veggie rules

Friday, December 19, 2014

I'm In Vegan Heaven

Being vegan and going away can sometimes be a complete pain in the rear end.  Other times it can be a real joy.  Well, this time that I am away is one of those really joyous times as I am in an area that embraces veganism with a vengeance.

I'm staying with family in Northern California.  Not only am I enjoying my family, the beautiful countryside with the stunning redwoods, but I'm embracing the shopping and the super variety of choice I have with food.

As an example: Where I live, the supermarket offers alternative milk in the form of soy, almond or rice.  It takes up about two sections of the shelving which is not even quarter of the aisle and that's about it.

Imagine my delight at seeing almost half the aisle dedicated to alternative milks!!!! From soy to almond, from coconut to hemp and rice.  Sweetened and unsweetened, flavored and plain.

Couldn't get the entire selection in the photo

Then, in another area there is ice-cream.  Vegan ice-cream, vanilla, coconut, chocolate, peppermint, caramel and even chai … and these the just the ones I've tried!

Past another cabinet and, wow, there's Polenta!  and here's me, making my own!  How easy is that to have it ready made!  (Mind you, it's not that difficult to make Polenta)

Of course I do have to mention the cabinets of "ready made" meals, fake meats and fake chicken in a wide variety of styles and flavours....not all are vegan, but there certainly is a huge variety.  My home supermarket offers one vegan brand and one vegetarian brand ... the products are on three shelves, certainly not two plus cabinets!

Oh yes, I'm in Vegan heaven.  

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Use of Wool

This is a story about a little company in N.Z. supplying something that, as far as I'm aware, is not available in the big ol' U.S of A.

Well, it's not actually a "story".  It's just something that happened that got me thinking.

Five years ago, I went over to USA to be with my daughter for the birth of baby number 1.  Being a good grandma, I took gifts in the form of organic, reusable cloth nappies (diapers for those of you who live outside N.Z.).  Purchased from:  The Nappy Lady


Absolutely BRILLIANT! 

My daughter is extremely environmentally conscious and was absolutely over the moon when she got these nappies.
Along with the nappies .... oh, all right then, diapers!, I took her over a couple of pairs of re-usable woolen breast pads which the Nappy Lady had recommended.  They were AMAZING!!!

Now, she's having baby number 2 and I'm about to head off to be with her.

A panicked letter arrived yesterday
".....mum, where did you get the wool nipple pads?  I held onto those for a long time but eventually they were misplaced...Is it possible that you can pick up some more please?  I would like two pairs if possible...."

Now, what's a mother to do?  Duh, get the "nipple pads" of course.
First point of contact - the lovely "The Nappy Lady" who is always just so helpful.  She put me onto the right website: Breastmates

Voila!  Wool breast pads! 
and, on seeing these, I also found this The Mumdrop Wrap:  - Wow, such a cool idea, wish it had been around in my day.
Getting back to the Wool breast pads.  This now creates a bit of a dilemma and I'm wondering just how many of you will agree or disagree with my purchase.

As you know, I'm vegan - therefore, no animal products which includes wool, leather etc.  and this is where I come unstuck.

I would rather purchase a natural product like these breast pads, that I know from witnessing it last time how healing they were when the nipples were cracked and sore after baby number 1.

Any chaps reading this …. well, cracked nipples, breast pads etc… fact of mummy life.
Giving my daughter a product that is reusable, environmentally friendly, has been made entirely in New Zealand sits right with me.

I know that the sheep are killed once their wool life is over and for this I am sad.  However, as I have seen working wool farms 1st hand, I know that our farmers actually do go beyond our strict animal welfare laws and that we have banned the cruel practice of mulesing.  Now I realize that there will be some rogue farmer/shearer who doesn't give a jot but I know some vegans who don't give a jot about other humans....there's always a rotten apple in any barrel.

I'm sure there are other vegans out there who think like me.  Those of us who will recycle leather  and wool from op-shops/thrift stores, those of us who will consider the use of wool and lanolin for the healing properties they offer.  Those of us who know the healing properties of propolis that bees give us.

And for those of us who do think like this, we are grateful to the animals who have provided us with these things.

To finish off …. I'm also a great supporter of small business within my own country - God knows we need to keep small businesses alive!

If you know of anyone who is having a baby, please check out these two sites.
My thanks to Kate from The Nappy Lady and to Franny from Breastmates for the great work you are doing and for caring about our environment.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Movie "Surviving Earth" Review

Have you seen the movie "Surviving Earth" yet?  It's really very good and worth seeing if you get the chance.

I belong to a movie club (docos) and last night's movie "Surviving Earth" was definitely worth trotting along to.

We see and hear lots about the destruction of our planet, the poisoning, the impact of intensive farming and the pollution of our waters.  But for me this was the first time I'd really got into the energy crises.  This film pointed out just how we are artificially sustaining 7+ billion people through our use of fossil fuels.  It is everywhere - from what we eat to what we wear and where and how we live.

The "cast" is made up of Prof. Tim Flannery, Ian Dunlop, Prof. Ian Lowe, Bindi Irwin (who I was very impressed with) and Uncle Bob Randall among others. Directed by Peter Charles Downey it's an excellent film.  It's made in Australia and shown from the Australian perspective.  However, that's pretty close to the rest of the western world.

As for the remedy?  Yes, it does have solutions which is always a good positive.  My view is though, that the environmental crises we're facing is more that just energy.  We must also look at all the factors from economic to animals as food, energy (fossil fuels) to other factors of pollution.  Along with the chemical poisons, rain forest (and other) destruction, population explosion, wars and disease as well as our oceans and water ways.  Once we can understand that it's more than just one or two things, then, I believe we will have a better chance at starting the reversal process.
It's not too late - but time is running out.  Each of us must become aware, and we must start a "movement".  As it says in the movies, the politicians are not going to do it …. we must.

Educate yourself on what you can do. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Strong Men - Vegan?

AWESOME!  I've just discovered that Gladiators - you know, those fighting men from the ancient time, were VEGANS!!!!  Now, this isn't current news, but it is to me.

60 Roman gladiators unearthed from a burial site in Turkey.  The tests that were done by researchers concluded that these men ate an exclusively plant based diet.  In fact the researchers actually used the V word to describe these gladiators.

(V=vegan for those who didn't get that)

Who says that man needs animal product to be strong ?????????

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Our Beautiful Gorge Under Threat...Nooooo!!

All I can say is "Duh" - I read this news report this morning and was just flabbergasted on so many levels.
Karangahake Gorge Mining

The Karangahake Gorge is the most beautiful area in so many ways.  I have traveled through there all my life and have seen it change over the years, surviving floods and the removing of the railway to name just two.  There are stunning walking tracks and a cycle trail, which uses the old railway track, has recently been opened up that is one of the top rides in New Zealand. 

This is an area that used to be mined back in the old days.  The amount of toxic waste that was dumped into the water and the scars to the land were bad.  Obviously very little was known back then about pollution, toxic chemicals, or environmental disasters.

However, nature has been kind and has "cleaned up" the water and brought the bush back to life.

So back to present day.  The District council has now given the go-ahead for the mining company New Talisman Gold Mines to begin exploration in this area.  This is the first "Duh"!  How totally selfish and shortsighted and greedy is that.

Selfish because the Government is maintaining that this is going to help the economy …. no, it will help the Government look better with the budget and with their employment figures.
Shortsighted because this is going to effect the tourist industry.  Shortsighted because of the environmental impact this is going to cause, especially after Nature has taken all that time and trouble in cleaning up the mess from the last time mines were there.
and… Greedy - pretty much the same as selfish - money into the coffers to make the Government look good.

The second "Duh" is the sheer insanity of the Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges of allowing something like this just a week or so out from the general election.
Mind you, with his track record of screwing with the environment (see my blog post Expanding Marine Sanctuaries) this doesn't surprise me at all.
Money comes first with young Simon as it does with the current Government.

Who will I be voting for?  I'm not even sure I'm going to vote …. I really don't know if I trust any of them.  So at the moment, I'm still one of the "undecided".  I know one thing for certain, I'm not supporting any political party that screws with our natural treasures.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

All For The Pigs

Saturday 26th July!!! Hopefully a day that helps to turn the tide for the caged pigs in New Zealand.  (I wrote about this in a previous blog - link).

The month of July has been a month of campaigning by members of SAFE around the country getting as many signatures as possible on a "Say No To Intensive Pig Farming in N.Z." petition.  This was kicked off with a documentary which aired on national television (See here for the Sunday Program) which was an expose on pig farming.  The following week was a further follow up program which, again, highlighted the plight of piggies, this time showing the abuse of piglets and a sow all taken with a hidden camera by Farm Watch on a different, randomly pick farm.

But, getting back to Saturday the 26th July.  SAFE organized protests and rallies in the main cities in both the North and South Island, with smaller centers getting on-board with petition signings and even a bake stall in one area.

In Tauranga, where I live, we had a signature drive in the Mount Maunganui area.  The sun was shining and the people were out walking the beach, having their cappuccinos, climbing the Mount or just enjoying the sun.  With 7 members of SAFE (two dressed in the piggy costumes) mingling among them, within a couple of hours we had filled over 25 sheets of the petition pages - well done Tauranga!!!

The majority of people were so ready to sign and most knew what the issue was without being told - wonderful!  One young woman I spoke to, who is from Holland, is totally disgusted with the way we treat our animals here.  She told me that Holland has banned all cages for any animal and that if they can do it with way more population and less space, then so can we in N.Z. - I totally agree with her.

I do have a really special THANK YOU to the Mount Pharmacy (Find them on FaceBook) - two wonderful women who gladly signed the petition...but that's not all, the owner then slipped away and came back with the most awesome little piggy keyring!!!  Her way of saying thank you for the work SAFE does. - That small gesture just blew me away
If you're at Mount Maunganui, need a pharmacy, please go there .... in fact, even if you don't need a pharmacy, just go in and say hi anyway - they are pure magic!

Thanks to everyone, volunteers and public, who made this such a powerful day - let's hope we see some difference for the darling pigs.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Clean Eating - Nutrition Made Easy

Brand new book in "The Good Life" series!!  

As the title of this post says "Nutrition made easy" - that's what this new book is all about.  As a vegan, I really can't count the number of times I have been asked what food I have for protein or calcium or B12 or whatever the person asking the question is stumped over.

I keep saying, I don't think about it.  Just like a meat-eater generally doesn't stress over whether they are getting the right nutrients, then really speaking neither should a vegan or anyone having meat free meals.

Hence the reason to write this book:  A Clean Eating Nutrition Guide
Now, I'm the first one to tell you, that I'm not a nutritionist nor do I work in the "health" industry, but through my own experience, extensive research and educating myself, I certainly try to keep on top of the latest studies that come out from the experts.

This book is for those who just want to be sure that what they are eating is right, for those who want eating animal free meals to be stress free and for those who want to know which foods contain which nutrients.
You really will be surprised just how easy it is!

Here's one review:
"The author makes it perfectly clear that she is not a 'professional' in nutrition, she's better than a professional, Fee has gained her knowledge through her own research, understanding and more importantly - her experience! She does not present 'professional advice' rather what feels like sage advice from a good friend.
Book 3 contains the high standard of writing and explanation that we readers have become accustomed to from Fee's work."
- Flip'n'Chip

So, grab a copy while it's on the launch special of $0.99 USA - this offer ends the night of Monday 28th July NZ time.
Oh, and if you can .... I really will appreciate an honest review back on Amazon.

Here's the link again:  A Clean Eating Nutrition Guide

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Help Stop Factory Farming

Today I received a letter from SAFE in my mail and I felt that, as it is such an important issue happening in New Zealand right now, I had to contact SAFE to ask if I could copy and paste the letter in its entirety here on my blog.  They kindly said yes.  

I know this is directed towards New Zealanders, but factory farming goes on all over the world, so where ever you may live I hope there is something you can do to help your animals who have to live in these dreadful conditions.

As for any Kiwis who are reading .... please get behind this campaign.

Here is the letter:

If you’re unlucky enough to be born as a female pig on a factory farm, you’ll either be fattened up and sent to slaughter at the age of about 16 weeks, or you’ll be used as a breeding machine.

You’ll be denied your basic natural needs
such as 
 sunlight, fresh air, mud baths and room to move.  Instead, you’ll spend your life in a dark, barren shed.

The first four weeks of your 16-week pregnancy will be spent in a sow stall so small, you can’t even turn around. You’ll then be moved to a farrowing crate to give birth. Your babies are born on a metal floor rather than in a soft self-made nest. The farrowing crate is still too small for you to move properly or turn around, so you’re unable to reach your babies to protect and comfort them.

They rely on you for sustenance, but because of the crate you are sometimes unable to care for them properly. 
Once your precious babies are only four weeks old, they’re taken away from you… you’ll never see them again. You are re-impregnated and the cycle of abuse continues.

Because you’re intelligent, inquisitive and affectionate, it’s a life of perpetual sorrow, boredom and depression. After five years of this hell, you are deemed spent. You will see daylight for the first and only time in your life on your way to the slaughterhouse…

Would you want to live like this?
Or will you be a voice for
defenseless sows living in this hell?

Thanks to you and other caring New Zealanders, from 2016 sow stalls will be banned. However, farrowing crates will still be in use.

Together, we can get these cruel crates banned too!

Please donate $20 today and help us
make it happen.

If you’ve already made a donation, thank you. Please consider forwarding this email to someone else who may be interested in helping sows.


Hans Kriek
Executive Director

View Event link

And, as a p.s. - this is how pigs should be:

Monday, July 14, 2014

Neonicotinoids and Bees

It really does upset me that this beautiful country that I live in (N.Z.) is so backward when it comes to environmental and animal welfare issues.

Recently I read an article about the neonicotinoid pesticides having such a devastating effect on bees and how in June 2014 a team at Harvard announced that when hives were treated with neonicotinoids, half of them collapsed.

Back around July 2013, after evidence against neonicotinoids had begun to accumulate, the EU had moved to ban three neonicotinoids from use on cereals and flowering crops attractive to bees which came into effect in December 2013.

US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a report saying that there is a connection to the health of the honey bees saying "pesticides may be part of the problem, including both the pyrethroid and neonicotinoid classes of pesticides".  But their recommendations are more about best management practices and technical advancements for applying pesticides to reduce dust, etc. than about the actual threat or banning them.

New Zealand just loves to follow USA and again our "clean, green" image comes into some question as once more the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), which has the authority, has not even begun to investigate this new research ...... but then New Zealand is known for dragging the chain when it comes to banning pesticides along with other environmental and animal issues.

I wonder what Sir Edmund Hillary - our famous bee keeper mountaineer would say about this.

By the way, I applaud the EU for making this move even if it is on a "trial" basis for 2 years.  They did this in the face of intense lobbying and interference by Bayer and Syngenta who make and sell the chemicals.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Vegan "Sausage" Rolls

Always up for another topic for this blog and after posting up a photo of my vegan "sausage" rolls I had made for the Food Festival, I was surprised at the friends who asked for the recipe.

Original photo - they were a real hit at the festival!
So here's the recipe, but before you go on be warned - this is my own made up one and I'm not too into exact measurements, however, the base always stays the same.

1 tin Sanitarium "Vegie Delights" "NutMeat" - see note at bottom.
1 tin lentils - rinsed and drained
1 onion - diced
2 large cloves of garlic - crushed
some tomato paste - about a tablespoon ???

2 sheets of vegetarian flaky pastry (store bought of course!)

Above is the base for the rolls.

Good squirt of Worcester Sauce - Pam's brand is vegan (no anchovy), if you can't get vegan version then use Tamari sauce.

You can add whatever spices and herbs you like.

I added:
Moroccan spice - a good shake
Italian herbs - a good shake.

Saute onion and garlic in a bit of oil till soft.
Spoiler Alert: The nutmeat is really solid and looks like a dog roll!
Open up the tin and spoon it out into the pan.  I then get the potato masher and kind of break it up with that - just so it will heat through.
When it's heated through (you don't need to cook or brown it), add the lentils and heat them through too.
At the same time as the lentils - add the tomato paste.

Then put the whole lot into a blender and zap it on full bore until it all mushes together.
This is when I'll add the Worcester Sauce and the squirt is usually enough to get the mixture to stick.  You sort of want it moist, but not too moist.

Add the salt, herbs and spices and keep doing the taste test until you've got it to what you like.

I slice the pasty square in half - two sheets gives me four long rolls.  Put the mixture along the middle of the pastry and roll up.  I put a cut across the middle ... you can see it in the photo below.

Brush with soy milk

Bake -  200ºC for about 12 mins then turn down to 180ºC for another 12 - 15 mins or until pastry golden and it looks good.

Note: This nutmeat is available in supermarkets N.Z. and I'm assuming Australia, it is made with nuts and wheat and is the only time I use it.  It could also be called Nut Loaf.

I didn't eat any at the festival, but made some for dinner - yum!

Hope you all enjoy!!!!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Whoa - What an Expose on Pig Farming!

The Sunday program on last night really did a bit of a shake up and has, no doubt, been a wake up call to those who insist on eating pork products.
And, for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, it was a glimpse into the unseen hell of the factory farmed pigs here in good old, clean, green New Zealand.

 Here's the link to the actual program: - be warned, some scenes you may find disturbing .... well, actually sickening!

I've just come off a GoVeg (supporting vegetarian/vegan) stall at a Food Festival and I even had an ethical butcher ask if I knew where they could source free range pork.  Yes, I thought it odd that the butcher would ask an animal welfare, obviously vegan, person where to source meat product.  But this butcher is asked many many times for free range pork and can't supply it and he is totally frustrated at not being able to get it.

We do have free range pork here in N.Z., but, as far as I know, only two farms.  All other pork is farmed in intense factory farms most of which are still using the sow crates for the first 4 weeks of the pregnancy and the farrowing crates to birth and suckle the piglets. 

The sow crates are to be phased out by 2015, however farrowing crates are still allowed.  If you're a piggy lover and don't like the thought of mum pig being caged to give birth and look after her babies and where she can lie down, but can't turn around ..... then please sign the petition to end the use of farrowing crates.

This is how it's done:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Expanding Marine Sanctuaries.

In Washington President Obama announced (17th June 2014) that he intends to vastly expand the marine life sanctuaries in the Pacific Ocean.  These are huge areas in the central Pacific Ocean and will become off-limits to fishing, energy exploration and other activities.  Basically this will create the largest marine sanctuary pretty much doubling the entire current marine sanctuaries world wide.

Well done Obama!
Marine Sanctuary

Almost on the same day here in N.Z. the Government announced that it has opened up more than 3000 square kilometers of marine mammal sanctuary for oil drilling.  Not only is this area a marine sanctuary but it is also home to the critically endangered Maui's dolphin.

Shame on you Key!
Only 55 Maui Dolphins left!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Is This Sustainable?

Did you know humans kill more than 57 billion animals a year for food - this doesn't include fish or other aquatic animals, that number is estimated to be at least 1 Trillion!!! 

Whether or not you agree to the killing of animals - if the world population continues to grow - this is NOT SUSTAINABLE!!!!! 

I know that you probably don't really give a jot, but, please think about having at least one day a week free from animal/fish products. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

veggie rules