Organic food: pricey but worth it?

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One of the questions I hear a lot is about organic food and whether it’s worth it? It’s a really interesting question and one that I have often wondered myself. Growing up, my parents were really into growing their own veg and buying organic but when I went to university I really noticed the price tag. I began to think that organic was a waste of money, there just to rinse the pockets of those silly enough to buy it.

When the price of food is on the rise it’s so easy to just go for the cheapest option but over the years I’ve come to realise that there are some things that really are worth spending that little bit more on. In an ideal world we would all eat organic, homegrown, free range food with no air miles and bought from the farm shop next door. But that’s just not possible and everybody’s food budgets are different. That’s why I’ve put together a list of the foods that are worth buying organic:

1. Milk – organic whole and semi-skimmed milk has more beneficial omega-3 fatty acid, Vitamin E and beta-carotene than non-organic milk, and studies have found that organic milk has 68 per cent higher levels of the essential fatty acid than non-organic. 

2. Bread – This everyday favourite has a really surprising number of pesticides, which have been used on the wheat grains, so choosing organic flour or bread helps to reduce your exposure to pesticides. 

3. Tomatoes – Tomatoes have very delicate skins that pesticides can easily get through. These chemicals cannot be washed off and removing the skin will not help as the chemicals have seeped through.This includes all fruit and veg with thin skins so things like berries, cucumbers, spinach, celery, carrots etc. are worth getting organic too.

4. Eggs – Eggs are an easy place to start going organic. Organic means free-range too, so those chickens enjoy a much happier life outside, producing rich, delicious eggs. 

5. Leafy Greens – These tend to have a large surface area for their size so can absorb lots of chemicals. 

6. Chicken – Organic standards insist that animals are given plenty of space and fresh air so they can grow more naturally, with a truly free-range life. They also forbid they use of antibiotics.

7. Soft fruit – Fruit with soft skins such as peaches and nectarines, tend to absorb more chemicals. Generally the skins of these fruit are often eaten, despite the surface having been treated with pesticides. 

10. Oranges – Organic oranges are one of the best organic foods to buy, with a study by PAN UK finding that 97 per cent of oranges tested had pesticide residues in them.

Now this can all sound a bit intimidating but there are foods around that are much safer to eat when it comes to pesticides. This list includes avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, frozen peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, aubergine, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cauliflower and sweet potatoes. They tend to absorb much less pesticide so you can be more relaxed when it comes to buying the non-organic versions of these ingredients.

It can be a bit overwhelming if you decide to change your weekly food shop to all organic products. But I hope these two lists make it a bit easier to decided what is worth buying organic and what to not be so worried about. You can be kind to your body and your wallet!

I must just mention that although eating organic is great, it’s much more important to eat lots of fresh veggies and we can only do the best with what we’ve got. So eat organic where you can but in the end just aim to eat as wide a variety of fresh ingredients as you can to give your body the goodness it really needs!

P.s To keep up to date with what foods you should be eating organic look up ‘Dirty Dozen’ organic, they update their list yearly.

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Fresh summer ice cubes

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Sometimes sipping water can get boring, so let these fruit cubes make it a little bit different. They are so simple to make but make any drink seem more refreshing and are a great addition to drinks at a summer garden party!

We made these recently for our lovely friends house warming BBQ and they went down a treat. It was the perfect way to spend a summer evening after a stressful few months of contracts falling through and being let down by removal firms. Luckily they found an excellent replacement (they used Volition Removals and would highly recommend) the house move went ahead and we grabbed the chance to celebrate!

Don’t let the summer heat beat you. Just drop one of these fruity ice cubes into a tall glass of water, sit back and chill (literally)!

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FRUITS

When using fruit, simply juice, chop, dice, puree in a blender or pop in whole if they’re berries.

Pour into an ice cube tray  with water and freeze.

Add the Infused Ice Cubes into your water and enjoy the subtle release of flavours from the ice cubes!

Herbs/Edible flowers

Bruise the herb leaves. Bruising is simply a breaking down the herb to release the essential oils and flavours.

Place herbs into an ice cube tray and cover with water. Freeze.

Add the Infused Ice Cubes into your water and enjoy the subtle release of flavours from the ice cubes!

Tips:

These can be used in normal water or alcoholic drinks for a festive flare.

After freezing, you can pop them out of the ice cube tray and store in a large freezer bag for future use.

Serve in a clear jug/glass to show off the ice cubes.

Fill ice cubes with colourful ingredients to make drinking water more enjoyable and “fun” for children.

If there is an ingredient in a drink you already use to make  the drink (non-alcoholic or alcoholic) think of adding it into an ice cube to help chill it down while simultaneously adding the ingredient.