Organic beef is cheaper (sometimes)

Do you ever feel guilty when you walk through the supermarket and pretend not to see the organic meat – because it’s too expensive?

The truth is that, in the supermarkets Sainsburys and Tescos, organic beef is cheaper than its prime cut equivalent and, in two supermarkets surveyed, organic lamb was found to be cheaper too.

Sometimes the price difference was up to 30% less. This is according to a survey by Craig Producers earlier this year. It stands in contrast to the perception that ‘organic = expensive’.

Organic does not always mean more expensive
Organic does not always mean more expensive

Also, organic meat remains beneficial to the animals, the environment and the customer, so it’s real vlaue for money.

At GoodnessDirect you can purchase not only organic beef and lamb but poultry, pork, burgers, bacon and bangers, all from Graig Farm Organics livestock reared in Wales and the Border Counties.

Time to enjoy organic choice cuts.

Pasta is the world’s favourite food, but can it save the world?

We Brits eat a lot of pasta, but not as much as the Tunisians or Venezuelans and, of course, the Italians. This worldwide appeal explains why pasta has been found to be the world’s most favourite food.

However, other foods are not far behind, according to an Oxfam survey. The top 10 of favourite foods worldwide were…

  1.  Pasta
  2.  Rice
  3.  Pizza
  4.  Chicken
  5.  Meat
  6.  Vegetables
  7.  Steak
  8.  Chinese
  9.  Lasagna
  10.  Fish

Overall, it looks like Italy has a lot to answer for. And, as you can see from the links, at GoodnessDirect we’re keen to satisfy people’s tastes.

But the real reason for the survey is to highlight the rising concern over worldwide food prices. Every night, almost 1/6th of people in the world go to bed hungry.

This week the G20 meet in Paris to discuss rising food costs. Oxfam predicts food prices will double by 2030. The truth is, wherever we are in the world, we’re going to be affected. Let’s pray the politicians ‘use their noodles’ and find a lasting solution.

Olive oil almost halves your chance of having a stroke

If you’re older the bad news is you’re more likely to have a stroke (although roughly a quarter of strokes happen to people under 65).

An oil that keeps your body working
An oil that keeps your body working

But you can halve your chances with olive oil. Such are the indications from a study of over 7000 people.

No one is exactly sure why olive oil helps – it may be that the average diet of olive oil users is healthier over all, but a risk reduction of 41% is not to be sneezed at. Strokes are the biggest cause of adult disability in the UK.

What is known is that olive oil reduces blood pressure and contains compounds which are good for dealing with  inflammation which is linked to the development of heart disease and arthritis.

Dairy free cheese you don’t have to store in the fridge

Engevita is the savoury vegan food with a cheesy nutty taste.

This manna from cheese-heaven comes in dry flakes and has no additives or preservatives, just unactived yeast.

It’s amazing what you can do with it…

Brown off as a topping for ‘cheese on toast’
Add it to a risotto
Cheesify a soup
Whisk up into a cheese sauce for a vegetable lasagna
Create a cheese spread for sandwiches
Make a cheesy salad dressing
Melt over popcorn
Sprinkle onto mashed potato
Dissolve it in fruit juice
Shake it into scrambled tofu or eggs
Some people even eat it straight from the box!

But, even better than that Engevita is one of the richest natural sources of B-vitamins and trace elements, all you need in a spoonful, and now including B12 which is essential for the vegan diet, and a lot of zinc too.

The careful preparation of the yeast also means it is free from candida albicans yeast. It is naturally low in fat and also in sodium – because of this it is a popular condiment for those wanting to limit the salt intake but wanting a little more ‘taste’ on food.

This is a great little flavour enhancer.

New ‘free from’ products from Eskal! Perfect for the party

I love Eskal’s ‘free from’ range with its simple packaging and lovely everyday products. They always seem to be creating new items too…

For those of you who love a healthy snack Eskal have now produced gluten free pretzels. They’re just the thing for your gluten free spread at a party! White coated pretzels (pretzels with yoghurt coating) or chocolate coated pretzels, take your pick!

And for those nights in with a DVD and hot chocolate there’s dairy free, gluten free and wheat free White Marshmallow!

Las, but definitely not least, there’s Lasagne Corte, Penne Rigate and Fusilli. Perfect for your dinner with a lovely homemade tasty tomato sauce. Eskal have made all three  types of Corn Pasta totally Gluten free, egg free, dairy free and GMO free. They are a great alternative to wheat pasta, and 100% natural containing only corn and water. They’re very quick to prepare and easier to digest than wheat pasta.

Advice for protecting children from toxins in your house

It’s simple really. ‘Get out the hoover and mop the floor – regularly.’

But a research group are concerned that simple house dust can affect the development of children’s brains, because of the toxic substances which it exposes infants to.

Canadian professor, Bruce Lanphear, published a dust study which shows that lead, mercury and tobacco particles in the home can affect babies and toddlers even in small amounts.

According to Professor Lanphear, ‘An infant will absorb about 50 per cent of ingested lead, whereas an adult absorbs about 10 per cent… This, combined with children’s frequent hand-to-mouth behaviour, places children at much greater risk.’

Has the toxic time-bomb finally exploded?
The effects are worrying: learning and behavioural disorders, asthma, cancer and birth defects. Lanphear actually connects exposure to lead with criminal activity, but toxins can also have an impact on a child’s education, violent tendencies and general contribution to society.

So what can a parent do?
■ Dust your house twice a week.
Use a damp cloth and wet mop as this collects dust better. Put away toys and leave shoes at the door as these can contribute to a dirty environment.

■ Use non-toxic cleaning.
Bleach isn’t needed for most cleaning and air fresheners should be avoided. In fact, fragrance-free detergents and non-toxic dry cleaning laundrettes are recommended. You can find lots of ‘green’ cleaning agents at GoodnessDirect.

■ Seal off rooms when decorating.
This is especially important in older homes where lead is more prevalent. Ventilate decorated rooms well and use heaters. Aim to buy less toxic chemical products for your DIY.

■ Pack away the plastic.
Generall avoid cooking with plastic, especially in the microwave, even if the bowl says “microwave safe”. Plastic toys and other items which are made of plastic and that children might bite are generally advised against.

■ Go for sustainably fished fish
This is because of the mercury found in certain types of fish and shellfish, particularly tuna. However, sustainably fished tuna and mackerel, herring, rainbow trout and salmon carry less mercury generally.

A quick organic review: Dove’s Fibre Flakes cereal

I’m currently munching through a bowl of Dove’s Organic Fibre Flakes cereal. Always the best way to write about food I feel.

The cereal has a lovely rounded moreish bite to it which is surprising because it is made without gluten, nuts (or milk! – as the packaging states).

A moreish cereal
A moreish cereal

The real flavour effect comes from the malty taste of the maize bran, and I have to say, it’s impressive how long the flakes stay crunchy in the milk. Reading the ingredients I’m worried about the sugar content but the calorie content seems okay, it’s only 105cals in a bowl.

Dove’s cereals are very popular among those who want that quality organic taste but need to avoid gluten, and now I can see why. I’m quite tempted to try their rebranded Cocoa Rice cereal too…

Sack it, I’m off to have my second bowl of Fibre Flakes.