This time last month I was at Natural and Organic Products Show Europe where we launched the Organic Trade Board’s Wake up to Organic Campaign with the help of food blogger and food tutor, and more, Laura Scott. Laura made a cool green smoothie which had a great minty zing and a sumptuous granola breakfast parfait.
The campaign will take place on the morning of 15th June (it’s our second year) where all over the UK independent retailers will host #WakeuptoOrganic events where they serve free organic breakfasts to their customers and passers by to show how easy it is to make the switch to organic.
There are plenty of reasons to choose organic, it’s better for the environment, the animals are reared using higher animal welfare standards and of course organic produce has lower pesticide residues and is GM free. There is evidence now that there’s a difference in terms of nutrition. A recent study by researchers at Newcastle University, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, found that organically grown fruit and vegetables have:
- Higher levels of antioxidants
- Lower pesticide residues (which were 4 times higher in non organic) and
- Significantly lower levels of the toxic heavy metal, Cadmium.
A recent meta analysis published by the same researchers in British Journal of Nutrition found that organic meat and dairy had:
- about 50% higher levels of healthy omega 3 fats (which are good for heart and brain health as well as protecting against cancer)
- Under organic standards cows must eat a 60% fresh grass based diet or hay/silage (conserved grass) which is likely to be a factor in the higher omega 3 levels.
- Organic meat had slightly lower concentrations of two saturated fats linked to heart disease.
- Organic milk and diary has 40% more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has been associated with reduced cardiovascular heart disease, some cancers and obesity.
- Organic milk contains slightly higher concentrations of vitamin E.
- Less iodine than non-organic milk.¹
Both studies were meta-analyses of the available evidence which assessed peer-reviewed papers. Where studies did not meet the standards set by the researchers for methodology and/or reporting they were excluded from the review. This means the quality of the evidence included is good and the evidence is robust.
So to celebrate our Wake up to Organic launch I made these breakfast bars, based on my popular no added sugar banana and date flapjack recipe. I’ve also added nuts and seeds to increase the protein content. While these contain no added sugar they do have dried fruit in them, so it’s a good idea to have them with a glass of milk and drink water after to protect your teeth!
Wake up to Organic breakfast bars
Preparation: 20 minutes
Baking: 25 minutes
You will need…
2 medium bananas (about 190-200g)
50g desiccated coconut
120g chopped dates (if you don’t have enough dates substitute chopped raisins)
100g melted coconut oil (or butter)
80g nuts and seeds (I used pumpkin seeds, chia and pecan)
Mash the bananas on a plate and put in a bowl.
Add the coconut oil, dates nuts and desiccated coconut and mix well.
Now add the oats and again mix well
Turn into a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Press down so it’s evenly spread
Bake in an oven at 190 °C or 160 °C in a fan oven or gas mark 3 for 25 minutes.
Cut into slices whilst still warm.
¹Historic research highlighted that organic milk contained less iodine. However, the industry has taken steps to address this. OMSCo (the Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative) representing over 65% of the UK’s organic milk supply, announced that in 2015 organic milk had achieved comparable levels of iodine to conventional and in 2016, following recent testing of bottled milk, they announced these levels of iodine have been maintained. Richard Hampton, managing director at OMSCo, said; “We initiated projects to boost iodine levels and applied these to our farmer members’ enterprises, and by early 2015 we announced that we’d achieved comparable levels with those in the conventional market. Our latest results have shown that one year on from the initial milestone we’re maintaining those levels.”