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Organic Is In Junk Is Out
People today have become cautious about their health and have shifted to health food. The trend of eating junk food has been replaced by the latest need of eating organic food.
Around the world, consumers are showing that they want, and will pay more for products that are healthy, wholesome, full of flavour and grown and produced in ways that protect and restore the environment. There is a choice to go organic in almost every food and beverage category, and even in many fiber categories, including organic chocolates, cotton sheets, tea, coffee and even beer and wine. India is catching up fast, with upwardly mobile and health-conscious people making this intelligent lifestyle shift.

What is organic food?
The term organic is often misunderstood. Clearing the confusion is Dr. Shikha Sharma, health consultant, "Organic food is health food grown without using artificial pesticides or herbicides. Also termed as satvik food, organic food is one created in harmony with nature.

Is it healthier than conventional food?
"Healthier does not necessarily mean more nutritious. "The use of pesticides create arthritis, food allergy and health hazards. Organic food is more natural and safer. Organic salad, sprouts, baked grams are nutritious and less fattening, " says Sharma. Celebrity organic food buff Bipasha Basu says, "brown rice, soya puff and ragi bread form an integral part of my diet because they hardly have any calories but are very nutritious."

But it is to be understood that organic food itself is not guaranteed free of pesticide residues. Even the most carefully grown organic products may get contaminated from residues coming from the soil from previous farming practices or from contaminated water supplies. Also, organic food does get sprayed but not with the regular chemical insecticides and pesticides. Only certified biological sprays that are natural and animal or plant-based are used. And the quantity of the dose of these natural sprays is also very controlled.

Why is it expensive?
Organic food is often the choice of the rich; it is grown without the use of any synthetic pesticides or insecticides, it is more labor-intensive and therefore more expensive. Also, very often the yields of an organic produce is significantly lower than that grown under non- organic conditions. The time-to-time certification, use of expensive sprays, training of agriculturists for organic practice etc., all contribute to the price hike.

Trends in India
Surprisingly, even though the organic food movement has been around in India for a decade, it is in the last one year that the trend has really picked up. Ishi Khosia, a name that is almost synonymous with the organic food movement in Delhi, started off her chain of organic food with Whole Foods in 2001. Her products include whole wheat bread, organic tea, herbal tulsi tea, and even baked papri chat, chana, bhelpuri, etc. Seconding this is Dr. Sharma who feels that, "By choosing the option of having organic foods, you are basically choosing a natural living lifestyle. We, the urban, modern and so-called educated people have forgotten to get away from the hum drum of city life. But eating organic foods does mean that we're doing out bit towards the healthy growth of our environment, at least a small part of it!"
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Posted on : 23/11/2005
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