By Erin Coley
“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” – Ann Wigmore
Ann Wigmore hit the nail on the head when she compared our daily fuel source as either medicine or poison. Poison – not a word that you want to associate with the food you eat. In today’s society, even the most health-conscious individual can struggle with discerning, which nutrient dense foods are safe for consumption – especially when food regulations vary tremendously based on country. In the United States alone, there are over 10,000 additives approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used in the growing, making and preserving of foods and beverages, including many banned in the European Union. That’s scary stuff!
If maintaining a clean eating lifestyle and avoiding toxic foods is important to you, it’s crucial to stay educated about the food regulation practices in your home country, so that you can make informed decisions about what you are ingesting when you’ve returned home from one of our natural detox retreats. Let’s check out some of the standard food regulations in major countries around the world.
ORGANIC VS NON-ORGANIC FOODS
Amongst all the ingredient lists and nutrition facts to read over, the term “organic” may seem like merely another confusing term to discern meaning. The United States, Canada, and countries in the European Union have an organic equivalency agreement in place to ensure similar organic farming practices and allowing seamless organic food trade between the countries.
Although many food products boast an “organic” label, this can be a bit misleading. When shopping for your food, you’ll want to make sure that what you’re purchasing is certified organic and bears the label from your respective country. This label is important because it means that the food was produced using the stringent guidelines set up by the USDA, COS, and the EC.
So why should you choose organic foods over non-organic foods? Generally speaking, organic foods are the product of a farming system which prohibits the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides, irradiation, GMOs (more on those in a minute!), products produced from GMOs, growth regulators, and livestock feed additives. Non-organic foods are not held to these same standards and may grow in toxic environments. Steer clear of non-organics and try to purchase certified organic food whenever possible.
What is a GMO? The Non-GMO Project, a non-profit organisation committed to educating consumers about the widespread usage of GMOs, defines a GMO as a “genetically modified organism, such as a plant, animal, microorganism, or other organisms whose genetic makeup has been modified in a laboratory using genetic engineering or transgenic technology. This process creates combinations of plant, animal, bacterial, and virus genes that don’t occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.” The safety of GMOs in food is a widely debated topic, but if your desire is to eat clean foods that help the body naturally detox, then you’ll want to stay away from GMOs.
Presently, 64 countries around the world, including Australia and countries in the European Union, have laws that mandate that genetically modified foods be labelled. The United States recently passed legislation that will require all genetically modified products to be labelled by the year 2022. Unfortunately, Canada has yet to follow suit, with no plans in place to identify GMOs in foods. If you live in a country that does not yet require the labels, you may want to brush up on your GMO sleuthing skills to spot the biggest culprits.
Tips on Sourcing: “Clean Foods” in Your Local Community
GET TO KNOW YOUR LOCAL FARMER
Find a farmers’ market close to you and get to know your local farmer. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about the way they grow and process their food or even ask to see a copy of their organic certification paperwork. Once you’ve developed a relationship with your local farmer, ask if you can come out to the farm and volunteer for a day. Volunteering will give you an up-close and personal look at where your food is coming from too!
FIND THE LOCALLY SOURCED FOOD SECTION AT YOUR GROCERY STORE
Although farmers’ markets are an ideal place to shop for food, not everyone has easy access to one. Grocery stores are a convenient alternative, and lots of chains are now making natural foods a priority. If possible, find a grocery store that has a “locally sourced” section in the produce and meat department. If you frequent your local farmers’ market, you’ll likely see some names you recognise! For any packaged items, make sure that you’re reading the labels to avoid toxic ingredients.
Seasonal fruits and vegetables are fresher, tastier, and retain more nutrients than those not in season. Incorporating these seasonal foods into your diet is a great natural approach to integrate into your routine.
If you want to have complete control over how your food is grown, consider planting your own garden! Research the foods that do well in your natural environment and start planting from there!
Get Involved with a Like-Minded Community
Get to know like-minded people in your community that have similar values when it comes to food. Having a local or virtual community of people to connect with, encourage you, and to use as a resource in your wellness journey is an invaluable tool to living a healthy lifestyle.
VISIT NATURAL DETOX AND WILD TRIBE CAFE
The Visit Natural Detox Resort creates holistic nutrition programmes and packages, allowing a safe space for your body to reset and naturally detox from your everyday life. Their balanced approach to raw foods, unprocessed foods, and clean eating, combined with daily fitness and meditation practices, set you up to successfully continue your journey once you’re back in your home country.
If lounging on the beautiful island of Koh Samui, eating organic, non-toxic foods from Wild Tribe Cafe, and receiving personal support from loving, knowledgeable staff sounds like the perfect experience, then check out our Detox Resort and the Wild Tribe Superfood Cafe to learn more and contact us about the programme that best meets your needs.