Saturday, June 13, 2015

Dish up the Dirt: Why Organic and Home Grown Veggies are the BOMB.

There is something beautiful about simple plant based dishes, don’t you think?

Often, vegetarians and vegans are classed as having “boring” foods (which is crazy, I know! But hear me out…). Our foods usually thrive on vegetables and fruit, and many people simply have not tasted the wonders of plant foods. One too many times I have sat down for a meal at a restaurant or café that is a little wary of veganism, and been presented (to my delight) with a plate of vegetables. Sadly, I then see that the vegetables are covered in oils and “jus” and “glazes” and other unnecessary frills. They don’t taste of actual vegetables either, they just taste of the chef’s fancy sauces – why is this? It’s because often they are not organic or home grown.

I know, I know, “organic food is expensive”. But it doesn’t have to be. In season fruits and vegetables are pretty darn cheap and organic versions are being sold practically everywhere and I promise you they are so much more full of flavor. Because organic fruits and veggies aren’t sprayed with pesticides, they give off natural defense chemicals and other molecules such as antioxidants (hello clear skin!) to keep the bugs off. It sounds pretty gross, but funnily enough us humans love the flavors of their defense mechanisms. Organic fruit and vegetables also normally contain more vitamins and minerals because of the natural unaltered soils, so even though they are sometimes a little rough around the edges, might have a speck of dirt on them or you might (if you’re lucky) find a little bug in your lettuce, it’s the way to go for you taste buds, insides and the little bugs themselves.

The thing I’m getting at is that simple food can be so delicious. You don’t need clever coulis’, just a bowl full of organic (or home grown!) vegetables and a bit of something extra. My mum told me that when she visited Italy, she stayed in this’ house which had a huge basil plant outside of their kitchen window which filled the air with the gorgeous peppery and slightly minty aroma, and a massive bowl of freshly picked cherry tomatoes still on the vine. The lady who owned the house cooked up some fresh pasta, and mixed in the tomatoes, basil and a little bit of olive oil, and apparently it was superb.

But, yes, there is a but – I also believe that non organic veg is better than no veg. If you don’t have the money for it or can’t find any, it’s better to just say “okay, I’ll stick with the non organic stuff” rather than steer off and buy no vegetables. Also, there are lists like the ‘dirty dozen’ and ‘clean fifteen’ which list which veggies and fruits are safer when organic, and ones that don’t matter as much. For example, your avocados are fine whereas an apple is a little more risky.

So next time you’re planning your meat free Monday dinner, or just any meal, think about keeping it real and simple. Instead of wasting money on expensive flavorings and sauces, buy some organic local veg, and get creative! Simplicity is bliss.

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