Organically yours

Incredibly high-calorie, oily chebureki (чебуреki – chebureki) and Chicken Kiev (котлетыпо-киевски– katlety pa-kiyevski) full of butter no longer appeal to your appetite with the coming of bathing-suit season? Are you looking to lose the pounds you put on during the winter? Do you want to just say ‘no’ to junk food (едавредная – vrednaya yeda)? CREF gives you some useful advice on eating organic in Russia.

Bion appetit

Although the concept of  ‘organic’ is new in Russia and there are still only a few organic stores, in fact, many people spending their summer months at a dacha grow their own fruit – фрукты(frukty) and vegetables – овощи (ovashchi) organically – экологическичистые(ekalagicheski chistyye). Thus, at a party held at CREF in April, organized by the Russian teachers and based on Easter traditions in Russia, the eggs, apples, and pickled cabbage were “homemade” – домашние (damashniye) and came from organically-fed chickens and chemical-free gardens – изогорода (iz agaroda).

Some Russian grass-roots organizations are trying to take a step forward in the organic food movement by highlighting local foods, and promoting dining on seasonal products – сезонныепродукты(sezonnyye pradukty) grown without pesticides – безпестицидов (bez pestitsidov), and organic products – биопродукты (bio-pradukty) from organic farms – экологическоесельскоехозяйство (ekologicheskoye sel’skoye khosyaystvo) in order to participate in social change in Russia by the means of using more locally-produced and healthier food.

As in other parts of the world, all products in Russia claiming to be “organic” are not necessarily so. To qualify to be labeled as “organic”, products must follow fairly strict ecological standards – Экологическиесстандарты (Ekologicheskiyes standarty). The Russian national standard usually begins with a label of ГОСТ17 (GOST 17).

Without closely examining labels, one can also prefer natural products without additives – безпищевыхдобавок (bez pishchevykh dabavok), for example, quinoa – киноа (kinoa). This ancient cereal is very high in protein – белки (belki), fiber – клетчатка (kletchatka), and minerals минералы (mineraly). Quinoa contains no gluten – клейковина (kleykovina) and has other useful nutritional qualities – полезноесвойство (paleznaye svoystva) which, when considered nutritionally, remarkably resembles the nutritional value of meat – мясо (myasa). Quinoa also contains many, if not all, of the essential amino acids – аминокислоты (aminokisloty) that the human body cannot synthesize by itself. In short, quinoa is very good news for the many enthusiasts of a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle – здоровыйобразжизни(zdarovyy obraz zhizni)!

To those who think that these healthy products are tasteless, an old Russian saying goes; “If it tastes bad, it means it’s good for your health” – невкусно, нополезнодляздоровья (“Nevkusno, no polezno dlya zdarovya”). Russians think that quinoa has the bland taste of white rice, while North Americans consider that quinoa has a slightly nutty taste like hazelnuts. If you have tried quinoa, what do you think?

Of course, you still have another alternative to help you get in shape for the summer; do some sport – спорт (sport) to remove these famous cheburekis from your waist!