Organic foods are a hot topic and there’s a lot of debate around whether they’re healthier for you so let’s delve in and examine some hard facts!

what is organic food?

This is a biggie because so many people assume that ‘organic’ is just a byword for ‘fruit and vegetables’ but that is completely wrong. Organic foods have a strict definition (even if there are some nuances from country to country). Essentially organic foods must be grown or raised without the use of synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes (GMOs) or petroleum-based fertilisers.

Are organic – foods really any better for you?

This one is a real hot potato (see what I did there?), and much of that is down to a few studies which have suggested that there are only limited health benefits to eating organic foods over intensively grown and raised produce. BUT…
There’s also a torrent of data which suggests that organic foods do have significant health benefits so it really comes down to how you feel about it.
Personally, for me, it’s an easy choice to make. I’d rather that my family and I eat foods that don’t have lots of chemicals used in their production and that are kinder to the environment. Those two reasons alone are massive!
Here are some other reasons to eat organic foods:

Organic meats and milk are richer in nutrients

A 2016 European study found that organically raised meats and organically produced milk had up to 50 per cent more nutrients including Omega 3 fatty acids!

Organic foods have fewer pesticides

Pesticides are used in conventional farming processes. The reality of this is that residual chemicals can make their way into what we are eating. Do you want a side of fungicides, herbicides and insecticides with your salad? Nah, me neither.

Organically-raised animals are probably happier and healthier

This is an extremely contentious one… but the fact is that organically-raised animals are given far more space to move around and do what comes naturally to them (think cows out to pasture and chickens foraging). The use of antibiotics in intensively-farmed animals can create antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

Organic food is fresher 

Organic food doesn’t usually contain preservatives that are designed to make them last longer. So, that cauliflower that you thought was harvested from a farm a few days ago might actually be far, far older than that. Yuk. Organic produce is often produced on smaller farms near to where it is sold, so as well as being better for you and your family, you could actually be helping the local economy too!
For Nutritious Lolly, organic food is ALWAYS better.

Why you should join the home-grown revolution  

A picture to show nearly ripe home-grown strawberries

Some home-grown strawberries ripening under the sun 

Growing your own vegetables and herbs has never been cooler.

Celebrities such as Julia Roberts, Sienna Miller and even American chat show queen, Oprah Winfrey are all at it.

And an increasing number of us are following suit and deciding to get dirty and start digging.

A staggering quarter of British adults now grow their own fruit and vegetables.

A recent Which? report revealed that the ‘green finger’ growth was largely due to people trying to save money while a third said they were growing veg for themselves in a bid to lead healthier life styles.

So what’s The Good Life attraction?

Well for a start there is the smug factor when you serve up a colourful salad that started out as tiny seeds in your garden.

Then there is the fact that you know exactly what pesticides they have been spray with. (Hopefully none)!

And for those of you with young children, there are many lessons to be learnt in the veggie patch – aside from trying to eat earth and worms.

And another reason to get digging is how it makes you feel.

Those with green fingers have long known that gardening is good for you, physically and mentally.

But now it has been proven scientifically. Researchers have found that digging the earth and pulling up weeds can lower blood pressure, increase brain activity and produce a general upbeat feeling.

Even just looking at vegetables and plants growing in your garden can give you a positive boost.

So for those of you who are not sure how to get growing – here are a few ideas.

If it’s fresh fruit and veg you’re after – totally hassle free – look no further than the East Lothian gem of the Walled Garden in Archerfield.


The Deli has become mecca for foodies far and wide who enjoy its mantra of ‘Seasonality and Locality.’

There is a huge range of fresh produce on sale, including a selection of herbs picked to order from its extensive garden.

For those wanting to grab a bite to eat the menu has mouth watering dishes which include garden crudités, falafel, pitta bread, olives, humus and blushed tomato dip.

Work at the Walled Garden is currently being carried out to restore the raised beds first planted over 100 years ago.

To find out more have a look at a blog by the head gardener Erica Randall – just click on blog.

For those wanting to get down with the dirt but are short on space, a window box is the perfect place to plant some herbs.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has some top tips when it comes to starting your own window box here.

If you have a garden, why not turn one of the borders into raised beds to grow your favourite fruit and veg.

Gardening expert Charlie Dimmock shows you how to build your own on this YouTube clip.

For others with grander plans, how about trying to book a plot at your local allotment.

There really is no excuse not to join the green-finger revolution, so go on, get healthy and start growing.