O is for Organic

Last night, after a long day of teaching, I headed out into the Shanghai night to watch a documentary. I head never been to the destination, Melange Oasis, an organic restaurant located in the back of a Shanxi Nan Lu alley, but it was a delightful find. It is often difficult to find organic food in Shanghai. Local food is often very tasty, but saturated with oil and salt. Many restaurants around town offer healthy fare, such as Element Fresh, but it is not necessarily organic.

Eating organic in a country where most of the fruits and vegetables are contaminated with unpronounceable and dangerous chemicals is not always easy, but for me it is becoming clear that I need to make a change in my increasingly street food diet. I am feeling a little bigger than usual, a little more sluggish, and a little more tired. So, last night I resolved to make a change in my diet, and hopefully start exercising again.

One of the changes I will make couldn’t be easier. I am going to start ordering a box of vegetables from BioFarm, an organic farm located in Pudong. BioFarm uses the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model, a model that is growing in popularity in the U.S., and now in China. Each week you can send in your order and the time you want it delivered. The boxes are filled with seasonal treats. The options available for this autumn are chilis, black winter melon, potato, sweet potato, Chinese broccoli, pumpkin, and organic eggs and tofu. For about 100 RMB, or more depending on the size, you can have organic and fresh vegetables delivered to your doorstep. So, I have no excuse not to do it, right?

The documentary I saw last night,”The Real Dirt on Farmer John”, hosted by Kimberly Ashton, was another inspiration for me to go organic. It is an excellent film based on the life on an eccentric but awesome Illinois farmer who, in the face of so many obstacles, created Angelic Organics. Not only did he struggle due to the hardships of maintaining a farm in a land where houses are more valuable to the public than food, he also faced persecution from the neighbors because he was different. It is an inspiring film that I highly recommend.

So, before my belly grows anymore, even though winter is coming and that extra layer may help to keep me warm, I am resolving to make a change. Being healthy is not easy, but the benefits definitely outweigh the difficulties on this one. Will you join me?

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