Ecomo Homes

This is an article that appeared in issue 3 of Vibrant Life; the previous incarnation of this magazine. I must admit, I’m still in love with the beauty and simplicity of this design. All the best to Pietro and his team.

The ecomo home is a compact home designed for modern, simple living in collaboration with nature. The design is based on basic sustainable, green design principles. The ecomo home offers a low-maintenance, modern, well-designed green housing alternative.

The ecomo home is a predesigned, prefabricated, customised home, offering numerous options in layout, size and finish. These custom designs allow unique solutions for unique sites and are sustainable, thoughtfully designed, modular systems built.
The ecomo home concept consists of three units:
1- Sleep
2- Play
3- Live
These three elements can be arranged to the client’s need or some of these elements can simply be added at a later stage. This offers a big freedom to simply increase the size of the house when needed.

This guarantees high levels of quality as construction takes place at an off site factory and offers a truly streamlined process, as well as predictable timeframes and costs for our clients. Further, through factory-based construction, impact on the new home site is minimized.

The ecomo home’s modular design means that it can be situated anywhere with little damage to the environment. A modular home also affords construction efficiencies, virtually eliminating waste materials that are normally associated with home building.
Through the use of renewable solar energy, the ecomo house does not depend on electricity lines, thereby reducing the long-term cost of ownership and widening the range of potential building sites.

For more information please contact Pietro Russo 072 445 9373
www.ecomohome.com

What is Reiki?

Heiné de Waal received has Masters Initiation (Shiki Ryoho) in 1998. Additional initiations were later received into Karuna Reiki and traditional Japanese Reiki (Ryoho). Heiné can be contacted for treatments and tuition at 072 293 9478 or solaris@mweb.co.za

What is Reiki?

Reiki is an ancient method of natural healing dating back to the Far East. This technique was named after the founder, Mikao Usui – a Japanese theologist. He rediscovered this art of healing in the mid 1800’s through years of studying history and medical books; both Buddhist and Christian scriptures; psychology; Taoism and even the art of divination. Following a prolonged period of meditation, Mikao Usui acquired this ability of transferring Universal Life Energy, which he called Reiki (Usui Ryoho Reiki = Usui’s natural method of healing with Universal energy). He then committed to teach others how to act as channels for this energy.

Reiki is not a religion or doctrine, but more of a philosophy, a way of living. When a person undergoes a session of Reiki, they allow the energy to be taken with beneficial effects. This puts the recipient in an empowering position and not the practitioner. Those whom use Reiki regularly often find that they are more joyful, lively and their inbuilt energy is enhanced. It is almost as if their batteries have been fully charged!

There are many energy healing modalities and can be confusing to the lay person. Reiki is a simple and uncomplicated technique, requiring only your intuition and obviates the need for props. In order for technique to “qualify” as Reiki, it needs to consist of 5 elements:
• Five daily principles
• Breathing techniques
• Symbols with mantras
• Initiation/attunement
• Palm healing

The Reiki Treatment

Deep relaxation is central to a Reiki session. The extent to which Reiki can work is defined by the receiver of the energy, because only the necessary amount of energy is absorbed. If the receiver is not accepting of the energy or feels negative about it, then its effectiveness will be reduced.

How do I learn Reiki?

One does not need any previous experience to become a Reiki practitioner; however, you would require an attunement or initiation. This attunement (Reiju = blessing) can be done only by a Reiki Master (Teacher). The student should also have an open heart, the desire to receive the Reiki transmission and carry the intention to use it. Through the process of attunements, energy will automatically start flowing. The more you work with the energy, the stronger the flow of Reiki will become.

There are four degrees of Reiki. Reiki I is primarily for self-healing and hands-on healing to others.

The next level of Reiki focuses on emotional-, mental- and karmic healing. In this second degree the student is introduced to symbols and how to work with them. Healing with Reiki II adds considerable power to direct sessions. It also adds methods and tools for performing healing on a person or animal not physically present. This is referred to as distance healing.

The third degree of Reiki is an advanced level of this technique. It involves higher spiritual energy and achieves more spiritual healing. Reiki III is recommended especially to those who wish to make Reiki a major part of their lives.

The last level is the Master level. A Reiki Master is simply a teacher of Reiki and one who has mastered the discipline. No ego or ownership should be involved in this title.

You don’t need to be a therapist to use Reiki. Most people use it on themselves, family and friends, even plants and animals. It can promote a better quality to life and greater harmony with the environment. Some practitioners of Reiki see it as a form of art.

Savoury Feta and Pomegranate Cheesecakes with Pistachio, Mint and Parsley

This is a very elegant dinner party dish that looks impressive but is surprisingly simple to make. It is perfect for the festive season because it can be prepared in advance and served when you are ready.

Feta & Pomegranate Cheesecake with Pistachio, Mint & Parsley

Serves 2, Vegetarian

  • 2 unsweetened oat biscuits (I used Paterson’s Olive Oil Oatcakes)
  • about 25 gr shelled pistachios (45 gr with shells)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 100 gr  Greek feta
  • 100 gr cream cheese (I used Philadelphia light)
  • 2 or 3 tbsp creme fraiche (or queso fresco batido)
  • a handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 5 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • pinch dried oregano
  • pinch dried mint
  • pinch sumac (optional)
  • pinch ground cumin
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1/2 pomegranate

Blitz the oatcakes and pistachios in a blender until sandy then add the honey and blend again. I used two 3 inch/7cm diameter chef rings which I oiled inside. You could put this in a ramekin too but you may have to serve it in it aswell, I’m not sure if it would come out cleanly.

Put the oiled rings on a sheet of greaseproof on  a flat plate and spoon half the biscuit mix into each ring. Push it down and spread it out evenly.

Blend the feta, cream cheese and 2 tbsp creme fraiche until smooth. Only add the third tbsp if your mix is really stiff, remember that it has to stand up by itself. Add in the herbs and spices and season with a little salt & some black pepper. Blend again and taste for seasoning.

Spoon half of the cheese mix into each ring, pushing it down evenly and smoothing out the top. Put them in the fridge for at least an hour preferably longer so they set.

To remove the pomegranate kernels: cut it in half widthways through its middle. Hold the pomegranate half in your palm, cut side down over a bowl. Using a wooden spoon smack the back of the pomegranate to release the kernels into the bowl. Continue until all the kernels are out and remove any bits of white membrane that may be attached to them.

Just before serving remove the cheesecakes from the fridge and slide the rings onto your serving plates. Lift the ring slowly and carefully and the cheesecake  should slide out of the bottom and onto the plate. (Don’t do this until you are about to serve or they may start to sag or collapse). Top with a tumbling pile of pomegranate jewels, a halved pistachio and a parsley leaf. Serve immediately.

Tandoori Spice Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Quiche

 

Tandoori Roasted Cauliflower & Chickpea Quiche Recipe

Makes 1 large quiche, Vegetarian

Tandoori Spice Mix Adapted from My New Roots

You only need 1 Tbsp for this recipe

  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 Tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1/4 whole nutmeg grated
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 1/2 sticks cinnamon, broken
  • 1 Tbsp turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp paprika

Grind everything except last 2 ingredients in a mortar & pestle or spice grinder to a powder then mix with the turmeric & paprika. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place.

  • 350-400 g cauliflower florets
  • 200 g cooked chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 1 Tbsp tandoori spice mix (recipe above)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 pot (125 ml) goats or Greek yoghurt
  • 50 gr toasted almonds or cashews
  • a handful of fresh coriander

Tip all the ingredients except the nuts into a plastic freezer bag, seal and mix together well by smushing it about in the bag with your hands. Leave to marinate in the fridge for 1 hour minimum.

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Tip the contents of the freezer bag onto the tray and spread out evenly. Roast for 25-30 minutes until dried and slightly browned then leave to cool. Stir through the toasted almonds/cashews and chopped coriander. Taste and add more salt & lemon juice as required.

You can use the cooled mixture as a filling for samosas, see recipe here or continue on to make the quiche.

Makes a 28-30 cm quiche. Vegetarian. Pastry recipe from Chocolate & Zucchini

  • 250 g spelt or wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp tandoori spice mix (see above)
  • 4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • up to 120 ml (1/2 cup) cold water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 pot (125 gr) goat’s yoghurt (or greek yoghurt)
  • milk ( I used oat milk)
  • salt & black pepper
  • a handful of grated manchego/cheddar (optional)

Lightly oil & flour your tart tin. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt and spices, drizzle in the olive oil mixing/mashing it in with a fork until well combined (a bit like crumble mix). Measure out the water then drizzle slowly into the flour a bit at a time and mix it in with the fork until just absorbed then bring it together with one hand kneading a little just until it forms a cohesive ball. you may not need all the water. Do not over work or it will be tough. You can refrigerate it now if it is warm.

Preheat the oven to 190C. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface, turning it quarter turns as you go to stop it sticking, to the correct size about 2-3 mm thick. Flour your rolling-pin and roll the pastry onto it lifting it gently over to the tart tin and unroll the pastry onto the tin. Push the pastry into the tin (do not stretch it) and trim off the excess. Keep it to make a little tart if you have enough.

Prick the base of the tart all over with a fork. Separate one of the eggs and use the white to brush all over the base of the pastry and the sides. Bake for about 8 -10 minutes until the egg white is cooked and the pastry is starting to dry out. This creates a barrier and stops the bottom from becoming soggy when you add the liquidy filling.

Spread the roasted cauliflower chickpea mix over the base of the pastry in an evenish layer, you will probably not need all of it. In a measuring jug whisk together the two remaining whole eggs and the extra yolk then add the goat’s yoghurt and whisk again. Add enough milk to take it to the 450 ml mark, season well with salt & black pepper and mix again.

Open the oven, put the tart on the middle oven shelf, pull it out and then pour the egg mixture into the tart, top with the grated cheese (if using), gently push the shelf in and close the door. This stops the mixture slopping everywhere hopefully.

Bake until the quiche is just set and nicely browned about 30-40 minutes. Leave to cool slightly and serve warm (not hot) or at room temperature.

Indochine Melon Coconut Curry, Lemongrass Chilli, Coriander

This was one of the five different vegetarian curries we had the pleasure of trying at Indochine restaurant on the Delaire Graff Wine Estate. The whole experience was out of this world but this curry was the best I have ever had. And I’ve had a lot. I’d even go so far as to say it is one of the best dishes I have ever tried from anywhere in the world.

It’s unusual, elegant, fragrant, well-balanced, exotic, beautiful and totally delicious. It’s not actually on the menu, the chef on the evening that we were there, Virgil prepared a special selection of vegetarian curries for us to try. If anyone is listening from Indochine, you should definitely put it on your menu. It is really fantastic.

You will have to make your own curry paste and coriander puree but don’t let that put you off it is not difficult and it is so worth it. You will also need to get a melon baller if you haven’t already got one leftover from the Seventies. You can serve it with plain rice or some thick rice (stick) noodles like I did.

Indochine Melon Coconut Curry with Rice Noodles

Serves 4, Vegan, Gluten-free. Adapted from the Indochine recipe

Prep time: 25 mins Cooking time: 20 mins

For the curry paste:

  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 5 white peppercorns
  • 1 pinch grated nutmeg
  • 4 small green chillies, deseeded and chopped (depending on the chilli)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped/minced lemongrass
  • 1/2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic (about 3 cloves) finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp lime/lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped coriander stalks
  • a big pinch of salt

Blend everything together in a mortar and pestle or food processor until you get a smooth- ish paste. Set aside.

For the Coriander Puree:

  • a bunch of fresh coriander leaves(or a mix of coriander & basil), roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 1 bowl of iced water

Bring a pot of water to the boil and add the bicarb. Plunge the coriander into the hot water and leave until the water starts to turn green. Drain off most of the water and blend to a smooth puree in a measuring jug. Cool down by putting the measuring jug in the iced water.

For the Curry:

You can use which ever melon is available, two different colours is nice.

  • about 500 gr (rind on weight) watermelon
  • about 500 gr (rind on weight) green melon
  • 2 cans coconut milk (do not shake before opening), I used low-fat
  • 2 tsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • coriander puree (see above) I used about 2 or 3 tbsp
  • salt
  • thick rice (stick) noodles for 4 people (or rice)
  • fresh mint leaves, rolled up & finely shredded for garnish
  • toasted coconut for garnish
  • vermicelli rice noodles deep-fried for garnish (optional)

Scoop out balls of melon flesh with the melon baller but leave the excess on the rind. Scrape out the excess flesh into a food processor and blend to a smooth puree.

To a large pan over a medium high heat, add the tops of the coconut milk (the thick cream bit) and cook until bubbling and starting to reduce. Add the curry paste and stir for 3 minutes until fragrant. Add the rest of the tins of coconut milk, reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stirring occasionally.

Cook the rice noodles according to the instructions on the packet.

Add the palm sugar, lemon juice and salt to the sauce then stir in the coriander puree and melon puree and taste. Adjust salt, lemon juice as required. Then add the melon balls, stirring to coat them in the sauce and heat through.

To make the vermicelli garnish, heat some oil in deep-frying pan until it sizzles when you test it with a dried noodle. Carefully drop a bunch of the dried rice vermicelli into the oil , it will puff up straight away. Remove immediately with a slotted spoon and leave to drain on kitchen paper.

Serve the curry over rice noodles, garnished with the shredded mint leaves, toasted coconut and fried vermicelli (if using).

Indochine restaurant has some of the best food I have ever tasted. It is daring, exquisite and mouth-wateringly good. If you live in SA and you haven’t been, you need to go. Exceptional food and service in luxurious surroundings.  Go on, treat yourself you know you want to. For more details and menus check out their website here.

 

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Good news for lovers of Absolute Organix’s Omega Pure

Absolute Organix Omega Pure – a 100% vegan source of the Omega-3 essential fat DHA – is being relaunched later this month.  Omega Pure has been absent from the market for over a year because of supply problems. We are now sourcing from a brand-new producer in Switzerland who has assured us of continuous supply.

Using a proprietary fermentation process, the DHA in Omega Pure is extracted from micro-algae, Nature’s original source of  this essential fat which is usually obtained from krill and oily fish.

Omega Pure is  an especially good choice of Omega-3 for pregnant  and breast-feeding women (DHA is the key brain-building fat for infants): the algae are grown under pristine conditions in ponds completely free of any ocean contaminants like mercury and dioxins or, in the case of farmed fish, of antibiotics and growth hormones. Of course, that makes Omega Pure a smart choice for everyone!

And unlike marine oils which require intensive cleaning/heating in order to extract the fatty acids, the oils in Omega-Pure are cold-extracted, so the quality and bio-availability of the DHA is of the highest order.

Omega Pure will be available in glass bottles of 60 vegecaps each containing 200mg of DHA.

Note: the algae used to produce the DHA in Omega Pure are guaranteed non-GMO.

Trace elements and Neuropsychological problems as reflected in Tissue Mineral Analysis (TMA) Patterns

Excerpts from the conference of “Research Strategies for Assessing the Behavioral Effects of Food and Nutrients” appeared in Science in 1982. The paper stated, “The effects are subtle, but a number of scientists are finding that people do react to the food they eat.” In 1983 Wurtman stated in Lancet, “most drugs that modify normal and abnormal behaviors do so by changing the amounts of particular neurotransmitters present within the brain synapses or by influencing the interactions between transmitter molecules and their post synaptic receptors. If a food constituent can be shown to cause similar changes in the release or actions of one of these neurotransmitters, there is every reason to expect that the nutrient will also be able to influence behaviour.”1 To further quote Dr Wurtman. “there is no longer any real controversy over whether nutrients can affect behavior.”

Dr Wutman began studying the effects of food on brain biochemistry over ten years ago. His work focused mainly on amino acids as the precursors to neurotransmitters. However; vitamins and especially minerals are also known to affect brain function. Approximately twenty years prior to Dr Wurtman’s reports, Dr Hoffer, Dr Osmond and co workers were pioneering the biochemical basis of mental illness. Their work has led to an effective nutritional treatment of serious mental disorders – a treatment that is continually expanding in its application.

Heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury are found ubiquitously in our environment: therefore, exposure is not uncommon. Excessive body burdens of heavy metals are known to contribute to emotional changes and neurological impairment. Studies have shown that emotional status of an individual can affect the absorption and excretion of minerals .2 Trace minerals have been shown to influence hormones at several levels of action, similarly, hormones have been shown to affect trace mineral metabolism, including excretion and transport.

Since it is well known that psychic factors can trigger an increase in mineral excretion and/or absorption, it is reasonable to assume that chronic emotional stress may be reflected in TMA patterns. Thus far TMA research has found significant findings on mineral and heavy metal relationships. 34

1 Wurtman RJ,Behaviouraleffects of nutrients – Lancet May 1983

2 Hathaway ML: Magnesium in human nutrition USDA Washington 1962

3 Rimland B: Hair mineral analysis and behavior; analysis of 51 studies. J.Learn.Dis May 1983

4 Lester ML: Refined carbohydrate intake, hair cadmium levels and cognitive function in children. Nutr. and Behavior 1:3 1982

H.E.S. Trace Minerals; Trace Mineral: Natural Balance, Perfect Solution

H.E.S. TRACE MINERALS (CONCENTRACE)
TRACE MINERALS: NATURAL BALANCE, PERFECT SOLUTION /

Dr. Alexis Carrel, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1912, states,
“Soil is the basis of all human life and our only hope for a healthy world…. All of life will be either healthy or unhealthy according to the fertility of the soil. Minerals in the soil control the metabolism of cells in plant, animal and man….* Diseases are created chiefly by destroying the harmony reigning among mineral substances present in infinitesimal amounts in air, water and food, but most importantly in the soil.” * Even the American Medical Association recognizes the importance of minerals in our diet. “Variations in the distribution of certain minerals in the environment are known to have an effect on health.”

 

Keeping minerals in proper balance throughout the body while providing all of them in sufficient quantities needed for optimal health is complex. This is further complicated when using a bullet approach based on the latest research that finds specific deficiencies and then supplements the diet with just that particular nutrient: The complexity of the mineral imbalance problem is apparent. It is apparent that our understanding of the mechanisms of mineral imbalances is fragmentary. New inter-relationships are constantly being discovered. We are presently recognizing and correcting only a small fraction of the mineral imbalance problems plaguing animals and man.

Imbalanced interactions cause many problems when we consistently consume single processed or refined minerals that are out of proportion with the other minerals and trace minerals. This is particularly evident when it comes to the most commonly refined mineral that South Africans take into their diet, sodium chloride (table salt) and it’s effects on hypertension.

Clearly, nutrients function interactively both in the body and in their impact on blood pressure regulation. Whenever the consumption of a single nutrient is significantly altered, an entirely new dietary pattern is created. Nutrients occur in clusters in the diet and may therefore act synergistically to alter physiologic variables such as blood pressure.

These relationships can, however, have an equally profound benefit on human health when minerals are consumed in proper ratios. Certain minerals and trace elements, when found in proper balance, can serve additional non-classical roles such as acting as antioxidants. Minerals and trace elements can also help each other in the process of assimilation and add additional safety buffers for minerals that have the potential of being toxic to human health.

Within the blood stream, lymphatic fluid, cells and extracellular fluid, minerals and trace elements can be found completely dissociated into solution , which can also be called electrolyte or ionic form. In this state, they all have specific positive or negative electrical signatures that cause a dynamic equilibrium to take place. The body can use minor changes in this equilibrium to create proper osmotic pressure and move nutrients to the areas that need them most and create electrical impulses that run the entire nervous system.

This same equilibrium can also be found in the seas around the world where minerals and trace minerals have collected and concentrated in liquid ionic form for millions of years. It is astounding to realize that the dynamic equilibrium that takes place with liquid ionic minerals and trace elements has created the same basic balance in sea water that is found in healthy blood plasma and lymphatic fluid.

Utah’s Great Salt Lake, where Mineral Resources International harvest Low Sodium ConcenTrace® Ionic Trace Mineral Drops, is ten times more concentrated than sea water, and the largest body of concentrated sea water in the world and is particularly rich in certain minerals and trace minerals like magnesium, selenium, lithium, and boron which are vitally important to human health.

“The Great Salt Lake [has] concentrated many of the same minerals found in the sea through geothermal and evaporative processes. These natural sources of the elements can provide a rich source of minerals compatible to human physiological needs.” 1

“Because of it’s high concentration, the dynamic equilibrium has caused the Great Salt Lake to be uniquely low in certain toxic, heavy metals: … The total soluble concentrations of heavy metals in the water are extremely low. The heavy metals in the lake, along with clays, organic materials and carbonates, are precipitating to the sediments and deep brines where anaerobic conditions and sulfide formed by sulfate reducing bacteria immobilize the metals. The lake thus avoids accumulation of heavy metals and is nontoxic and self-cleansing.”

Like Your Body, It Only Lights Up with “Ionic” Trace Minerals
Every second of every day your body relies on ionic minerals and trace minerals to conduct and generate billions of tiny electrical impulses. Without these impulses, not a single muscle, including your heart, would be able to function.

Your brain would not function and the cells would not be able to use osmosis to balance water pressure and absorb nutrients. In fact, “many vital body processes depend on the movement of ions across cell membranes. Recent research indicates that minerals may play a significant role against a variety of degenerative diseases and processes.* They may also prevent and reduce injury from environmental pollutants and enhance the ability to work and learn. They can also protect the body from the effects of toxic minerals.