It's easy to get depressed or angry when you start dwelling on all the chemicals that get sprayed on our food supply. Food is meant to nourish us, but when herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides get sprayed on our food crops it means that we can't help but eat these toxic chemicals. When plants get sprayed they absorb these chemicals through their leaves and root systems, which means that the chemicals become systemic in the plants and are throughout the foods we harvest. It's easy to think that washing your vegetables and fruits with specially designed cleaners will remove chemicals, but those products can only help remove what is on the outside of your foods, not what is inside.
When we look at how these chemicals affect our bodies, we need to look at how they affect our gut microbiomes (all those wonderful organisms in our guts). Glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup has been well researched and is known to be detrimental to our microbiome (Source). Roundup is extensively used on corn, soy, canola and wheat crops. Have a look at the ingredient lists on the foods you buy - corn, soy, canola and wheat show up in the most unlikely places.
But the great news is that more people are becoming aware of the damaging affects of chemicals in our food supply, and more importantly, farmers are changing their farming methods and transitioning to organic practices that don't include the use of damaging chemicals.
Here are some Calgary and area growers and producers that my gut loves:
GreenBerry: This great company is run by a Calgary couple that grows the most amazing pea and sunflower shoots. Incredibly nutrient-dense and very easy to digest. Pea shoots are a natural source of Diamine Oxidase, which is an enzyme that metabolizes histamines. A lot of people with gut issues are low in this enzyme. Daniel sells their products at the Hillhurst-Sunnyside Farmer's Market
Osso Bueno: Laureen is the proud owner of this company that specializes in bone broths. Her bison broth is a favourite. Bone broths support digestive health and can help restore leaky gut. Laureen is at a variety of farmer's markets and grocery stores.
The Naked Leaf: Jonathan has a passion for tea. He carries a variety of organic, loose-leaf teas and supports small, sustainable tea plantations. Ask him which teas will help support your digestion. He has a wealth of knowledge.
Truebuch: Calgary is lucky enough to have a Kombucha brewery. Conrad and Louisa source their teas from The Naked Leaf and use local, non-GMO ingredients. Kombucha is teaming with gut healthy probiotics. Even better, they sell their draughts on tap, so you get to reuse your bottle. They sell at a variety of locations throughout Calgary.
Grazed Right: Ben and Steph raise cattle ethically on a small farm outside of Calgary. They practice true stewardship of the land and take great pride in their pasture-raised animals. Your gut will thank you for meat that is free of hormones and antibiotics.
This list is by no means exhaustive. These just happen to be some of my favourites. Don't live in or near Calgary? Don't worry - local growers and producers are everywhere. Growers and producers love talking about what they do, so go chat with them and ask if their crops or products are chemical free.
What are your favourites? I love hearing stories about local communities, so let me know.
Happy, Healthy Eating!