By Karen Newby, BSc Nutritional Medicine and Alchemy founder
“The health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible.”
Lady Eve Balfour, Soil Association founder
In preparation for my talk at the Soil Association event next Tuesday I’ve been putting together some thoughts about why organic is so important to me. Whenever I can, I buy organic for a number of reasons. The products taste better – especially vegetables – have you noticed how much more fiery organic ginger is? It’s because that root had to work harder producing more Gingerols to ward off funghi and mould. This not only benefits the plant but it benefits us too when eating it! Organic farming helps to improve nutrient content of the soil which due to intensive farming has declined and is what gives our produce those precious minerals, so often lacking in our diets. It also helps our bees, so important for pollination and when pesticides have been shown to be killing these precious insects.
I’m also a pragmatist. Eating 100% organic all of the time can be expensive (although the cost of organic vegetables such as carrots and garlic are often cheaper now than their non-organic counterparts). Here is my list of foods to prioritise when buying organic:
1. Any foodstuff that is concentrated like Alchemy – if it’s not organic, then you run the risk of consuming concentrated amounts of pesticides too.
2. Animal products, especially meat and dairy, to help support better animal husbandry and to minimise antibiotics in produce.
3. Vegetables and fruit we know taste better and have more phytonutrients in them than non-organic but if you were to choose which ones to buy organic, then it’s simply the produce with the thinner skins or those grown lower to the ground (such as strawberries or courgettes) that I would recommend buying as pesticides are more readily absorbed.
4. Grains too. Nearly a third of UK cereal crops were sprayed with glyphosate in 2013!