Greenwash, exercise and soup

May 26, 2015

Discussion with Simon Mercep on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

* Envormation – a New Zealand-based website which aims to help consumers cut through the greenwash by understanding key environmental information about products and services. (hat tip Idealog).

*  How to fall in love with exercise.


* The Soup Chick

Rural round-up

May 19, 2015

Spare a thought –  Gravedodger:

While Greater Wellington is being rinsed a pocket of Eastern North Canterbury remains in the grip of a crippling drought. Now accepting I have railed against over egging a summer dry as drought and asked for such adverse weather events to be viewed against much more serious world events, what is happening in an area centred on Cheviot is now very serious.

The affected area is quite local from around  the Waipara river to the Conway and extending from the coast variably extending inland approximately 50 kms this land has been able to miss out on autumn rains. A friend who visited Cheviot to play golf from a more favoured area of the region was gobsmacked a week ago. Any land not subject to irrigation is a depressing grey colour with nothing growing even weeds are in trouble. . .

Farmers despondent in Canterbury drought – Jemma Brackebush:

A stock transporter in north Canterbury says he has trucked nearly 20,000 sheep out of the area to date because of the drought, and claims he has never seen anything like it before.

North Canterbury, particularly Cheviot, is suffering from an ongoing drought, and farmers are having to choose between culling capital stock or sending them to graze in other regions, at quite an expense.

Cheviot Transport owner Barry Hanna, who has been driving trucks for 45 years, said he had not seen a drought as bad as this in a long time. . . .

Keep kids off quad bikes experts urge:

A new study into quad bike use among children has added weight to calls for a law change.

The review, published in the New Zealand Medical Journal today, shows over a seven-year period nearly 30 youngsters were taken to Starship Hospital with injuries from bikes. Two of them died.

Dr Rebecca Pearce, who co-authored the study, wants under-16s banned from using them.

“A lot of children’s groups are advocating against children riding quad bikes, but there’s actually no legislation,” she told RadioLIVE. . .

Some relief for pressured Otago farmers –  Jemma Brackebush:

Farmers in north Otago are welcoming the rain that is slowly bringing life to grass and winter feed crops, though they say there is a way to go before they are out of a green drought.

Parts of Otago are recovering from the effects of the drought that also gripped the Canterbury and Marlborough regions earlier this year.

Farmers in north Canterbury, particularly Cheviot, are still without relief, however, resulting in tens of thousands of sheep and cattle being culled or sent to other regions because of the extremely dry conditions. . .

Opportunities for farmers in lower livestock values:

The release of the National Average Market Values (NAMV) for livestock this week presents an opportunity for dairy farmers to reassess the valuation method they are using for their livestock.

This according to Crowe Horwath’s Tony Marshall who says the valuation highlights the relative strengths and weaknesses of the different industry sectors.

“The release of the 2015 values has seen a substantial fall in the market value of dairy cattle, a slight dip in the value of sheep and a significant increase in the value of beef cattle. These changes mirror closely the changes in the associated commodity prices,” Marshall says. . .

Commerce Commission to hold conference on wool scouring authorisation:

The Commission will hold a one day conference on Wednesday 10 June 2015 to discuss matters relating to Cavalier Wool Holding Limited’s application for authorisation to acquire New Zealand Wool Services International’s wool scouring business.

The conference will be held at The Majestic Centre, 100 Willis Street in Wellington.

The notification and agenda of the Conference as well as all other relevant information relating to the application for authorisation can be found on the Commission’s website at . .

Cuts both ways – ASB lowers milk price forecast and predicts OCR to drop:

ASB cuts its 2015/16 milk price forecast
At the same time, ASB predicts OCR cuts later this year
NZ dollar predicted to hit US 67 cents by year-end
Dairy prices are low and likely to stay that way a while longer, according to the latest ASB Farmshed Economics Report.

“After a drought-driven false dawn earlier this year, prices are at their lowest in five years,” says ASB’s Rural Economist Nathan Penny. “This is driven by a potent mix of domestic production getting a second wind and demand remaining weak. However, we still expect production to slow down to the point where demand can catch up, just later than previously expected.”

“As a result, we have cut our forecast for the 2015/16 season to $5.70/kg as well as adopting Fonterra’s lowered 2014/15 milk price forecast of $4.50/kg.” . . .

Lewis Road Creamery supports new organic dairy co-operative:

Lewis Road Creamery is supporting a new initiative to grow the organic dairy sector in New Zealand and sure up organic milk supply for its growing customer base.

The popular dairy brand is a founding customer of the newly launched Organic Dairy Hub Co-operative of New Zealand. The Hub links organic dairy farms with dairy producers providing certainty of sale for farmers and certainty of supply for purchasers like Lewis Road Creamery.

Peter Cullinane, Lewis Road Creamery founder and one of two independent directors of the Organic Dairy Hub welcomes the initiative. . .

Dairies aren’t parents

May 19, 2015

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service wants to limit what dairies can sell to children and restrictions on how many dairies can be in one area.

It said dairies were helping to make the country fat, and Auckland’s neighbourhoods were saturated with cheap, energy-dense food.

Health service clinical director Julia Peters said that needed to change.

“You’ve only got to go into a dairy or a convenience store and you see what you are confronted with is sugar-sweetened fizzy beverages, chocolate bars, chippies, lollies et cetera.”

Dairies are full of energy dense food and it is usually difficult to find lower energy food in them.

But dairies don’t force people to buy what they stock, they don’t give children the money to buy it and they have no way of knowing if children who buy their fat and sugar rich wares do so as a very ocassional treat, whether they share them with others or eat them all themselves.

That isn’t the dairies’ role. That’s the role of the parents.

Obesity is a growing problem. More people are getting fatter.

The reason for that is simple in that it’s the result of eating more than the body needs. But dealing with the issue is complex.

Six out of seven dairies near Hamilton’s Rhode Street school agreed not to sell junk food to children in school uniform after the student council asked them not to.

The principal, Shane Ngatai, said the effect was visible in the sugar spot checks they do from time to time.

“When we did the first bag inspection, we found over $100 worth of sugar in two classes alone. Now we’re not finding any.”

Mr Ngatai is completely behind the idea to take the plan wider.

“I don’t want to become the food police and I don’t want to be labelled a nanny state,” he said.

“But we don’t sell tobacco to kids, we don’t sell alcohol. Why are we selling this drug, sugar?” . . .

This is working in that area but requesting dairies not to sell junk food to children in school uniform is different from regulating what they can sell and how many outlets there are and there is a difference between tobacco and sugar.

Any smoking is harmful, some sugar as part of a balanced diet is not.

The people who should be controlling what chidlren eat are their parents.

Food outlets can play a part but rather than starting with the nucelar approach, why doesn’t the health service do more to encourage dairies to stock healthier alternatives like rockit apples?

1st world dilemma

May 13, 2015

Curiosity's photo.

More at

Does this take into account the environmental impact of making the hand dryer and its disposal when it dies?

What’s more important – the environment or hygiene?

And what’s the environmental impact of stomach bugs?


A Peace of Nourishment

May 6, 2015

Today is International No Diet Day:

After it was first held in then early 90’s in the U.K, slowly but surely other countries around the world have come on board to acknowledge this day. There is now no debate (and the research is clear) about whether weight loss diets work (they don’t), that they cause weight gain for many, and the focus on weight/weight loss leads to increased weight stigma. In addition, weight loss dieting is the commonest pathway to developing an eating disorder. This is perhaps the most insidious aspect of dieting, as we are increasingly seeing younger and younger age groups engage in weight suppression strategies. Please watch and share the promo for ‘A Peace of Nourishment’ featuring the very brave Kylie who is aiming to share her journey to recovery via this documentary.

Dr Kausman is the author of If Not Dieting Then What and has a website of the same name.

The Moderation Movement is also marking No Diet Day:

Here are my 6 top reasons why people should stop dieting now, or never go on a diet again.

1. “The best way to gain weight, is to lose weight.”

Research shows us that over 95% of people who lose weight on a diet, regain that weight within 5 years. The overwhelming majority regain more weight. Quote taken from ‘Beyond a shadow of a diet’ by Judith Matz and Ellen Frankel.

2. With regard to diets – “It’s the only thing we buy that, when the product fails, we all blame ourselves and then go buy another version.” Brilliantly put by American dietitian, Evelyn Tribole .

3. “If diets worked, everyone who has ever tried to lose weight, would have done it and kept the weight off long-term, end of story.” Zoe Nicholson (me)

4. Many people go on a diet with the aim to lose weight and feel better about themselves.

Research has found that dieters have lower self esteem, lower levels of body image satisfaction and higher levels of anxiety, depression and disordered eating than non-dieters. So in fact, dieting achieves the exact opposite of the very thing many people are trying to achieve.

5. Weight cycling, or yo-yoing, causes more damage to the body than maintaining a heavier weight.

Given most people who lose weight, regain the weight, most people diet more than once and get caught in the trap of weight cycling. Weight cycling causes inflammation in the body and increases risk factors for obesity related disease regardless of a person’s weight. Weight cycling also damages a person’s psychology as mentioned in point 4. If you have dieted, or are dieting, you will be familiar with the complete sense of failure every time you “fall off the wagon” or regain weight. This sense of failure leads to food binges and chips away at your self esteem and body image.

6. Diets fail people, people do not fail diets.

As you restrict calories and lose weight, there are neurological, biological and metabolic changes which occur that make it almost impossible to maintain the diet and a significant amount of weight loss. Restricting food makes you think constantly about food and eating, hormones increase your appetite and leave you less satiated after a meal and your metabolism becomes more efficient so that your body requires less energy than it did before.

But there is good news!

You can start to feel better about yourself without dieting or losing weight. With a Non-Diet Approach, you can start to improve your relationship with food and your body and significantly improve your mental and physical health. While the focus is shifted away from weight loss, weight loss can occur as you stop worrying so much about food or your body. As you let go of restrictions around food and allow yourself to eat freely, you will find in time that you no longer want to, or need to, binge on your “forbidden” foods.

Enjoy all food and the pleasure of eating, love your body for what it can do rather than how it looks and change your life for the better!

All research for above facts can be found in these articles:

Zoe Nicholson – figureate Dietitian

The Moderation Movement's photo.

Quote of the day

April 21, 2015

He would cough a lot and turn dusky and a bit blue, and cough and vomit and started losing weight,” says Ms Jackson. “It was all a pretty grim situation really.” . . .

“They had to do CPR for a lot of the night and I had to sit there and watch him,” Ms Jackson says. “It was awful to sit on that bed, and watch that tiny little body and be completely helpless.” . . . TV3

Chosen because it is World Immunisation Week

World Immunization Week 2015 poster

Are you getting enough?

April 13, 2015

It’s Iron Awareness week and too many people aren’t getting enough:

Iron deficiency remains an ongoing issue for many New Zealanders, with many unaware they have deficient levels.

According to the last national nutrition surveys, low iron levels were evident in one in 14 adult women over 15 years old with over a third of teenage girls aged 15-18 years not achieving their daily iron requirements.

Furthemore, 8 out of 10 toddlers are not meeting the recommended daily intake of dietary iron and 14% of children under 2 are deficient.

In recognition of these concerning statistics, Beef + Lamb New Zealand is pleased to facilitate an Iron Awareness Week commencing Monday 13th April, with an aim to raise awareness on the importance of dietary iron, recognising the signs of low iron and what you can do about it. . .

 That includes 10 tips to improve your iron intake:

Fatigue, lethargy, frequent infections and reduced resistance to cold. It may surprise you that these commonplace symptoms are often caused by iron deficiency and can be easily avoided by increasing your iron intake.

Follow these ten simple steps to make sure your daily intake is adequate:

Eat Lean Meat Regularly for Top Iron Intake

There are two types of iron in food: haem iron (found in meat and fish) and non-haem iron (found mainly in plants). Meat also contains some non-haem iron. The body absorbs the haem iron in meat much more efficiently than the non-haem iron in plant foods. For example 1/4 cup of cooked silverbeet contains 0.5mg of iron, but the body can only use about 5% of this. In comparison, 120g of cooked lean beef contains an average of 3.1mg of iron and the body absorbs around 25% of it. You would need to eat a massive 1kg of cooked silverbeet to get the same amount of iron provided by a serve of 120g of lean meat. This equates to a moderate serving of spaghetti bolognaise or a couple small lamb leg steaks.

See Red

Red meats are richer in haem iron than white meat, poultry and fish, so enjoy lean beef and lamb 3-4 times per week for a top iron intake. 

Get Plenty of Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps the body to use non-haem iron – the iron in plant foods. Include plenty of fruit and vegetables rich in vitamin C with your meals.

Eat Red Meat and Vegetables Together

Eat a combination of red meat and plant foods (vegetables, pasta, rice, legumes, fruits). Eating meat with plant foods will also help the body use more of the non-haem iron by up to four times. Examples of iron-rich meals include meat and vegetable stir-fry, a meat sauce with pasta and vegetables, or a lean beef salad sandwich.

Keep Your Meals Tannin Free

It is better to drink tea and coffee between meals, rather than with your meals. The tannin in tea, and to lesser extent coffee, reduces the amount of iron we can use from food.

Beware of Dieting

Studies show girls and women on low calorie diets do not get their daily iron requirements. Remember, lean beef and lamb are relatively low in calories yet high in iron and can be included in any weight reducing diet.

Extra Iron for Exercise

You need extra iron if you exercise strenuously and often. Have your iron levels checked regularly and ensure your diet is balanced and varied, including lots of foods high in haem iron. Iron-rich foods include beef, lamb, kidneys and liver.

Don’t Rely on Supplements

The iron in pills or supplements and fortified foods such as breakfast cereal is poorly absorbed. Don’t rely on these for your total daily iron needs, and only use supplements if advised by your doctor.

Choose from the Four Main Food Groups

A sure way to improve your iron intake is to eat a balanced and healthy diet. Each day you should eat a variety of foods from the main foods groups: breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables, dairy products and red meat, fish, chicken or a protein alternative (eg beans, lentils, eggs or tofu).

Be Extra Iron Smart if You’re at Risk

Infants, girls and women who have periods, teenagers, pregnant and nursing mothers, sports people, vegetarians and the elderly are most at risk of being iron deficient. Learn how to cook appealing, iron-rich dishes to suit you and your family. Look for ideas on quick and easy beef and lamb dishes. You’ll find recipe cards in supermarkets and butchers’ shops, or visit our website:


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