Nga whaarangi (pages)

Sunday, January 19, 2014


HI. Just letting you all know if you want to keep updating on what I am doing this year and beyond check out my new blog, The Plastic-free Raw Vegan. I will be keeping this blog as a reference source for myself and other readers, but anything new will be posted over on the new blog tat is recording my year without plastic, take two.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sorry for leaving y'all hanging

IT HAS been nearly three months since my last blog and I realise it was darn rude of me not to conclude my blogging on the 30-day Raw Food Challenge. This was because I was ashamed. I got to June 26 - my Mum's birthday - and the special curry dinner that night and everything was on a slippery slope from there. Although I felt really great during the three-and-a-half weeks of eating raw food, in fact the best I have ever felt in a while and even happier too, it was shocking how easily I slipped back into my ways. But worse. I went on a junk food binge for weeks that followed and ended up putting back on the 5kg I lost plus some!

Lesson learned?

More fresh food in your daily eating plan is definitely a good thing but it's still good to have a treat every now and again. If you forbid certain foods it just makes the consequences of falling off the wagon even more severe. Since doing the challenge I have pretty much gone vegetarian. I still eat a little bit of beat occasionally. But hardly ever. And I am gradually implementing more fresh and raw food into my daily lifestyle. I might try going raw again at some point later this year but for now I'm just concentrating on having a balanced diet.

Below the bread line

In the meantime, tomorrow I will start the Live Below The Line five-day challenge to survive on $2.25 a day for food. - $2.25 a day, or $11.25 for the week per person,  is the New Zealand equivalent of the extreme poverty line. The idea is a bit similar to the 40 Hour Famine most of us would have done at school and provides what some may consider a somewhat novelty exercise at experiencing for five days the struggles of living below the bread line that some people live their whole lives with. I am doing it for the experience but also seeking sponsorship which can be made on by LBTL Profile with proceeds going direct to P3 Foundation - a New Zealand founded and youth led organisation that helps young people to volunteer among poor communities in the Asia-Pacific region. Please give kindly through that link if you are able. Every little bit is appreciated.

The other thing I want to emphasize is the importance of community and helping each other out. I believe a key reason why slums and shanti towns around the world have  much more richer and vibrant community neighbourhoods than affluent suburbs is because when you're struggling to make ends meet financially you need the support of the people around you. People are more likely to have shared dinners in poorer communities and families are also more likely to live closer together because they need to be close in order to help each other out.

I digress. So I did my LBTL shopping this weekend. I went two cents over but since $2.25 is an average then it's probably still close to accurate. I also had to forgo a few luxury items. Dairy was out. Even though porridge was chosen breakfast item as it was the cheapest and contained the most nutrients. But my budget didn't stretch to milk or yoghurt to go on it. I did however buy a $1.85 tub of margarine, the cheapest homebrand one and have found in the past that margarine works OK as an alternative creamy like texture for the porridge. I also had to skip the brown sugar, and sugar in general. So having porridge without brown sugar is going to be very interesting. I also have to work this week too so I hope the sugar withdrawals to have too much of a negative impact on my productivity. Some strict menu planning is definitely going to be in order tonight though, as well as pre-preparing meals such as lunch the previous night - this could include making extra for dinner to ensure leftovers for lunch. My bonus buy though was two broccoli for $1 at the farmers market and a plastic bag of silverbeet for $2. So at least these some fresh produce there.

Here's what I have to work with until Friday:

Sunday, June 23, 2013

On the home stretch

SEVEN days left to go and I think I can confidently say now that I've almost made it through my first 30 day raw food challenge. Yes there were ups (raw brownies and the food processor loaned from Elaine at work) and downs (let's not forget the fish and chip and the curry incident) - but all in all I feel much better, energetic, have possibly extended my taste bud range and even lost a little bit of weight - about 5-6 kilograms so far.

Bought my second to last shop early last Wednesday  night (and lugged it up on my bicycle) from the supermarket. I had been going to the farmers market but Countdown was just more convenient on a week day, and as much as I hate to admit cheaper.

Here's about $44 worth of groceries from the supermarket:

Compared to $36 from the Farmer's market the previous weekend:

To be fair though, most of the market produce was organic, whereas none of the supermarket is.

I also got to experience the challenge of living raw on the road this week as I have a week off work and did a road trip to Wellington, stopping at friends on the way, caught up with my dad, older brother, and nephews. Made raw cashew-carob cookies and hummus with carrot and celery sticks for afternoon tea which surprisingly went down really well - especially the cookies.

I also enjoyed a salmon surimi for lunch which, while not vegan was still raw, and still delicious especially with nama shoyu soy sauce and wasabi.

Now time for the food diary excerpt for the last 14 days (recipe links includes!:

  • DAY 16: First day of two weeks annual leave, I enjoyed a raw apple-avocado soup (with hot chillies of course) for tea tonight with raw brownies for dessert, which I've been snacking on all day anyway!
  • DAY 17: Lunched on raw guacamole (avocado, onions, chilli and lemon juice) and a glass of ginger beer - homemade from a bug traded through the Gisborne community exchange - EAST. I just realised that it actually as cane sugar in it (white) so it's not completely raw but I bet still much better for me than the factory made stuff so I won't sweat the small stuff too much. I also made carob walnut cookies which were almost as delicious as the brownies but require less ingredients so easier and faster to make.
  • DAY 18: Kelp noodle salad. I find the kelp noodles at Manutuke Herbs which were reasonable cheap. I cheated a bit using regular soy sauce as opposed to the tradition nama shoyu fermented variety. I have since bought some fermented and organic soy. This was also the day of the infamous fish and chip episode - first cheat. OMG!
  • DAY 19: Delicious portabello mushroom raw pizza for tea tonight, based on this recipe I found via the Tumblr "raw food tag". Except I dehydrated the mushys for an hour or so, used cilantro hummus as the base then for the the topping I layered with sliced tomato, grated carrot and a homemade salsa made from blended tomato, garlic, balsamic vinegar (which I don't know if this is technically raw or not) and mashed in half an avocado.
  • DAY 20: My second cheat today. The excuse was the kale was looking a little stale and needed to be curried up so I didn't waste it, so I bought some coconut cream and set to work. I guess I'm getting used to raw though because I noticed that it felt really heavy in my stomach compared to what I've been eating recently. I'm beginning to think that a milder version of this lifestyle might become my permanent eating habit. I have a lot more energy eating raw food.
  • DAY 21: Pig out! THREE raw mushy pizzas for tea at Nan and Pa's tonight - road trips on.
  • DAY 22: On the road, grazed on apples, mandarins, walnuts and a couple of little bird raw macaroons. Stopped in at my old flatmate Kahurangi's in Porirua for the night. Enjoyed a raw carrot and celery soup while her and her two boys enjoyed roast vegetables and chicken. I gave the boys an impromptu knitting lesson - the young 9 year old picked this up really fast!
  • DAY 23: In Wellington, stopped at a Foodcourt on the way to Dads and had a salmon sushimi - really good stuff - for morning tea. My brother and nephews came into town to have afternoon tea with us so I prepared a raw food spread of carob cookies (with cashew and pine nuts - thanks Kahurangi! - instead of walnuts), hummus, and carrot and celery sticks. Everything got eaten so that was a good sign at least!
I have no idea how I'm going to react when I wake up to return to work on July 1. I'll probably automatically go to make a banana smoothie for breakfast. Those are delicious anyway and carb and protein rich - just what you need in a breakfast.