Photo: www.organiclifestylemagazine.com

The Organic Food Guide For Expats Big on Health in Singapore

Team Expat Health, Lifestyle Leave a Comment

Remember the promise you made to yourself at the start of the year to be a little more health-conscious? While it’s still not too late to start going to the gym, it’s not the only healthy commitment you can make—changing your diet to organic food works too, and it’s easier than it sounds. If you’re not sure what organic food is, it’s food that are grown naturally and are not modified or processed using synthetic products and additives.
 
Singapore is steadily embracing the trend of eating clean, with expats being the biggest consumers of organic food, followed by tourists and students who have spent some time abroad in the USA, Europe or Australia. There is a huge demand for organic food overseas, and when these adopters of organic food move back or relocate to Singapore, they brought that demand back with them. Budding entrepreneurs are also more than happy to tap into the unsaturated market in Singapore, resulting in a host of organic restaurants and food delivery services.

Why eat organic food?

Studies have shown that there are plenty of benefits that come from consuming organic food over processed food. According to HelpGuide.org, some of these benefits are:
 
  • Fewer pesticides
  • Fresher taste
  • Environment-friendly
  • Animal-friendly
  • Contains more nutrients
  • GMO-free
In other words, eating organic foods is healthier due to the absence of chemicals and better for the flora and fauna as animals and the land is not tortured or harmed to increase production.

How do I know if what I’m eating is organic?

Produce or food items are officially organic when they are labelled “certified organic” by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or another accredited certifying agent—more than 95% of its ingredients are organic. Anything less will net the product with a “made with organic ingredients” label. It’s worth noting that products labelled “all-natural” are not in compliance with the legal guidelines and is just a marketing gimmick unless the “certified organic” label is present as well.

Why is organic food more expensive?

Considering that organic food is healthier and requires no synthetic pesticides, hormones and additives to produce, then why are they so expensive? The answer is that when no chemicals are involved to increase production, more labour and time are required in order to meet the numbers and ensure quality. Farms producing organic food are also fewer than those producing conventional food, as using chemicals is cheaper and more profitable, which results in demand overwhelming supply. Last but not least, obtaining the USDA organic certification is no easy task; the farm must comply with certain standards and pay an annual inspection/certification fee, which starts at USD $400 and can run up to $2k a year.

What products are worth buying organic?

If you can’t afford to live a fully organic lifestyle, then the key produce or food items that it’s best to buy organic are apples, strawberries, nectarines, peaches, grapes, celery, sweet bell peppers, hot peppers, lettuce, spinach, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes and kale/collard greens. Basically, you’re better off eating produce fresh since they are the items that are directly exposed to the pesticides and herbicides, compared to milk, eggs, and meat.

Where can I get organic food in Singapore?

Contrary to popular belief, you can find organic food easily in Singapore, despite the fact that almost all of its organic food is imported. Below is a list of places where you can get your organic food fix:

Online & Retail

  • Best Organic Food – A family-run business with a huge variety of organic produce. Orders are delivered within 2 days and FREE if you purchase over SGD 35.
  • The Organic Grocer – A more upscale option for organic food. Their produce comes straight from Australia and USA to your doorstep, so you can be sure that everything is fresh. You can even collect points for discounts! Free delivery when you order SGD 150 and above.
  • Tangy Tangerines – As you can see from their name, their speciality is fruit, but they also carry vegetables, eggs and other food items like cereal. Some have claimed that the prices here cost less than Cold Storage! There’s also free delivery for orders over SGD 80.
  • The Fishwives – If you’re hankering for organic crustaceans, look no further: The Fishwives claim to be the importer of the finest ethically and sustainably farmed and wild seafood, meat and gourmet products from Austalia and New Zealand. Note that you can only order poultry once a week, and other meats once a month, so plan ahead! Free delivery over SGD 150.
  • iHerb.com – A U.S. retailer with an enormous selection of nutritional supplements and other healthy packaged products.
  • Brown Rice Paradise – One of Singapore’s most established retailers of natural and organic products. They also conduct classes and workshops, as well as provide private consultations on dietary needs and health.
  • unitednature – Local importer and distributor for the world renowned Biotta Organic Juices from Switzerland, together with many reputable brands of organic, natural and eco-friendly products from Europe, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan and Australia. Aside from food items, you can purchase organic healthcare and home care products here.

Restaurants

  • ONAKA – Short for Optimum Nutrition and Kitchen Arts, this café offers healthy and nutritional food based on the concept of “East meets West”, such as grilled tofu salad, antioxidant power smoothies, and vegetarian burgers. You can also shop for organic groceries here and register for detox programs, nutrition, and cooking classes.
  • Afterglow by ANGLOW – A vegetarian restaurant that only partners with artisan producers to bring raw and wholesome food to customers. Their menu includes the Cuban Brown Rice Burger, Raw Avocado Berries ‘Cheese’cake, and Pink Soy Latte.
  •  Real Food – Self-described as indie, as they are independent from health and food associations, religion and politics, Real Food instead focuses on where and how their food is produced. Their policy is “less is more” and “healthy food takes time”.

Changing your dietary habits to consume organic food is the first step towards a healthier lifestyle—a resolution you might have made at the start of the year. Have more organic food options that you would like to share? Leave a comment below!

Cover image by organiclifestylemagazine.com

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