With Health becoming a priority for everyone, there’s a lifestyle shift that many people are making towards going organic and there is more awareness than ever about why organic is good for you. Here is a brand making a name for itself in the quickly rising organic market that is India.
Plattershare caught up with Go India Organic MD Vipin Satija to answer all your questions related to organic produce and the organic lifestyle. How do you make the shift? And for that, here’s Go India Organic to make the transition easier and yummier! There are tons of options for vegans as well! So, whether you’re an organic lifestyle person, or a vegan practitioner, you’ll definitely find something here.
How did the concept of Go India Organic come about?
We always felt that we don’t get good and healthy food. We also heard about lot of problems and ailments which now a days people are suffering because of lack of healthy eating and lifestyle and when my mother got diagnosed with cancer, we felt that things have to change, so that’s when we actually started. We decided that we need to have the best of natural health products. Even if we import it from outside and are international brands but they have to be proven, best and established brands which have a long proven history of manufacturing healthy food. We’re still very young, and there are a lot of things to be done.
What does Organic in its essence mean? Does that mean that there is NO use of pesticides? Or that there’s a very limited use?
That’s an interesting question. It’s often confused when the word is thrown around everywhere. Natural cow dung is used as manure, but there’s going to be at least some amount of pesticides in the land itself. So the crop that comes out will have grown with the effect of pesticides. However, organic will definitely have a lesser amount. Now, we need to check the level of pesticides, and if they’re above a certain threshold. So, what we do is - send the samples to a lab for testing whether the pesticides levels are below the threshold or not. That’s when we know if or not it’s organic. Everywhere there’s a mess, so we cannot guarantee a 100% pure produce. We get the produce, and get it tested, if it’s below the threshold, it goes to our customers.
Honey and Vinegar do not expire, that’s what our granny told us - but still there is an expiry date on commercial products.
That’s all because of the regulation department. Regulations demand that there has to be a point of expiration, from a commercial point of view. That’s why we have one. Without it, we cannot continue into the market.
What is the shelf life of organic products, considering that they’re imported and are internationally procured?
That again varies from anywhere between 6 to 8 months, all the way to even 5 years. They’re organic, so its adds to their life. For example, vinegar doesn’t expire for a long time. It’s all vegetarian and naturally fermented, so from a commercial angle it carries a shelf life of 5 years. Olive oil and coconut oil can last for about 2 years.
What is Manuka Honey? And how is it different from normal honey?
Technically honey is from bees, whereas this honey is produced only in New-Zealand from a plant called Manuka, Its grown only in that part of the world and bees feed on these plant’s flower to produce the honey. It has anti-bacterial properties which at times can cure diseases which are difficult to cure from regular medication.
What other products do you specialize in?
From a specialization perspective, what we are most commonly known for in the industry is for coconut oil or chia seeds. Right now we’re working on Barley seeds from japan. We do a lot of research before taking up a product. We pick brands carefully, and spend time in their offices, we make sure that whatever brand we choose is certified and has a long history.
What is the awareness level of organic produce in the Indian market?
It’s definitely coming up. But, the availability is the real question. It’s definitely going to stay, but it cannot change the conventional market to a large extent. You will definitely not get everything you want to consume in an organic farm. I’ll give my example, I consume organic whenever I can. I have organic chia, or oats. So you cannot completely do away with conventional. You can make small changes but it might take a long time to do a complete shift. A friend of mine was recently advised by his doctor to not eat apples, because they’re full of pesticides. You will definitely not find a supply of organic apples in India very easily, so he’s completely off them. Even organic mangoes are very difficult to grow. We work with the farmer community to grow organic chia seeds. There’s the pesticide levels on the land that they want to control. There’s a benchmark for pesticide levels, and it has to be lesser than that.
What’s your suggestion to people who want to go organic, but don’t know where to start?
It’s not just about consuming organic food only but having an organic lifestyle is a must in today’s world, which includes exercise, Go out for a morning walk, breathe deeply, and get enough oxygen. You have to ensure that your stomach is clean. If you eat out junk food, or have a delicious helping of chole-bhature, tikki, and what not! Those are all a form of sins for your body. So you have to clean them.
My routine includes getting up early morning, and the first thing I do is get a glass of lukewarm water and add 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. I do the same before I go to bed. I’ve been doing it for 5 years, and often take a break sometimes. I’ve completely cut off butter, and replaced it with coconut oil to cook eggs, or rice or anything.
I stopped consuming sugar, and replaced it with coconut sugar. I consume fruits and vegetables daily. We even eat some junk food and outside food J but in very limited quantity. I don’t remember the last time I had McDonalds or KFC. Even non-veg, we prefer to cook it at home. You eat everything! But you ensure that you control and know what you put in your body. So you do sin, but you also do good deeds! The shift is slow and gradual, but keeps moving forward.
Fresh air, morning walks, and a healthy approach, along with lots of water. Chia seeds and coconut water are all great ways to keep you healthy and hydrated. Juices are also very important, so incorporate them into your diet as well. Curd, paneer, beets, carrots, Amla are all great underappreciated things! So having a healthy life style is the key.