Food for Thought #1 – The world of lab-grown meat, with Ira van Eelen
Can lab-grown meat be a solution for a more sustainable food system?
Why would you choose organically grown fruits and vegetables? They are more expensive and not necessarily healthier. Yet there are several important reasons why it would be wise to spend (more often) a bit more money on organic food. We give you four reasons.
Organic food has been minimally sprayed with chemicals. It does happen as, according to the guidelines of the EKO quality mark, some pesticides are approved. So organic vegetables have been sprayed with pesticides, but the difference with regular farming is that these pesticides are natural instead of chemical. Non-organic farmers and market gardeners use chemical means against unwanted insects and plant diseases. These residues remain on and in the produce that we eventually put on our table. That’s a shame, because fruits and vegetables are packed with healthy nutrition such as vitamins, minerals and fibres. We know that pesticides go right through the skins of, for instance, tomatoes, pears, aubergines and strawberries.
In addition, the use agricultural chemicals is not just affecting our food, they are also bad for the environment, all other plants and animals, and for the quality of our drinking water. And it’s not necessary to fight insects and plant diseases with chemical means or artificial fertilisers; it’s perfectly possible to farm with little or no chemicals. Organic farmers fight plant diseases and infestations by choosing specific types of plants, by crop rotation (meaning they don’t grow the same crop on the same field every year), by using natural enemies (insects) and by ensuring a richer biodiversity.
For many people the most important reason to buy organic food is the quality and taste of the fresh produce. Nitrogen plays an important part in this. In organic soil, nitrogen is slowly released in plants, which makes them grow steadily. Soil that is regularly sprayed with agricultural chemicals contains much more nitrogen, enabling fruits and vegetables to grow faster. But this means that they have less time and energy to develop nutrients. Have you noticed that non-organic fruits and vegetables can be so watery and tasteless? This is caused by the amount of nitrogen in the soil which, in turn, causes plants to absorb a lot more water.
Organic food is not by definition healthier than non-organic food. But with organic fruits and vegetables you can eat the skin. Most nutrients can be found in and just underneath the skin. So the fact that you can eat the skin of organic fruit ensures that you get more vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients and amino acids. With the use of chemical pesticides, you will also take in less active plant materials and more toxins.
Organic crops are not helped by all kinds of crop protectors and so they have to protect themselves against their natural enemies. To do this, they make more natural fungicides. An example of these are salvestrols. This is a collective name of a group of substances that is naturally present in many types of fruits, vegetables and herbs. When these plants are sprayed with chemicals against for instance fungi, the plant is less stimulated to make its own salvestrols. These bitter tasting substances have a regenerating effect on humans and have anti-cancer abilities, as the tumour cells will break down while the healthy cells remain untouched (Stichting Orthokennis). Salvestrols contribute much to the protection of healthy cells and tissues. Organic crops also contain more antioxidants. Antioxidants protect our tissues and DNA against free radicals.
For us, the choice for organic ingredients is an obvious one. It’s good for our planet, the animals and your health. Do you want to know more about the organic Abbot Kinney’s products?
Sources: Mens en Gezondheid, Vrij Nederland, Salvestrolen.info, Bedrock Stichting Orthokennis, Milieu Centraal.