veggie rules

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Calcium Rich - Health Poor?

It's taken a couple of years but I finally got around to registering with a Doctor.  The reason I've changed is because I shifted towns and now live too far away from the previous medical center that I used to go to.

So I picked a center close by and made an appointment to go in to interview the new Doctor.  Silly me, I had a wild hope that this guy would be somewhat knowledgeable with the vegan lifestyle.

It wasn't that he opposed my food choice, but he did admit to not knowing a lot about nutrition.  He asked the usual questions about where I get specific vitamins (at least he didn't ask about protein), then went on to say that the chances were that I'd be lacking in calcium …. the much needed mineral for bones.

He supplied me with a list of all the calcium rich foods which, naturally, had dairy products right at the top.

Unfortunately, I wasn't quick enough to argue the point that if dairy was the best source then how come the rate of osteoporosis has increased in the Western world?
Studies have found that "Osteoporosis is, in fact, a disease caused by a number of things, the most important of which is excess dietary animal protein" see article on Food Matters   Now I'm not a scientist, I'm not a trained nutritionist but I do have the power of deduction and when I learn that people who live in countries that have no or very little animal products yet have no sign of osteoporosis and are able to live healthier lives than we do, my logical brain does have to wonder why.

1964 - 2013

The meat and dairy industry have hoodwinked us for generations into believing that we must consume animal products in order to be healthy.  If you take a look at food pyramids put out by "respected" sources like the Heart Foundation  you'll see that, yes, they put vegetables at the top of the list, but they also have animal products including dairy designated to quarter of the plate.

I'm not against dairy, but in this day and age the dairy that is supplied to us is no longer true (unless you buy raw milk), as it is messed about with so much at the treatment plant that it is nothing like the milk that comes directly from the cow.  It's for this reason, (along with animal welfare and environment), that I have chosen to no longer consume dairy.

So the next time I see this Doctor I just might bring up the topic of dairy, calcium and osteoporosis.

Oh, and his comment about not knowing much about nutrition?  Very common in Doctors - I wonder why they still take the Hippocratic Oath as Hippocrates says: "Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food".

Happy Eating

UPDATE:  Have had the results back from the blood tests that the doctor wanted me to have ... you know, "just like to check that you're not lacking in certain areas"  Well, what'd know - all perfect, in fact, more than perfect!  Iron higher than a healthy meat eater .... calcium high - duh, of course it is.  hahaha - love it!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Interesting - Fish Oil Causes Cancer

A few months ago I read something that made me quite concerned.

"According to a recent Journal of the National Cancer Institute study, the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids from marine animals leads to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer."  (Source Veg News)

So I went through to the actual article at the National Cancer Institute which went on to say that those taking the fish oil supplement were at a higher risk of getting, not only prostrate cancer, but also that Omega 3 may not protect brain health either.....that's a little disconcerting don't you think?

One sentence popped out at me "The problem comes when you take components of a diet and put it in a pill," and it made me realize just how much we've screwed around with nature not realizing that the nutritional value comes as a package deal from the whole plant, not just part of it.

Let's face it, years ago (and I mean years), we didn't have supplements.  People grew, farmed and fished for food and their diet was subjected to their environment.  So people who lived inland didn't get fish at all but still were able to get everything the body needed in order to stay healthy.

We are constantly being told that we have to supplement, especially those who have a vegan diet,  so I'm thinking - is this because we have polluted our fields, our pastures and our oceans with poisons to such an extent that we can no longer rely on natural foods to keep us healthy?  Duh, doesn't take a scientist to realize this.

We need more people to demand organic foods.  We need more people to demand a stop to the ghastly way we are destroying our oceans and our land.  How likely is this going to happen in my lifetime?  Not likely at all while there are the corporate giants whose only mission in life is to make  truck loads of money and who are power hungry.

So the health industry will continue to feed us supplements telling us that this is the best way to get all our vitamins and minerals when all we really need is the food to be whole, organic and devoid of any pollutants.

I know I'm probably preaching to the converted, but would love you to share this - the more our friends get educated the better off we'll be.

Happy Eating

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

McDonald's November Sales Down

I read this today from Reuters:  McDonald's November Sales Miss...

"(Reuters) - McDonald's Corp on Monday reported another sluggish month of sales at established restaurants, results that suggest the famed hamburger chain is losing U.S. market share to rivals."

Now, on the one hand, I want to jump up and down yelling "whoop whoop", then again, the other side of me sees that they are attributing the downturn to other fast food outlets which are just as bad in my opinion.

Wouldn't it be great if it was more that people were heading away from fast foods and going back to wholesome, nutritional foods prepared in their homes …… not that that is going to happen.  Especially as there are so many pre-packaged foods available in supermarkets.

One sentence did stand out in this article "McDonald's may have to boost promotions to improve sales" - Boost promotions!!!! Really????  Yes, I know, McDs have plenty of money to throw at marketing and, sadly it is aimed at the least fortunate (e.g. those who work there for such a paltry wage) and children who don't know what healthy is.

God forbid that we feed our children healthy foods …. the pharmaceutical and medical industry would have a coronary - I mean, healthy children would grow into healthy adults, then where would they be?

Happy Eating

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Real Vegetarian Me

It's now confession time.  Something has been weighing on my mind for quite some time now and I feel it's time to " 'fess up".

When I made the decision to create The Vegetarian Center website a few years ago, I had no idea that it would become a real platform (especially the blog) for me to express my views.

I was advised to use a nom de plume - (defined as: an assumed name used by a writer instead of their real name; a pen-name.), the reason being that, because it was the internet, it would keep my private life separate.  It made sense back then.

But the more I've gone along, the more I feel the need to take ownership of my opinions, my writing and the creation of my website and blog.  I am proud of what my lifestyle is.  I am proud of my feelings and opinions and I no longer wish to hide behind a made-up name.

So Jane Hartwood has left the building.  And I am happy to introduce the real me: Fee O'Shea. 

Everything that I have written has always come from Fee's heart, from Fee's intellect and from Fee's point of view.

It's only been Jane's name that has been tacked onto the end of writing or correspondence.  All other identity such as children and where I live (New Zealand) is perfectly correct and true to the life of Fee.

Here's to the demise of "Jane", the cork has popped for Fee and it feels so right.  I'm hoping that those who know "Jane" will understand and support my decision to reveal the real me.

And to make it totally official - here's the real me in my kitchen cooking up some gorgeous vegetarian meal ....

Happy Eating

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Now What Do I Eat to Be Healthy?

I've just finished reading an article on GreenMedInfo about rice, potato and tomato may be as inflammatory as wheat.


I've been trying for past few weeks to remove wheat from my diet, not because I have an allergy to it, but because of the hybridization and GMO that has been going on to such an extent since the 1950's that wheat is no longer in its natural form.

Now I'm not a "health nut" although I am healthy, but I am conscious of trying to only have good foods to keep me healthy - if you can get my drift there.  So when I read that rice, potato and tomatoes are as bad as wheat you can imagine my surprise (and utter disappointment).

These three foods are not foods I have every day and I do try to have brown rice as opposed to white, but…… even so I do eat them.   And tomatoes - please, give me a break!!! 

I'm at the stage where I'm thinking maybe I read too much - I certainly don't want to live in fear, so I will just continue with my attitude of eating well balanced vegan foods that are nourishing and flavorsome and just be grateful for the good health I do have.

Happy Eating

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Moon's Not Made Of Cheese - It's Green

Laugh!  Geez did I have a real "laugh out loud" moment when I read the headlines "NASA plans to farm greens on the moon" - are they saying that greens are far more important than cows or sheep or pigs…..????  

No, I realize that's not what they're saying that at all - it will be easier to "farm" vegetables than farm animals. But I do find it very interesting that they hold the "greens" in such high esteem as to want to actually grow them on the moon (or in space).  The reason being is that, according to this article: Tossed In Space  the scientists are really working hard to make food from the new technology of 3D-printing.

I don't have a problem with 3D-printing especially when it comes to tools etc that may be needed in space.  But food?   No, no, please don't go there .... I find this quite alarming especially for highly trained, fit and skilled astronauts - the last thing they need is cardboard food!!!

So here's hoping they get the vegetables to grow .... then we can have Vegan astronauts - what wonderful role models they will be then!

Happy Eating

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Promoting Unhealthy Food.

And, no, it's not me who is promoting unhealthy food….far from it.

This video (at the end of this post) came across my desk the other day and when I first viewed it I must admit it did look like a good idea to help with a cultural tradition, but then I got to thinking about it and suddenly it just seemed wrong on many levels.

It's not the actual "mask" that is the problem.

Again, people are bombarded with the marketing strategies of the corporate fast foods..the most unhealthy foods on the planet.  Here are people who have been healthy eaters until the western fast food companies arrived and now these companies are determined to really try to corrupt a nation and increase their risks of numerous diseases all associated with processed, nutrition-less foods.

Who gains by the deterioration of a country's health - the pharmaceutical companies?, the medical profession?, the health insurance companies?, the meat processing companies?…..I'm sure the list goes on and, do you notice that these are all the big corporations - of course you do.

And on the flip side - who suffers?  The nation's ordinary man in the street?, the environment?, the farmers who practice sustainable farming?, the organic industry? all of whom are the victims of the abuse from the fast food industry who really don't give a jot about the Joe Blogs of this world.

Again, it's not the "mask" - it's the marketing ploy totally invented to increase sales (and it's worked).

Time to make a stand….we can each do our bit by refusing to purchase from these food outlets - start eating whole foods and actually "know" what you are putting into your mouth.

Happy Eating

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Learning from History

I found this quite fascinating ….. but not surprising.

During WWII Britain's population was short of food.  Rationing was put in place for such things as butter, sugar and bacon which was then followed up with eggs, meat, cheese, cereals, jam and milk.

So far I see that list as pretty impressive.

Every person was issued with a ration book.  Some exceptions were made with the likes of pregnant women and children given extra milk and eggs.  The under 5 year olds had organ juice, blackcurrent juice, rosehip syrup and cod liver oil, but interestingly enough they were only allowed half of the meat ration.

To make up for the rationing, people were encouraged to dig up their flower gardens and plant vegetables. The government also provided public areas which, even today, are used for vegetable growing - called allotments…awesome idea.

Along with the rationing of food, there was also rationing of petrol which meant people either used public transport, walked or biked to get where they wanted to go.  With all that walking/biking along with digging in a garden you can imagine how fit they were.

During this time, no-one went hungry.  The population slimmed down, were healthier and there was a fall in tooth decay.  I would also guess that community spirit was lifted, and that people were more likely to help each other.

It's a pity these ethics didn't continue.  Yes, I know, people were so grateful that the war years were over and so enjoyed the abundance that followed in the 50's.  I'm certainly not advocating a war, but I do wonder why we continue not to learn from history and apply those wonderful benefits somehow to our modern society.

Guess I'm just a fairy wishing upon a star.
Happy Eating

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Carnivores live in FairyLand!

The other day I posted a video up on my personal FaceBook profile to share it around with my friends...and I've got quite a few friends - the majority being carnivores.

Now the thing is that when I post, what I call "fluffy stuff", (examples below), I get lots of "likes" and "comments".

"...This is wonderful news that these bridges and underpasses are working!!!" Refers to an article about bridges that have been built especially for bears so they can cross roads.

Or this cute photo:

I don't normally put up hard hitting stuff, I leave that for the Vegetarian FB page (see the link to the page.....just up there...on the left - it says "Become a Fan").
Where was I?  Right, as I said most of my stuff on my profile page is just the usual sort of things interspersed with lovely animal photos.  But this video (below) I just had to put up.
My reason?  I really don't think any of my carnivore friends have any idea what really happens to animals before they get to the supermarkets.  And, like the title says, I really believe that most meat eaters live in fairyland.  They bury their head in the sand and just don't want to know.

I even issued a challenge to my friends "So you buy chicken from the grocery store do you? Are you brave enough to watch this????" and today I added a comment "Sooooo, no-one was game to watch it huh?" hoping that my added comment will go through the news feed again.

Well, we'll see........ Do I think anyone will watch it?  No.

So if any of my blog followers, who still eat chicken, are game enough to watch the video then please post up a comment.  Do I think there will be any comments to this blog?  No.

I'm unable to imbed the video on this you'll have to click the link.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Why Are People Scared of Vegetarians/Vegans?

This delightful photo came across my desk a little while ago and it sure made me laugh .... oh how true!!!

Which leads me to the title of this post "Why are people scared of vegetarians/vegans?"

Let's face it, those of us who are constantly having the question "what do you eat for protein?" thrown at us know just how boring that is.  It's like - here we go again - and you put a smile on your face and trot out your much used answer (whatever that is).

It's been so ingrained in us through excellent marketing strategies by the meat industry that one can't survive without meat protein.  Because of that, it's always such an uphill battle convincing meat eaters that, actually, they are having too much protein due to the fact that protein is in so many of the other foods that they are eating.

But, getting back to the question in hand about why meat-eaters are "scared" of vegetarians.  My opinion is, because of all that ingrained marketing beliefs, they think if they go without meat they will suddenly "fall over" through not eating properly.

Another reason for their fear is that they are so used to cooking (or dining out on) meat as the focal point of the dish that they really have no idea just how much more interesting and tasty their food can be if they take the meat out of the equation.

Even when I do serve vegetarian or vegan meals to friends, they are fascinated, they enjoy it and they even ask for more ideas on cooking with e.g. lentils (or whatever I've used).  However, once home, it's back to what they know - meat first.

My usual response is to give them the recipe and encourage them to give it just one try, and if they like it, then to contact me and I'll give them another recipe.  It works, but not often.

If I can get one person to change one meat meal to vegetarian once a week then it's a start.

Oh, and if you want to see just how much more protein meat eaters are having check out this chart - and it's based on only 100g.

Only some of the many foods that have protein!

Just so you know - a person weighing 150 lbs. should eat 55 grams of protein per day.  Now, going by the above if some-one of that weight had one egg for breakfast, a peanut butter sandwich for lunch and a 100 gm piece of chicken for dinner - and nothing else - that's 68.5 grams of protein...over the required amount.

Happy Eating

Monday, July 29, 2013

Can You Lose Weight Eating Vegetarian?

I had someone ask me the other day if you could lose weight eating vegetarian.....simple answer is "Yes" you can.  However - and there is a "but" or "however" in this case - it is like any other diet, you have to do it right.

I'm not writing today about the plus and minus of going on a diet.  Weight is a personal choice, some people have healthy meals and are a larger size than others...that's just the beauty of individuality.  However, one thing I will say is that if you are considering losing weight, then please don't do the "fad" diets.  Even companies that offer meal replacements are just as bad at creating that yo-yo type of weight gain/loss.

If you are wanting to lose some weight, then consider a meal plan that teaches you how to keep the weight off...and that's one of the good things about going vegetarian - it leads to actually changing your lifestyle.  Once a person discovers that, not only can they lose weight, but they can be healthy as well just by eating foods that are beautifully delicious, it's not long before they never want to go back to eating animals.

People become vegetarian for a variety of reasons - weight loss being one of them.  But once they have committed to this lifestyle, they soon learn how freeing it is, not only for themselves, but for the animals and the environment.  Learn more.

Happy Eating

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Did You Know.....? Foods With Hidden Meat.

I read this the other day on a favorite website of mine: Green Prophet and thought it was well worth putting it up on my blog.
I must admit that some I did know, but others surprised me.
Thanks Green Prophet.  If you want to read their whole article go here: Animal Free Food 

hidden meat
"How many of these veggie-imposters surprise you?
  1. Beer and Wine,  particularly those made in Britain, use isinglass (a byproduct of fish bladders) in the clarification process. Most is removed in production, but traces can remain.
  2. Fruit Juice frequently contains Vitamin D derived from lanolin (sheep oil), Omega-3 sourced from fish oil, and gelatin (a collagen obtained from beef skin and pig hide). Apple juice is often clarified using isinglass (refer back to Beer and Wine).
  3. Enhanced Breads, as with juices, may include Omega-3 amino acids originating from fish oil. Commercial baked goods may also contain non-vegan ingredients such as milk, eggs, butter, whey, and honey.
  4. Parmesan Cheese and other regional cheeses such as Pecorino Romano, are required by law to use rennet in the curdling process to retain their “authenticity”. Rennet, sometimes called “enzymes” on product labels, is derived from animal stomachs.
  5. Boxed Cake Mix uses beef fat, sometimes listed as lard, as a common ingredient. It’s also present in many cakes, cupcakes, and cookies.
  6. Bagels use a dough conditioner “enzyme L. Cysteine”, commonly sourced from duck and chicken feathers. It’s used in other processed bread products, particularly those served in fast food joints. (Dunkin Donuts, Pizza Hut  and McDonald’s  all admit to the practice respectively in their donuts, garlic bread, and apple pie.)
  7. White Sugar bags typically list only “sugar” as an ingredient, but most processed sugar (including brown and confectioner’s) is whitened by a process that uses bone char.
  8. Red Candy and most any food that’s colored red contains pigments extracted from the female Dactylopius coccus costa.  This red bug dye is typically listed as cochineal, carminic acid or carmine in the ingredients.  It’s found in candy, wine, vinegar, juice and colored pasta. Many candies are also coated with shellac, a resin excreted by the lac bug, which is usually listed as “confectioner’s glaze:”.
  9. Soups, particularly those prepared in restaurant kitchens, are usually made with stock made from chicken, beef, or fish.  Canned vegetable soups can also contain animal stock and gelatin thickeners.
  10. Salad Dressings in restaurants often start with bacon fat for added flavor, undermining the classic vegetarian go-to in restaurants. Caesar dressing contains anchovies, and creamy dressings often include gelatin.
  11. BBQ-Flavored Chips,  well, if you’re tucking into a bag of greasy chips, food purity may not be paramount.  But know that most brands of BBQ-flavored chips get their punch from chicken fat. Worcestershire Sauce is made with anchovies.
  12. Packaged Peanuts, high in quality protein, are an easy snack, but beware of gelatin coatings.
  13. Breath Mints, Gummy Bears, Marshmallows, Jello and Fruit Jellies frequently contain gelatin made from animal skin and bones."
    Where the Gelatin comes from - YUK
Again, thanks to my friends at Green Prophet.

Happy Eating

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Little Visitor

I've decided that maybe I should be a Buddhist.  Well, lots of people ask me if I am due to the fact that I just find it totally impossible to harm animals.  I'm the one in the family who will actually take a cockroach out into the garden, so when I saw a little field mouse walk into the house the last thing I thought of doing was setting a trap……a killing/maiming one.

I was sitting on the deck, minding my own business and having a morning coffee when I saw this cute little mouse come from behind the broom that's up against the wall and just duck inside.

I named her Millie……of course, she could have been a Mickey.  So Millie took up residence behind the fridge.  She was exceptionally clean, never saw any sign that she was even in the house, in fact we actually thought she'd gone back outside.  However, the clue was all the little dog biscuits that we saw along the side of the fridge.

Now the dog is old, blind and deaf and, although still with a good sense of smell, she totally had no idea that someone else was dining out on her food.  In fact Millie really was living the high life….where else would she be warm, safe and buffet styled fresh food right on her doorstep.

But it was time for action.  After searching the net I came across a humane mouse trap ideal for trapping and releasing.

The trap duly arrived and after putting a little peanut butter on the end it was set right next to the fridge.  It did go through my mind that maybe Millie, with a stock of food already, may not be tempted.

Now the idea of the trap is that Millie would run into it, go to the end where the food is, the door would shut and the trap would tip.  So quite when Millie got in there is anyone's guess.  During the day I did hear little clicking noises, check the trap but it still looked like it was in the "set" mode, hadn't tipped at all.  It wasn't until later in the evening and on closer inspection I realized that she was, in fact, in there.  Design fault...needs to be a sticker on the door so you know that it's shut - where's the paint brush, I'll put a dot of paint there.

Well, there was nothing else to be done….I mean, I had no idea how long the poor little thing had been in there, but she just had to be released regardless of the fact that I was now in the P.J.s.  Into the car we hopped (dog and all) and off round the corner to the reserve next to the beach.

Millie was released, right next to the trash bin….well, got to give a girl some hope!!!

A little p.s.  pulling the fridge out to clean (and check there was no nest .... no), wow there was a huge stash of doggie bikkies under and around the fridge - I wonder if she had a bit of squirrel in her????

Happy Animals

Monday, May 13, 2013

Where Does It Go?

Being a vegetarian in this country is a little unusual, of course, being vegan is just downright weird…but I'm not here to discuss the questions that I get asked, nor to ponder on the reasons this place is still a bit behind the 8 ball.

I was on the Vegetarian Forum today discussing quinoa and it got me thinking about how the different supermarkets approach vegetarian/vegan food.  So, as quinoa has already been mentioned, let's use it as the example. 

Now I do realize that most people here in N.Z. haven't got a clue what quinoa is, they still pronounce it quin-o-a instead of keen-wa, but you would think that the supermarkets would have some inkling of an idea as to what type of food it is.  Well, I'm here to tell you that I have found quinoa on a variety of different shelves in a variety of different supermarkets.

I've found it in the pasta section, the baking section, the gluten free section (yes, that's not too bad a choice, but not one that I'd go to straight away), it's been in the rice section and in with the cereals.  Sometimes I find it in the "International" part, the snacks aisle and once I was directed to the condiments - bizarre! 

The strange part is that if I go back to the same supermarket it can quite often be shifted and I have to start the quest all over again.  I'm at the point now where I just start laughing… point getting upset… least they do offer quinoa albeit one brand.

I thought maybe I should write to the supermarkets and tell them to create a new section: "Don't Know What It Is" - I'm sure they'd fill it up pretty quick.

Oh, and I can get it at my local health food store, no problem....I'm talking supermarkets - I would think it would go where the couscous goes.......any advances on that????

Happy Eating

Monday, May 6, 2013

I've Started Farming

Farming? Well, worm farming.  Finally, after months of having the worm farm paraphernalia sitting around with no worms in it I am happy to announce that a very healthy bunch of Tiger, Red and Indian blue worms have taken up residence.

The process was really pretty easy.  I think the reason I hadn't gotten around to actually getting the worms was because I was really nervous about how I might just not be very good at it.

I was in the garden shop getting some winter veggie seedlings and when I got up to the counter I noticed that the people in front had purchased a worm farm.  I asked if they knew where to get the actual worms and, lo and behold, they were right there in the shop.  Hadn't seen them before, but then I don't think they come in very often.  Maybe the worms prefer the more up-market garden centers that have cafes and gift stores attached?

Off down the aisles I went in search of the worms…determination on my face and in my stride.  Found them, rushed back to the check out and into the car before I could change my mind.

The worms have their own website, so tap, tap, tap on the keys and up came a really great site with great information and brilliant videos that showed just how easy it was.  WormsRus

Got the worms settled in and this morning when I went to check….yup, they were all there wriggling and squirming and doing what worms love to do - starting the composting procedure.

This is going to be fun!  Oh, and the winter veggies got planted to.

Happy Eating

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Big Business At It Again?

New Zealand has the dubious honor of having the largest dairy exporting company in the world. Yup, little N.Z. can lay claim that dairy products are exported to more that 100 countries around the globe.

The company's name is Fonterra and you can bet your bottom dollar that they will outstrip and outsmart any other company that makes dairy products.

The latest "innovative" move they have made is to introduce a "light-proof" plastic milk bottle.  Now I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they genuinely thought they were right when they came up with the idea that milk deteriorates when it comes in contact with light and they should do something about it, but I'm more inclined to think that this is one helluva marketing ploy that will get the punters believing that, not only is milk good for you but it should be kept in the dark.

I spoke to a sales lady who was promoting the new bottles in the super market the other day, the conversation went something like this:

Lady:   Do you like the new bottle?
Me:      No, I don't - I can't see how much is left
Lady:   If you can't see the milk then that's actually a good thing, as it means neither can the light!
Me:     (under my breath -duh) It still doesn't solve the problem….so you're saying that one just has to do the weight and shake test and judge when you're going to run out.
Lady:   Ignored my comment.
Me:      With three layers….that seems like an awful lot of plastic.
Lady:   These bottles are 100% recyclable.
Me:      Yes, I know that, but it just seem like more plastic.
Lady:   The plastic is thinner, so there's not that much more at all.
Lady:   Did you know that with these bottles it means that the milk will be as good on day 15 as it is on day 1.
Me:     Mmmmmm, I think you'll find that a bottle of milk will be used within about 3 or 4 days in the majority of families - or are you saying that I can leave the milk out on the bench longer?
Lady:  Oh no, the milk still has to be refrigerated.
Me:     So there's really no difference then.
Lady:  Yes, this milk tastes better.
Me:     I can't see why if the milk is still used up quickly….milk is milk.
Lady:  But with these bottles it's fresher.
Me:     I can't see why - other companies get the milk bottled and into the stores daily, just like Fonterra does.

And so the conversation continued.

I finally left…I'd had my humor for the day….so off I went to get my soy milk….don't drink milk anyway!

When I was putting this blog together I came across an article (see link below) that said that the recycling companies are not happy with this bottle as it takes more energy and resources to create it. Wish I'd known that when I was talking to the lady!

There was also a comment made by "Whiti (N.Z.)" who threw up another argument:
"My wife is a science teacher and just couldn't resist testing the new bottle. Happy to report that the bottle does indeed appear to be light proof.
Unfortunately the good old fashioned lid is not. Given that most light tends to shine down seems a bit of an oversight if it's really all that important. Maybe just a lot of hype over nothing? Nice try Fonterra better luck next time."  See the article: New Zealand Herald 

Good one, Whiti, couldn't have said it better myself.
Give me the old fashioned way anytime!

Happy Eating

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Do You Buy Free Range Eggs?

Wake up everyone at take a look at what really happens. 

"This was his last moment on earth. He tried to fly away, but he was too young. 200 million male baby chicks are ground up alive every year because they are useless to the egg industry. He was one of them." (taken from "Mercy For Animals" website)

There are some videos that I really can't watch.  I'm a bit squeamish you see and I hate to see animal cruelty.  But if you're still not convinced go to the link above.

If you must eat eggs try to find some-one local who loves their chookies, (hens/chickens).
Yes, I still eat eggs from time to time - I do struggle a bit to be fully vegan, but my beautiful vegan friends don't pass judgement, bless them.
In saying that I eat eggs I am extremely lucky that I have a friend who just loves her chookies and I reap the benefit of being able to get eggs from her when they are fully laying.

These chookies roam free around her property, in fact they lay their eggs in the strangest places which is so cool.  They are not even fenced in other than the border fence around their property.  They do have a little house where they can roost for the night, but most of the time they roost in the trees.

Even so called "free range" eggs that you buy at your local supermarket can be a bit suss because, they too don't want to have the male chickens….what do they do about that?  Well a lot of the "free range" farmers buy their laying chickens from big factory-farm hatcheries….of course they only get the female ones so they believe that their hands are clean.

And what does my friend do?  Well, she does eat meat.  She doesn't raise that many chickens anyway because she takes the eggs…but if some do slip through and go on to hatch they are raised up…regardless of whether they're male or female.  And come the time - yes, she will kill one for the table - well, her husband does the killing.

If, like me, you can't do without eggs try to find some-one local who loves their chookies. A good place to start is at the Farmers markets and ask questions!!!

Read this for more on so called "Free-Range" poultry and eggs. but be warned, it will shock you.

Happy Eating

Monday, April 15, 2013

Oil Spill Affects Humans This Time

With so many oil spills over the years it really wasn't too much of a surprise when I read from a favorite site of mine - "Two weeks ago today, Exxon Mobil's Pegasus pipeline carrying diluted bitumen from Canada ruptured catastrophically, creating a 22-foot long gash that unleashed hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil and toxic chemical diluents into the Central Arkansas town of Mayflower."

What is tragic about this is the number of residences who have suffered from toxic fumes, the contaminated water and the fact that these people will now have to battle with lawsuits.  Having something like this happen within a built up area highlights the danger that pipelines, that criss-cross countries around the world, can create.  Most of the time these spills affect both the environment and the animals and, although tragic, is not as impacting on our sense of horror and outrage as it is when there is a population of humans in the forefront.

It really is time that we put more pressure on these companies that disregard the environment and disregard human and animal suffering.

I leave you with a video put out by comedians Andy Cobb and Mike Damanskis who have satirized this disaster…..even though it's "comedy" I'm sure if you watch it you will get the underlying message.

Happy Eating

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Do You Use Re-Usable Shopping Bags?

I came across an article the other day which worried me a bit: Are Reusable Shopping Bags Making Us Sick   The article went on to say that "studies seem to link reusable grocery bags to food borne illness" along with the increase in stolen food.

Well, it was the illness part that concerned me and I would hope that people would read the entire article before passing judgement as it goes on to add that although different microbes were found and "more than half the bags contained some sort of coliform bacteria" what the study didn't say were the specific strains of E. coli found in the bags.  According to Dr. Susan Fernyak, director of San Francisco’s Communicable Disease and Control Prevention division, “Your average healthy person is not going to get sick from the bacteria that were listed,”

I can remember as a child, my mother always used string bags or a cane basket to do her shopping.  It was in the days before supermarkets and we would go to the butcher, (who wrapped the meat in brown paper), then onto the vegetable market, the baker and the grocer for flour/sugar etc.  None of the items were put in plastic, in fact, other than the meat, I don't remember anything else being wrapped…..oh, wait a minute, I think the bread was put into a paper bag.

I think the string bags would go through the wash periodically, but the cane basket I don't know, she may have wiped it out.

Now I realize that the bacteria and other microbes bugs have mutated and become more vicious over the years, but maybe if those who use reusable bags are educated into making sure the bags are washed regularly we just might be able to win the war on plastic.

I did come across a string bag made from hemp:   Having a "see through" bag would also stop the food being stolen as well.

Another thought - why doesn't someone invent a thin disposable bag, (like the plastic bag), made from hemp….good for the environment, the growing of hemp is easy, sustainable and good for the land and it's strong enough that bags won't split.  Supermarkets would use these instead of the plastic bags and we could use them as bin liners.  Oh, that's right, growing hemp is illegal unless under license.

Happy Eating

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Kudos to the Creators

I came across this (below) on FaceBook the other day.  Mercy For Animals  has put out a hard-hitting T.V. advertisement exposing the hidden ingredient in meat products.  It's only on a few channels in very few cities in the USA and on one national station.

Naturally I took a look at the ad and I was simply wowed by the dramatic effect this ad has.  All I can say is that I sincerely hope it gets air-time, that the people who do see it, (even just a small percent), take the message it gives and re-consider eating anything "meat" from the fast food industry or any other processed animal foods.

As I've said before, I'm a realist and know that there will always be meat eaters.  Rather than try and convert them to vegetarianism, (much as I'd like to), I hope to get the message out there to them that they should GET TO KNOW how and where their meat comes from - and it's ads like this that, in my opinion, help to spread the word.  Wouldn't it be great if we could see a world-wide campaign.

More about this ad:

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Milking Cows

Some time ago I posted a video on my FaceBook page that, when I saw it, had a huge impact on me.  I'm going to post it here as well at the end of this blog post.  Don't worry there's no violence in it, in fact, there's not a cow in sight.

Here in New Zealand, the general consensus is that our dairy farmers treat their cows exceptionally well when in actual fact that's not always the case.

Many a time I have driven past farms where the cows are on the path wandering slowly towards the milking shed, heads down, udders bursting.  It has made me wonder just how they feel.
And, recently a farmer was jailed for cruelty to the cows in his herd....won't go into details but if you do want to read more: Farmer Jailed

And presently we are in drought conditions.  The sight of animals, both sheep and cows trying to find food on dry and barren farms are a constant "news item".  What appalls me is the lack of shade on these farms.
Oh there's the odd one that has trees, but the majority of land is tree-less and these animals are subjected to the heat of the sun.  This happens in summer here regardless of whether it's a drought or not.

Now, I'm not saying that all farmers disrespect their animals,  on the contrary, yes New Zealand is probably one of the better countries for treatment of dairy cows , but it also has a long way to go.

I'm just talking about the day to day life of a cow or sheep who is lucky enough to stay alive……….I read in the news this morning that the price of meat is coming down due to the fact that the market has been flooded because "we're all killing these animals flat tack, that's created the price." (quoted from online TVNZ news). 

I wonder, if there was ever a great food shortage, whether people would be slaughtered?  No, I'm just being silly…..cows are just animals, a money source - they don't have feelings.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Problem With Chicken

Aren't I just the cutest!
I've had a problem with chicken for 30 years after discovering a size 20 chicken in the supermarket freezer and thinking it was a turkey.  Back then I was eating meat, fish and poultry and never considered being vegetarian, but when I saw that chicken I just knew something was wrong with it.

Living my childhood in the 50s we were lucky enough to have chickens in the yard, veggie garden out the back and fruit trees to climb in...and we lived in a town.  So I did know how big a chicken grew under "normal" circumstances…..and a size 20 was not normal.

So I looked into this newish company, (I'm not going to mention names here), that had brought mass chickens to the freezers of New Zealand and what I discovered went against all that I believed to be humane conduct.

How can we live in a society that treats animals so badly?  Maybe 30 years ago when we didn't have the internet and information.  But every year we see more and more videos and T.V. shows about the intelligence of animals.  We now know that animals do have feelings, that they can cry, that they can grieve, that they can work things out, that they can have maternal feelings.

So why do we keep on insisting on abusing them, torturing them, housing them in crates and stalls that are too small for them, take their babies away from them and don't show them any respect at all?

Oh, that's right…..Money!  I think I've written that reason before on this blog, haven't I?

Monday, February 25, 2013

What to Blog About?

I've been a bit slack lately not keeping up with this blog.  I hope it's not just me, but do others have problems thinking of things to write about?

Don't suppose it would be so difficult if the blog was a general, all round, anything goes type of subject.  And even though I'm really passionate about being vegetarian, about the environment and, of course, about the welfare of animals, I still find it difficult to come up with a blog.

Let's face it, the blog has to be interesting or with one wave of the index finger on the're are still there, aren't you???

Well, the other day I watched a video about a little doggie who was rescued.  It's a simple little story, but so wonderful.  It was the first time in ages that I had tears and smiles all at the same time.
So treat yourself and have a watch.....
I'm signing off this blog - I know, "what was that all about?" I hear you say - just me, trying to get back into blogging.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Are We Killing Our Oceans….or Killing Ourselves?

In New Zealand at the beginning of 2013 there was a  massive wash up of dead Snapper (popular eating fish) onto one of the beaches which, in, not only my opinion, but others, has come from trawling nets ..... legal or illegal I do not condone trawling.  Here's the link:  Dead Fish   you can imagine how this horrified N.Z.ers as well as global sea lovers.

Are people just plain thick?  Can't they foresee that if this continues there won't be any fish.  It's well known that trawlers have increased the time they're at sea because it takes longer to catch the required amount.  Also illegal trawling is increasing as fish are being depleted from legal parts.

Not long after I heard about this I read the book "Killer Fish: How Eating Aquatic Life Endangers Your Health " which certainly opened my eyes to the health risks people take when they consume fish.  More so with farmed fish.

Researchers analyzed samples of farmed Atlantic salmon from different areas - Here's one of the findings that astounded me taken from the book:

"Total PCB concentrations in the farmed salmon were significantly higher than those in the wild Alaskan chinook samples. Organically farmed Norwegian salmon had the highest concentrations of PCBs; their TEQ [toxic equivalent] values are in the higher range of those reported in farmed salmon from around the world."
Well, you could blow me down with a feather….Organically farmed????? - that's outrageous.

But, of course, fish farms, like the meat industry, are over populated.  Fish are crammed into areas which become breeding grounds for viruses. 

With further research I discovered that a recent Harvard study (May 21, 2012) shows that toxic mercury is accumulating in the Arctic - source: Harvard News
"Mercury is considered a persistent bioaccumulative toxin because it remains in the environment without breaking down; as it travels up the food chain, from plankton to fish, to marine mammals and humans, it becomes more concentrated and more dangerous."

And, guess what, we are to blame for most of the mercury.  In itself mercury really isn't that bad at all.  It happens naturally, but in low levels.  However, about half of the mercury released into the atmosphere comes from human activities e.g. burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas, with contributions from waste incineration, mining and other industrial activities.

And so we come to pollution:
This is just the plastic, I'm not going to show pictures of sea animals and fish which have been entangled, injured or died from our complete indifference!
The amount of plastic floating in the Pacific Gyre - a massive swirling vortex of rubbish - has increased 100-fold in the past four decades.  Plastic is the bane of our existence.  Not only is it on land, but the effect it has on the ocean and the fish is simply outrageous.

People think that the oceans have unlimited inertia, but nano-particles of plastic are getting into marine life and the food chain which is affecting fish fertility rates, this, in turn, affects food security and coastal populations. Pollution is having a huge impact on the oceans.

Fish ingest an estimated 12,000 to 24,000 tons of plastic per year in the Pacific Ocean, according to research from the University of California San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
It's time we stopped treating our oceans as trash bins and started taking responsibility.

Our beautiful, forgiving and generous oceans are simply going to die if we don't stop over fishing and polluting them….they have enough to deal with already with climate change, let's not add to their burden……………maybe the "killer fish" is a way of payback.

veggie rules