Tag Archives: shopping

30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 28 – Check Your Closet

Compassionate Fashion: It’s Cool to be Kind

4bc98b7c9d24d2de8293f3ac731abf98-994cfb48456e223324103b0d6d76f2feDenial is vast and deep, and it tends to manifest itself in the excuses we tell ourselves to justify our behaviour – not only to feel better about what we’re doing but also to feel good about it. When it comes to leather we often declare that it is just a by product of the meat industry, and say we feel good knowing they’re at least doing something with the leftover parts of the animals instead of having them go to waste. As much as we like to believe the leather industry is motivated by waste-conscious altruism, it is not the case. The U.S, leather industry is a $1.5 billion business tanning over 100 million animal skins every year; worldwide its even bigger, representing $46 billion, ranking amongst the most importantly traded commodities.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge

Day 28 moves out of the kitchen and into other areas of the house, in particular the wardrobes and furnishings. It is unnerving to think about how much of the fabric we use is skin. This is still an issue for me. The shoes I wear every day and my handbag are leather, as is my wallet. The dog and cats have a sheepskin to sleep on.  Though fortunately one of the cats threw up on that, and now it is outside getting weathered, which means I should be able to throw it away soon when the cats are finished with it.

For the moment, my policy is to keep everything I use, and when I need to replace it, do so with synthetic or plant-based fibres. The problem is that I tend to keep things, including clothes, for years and wear them out.

Continue reading 30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 28 – Check Your Closet

30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 6 – Go Shopping

Getting to Know the Grocery Store 

4bc98b7c9d24d2de8293f3ac731abf98-994cfb48456e223324103b0d6d76f2fe“Make no mistake about it; though it appears you are exercising personal choice and freedom when you choose one product over another, massive efforts and huge amounts of money go into influencing – i.e. manipulating – your decisions. … Every day, every moment, whether it’s through radio and television commercials; magazine, newspaper, and Internet advertisements; supermarket product placements; billboards or celebrity endorsements we are told what to eat, especially when it comes to animal products … no one is immune to theses messages, which are so powerful, so prevalent, and so effective that any recommendations against consuming meat, dairy and eggs are called biased.”

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge

Day 6 is about food shopping. We, as consumers are situated within a well-oiled corporate marketing machine, so slick and polished that until you consciously decide to try and execrate yourself from the machine, you are oblivious to just how pervasive and manipulative it actually is.

Nothing says "I love you Mum" like a creepy uncle with a bucket of dead birds soaked in salt and saturated fat, a bunch of flowers.
Nothing says “I love you Mum” like a creepy uncle with a bucket of dead birds soaked in salt and saturated fat, and a bunch of flowers.

We are completely saturated by corporate messaging telling us what to eat.  The only stronger messaging is what we were taught and was modelled to us as children, by adults equally influenced by the same social conditioning and commercial marketing strategies.

Now, I see it everywhere, this constant barrage of commands to “EAT, EAT, EAT” – is it any wonder we have such an alarming obesity problem. What do they keep pushing us to eat? Most of the time it is animal products and highly processed junk food – usually in the same food items.  Fortunes have been spent figuring out how  our human physiology and psychology can be best manipulated to extract money from us.  What lies will we want to believe? How much salt, sugar and fat will it take to get us craving? What are our emotional weak points – the ones that make us use food (or whatever) to compensate for love, sex and happiness, or to ward off fear and insecurity? What colours, sounds, smells, shapes or temperatures are we most attracted to?

Continue reading 30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 6 – Go Shopping

30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 5 – Get to Know What’s Really in Your Food

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Reading Labels

“Being vegan is about doing the best we can in an imperfect world. It’s not about being perfect or pure. If we lose sight of that, if we treat veganism as the ends rather than the means, then we’ll not only drive ourselves crazy, we’ll also forget what being vegan is all about. There are some things we have no control over, and I think it makes more sense to focus on what we can do rather than what we can’t.

And there’s so much we can do.”

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge

wine-186018_1280It’s downright depressing how much animal death is in the food we eat. Dairy, meat, fish and eggs are the main and most obvious ones, but all the things you would never expect! Who knew they use dried fish bladders to clarify beer and wine?

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30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 4 – Count the Costs of NOT Being Vegan

Eating Healthfully Affordably

4bc98b7c9d24d2de8293f3ac731abf98-994cfb48456e223324103b0d6d76f2fe“When people make the transition to a whole foods plant-based diet, one of the things they notice is how much less money they spend on food.”

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, 30 Day Vegan Challenge

One common excuse people can use to not go vegan is to talk about how expensive it would be. They have never looked into it, but they just somehow ‘know’ that it is.

On Day 4, Colleen breaks down nicely what it really costs to not eat a plant-based diet – wholefood, of course. A junk food diet is still a nutrient poor, unhealthy diet regardless of its animal content.

Day 4 comments not only on the immediate monetary costs for the individual, but also on the hidden, long-term costs of healthcare (and time lost if you do get sick from a lifestyle related illness or disability); the social and economic costs of a sick, under performing population who need expensive medical care, heart surgery and pharmaceuticals to make it into old age. There are also the huge environmental costs of animal agriculture – direct monetary costs like the amount ratepayers hand over to clean up water damaged by the dairy industry, and the more indirect lifestyle costs, such as no longer being able to swim in our waterways. Underlying all of this are the true victims, the farm animals, who pay with their abused bodies and lives, and the wild native species who lose their habitats and food supplies.

A plant-based diet, wholefood diet can not only save you money directly, it also lowers health and environmental risks, and causes the least harm to our fellow earthlings - all of them both human and other species.
A plant-based, wholefood diet can not only save you money directly, it also lowers health and environmental risks, and causes the least harm to our fellow earthlings – all of them, human and other species.

The chapter also includes a few useful tips on how to shop (and not to shop) to help your dollar stretch that little bit further.

Cost Comparison

Out of interest, I decided to do a simple cost comparison to see how a wholefood vegan diet looked next to a typical, everyday Kiwi one. My conclusion is that plant-based will not cost you more, and overall is likely to end up being less expensive.

Continue reading 30 Day Vegan Challenge – Day 4 – Count the Costs of NOT Being Vegan

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