New Sussex wholefood store fuels food debate

The owners of a new wholefood store in Sussex say they are keen to fuel a local debate about food.

David and Nicola McCarthy – whose own lives were turned around by their experience with food – want Big Life Organics to help change people’s lives, not just their diet.

The store and cooking school, which aims to make cooking with natural ingredients fun, follows on from the success of the macrobiotic shop opened by the McCarthys two years ago in Forest Row.

Its focus on additive-free, naturally healthy ingredients quickly attracted celebrity attention from the likes of Daniel Craig and Katie Holmes, while cookery classes often using locally sourced and organic ingredients were a hit with customers.

“It was a small shop with BIG ideas,” said Nicola, “and a bigger venture was always on the agenda.

“We wanted to create a ‘one-stop natural shop’ and feel we are completing the ‘missing link’.  If you want to buy anything vaguely health-giving in Mid-Sussex it’s a challenge.”

Opening Big Life Organics has allowed them to vastly extend the stock range to include freshly-picked organic veg, fresh sourdough bread, salads, pastries and many sugar, dairy and gluten-free products as well as organic cosmetics and eco products.

It also gives them an opportunity to spread the word of good food among time-pressed office workers with healthy lunchtime food and ‘how-to’ classes in everything from simple, sugar-free cooking to coping with a gluten-free diet and beginners’ sushi class.
David, a qualified pharmacist, macrobiotic counsellor and teacher, who previously ran Harmony Pharmacy in Lindfield, will offer consultations on using food to relieve a variety of different health conditions.

He says: “People are often confused about what is health-giving with so many mixed messages about food and diet in the media and there is nowhere to learn how to make health-giving meals. It’s no wonder that British people probably have the unhealthiest diet in Europe.”

But, according to Nicola, a former food junkie who shed more than three stone by switching to a wholesome, natural diet, it’s not nearly as hard as people think to kick the eating habits of a lifetime.

“Sometimes it’s the small things that have a big effect on our lives. Big Life Organics is all about going back to basics, offering wholesome, dynamic, high-energy, tasty and colourful food.”

• Big Life Organics will open at 112 South Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex on Tuesday 26 February.