Minimalist Eating


So it is whitebait season here in NZ.  This is the time of the year when greed often overcomes any actual need and when usually mild mannered people become guarded and territorial over their ‘patch’ of river.  The prices are high and because it is a limited season the eagerness to get out there is also high…. my family included, though their catches are usually counted on one hand :).  It has become a prized delicacy.

The thing is that whitebait are actually the young of several threaten native species of fish.  As they struggle to get back up the rivers to grow and spawn they are caught in the thousands.  Combined with unhealthy and altered waterways this means that slowly but surely these species will disappear.  It no longer feels like such a good thing to be encouraging our kids to do. This isn’t just a New Zealand problem though and I have had quite a few conversations lately around the issue of ‘over-use’ of animals in our food.

white bait species

A few people I have talked to, after seeing ‘Cowspiracy’  have become vegan as they learn more about the true cost of the food on our plates.  Even our locally sourced raw milk, which I thought was a good alternative to big business milk, has me questioning after I realised there was no break in milk production over the past year. Then I was left wondering, yet again, about my own occasional seafood intake as watching a movie on sushi that discussed how many fish species they used to use are no longer available due to over fishing.  Then there is the whole palm oil issue and the list could go on.

I don’t know the answer that will ultimately solve the issues however it has made me think even more about the food we purchase, the amounts we purchase of it and what we consume.  We stock our cupboards each week even when they are not empty, eat foods that used to be seasonal all year around and generally consume more than necessary.  I can see that there is room for a little more minimalist eating in our home and a little more room to get even more ‘back to basics’.

While I am aware of these issues I find I am slow to make changes which I think is probably where many stand.  Change can be hard and is not always possible depending on personal circumstances.  Is it a case of waiting until it is all gone before we make real change?  I hope not.  I hope that the Cree Indian Proverb doesn’t have to come true before people around the world realise that how we are doing things now is not sustainable.

Cree proverb

Hope this finds you asking your own questions and finding the solutions that work for you.




Palm Oil Free Bread


A few years ago the kids and I got to reading about orangutans and the way that their habitats are being destroyed as the rainforests are cut down for wood and the land is cleared to grow palm oil, an ingredient in lots of foods. These actions, combined with baby orangutans being taken for pets, means that these animals are currently endangered and have a real chance of extinction if humans do not change our behaviours.


My Basic Bread…. no palm oil in sight and only 3 ingredients.

After watching  a few mini documentaries about this the kids decided that if we stopped buying foods with Palm Oil in them it would help the orangutans by lowing the demand – even if ever so slightly.  So the label reading began at each supermarket shop and we avoided buying anything with Palm Oil or unidentified vegetable oil in it very successfully. The children were happy to go without things they had before if it had palm oil in it and would actually ask about the ingredients more often than not. With the information we had, we were doing a pretty good job……. then, as often happens, new information came to hand in the form of Auckland Zoo’s Palm Oil free shopping list (NZ shopping).

With this handy document we have now realised that Palm oil is often hidden (aside from the unidentified vegetable oil) within many foods through the use of scientific names and numbers.  Our shopping today didn’t change that much thankfully due to our preference for packaged food with minimal ingredient lists which I can also understand however the big one for us was our  bagel treat.  It seems that the bagels and pizza bases we normally get, both GF and regular, aren’t Palm Oil free for sure and so while I await an email reply from the manufacturers about the source of their additives we decided to try alternatives that were on the Palm Oil free shopping list.

The choices however weren’t exactly huge or ideal either for different reasons.  Looks like I may be practising a new skill soon 🙂  So I thought this may be a good time to offer my basic bread recipe again so that if any of you wanted to make a change in your eating behaviours and at the same time create change in the world you had an easy, cheap and yummy alternative to bread at least.  This recipe is for one loaf and only has 4 ingredients – water, yeast, flour and a little bit (honestly I’m not one for lots of kneading and hard work) of  manual labour.  You can find it here on my recipe page.

Until next time… I hope this finds you happy, healthy and living the life you dream of.




The easier it is….


It has be a busy week around here, nothing too out of the ordinary… just that constant feeling of having to be somewhere or do something or organize things.  With my head in a spin I wasn’t even thinking about blogging until yesterday.

Yesterday we went up to see a family of five who are living in their house-bus which they have designed to be as environmentally sustainable as possible. As we spoke to them about their choices of food, fuel, materials and clothing it made me realise that I often forsake my values and what I find important to take the easy option.  I know that this is something the majority of us do so, truth be told, I wasn’t feeling that guilty…. just in awe that this family had really put their lifestyle where their mouth is 🙂  In each aspect of their journey and life they put thought into the everyday details and choices.

free set t

Fair Trade Organic cotton T-shirts by Free Set  who offer employment to women trapped in the sex trade.

I came away thinking how great it was that we had met this family and had an opportunity to chat to them.  Then once home and checking e-mails I read an article by Joshua Becker about how when things are easily accessible we tend to use them more.  It got me thinking about the family we had just met, about our own plans for travelling in a house-bus and dreams of living more sustainably.  Maybe that is the key…. the less we have around us (easily at hand) the more we have to think about the choices we make.

Food is a perfect example… when there are chips in the cupboard easily accessible you can bet those chips get munched! Yet when we don’t have them in the house I have to think about either going to the shops (a bit of a drive) or going without.  Usually it is the later as I start to weigh up time and effort. 🙂  It is true for other aspects of life too both  in a positive and negative way…. it seems the easier life is (and the more accessible the things we want are) the more we use it.

The easier we make it to get cheap, sugary food, unsustainable resources and materials the more we use however the same is true when organic, whole foods, sustainable resources and fair trade materials are easily accessible.  The reverse also works just as well… the more we use things the more accessible they become.  Ultimately it comes down to choices in consumerism and I’m so glad a meet some people that have made me think about mine.

Hope this finds you healthy, happy and full of life.