Category Archives: New Zealand

30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 3 – Tiki Tour the Vegan Pantry

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Stocking a Healthful Kitchen

“Having a variety of nutritious ingredients on hand – particularly fresh fruits and vegetables –  is key to ensuring that you can whip up delicious, healthful, compassionate meals any time. Though a lot of junk food is technically vegan (Cocco Puffs, Oreo Cookies and Skittles), my intention is to guide you toward healthful plant-based foods, and I’m always walking the line of making suggestions that allow for fast, easy cooking, while recommending foods that are as whole as possible.”

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge

When you look in your cupboards, fridge and freeze:

1. Identify all the foods that are already vegan – keep those.

2. Identify all the foods that are not vegan – get rid of those – give them away, feed them to the dog, chuck them – whatever.

3. Replace what you have gotten rid of with new foods or the ingredients to make new foods.

Day 3 is a tiki tour of the vegan pantry, fridge and freezer. It’s a tour with a lot of detail, and for me personally, not as useful as if I lived in the United States. Colleen lists brands and quite a few products not available here, though I have found some NZ and Australian brand alternatives.

Most 'vegan' food is just food familiar to everyone.
Most ‘vegan’ food is the same food familiar to everyone.

Fortunately, the majority of ‘vegan’ food, for me, is just more of the same food everybody else eats, but without the animal abuse. These days the regular supermarket isn’t as important as it used to be. More and more of my grocery shopping happens at the fruit and vegetables shops or Bin Inn (bulk grains, nuts, spices etc.), and some of the smaller Asian or speciality grocery stores. I still go to Vetro – of course, and the different local fruit farms, depending on what is in season; and I have added Village Organics to the list of semi-regular shops.  The Farmers’ Market moved out to Te Rapa, and we haven’t  got out there again, maybe next weekend?

Continue reading 30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 3 – Tiki Tour the Vegan Pantry

NZ – We Are the Problem

Green - it's not all due to high rainfall and volcanic soil
Green – it’s not all due to high rainfall and volcanic soil

New Zealand prides itself on an image of “clean and green” – an image we use to promote ourselves overseas. Tourists visit our islands to experience nature and exporters ubiquitously market NZ products as ‘pure’ and uncontaminated. Green we might be. Clean we are not.

mount-340338_1280“There’s two worlds. There’s the picture postcard, which is Queenstown and up in Mt Cook and all that kind of stuff which is perfect and where they make the Hobbit movies, and all that is amazing. But most of New Zealand, 70 per cent of it isn’t like that. It’s actually really badly polluted and we are just getting worse and we crucially need to have that clean green image to sell all of our products overseas.”

Mike Joy – Massey University senior lecturer in environmental science

NZ - How we like to think it is, but very little of the country still looks like this
NZ – How we like to think it is, but very little of the country still looks like this

A couple of years ago, the New York Times ran a piece busting our little snow-capped façade. Rightly pointing out that we are deluding ourselves and the rest of the world with our “clean and green” promotion.  The reality is very different.  As the article points out, one of the main culprits (for most of our environmental problems) is animal agriculture.  It is also the issue we are most reluctant to talk about.

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Climate Change and Rising Sea Levels – Understanding the Science

Climate change science and its implications (especially for New Zealand) is explained simply and clearly in this latest easy to read report from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment that came out on Thursday.

Highly recommended reading.  Click here to read the full report.

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Rising sea levels over the next few decades has serious implications for New Zealand’s coastline and fresh water resources. We need to be planning for this more seriously than we are.

The primary focus of the report is on rising sea levels and what this means for the coastline, storm surges, infrastructure and fresh water resources.  This is the single most important threat facing New Zealand right now and for the future.

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“It’s about striving for a better world”

“What veganism means to me is striving for a better world. It’s being conscious of your actions and the decisions you make. I ask myself, by doing this am I going to harm anyone else or am I going to harm the environment, which is later on going to harm someone else. That’s my thought process in all of this. It’s about striving for a better world.”

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Quote taken from the video at the end of the article.

Many people want to do the right thing, we want to strive for a better world.  Misleading information makes that more difficult, especially when it is misinformation people really want to be true.

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Chocolate – Is it Vegan?

About a month ago, I watched a video in which vegans got excited about chocolate – of course. Chocolate is amazing.  And, according to them, you could enjoy eating chocolate because no cruelty.

But can you really say that?

Firstly, yes, chocolate can be vegan if you don’t put milk solids or any other rubbish in it.  Ironically, my favourite chocolate is vegan and I didn’t even know it. [The rest of their range is not.]

Secondly, around 70% of the chocolate the world consumes comes from west Africa.  And this is where it gets downright cruel, immoral and what some people might even define as evil.

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Nice Plan, but What About the Water?

Image on the front of the Hamilton City River Plan. Great marketing - the implication is that the river will be safe for swimming. But will it?
Image on the front of the Hamilton City River Plan. Great marketing – the implication is that the river will be safe for swimming. But will it?

The Hamilton City Council’s monthly update arrived in the letter box and most of it is about the new Hamilton City River Plan. It’s a lovely plan, mostly about upgrading parks, further development of pedestrian walkways, and at Hayes Paddock they are even going to build a swimming hole …

… wait … what?

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Dear world, please stop buying our milk

New Zealand has a problem, well we have lots of problems, but one of the largest that almost nobody wants to talk about is the dairy industry.

Continue reading Dear world, please stop buying our milk