It has not been an easy keeping to my organic living since moving to Singapore. The cost of living in Singapore is much higher than in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in all aspects of daily living which includes grocery as well.
Most of the organic fresh produce one buys in the supermarkets here in Singapore comes from Malaysia but the cost is double of what I would pay for the same product in Malaysia. Singapore is a very small island city which is
right next to Malaysia and we get most of the fresh organic produce and otherwise transported over one of the two bridges connecting the 2 countries together. There are also plenty of organic produce and otherwise which are flown in from Australia or Europe.
The cost definitely made me think long and hard about if I really should continue to buy organic produce in Singapore- so for a while I stopped buying organic after we moved here to Singapore. Two months into our move my autoimmune illness flared up big time. Even though stress was a big part of the reason behind my recent flare up, food was the other part. Importantly, the flare up of my autoimmune disease reminded me why I needed to include organic produce in my diet again instead of ingesting all the pesticides and chemicals that are being sprayed onto the conventional produce that I was now eating. I started to clearly see the cost of saving money on organic produce was much higher – my health.
Why is eating organic important for good health?
- Pesticides, herbicides and fungicides are absorbed into the food produce and when we consume these produce, we absorb these pesticides, herbicides and fungicides as well.
- These chemicals are known to cause cancer and other diseases even obesity and infertility.
- If your phase 1 or phase 2 detoxification pathways are not functioning optimally then you will not be to able to clear any toxins out of your system properly including pesticides and fungicides.
- According to this article on Time magazine, the latest research shows that the effects of pesticides can extend across three generations. Which means what we eat affects our children and what our grandparents ate also affect us. All the more we should eat organic produce as much as possible.
- Pesticide use has also been linked to autoimmune diseases such as Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis according to a research led by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
- In a latest test conducted by British scientists from the University of London’s Centre for Toxicology on pesticides it shows that these chemicals are potential endocrine disruptors causing an imbalance of hormones in our bodies.
Recently, I have discovered a couple of homegrown organic farms right in Singapore. That is exciting news for me because I can now get to eat some local seasonal organic produce in Singapore, a place where most organic produce were flown or trucked into not long ago.
Finding fresh and not frozen organic/grassfed meat in Singapore as been difficult though. I did find grass fed beef and organic beef in NTUC finest supermarket although it did not specify if the beef was frozen or fresh. NTUC supermarkets generally have the freshest fish as well. The freshest chicken I could find has always been in Cold Storage supermarkets or The Marketplace. So I make do with what I can find here when it comes to meat, poultry and fish. I have bought free range chicken from specialty butchers in Singapore which left a bad taste in my mouth with the meat not being fresh at all and organic chicken which are sold in the specialty shops are always frozen. So if I can’t find fresh organic or free range meat then I go for simply freshness and antibiotic/hormone free.
I totally understand buying organic produce may not be possible for everyone but I do believe that we can be selective in which produce we buy organic as not all produce have the same pesticide residue. Some have more and others have less. Every little less counts when it comes to pesticide and fungicide consumption.
If you are looking to make a healthier change to your lifestyle by switching to organic foods but are daunted by the cost, these tips will help you make that change a little easier.
Tips to keeping costs down when buying organic:
- You don’t have to buy everything organic. The Environmental working group (EWG) has a list of fresh produce that you don’t need to buy organic and those you should buy organic. They are called The Clean Fifteen and The Dirty Dozen. The clean fifteen has minimal amount of pesticide residue and the dirty dozen has the most. So just buy the produce on the dirty dozen list organic, this way you will be removing the produce with the most pesticides and chemicals out of your diet.
- Once again, you don’t have to buy everything organic. Always focus on buying organic fresh produce as opposed to processed packaged organic foods. Processed foods are processed foods, organic or otherwise. They are ok for occasional indulgences but not good for anyone to be consumed on a regular basis otherwise.
- Not all that are organic are the same. Especially when buying meat, poultry or eggs. Organic meat, poultry or eggs are generally fed grains which are organic, thus classified as organic. As we all know grains are high in Omega 6 fatty acids which are inflammatory. So buying free range grass fed and pastured meat, poultry and eggs which tend to be higher in anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fatty acids is better for health and easier on the wallet as well. Just make sure they are antibiotic and hormone free.
- Buy local organic produce whenever possible, this will keep the costs down and you get to support your local farmers as well. Farmer’s markets are the best places you can find local organic produce.
- Buy foods that you consume raw for example fruits, juicing ingredients or salad greens organic.
Lists of grocers who sell organic produce online and in store in Singapore:
- Best Organic Food
- Murray’s Organic
- Green Circle
- Quan Fa Organic Farm
- Simply Fresh
- SG Organic
- The Organic Grocer
- NTUC Fairprice
- Cold Storage
We as human beings spend a lot of money on the clothes we wear, the shoes we walk in, gym memberships, cars, fancy dinners out and the latest tech gadget but rarely do we think about spending a little more on better quality of food. Afterall, food is the main fuel for our body and mind to function at their optimal level. Food that is fresh, clean and organic.
Sometimes in life, we just need to get our priorities right.
Do you eat organic? What changes and improvements have you seen in your health since going organic?