldn’t even move because their legs are deformed as a result of the rearing environment.An all too familiar argument is that organic farming would never be able to feed the whole world. True it may be, but do you know that a lot of fuel and energy are wasted to run a mass-scale farm? If one is so concerned about food scarcity, the simplest solution is to become a vegetarian, or massively cut down your meat intake. Mass-scale farming only solves the problem temporarily. So long as human continues to devour our planet’s resources as they do, food scarcity will remain a serious problem.Another important reason why I support organic farming is obviously for environmental reasons. If mass-scale farming continues as they do, we would run out of any wildlife sooner than you could pronounce the word. Already we are depleting our forest reserve. Organic farms keep our environment friendlier to the wildlife. I have visited organic farms and it is very pleasant to know that the food that you eat, is a result of natural farming habitat. There were insects that helped to keep pests under control. When those vegetables arrived at my door, I feel very satisfied knowing that not only that they taste better, I have also helped to maintain ecological balance by opting organic. Yes, may be it is not enough, but it’s a step to the right direction.No doubt that organic is more expensive than non-organic, but you will be surprised that it isn’t that much more expensive. C and I have massively cut down on dining out. With the savings, it is more than enough to make a feast from organic produce.For those who remain sceptical, I totally understand, for I was once the same. But for those who are still on the fence, I hope you would give it a try.

Our new website for healthier kidneys

Life events can be quite interesting. My father-in-law initially started out invented a new way of grinding grains into powder form, and then selling them as nutrition food for those who are health conscious. Interestingly, after selling them for years now, it turns out that they are an invaluable source of nutrition for patients who are suffering from kidney problems! Yes patients, not just those who are alive and kicking. And what I found it most incredible is there are success stories, more and more as well, where patients no longer have to go for kidney transplants or the expensive kidney dialysis.As a kid I always heard about horror stories, from my mum as well, of having to go for kidney dialysis if I don’t drink enough water etc. If patients are given a choice I think they most definitely would not want to go through such process. So if you don’t want to suffer from such kidney problems then remember to take care of your kidneys.I mean I was quite sceptical as well when I heard that the nutrition food is that effective, thinking that it may be just a one-off thing for a certain patient with a certain condition. But recently we have a tour guide in Malaysia who is supposed to go for kidney transplants end of this month. So we thought why not introduce him the nutrition food. To be honest at the time we don’t know how severe is his condition, but kidney transplant does sound like the last resort doesn’t it? So we do not harbour much hope of him trying the nutrition food out, and we do not want to make things worse either, although W’s father claims that he has seen patients in worse conditions having recovered after taking in his nutrition food for 20 days 🙂 Anyway our tour guide has made a decision to postpone his kidney operation. From what we heard, he is feeling better now that he has started taking in the nutrition food, to our delights.Doctors are very good at curing symptoms. But what people often forget is they are what they eat. If we can change our diet and eat good nutritional food, we really cannot underestimate the impact they have on our body and general wellness. As is the case here, where kidneys are resurrected, although not quite there yet for the tour guide we know, by taking in natural food. We’ll keep you posted on our new website at And please do not hesitate to let us know if you have friends or families who are suffering from kidney problems. We’d very much like to help the best we can.

iPhone 3GS

Wow, what can I say. I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything that makes me feel like a smug 🙂 The user-friendliness of this Apple product is beyond my belief. Perhaps it is also to do with me not having owned any Apple product before. I mean I have played with the previous generations of iPhone before in phone shop. But still, I’m in awe. I used to worry that I might not feel comfortable using the phone because my fingers can sweat a lot. I thought about buying a Blackberry before. But when I know that they now have landscape keyboard, like the one shown on the picture, it becomes very clear that I have to go for the iPhone. I must say that typing is easier for me on the iPhone than on the Blackberry. When I’m used to touch typing I’m confident that I can type very fast on the landscape keyboard.

I always like the idea of being able to check emails and Internet information on the go. And I like to be able to easily type in web address or reply an email. So I’m really satisfied that it can allow me to do that, and surprisingly effortlessly. And an important added feature for me is the GPS map. The other day we drove down to London and we haven’t got maps with us. It was really useful to be able to locate ourselves and navigate around in London using Google maps on the phone. Amazing.When I have chosen the white colour iPhone, I was somewhat worried that my phone may really get cooked and gives me yellowish ring on white casing. But after using it for about a week, I think overheating is a rather exaggerated issue. I guess unless you absolutely run everything at the same time, i.e. 3g, Wi-Fi, ipod, GPS together. Otherwise I don’t see based on my usage it is going to get that hot.Battery seems to be a real issue though. As the battery energy is drained rather quickly on this iPhone that I have to charge it once a day. Unless I’ve not been using the net at all, and just for phone calls. But this defeats the whole purpose of owning the phone and getting that all inclusive unlimited data usage plan doesn’t it? :)I’ve had a look at how to optimise the lifespan of the battery from the Apple website and it seems that the best thing to do is to switch off the Wi-Fi interface when not in use and stop it from fetching emails too frequently or being pushed emails automatically. Allowing the Wi-Fi to listen all the time can drain as much energy as transmitting. So remember to switch that off.I’m a new Apple convert and by the look of it there will be many more following soon 🙂

A tested way of reducing cholesterol

In February 2008, C and I went to our local clinic for blood tests just for general check-ups. We didn’t expect anything amiss as we are both healthy and exercise regularly, especially C. When the results came back, everything seemed normal except our cholesterol levels which were on borderline high, around 5mmol/l for C and 5.2mmol/l for me. It threw us back a little as we eat very healthily. I mean, we almost follow the book in terms of what the so-called health experts have been advocating.So, after speaking to the doctor, we thought may be it was because of the number of eggs we have been taking to compensate for not eating meat, or rare meat consumption in C’s case. Since getting my test results, I was determined to do something about this. I reduced my eggs consumption and really put in extra efforts when it comes to my diet. I also started eating oat porridge for breakfasts as they claimed that oat porridge is proven to lower cholesterol. C couldn’t be bothered to cook porridge every morning, he continued his routine cereal with milk for breakfasts.17 months went past and we hardly noticed how long it had been. We went for another blood test as a general check-up. I was very anxious to know the results as I thought that if my cholesterol level didn’t lower, that would be it. It would probably be my gene that is the vice and in which case, there is nothing that I could do about it. My mum also has slightly high cholesterol so that kind of explained why I thought my case was genetically linked. C’s whole family has high cholesterol except one. So, it was even less surprising in his case although he is fit and healthy and exercises at least 3 days a week.The long awaited minute arrived. C got his results first, it was no better. In fact, his cholesterol level had gone up to 5.2mmol/l from 5.0. I was so bitterly disappointed as I thought my result would probably be the same given that we eat almost the same food. Then the doctor showed me my result and I was pleasantly surprised that my cholesterol level had dropped to 4.6mmol/l! This is excellent news! We couldn’t quite figure why our results could be so different at first. But after a long hard analysis, by myself of course, C couldn’t be bothered, I thought it must be the oat porridge. It could not possibly have been anything else.I only wanted to share this experience with anyone who is struggling with their cholesterol levels. Give oat porridge a try, and I do mean at least 5 days a week. I am a strong believer in healing through diet instead of taking medication, which merely suppresses the symptoms.

Back again and feeling at home, and also Air Asia X!

It’s been a really long time since I last wrote a blog. As C said, it was a hectic holiday home. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it a holiday, but simply a break full of commitments. It was so busy to the extent that I was only looking forward to the end of it to be back here in England so that I can live my ‘normal’ life again.May be I expected the worst before I went back to Malaysia, so I was mentally more capable to deal with all the things that I had to do. I knew that this was no ‘holiday’. I almost feel relieved that this ‘holiday’ ended.

Air Asia X, by merlyn.pauley

Anyway, the point of writing is to share a little of my experience of flying with Air Asia to Kuala Lumpur from London Stansted. I wasn’t expecting a lot as my family and friends flew with them before I did. So they said it was okay for a budget airline. On arrival at London Stansted, the check-in procedure was rather stress free. So that was a good sign. We made a mistake of not buying more baggage allowance, so with 15kg per person, we really struggled to fit all the things that we wanted to bring home. On calling to enquire if I could up my allowance the day before, I was told that this had to be done 48 hours before flying. So my only option was to pay at the counter or shed my baggage weight, of course I chose the latter! The customer service didn’t sound very friendly. He mumbled so softly that I had to ask him to speak up.Boarding the plane was rather civil. In fact, the experience was much better than what we had with Easyjet or Ryanair. There was no such non-sense such as paying for a ‘priority boarding pass’. Only business class and those with children and special needs get priority. Others were boarded according to seat numbers. YES, you do get a seat number! And no need to run in order to get a prime seat. Also, they don’t make you fit your hand luggage into that steel frame and enforce you to check-in your hand luggage in order to squeeze extra pennies from your wallet. We also get to pool our luggage allowance instead of restricting to one bag a person and what not (like the Easyjet or Ryanair).The seats were surprisingly spacious! In fact, C found it more spacious than conventional airlines and I noticed the space too. What I liked was that there were only two seats on each side with four in the middle column. So C and I could be on our own without having to trouble someone in order to go to the toilet etc. Service was okay. You cannot expect services like those in conventional airlines. Food was also not bad. We chose the Asian option because we know that they make better Malaysian food than they make pasta or other western dishes. The only drawback is that the meal portion was small and far and few. So I would advise everyone to bring their own fruits and snacks to top up.We came across a few turbulence on our outward journey. We think that may be because the plane was smaller, we felt the bounce a lot more and it made us feel nauseous. The inbound journey was much better. Would I fly with them again? I think that depends on the cost savings. As London Stansted is sort of inconvenient to get to from where we live, we would really think twice to fly from there again as the hassle is really so much that it wouldn’t be worth it if the savings is not great. But for anyone within easy distance, I think it is a good option as Stansted is not as crowded and chaotic as Heathrow and Air Asia does provide good value.