March 17, 2010

Organic & Local “whenever possible”? Your favorite Restaurant is likely lying to You. ~ Vic Shayne

Do restaurants lie about serving you organic food?

Boulder, Colorado is recognized by many as the capital of good health. Our city is consistently in the top ten of healthiest, happiest and fittest people in magazine polls. And people love to eat organic foods in Boulder, with more than 10 food stores offering organics to serve a little city of less than 150,000 residents (including university students). Plus, there’s a relatively new trend: local restaurants advertise that they serve organic foods.

But I’ve found that this is a big fat lie!

My wife and I went to Bacco Trattoria, an Italian restaurant in North Boulder, primarily because they advertise on their menu in bold letters that they serve

“organic ingredients whenever possible.”

I noticed this same statement on several other Boulder menus, and was encouraged to see the trend in serving healthful foods. But hold your horses. It seems to be just lip service to fool health-minded people into eating crappy food. This isn’t just deceptive, it’s criminal. It’s like telling a diabetic that your food contains no sugar, when you know you’re lying.

When the waiter came to our table, I asked him, “What on tonight’s menu is organic?” He told me that the beets are organic, then tried to change the subject, to tell me they have locally grown something-or-other.

I steered the conversation back on track and he told me that they can’t get organics this time of year. Another lie. No less than one mile away is a store that sells a variety of organic produce and dry goods. Three miles away is an organic grocery store that contains every fruit, vegetable and meat product that are all certified organic. And the most profitable Whole Foods store is literally up the road. Restaurant delivery trucks are, or could be, full of organics.

So for this restaurant to claim that it offers organic ingredients “whenever possible,” but not to have any in the kitchen, is more than a disservice.

Why the big deal?

Non-organic food is poisoned with pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and herbicides. Non- organic meats are tainted with steroids, hormones and antibiotics. Lying about your food means poisoning your patrons.

My advice: When a restaurant advertises that it offers organic ingredients, ask the waiter what ingredients are organic as you’re sitting there waiting to be seated. And if you have enough moxie, when he tells you that there’s nothing, then get up and head for the door after telling him you came in for the healthful food they’re advertising.

For the last 20 years, Dr. Vic Shayne has been involved in nutritional research, both personally and professionally. He’s written several books on the importance of foods and how their nutrients differ from isolates found in vitamin pills. Health is not something we can take for granted.

Visit his website to learn more.

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