Aloe Dale emerged out of a simple idea that Merryn Scott-Tluczek had to grow as much of the food consumed by her household as they could, in a sustainable and organic manner – including some food for their horses, dogs and chickens. Situated half-way between Pretoria and Johannesburg, they now grow a wide variety of organic herbs, vegetables and fruit to supply chefs, caterers, restauranteurs and delicatessens who care, as much as they do, about how the food they serve is grown. ”We have expanded over the years, having installed a large cold storage facility and now also encourage small-scale, holistic, polycultural agronomy by supporting local, sustainable growers: from households who produce a small excess for which they would not otherwise have a market, to NGO-run organic agricultural programs. It is significant that 80% of these growers have on-site bee-hives, wormeries and composteries of note!” says Merryn. We have also expanded growing operations at our small-holding in KZN. Aside from the extra growing space, this will enable us to grow an even wider variety of produce over a longer growing season.”
1. It can clean the digestive tract making sure that no toxic or pathogenic contents in food enter your bloodstream. As it flushes out the bad bacteria from your intestines, it regulates digestion, metabolism, and the colon, which makes it very effective in treating diarrhea, leaky gut syndrome and even colon cancer.
2. It regulates your immune system, which means it makes you more resistant to any disease and can also potentially prevent and treat HIV/AIDS. The immune system is like the gatekeeper to good health. What exactly can we do to fortify these gates against diseases? Take in the probiotics found in a kefir drink.
3. It regulates cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Kefir grains are made up of lactose- and sugar-eating bacteria. This is good news for lactose intolerant and diabetics. Probiotcs don’t die easily inside your intestines. They will keep on munching on the lactose and sugars that come in and pass through the digestive tract.
4. It is known to many not just as a health drink but also as beauty drink since it can make the hair and skin smoother. And since it balances sugar levels, it is also a helpful drink for weight watchers.
5. Kefir can treat a variety of diseases and health conditions, which include ulcer, tuberculosis, eczema, depression, anxiety, osteoporosis, and hypertension in order to promote an over-all feeling of good health.
But you gotta suspect that something this good should have a downside. Nothing is ever perfect, but kefir comes very close. What are kefir’s side effects and how does it affect pregnant women?
The beauty with kefir is that it is organic. It is a gift from nature and not a product of lab experiments or chemical processes. Some say it is a gift from God and go so far to say that God fed Moses and the Israelites with some kind of kefir in the form of manna. The Bible describes manna as how I would describe kefir grains today; as white, fluffy and very nutritious. Since kefir is organic and all-natural, it is no surprise that it has no known side effects.
Perhaps the only downside to taking kefir is that it could make you go to the toilet more often.
But the real surprise is this: experts in women’s health recommend pregnant women to take kefir, not just once but regularly. According to Alyson Lippman, RN, pregnant women can drink kefir or yogurt to prevent the overgrowth of a bacterium called Group B Beta Strep.
“There is potential for passing (Strep) to the baby, where it can be harmful and cause infection,” said Lippman, and the RN was quick to follow by saying, “probably kefir is better because it contains more probiotics.”
Lippman works for the Labor and Delivery Unit of Prentice Women’s Hospital at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. She also confessed to the fact that she regularly consumes kefir and that many nurses in her hospital do, too.
Other than the bacterium Strep, yeast infection is also a concern of pregnant women. Such infection can begin in the breasts and could easily be passed to the child as the mother nurses her newborn.
“If you’re regularly taking in probiotics, that would reduce your risk,” said Lippman regarding yeast infection.
Meanwhile, another women’s health specialist, Valerie Early, speaks about probiotics in kefir. She said, “Kefir is a natural, food-based way to keep the (probiotics) up in the intestines. It’s better than (the average) dairy product, like your typical yogurt, because the specific strains of acidophilus and lactobaccillus really do help promote those good bacteria.”
Valerie Early is a registered dietitian and pharmacy technician. She runs her own clinic in Illinois that focuses on providing hormonal balance through medical nutrition therapy. The expert dietician tells her clients to take a cup of kefir a day to help protect them from yeast infection, discharge and any vaginal discomfort, especially to women who are over 40 years old.
Early also said, “When people have more kefir in their diets or take probiotic supplements or whole food supplements with probiotics in them, I do see a reduction in complains in vaginal itching, yeast infections and just general immune system issues.”
Kefir is neither a drug nor chemically produced drink, which is why it is safe for everyone. The National Kefir Association not only declares kefir as safe for women but also recommends it.
NKA declares, “Pregnant and nursing women are advised to drink kefir in order to absorb essential nutrients, increase immunity and aid the body’s adjustment to hormonal changes. But hormonal imbalances cause problems for women at all life stages, often in the form of irritating and even life threatening infections, such as yeast overgrowth, caused by depletion of good bacteria. Fortunately probiotic-filled Kefir can help prevent and even treat many such infections.”
Not only are conventional farming methods inhumane, they also are a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. These harmful bacteria are passed on through feces of infected animals. Food, water, and vegetables can carry these bacteria when exposed to unhygienic conditions. Due to the conventional ways of farming today, our food is in high risk of these bacteria. PETA has exposed conventional farming where animals are kept and grown. They are contained in closed and controlled areas such as pens and cages that become their permanent homes. Each cage fits 4-5 chickens that restrict them from movement due to its small capacity, exposing them to fecal matter of diseased chickens. Pigs are kept in pens where there is not enough space to move, and their area of sleeping is also their area defecating. The products of conventional farming are sold commercially and food irradiation reduces the chances of the widespread of bacteria found in these contaminated food.
Food irradiation serves its purpose in killing bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. However it is clear that bad management in farms are the main causes for these food-borne diseases and has been the issue from the start. We must address to this issue rather than to hide the truth, which is concealed by bacteria eliminating radiation.
Organic farming practices good farm management that effectively avoids their produce from being tainted with salmonella and E. coli. Free-range farming is one method that allows livestock to roam in wide spaces that allows them to act in their natural behaviour. These animals are not restrained to dwell to in a single space; therefore the chances of animals being infected by the fecal of others are reduced. We advice that people should buy free-range meat to avoid any increased risks that comes with commercially sold meat.
– Look for meat that is labeled with “free-range” and “organic” in its packaging.
– Ask your local grocery if their meat from farms is free-ranged.
– Buy only from reliable sources, some factories label products “free-range”, but fed with
– Buy only eggs from free-range chickens.
Some of our Australops Hendrick and Saartjie roaming around the garden.
After months of research we finally took a leap of faith to source and grow local, lekker, organic produce we felt proud enough to sell.
Allie and myself officially launched Terra Madre on Saturday 11 February 2012 at the Irene Market. We headed off to the market at 5:30 in the morning (first timers. . we know better next time) not knowing how the Vaalies would take to our idea.
What a wonderful response we got! We almost sold out by 1pm that day.
We aim to be permanent features at the Irene Saturday market and will soon be at Hazelwood Food Market, Greenlyn Village Centre, Menlo Park, Pretoria and in Parkhurst too.
Until next time, be kind to yourself and the earth 😛