The Soil Association has launched the ‘Happier Meal’ – a showcase of the nutritional differences of organic food. The meal is an exploration into the science of gut health and the benefits of switching to organic ingredients. The Happier Meal aims to inspire people to consider swapping an element of their meal to organic. Studies have also shown that the nutritional profile of organic food is different, due to the different production methods. For example, cattle raised in organic systems produce meat higher in omega-3, due to a clover-rich diet. Organic vegetables have been found to contain higher levels of antioxidants including immune-supporting polyphenols because they are not sprayed with fertilisers to help them grow or with pesticides to remove pests. To create the meal, Soil Association Certification brought together experts from the worlds of farming, nutrition, and cooking. Including celebrity eco-chef Tom Hunt; award-winning nutritionist Michaella Mazzoni and organic farmer Ben Andrews Available on the Soil Association website is a step-by-step recipe for both the beef-based recipe and the vegan burger recipe and instruction guide. Organic beef delivers up to 50% more omega-3 fatty acids and by combining organic beef with beans, the plant diversity in your meal increases, as well as reducing the amount of meat in the meal. Fermented foods like kimchi are the gut microbiome’s friend, so adding organic kimchi to the burger not only increases the range of plants in the meal but also supports a healthy gut. Nutritionist Michaella Mazzoni says: “Choosing organic isn’t just about what’s on your plate; it’s about overall wellbeing. There are holistic benefits of choosing organic that extend beyond the plate and simply swapping one or two elements of a dish to organic can make a world of difference.” Kombucha, or fermented tea, has been around for thousands of years. When properly brewed it is a slightly fizzy soft drink that is low in sugar and naturally contains probiotics and healthy organic acids. Raw and unfiltered kombucha is full of live cultures which support gut health and aid digestion. Kombucha also naturally contains acetic acid, which is great for boosting energy and lowering blood sugar levels. As kombucha is brewed from tea, it is full of antioxidants, and being organic it’s got up to 69% more antioxidants, as well as being free from harmful pesticides or fertilisers. Michaela Mazzoni said: “Kombucha is not only delicious, but it is also low in sugar and brimming with probiotics and antioxidants. It contributes to overall wellbeing so we’re loving it for its natural goodness!” Anyone wanting to create their own Happier Meal at home can follow the recipe using all the organic ingredients listed. Lee Holdstock – Senior Business & Trade Development Manager at Soil Association Certification, said: ”It stands to reason that the way something is grown might affect the quality of the end product, and we have seen this reflected in the research that shows the nutritional differences in organic food. Soil Association’s founder Lady Eve Balfour believed that agriculture could be looked upon as the nation’s primary health service, and today there is science emerging that points to the links between soil health and gut health. “Organic food can be found in all major supermarkets as well as independent retailers and online, and you can find an organic version of pretty much anything, meaning you don’t need to compromise on any of your food choices or restrict or remove anything from your diet to incorporate organic. It’s easy to swap organic in.” If you fancy creating your own Happier Meal at home, you can find the recipe here.
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