veggie rules

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Climate Change A Continuing Saga

I came across this statement today which got me thinking …. again …. about what we can do in regards to cleaning up the environment and help diminish climate change.

“adopting a “meatless Monday” could have a greater impact on the environment than working from home and avoiding the commute for a week. “

This came from a study that the European Commission commissioned in 2012.

Of course this small dietary change really isn’t sufficient, there really has to be a really significant reduction in meat and dairy before we’ll see any real effect in climate change.

If only that would happen!  Unfortunately, I can’t see it happening any time soon because the human brain is wired to believe that it must eat meat.  What I have noticed is that the age old argument of “meat provides us with protein” and “dairy provides us with calcium” isn’t standing up as gospel anymore as people are becoming more educated and understand that those arguments are pure fallacy.
What seems to be happening now is that people are just saying “but I like meat” which, I have to admit, is at least honest!

So what should we do?  We should keep educating the masses and get the message out there that animal industry is so incredibly destructive to our planet and things have to change if we are going to have any chance at all in surviving as a species.

I've said it before .... so I'll say it again - we need to cut back on the meat, not increase it.
Source for inspiration

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Why Vegans Get A Bad Name

I got a bit steamed up the other day when this pic appeared in my Facebook newsfeed.

The post said that this is what meat looked like a few days after slaughter.  There sure were a lot of comments posted and 95% of them were exactly what I was thinking. 

This photo is scaremongering.   If the meat were left out in the warm, then yes, it does start to rot, or if it is "hung" as in the case of wild game, then yes, it will start to rot.  But meat that is processed for human consumption, kept under refrigeration, butchered and packaged immediately does not rot as quickly as it has been made out to do.
This is going out to a world audience, the posting page, who is from the USA where perhaps the process from kill to package is not as quick and where nitrates and preservatives are used to give meat a much longer shelf-life is commonplace, should realize that not all countries use this method. 
I am not condoning the meat industry one little bit, but the way I see it, images such as this gives vegans a bad name.  Not one meat eater will be turned off meat by this type of image. as proven by the comments.  Meat eaters are masters at telling lies to themselves, coming up with insane excuses and are extremely defensive when confronted by this type.
Instead, we vegans and vegetarians should be leading by example, encouraging meat-eaters to watch documentaries such as Earthlings and promoting things like Meatless Mondays.
And as for the posting page?  Not only was the photo not the best one to post, but the replies to the non-believers of the image were not in good taste ..... hahaha, bit like the meat!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Friday, October 9, 2015

Do You Understand The Labels On The Egg Carton?

There have been several times people have told me that they only buy free range eggs and their belief is that if the chickens are free-range, they have a much better life than chickens in cages.

Well in a way they do … heck, anything would have a better life if it’s not cramped up living in a cage.  But is a confinement of any sort just as bad?

So do you know which eggs truly are free-range?  and, what constitutes free-range?

Back in 2013 I wrote a post "Do You Buy Free Range Eggs?" Well, it's now 2015 and nothing really has changed.  So here's a bit more information for you.
I think we'd all agree the words “battery” “caged” even “colony cage” all mean that the hens are living in cages.
And, “barn raised” or just “barn” would mean that the hens live in a barn and not out doors.

But it’s when we get to the words “free-range” that the mis-interpretations happen.

Free-range conjures up visions of chickens roaming around lush, green pastures just doing their thing.  And yet when questioned, most people have no idea how the farmer collects the eggs from these free-ranging hens.  That part, we don’t think about.

The truth is most “free-range” hens actually spend most of their life in barns.  Barns that have doors that lead to the outside.  Of course, because the barn is full of hens, most of these chickens never reach the doors and therefore live their lives in a barn.  But, technically, they are free-range because they have the choice to go outside.

It usually is a matter of just how big the commercial operation is.  How many chickens are on the farm and the logistics of feeding, egg collection etc. as to how "free-range" they are.

Smaller free-range farmers do let their chickens range in the open, however, they bring them in at night where there are nesting boxes and where the hens can lay their eggs.  Other factors that come into play with bringing them in at night, is protecting the hens from the elements (weather) and from other animals that take eggs or kill chickens

I think the best idea I’ve ever seen is a movable nesting box called a "Chicken Caravan" which is made in Australia.  The beauty of this is that the farmer is able to move the chickens to fresh paddocks when needed and bring the nesting box at the same time.  The hens then are able to lay their eggs when the desire takes them.

Just so you know, a lot of commercial free-range companies are owned by large corporations that also have caged hens.  Where does that put you if you buy free-range for ethical reasons?

O.k., you’re happy having “free-range” and you trust the brand on the egg carton because you have researched them.  But let me ask you this.  Do you know what happens to the chicken at the start of its life and when she no longer can produce eggs?

Remember, this is a commercial operation.  This is the farmer’s livelihood.  He must get his young chickens from somewhere because he won’t have the room to breed them and he has to get rid of the older hens when they are no longer economically viable.  

The chickens come from the same place that battery hens do - a breeding farm dedicated to raising female hens for the egg market.  The baby chicks at one day old are inspected - if female they live, if male they go straight into the chute that drops them into a grinder or crusher …. ending up as animal food or fertilizer.

There’s no let up at the end of the chicken’s laying life.  Once she can no longer lay profitably (which is usually around 18 months), she is then crammed inside transport cages along with others and trucked to slaughter never with any food or water on the journey.

The killing process is usually pretty archaic, barbaric and torturous especially in the U.S. - killing which is deemed illegal with cattle or pigs is acceptable for fowl.  Even in 2015, it still continues.

If you’ve read this far and still going to eat eggs then check out the photo below.  If you think you might try eating less eggs or giving them up altogether there are many ways you can replace the egg with plants.  My Vegetarian to Vegan (get it here) book is a big help … plug, plug!!! or you can just type into Google “egg substitute” and you’ll get lots of ideas.

I'm going to leave you with a chart recently put out by SAFE (N.Z. animal welfare group).  You'll find it easy to understand and you'll have a lot better idea what the labels really mean.  Below that is the U.S.A. chart - slightly different as, except for “certified organic,” the U.S. government does not set definitions or requirements for egg carton labels. (If you live in other countries, you'll probably find that one of these charts will fit your country's labels).

U.S.A. chart:
Be very wary of anything else on the label such as the words "natural" - most of it is marketing hype.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Milk Companies Are Just Getting Desperate

I haven't really talked much about the dairy industry and the different types of milk that's on offer, mainly because I know that most of my readers still use dairy.  Plus the fact it's like "where do I start"?  There are so many dairy products out there, that I'm just glad I don't have it because I wouldn't know where to begin choosing which milk would be right for me.

However, I recently learned about a new product that's been launched that has me shaking my head with skepticism....which meant, I felt the need to blog.

Currently there has been quite a dramatic drop in the consumer purchase of dairy which is effectively creating a downturn in the dairy industry.  This appears to be happening world wide.

So dairy companies are trying to come up with ways to increase market share and this latest thing just cracked me up!
“Sleep-boosting dark milk” coming from a New Zealand company.  Something that's not too new as scientists in Finland have been working on this and it's also now available in Britain.

It appears that if you milk the cows after sunset and before sunrise, the milk produces a higher level of the hormone melatonin which is known to help regulate sleep.
Oh, the shed has to be dark as well.

This melatonin found in the milk after dark can be upwards of 10 times higher than that found in day time milk (or the normal milk).

So let’s see.  Our choice of milks are:
  • Fat free
  • Added calcium
  • Added protein
  • Lactose free
  • Help you to sleep
  • Organic
  • Full cream
That covers a vast array of consumers doesn’t it?

My feeling is that milk is no longer “straight from the cow”.  It is bastardized until it’s pretty much unrecognizable, all for the health of the consumers…well, that’s what they want you to think.  What I think is that it’s all for the profit.

I have a whole chapter on milk in my Nutrition book where I talk about calcium, wrote the book before this new type of milk came out … I’ll have to include it when I do the update.

Stick with or change to a good dairy alternative - at least you’ll know it’s good for you.

And, one last thing ..... what about the poor cows having to be milked in the dark!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Yumalicious Tahini Dressing

I've been following the most awesome food blog for quite some time now.  It's the Minimalist Baker and if you have a hankering for some brilliant, easy, tasty vegan food, then check her out.

I'll get to the point in a moment.

Last week a group I belong to had our monthly vegan meal share and I was at a bit of a loss as to what to make considering the fact that I didn't really have much time.  So into the Minimalist blog for some ideas.

And, there it was, an absolute corker:  Sweet Potato Chickpea Salad.  Oh, the taste buds started to water and to top it off, it looked easy!

The MB did not disappoint!  It was easy, it was delish and best of all, it was a hit.

But the best part was the Tahini Dressing.  However, I did make a bit of a tweak from the one in MB's recipe.
The basic recipe is
  • 1/4 cup (56 g) tahini
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2-4 Tbsp hot water to thin   Find it here
But I added about a teaspoon of mixed spice and it just popped!

I have since used the tahini dressing on lots of other things like burgers and roasted veggies and salad and pita pockets etc.

Do yourself a favor and check out the Minimalist Baker I bet you'll find something ... and tell me if you do.   For now, I'm off to get the chickpeas out of the oven to cool for the salad later and to pour a wine.... oooo I might try the dressing with some crackers!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Cecil - Do I Need To Elaborate?

I think by now you have all heard about Cecil the lion who was lured out of his sanctuary, shot with a bow and arrow by an idiot dentist.  Wounded, it took the hunters 40 hours to find him when he was then put out of his pain.
Here's a video just to refresh your memory:

Now this has outraged the world community, and I'm not just talking about the vegans and vegetarians among us ... oh no, many a meat eater is up in arms about Cecil - and rightly so.

So what has prompted me to blog about something that you all know about?  I mean Cecil has been widely reported both on the internet and on mainstream media.
Well, it was this young lady ... Sabrina Corgatelli (and I use the term "lady" very, very loosely!)

So let's go with another video:

"Giraffes are very dangerous"  duh!  so are you!!!! The difference is, you've got a gun, the giraffe doesn't .... the giraffe, or any other animal for that matter, can't stalk you the way you stalk them.

I don't care what reason these trophy hunters have.  I don't believe they respect or love animals.  If they were that keen on "hunting" with a love of animals they would be carrying a camera not a weapon.

A person who "hunts" with a camera, in my opinion, has far more courage than all these trophy hunters put together.

Africa needs to be promoting the "camera hunt" far more - make it just as expensive!!!!!

And kudos to the airlines who have banned the shipment of trophies ..... just need the shipping companies now to follow suit!

I can feel my blood boiling - so signing off.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New Zealand McDonalds To Start Using Free Range Eggs.

Yes, you read the heading correctly.  The McDonalds restaurants (there’s 164 of them) through out New Zealand are going to be switching to free range eggs.

Is this a step in the right direction?  I believe it is.  For as much as I am not a fan of McDonalds (for a variety of reasons), you have to admit they are really trying to lift their image…..well, in New Zealand anyway.

This is going to start by the end of this year with all outlets on board by next year (2016).  Why so long to wait?  This is due to the fact that the free range egg farmers will have to invest quite a lot to increase production in order to supply the chain.

This is the Free Range we all believe
This is also classified as "Free Range"
I spoke to SAFE (N.Z. animal welfare) to make sure that McDonalds were, in fact, going to use actual free range - you know, the chickens running around outside (top picture), and not barn chickens with the door open (above).

Yes, indeed, true free range …. well done!

Now, the New Zealand government has said that all caged eggs must be replaced by Colony, Barn or Free Range by 2022.  Well, it would probably only take one more chain e.g. Burger King, to follow suit for the free range market to give the others a run for their money and perhaps we could even see the supermarket choices being either Free Range or Barn …. not a cage in sight.

If that happened, then McDonald’s should rightfully be given the kudos.

But, for now, for whatever reason McDonalds have done this (and there’ll be a dollar in it for them), at least it’s a step in the right direction.

Goodness, never thought I’d ever write the words “McDonalds” and “kudos” in the same sentence!!!!  

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Now This Is Just Being Silly!

Today I read the most disturbing thing.

The Smithsonian Magazine reported that scientists are now messing about with the DNA of cows.  Reason?  To combat climate change and the rise in global temperatures.

Image via Flickr - Lance Cheung
So, let's step back a minute.  The first thing is that these particular scientists have declared their belief in global warming ... which is a good thing.

Now that they've done that - they have realized that, in order for the meat and dairy industries to continue, the cows are going to have to change.  (We're talking for both meat and dairy).  So, they're busy at trying to change the DNA so that the cows can "beat the heat".
"...Scientists and ranchers have an idea of traits that can contribute to heat tolerance - metabolic rates, ability to shed their coats, hair color - but there is no silver bullet. ....Several independent studies, however, have managed to link heat tolerance - at least in part - to the color of a cow's hair...."
What does that mean?  A bit of GM will be going on.

The stupid part is ... Livestock (and the majority are cattle), is the largest source of methane gas emissions worldwide, contributing over 28% of total emissions.  So let's think about reducing the intake of meat and dairy  ????  Right!  As if that's going to happen while it's such a big industry.

And, talking about genetically changing animals - In Australia, pigs are being bred to have more ribs than normal!
image via Flickr - Martin Pettitt
At the moment, it's so they can have more piglets.  You see, the more ribs, the longer the pig, the more nipples, the more piglets.  But it does make you wonder if they will bring this idea into the pork eating side of things.

Monday, June 22, 2015

My Take On Pope Francis and His Encyclical

Pope Francis has published his encyclical and the 192 page document holds a lot of good stuff, that, hopefully, is going to be taken on board and will begin the change that is needed in this world we live in.

I’m not about to summarize the encyclical … that would be a lengthy blog post.  Instead I just want to say that he has covered a lot of topics from global warming to the issue of water, (even covering the pollution of the oceans), and the effects on the poor and developing countries.

It’s pretty obvious he has done his homework and presents both the scientific as well as the biblical and theology side.  Oh, and he also addresses the varying opinions about global warming that are out there.

He also has not been soft in his criticism of the way wealthy countries/corporations use and abuse poorer countries who sit on goldmines such as fossil fuels, but do not have the means to protect their environments from the ravages of the greedy.

All in all, this is a powerful document.  But one that gives hope.  He points out things that are working now as examples of what can be done.
One sentence that I was impressed with “…Politics must not be subject to the economy, nor should the economy be subject to the dictates of an efficiency-driven paradigm of technocracy….”
Oh now wouldn’t that be an ideal world!

Right at the beginning he opens with the words of St Francis …“Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”….

and in the very next paragraph he boldly states “…This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters….”

It kind of sets the tone for the rest of the document.

Regardless if you are a devout Catholic, of other Christian faith, Muslim or other religion, Agnostic or Atheist, you can take out the religious part if you want and you will still find this is a powerful document.  This man packs a heap of a punch and has a fair amount of influence.  I’m hoping that it pays off.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

His Letter Is About To Go Public!

Do you remember the blog post I did recently about Pope Francis and the environment? … well, in it I said that the rockin’ Pope was going to be issuing an encyclical (see end for definition), about the environment and humanity’s relationship with nature.

Well, be prepared, folks - it’s due out on Thursday.  That’s June 18th and I will try to keep you posted as soon as I hear what it says.

In them meantime - wrap your laughing gear around this.  Last Tuesday, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the UN trotted over to the Vatican and he and the Pope had a bit of a pow-wow session on climate change and its impact on the poor of the world.

They weren’t alone, there were scientists, diplomats and religious and political leaders in there as well.

As I said in the previous Pope post (say that 10 times quickly), his stance as rankled some of the more conservative Catholics not to mention the climate change skeptics.  They reckon that the Pope is being misled by climate change scientists.  And, get this - they believe that our sweet Francis should be arguing that fossil fuels are the moral choice for the developing world!  Now this statement doesn’t surprise me in the least as this has just been released “…The U.S. could be completely powered by renewable energy by 2050, according to a report from Stanford University…”.  CNBC NEWS . So I'm wondering how much these "skeptics" have invested that they are scrambling to try and back the fossil fuel industry

This “greenery” thing from the Vatican is actually not new.  Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, wrote about the role of industrial pollution in destroying the environment.  And, surprising, Pope Benedict was labeled a "greeny" after he initiated projects to make the Vatican carbon-neutral. Other religious groups, including evangelical Christians, have spoken about the impact of environmental destruction on the poor.

Also, just as an aside.  Did you know that Francis, when he was a Cardinal back in 2004, actually came out and said that destruction of the environment contributed to inequality and the need for social reforms.

Wait - there’s one more fact I want to tell you.  He also trained as a chemist and became very interested in the links between environmental destruction and social ills, including a dispute over paper pulp mills on the border with Uruguay, which Argentina claimed were polluting local drinking water.  Unfortunately it went to the World Court and they backed Uruguay.  Source

It's not a new thing for him and, obviously something he's very passionate about.

So … it’s going to be interesting on Thursday when it all becomes public. 

An encyclical is a letter - and one from the Vatican goes round to all Catholics world-wide … it’s read out during the service.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Big Boys Are In Town - G7

What’s in the news at the moment …. that is, world news, is the G7 meeting that’s just ended in Germany.
A quick definition of G7 = The Group of Seven is an informal bloc of industrialised democracies - the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom - that meets annually to discuss issues such as global economic governance, international security, and energy policy.

In my opinion I don’t think that these topics are as important as the topic of the health of our planet.  Well, maybe you could put in there “energy policy”, but that’s just a red herring in my book.  They want us to believe that they are all for sustainability but then they go home and nothing gets done.
Although, I have to hand it to France with the latest news that new commercial buildings have to have 50% green on their rooftops …. solar or plantings. More Info

So back to G7.  What are they discussing under “global economic governance”.  The one mission that Obama had going into this meeting was to get the European community to continue with the sanctions again Putin.  Duh … they’re not working anyway!!!!  There’s still fighting going on in Ukraine and the Russian economy is picking up - not going down.  So what’s the point?

Next, “International security” - well, that’s a given - ISIS and what they can do about that.  Not a lot really.  Fundamentally ISIS has risen up because of corrupt politics and people in poverty and despair.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not in favor of ISIS in any way, shape or form and they’re sure not helping their people at all.

Now we come to “Energy policy” - climate issues, which, in my opinion, should be the most important.  Why?  Well, without a planet nothing else matters.  I’ve had a look at the agenda of this two day event and there was 45 minutes designated to this important topic.

I don’t like these power hungry countries and their “meetings”.  They’re like the big kids in the playground huddling together to work out who to bully next instead of looking at how to deal with the kids who don’t have food in their lunchbox or how best to fix the environment our children have to play in.

I should have titled this post "One Big Boy and One Big Girl" - that's who is really wielding the power.

I know I look at things in a simplistic way, but then I believe life really is quite simple.  We all need food, shelter, compassion and love and the great majority of us are not getting these basic requirements.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Apple Pastry Desert YUM!


1 cup cashews soaked
 with filtered water for at least 4 hours.
Juice of 1 large orange
2 Tblsp maple syrup
1 cup semi-soft coconut oil
Apple and cinnamon sauce
7 sheets Filo pastry
Coconut sugar.


Blend the cashews with a little filtered water until creamy.
While the blender is on add:
  • The orange juice
  • Maple syrup.
Put into the refrigerator while you do the pastry.

Hint: This cashew cream can be done the day before and stored into the fridge until you are ready. If you wish to make your own apple/cinnamon sauce, this also can be done the day before.  All it is is stewed apples with cinnamon added to taste.

Prepare the filo pastry using olive oil between the sheets and on top.
Lay out on a greased oven tray.
Slice in half lengthways then slice into oblongs. You should be able to get 5 large oblongs.
Prick the top of each oblong.
Bake at 200°C or 400°F for 10 - 12 minutes until golden.

While the pastry is cooking add the coconut oil to the cashew cream and whip through. Keep it at room temperature.

Cool the pastry

To Assemble:

One pastry oblong.
Apple sauce.
Cashew cream.
Pastry oblong.

Spread a spoonful of the cashew cream along the center of the top of the pastry and carefully spread.
Sprinkle with a little coconut sugar.
Refrigerate until ready to use.

Totally Vegan and it ROCKS!!!!

New Category, Yes, I'm Adding Recipes!

I was cooking this morning some fancy feast seeing as it is Saturday here and very cold, and I had a thought that I should really have a recipe section on this blog.

Now, I know that there are a ton of recipes out there in cyberspace that are totally free and easy to get, so I'm not going to be crass and just copy them ... no fun in that.  The recipes coming up on here will be ones I have made up or tweaked to, in my opinion, make better.

The first one is a delicious Apple Pastry Thingy that is dead easy to make.

Monday, June 1, 2015

New Zealand Clean and Green?

For those readers who don't live in New Zealand, let me clear up something about this country.  We are not clean and green as the advertisements say, we are dirty and trashy.  This was brought home not that long ago by our own Environment Minister Nick Smith saying that a ban of plastic bags … you know, the ones the supermarkets put the groceries in - was not justified, nor was he going to give any consideration to a ban.  Read more here.

I find this appalling.  Not that I'm surprised.  The New Zealand landscape is littered with rubbish of all sorts from plastic bags to plastic water bottles and everything in between.  Just ask a tourist to this country what they think of our clean green image and they will shake their heads and say "Really? I've not seen any evidence of clean green." 

Even out in the countryside where the image of sheep grazing in paddocks and hobbits running over beautiful green hills fills the foreigners head ….. until they actually get here.  Oh, don't get me wrong - Hobbiton is very clean as are other defined tourist spots.  But those visitors who wander off the tourist trail are in for a bit of a shock.

It's estimated that we New Zealanders use about a billion plastic bags each year.  Granted, they do make useful bin liners and doggy poop collectors.  I've also seen them made into a stunning dress for our Wearable Arts festival.  But these are no reasons to keep them.

Why do we continue to lag behind the eight ball when it comes to our environment?  Why do we not take heed of what other countries are doing with banning plastic bags, putting more into recycling and generally trying to increase the sustainability of their country?

How narrow minded Nick Smith is not to be able to see that a ban on plastic shopping bags is just a small start in the education process that most New Zealanders need to have.

Five Reasons To Say No To Plastic Bags 

I did write about this back in 2013 about using reusable bags.  And do I use reusable bags?  Yes I do, and I take my own plastic bags from bread etc to put my vegetables in, I then wash them, dry them and put them into my shopping bag for the next time.  So, if I can do it, why can't others?

And, just as an aside:  As for being a "tidy Kiwi" - it would help considerably if one could find a rubbish bin (or trash can) to actually put the rubbish in!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

NEW BOOK!! Vegetarian to Vegan

WHEW!!!  It's finally happened.  I have now launched my new Kindle e-book "Vegetarian to Vegan - Making the Switch". (You don't need to own a Kindle to read it).

Just went live today on Amazon and you can download a copy at the launch special price of $0.99 …. how cool is that?  It's been awhile in the making, but well worth the wait.

This is the 4th book in the "Good Life" series and the book that I've been heading towards writing ever since I started book #1.

Along with the book is a course that will be coming to a computer near you very soon.  Well, the goal is the end of August 2015, so I guess, I better get a wriggle on and stop chatting here …. There's videos to record, people to interview, lists to create and heaps of other good stuff for this course.  So, if you're interested please register your interest here:

"Living Vegan Style" Course 

If you do trot over and get the book, I would love you to post up a positive honest review.
Again, here's the link to the new Book:

Click here: "Vegetarian to Vegan"   

veggie rules