Monthly archives "February 2008"

We’re hiring

The co-op is hiring! We’re looking for a ‘general co-ordinator’, and if that doesn’t mean much to you, but you think that working with a passionate bunch of people in an open and transparent environment, making a substantial contribution doing something you love appeals, take a look at our ‘jobs’ link on the site for more information. Applications close Thursday 7 March.

We’ve got some more additions to our range this week. Don’t we ever stop? Much to our surprise we seem to have one of the widest ranges of organic and ethical products available in the country today, and if we can do it, a tiny co-operative with one fulltime staff member, why can’t everyone else? Until they do, we’ll just keep searching them out for you.

There are three new certified organic rice pastas, all wheat, dairy and gluten-free, coming in penne, spaghetti and rotini (the fusilli-like spirals) varieties, and a whole lot more. Take a look at our featured and new section.

To order, go to

The Co-op team.

Toxic swimming pools

As a child, I remember the constant battles to keep the family swimming pool from either going a sickly green colour, or smelling of acid and chlorine fumes that our eyes would begin to water even before we got in. The main factor in the health of the swimming pool was the pH of the water – there was a small range where the water was considered ‘healthy’. Stray too far to the acid or alkaline side, and disaster would result.

Our swimming pool was treated as a chemical experiment, and would be loaded with soda ash or acid depending on the diagnosis. If I was involved in the treatment, the long-suffering pool would usually need the other cure the day after, as I tended to be too generous with my helpings, so the pool’s pH leapt around like a yo-yo.

Our blood also has an ideal pH (around 7.35 to 7.45, or slightly alkaline), and fortunately it’s much easier to keep within the ideal range than my childhood pool. Yet many of us suffer from too much acidity. An acidic bloodstream reduces energy production, and means the body can’t absorb nutrients and minerals as well, or repair damage, and provides an ideal environment for tumours.

If you don’t know already, you can probably guess why many of us suffer from too much acidity. Poor diet! Other factors include stress, immune reactions, and drug-use.

An ideal diet should include around 80% alkalizing foods, and only 20% acidifying foods. Since meat, beer, coffee, most artificial additives, sugar, white rice, white pasta and bread are all highly acidifying, and foods such as eggs and cheese are moderately acidifying, it’s not surprising we’re suffering from an epidemic of acidity.

There’s no need to avoid acidifying foods altogether, but you do need to keep the balance correct to avoid the human-equivalent of toxic pool syndrome.

So which foods are highly alkalysing? Lemons (remember, it’s what they when metabolised, not how acidic they are outside the body), watermelon, cucumber and sprouts come near the top, but almost all vegetables and many fruits are good too.

See links to more complete lists at the bottom.

It’s Vondis pet food week (for our new customers, we only offer them every alternate week), and they’re offering a promotion. For every 10 packets of food (i.e. 2 of the 5 packs), Vondis will supply your pet with a free gravy. The gravy is great for weaning reluctant pets from the flavourant-packed foods they may have been used to towards a more healthy diet.

Many of our dairy items are still in short supply, so order well before the Monday rush if you want to make sure of your share. We do have more new products though, and this week they include miso soup. If you haven’t ordered for a while, do take the time to browse – you may be pleasantly surprised at both the range and the prices.

Next week sees the launch of the Stellenbosch Fresh Goods market. Its a slow food market, and the co-op will be there. Stalls consist of producers selling products they have sourced, grown, raised, harvested, caught, preserved or transformed themselves. Visit their site for more details.

To order, go to

Have a great week,
the Co-op team

Food pH charts

Organics and organophosphates

The recent rains have been more than welcome after the scorching weather. However, the cows aren’t as comfortable with the variations in the weather, and dairy production is down. Some of our dairy staples are not available, or in smaller quantities.

A yearlong study in the US found that the urine and saliva of children eating a variety of conventional foods from area groceries contained organophosphates.

Researchers found that if a child switched to an organic diet, the pesticide disappeared from the child’s urine within 36 hours. Organophosphates were designed during WWII specifically to kill humans and later evolved into commonly used pesticides for food crops.

Other studies have shown that peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, nectarines, strawberries and cherries are among the worst offendors with the highest level of pesticides.

Humanity’s chemical experiment on its children is a recent phenomonen, not much more than a generation. Yet we’re still told that there’s nothing to worry about. Focusing on the negative, on the reasons to fear, is a strong motivation, but a disempowering one. Far rather focus on the positive, so let’s mention that the evidence that organic food is healthier is piling up too.

This week again we have reasonable quantities of the recently elusive eggs, but it probably won’t be enough for everyone, so place your order early!

Our imported goods are already seeing some drastic increases in price – all the more reason to buy local, and a great opportunity for local entrepreneurs to produce locally what we can only currently get on import.

To order, go to

The Co-op team

An evacuation

Apologies for the short newsletter this evening, and that the early birds who log on as soon as they receive this may not see our product range as complete as usual on the site.

Kirstin, who normally does much of the site preparation on a Thursday, and who some of you will know from the Valley region, has had her bags packed ready to evacuate since early this evening as another devastating fire rages in the area close to her house.

Our thoughts are with the animals and plants destroyed by this latest fire, the firefighters battling the blaze in this high wind, and everyone affected.

Hopefully by the time you read this, everything will be back to normal. Remember that you can place your order immediately, and then go in and make changes (adding or removing products) anytime until the site closes on Monday at 2pm.

To order, go to

The Co-op team

The conventional lentil

The humble lentil has long had a reputation as a healthy food, and with good reason. It contains 26% protein (higher than any other vegetable except for soybeans), and, when combined with rice, forms a complete protein, or one containing all essential amino acids. Lentils are also high in vitamin B1 (thiamine) and iron, which is particularly important for pregnant or menstruating woman and adolescents.

One of our aims is to end the reputation (and reality) of organic food as expensive and elitist. We believe everyone should be eating organic – it’s healthier for everyone – the planet, the people consuming it, and the people working with it. We don’t mark our products up by much, and being an online-only organisation, with minimal costs and staffing, means that we can offer extremely attractive prices on our Ethical Co-op branded goods. They’re packaged in biodegradeable packaging which you can compost, rather than relying on oil-bases plastic. They’re not certified organic, since we’re not a certified premises, but all ingredients are 100% certified organic.

We can’t control all of our prices, but take a look at our goods branded “*the ethical co-op”, and compare the prices. We think you’ll be extremely impressed.

Our Tereva cheeses are proving very popular and sell out quickly each week. This week we have mature cheddar, mature gouda and mature emmental to add to the range we’ve introduced over the last two weeks.

At long last we’ve also sourced some more certified organic eggs. A core product, we’ve disappointed many of you recently by not stocking them. They’ve proved elusive however, but the increasing demand for them at the expense of non-organic, or eggs laid by battery hens, is a positive development. One day they’ll be all that’s available, and battery hens will be a barbarism from the past.

To order, go to

Have a wonderful week,
the Co-op team.