Why organic choices can save your life
In the UK, September is a month to join an organic campaign. Now, I never really understood the whole #organic craze. I have gone from being a student to a long term traveller to now starting my own business – so I have always been used to living on a budget. For me to introduce organic foods into my diet seemed somewhat pointless. I had a generally #healthy lifestyle and ate good food, so why increase my spend just to eat the same food with the organic label?
I didn’t know enough about the differences between organic and non-organic foods and like most people, for me to introduce something different into my life, I have to understand why I am doing it. It was only after my research, I concluded you can’t put a price tag on your life.
With this in mind I thought I’d share with you some of the shocking discoveries I found that relate to conventional farming methods and offer some solutions so you can have a healthy lifestyle without breaking the bank.
So, where did it all start?
Many moons ago, when my Grandma was diagnosed with cancer, she was suffering a losing battle with her chemo. As a family, we had an interest in natural remedies however, seeing my Grandma’s struggle spurred us on to dig further into things that could help her. While there was a number of complimentary therapies such as acupuncture, meditation, reflexology and more – all advised to help cope with cancer treatment, there was a lot of research to suggest the importance of #diet. This we found of interest, not only for my Grandma but for us to implement ourselves to potentially reduce the risk of developing cancer in the future.
There are a number of diet plans that could be followed to help prevent serious illness, often which stem from ancient traditions. However, at the core of all these suggested diets, the key is organic, natural food sources. Things like whole grains such as brown rice, barley, oats and buckwheat, locally grown organic fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes and so on. Superfoods like mushrooms have key chemical compounds that strengthen the immune system, rich in amino acids and vitamins. Beetroots have been said to have cancer fighting properties because they contain an antioxidant called betalain which slows down cell division.
But still, why the importance of organic?
In short it’s better for you. Organic food gives your body more nutrients. Nonorganic food gives your body harmful chemicals.
It is these chemicals that can have detrimental effects on your health. Pesticides are used as a killing agent on crops removing unwanted insects and weeds. These pesticides contain a cocktail of chemicals that impede the nutrients in so called ‘healthy’ foods we are consuming. Almost 300 pesticides can be routinely used in non-organic farming and these are often present in our food despite washing and cooking. This means these harmful substances which are used as a poisoning tool are going straight into our body and causing damage that we cannot see.
You ready for the scary part?
Glyphosate is an active ingredient in roundup, the most widely sold weed killer in the world. The World Health Organisation has done a mass of research into glyphosate and concluded it is a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue. Government figures show in the last 20 years its use in UK farming has increased by a shocking 400% and is found in 60% of wholemeal bread samples. If you want to know more about the detrimental effects of glyphosate, there is a great podcast with physician Dr Zach Bush, who discusses some mind blowing statistics.
With organic foods, we get more vitamins, enzymes, minerals and micronutrients than foods from conventional farming methods. Organically produced crops (cereals, fruit and vegetables) have up to 68% more antioxidants, with organic milk and meat containing around 50% more omega-3 fatty acids than non-organic. Not only is organic food better for us, it is also better for the environment as it reduces soil and water contamination subsequently reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Wanting a good balanced diet and good bank balance too?
In terms of health, it is clear why we should shop organic. However, naturally when we walk down the food aisle and we see that affordable price tag without the soil association label - we gravitate towards it. To help create a balance, being healthy without breaking the bank is possible thanks to the Environmental Working Group who have created two lists to help you shop efficiently.
1. #TheCleanFifteen – a list of fruits and vegetables that contain the fewest concentrations of pesticides therefore the safest foods that are not farmed organically.
2. #TheDirtyDozen - fruits and vegetables that contain the highest concentrations of pesticides so organic is recommended.
Thankfully, most of Moroccan farming is organic and at Manira Palm we are lucky enough to have some space to create our own permaculture plot in the hope we will have our own fruit and vegetables to chomp on in the future. This month at Manira Palm is all about menu prep ahead of our opening in the new year. So my days will be filled with indulging in organic, home-cooked #MoroccanFood to discover the best menu for you. Keep an eye out for some recipes I’ll be posting to help you partake in organic September or better still #OrganicForever!