I started to think about my diet and issues like organic food during my first pregnancy, about seven years ago. Like most women, I suppose being responsible for the nutrition of a little person for the first time focused my mind on what exactly I was putting into my (and their) body.
I'm obsessed by food and flavours. I love roast dinners, simple avocado salads, spicy Vietnamese papaya salad, all fish and seafood, a good steak... my mum makes an amazing ham shank broth and I think that's definitely a contender for first prize.
My favourite organic recipe is probably a huge batch of chilli con carne cooked with organic low fat British minced beef, tons of kidney beans, tomatoes and baked beans. The kids love it and I freeze it in loads of mini portions.
I feel happier that the food I give my family has less pesticides or hormones in it. I think what products one chooses to buy organic is a very personal "gut-feeling" decision. Foods we get through loads of (chicken, milk, cheese, green veg, eggs) and food I rinse quickly under the tap before giving to my kids (blueberries, strawberries) seems better if it's organic. Give me a knobbly misshapen organic strawberry over the weirdly uniform and perfectly shiny non-organic ones any day.
My mum taught me about good food and looking after yourself and I want to do the same for my kids. Lola already knows how good food affects your "bones, skin, brain and your insides" and she's aware of avoiding chemicals in food. Of course she has pick & mix and loads of rubbish at the cinema as a treat, but she usually chooses good stuff the rest of the time. Also, coming from a farming background, it's important they know about where food comes from. Organic often goes hand in hand with better farming standards too.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is very cool. I love how he rears, slaughters, then cooks his animals. I've recently discovered Leon too, which is my new obsession.
My food villain is salt. I'd love to be have the odd ready meal as a lazy treat, but some contain 33% of your salt intake! i just cant do it to myself! Also I hate drinks aimed at kids that are loaded with aspartame and other sweeteners.
I tried growing my own veg but was rubbish at it. My tomatoes got blight and a trampoline now sits on the turfed-over veg patch.
I try my best to live greenly. We're very good with the recycling, I drive a hybrid, nag the kids about wasting water and I'm constantly turning off lights, TVs and other electrical stuff. I'm holidaying in UK this Easter. I like my house to stay quite cool. It's my Northern blood and it drives my Southern other half mad.
If I had to sum up my green credentials in just five words, they'd be: not perfect but trying hard.
To anyone thinking of going organic, I'd say just choose one or two things at first, some lovely vine tomatoes or some proper sausages. Choose what's important to you and what your budget allows.
Sara is currently working with the Organic Trade Board on the Why I Love Organic campaign. For more info and recipe ideas go to whyiloveorganic.co.uk
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