Envius Thoughts

by NV Subbaraman -“NVSR’s ENVIUS THOUGHTS “for greater catholicity and nobility.

WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY JUNE 5th

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June Fifth yesterday was WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY a holy day to be cherished
And to take an oath to protect ENVIRONMENT at all cost-not to failed
For the world to live and enjoy peace and pleasure, joy and health
Environmental protection is nothing short of our valuable wealth!

World Environment Day this year hosted by China, with the theme
“Air Pollution”.We can’t stop breathing, but we can do something about
The quality of air we breathe.Seven million people worldwide die
Prematurely each year from air pollution.Cruel it is to allow to die.

World Environment Day urges governments, industry, communities,
And individuals to come together to explore renewable energy and
Green technologies, and improve air quality in cities and regions
Across the world. Let us resolve to keep environment clean and clear!

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FIRST EVER TAMIL TRANSLATION OF THYAGARAJA’S TELUGU “PANCHA RATHNA KEERTHANAS ” into TAMIL -in 272 years – translated by me to the original  raga and Tala rendered by the Madurai team Smt. Ranganayaki Sachidanandam, Vocal, Sri Sachidanandam Violin and Dr. K Thiyagarajan, Mridangam is available as CD with a booklet costing Rs 150/- with me in- N V Subbaraman, 12/1045, Jeevan Bima Nagar, Chennai 600101, Ph:04426544950/9840477552.

email: nvsubbaraman@gmail.com

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ORGANIC FOOD

 

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This week’s Sunday Story is of a different type in the sense it is a very serious subject that I am trying earnestly.

It is said in today’s world though longevity has substantially increased thanks to advanced  medical Science and   availability of health facilities even in rural parts, ,  health conditions have decreased due to several factors important being  ‘FOOD’!  Elders used to lament that the food they ate in their young ages were more nutritious than what is being available today! May be right or may be wrong. In the interest of growing more food  for the increasing population, agriculturists make use of  more and more chemical fertilizers which is not good for human health.

Objective of this Sunday Story is to think about Organic Food, get convinced about its efficacy and make efforts to follow by going in for Organic Food in our daily life to the extent possible.

The organic food almost like tsunami came about a decade ago, washing over our lives completely. From the humble cucumber to the exotic avocado, from pulses to salad leaves to spices to rice, every single food item we used to buy from the grocers suddenly had an organic cousin sitting next to it on the shelves – with the only obvious difference being a higher price tag. Soon, companies specializing in organic food deliveries came up, claiming to bring produce directly from an organic farm to our table. Now, many restaurants promise the same. This trend has surpassed all food trends and one can even get organic Diwali sweets now.

The United Nations’ recent declaration of Sikkim as the world’s first ‘organic state’ has brought the big organic debate back into focus: what exactly is organic – and how do we identify a genuine organic product?

Simply put, a product is organic if it is produced in a farming system that uses no chemicals, fertilizers, GMOs or artificial additives. Instead it relies on crop rotation, animal and plant manure, and biological pest controls. It is good for all. Following environmentally conscionable agro-ecology policies in growing food ensures a better future for our biodiversity and is nutritionally beneficial for us, including,  lowering the risk of cancer.

But with so much organic produces in the market, it is hard for the average consumer to sift authentic organic produce from something that may be just cashing in on the trend. So how does one make sure what we are eating is genuinely chemical-free? It is not exactly simple, but there are a few checks to do so.

Organic vs. 100% organic

The first difference we need to understand is that not all organic food in the market is 100% organic. Labeling plays an important role in identifying this difference. In India, one can get a farm certified by a whole host of certifying agencies approved under the National Program me for Organic Production (NPOP), and any food item may adhere to one or many organic certification standards.

Consumers inspect organic vegetables sold out of the back of a car in Chennai (C Suresh Kumar/ BCCL Tamil Nadu)

. “While not all organic food in the market is 100% organic, it is definitely possible to get 100% organic food in India. There are a lot of people doing good work and putting in a lot of effort to produce quality 100% organic produce, and the labeling standard is very strict, so that’s our best guide.”

Unless the product clearly says 100% organic, we need to research the certification standards of the label on our food to understand exactly how organic the food is. The international standard of declaring anything organic requires it to be strictly chemical and pesticide-free but India doesn’t always follow the rules.

Understanding certificates and standards

An organic farm may strive to get certified by Indian and international standards both. We can get various organic food certifications, such as United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) authorized bodies, EU organic standard and more.

Just you see a display in KANNU KUTTI ORGANIC SHOP  near my home in Jeevan Bima Nagar, Chennai.

 

 

Indu Bhandari Sinha, partner in the Indo-Australian JV, Indus Jaivik Aura, and a
firm believer in Vedic farming, thinks mere certification is no guarantee that your food is organic. “I would not be surprised if 80% of the standards specified by organic bodies in India are not followed by most ‘organic farmers’. I have also known cases where people use one certification to sell their other non-organic foods or, worse, buy certificates.”

Small farmers who do the good work and produce organic crops often find it too cumbersome or confusing to get the right certification.

Llook out for the PGS India certification. International standard certifications like USDA and EU are also a good way to ensure a stricter check.

The role of water

Groundwater pollution is one of the major causes of chemicals seeping into crops, raising a big question on how organic any food produced in India is. Rainwater harvesting is a solution – farms such as Jayram’s use large rainwater harvesting tanks to supply their farms with unpolluted water through the year.

An organic farm in Tamil Nadu (P. Sreedharan/ BCCL Tamil Nadu)

“Apart from rainwater harvesting, we also need to do long-term planning and make an effort to rejuvenate the ground water by following best practices. Ideally, one should individually strive to replenish the water under their land,” says Indu.

The India Organic logo, a bird logo, is an important check in this respect. If you are dedicated enough, you can also resort to legwork and due diligence to actually check how the farm where your food is coming from uses water. Most organic farms are open to public and anyone can go and check their practices anytime.

The price factor

Price, in fact, shouldn’t be a factor. There is no real reason for organic food to be more expensive than non-organic, and experts agree that there is hardly any difference in the cost of normal and organic farming.

“High cost does not equal organic food,” says Indu. “It is the middleman that makes the price high, not the farmer. If a non-organic apple is Rs 60 per kg, organic apple might be Rs 80 per kg but the middleman and branding can take it up to Rs 200 per kg or even more, depending on how upmarket the colony is, where the produce is selling.”

The farmers do not make money on these high costs that we as consumers pay for organic food.

Price only becomes a factor in consumption. Shelf life of organic food is low because it does not have additives and preservatives. “Buy in small quantities!” suggests Jayram, offering a simple solution. Buy less and consume fast – those are the only two precautions you need to keep in mind with organic produce.

How organic is ‘organic’?

Testing organic food for chemicals is a lengthy and expensive prospect. While people are continuously devising new ways of detecting impurities and pesticides in milk and vegetables, for now the only solution to making sure that you are eating 100% organic food may be to… grow your own food.

An organic terrace garden in Mumbai (Uma Kadam/ BCCL MUMBAI)

It is not as far-fetched as it sounds. Vertical gardens and small home patches are pretty common in urban homes now. Indu suggest a more organised approach. “The government should encourage people to grow their own organic food,” she says. “They should install a station in every colony, something like the Kendriya Bhandar outlets, where people can get responsibly sourced native heirloom seeds, nourished soil, and other things they need to have balcony or terrace gardens. These stores can also help people recycle and be a one-stop green solution for people. It is the government’s job to encourage green habits.”

In Delhi, this will not only ensure organic food, it will also improve the air quality! Until you are ready to grow your own organic food, the next best option is to buy seasonal produce from a local vegetable hawker rather than a branded organic banana.

Let us make efforts to switch over to ORGANIC FOOD gradually. So this much for this Sunday story. We shall carry on. Till tomorrow good bye!

 

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WORLD RAT DAY-April 4th.

Fourth month, fourth day, four in the morning released the Blog on the rat
For which a great temple exists in Rajasthan- rats wearing hat
Deshnok Rat Temple is very popular and famous- rats in hundreds
Going and running round and round, drinking milk kept in bowl in tens!

Rat is black not always right-white rats you will see there in number
Indeed a sight to see-I recollect on this WORLD RAT DAY-wonder
Days I spent in Rajasthan twenty eight years ago with joy
Ever green in memory for life possibly and that I ill enjoy!

Rats aren’t dirty,  World Rat Day is to avail the joys of fancy rats.
Anyone  keeping rats as pets or companions is  on the secret:
These pet rats  are friendly, loyal, intelligent, and very endearing.

Unfortunately connected with the Black Death, Bubonic Plague
Once we know rats on a one-to-one basis, then all their finer qualities are seen!

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Rats in Karnimatha Temple-Deshnok, Rajasthan

APRIL COOL DAY!

 

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Writing or telling-message is important-any language at any time
Society and individuals sure to be benefited with nice rhyme!
April first is today-commonly called APRIL FOOL’S DAY may be for fun
Severe summer has set in making the people sweat and quickly run!

Innovatively a message in circulation well prepared and spread
Make April Fool Day an APRIL COOL DAY by planting saplings and spread
Greenery all over- Another offering to show the space and they
Will come and plant different types of trees -right from digging pits !

Yes due to the selfishness of the ungrateful man to make his shelter
Fields and tanks are converted into concrete jungles blocks of flats in thousands!
When well grown trees are cut in thousands oxygen gets scarce, birds lose their homes
Atrocious practices to be condemned and given a go bye! Make APRIL COOL DAY?

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NO WATER MELONS SANS SEEDS!

 

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God created the world with seasons four and their specialties great
Man named the seasons including awful summer with character of its own
With special fruits significant for the summer heat and thirst
Summer has  arrived and water melons on the platforms and street aplenty!

Tasty fruit – no watermelon sans seeds irritating when taken
But Fiber and water important for healthy digestion. it has both.
Has high water content making it hydrating and helps one feel full.
Low-calorie fruit high in nutrients, carotenoids, vitamin C and cucurbitacin E
Has compounds- cucurbitacin E and lycopene, potential to prevent cancer
Has heart-healthy components, lycopene, citrulline and vitamins and minerals,.
Lycopene and vitamin C anti-inflammatory antioxidants Inflammation controls diseases.
Lycopene helps keep eyes healthy and protects against muscular degeneration
Its juice is a recovery beverage after exercise avoiding muscle soreness.
Nutrients good for our hair and keeps skin supple and protect against sunburn.

Not a very costly fruit- nor available as much in other seasons
Sure we have to take as much as possible for good reasons
God knows what is the best and at what seasons and reasons
Let us enjoy-no water melons sans seeds- no life sans problems!

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March 28th-Weed Appreciation Day!

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To be weeded out to enjoy the world is commonly understood word weed
Unfortunate understanding as good as any other creation of God!
A weed is any plant that is not in a place where we want it to be.
Even edible, medicinal, herbal plants, and flowers, considered weeds
To those who don’t want them where they pop up beyond their actual needs~

Flowers can make their way into our vegetable garden,and we pull them out,
Common flower, vegetable or herb deemed a weed, in the cracks of side walk
When we are lost in the woods for days with no food or water. purslane,a weed
in the vegetable garden- leafy, nutritious green, edible, helps to save our life.

Weeds offer food and shelter to birds and wildlife- producing a lovely flower
Some offer medicinal value someday becomes a cure for cancer or the common cold.
Common weeds provide oxygen that we breathe taking in the carbon dioxide we exhale
Many weeds offer food and shelter for birds and animals-lovely wildlife.
Today let us hug our weeds, water our weeds, fertilize our weeds
Enjoy weeds to have a very happy Weed Appreciation Day!

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March 26 National Spinach Day

 

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March Twenty Sixth today is National Spinach day all over
Great Spinach  is  green, leafy vegetable in the world  a rich
Source of minerals, vitamins, pigments, and nutrients.
Spinach good as a part of  salads,  be cooked or sauteed down

We Can  take as a side dish vegetable or added in  recipes
For soups, stews, and casseroles.

A bowl of spinach leaves on a grey background

Minerals, vitamins, pigments, and nutrients,  Potasium, zinc,magnesium, iron, calcium in spinach give health benefits.

Green leafy vegetable has  vitamins like folate, niacin,vitamin A, B6  C and K,thiamine, riboflavin it has a low-fat content.

 When that patients with age related Macular degeneration ,  consume fresh green leafy spinach are relieved from glaucoma and  degeneration.

 spinach  influences cognitive function,  reduces the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease, increases blood flow to the brain and heightens cognition,concentration, and neural activity.

spinach, strengthens heart muscles, which continuously pump blood to all parts of the body.  heart failure, hypertension, and coronary heart disease.

Spinach is a good for bone mineralization.  helps in building up strong bones.  maintaining healthy teeth and nails.

spinach  decreases the occurrence of gastric ulcers. strengthens the digestive tract lining,  prevents any unwanted inflammation

spinach  reduces the occurrence heart attacks, and strokes.  spinach proteins  reduce cholesterol and other fat deposits in the blood vessels.

Spinach maintains Blood Pressure

Health benefits of spinach - infographic

Spinach  prevents various kinds of cancers including bladder, prostate, liver and lung cancers.

The leaf protects patients suffering from cancer.

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