Real Chocolate for Easter, My Banting Position, Store Update and Meeting People Where They're At….

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I do sometimes worry that I too easily take for granted what we have here. My life revolves around this food revolution and connecting the country’s most sustainable farmers and food artisans producing the cleanest produce to conscious consumers like you, so I lose perspective sometimes. I do.
It’s easy to forget and get out of touch with just how much change is still required out there sometimes. I don’t deal with antibiotics and growth hormones and the horror of factory-farmed food anymore. I don’t have to. I don’t deal with colorants, preservatives and food additives anymore. I don’t need to. I feed my family on this produce from these farms and as it has become more and more feasible to live on this food as the supply has changed, I have become less affected ironically with anger about the broken food system, the more we strengthen this place.
The more I find great farmers that inspire me and that I can get produce from, to you, through the online store as well as this little store of ours, the more the angry activist in me rests. By turning my attention away from our industrialized, corporatized conveyor belt food system and focusing rather on great real farmers who are doing it right and who best serve nature, I was able to channel my anger at everything I felt powerless about and that I felt was wrong about food, into joy.
Hair-ing around this country finding real, old fashioned, proper farmers, I’ve been on a mission to create a space where you too can rest in peace and purchase food that is clean, right, untainted and whole and I always will be.
The context changes all the time though so I often need to find new motivation. And it always arrives at the right time.
I battle sometimes to relate to what’s real for most people and I’ve often been too rigid in that space. I wanted to encourage people to cook again, I wanted people to get familiar with how to work with whole ingredients, I wanted people to know what I know about the joy of cooking and I over looked and was perhaps out of touch with the very real context of Jozi lives perhaps. I preach to the converted, I have customers who all mostly relish cooking and are far ahead in the journey and through a series of events of late, I’ve realized that I need to take things a step further to help people who don’t have the time or inclination to cook, get access to clean food in a way that suits them. So we will be launching ready made meals made only with ingredients from Jozi Real Food endorsed farms in the near future. It’s been too long but it’s coming. So that people who are time hampered, can still access easy, convenient food without having to compromise on quality or nutrition.
We are in a very normal pursuit here. As this journey winds on, I have become less and less alternative. I’m a very real human being and want to demonstrate that ‘healthy eating’ does not need and never needed to be an esoteric pursuit for extremists. It still stuns me sometimes that there is a presumption that because I believe in clean food, I must be clothed from head to toe in hemp with a permanent shot of wheat grass on my person. When people come in here asking to put up posters for the latest fairy convention, I am always perplexed – that there is a presumption that I am an esoteric person with extreme beliefs. That I believe in clean, sustainably farmed food means I must believe in fairies is nuts to me and serves as evidence that we still have work to do.
Organic food should be the norm. What is being served up in the normal food system is so utterly abnormal that it should be considered alternative. Not what we sell here. Food loaded with more chemicals than real ingredients is off the wall. Not selling food that is what it is.
So you won’t find me in a swirl of incense, downing wheat grass shots in a hemp robe. I’m a very normal human being with flaws, lipstick, a deep dependence on mascara and all the issues of a modern Jozi wife, mother and woman trying to make life work in this loony city of ours. I have to stress over and over again that Organic Emporium is not a ‘health store’, I’m not into selling pills and potions, this is a store with real food in it, farmed by real farmers – that is what it is. 
It’s a store that doesn’t play games and most certainly doesn’t ride diet trends.
Which brings me to the point I need to make about why I don’t have a ‘banting’ section and have avoided as far as possible labeling anything in this store ‘banting friendly’. I must admit to feeling more than a little ratty about retailers trying to turn this into a cash cow. I’m suspicious of anything that becomes trendy because the content and the message distorts once retailers get their hold on it and start their spin.
Those of you who have been with us on what is now a 6 year journey – in May this year Organic Emporium will be 6 years old – will know that we have always sold ‘banting friendly’ produce long before it became large in November last year.
We have always only sold full fat dairy, we have always included clean protein from animals raised on good farms that let them both exercise their natural behaviors and eat a normal diet, I have written articles ad-nauseum about why fat from animal produce is important and good in the diet if the animal is on grass. I spoke out about why we didn’t carry any ‘low-fat’ dairy and didn’t believe it to be a great choice when generally it only means that sugar or starch gets added back to make it palatable. So now that everybody is ‘banting’ should I run around the store putting ‘banting friendly’ stickers on proper farm food that we always sold as it is? I have never been inauthentic nor trendy. 
I’m not going to do that. I would hope that if the banting philosophy is something that works for you and makes sense to you, you will have done your homework and know exactly what to buy in the store.
I do agree and am grateful for much old school nutritional dogma that has been challenged by this philosophy, most particularly the information about the place of fat in the diet and how detrimental refined sugar and carbohydrate are, period.
I love that people are cutting out refined nonsense and adding good fat and understanding the relationship between sugar, inflammation and metabolic disorders. It’s not that I’m against the philosophy, having been insulin resistant myself I keep my health on track by limiting carbohydrates, sugar and more particularly by making sure that I have good fat and protein in my diet, so it’s not about that.
It’s about re-declaring that this mission we’re on – is the same as it has been for 6 years – a belief in real food, farmed traditionally with none of the horrors of factory farming, focusing on organic farms, sustainable farms, traditional food and whole food free of preservatives, additives and chemical nonsense. I’m not into being trendy, heaven knows I’ve proved that point being the ‘weird’ one 5 years ago telling people that what they were eating wasn’t right and trying to educate people about why organic food was important.
That out of the way, its Easter and I usually just ignore the topic as we don’t sell ‘Easter’ things , that generally are all about sugar and pretty chemicals. So it’s never been a big deal for us but just in time, this year – arrives an organic chocolate that reminded me all over again (see how motivation walks in the door just when its needed) that there is a direct and right relationship between nutrient dense whole natural food and taste. The purer something is – the better it tastes and the less it requires the addition of sugar and chemicals to enhance its flavor.
I received a sample of a chocolate bar from Le Chocolatier – that appeared deeply suspicious. I have a rather fierce reputation for being ‘anal’ as one customer put it today – 🙂 – about supply.
It’s not easy to get things in this store. For every farm that I represent in this store, 10 have been turned down or not met up to what I believe to be inspiring or truly sustainable and organic in philosophy and practice. So this was a bar that only had 2 ingredients – organic fair trade cocoa beans and cocoa butter. Nothing else. So I opened my mouth expecting to taste something unpalatable to be honest, I mean bitterness is a part of cocoa – and without any additional sweetening no honey, no agave, no anything – I put my mouth around a piece and went to heaven.
It tasted like Lindt. Better than. So I tasted more and more and more to be sure and once the whole slab was done, I decided it warranted investigation. Thank goodness, I did. So I had a long chat with the beautiful lady behind this and heard about the vacuum extraction process they use to remove the bitterness from the cocoa. That’s it. It’s a Swiss process that is equally used to extract caffeine from the coffee bean without chemicals and that’s what they’re doing to organic, fair trade cocoa beans. When you remove the natural bitterness from cocoa, the natural sweetness within it is enhanced, something that we never get to experience because the bitterness and sweetness off set each other.
So now, in Jozi, we can eat a velvety smooth chocolate bar that contains nothing but cocoa and cocoa butter and doesn’t make you feel like you’re missing out on anything. It’s just amazing. It’s real. And the revolution kicks on…..:) Rest assured, I will be getting to Cape Town soon to do an article on this process and this artisan.
I should end off now as this has been long – quick store news is that new stock of Keith Harvey’s wholly veldt reared grass-fed beef is back on the shelves, it’s being bar-coded and put in the fridge as we speak. New stock of Neil Jewells charcuterie is expected this afternoon – any minute really. We’ve got frozen packs of Aldersyde Farm – Tarkastad lamb chops in the freezer for those of you who missed the half lamb box ordering. The CT Organics chicken is doing so well and we’re getting great feedback. We’re still waiting for the new chickens for our non-GM in entirety Mooberry range to lay…
We’ve got a great selection of organic greens and vegetables in and please enjoy the last of the seasons organic tomatoes, heading into Autumn now the variety is going to change soon and tomato season is coming to an end.
For the Easter week-end – we will be open on Easter Friday until 1pm only – as well as on Saturday and Easter Monday. We will not be opening on Easter Sunday. 
We’ve got little Easter treats in from Gayleens chocolates too.
The online store service is back up and running. 
Sjoe – that was a lot of words but it’s important that I think out loud to you and let you know where it’s at behind the scenes of this revolution – it’s really always an honest, real and unedited conversation about values and heart.
Thank you for listening and for all of your support of the best farmers we know of that inform and supply this store.
I will duly shut up now:)
Love as always,
Debbie Logan.

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