So this month, the health world is all about one word - Organic. The Soil Association is working really hard this month to encourage us all to make a small change to the way that we shop in order to help make a big difference to people, animal welfare and the environment. #OrganicSeptember is all about encouraging us as individuals to make small changes in order to collectively make a big difference. I am excited to be part of their collaborative project featuring recipes from chefs and bloggers to bring you an amazing selection of fresh, seasonal recipes to support the campaign. Keep your eyes peeled for my Kale and Butternut Squash Curry recipe coming soon!
I first came across organic food as child when my mum went into a total organic food frenzy and we all thought she was bonkers. She threw out all the old tins knocking about in the cupboard, refiled the pasta jar with new 'organic' stuff which looked and tasted exactly the same and stopped buying all our favourite treats in favour of weird fruit bars that resembled the food we gave our hamsters at the time. Needless to say we weren't impressed! I realise now, more than ten years oder and hopefully a few years wiser, that actually she was on to something...sorry Mum! For reference, she won't let us live this point down.
So what's all the fuss about? Well not only can buying organic do you personal good through reducing your exposure to pesticides, but it also helps to combat climate change as well as protecting wildlife and supporting higher standards of animal welfare. You have the power as a consumer to take direct action by making just a few small changes.
For most of us, switching to organic produce isn't something we can necessarily do all in one go. If you are looking to make gradual changes, there is a really helpful guideline made of two lists that highlight which fruit and veg are more contaminated by pesticides than other. The 'dirty dozen' are the ones you should swap to first, where possible, whereas the 'clean fifteen' are less contaminated and therefore less important to buy organically. These lists vary from year to year and from country to country so are most applicable for locally grown produce. Either way though, they act as a great guideline if you are stuck with where to start.
One of the biggest problems that many of us face in the quest to switch to organic food is that we think it is more expensive. In a lot of cases it is, but some products are actually equal in price - for example, medjool dates in Sainsbury's cost the same organic or non-organic, so that makes one decision easier! There are things that we can do to ease the financial burden of making a switch. For example, sticking to freshly prepared food it much more affordable than ready prepared, processed food. With a little thought and planning, you really can help your food budget go further, even with some organic items thrown in there too.
For me, the thing to remember is that organic or not, nourishing your body with fresh, seasonal produce is a great big step in the right direction. We are not perfect, we are people and life is crazy. Do what you can, make it manageable and affordable rather than getting bogged down in trying to do everything by a certain rule book.