Eating healthy

Maha Amin May 13, 2010

Going organic is the new trend. Eating organic implies you are presumed to be more healthy than others, you will probably look better because you are not eating chemicals and you are damaging the environment less. The shocking bit is that our ancestors all ate organic food and it was only during the 20th century that synthetic chemicals were introduced in the food supply. Admittedly this increased production, but it led to a whole lot of problems.

A recent article I read about the harmful effects of packaging used in food products really hit me hard. I do not know if it is true but I cannot help but think that all my life I have forced myself to consume milk because it is good for you but now I find out that the milk I have been drinking is more likely to harm me than help me - because of the way it is packaged. This means that it is back to the milkman delivering milk in plastic bags every morning but I, along with my generation of boxed milk drinkers, have lost the twenty or so years that were essential for the development of our bones in and we are all possibly calcium deficient and chemically sated. To avoid such problems people are coming up with unsustainable techniques such as starting a vegetable garden or keeping a cow in the back yard!

The theory for switching from organic to conventional farming is that the latter gives more yield but recent studies have shown that certain organically grown crops give the same yield as conventional farms and use up to 30 per cent less energy. And a Reuters study has shown that in developing countries organic farming can produce three times as much food as conventional farming. The question now is will Pakistan, a developing country, take advantage of these techniques?

Published in the Express Tribune, May 14th, 2010.