Vegan Food Fair, Auckland 2017

Doug's World

FOOD. FRIENDS. FUN!

Do you like these things? If not, there’s probably something extremely wrong with you. Most likely, you’re a ghost wandering the earth, lost and disoriented because you haven’t made amends with Allah or Buddha or whoever. Go away.

Now, back to living people. If you like those 3 F’s (yes, there is a 4th F but I won’t go into that), then the Vegan Food Fair is the place for YOU

The mighty vegan food fair took place in the city of Auckland, last week. I suppose it is kinda late because it happened on Sunday, but better late than never as they say.

I should start by saying what makes this food fair so great – it is huge! Huge by New Zealand standards. Huge by Donald Trump standards! Are you a sleazy whore with no standards? Then it’s probably still huge.

Standard is an understatement, because this food fair is no STANDARD food fair. In fact, it’s a VEGAN food fair. In fact, I was working the fair at the gates, selling tickets. In fact, when random passers-by came to ask what the commotion was, I proudly declared that this is the biggest food fair of the whole year in NZ, and they were missing out if they didn’t go. In fact, I didn’t even mention that it was vegan. Because, why? It doesn’t matter that it’s vegan, the fact is, the food is delicious, and if you enter the fair you’re a cool cat who I want attack.

That’s a fact.

Well, I might attack you anyway, but that’s beside the point.

The point is, I volunteered at the vegan food fair, and the whole thing was a big blurry haze of eating and working, eating and working. At one point I’m munching on a PYRONI PIE (om nom), at the next point I’m pointing pointy steel barriers and trying not to drop them on little innocent children.

 

That’s okay, as long as them children are vegan they’ll have the necessary fortitude to withstand dropping big heavy weights on top of them. My job should be hurling things at kids. I suspect it would pay well.

The Vegan Food Fair was not just a food fair. It was also a place of live music, yoga, clothing, health products and more. Except I think if they called it the Vegan Food, Music, Yoga, Clothing and Health Fair, it would sound a bit much. ‘man, I can’t handle that much CONTENT in one day’. ‘Come, there will be food’, is a lot more appetising. Everyone loves food, but many people passionately hate Yoga. I think. ‘Jus’ had a fuckin yoga session, where the fuck is my inner god damn peace? Fuck this shit!’ 

Besides, if it was called the Vegan Food, Music, Yoga, Clothing and Health Fair, it would be a lot to fit on these snazzy t-shirts we wore.

IMG_7714

Not only did the Vegan Food, Music, Yoga, Clothing and Health Fair include vegan food, music, yoga, clothing and health, it also included legendary Australian rapper James Aspey, who sailed here to New Zealand on the back of a crocodile he turned docile with his rugged good looks and charming smile. He calls it his cro-docile.

I didn’t ‘meat’ James Aspey myself, mainly because I hadn’t done any research on him. All I knew was that he was famous, Australian, vegan and an animal rights activist. I wouldn’t know how to start conversation. ‘So, you’re a vegan aye? An Australian vegan yeah? Yeah, haha, guess no shrimps on the barbie for you aye? No kangaroo tacos for you?’ That last one is not a joke, Kangaroo Tacos is an actual thing they do in Australia, not the bacteria-ridden dinner of some Mad Max villain.

IMG_7713

The chalk wall by the end of the day

Overall, I’ll give this food fair my rating of 50 thumbs up. The food was delicious, the atmosphere was delicious, and the people were delicious – maybe could’ve done with a bit more salt and paprika, but they were still tender and well cooked. Let’s hope we get another food fair come 2018!!!! Until then, let’s get wasted!

18155918_10154635832389010_7851461305756402492_o.jpg

The volunteer crew! That’s me in the centre with the tartan and red and orange undershirts, looking like a weird mix between the drunken Scotsman that I am and the Latino Gangster that I aspire to be. Veganism FTW! Photo courtesy Daniel Ariyani, the awesome dude who helped organise this wicked event

The 1 Thing Amateur Bloggers Oughta Know

Doug's World

First post in a while! Don’t worry everybody, I didn’t get killed in a sexy South American gunfight. Although sometimes I wish I had. Seriously though, I’ve been busy with my – ahem, business. Hence why they call it a busi-ness. Because it keeps me busy.

And so, like most young men who make their own business, I read ‘The four hour work week’, a book so hot that I’m juggling it like a hot potato.


Reading it, I ran out of excuses for not maintaining my blog. I work 15 hour weeks, then rest of the time I spend either cooking, exercising or working on my business. Surely I can maintain my blog!

There’s an amazing thing that happens when people suddenly find themselves with free time. They discover that they don’t really have any free time after all. It was just a sneaky illusion! Meheheehe. No, what happens is they find themselves by the same things, be they habits or distractions, that can consume all their time, regardless of whether they’re working 40 hours a week or 0 hours a week.

 

What I find that blogs aren’t the hobbies of people with free time to spare. If anything, it’s for people who know how to effectively use their spare time so that they can maintain a blog.

 

No, what’s really missing is not enough time. Rather, it’s two simple elements I sometimes forget:

Blogging should be fun! 😍😍😍😍

Sometimes I avoid making blog posts because I treat it like work. Spend X amount of hours on your blog per X. But really, I’m sick of my fellow marketers treating their own blogs like The Huffington Post. I miss the old days where blogs were just online journals where we could express our thoughts. I don’t write in order to get read, I write because it’s fun and a chance to vent.

When I first started this blog I took it very seriously, until it quickly devolved into absurd, politically incorrect humour. Why? Because it’s fun.

And considering I have two jobs, fun is good

Yay! This post took me like 15 minutes. Im a legend!

 

 

Auckland Lantern Festival, Feb 2017 (and lots of rambling about WordPress)

Doug's World, Joe's Bloody Good Opinion

OMGOMGOMG this post took so long to produce. Like, over a week! I went to the festival on the 11th, and I’m only posting it now. Partially because I’m lazy and procrastinating, but largely because of what a nightmare it is trying to upload a simple two minute video whilst still being a cheapskate and not paying for a premium service. I don’t think uploading videos should be classified as premium, because like, i’m only given 15 gigs or something. If I wanna use it all up on videos, that’s my choice. Anyway, most people don’t upload videos directly to wordpress anyway. They upload to Youtube (for free) and just embed it onto wordpress. No money paid and no data used. Well, it’s not really embedding. It’s so easy, you just paste your Youtube link onto wordpress and the whole video appears, perfectly formatted. Which begs two very interesting questions:

  1. Why is it easier to share Youtube videos to WordPress than it is to share videos to Blogger, which is also a Google service? You’d think they’d work better together, wouldn’t they?
  2.  If WordPress wants people paying to upload videos, why are they making it so damn easy to circumvent WordPress and go straight to Youtube?

Well they don’t tell me how to run my business so I won’t tell them how to run theirs. In fact, maybe they should tell me how to run my business. WordPress team, if you’re reading, please leave some comments. I like comments.

So what happened is I tried converting the video file to something that would be recognised as an image, but that didn’t work out. So I then decided to upload the video to Youtube. However, I thought I’d create my own Kale Oil account, which I did, except somebody had taken the kaleoil@gmail.com address. Seriously? I thought I was the only one. Maybe my fiendish competitors are plotting tricks again. So I decided to create an Outlook account and use THAT on my new Google account. So two accounts created. But when I went to upload a video, it told me I needed to verify my account. Fine, so I checked my outlook, but no message was there. It was definitely the right address. So I clicked ‘didn’t receive notification’, which just takes you to a list of knowledge articles, none of which actually relate to confirmation e-mails. So basically, I’m f***ed. In the end, I just uploaded it to my regular Youtube account and pray (to all of the Gods, just to be safe), that I’ll receive my e-mail and can start using my Kale Oil Youtube account! Woohoo! That’s something to look forward to!

But anyway, let’s change the subject. We’re here to talk about the Lantern Festival, not my complaints about WordPress and Google. I’m pretty sure that most people who come to this blog do not come to read about the perils of social media. But if you do, thanks. I’ll include it more often.

But yes, the lantern festival: Auckland’s 4-day Bonzai Bonanza featuring all the tropes of East-Asian culture: yummy food, ethnic music, delicious food, dancing, tasty food, martial arts, om-nom-nommy food, traditional costumes and om nom nom nom. It’s the East-Asian equivalent to the Diwali festival which happened sometime last year – but this is a bit more ambitious in scale and size and dimensions. On the first day of the lantern festival, there is no food or performances, only the lanterns and other lights. So people kinda showed up and were a bit disappointed. But after that the festival went full swing and it was a rockin’ good time.

I took all these photos but they’re not the best quality. Either I need to get a new phone or I need to start bringing my DSLR to these events and risk some asshole colliding headfirst into my lenses. I decided to pretty everything up by putting it in these cool thumbnail tile thingies. So cool! Blogger doesn’t have this. I’ve even put little captions in, only if you’re brave enough to put your cursor over them.

I wish I could’ve taken more snaps of food. But unfortunately I ate before going to the event. I got off the bus at Britomart, walked up Quay St, see Z Petrol Station, think ‘mmm… Vegan Mexican Pie’, eat Vegan Mexican pie, go up beach read, see another Z petrol station, think ‘mmm.. Vegan mexican pie’, eat Vegan mexican pie, then go the festival. Anyway, here are yer damn photos.

Foody Foody Food Food

Lanterns and Stuff

Oh, and here’s my video of some wicked martial arts that I took so long to upload. Enjoy, and haw-haw WordPress! Another day goes by where I evade the temptation to upgrade to a premium account! I live to fight another day!

Speaking of fighting, watch the video

Hare Krishna Food Festival, Jan 2017

Doug's World

What’s for dinner? Who’s asking? Am I asking myself? Does anybody really care? Are you truly, actually interested in what I had for dinner? If so I’m flattered! Well, I’d be more flattered if it was my own cooking, and then you’d be like ‘wow, you’re such a good cook, Doug, marry me’, and I’d be like ‘well, okay,’ rather than if i’m just taking photos of someone else’s food, and you’re like ‘wow, doug, you pick all the best restaurants, marry me,‘ and I’m like ‘well, okay’ and the rest they say is history.

Introductions aside, I went to Saturday’s Hare Krishna Food Festival in the Kumeu region of Western Auckland. Oh how had I had been neglecting my social life for a week or so in favour of other activities such as watching paint dry and shouting at my curtains. So I thought if im gonna make up for it I might as well socialise over plates full of hare krishna food, because generally im more sociable if im eating or drinking coffee. Or alcohol. Or all three at the same time. The trope goes that when westerners think of Hare Krishna, the following things come to mind:

  1. Cheap Indian Food
  2. That’s it

Well, turns out, a lot of Hare Krishna people like to poke fun at this, and call themselves ‘the kitchen religion’. I haven’t any interest in religion or spirituality, but eating out for cheap is one thing Auckland desperately needs so Hare Krishna helps out with that big time. Check out Mukunda’s on K road. They do a mean vegan curry! BUT THAT”S ANOTHER STORY. (see I used ” instead of ‘ not because of shift key but because so dramatic)

Let’s face it, who doesn’t love food? Aside from people with eatings disorders. Where was I going with this? Oh, okay, turns out there’s a whole bunch of people who don’t like eating. No, they’re not anorexic or bulimic or anything – they simply do not like eatingThere’s stuff you can read on the internet about it. READ IT. But dont stop reading my blog! ill miss you 😦img_6043

For all the rest of us who do like food, Hare Krishna is good cos they do exactly that. The first meal we got was this Asian Tofu Salad, SEE BLOW FOR ASIAN TOFU SALAD – which was pretty boring but it had cashews which made it more interesting. All the cashews gathered at the bottom so the reward for going through the whole thing was a big tasty spoonful of cashews. I can live with that! I could probably live ON cashews too. But I wont. Simply because of the price. Otherwise I would.

 

Asian tofu salad and somebody’s feet. Judging by his feet he must be pretty handsome

After that we noticed one food stall had a perpetually huge line, so with my sheep mentality I flocked towards that line because thats what I do, I just go with what everyone
else is doing. It was a really hot day standing in that line which had to be about a hundred people, so fortunately I had a pina colada. Anyways I got this Masala Dosa with a big range of chutneys.

img_6046

I liked the random ‘Yea baby!’ I really need to start including that expression in my vocabulary more often. ‘Time to take out the rubbish. YEAH BABY!’

 

Preparing our Masala Dosa

WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOURE ALL OUT OF FUSINO DOSA oh wait I see what you mean

Masala Dosa and four types of chutney, left, Samosas in Tamarind sauce, right, and a cool pair of funky shades belonging to somebody who obviously has a great taste in shades. Whoever he is, he sounds handsome

I also got some vada sambar and a samosa. They gave me an extra samosa, which was cool because I had waited so long, and they also happened to be the best samosas I’ve ever tried. The tamarind sauce was great as well.

Vada Sambar and Samosas! Need a name for that hand, looks like it belongs to a handsome guy. Police! Help! There’s a handsome guy’s hand on my Vada Sambar! Oh wait, never mind, it’s only my hand.

So Im full as and just decided to walk it off and explore for a little bit. The property is really beautiful, but the highlight is the Alpacas!

Even the Alpacas meditate

Now, the Alpaca was fucking awesome, but Overall the Hare Krishna festival… kinda let us down in the end. First, it felt less like a festival and more like just a general food gathering. There were only about 6 food

img_6044

Pasta dishes that looked delicious but fortunately were nor vegan pastas. I had a massive pasta craving by this point so FML. Pastapasta

stands, and only one sold all the Indian food we liked, which explains the huge wait time. I mean, when we think of Hare Krishna we think of affordable, mildly flavoured Indian food.But a lot of the food being sold was things like pizza, pasta and noodles. I was expecting lots more music, dancing, face painting and that kinda stuff. But we were all kinda sitting thtere thinking ‘this is it?’

To give them credit, it seems like the first food festival that particular group has organised in that area, so I’m assuming they were very tentative about the whole thing, and will probably to make it a lot more exciting and fun for all next time. My main plea for next time: give the kids something to do aside from playgrounds and bouncy castles (where was the face painting at?) and secondly, more Indian food!

 

 

img_6042

Hare Krishna Food Festival, Kumeu, Auckland 28 Jan 2017

9 Home Cures for Food Poisoning

Doug's World

The other day I wrote a post about food poisoning! Specifically me getting food poisoning! Can you believe it, me? I need your pity. And your money! You see, I had to wait 2 hours in the hospital waiting room and, really, I should be paid for the time, don’t you think! I need attention and chocolates!

Anyway, I got better and have decided to write a super-cool list of great (vegan friendly) cures for food poisoning. And they actually work, which is cool. Believe me, they really do. If I can just chuck in some advice, I recommend you should actually deliberately  poison yourself just so you can try these out! That’s how awesome and effective they are!

Clove Water

This is an old family medicine that boasts the power to “stop food poisoning in its tracks.” It seems to instantly ease an upset stomach and other nasty symptoms. And fortunately there’s science to back up the claim that it fights listeria, which is associated with food poisoning.

The flavour can be quite powerful, so you should start with a teaspoon of clove oil in a standard glass of water. Its helpful to find other ways of incorporating clove into your diet, like adding it to your tea or hot chocolate.

Lemon Juice

Do I really need to explain? Does the mighty lemon need any introduction? Lemons are full of antiviral and immune boosting properties that helps your body fight back strong against food poisoning.

I haven’t had a cold in 3 years and I personally thank Lemons for that!

Bananas

Bananas have made this list not because they’re filled with helpful, anti-poison nutrients, but because bananas are so easy on the stomach, and when you have food poisoning, the prospect of eating doesn’t excite you that much.

Bananas will make a great staple food while also being easy on your system, allowing your body to focus on fighting off the poison.

Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea soothes your stomach and has a lot of helpful benefits, like fighting nausea, but more importantly it chills you out! And when you’ve got food poisoning, you gotta be chill and relaxed. I like to buy Healtheries Peppermint tea (its cheap af)

Better yet, just grow your own peppermint! It grows like a weed and requires little maintenance. At my old home we have three peppermint plants, and they need to be contained in pots or they’ll take over the whole property. If you want to live in a peppermint Jumanji jungle, that’s fine too.

Raw Garlic Juice or Toast

Raw Garlic, as we all know, is an antibiotic that sorts your stomach out big time, but we all have a problem with eating it. When I want to eat raw garlic, I will either mash it and mix it in with icy water to make ‘Garlic Juice’ or, for a more tasty option, mash it up and chuck it on some toast. Consider getting a nutri-bullet, it makes eating raw easier and allows you to incorporate raw foods into your diet in all sorts of ways, garlic included.

Here’s a great article on the health benefits of chewing raw garlic.

Apple Cider Vinegar

This stuff can basically help with all your food-poisoning ailments. The fact that it’s so cheap is great, too. It doesn’t taste particularly great when drunken whole, but if you’re going through food poisoning, bad tasting food should be the least of your worries. Not dying should be first. Don’t wanna die? Drink apple cider vinegar. If I sold vinegar that what be my advertising slogan. ‘Drink it or you’ll die.’ Demographics indicate that most people don’t want to die. I don’t wanna die, so I drink vinegar.

Ginger Tea

Ginger is like steroids for your blood – it makes things happen faster. Some people consider it ‘the most powerful food poisoning remedy.

Kombucha

When your mates find out you’ve got food poisoning and pop by with a bottle of Kombucha, that’s when you know you’ve got some solid mates.  Kombucha is a probiotic which helps your stomach fight disease and infection! Here’s an article about why you should drink it every day.

Water!

Shut the hell up and drink some water! It’s probably the best thing you can do to help food poisoning. Just make sure the water supply hasn’t been poisoned, that’s happening all the time these days and the last thing you want is to drink poison. Poison does not cure poisoning. Believe me. Non-poisonous water is the best kind of water.

Some other thing to try…

Activated Charcoal

If Activated Charcoal is good enough for poison control centres, it’s good enough for us! This stuff is an astounding antitoxin which can pretty quickly flush poisons out of your body. You’ll be flushed with success!

Colloidal Silver

I had a friend who always took this stuff. Apparently it cures everything. I’ll believe her. But yeah, apparently it cures food poisoning too. While there’s no scientific proof, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence. Wait, sorry, I hate that term ‘anecdotal evidence’. It’s an oxymoron. People just say it works, okay? It’s like the iMac of alternative medicine – “it does everything and it just works”. Sounds good!

Cannabis

Now, I’m not condoning the use of illegal drugs – oh wait a minute, I totally am!

You see, one of the worst things about food poisoning is constant nausea. It just sucks. Fortunately there’s an illegal drug called cannabis which actually suppresses the hell out of nausea and stops you from vomiting and does a whole bunch of other beneficial things too, but I will not divulge in for the sake of this poor hyperlink which is really being stretched to its limits. But yeah, you won’t be vomiting or nauseous, which is good.

Cannabis is good.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading all this! Here’s some more stuff for you to read. Read it , because I said so.

I was poisoned! :(

Doug's World

Attention everybody, give me your money. I’ve been poisoned! I know what you’re thinking – “holy shit!” Yes, but calm down for a second and ask: How did I get from writing a blog to here? All… poisoned, and shit? Well, it’s a long story, so let me begin at the… beginning:

The basic reason I started this blog is to share my wonderful experiences and ideas after ditching meat, and ultimately other animal products, from my diet. Whenever some new idea or thought comes to my head, I just wanna share, share, share, however, people obviously don’t always want to hear my ramblings, so Ive delegated it to a blog. This blog. I also get to share inspirational quotes:

‘When there is a flowering, it is your duty to share it with the world.’ – Elliot Hulse

And here’s another one I read recently that I quite like…

quote-what-is-a-cynic-a-man-who-knows-the-price-of-everything-and-the-value-of-nothing-oscar-wilde-198115

That’s good. I love Oscar Wilde and his mad dress style. But it’s just not inspirational, damn it! We need more inspirational quotes!

steve252520jobs252520best252520famous252520quotes252520ideas252520pics252520images25252025252025252814252529

Nice! Thanks Steve! I feel inspired. Inspired to keep writing about my wonderful experiences. For example, my most recent wonderful experience has been food poisoning! which is why I haven’t posted in a while. Well, I could have. It shouldn’t really stop me from making posts. But I’m so opportunistic! I see an opportunity to not do anything and I GRAB it. What a go-getter am I!

My first thought, and basically everyone’s thought, my boss included, was ‘how the heck does a vegan get food poisoning?’ Which is what I’m keen to find out, and is why I’m making this post.

How the flippin’ f*ck did it happen?

Sorry about my poor censoring skills. You can probably guess which letter lies beneath that *asterix. It doesn’t exactly leave a lot to the imagination. Anyway, first of all, it’s important to say that vegans are still at risk of food poisoning. I expected it would pain me to say that, it’s something I’d like to be able to gloat about, but the facts are the facts. Although UK studies say poultry is the most common cause of food poisoning (salmonella, no shit. You’d think considering the name, Salmon would cause Salmonella?) However, poisoning by fruits and vegetables is still very high. But that shouldn’t make us sad about it! Considering meat is cooked and fruits are usually eaten raw, this should only make sense that the rights are quite high. Anything cooked kills off bacteria. But if meat-eaters didn’t have the privilege of nuking all of their cuts, It’d be interesting to see how quickly those stats change! MWAHAHA! I WOULD SUSPECT THAT THEY WOULD BE VERY QUICK INDEED!

Still, it is true that vegans are less likely to respond to the effects of food poisoning, simply because it’s my belief that we have better immune systems. I haven’t gotten a “cold” in three years, and I’ve been vegetarian for about… wait for it! Three years!

However, the chance of us being exposed to something that causes us food poisoning is probably about the same.

 

So I got sick quite quickly after chomping down a few ‘Vegie Delights’ Hot Dogs. I think that maybe I didn’t cook them enough, or that they needed to be frozen. Anyway, later that night I threw up. The next day, I didn’t feel like eating all day, until later that night I had some Linda McCartney country style pies.

img_5858

These pies weren’t particularly good. Fry’s is a lot better. But needless to say, I threw them up, too. Mainly because I was sick, not because they were bad pies. Or maybe? Just kidding, but not really. Although kinda!

Then the incontinence came in. Sexy, sexy incontinence. Shitting your pants and throwing up twice is not the best way to begin your new year with your new flat! But eh, first world problems. At least I’m not vomiting up my own blood like some Ebola third world situation. Oh wait, apparently you can *crap* your own blood from food poisoning, but fortunately it never got to that stage. Basically I hate bleeding from weird places. I don’t mind getting cut and bleeding, but the thought of blood coming out of my mouth or other areas just… freaks me out.

But anyway, it was definitely food poisoning. Vomiting, nausea, weakness, incontinence, loss of appetite. Oh my god, loss of appetite! I had been so excited for cooking for my new flatmates, but if the thought of eating is enough to make me sick, the thought of cooking isn’t too exciting either. They say ‘don’t go shopping when youre hungry’. (‘HAW HAW HAW!’) Well, here’s my advice: don’t go cooking when your hungry, either. And don’t go cooking when you’re sick from food poisoning.

Generally you don’t want to have too much appetite or not enough, because either way you’ll cook something awful. Is that why gay guys make good hairdressers for girls? They’re not thinking ‘this looks sexy’, they’re thinking ‘this just looks good’. I know me. I don’t want healthy, or ‘booming with elegant flavours and subtle hints’. I want salt, sugar, carbohydrates and SATURATED FAT. Pasta no good? Needs more of one of those four.

God, having no appetite sucked. Any food that I had was forced. I basically lived on water, lemon juice, green tea.  Wait, that’s probably a lot healthier and nutritious than what I was eating previously. I should get food poisoning more often! Ha ha, but not really, or am I really? Who knows!

So, tomorrow I’m gonna post a… post…. on how a vegan can get food poisoning and THEN, what to DO about it. Why not go out and get food poisoning, just so you can use my handy tricks? Go on! Why not! You only live once! Unless you get food poisoning and die. Then you live like.. half. If you’re young. Don’t die! I need the readers!

Tune in tomorrow for more oily, green Kale action!

Vegan in Palmerston North

..., Doug's World

“I am happiest when I’m writing”

                                                     – My Affirmation

Dear intermittent readers! I have been away for two weeks celebrating Christmas and New Year down southways. Christmas is a time catching up with family. Oh and of course, shopping! But yeah, family!

Last Christmas (I gave you my heeeart – R.I.P George Michael) I had spent the day around Mum’s side of the family. This time I would visit Dad’s side.

Big difference. Like half of Mum’s family is vegan or plant-based, so Christmas with them is as easy as pie. No. Easier. Pie is not easy. Unless you’re getting it from the bakery. But if you’re vegan you can’t just go into any bakery and get a pie. I know Tart Bakery in Grey Lynn do great pies, and the Z energy stations. Otherwise I’m resigned to baking my own pies, which certainly aren’t easy to do. So I’ll just say it was easy as 2 minute noodles. Vegan noodles.

On Dad’s side, nobody is vegan or vegetarian. They weren’t sure how to cater at first, but I told them not to worry. We’ll go do a big fun shop and buy some tasty foods. One of my favourite ways of teaching people about veganism is to go grocery shopping! What a fun way to discover the incredible plant-based world out there!

My stepmother made me vegan pumpkin Kasha, a staple meal in Ukraine which makes a good breakfast, lunch or dessert. The ingredients usually consist of mashed pumpkin, rice/buckwheat and dates. I didn’t get the exact recipe but there’s plenty of great ones on the internet, like this from vanillaandbean.com.

Stepmum isn’t vegan, but has a pretty plant-based diet and is interested in the idea of full veganism. We were talking about the benefits of a plant-based diet, which is one of my favourite topics. But I don’t always know how to act when somebody takes a huge conversational interest in veganism. I’m more used to confrontational, not conversational. I became super afraid of saying the wrong thing just to avoid hurting anyone.

On the day of arrival we went shopping at the local Countdown, I got to show off some cool vegan products, including some top ice-creams and black-bean burger patties (which my Dad loved, served in a bun with peanut butter, BBQ sauce, lettuce and tomato).

‘I really admire your diet, but having a little bit of animal products occasionally will not hurt you.’

‘Sorry Dad, but I’m fully committed.’  I said.

This is my usual response these days. In the past I might have meekly said ‘yeah’ or ‘mmm hmm’, but what have I learned? That you really need to stand your ground about things like diet. If you haven’t the charisma of impassioned orator, then the least you can do is make it clear that your diet is based off conviction solid as rock, unmoving.

People in Palmerston North are so friendly. They ask me about my diet without judgement or presupposition, motivated only by sheer curiosity. Not once did anybody make even the subtle mockery that I’m so used to in Auckland. Eh, the grass is always greener, right?

That being said, Palmerston North is no backwater. It’s a balance between idyllic large town and small, modern city. And there’s no shortage of markets to get the bulk, ethnic and wholefoods that make up a quality vegan diet.

palmerston20north

Courtesy of davis.nz

Dad took me to Davis Trading, a mammoth ethnic and bulk foods supermarket with foodstuffs from all over Asia. He had had a fortifying breakfast of black-bean burgers and was now full of energy, zipping through the aisles asking me what everything was and what it could be used for. Dad had always encouraged me to eat healthy from an early age, but because of the custody situation, I saw him only once a week and the teaching never rubbed off on me. I didn’t start eating relatively healthy until I went vegan. So when we saw each other again, he was amazed to see just how much I had learned about food and nutrition. Dad was grateful towards my veganism because it showed me the path towards healthy eating. I’m grateful towards it for that reason too.

Then there’s silk route spices, an Indian market which sells these tasty vegan burger patties! (yes, the website is incomplete A.F)

img_5712img_5666

On Christmas day, I made the family a vegan big breakfast – toast with those Indian15698203_1047614178701132_1493606533976938313_n patties, baked beans and a dollop of hummus. I wanted to show that Kiwi-style food can easily be vegan, but also I just like cooking for holidays! Cooking for others is an easy gift and people tend to appreciate it. Sometimes I like waking up to a ready meal. Food is awesome, that we can all agree on! So let’s all make food for each other 😀

 

Others were thinking along the same lines. Most of my gifts were consumables (which I like. I have too much stuff.) That included this delicious vegan rice milk chocolate and these awesome biscuits.

img_5667

Best vegan chocolate and biscuits I’ve tried

So Christmas evening was the big night! The night we cooked the ROAST – bah, humbug! This is the most difficult part. Luckily I bought with me a Seitan mock duck from Blissful health and Vegetarian shop

 

ft005

Seitan duck, courtesy of blissfulvege.com

The family’s chicken took hours to cook, but this only took a few minutes! Of course it was cooked alongside potatoes, kumara, carrots and parsnips. But the end result was a pretty convincing copy of a Christmas roast dinner. I don’t know if the rest of the family liked it, but I did. It was my first time eating Seitan too, which was a bit weird. But still pretty good.

img_5668

Roast vegetarian duck

 

Most resourceful vegans know you can easily be vegan basically anywhere in New Zealand, but this is my holiday and I wanted nothing but fatty filthy junk food from America.

img_5710

Don’t judge me.

Because I was working at the same time I spent a few too many times binging on apple pies and fries at McDonalds, a few too many spicy Indian burger patties, plenty of Subway, sushi and vegan dumplings from countdown. Oh and a brilliant Turkish bistro in the Plaza did me a mean falafel burger.

 

The big discovery was Café Royale, located near the square inconspicuously inside an art building. The top vegan café in Palmerston North, I had a mean big breakfast. The staff are friendly! It was peaceful sitting alone with my food, coffee and work. I felt at peace throughout the whole holiday, but I dig solitary time, especially with great food.
img_5716img_5720

Thanks to VANZ – The Vegan New Zealand facebook page for telling me about the cafe, as well as getting me in touch with veganpalmy.org.nz, the page for the Palmerston North Vegan Society. These guys are the true vegan voice for the city.

Well thats it! A brief overview of my experience in Palmerston North. Here are the basic points of interest:

  • Davis Trading, the best place for bulk and ethnic foods
  • Café Royale, a cool, hip café with plenty of tasty vegan food and coffee
  • Veganpalmy.org.nz, an essential guide for vegan living in Palmerston North.

Happy travels people! Keep on writing and keep on exploring! If you have any tips or experiences as a vegan in Palmerston North, get in touch with the veganpalmy crew or leave a comment here!