Christian CALLEC

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VEGGIES: GOOD FOR YOU?

Posted by Christian Callec on zondag, december 23rd, 2012

We call vegetables a big amount of plants or parts of them; even some fruits (with seeds), used as ‘veggie’ are commonly called vegetables (tomatoes, pepper-bells, eggplants, courgette/zucchini etc.) Worldwide, vegetables and grains are the most important food sources. Vegetables are quite important in our food; they bring diversity of colour, smell, taste, structure and nutritional value to our dishes. They can be served from cold to lukewarm and hot… as appetizer, dips, first course, salad, soup, mashes, side of main dishes, along other ingredients or alone. You can prepare them in many ways, from raw to cooked, boiled, fried, baked, stir-fried, stewed, steamed etc.

© Christian Callec

Besides their gastronomic value, vegetables do also have a great nutritional value. Because of their high percentage of water (70 up to 90+ %!), vegetables are generally poor in calories and (very) low in fat. Thanks to that high percentage of water, they also contain vitamins which are easily soluble in water: vitamin B, C and carotene (to be transformed by our body in vitamin A). Vegetables also offer fibres, minerals (calcium, phosphor, iron, sodium etc.), enzymes and acids.

© Christian Callec

Vegetables can be grown in fields, in open air or under warm translucent tunnels, but also in green houses. It can be grown conventionally (with use of more or less controlled quantities of chemical pesticides and fertilizers), the organic way (no use of chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers) and even biodynamic (like the organic but with more consideration of the whole farm ground, buildings, humans, fauna and flora as a holistic circle of life). The choice is yours. Massa production is not my choice; it is synthetically forced with chemical fertilizers. Chemical pesticides and herbicides are not only killing what they are meant for, therefore I try to avoid them in my food. On the other way, working the organic way may be better for the environment and biodiversity, but it is not always a guarantee for a better quality or taste (even if it should). You still have to find out what is the best for you.

I surely prefer to buy organic and even better for me biodynamic vegetables; from smaller farmers, local when possible and/or at places that I fully trust… I buy my organic / biodynamic vegetables at the local artisan/bio+ market or in my favourite bio+ retailer (Ekoplaza in the Netherlands). Price is never the issue for me. I am surely not rich, but what I get for the money I spend is much more important than the price itself. I wish much more people would consider that as well. Taste, safety and nutritional value are for me the issue. Buying tasteless leek just because it is cheaper and looks better than the much tastier organic one, is just like throwing money away. A disappointment is always possible, even with organic products; that’s true. But it happens to me lesser than with conventional products, always looking good, but with lesser smell and taste than a good organic/biodynamic product. So, the choice is yours. I made mine decades ago, when organic/biodynamic was not as ‘hot’ as it is now… I never had the tiniest regret about my choice… I do think that it was, is and will always be the right choice for me. Just one of the ways to make the world a little bit better. It feels good!

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