Certified organic food. Certified organic products are generally more expensive than their conventional counterparts (for which prices have been declining) for a number of reasons:
Organic food supply is limited as compared to demand;
Production costs for organic foods are typically higher because of greater labour inputs per unit of output and because greater diversity of enterprises means economies of scale cannot be achieved;
Post-harvest handling of relatively small quantities of organic foods results in higher costs because of the mandatory segregation of organic and conventional produce, especially for processing and transportation;
Marketing and the distribution chain for organic products is relatively inefficient and costs are higher because of relatively small volumes.
As demand for organic food and products is increasing, technological innovations and economies of scale should reduce costs of production, processing, distribution and marketing for organic produce.
Prices of organic foods include not only the cost of the food production itself, but also a range of other factors that are not captured in the price of conventional food, such as:
Environmental enhancement and protection (and avoidance of future expenses to mitigate pollution). For example, higher prices of organic cash crops compensate for low financial returns of rotational periods which are necessary to build soil fertility;
Higher standards for animal welfare;
Avoidance of health risks to farmers due to inappropriate handling of pesticides (and avoidance of future medical expenses);
Rural development by generating additional farm employment and assuring a fair and sufficient income to producers.
Non-certified organic food. In many developing countries, there are agricultural systems that fully meet the requirements of organic agriculture but which are not certified. Non-certified organic agriculture refers to organic agricultural practices by intent and not by default; this excludes non-sustainable systems which do not use synthetic inputs but which degrade soils due to lack of soil building practices. It is difficult to quantify the extent of these agricultural systems as they exist outside the certification and formal market systems. The produce of these systems is usually consumed by households or sold locally (e.g. urban and village markets) at the same price as their conventional counterparts. Although the uncertified produce does not benefit from price premiums, some cases have been documented where non-certified organic agriculture increases productivity of the total farm agro-ecosystem, and saves on purchasing external inputs. In developed countries, non-certified organic food is often sold directly to consumers through local community support programmes such as box schemes, farmers markets and at the farm gate. These allow the producer to know exactly what the consumer wants, while the consumer knows where the produce comes from and in the case of box schemes, saves on transport costs through delivery of produce to their homes. In developed countries, non-certified organic produce usually carries a higher price than its conventional counterpart, in accordance with the specific consumer willingness to pay.
Eating seaweed (dulse) isn’t usually on the top of our list of foods to eat, unless of course you come from Japan. Some people love seaweeds and for some it is an acquired taste. Admittedly I had no idea about eating seaweed, except for when I ate a sushi roll, but apparently there are many types of seaweed and I have discovered that seaweed or another name “sea vegetables” are a powerful superfood. Some of the most popular edible seaweeds include deep green kombu, dried black hijiki, red dulse, emerald wakame, bright, leafy sea lettuce and nori. All with distinct flavours and that are highly nutritious I have been experimenting with dulse flakes and have been using them as a substitute to salt adding to soups and salads especially. I love a good miso soup and adding dulse flakes gives it that extra flavour boost. Dulse seaweed is a natural treasure chest of goodness, with Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, and E, and minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, chromium, iodine and zinc and trace elements.
As more and more people are turning to more organic lifestyles and trying to improve their health through adopting better eating habits, there are also many people going one step further and enjoying the health benefits of a raw food diet. In this article I am going to firstly look at; why so many people are choosing raw foods over cooked, what the benefits are, and give you tips on how to start eating a mainly raw food diet.
In my experience people who are “raw foodists” mainly eat 75% raw foods and their reason for doing so are, when foods are raw they are in their most natural state and how nature designed them, thus meaning they are biocompatible with our bodies and are easier for us to digest. This is because when we cook food this creates new compounds in foods which our bodies can?t always process, therefore adding to our toxic load and making it harder for our immune system to work efficiently. Our immune systems are affected because when foods that are cooked enter our bodies it leads to our white blood cells becoming more active which means that the food is seen as an invader in the body.
Furthermore raw foods maintain their enzymes and because enzymes are our life force and our bodies need them in order to absorb vitamins and minerals. When food is heated over a certain temperature the enzymes die and it becomes harder for our bodies to assimilate the nutrition from foods.
A major benefit for many is the fact that raw foods replenish our enzymes store and help us to remain healthy and slow down the aging process whereas cooked foods speed up the aging process as they deplete our bodies of enzymes.
However many people are put off eating a raw food diet as they imagine they’ll just be eating salads all day long and what they do not realise is that in fact they can have a whole variety of grains, nuts, seeds, and a vast array of delicious products.
It is always wise to start with a few simple steps and slowly increase your raw food intake for example start by adding salads to all your meals, even if you are eating pizza having salad with it will help your digestion. Breakfast is a great place to start, by having a raw food smoothie, with fresh fruit, nut milk and adding in chia seeds and spirulina this gets your day off to an excellent start.
When swapping to a raw food diet it is a good idea to swap any sugar you have for raw agave or coconut sugar as they are less processed and have more nutrients than normal white sugar. Once you are starting to get into the swing of raw foods it is hugely beneficial to add in fresh raw vegetable juices as this helps to flood your body with nutrients. The classic super foods range is also an easy way to get tasty raw foods into your daily diet.
When following a raw food diet, you can add in many nuts, seeds, grains and legumes. In the case of legumes and grains they can be eaten raw after being sprouted, the process of sprouting makes them edible and easier for the body to digest.
Finally as I mentioned at the beginning most raw foodists eat 75% raw food so you can still enjoy some of your favourite cooked foods, adding raw food into your diet allows you to experience a huge increase in health and vitality and even having 50 % raw will vastly increase your level of health. People on raw food diets report many positive effects such as having;
*a stronger immune system, so less illnesses.
*increased energy levels (need less sleep at night).
* better clarity of mind and increased ability to focus.
*their complexion becomes clearer.
*they often are able to shed excess kilos
*they enjoy the real flavour of nature’s foods without any artificial flavourings and msg.
So whether or not you are ready to go fully raw or just add in more raw food diet to your diet remember the importance of using organic produce so you do not add in toxins to your body and you can experience a true sense of well-being.