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Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are you qualified?

A: If you mean; do you have a piece of paper stamped by some university to say you know what you are talking about? The answer is no. However, I did study Human Biology for 3 years at school, which gave me a keen interest in the human entity and how it works. Following that, during my 20s I was heavily into body-building which involved a lot of nutritional study as well as the gym work and diets! But this site is primarily for people of all age and experience to come and share their hard earned knowledge with each other and hopefully you will enjoy it. Me, I am just an ordinary man who happens to love the world we live in and the beauty of natural food, its impact on the Earth and the body I find myself in.

Q: What is a detox?

A: It really is an awful tragedy that modern day life has become a lethal mix of chemicals, additives, toxins and poisons. They are everywhere, from the food we eat to the water we drink and even the air we breathe! Even if you 'look after yourself' and eat healthy, every now and then your body needs a helping hand to remove a build up of toxins and all things processed. A detox is a simple process where you follow a very basic, but strict diet for a stipulated time period and this will help your body to remove a good proportion of the junk that builds up inside.

Q: What is juicing?

A: Juicing is a process where you use a simple machine to extract the juice from fruit and vegetables, enabling you to benefit from high concentrations of good quality vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, living enzymes and trace elements without having to consume pounds and pounds of produce. Fresh vegetable juice is extremely good for you and should be a major part of any healthy diet.

Q: What is community supported agriculture (CSA)?
A: CSA is a social enterprise based on a partnership between a producer and a consumer. The enterprise usually involves a local farm selling shares in its crops but can include projects like sponsoring a fruit tree and voluntary labour by the consumer. Generally speaking, the consumer pays a monthly fee to a local farm and then receives a weekly 'box' of seasonal fruit and vegetables. The real plus to this is you actually see the food growing and most farms will let you help cultivate and harvest the crop (if you are lucky enough to have the time). Farms involved also tend to be environmentally friendly, certified organic and usually have a great 'old world' community spirit, engaging in many activities like farm walks, camping, learning days and barn dances. To see my local farm which runs a CSA scheme, please visit Swillington Farm I have been so impressed with this farm, I now buy all my meat and poultry from there!

Q: What is free range?
A: Free range is a method of farming husbandry where the live stock are free to roam and forage for food. This more closely replicates the animal's natural surroundings, reducing stress and encouraging natural growth and feeding patterns. Growth hormones are banned and antibiotics are used as a last resort and only when absolutely needed. However, some 'free range' animals, particularly poultry, still live in shocking conditions and I would encourage you to choose produce from a reputable source and certified by an advisory body with high standard certification, like RSPCA freedom food for example.
 -The Freedom Food scheme covers every stage of a farm animal’s life, each stage governed by strict and compulsory RSPCA welfare standards. So not only do they inspect farms against the RSPCA welfare standards, but they also check the animals are handled, transported and slaughtered to the RSPCA’s standards too- Text from RSPCA source.

Q: What is organic?
A: Organic is a broad term which has been coined to make people feel better about the food they eat and the impact its production has had on the Earth. In a nutshell, food labelled 'Organic' has to be certified by a regulatory body as having passed certain criteria, however, the criteria of these regulatory bodies can vary so as a rule I always go for food that has passed the most stringent scrutiny, for example, in the UK it would be Soil Association approved. Whatever body regulates organic produce it should, as a minimum, insist on no flavouring, colouring, preservatives or irradiation no pesticides, artificial fertilizers, growth hormones, routine antibiotics or genetic modification.

Q: Is organic free range expensive?
A: Obviously, to be certified organic and free range the producer has to meet all the criteria necessary to qualify and this does have a financial impact so yes the produce is more expensive at the point of purchase. However, this cost increase naturally makes you think more about food, how you prepare it and how you can make great savings. For example: Take a pre-cooked chicken, spit roasted in a local supermarket. The average consumer will usually pick off the breast meat to eat immediately and then discard the carcass in the hot bag it came in. Take an organic, free range bird from the same supermarket. It will have likely cost twice as much but once cooked, it will serve as a main meal with some steamed veg and potatoes, plus you will easily have enough meat left over to take to work as a pack up sandwich the following day and then use the carcass and any remaining meat for wonderful stock You can even strip all the skin and give it to your cat or dog as one replacement meal, saving you even more. As far as fruit and veg are concerned you will never be able to match the bag of carrots for 19p, but ask yourself, WHY are they 19p? Check out box schemes for a good alternative to the cheap, mass produced offerings you find in supermarkets today. With good storage and meal planning you can feed organic fruit and vegetables to the family for about £1 per person, per day.

Q: How do I 'get into' organic free range food?
A: When I first started buying organic food I would source it from the local supermarket under the 'organic' section. However, I quickly found that the choices were very limited, expensive and had a large environmental impact due to miles travelled and unnecessary packaging! I quickly discovered that I could have a vegetable box delivered to my door on a weekly (or whenever I choose) basis which has enough certified organic fruit, vegetables and salad stuff (and half a dozen eggs and mushrooms) to feed a family of four for under £25! That is less than £3.60 a day! That is at least a 20% saving over the supermarket! And to seal the deal for me the box travels less than thirty miles from the fields to my home, is fully reusable and contains virtually no packaging! The produce is unwashed which means no horrible chlorine dips like the supermarket stuff! I really could not be without my weekly box - It is so convenient and a great saving! For meat and poultry I use a local soil association approved organic farm - yes the meat costs more but boy is it worth it! click here to find organics local to you by postcode.

Q: Are you a qualified Chef?
A: I would have to say no in as much as I have never taken any recognised 'qualification'. But, I studied Home Economics for three years as a study option at school and this consisted mainly of cooking and housekeeping, I gained an 'O' level in this subject. I also took work experience for six weeks at a top local hotel working mainly in the sauces department which is where the real foundations of any cook's knowledge should be learned. Finally, I have spent the last 25 years learning, experimenting with, tasting and cooking the greatest dishes from all over the world so I would say that I am by no means an expert but I am a 'time served' cook and certainly know my way around the kitchen!

Q: Am I too old to change?
A: Absolutely not! The human body has fantastic regenerative and healing properties. You could be 80 years old, have smoked and drank excessively for 50 years, be seriously overweight and eat more rubbish than a dustbin and your body will still recover to some degree. Obviously, the younger you are the better off you will be but no matter who you are or what shape you are in, if you change to a healthy lifestyle you will reap the benefits, that I guarantee.

DISCLAIMER - PLEASE READ THIS With the way of the world today I have had to put this disclaimer on my blog. It covers everything you need to know about site content and publishing rights.

I recommend that you use free range and organic produce for every recipe, diet, juice and detox found within this site. There is no substitute for good quality food!


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