Soil Association’s Organic September campaign – a month of events, awareness and special offers– has got everyone at Jan de Vries thinking about organic living.
Going organic is great. Cutting nasty pesticides and herbicides out of your diet is obviously better for your health, and it’s also better for the environment; plus there’s the looming crisis of antibiotic-resistant pathogens, to which many believe the non-organic livestock farming industry is contributing, due to the overuse of antibiotics.
However, we understand that going 100% organic overnight for the rest of your life isn’t really everyone’s cup of tea – and for many it’s simply not possible. So with the Average Joe (or Jane) in mind, we’ve created a list of 6 simple steps to help you move towards a more organic lifestyle.
#1 – Identify your 'staples'. These are the foods you eat the most, and those which form central ingredients for meals. These often include potatoes, onions, pasta, rice, salad, and any fresh fruit and veg that you buy on a weekly basis. Start by switching to organic versions of these products first, and build up from there, rather than trying to replace everything all at once (though if you want to do this, and can do this – great!). If tea is on your list of staples, have a look at our range of organic Pukka teas!
#2 – Don't forget about meat! When people think about organic products, they usually think about fruit and veg. However, in some ways non-organic meat is worse than non-organic fruit and veg – not only has it been raised on chemically-grown feed, but it is also likely to have been treated with growth hormones and high-strength antibiotics – nasty! As with your staples, aim to switch the meat you eat on a regular basis for organic versions.
#3 – Switch out your daily beauty products and cosmetics. Trying to empty your entire makeup bag and bathroom and replace everything with organic products can be difficult, and expensive. There are two easy ways to go about the transition from chemical to organic. You can either throw out your most-used items first (the makeup you wear every day, your daily moisturiser and your cleanser, for example) and buy organic versions, then replace the rest of your products one at a time after that. Or you can simply replace products with organic versions as and when they run out – this may take longer, but it is easier for people with a tighter budget. We’ve got a great range of organic products at YourHealthfoodStore, such as Green People, Dr Bronner and Inika.
#4 – Check labels. Once you’re ready to start shopping organic, it is important to know what to look out for. Products that simply say ‘natural’ are not guaranteed to be organic, or even completely natural. Look out for recognised labels such as the Soil Association label or the Organic Food Federation label. Cosmetics are less strictly regulated – so if something says ‘natural’ or ‘organic’, do some research into the company first to find out more about their claims, and check the ingredients of the products you’re buying. Some organic cosmetics have the Soil Association label or other certification labels, but there are also loads of great brands out there that are organic but aren’t certified because of the costs involved (such as Sukin ) – so it’s worth looking around and doing your research!
#5 – Try growing some of your own fruit and veg. This isn’t as difficult as you think! Vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, salad leaves, onions and leeks can easily be grown in even a small patch of your garden. Alternatively, herbs, salad leaves and carrots can be grown in a container on your windowsill. You can even grow potatoes in bags – great for people who don’t want to dig up their grass, or who don’t have much grass to dig up!
#6 – Consider herbal and natural remedies. It’s all very well cutting unnecessary chemicals out of your diet and cosmetics – but what about your healthcare routine? There are all sorts of chemicals in the average health product – including supplements, skin treatment, cold and flu tablets, and even prescribed medication. Where you can, try swapping these products for herbal or natural remedies – just make sure they’re organic. We’ve got a massive range of A.Vogel’s organically grown herbal and natural remedies at YourHealthfoodStore. Colds & flus, menopause, arthritis, back pain, indigestion, hayfever, cold sores, anxiety, dry eyes – you name it, A.Vogel probably has something for it. If you’re looking to swap your prescribed medication or self-treat a condition, make sure to consult your doctor first!
#7 – Don't forget about household products. Surface cleaners, bleach, washing up liquid and laundry detergents can all be organic and natural too! Aim to swap out the products you use the most, and most importantly, those which come into contact with your skin the most – probably your washing-up liquid and your laundry detergents – then replace the rest as and when they run out. Have a look at our range of Ecover household products to get you started.
And remember, it’s about doing what you can, where you can. It would be fantastic if the entire world could go organic overnight, but we know that’s just not realistic. If you’re prepared to go completely organic immediately, and have the money to do so, then great, go for it! If not, start small, start with your essential products, and build up from there. You’ll be fully organic before you know it!