What is the difference between a little bird wanting to eat a strawberry and me?
I ask myself this question when I consider why eating organic foods was so important. The obvious answer, of course, is body mass. So, it holds true that any food that could harm, or poison a small animal could potentially cause damage to me, but take a longer time with greater exposure, to do so.
Is this why anthropology studies show that our ancestors likely did not suffer the same levels of heart disease, cancer and diabetes that plagues our modern society?
Organic food is regulated by CODEX; a single international reference point contributing to the world’s food standard-setting. Holding a collection of standards, guidelines and codes of practices that can be adhered to by those that want to ensure that best practices are maintained globally.
Each country can implement its own organic certification e.g. USDA. Others who don’t have their own, namely SE Asian countries including Singapore, Malaysia & Indonesia can either adopt these or use the CODEX guidelines. Those countries not holding certifications reflect increased risks for consumers if they’re not purchasing any international ‘certified’ organic produce. This is especially true with terms such as ‘natural’, ‘organic’ and ‘healthy’ commonly used in place of ‘certified organic’ on labels and in marketing materials. While not intentionally misleading, these alternative labels can be enormously confusing to consumers.
What you can expect CODEX guidelines to include;
- Removal of the use of chemicals, pesticides, artificial fertilisers, antibiotics and hormones
- Avoidance of genetically modified crops
- Guidelines for conditions of livestock for breeding and feeding
- Detailing and labelling including organic and non-organic items
- The use of land that would prevent cross-contamination with harmful substances
So with this understanding in place, the common question I hear is
“How do we incorporate the best practices that protect our health?”
Here’s what I’ve found works best:
I source local food wherever possible and when it makes sense to do so.
Every country has a local farmers market or stalls selling produce that has been grown locally. Familiarizing yourself with the location of these places so that you can include them your weekly routines shop. This will save you time and money as well as support your local community. It’s best to choose locally grown food over imported organic food. In Singapore, 90% of the food is imported, but we still have government goals to increase the proportion of home-grown produce. Even on a tiny island, you can access a local farm! However, I noticed that the quality of meat is not as good as neighbouring countries, so I recommend that my clients living here to choose meat sources from higher quality in neighbouring countries such as Australia & New Zealand and reduce consumption of meat to when they eat out.
Eating seasonally also allows you to benefit from a more diverse nutrient density.
This is one of the reasons why people choose to eat organic foods. Imagine living in Malaysia and carrying an apple from the UK in your pocket for 30 hours whilst travelling. We can definitely expect the produce to suffer some wear and tear. Additionally, foods grow for their unique climatic conditions. The produce you eat in the country you live in will provide you with the main nutrients you need to survive or thrive in that type of environment. This is why the electrolyte-heavy, super-hydrating coconut grows in tropical climates.
Lastly, I use a well-researched scientifically based pesticide removal spray on all my produce.
The brand I use is certified organic, made from 100% natural cleaning ingredients and considering there are over 40,000 types of pesticides, including the wax coating our foods that can not be simply eliminated by water or even at best vinegar. This has become my favourite way to save costs on those more expensive items such as berries and soft skin fruits that would be listed in the EWA ‘Dirty Dozen’ list of the most heavily dosed fruits and vegetables. Feel free to use my promo code “Elika” and you’ll get 10% off your first purchase.
Our primal instinct is to know how to source and prepare our own foods. By returning to traditional methods of doing so we can ensure that we have realistic solutions that don’t damage our health & empty our pockets at the same time!