It is often argued whether the term ‘organic’ is just a cliché term to allow farmers and producers to charge more for fruit and vegetables or whether their nutrient density is truly better for our health.

Produce produced conventionally is often heavily sprayed with pesticides in order to preserve it for longer and kill weeds, insects, and moulds. We are at risk of health complications due to the residues of pesticides left on food. Some pesticides are sprayed on food up to 20 times before it is consumed, leaving us at risk of health problems.

What does Organic mean?

In conventional production, fruits and vegetables are often heavily sprayed with pesticides to preserve them for longer and kill weeds, insects, and moulds that grow on or near them. There are up to 20 times that pesticides can be sprayed on one food product, leaving residues that can disrupt our health, such as disrupting hormonal balance, amplifying neurological disorders, and interfering with critical stages of child development. There is now widespread awareness of these health concerns in the UK, and government officials measure residue levels in food consumed here.

When food is marked as ‘organic’ we are referring to produce that has been farmed without the damaging use of pesticides, chemical fertilisers, and further artificial chemicals. This option to buy organic is becoming frequently more available in the UK and multiple countries across the world.

What about the gut?

The microbiome benefits from organic food, according to recent research. By eating organic foods, you reduce your exposure to pesticides, which we know disrupts the gut flora thus causing health problems in the future. Organic farming produces healthier food when the soil is healthy. With the increase of prevalence of the Western diet, the diversity and variety of our diets have sharply declined over the past 70 years, it is more important than ever to cook food that is therapeutically beneficial – using food as medicine and “eating the rainbow”.

How to go organic:

A fully organic shopping list can come with an increased expense, which is why it is important to have an understanding and awareness of how to utilise the ingredients to maximise their therapeutic benefits whilst reducing waste.

1. Check out the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen

The environmental working group revises the annual Dirty Dozen list each spring outlining the list of fruits and vegetables that contain highest levels of pesticides and are concerning and therefore should be prioritised to be organic when shopping.

2. Eat Seasonally

In the context of shopping organic, you are likely going to find a better selection of organic foods that are in season.

3. Grow your own

Starting your own organic garden can be an interactive way to access your organic produce & a great way to get the family involved. Starting with a pot of herbs on the window-box or separating an area of the garden off for your very own vegetable patch

4. Using the whole vegetable

Natural Chef’s understand how to use the entire vegetable. From the skins of the cucumbers to the leaves of the cauliflower, nutritional culinary creations should be sustainable, affordable but most importantly – delicious.

5. Eat at home more often

The disappointing truth is that very few restaurants use organic ingredients within their meals. With this in mind, if you want to maintain an organic lifestyle – you need to take charge of the cooking. Once you have got your organic ingredients, it is important to understand the optimal ways to use the ingredients and how to therapeutically cook them. Did you know the way you cook your vegetables affects the absorption of nutrients? Natural Chef’s do.

Don’t forget –  your body is made to use colourful food, its flavour, appearance, delicious smell, crispness and freshness – none of which can be obtained by eating highly processed, commercially produced “unloved” food.

Natural Chef students learn about the body – both how it works and how food is absorbed and converted to energy. They discover for themselves the truth of the maxim ‘You Are What You Eat’ taking classes in therapeutic juicing, fermentation and the clever use of wholesome nuts and seeds, alongside more traditional lessons in menu development, knife skills and food photography.

Written by CNM Nutritional Therapist – Eleanor Hoath