“Are you eating organic because of the fertility thing?” is the first question people ask when looking in our fridge. It is hard to formulate an answer to this without sounding like I am judging their choices. The quick answer is “no it’s because of the I care about the planet thing!”
I have to admit I am probably not the best poster girl for long term organic and seasonal eating although I suppose on the outside you don’t see my premature ageing insides and people always think I am younger than I am, so it’s not all doom and gloom! I have been passionate about buying locally grown food for a long time and the first thing I did when I bought my own flat 15 years ago was to arrange for an organic fruit and veg box to be delivered each week. We only gave up the box when I went on a faddy diet in January 2010 which meant I had to meal plan and exclude things, no good when your meal planning consists of let’s see what’s in the box. What started as ideological shopping is now done purely because it tastes better. For me the box veg is superior to even the best supermarket equivalent. There are a number of reasons, apart from taste that makes eating organic good for you and the environment, some of these are:
- Marilyn Glenville calls eating well The Foundation of Health and this is probably the best summary. From a fertility point of view eating well seems to be good for sperm quality and quantity and for improving egg quality.
- There is a lot of controversy about dairy and the conclusion seems to be that if you can organic dairy is probably better for your general health. Preferably full fat dairy which takes a bit of getting your head round when you have grown up being told that low fat is best. I do struggle with this one as I have non organic dairy farming friends and I know that their cows are fed well, they are not treated with drugs unless absolutely necessary and it is not a profitable business to be in. I therefore tend to buy organic British as preference, British as second choice and organic as third, given that I don’t drink a lot of milk I don’t really think it matters as other dairy products tend to be organic and eaten in moderation.
- There is a hierarchy of what to buy organic, generally the thinner the skin on the fruit or veg the more likely it is to absorb pesticides therefore the better it is to buy organic. Likewise those with thick skins are not quite so important. This is helpful when thinking about which products to switch over to first.
- Meat is another one where I try and buy organic British over anything else, I don’t like to think of the animals I eat having had a rubbish life. I also think that whilst it is more expensive it doesn’t tend to shrink so much when cooked as it’s cheaper equivalents.
- On a purely personal note I like that fact that often organic veg is misshapen veg I like the fact the it doesn’t all look uniform and can be covered in mud. It upsets me when it all looks perfect & I feel sorry for the ones that were obviously discarded!
- Seasonal eating – I think it’s really important to be mindful of what is in season. We have got used to everything being available all the time in the shops. For example no longer do we have to wait for Wimbledon fortnight for strawberries instead tasteless watery versions are available all year round, try an English organic strawberry in June and wow you can taste the difference.
- Locally grown for me still pips organic when shopping as I feel passionately that we need to support our British Farmers who are being squeezed every which way but in terms of quality and taste eating organic and seasonally is certainly the way forward in our household.
Ok but what does this do for your fertility I hear you say. I think if you eat rubbish it can’t help with the fertility thing. From what I have read it seems to have dramatic effects when people go from eating microwave meals and no fruit & veg to cooking proper meals and eating their 5 a day. For the rest of us I think being mindful of what you put in your body has got to make you feel better but won’t necessarily make you fertile. I also think that you have to still live and straying from the path of good food is not the worst thing you can do, it’s that 80/20 rule of life I rekon!