Today we are becoming much fussier about what we eat. We want to consume foods that are healthy and pure. More of us are now actually reading food labels and becoming more savvy food shoppers. We want to know what’s really in our food! Wouldn’t it seem ideal to buy food that is free from pesticides, preservatives, artificial flavours & colours, MSG, hydrogenated oil and processed sugar?

Sounds like a long list to follow and not everyone may care about what’s in their food, however, more and more organic food is paving its way into our mainstream life whether we are for it or not. And it’s no surprise that organic food and beverages is the fastest-growing categories of the U.S. food industry.

You can find now find it in leading supermarkets chains and specialty organic stores have popped up across Beirut. It’s still in its infancy in Lebanon (and the Middle East on the whole,) but very much a market with lots of potential.

The famous farmer’s market Souk el Tayeb brought the concept to the forefront nearly a decade ago and today you can get organic foods from a handful of local suppliers like Biomass and Campagnia in many leading supermarkets.

There is still no concrete scientific evidence to prove that organic is more nutritious but it does mean you consume fewer pesticides and other genetically modified products, while contributing to the preservation of our precious environment. Whilst with processed foods there are often hidden fats, salt and sugar added. Now that alone is conviction enough to trade your usual canned soup for freshly made lentil soup the next time you get the sniffles!

In reality for most of us switching to organic it’s still not practical and entirely accessible (remember they are a little more expensive). However, if we could just substitute a few items for organic then we can at least make a start to reducing chemicals in our diet. Here below is a list of items we can go by. The following are ten items that top the list of most pesticide residue found in everyday fruits and vegetables (taken from the Dirty Dozen: 12 Foods to Eat Organic List issued by the US based Environmental Working Group – www.ewg.org)

1. Apples – a high number of different pesticides have been detected in apples, because fungus and insects threats prompt farmers to be over generous with chemical sprays!
2. Celery – if you can’t get this organic a safer veg alternative is broccoli.
3. Strawberries – you guessed it if you can’t peel it then better to go organic! If can’t get this in organic a safer fruit alternative is kiwi or pineapple.
4. Peaches – if can’t get this organic, canned peaches have far less pesticide residue.
5. Spinach – yes, this is the leading leafy green with pesticide residue! Lettuce comes second on the leafy green contamination list!
6. Nectarines – if can’t get this organic, substitute for papaya or mango.
7. Grapes – Imported grapes are said to be high in pesticide residue. In Lebanon we get local grapes too but hard to know if that is a safer alternative. In all cases best to soak in water and vinegar for at least 15 min. (then rinse well) before consuming, if can’t get organic.
8. Sweet Bell Peppers (in all the colours) – if not organic switch to cabbage or asparagus.
9. Potatoes – sweet potato is a sweeter alternative with less pesticide residue.
10. Blueberries – not a widely found fruit in Lebanon’s supermarkets but if can’t get it organic go for frozen. Or simply have tangerine, watermelon or bananas instead!

It’s worth checking out the organic specialty stores in town as you will find a variety of products both from local suppliers and from abroad.

Agora - Badaro - 01/381710

A New Earth - Ashrafieh – Zahret El Ihsan Street - 01/219920

Baabda - Contact Mr. Paul Abi Rached - 03/327975, 05/920180

Beirut Bio Center - Galerie Semaan - 03/788613

Beirut Health Store - Near Makdessi Street - 01/743020, 03/713086

Beit Soha - Ashrafieh facing Hotel Dieu main gate - 01/398366

Biel - Saifi Village - 03/340198, 03/118705

Biobox - Horch Tabet – near Habtoor Hotel - 70/212429 (www.bioboxlb.com)

Bon (Dr. Ziad Dakdouk) - Ashrafieh – Selim Boustros St.,Dakdouk Bldg. - 03/364632, 01326110

Coin Dietetique - Mar Elias (contact Ghada Nahhas) - 03/238380

GNC - Bliss Street – Hamra - 01/360224

Hazmieh Naturalia - Next to St. Charles Church - 03/456566

Healthy Basket - Ayad Bldg, Adonis Street – Hamra - 01/747831, 03/794438

Macrodette Organic - Ashrafieh facing Hotel Dieu main gate - 01/613015, 03636259

Nature Touch - Ashrafieh next to Roadster restaurant - 01/566266

Salam Center - Tayyouneh - 01/383111

Smart Food - Hazmieh – Jisr El Basha - 05/454123, 76170280

St. Rita’s House - Ashrafieh – Sassine Street - 01/320300, 01/328401

Is It Time To Go More Organic?
 

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