If I had to choose three subjects to be established as a priority by everyone, society and governments, they would be: human rights, the environment and health. Within health, for me good eating habits are key, and a crucial part of staying healthy.
I have noticed that food is one of the most popular categories on my blog and since I have been sharing my experience with my new organic vegetable garden, I have received lots of questions which I want to answer in this post, as well as taking another look at the concept of organic food.
I’ll open the debate with a question:
What does smart (food) shopping mean to you?
For me it means coherent shopping; coherence between your ideas about how you want to feed you and your family and how you make this happen. If your desire is to eat healthily, it is important that this intention also accompanies you when you are going through the different stages: buying food, cooking it and distributing it across your daily and weekly menu.
Quite a long time ago we made a commitment at home to consume organic produce and whole foods, and moved away from processed products and products containing preservatives. It is not only better for our bodies but also for the planet.
It is true that organic produce may be more expensive, but I think that if we re-educate our habits we can offset it by no longer buying “goodies” with very few nutrients (processed snacks and sweets, sugary drinks…) and replacing them with quality foods (vegetables, fruit, cereals, pulses, dried fruit and nuts…). In other words, not squandering your food budget and only choosing products that give you the nutrients your body needs. Finding a balance between your eating habits and your pocket can begin by choosing fresh, seasonal and local produce. And if on top of that it is also organic, even better.
Since I have had my own organic vegetable garden, at home we are all much more aware of how much it costs, both in terms of dedication and money, to grow quality food and to raise animals. That is why we are trying not to waste food. If you think about it…how much food do we throw out every week? In my previous post I told you about how foreseeing and planning weekly menus helps me with this. In this link you will find some examples of menus.
We realised that a lot of food items were going off because we were improvising and ended up having individual meals instead of the family menu. So we have implemented a change: we have committed to eating the family menus. Although sometimes work commitments or trips get in the way of this goal, more days than not we all eat the same —what’s on the menu that day—, and we even take it to the office in a lunch box.
A N I M A L P R O T E I N
Although at home we follow a diet which contains animal protein, we have decided to reduce our meat consumption. When we eat it we make sure it is quality, organic meat, which means we enjoy truly delicious flavours. It makes a huge difference.
The same happens with the eggs we get every day from our happy hens. They eat organic feed and any food leftovers we have, they live in freedom, and the result is a deliciously-tasting, quality product.
Recently I tried out Nana Food, an online shop selling different, ethical and healthy meat from selected Spanish farms. They claim to be more than organic, because in addition to the organic certification, they also comply with other important aspects related to our health and to animal welfare. The animals live in their natural habitat, they only eat grass and natural, GMO-free cereals and they do not receive any antibiotic treatment during their lifetime. In addition, all their farms satisfy the European Welfare Quality certification criteria for animal welfare, which assesses the condition of each animal individually. In discovering Nana Food, I have discovered a product of fantastic quality and even more fantastic flavour, if that’s possible.
If you also want to try their produce, Nana Food is giving us free delivery costs on the first order from their online shop with the coupon BIENVENIDANANA.
As regards fish, I tend to buy it wild and choose smaller fish such as mackerel, anchovies, sardines… although this still does not guarantee quality since, unfortunately, our seas are increasingly polluted with microplastics that fish ingest constantly.
C U P B O A R D B A S I C S
Over the years I have been writing this blog, I have spoken to you about the multitude of foods in my kitchen, some of which are familiar to all of us and others which have appeared more recently in our gastronomic culture. And although I showed you the basic food items in my pantry, where cereals and pulses prevail, I would like to put together a short list of those food items which I make sure to buy organic.
– Brown rice: Just as the Earth gives it to us. I often eat it with pulses and soups with algae and silken tofu.
– Quinoa and millet: Gluten-free cereals with a high plant protein content. Very nutritious and easily digested.
– Cocoa nibs: Pure cocoa seed which I add to cooked oats (porridge), yogurts, kefir and shakes. They have high antioxidant properties and a high magnesium content, among other minerals.
– Ground cocoa: Pure cocoa, without added sugar or sweeteners. I use it for shakes, desserts and even to make a yogurt “chocolatey”.
– Virgin coconut oil: It adds nutrients and a rich flavour to shakes and recipes such as coconut cookies, but I also use it to prepare my homemade body exfoliant.
– Coconut sugar: Very nutritious, lower glycaemic index than other sweeteners such as agave syrup, brown sugar and even honey. It can be used to replace refined sugar.
– Buckwheat flour: Gluten-free flour, rich in carbohydrates, fibre and omega 6 and a source of vitamins and minerals. Its flavour is stronger than wheat flour and I use it to make cakes or crepes, as well as other desserts.
– Coconut flour: Gluten-free, rich in fibre and protein, low in carbohydrates and with a low glycaemic index.
I often receive messages and comments from you in which you say that you find it hard to find this type of food since it is not available in your local area. I have decided to make the most of this post to introduce you to La Grana, an online shop with a wide variety of organic produce, where you can find the products from my list and others that I use. The flours they sell are their own, produced via an artisanal milling system and they have specific installations to produce certified gluten-free flour. Until October 6th they offer special discounts on many of their products from their online store, so you can take the opportunity to fill your pantry. In addition, from October 7th to 15th they offer a 5% welcome discount to all those who place your first order in La Grana.
V E G E T A B L E S
Some of you have asked me what I do with all the produce from our vegetable garden: our weekly menus are now filled with vegetables and any leftover produce is shared between our family and friends, to make sure everything we harvest is consumed.
This new experience of our own organic garden has not only made us have more respect for farmers and their valuable work, but it has also encouraged us to eat seasonal produce and to carry this awareness over to the purchase of other products that we need. We choose quality produce, from local producers or producers in the Spanish territory, and trustworthy shops. Normally the products have a label indicating the origin to help you choose.
I also want to highlight how important it is to wash organic produce. Since they have not been treated with pesticides we are avoiding ingesting toxic products, but we are also exposed to something as natural as parasites or parasite eggs. At home we carefully disinfect all the vegetables and fruits that we are going to eat raw and unpeeled, especially those in direct contact with the earth, with bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. My wonderful friend and nutritionist Maria Antonia Rodríguez, gave me the following advice: mix a spoonful of bicarbonate of soda with some vinegar in a large bowl and add enough water to submerge the vegetables and fruit you are going to eat. Leave them for at least 20 minutes and rinse them in water before eating them.
I invite you to share in comments: what is a smart (food) purchase for you?
See you soon,
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