Leeks, eggs, fluoride and renewable energy


Leek’s have been cultivated for centuries, and dried specimens have commonly been found in Egyptian archaeological sites, and seem to have formed part of the Egyptian diet from the second millennium BC. Leeks are also the national symbol of Wales, where, according to one legend, the Welsh King Cadwaladr ordered his soldiers to wear leeks on their helmets in order to identify themselves in battle against the Saxons.

It was also the favourite vegetable of the Roman emperor Nero, who apparently used it to improve his singing voice. The theory was first voiced by Aristotle, who credited the clear voice of the partridge to a diet of leeks. I’m not sure a partridge should be used as the model of harmony, but then Nero was known to be mistaken about a few things.

Nutritionally, leeks are often overlooked, while their super cousins from the allum family, garlic and onions, get all the plaudits. They share many of the same nutritional benefits, but need to be eaten in larger quantities to achieve the same effect. Fortunately leeks are milder and easier to wolf down in volume than either onions or garlic.

Leeks contain very good quantities of manganese, and good amounts of vitamin C, iron, folate and vitamin B6, which together are helpful in stabilising blood sugar levels. Compounds in leeks and other allum vegetables help improve cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of prostate, colon and ovarian cancers.

Fluoridated water

The trend to remove unneeded, and in many cases harmful, chemicals from our lives continues. In the US, yet another city is reviewing its decision to fluoridate their water supply. But this is no ordinary city – it’s Grand Rapids in Michigan, which was the very first city to add fluoride to its water supply, based on government assurances that it reduced tooth decay, and posed no serious risk.

With evidence mounting that this is not the case, the city has ordered a new review of the scientific evidence concerning the risks and benefits of the chemical. Grand Rapids has already removed chlorine from the water supply, which proved much less controversial.

Most English-speaking countries fluoridate their water supply. It was popular in much of Europe until the 1970’s, but is now rarely carried out in continental Europe.


Eggs have been one of our most common product requests, but we’ve been battling to source organic, or even free range, eggs, and supply in the past has been erratic.

There are 22.8 million egg-laying hens in South Africa. 97% of these are battery hens. They have their beaks burnt off as chicks to prevent them pecking each other, as they spend their lives unable to move, cramped in a cage with up to seven other hens. Over half have fractured or broken bones by the time they’re sent off to the slaughterhouse, over the hill at 18 months.

This situation remains primarily because people continue to support the practise by buying battery-laid eggs. We’d love to be able to offer an alternative for those of us eating eggs, so if you know of any organic or free range suppliers, please let us know.

Renewable energy

An important bill will be put before parliament soon. The Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff Bill aims to allow people who are producing electricity (of an approved standard) from renewable sources to feed it into the grid and be paid for it. In other countries, this has been an important kickstart for renewable energy, as it empowers individuals and small businesses to use and support renewable energy, rather than having us continue to rely solely on large, polluting central utilities for our electrical energy. Read more, as well as how to support this initiative, at Urban Sprout.

Head on over to www.ethical.org.za to order.

Have a great week,
the Co-op team

Comments ( 4 )

  1. Sherry

    We must not as a nation forget the role the high cost of our dependence on foreign fuel played in the demise of our automakers. The exorbitant cost of gas the past year has done serious damage to our economy and society. We need to take lessons from our mistakes.WE also need to get out from under the grip our dependence on fore gin oil has on us. Why not take some of these billions and invest in America becoming energy independent. Driving an electric car would cost the equivalent of 60 cents a gallon. The electricity could be generated by solar or wind power. Green technology would create millions of badly needed new jobs. What America needs is a green revolution. It is time for us to move forward with alternative energy. I just read Jeff Wilson's new book The Manhattan Project of 2009. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is concerned about the downward spiral of our economy and it's effect on our society and would like to see our country become energy independent!

  2. Gas fitting services

    Renewable energy is the source of energy for the future; with countries like India & China demanding more n more energy to fuel their growing economies that is the only alternative

  3. Global Voices Online » Environment: Leeks, eggs, fluoride and renewable energy

    [...] eating leeks help your singing voice? Intrigued? well The Ethical co-op blog ponders this, the need to flouridate water, eggs and a new net-metering law in South Africa. [...]

  4. Plumber Sydney

    That's so sad what they do to chickens.. i love eggs and thankfully in Sydney it's pretty easy to source free range eggs, but it's sad that it still goes on.. i'm more than happy to pay the extra cash for free range!