Raederle's Easy Permaculture Development

I grow hundreds of dollars worth of herbs, berries and vegetables in a typically-sized city yard. I use a technique called "permaculture" which essentially means I don't weed, I plant everything all mixed together, and generally mimic nature's wisdom.
I spent a week compiling photos and footage going back as far as 2009 that show how my garden as developed. The big changes started in 2011. The video is 19 minutes long, but I've put some great music from Hang Massive on it, so you can sit back and relax. Hang Massive provides music download from their website based on donations. Please support the donation-based movement by donating what you can and enjoying the sound of giving.
Want to grow your own permaculture paradise, travel during the cold season, work less, and live better? Then you'll love my book, Living Big & Traveling Far on $8,000 a Year (or Less!).
Wonder how I afford my all-organic lifestyle full of traveling and fun? In my new book I explain how I do it all on only $8,000 per person, yearly. That's right — traveling six out of twelve months, all organic meals, lots of free time, and organic clothes too! I'm including every detail for how to do this in my book.
I spend an average of 12 minutes a day in my garden. I know this average to be perfectly accurate for the time period of June 2012 through September 2014 because of my little daily practice that I call my "Activity Log." I wrote about this in a blog post called Spending Time Wisely, and I wrote about it extensively in my book, Living Big & Traveling Far on $8,000 a Year, because this practice has really helped me soar!
Those little twelve minutes include planting, weeding, digging, composting, and harvesting. A couple weeks ago I brought in five little watermelons, a bowl full of tomatoes, and a heaping bowl of lemonbalm, mint, sage and basil. That was the first week of October.
In September I administered a cleanse where I made daily juices from burdock roots, comfrey roots, dandelion roots, lamb's quarters, broad-leaf plantain, thyme and oregano.
In July I feasted on blackberries and blueberries.
In June there were currant berries and the herbs were really at their peak. I enjoyed sorrel on my salads daily.
In May I had an average of five strawberries each day.
You get the idea, right? This garden is a sanctuary of fresh air, beautiful green plants and organic food... Yet just 12 minutes a day is all it takes to create and maintain.
Curious about growing your own permaculture garden? Start small, take some lovely photos and some time to smell the roses. Start with just a square foot or so. Let it be easy. Let it evolve in as little as 12 minutes a day (that is 1.4 hours per week or 6 hours per month).
For more life-changing concepts and green ideas, sign up for my e-course below the comments.

Minerals versus Vitamins versus Antioxidants versus Hormones

Vitamins versus Minerals by Raederle.com

What is the difference between vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and hormones?

The main difference is that antioxidants are too-often over-looked. I'm kidding, at least partly.
There are six recognized classes of nutrients, plus antioxidants:
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats
  • Proteins
  • Water
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Antioxidants
Hormones are not on the list because hormones are not nutrients. We'll get to that later on.
The first three — carbohydrate, fat, and protein — are considered macronutrients. Your body requires these in "large" quantities each day, which is why we measure these in grams. Water can be thought of as the fourth macronutrient, but like antioxidants, it is often neglected. Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants we measure in miligrams or micrograms.
Antioxidants, vitamins and minerals behave differently from macronutrients. Instead of yielding energy, they help your body carry out necessary and important physiological processes. It is said that about forty of these nutrients are essential for life because your body cannot synthesize enough to meet your physiological needs. Therefor your diet provides you the bulk of these essential nutrients.

What is the difference between a vitamin and an antioxidant?

You may have heard that vitamin C and vitamin E are antioxidants. Which are they? Vitamins or antioxidants? They're both. These two classifications are not mutually exclusive.
Antioxidants can be vitamins. What antioxidants do is protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are formed as part of your natural metabolism (exercise) but also by environmental factors, including smoking, pesticides, pollution and radiation. Free radicals are unstable molecules which react easily with essential molecules of your body, including DNA, fat and proteins.
When a free radical attacks a molecule within you, it will then become a free radical itself, causing a chain reaction which can result in the destruction of your cell. Antioxidants have the property to neutralize free radicals without becoming a free radicals themselves.
In short, antioxidants are chemicals that offer up their own electrons to the free radicals, thus preventing cellular damage.
As far as I can tell, the only thing that keeps most antioxidants, such as lycopene, from being on "vitamin status," is that they are not considered essential. They're like a special bonus you get when you eat certain foods. No tomatoes, watermelon or pomegranate in your diet? Okay, you won't die, visibly shrivel up and lose your ability to walk. Therefore we don't call lycopene a vitamin...
That said, lycopene has incredible beneficial properities, like being highly protective against sun damage. In fact, without lycopene or something similar, you will visibly wrinkle.
Try eating ten servings of lycopene-rich food every day for three days prior to sun exposure, and then don't eat any oils, animal products, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes or grains the day you're outdoors a lot. Wear no sunscreen and watch how much longer you can stay in the sun (provided you drink plenty of water). Then, if you do burn, apply lavender essential oil. It works even better than using a fresh aloe plant. I know from personal experience and second-hand experience: choose lavender! No mess, no fuss, no chemicals!
Antioxidants, I believe, are the next area of nutrition to explore. In the past hundred years we've come a long way in the understanding of nutrition. We've invented theories such as "the complete protein" and then proven them false. We've had ideas like "one day everyone will just eat pure energy (carbs)" and then discovered the utter failure of such limited intake. Antioxidants are those unique properties which make foods "medicinal".
Raederle's Antioxidant Chart at Raederle.com When we talk about the "special properties" of turmeric, pomegranates or blueberries, we're talking about antioxidants. Yet, these healing properties vary dramatically from the tannins in green tea to the resveratrol in red wine. You can't just eat a bunch of tannins and expect the same results you'd get from the lycopene in watermelons or the resveratrol in wine. To read about antioxidants click here. All my links open in new windows, so you won't lose this page.
Now, let's learn more about vitamins.

What exactly is a vitamin?

Vitamins ("vita" meaning "life," and "amine" meaning "containing nitrogen"). Vitamins are organic, meaning that they contain carbon, which is an element found in all living things. Vitamins are compounds, meaning that they contain atoms of one or more different elements.
Vitamins are vulnerable to heat, light, and chemical agents. Thus, cooking, food preparation, processing, and storage must be appropriate to preserve vitamins in food.
My personal preference is to simply process food as little as possible. I don't cook my food, and I freeze and dehydrate foods minimally.
For example, I froze many blueberries that I picked over the summer to get frozen organic blueberries at the crazy-low price of only $1.50 per pound. I also got to eat unlimited blueberries while picking and enjoy the great outdoors. In this case, I feel that freezing the blueberries is still a nutrient gain.
How can that be? Well, even though the blueberries were more nutritious when fresh, blueberries are such a nutritious food that I feel it is better to have some frozen blueberries in the winter are better than no blueberries. Also, it was economically sensible for me as well.

Vitamins... Water-soluble? Fat-soluble?

Water soluble vitamins: Water is required for absorption. Excreted in urine.
Vitamin C (not the same as ascorbic acid — click here to read the full story on C), thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, B12, folate, biotin, and pantothenic acid. (For more on B-vitamins, and especially B12, click here.)
Fat-soluble vitamins: Requires fat for absorption. Stored in fat tissue.
Vitamins A, E, and K1.
Note that vitamin K1 and vitamin K2 are very different. Vitamin K1 coagulates blood. Vitamin K2 tells your body where to put calcium by being the critical factor in creating the transportation mechanism for calcium. Without enough vitamin K2 you end up with calcium in your arteries (high blood pressure) and not enough calcium in your bones (cavities, bone loss).
When vitamin K1 is consumed in tremendous quantity, you can convert vitamin K1 to vitamin K2. Eating one to two pounds of leafy greens per day is considered sufficient for keeping bones healthy. If you don't have time to eat a huge salad each day, add leafy greens to a smoothie in the morning and have a large salad with dinner.
Other "vitamins":
Vitamin K2 (fat soluble) Vitamin D (fat soluble)
It should be noted that vitamin D is not really a vitamin. Vitamin D is a hormone. The word "vitamin" implies that your body can not produce it, which is why I have these listed under Other "Vitamins.. Your body is designed to be able to get these from eating a diet rich in leafy greens and living an outdoor lifestyle.
Today, when people don't eat many greens and don't get outdoors much, it is very common to see people deficient in both, despite the fact that we can get these from diet as well as being able to generate these.

What is a hormone? How is a hormone different than a vitamin?

A hormone is regulatory substance produced in an organism (like you) and transported in (your) tissue fluids such as (your) blood or sap to stimulate specific cells or tissues into action.
In essence, hormones are something your body creates. Vitamins are something you have to get from food.
Antioxidants can be vitamins and they can be horemones. Glutathoine, for example, is an antioxidant created by your body. Glutathione is composed of the amino acids glutamine, cysteine, and glycine. It is a "linear tripeptide" which, as far as I'm concerned, makes it also a protein. So, since glutathoine is made by the body, it is a hormone. Since it is made of amino acids, it is a protein. And because glutathoine reduces/prevents oxidative damage in cells, it is an antioxidant.

What is the difference between minerals and the vitamins/antioxidants?

Antioxidants prevent oxidative damage. Vitamins are considered essential nutrients that are not minerals. But what is a mineral?
Minerals are pure inorganic elements, meaning that they contain atoms of the same element. Minerals are much simpler in chemical form than vitamins. Unlike vitamins, not all minerals are essential nutrients.
Minerals are more stable to food preparation than vitamins, but mineral loss can occur when they are bound to other substances in foods (such as oxalates found in spinach and tea, and phytates found in legumes and grains), making them unavailable for the body to utilize. To release the phytates in seeds, soak them overnight in drinking water with added sea salt. Then rinse thoroughly before preparation. This not only improves digestion, it also improves flavor.
There are major minerals and trace minerals.
Major minerals: Measuring in quantities of 100 mg per day, or more.
Calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, and sulfur.
Trace minerals: Measured in very small amounts, such as 5 mg per day.
Iron, iodine, zinc, chromium, selenium, molybdenum, copper, and manganese.
Other minerals, such as lead, are contaminant minerals and not nutrients because they can cause harm by disrupting normal bodily functions and processes, i.e. lead poisoning. Some consider flouride to be a mineral beneficial to human health. From everything I've read and observed, it seems to me that flouride is a contaminant mineral, or at the least, a non-essential one. It appears that everything flouride can do in the body, iodine can do better. (Flouride and iodine are both halogens.)

Why does this stuff matter?

There is a lot of propaganda about nutrition. What we eat is central to our culture, our emotions, our health and many of the economic structures of our society. It really is no wonder there is confusion and conflict concerning food consumption.
By understanding the basics about food, biology and nutrition, you protect yourself from costly mistakes, like fad diets, ineffective medications, and over-hyped so-called super-foods.
I highly encourage you to read Six Critical Things You Don't Know About Plants next. This article will quickly arm you with the information you need to avoid the myriad scams of supplements and foods. Not that I'm against supplements. I'm not.
Although, I have often asked why animals in the wild are fine without supplements, yet we're not. Why is that? In this article, I explore why wild animals are healthy without supplements, yet humans seem to need them.
Part of the difference, of course, is that we're growing mono-crops in depleted soil instead of everyone having their own thriving permaculture garden. If we all took advantage of aquaponics, permaculture, solar power and a healthy, sustainable diet (which doesn't necessarily have to be all vegan), then we could easily feed over 100 people per acre.
Why do I say it doesn't have to be all vegan? Well, despite being primarily vegan myself, I am more concerned with the overall sustainability and efficiency of everything we do as a whole. Electric cars versus gasoline cars, hybrids versus biking, wool versus polyester, drywall versus cob, and so on. That is why I have extensively explored each of these topics, and more, in my article Beyond Veganism.
If you read and thoroughly let your mind digest all of the content in this article and the articles I've linked in the paragraphs above, you'll find yourself immune to much of the supplement advertising, vegan propaganda and western medical lies. My goal is not to indoctrinate you with any nutritional dogma, but to give you the basic concepts required to make your own educated decisions. In fact, this is core aim of my free e-course, which you can sign up for below.

Organic Traffic For Organic Content

Web-traffic used to be organic. That is to say, people used to "stumble" onto websites naturally via comments, links and advertisements that were for and from individuals and small businesses. Now, it becomes increasingly hard to find anything but the "giants" of whatever you're searching for. Why? Because people have started paying close attention to what gets them high search rankings in popular search engines like google and bing.
To assist with this issue there are websites like StumbleUpon which, based on your interests, will bring you to fairly random (yet interesting) webpages.
Unfortunately, StumbleUpon has yet to help with research. Now when I do a search on a disease, condition, food, or plant... I get the same results thirty times. Not the same webpage, but the same content. Why?
Websites like LiveStrong contain basic information about a lot of health-related topics. It is kinda like a mini Wikipedia for health-related things, except that the information is fairly sparse. Often the information is quite good, it is simply incomplete. But what other people do when they want their article on the health benefits of celery to be one of the first search results is the go and read websites like LiveStrong. Then they include all the information from LiveStrong (or just part of it), add a paragraph of their own experience, and then create a new highly-searchable webpage.
That's somewhat okay, until fifty other people do it. Then google just keeps finding the same information about celery over and over again. What if I wanted to find out something new about celery? There may be hundreds of fascinating tid-bits on the web about celery that I can't find because the web is becoming more and more diluted by this repeat-content website style.
This brings me to my point. Why is this happening? It is happening because these websites want more traffic so that they can make more money. They can make money through more traffic via advertisement banners, through selling their own products or through selling products of their affiliates. In my case, I have no advertisements, but I do offer a variety of services (including illustration and book editing), ebooks and board games.
Websites want more traffic to make money. If they wanted only because they had a message, then they wouldn't put a bunch of duplicate content on their website. They would have very unique and dynamic articles, where only a few tidbits would overlap with others. Instead of copying the content, they would simply link other relevant articles.
In a world where our needs are met and none of us are worried about survival, information would be free. Nobody would be selling courses or creating duplicate websites. Instead, teachers would teach for free, all websites would be free and mostly unique and everyone would be more educated (not to mention less domesticated). Sounds miraculous? Maybe. But I believe in this dream. Learn more about this topic and sign The Free World Charter.
For more information on how you can lead the most incredible unique life that is suited to your dreams, please sign up for my free ecourse below. Over forty lessons at the time of writing. Most lessons have an assignment. You get one or two new lessons each week, directly in your inbox. Sign up below on the right. Or, if you're interested in hearing from me, but much less often, sign up for my newsletter on the left to receive a message only once or twice a month.

Do you really need supplements?

The Truth About Supplements
I used to feel the same way many "natural hygienists" feel: supplementation shouldn't be required because animals are healthier than humans without supplements.
Sounds reasonable, doesn't it?
If you're eating a whole foods diet, how could you need supplements?
That makes a lot of sense, but there are some glitches with the reasoning. Here are the differences between animals and humans that are often overlooked.

Dietary Dirt

Animals eat dirt. Cows, horses and sheep have their mouths on the ground all day long. They can't help but eat some dirt. Dirt is a source of many minerals, as well as vitamin B12 (which isn't really the same as other b-vitamins at all, even if a lack of B12 does cause nerve problems similarly to a lack of any other b-vitamin).

Dietary Freshness

Animals do not eat the way humans eat. Most animals eat by putting their head directly to the plant and eating it right away.
Carnivorous animals begin eating the animal directly after it has died, or even a little beforehand.
This immediacy means that all the enzymes work in the stomach instead of working to decompose the animal or plant. As the Pottenger Cats study shows, this is absolutely critical to health. This is one reason (of many) why babies should drink milk directly from the breast, not after it has sat in the fridge for hours.
As much as 50% of the enzyme activity in a plant is already expended just fifteen minutes after it has been picked!
This "freshness factor" is one reason why so many people are discovering the transformative powers of a raw food diet. A diet where you at least get many of the enzymes that were originally present in the food while it was growing. We're already eating the food days after it has been picked. We can't really afford to lose all the enzymes from our diet by cooking the food.
This is an argument for taking enzyme supplements if you are not going to eat sufficient raw vegetables, sprouts and fruits. You don't need to do it exclusively to get enzyme benefits.
If you're going to add one raw food to your diet to get more enzymes, add sprouts. They have all the enzymes in them to grow an entire plant, whereas fruit only has enough enzymes present to ripen and then rot the fruit, which isn't nearly the same sort of enzyme or the same quantity. Not that fruit enzymes are bad. Fruit enzymes are great. Fruit just doesn't have as many enzymes as sprouts.

Human Antibiotic Consumption

Animals in the wild do not consume antibiotics. Some few animals do eat natural antibiotics, such as onion and garlic, which do kill off some bacteria. However, the antibiotics humans take in pill-form are powerful and they knock-out all your natural flora.
Livestock (not wild animals) are given antibiotics. This is another way which humans indirectly consume antibiotics.
Pesticides and fungicides are sprayed on the foods that many livestock animals are fed (soy, wheat and corn) which depletes the soil of bacteria, including the bacteria that makes vitamin B12.
Between a lack of dirt and a lack of bacteria and a lack of well-water or river-water in our diet, we don't get B12 in the amount that we need. Even omnivores end up lacking in vitamin B12 because the livestock are deficient as well.
You may have heard that we form B12 in our bodies. We do, in the last part of our intestines, after all absorption is done. If the bacteria is present in that part of our bodies we produce a lot of B12, which indicates we're actually meant to consume a lot of it... Why do I say that?
Think about it. In nature we would leave our excrement all over the land we lived on, putting the B12-producing bacteria into the land as well as the vitamin itself. Vitamin B12 would be dense in the soil that had the plants that we ate. We wouldn't go running to the river to wash every plant, and we'd consume quite a bit of B12 just by eating unwashed plants that grew near our composted excrement.
Because we wash our foods (to remove wax, toxins and disease), because we don't consume dirt, because we do not drink from rivers or wells, and because we do not put our excrement into our own gardens, we end up deficient in vitamin B12.
You don't have to just take this from me. Take Christina Pirello for an example. She is a macrobiotic vegan and she really believed that whole foods and fermented foods would provide everything she needed. And then she ended up with a brain hemorrhage. Her article about this is fantastic and a great read.
And, if you've ever taken an antibiotic and killed off all your natural flora, then you'll also need probiotics to replace those.

Photo by Raederle, 2012

Daily Sunlight

Animals are subject to the weather. Any animal that doesn't live under a canopy forest spends a lot of time in the sunlight. The rays of sunlight coming into contact with our skin begins a process that creates vitamin D in our bodies.
The only animals in the world that don't get enough vitamin D in this fashion:
  • Humans
  • Livestock
Humans spend too much time indoors. Right now the sun is shining outdoors, but here I am writing this article under my roof. This is the common predicament of man. Worse yet, even if you spend all your time in the sunlight there is no guarantee you'll get enough. Depending on the color of your skin, your diet, your exercise routine, your nutritional intake, how far away you live from the equator and what you put on your skin, you may not be capable of absorbing enough from the sun.
Many people think they're getting vitamin D when they eat chickens or eggs, especially if they eat "free range" chicken or eggs. This is not true. Often "free range" just means that the chickens can roam around the inside of a barn. Only "pasture raised" chickens get sunlight. The "free range" chickens do not get sunlight (generally) and the chickens and the eggs they produce are deficient in vitamin D.
In many parts of the world this applies to larger animals as well. While it isn't typical in America, many countries have giant buildings for livestock where the animals receive no sunlight.
Animals and their products are not a reliable source of vitamin D or vitamin B12.
If you are getting vitamin B12 from your milk, incidentally, it's very possible that it is coming from a trace amount of cow waste that was left on the udder. That indicates that the B12 is coming with toxins the cow excreted from its body.
Can you put on your best sarcastic smile and say "Fabulous" with mocking delight?

Dietary Insects

Because animals do not generally wash their food, they tend to eat a lot of insects. Ants, spiders, grubs (not technically an insect, but they'd be eating these too) and so on. These little tiny creatures are a nutritional source of unknown quantity or quality, but we do know some things about the effects on animals if they do not eat their usual diet including insects:
At a zoo, monkeys were fed the best fruit they could find. The fruit diet was replicating their diet in the wild... Except without the insects. The monkeys became sick. They added insects and worms back into the monkeys' diets and they became well again.
That alone is evidence that there is significance to the consumption of these small creatures.


Animals put their faces directly into plants. Plants produce oxygen, a vital factor in cancer prevention. Animals in the wild spend their time outdoors, breathing in fresh air loaded with oxygen.
Humans use air conditioning and heating which deplete the air of oxygen. Lack of sufficient oxygen causes lethargy and depression. If you suffer from these, consider getting a sweater and turning off the heat, or wearing a bikini and wetting your hair instead of air conditioning. Drinking water also helps regulate your internal temperature, so stay hydrated.

Proper Hydration

Animals don't forget to drink water because they are stressed out at work. They do not replace water with soda, tea or coffee. They do not eat dehydrated foods or powders.

Supplement Conclusions

Because of the above knowledge, I have concluded that indeed, we are not like free-roaming animals. We do not get enough sun, exercise, insects, water, oxygen, dirt or healthful bacteria in our lives.
It is absolutely true that we can get enough vitamin C, calcium, iron and so on from an omnivorous, raw, vegan or vegetarian diet. These do not require supplementation. In fact, some nutrients should not be taken in supplement form. Some things really should be done with diet, such as balancing our intake of calcium and phosphorus.
However, I have found that I thrive best taking supplements for a few key things:
Vitamin D (2-3 times per week) Vitamin B12 (weekly) Vitamin K2 (2-3 times per week) Probiotics (twice, daily) Enzymes (occasionally, as needed)
The source I used to buy the most from was Dr. Fuhrman. I chose Dr. Fuhrman's products (after much trial, error, study and so on) for a number of reasons. Dr. Fuhrman knows that things like "ascorbic acid" should not be taken in supplement form. (You can learn about that here.) He also knows that sugar and other additives should not be present in supplements. His supplements are vegan (the vitamin D does not come from animals, but rather from special plants). And his supplements are closer to whole foods than other supplements on the market.
If you're only buying his Gentle Care formula for B12 and vitamin D then taking one a day is plenty, meaning that one bottle is a 180 day supply. (He lists a serving as two capsules, with 90 servings per bottle, which is 180 tablets. This means you only need three bottles a year.)
I've come to find other supplements particularly useful in the past few years. Click here to see what I'm currently using and loving.

Before You Buy Supplements For Vitamins & Minerals

Before you rush to buy supplements, it is good to get a basic understanding what nutrients are. For example, do you know the difference between a vitamin and a mineral? Do you know the full story on protein? Do you know the fundamental differences between seeds, fruits and vegetables? If not, please do click those links and check out my other articles.

Human Parasites

In the past, I have actually tried another kind of pill that I found beneficial, which was Markus Rothkranz's Parasite-Free pills. The pills are like a natural antibiotic that targets not just bacteria, but all kinds of worms and other things you don't want in your body. The pill is actually raw and had nutritional value as well because it is made from whole raw herbs, barks and so forth.
However, if you have a severe stomach condition where your stomach lining is weakened, then this is not the pill for you. But if you do not have stomach lining problems (like severe acid reflux) but you do have problems with yeast infections, flaking scalp, itching skin, bleeding gums, acne and so on, then this is a great thing to take to get rid of the bad stuff. However, it kills off your good flora as well, so it is important to combine it with a probiotic, such as Dr. Fuhrman's Favorite Flora.
Markus Rothkranz was actually my first real introduction to what Raw Food is all about. I bought his Free Food & Medicine DVDs shortly before I tried his Parasite Free pills. The DVDs are a wealth of information about what you can and can't eat as medicine and as food, where they grow, what they look like, how to grow things at home even in limited spaces, and it comes with a recipe booklet for common wild edibles, such as dandelions.
To get closer to how animals eat and how they thrive, eating wild foods is the way to go. In time, if we so choose, we can learn about wild edibles, permaculture and so forth and move away from needing supplements. For now, if you're a city dweller and/or your food comes from a grocery store, then I highly recommend supplementing. Deficiencies can be serious, and just like disease, prevention is always best.
To your health!
~ Raederle
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Do supplements make you healthy or do they just make your urine bright yellow?
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