I can hardly believe it myself but almost without trying I seem to have lost a kilo somewhere along the line. Of course it’s hard to know if it a decreased appetite in the heat, the dose of Moroccan belly I got on holiday, or the fact the sunshine makes you want to go swimming, but there’s no denying it, there’s a gap around the waistband of my jeans that wasn’t there before.
What I have found on this journey is that organic food keeps me going for longer, and I need less of it to get full. That organic food tastes better I’m in no doubt, but I wasn’t expecting an organic diet to change my taste buds quite so much. I’m finding anything processed actually brings my tongue up in small welts, which is rather alarming, and for the first time ever I struggle to eat a packet of crisps.
I realise I have not set foot in my local supermarket for nearly a month, and feel very good about this, especially after reading a scandalous report about the role of Tesco in quite literally raping the small farmer of their assets. Tesco’s deal in loss leaders meaning that farmers are forced to sell their products at cut prices whether it’s milk or tomatoes. And because they get, say 35 cents for a kilo of cherry tomatoes, the going rate in the polytunnels of Almeria, it means the farmers have no choice but to exploit the workers who come to pick them. At the other end of the spectrum, we the consumer end up paying nearly €5 a kilo.
I haven’t delved into the nitty gritty of the Spanish supermarket yet, but I’ll hazard a guess they’re as guilty as anyone else when it comes to piling high and selling cheap and the domino effect of that doesn’t bear thinking about. There’s something in this equation that just isn’t right, especially at a time when we’re beleaguered with health problems from over-eating.
I’ve started to enjoy my weekly rounds of pottering about town in search of organic fare—I think of it as cardio—and now simply incorporate strategic stops when I’m out and about. And I’m simply planning my menus around what’s available and what’s seasonal. For a dinner tonight, since my first box doesn’t arrive until Friday, I returned to Buburb (C/ Joaquim Costa 29, Raval) and bought only the fruit and vegetables that they grow organically in their own gardens: a kilo of beautiful baby red potatoes, a spruce head of lettuce, a large bag of rucola, a bunch of beetroot, tomatoes, avocados, and some lovely, purple nectarines for just under €12. With a huge organic chicken thrown in, dinner for 6 comes to around €25.
I’m also all fired up to start growing a bit of my own. A balcony of salad isn’t going to feed a family of four for long, but a chat with a friend who gardens tells me that if I plant strategically—tomatoes, courgettes, chillis and herbs for example—I should be able to keep myself going all summer long, since all are plants that you pick from and they generously repay you by coming back with more.
There it is then, a month of living organically and my habits have changed for the better. I can’t guarantee I’ll stick to it 100 percent, but it has shown me that I’m no longer comfortable with the way we produce food. Something’s got to give, and it’s down to us, the consumer, to demand it happens.