Beware Of Organic Cafes That Lie To Us
I learnt a valuable lesson this week – always take responsibility for the food you eat, even when you’re eating at a cafe that claims to be organic. I hate to admit how naive I’ve been when it comes to this, but from now on I will always question every organic establishment I eat at.
Something happened while I was at Byron Bay last weekend that really pissed me off. We were in town one day searching for somewhere to eat lunch when we came across a cafe with a sign out the front that said it was vegan, raw and organic – so I clapped my hands together with excitement and we went in and got a table. The menu was just as impressive, and there was even a big veggie burger with this description: “This burger is cancer fighting rather than cancer causing.” I was craving a burger, so that’s what I ordered, along with a juice.
I was so impressed with this burger that I posted a picture on Instagram (the one above) of me devouring it. Someone in the know in Byron saw the pic and left a comment saying that they didn’t think the food at that cafe was all organic and that I should double check.
The next day I called the cafe and asked if their food is organic. “No, not all of it,” was their reply. Then I asked if the veggie burger is organic. “No, not all of it,” was their reply again. And then I asked if the juice was organic. “No, not totally. Actually we don’t have anything on our menu that is completely organic.”
I felt dirty. I felt like I needed to give my insides about 10 showers. I was so shocked that I just hung up the phone, but I wish I’d told her that her since her “cancer fighting” burger contains pesticides it is actually cancer causing.
Ever since that incident, I’ve been hearing about other respected organic cafes who aren’t always totally organic. If they can’t source an organic ingredient, they will just replace it with a conventional one. This is so wrong. If a cafe claims to be organic and charge prices that reflect this, we should be able to trust that what they’re serving us is just that. Otherwise, it’s false advertising and on par with green washing. I understand that not everyone eats 100% organic, but many people do. Many people have to, and it’s exciting when we have the opportunity to eat out and feel safe doing so. I definitely wouldn’t have eaten at Manna Haven if I’d known that what I was eating wasn’t organic. “Organic” isn’t just a pretty word – it means something, and that meaning really needs to be lived up to. Luckily, there are amazing cafes who won’t compromise.
So, what can we do? Whenever you eat at an organic cafe, ask the question: “Is everything on your menu certified organic?” This is my plan from now on. As angry as I was, it’s my responsibility to know what I’m eating and the only way to be sure is to always ask questions.
Have come across a café claiming to be organic when they serve conventional food? If so, tell me about it in the comments below.
I just want to address a couple of comments who thought I was a bit harsh, and that I shouldn’t have been so hard on the cafe in this post. I just want to say that it wasn’t my intention to harm their business. I take complete responsibility for not asking the question: “Is this all organic?” when ordering my meal. However, I feel like it’s my responsibility to share the mistake I made with those who may make the same one.
I know that not everyone cares whether they eat organic food 100% of the time, but for some of us we don’t have the luxury of being complacent. Organic food is our medicine, and if we can’t eat organic we go without. The word “organic” is the green light that tells us it’s safe to eat. It doesn’t matter if some of the ingredients are organic – if they’re mixed with conventional ingredients the whole dish is rendered poisonous to those of us who have to be so pedantic for the sake of our health and lives.
My intention wasn’t malice – it was to draw attention to an issue that is occurring far too much in the “organic” world, and to highlight the fact that as consumers we need to be super diligent and ask questions when it’s important to us that we know the quality of everything we eat.
I want to publicly apologise for any harm that my blog may have caused Manna Haven this week. Although I still believe that the loose use of the word “organic” is a massive issue in the health world, I can see with hindsight that my rant could have been handled better. I can tell that the people who run this cafe are lovely and their intention wasn’t to mislead. The real message of my blog was to alert people that we need to ask questions about our food everywhere we eat, even if the sign says organic. However, my anger at my own naivety definitely tainted the graciousness with which the message should have been delivered. I’ve spoken with the cafe this week, and they’re clearing up their signage and I’m excited to hear that they now plan to develop a fully organic menu! Byron needs safe places for organic foodies to eat, and I want to support their mission in making that happen.
Positive affirmation for the day: I take full responsibility for my life.
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