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Organic food

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Organic food

Postby Kurious » Sat 12.06.2008 9:21 am

Hello,

I've been studying Japanese language and culture for a little while and I was wondering if anyone could tell me about organic food in Japan, and also vegetarian food in general.

Several years ago, I used to have much allergies and colds, and then I finally began looking into vegetarian food. At some point someone suggested that I could be allergic to wheat. After trying different things, I noticed that I can take "whole wheat" and "organic wheat" very well; but other kinds of wheat may cause allergies if I take too much of it. Now that I am picky about wheat, I almost never get a cold; and if I ever do, some home-made lemon juice with a little honey fixes it pretty quickly. So I wonder if food in Japan, in general, makes use of organic wheat or not. Please note that I can, in general, eat about any type of food, but I do watch out for not eating too much of the "processed wheat", at least consecutively.

Note: Here, I use the term "organic" in a way similar as used by California law, which means that it was not grown with pesticides, chemicals, antibiotics, or the like. I do not use it in the "every day sense of the word".

There are some other observations that can be made about food. Personally, I find that too much dairy consecutively (milk, ice cream) is also a cause for allergies. This of course varies from person to person, etc. Are there any food tips that are useful to know, if a person visits Japan and wants to enjoy Japanese cuisine to the max.

BTW, I am mostly vegetarian now, but I do like to eat some meat once in a while.

Thanks. =)
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Re: Organic food

Postby becki_kanou » Sat 12.06.2008 9:42 am

You can get organic foods in Japan, but just as in America they are significantly higher in price. There will often be a small section of the grocery store that has organic produce along with descriptions of the farms where it was grown and sometimes a picture of the farmer. The word for organic in the sense of "made without agricultural chemicals" is 無農薬 and you may see that on signs in shops.

As to vegetarian food, the Japanese in general to do not really understand the concept of vegetarianism and if you ask at a restaurant if something contains meat, you may be told that it does not when in fact it contains finely chopped bacon or lard or beef extract etc. It's not really considered "meat" unless it's a big hunk of flesh.

You said that you sometimes eat meat, so this probably will not be problem for you, but if you are eating with a true vegetarian you will need to be very specific in how you phrase questions about meat content to restaurant and/or shop staff when asking about foods. Doubly so if the person is vegan.
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Re: Organic food

Postby Kurious » Sat 12.06.2008 7:19 pm

I was hoping organic food would be more accessible (in price).

OK, thank you very much for the valuable information.
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Re: Organic food

Postby Mukade » Mon 12.08.2008 7:43 am

The more commonly used word for 'organic' would be 有機, and it's starting to pop up more and more in shops and restaurants here and there.

In fact, I was just at the Kirin beer hall in Nanba this Saturday, and they had a special, limited-time menu item of organic potatoes! (Yeah, at a beer hall. Who'da thunk?)

As Becky said, organic items do tend to be more expensive. However, I don't think they are prohibitively so. My family and I order all our groceries from a fully organic supermarket in our area, they deliver it to our doorstep once a week, and it isn't that much more than what we used to be paying.

Of course, your location could play a big part in the price of such items. I'm sure it's a lot easier for us to get such things so close to a big city like Osaka than it would be out in the boonies somewhere.
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Re: Organic food

Postby Infidel » Sat 12.20.2008 9:46 pm

Kurious wrote:I was hoping organic food would be more accessible (in price).

OK, thank you very much for the valuable information.


The whole reason those chemicals are so common is because a farmer can output more produce per acre of land and thus sell cheaper. Thus, organic will pretty much always be higher in price--unless you go directly to the farm to buy...
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Re: Organic food

Postby two_heads_talking » Mon 12.22.2008 10:11 am

Infidel wrote:
Kurious wrote:I was hoping organic food would be more accessible (in price).

OK, thank you very much for the valuable information.


The whole reason those chemicals are so common is because a farmer can output more produce per acre of land and thus sell cheaper. Thus, organic will pretty much always be higher in price--unless you go directly to the farm to buy...


Well, even then it won't be much cheaper if cheaper at all.
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