Posted on Leave a comment

Embracing African Vegan Cuisine: A Journey Back to Our Roots

African vegan cuisine cookbook

What if we told you that the roots of veganism run deep in the soil of Africa, where long-established dishes have been plant-based for generations?

Sometimes seen as a lifestyle choice predominantly associated with certain groups, veganism has transcended those boundaries and as we approach the annual celebration of World Vegan Day on November 1st, we find ourselves reflecting on the incredible journey of veganism. It’s a movement that has evolved and expanded, proving that it knows no boundaries, cultural or economic; and it’s not just a lifestyle choice, but a testament to our commitment to a healthier planet and a brighter future for all…

Chef Cola: A Mission to Make Veganism Accessible

Let’s introduce you to Nicola Kagoro, also known as Chef Cola, a woman on a mission to make the vegan lifestyle more accessible in Africa. In 2016, she founded “African Vegan on a Budget,” inspired by her growth in the culinary industry and her mission to inspire people to follow healthy vegan and plant-based diets without breaking the bank.

Chef Cola preserving African vegan cuisine

Chef Cola’s mission is not just about food; it’s about culture and heritage. She believes that veganism is part of African culture and heritage and told Takudzwa Nyambi in a GQ South Africa interview: “I believe veganism originated in Africa and it is through colonial practices that we learnt these unhealthy meat-eating practices. I am not saying my African ancestors did not eat meat but they did not consume in large amounts nor slaughter animals daily.”

Preserving Plant-Based Traditions in Africa

In some parts of Africa, plant-based diets persist, like in rural Zimbabwe, where some individuals still follow plant-based diets. However, a challenge endures; some feel ashamed of this way of eating, wrongly equating meat consumption with wealth. They consume plant-based foods, such as soy chunks, but label them as meat. 

Chef Cola’s mission is about connecting with our heritage, celebrating our culture, and reclaiming the vegan roots that have been overshadowed by the commercialization of food. It’s a reminder that we have a legacy of plant-based eating waiting to be rediscovered…

Veganism isn’t just for certain groups or the financially privileged; it’s for everyone and embracing it doesn’t mean leaving behind traditional flavours and dishes. In fact, it’s an opportunity to explore the rich tapestry of indigenous African cuisine…

Chef Cola, founder of African vegan on a budget

The Indigenous Cookbook: A Culinary Journey Through Africa

For this year’s World Vegan Day celebration, we want to shed light on the incredible work of The Green Dietitian. They’ve released a groundbreaking e-cookbook titled “Indigenous Cookbook – Southern Africa Edition.” This culinary masterpiece, authored by Registered Dietitians Jessica Kotlowitz and Nadia Mulder, invites us on a delectable journey through the heart of Africa and we’ve got a discount code for you!

Introducing us to the wealth of indigenous African foods that have been enjoyed for generations, it’s a celebration of flavours, traditions and heritage. This cookbook is a testament to the fact that these foods are not inferior to any other cuisine; they are just as deserving of respect and reverence, with each dish telling a story that connects us to our past.

Championing Indigenous Foods for a Better Tomorrow

Why should we champion local indigenous cuisine? The answer is simple: it holds the potential to reduce food and nutrition insecurity, especially for those in resource-poor households across sub-Saharan Africa. The Southern African ecosystem hosts over 200 edible plant species, with 103 being actively consumed. However, as large-scale commercial farming takes over, the knowledge of these indigenous foods is at risk of being lost.

Embracing Indigenous Foods for Health and Sustainability

In 2017, Jessica was contacted by the IAPF (International Anti-Poaching Foundation) to develop a balanced plant-based menu for their all-female antipoaching rangers (known as Akashinga) in Zimbabwe. The IAPF aims to protect wilderness landscapes in Africa and restore endangered species. They follow a vegan diet as part of their conservation efforts. 

The Green Dietitian’s journey with IAPF and exploring indigenous foods got her thinking about how as South Africans, we tend to forget about all of the incredible local cuisines which come from our very own continent.

In their cookbook, Jessica and Nadia emphasize the benefits of local indigenous foods, describing them as sustainable, drought-resistant and supportive of local economies. They also highlight their accessibility, affordability and the fact that they are nutritional powerhouses, rich in phytochemicals linked to disease prevention. The authors stressed that embracing indigenous foods contributes to improved dietary diversity, a key factor in mitigating disease risk.

To celebrate this year’s World Vegan Day,  The Green Dietitian is offering our readers a 15% coupon code to purchase their e-book on thegreendietitian.co.za. This is your chance to embark on a culinary adventure and rediscover the diverse tastes of Africa. Enter the code “shopzero15” at checkout to enjoy your discount.

Remember, veganism isn’t merely a modern trend or a choice reserved for the privileged. It’s a celebration of our heritage and a reconnection with our roots. It’s a movement for everyone, and the table is set for all to enjoy.

African vegan cuisine cookbook

The Wider Impact of Veganism

In the realm of nutrition, we have reassuring statements from both the American Dietetic Association and the British Dietetic Association, affirming that a vegan diet is nutritionally complete and safe for all life stages, including pregnancy. With some thoughtful planning, we can effortlessly source protein, iron, calcium, and every other nutrient typically associated with animal-based products while positively contributing to environmental well-being. Learn more about key nutrients for vegans here and remember our Shop Zero™ store stocks high-quality staples which are rich in these key nutrients (and more) and we ship them to your door plastic-free!

Also, if you need help with your vegan diet journey, we can highly recommend consulting with local registered dietitian, The Green Dietitian

Veganism and the Environment

Veganism isn’t confined to our plates; it extends to our planet’s welfare. Environmental concerns weigh heavily in the growing popularity of plant-based diets. Opting for a vegan lifestyle is one of the most potent choices we can make to reduce our environmental footprint. Mass production and consumption of meat and animal products bear a significant burden on climate change, pollution, deforestation, soil degradation, water scarcity and species extinction.

Understanding that our dietary choices have a profound impact on our world today and the legacy we bequeath to future generations is a compelling catalyst for embracing plant-based foods. Whether it’s witnessing the realities of slaughterhouses through undercover footage or delving into the research of Dr. Michael Greger, published in peer-reviewed scientific medical journals, we are driven by an undeniable need for change.

Collectively, we possess the power to bring about change, starting with a reconsideration of what we put on our plates. History is replete with instances where progress was achieved when individuals representing the minority spoke out against injustices. It’s our duty to follow suit, working to save animals, protect the environment, and, ultimately, secure our own well-being.

This World Vegan Day, let’s journey back to our roots and embrace the myriad flavours of indigenous African cuisine. Let’s celebrate the legacy of veganism ingrained in our culture. It’s a movement open to all and inviting everyone to the table, where the flavours of indigenous African cuisine await.

Posted on Leave a comment

Local Tourism and Dips in Eco Pools

local tourism

Sometimes we all need some time to escape the real world. Stress will always be part of our lives, but too much stress can lead to a meltdown. Escapism is the new self-care and there are some easy, scientifically-proven ways to do this. Reading a book, catching up on movies, getting out of the city to go camping or hiking are just some of the great ways to take a step back and to feel reinvigorated. Some might enjoy going for a swim, getting some exercise, journaling, or taking a holiday to switch off from work and relax.

A recent invite to Angala Boutique Hotel allowed me to pause and enjoy the quiet, the birds and the beautiful mountains. We are so spoilt by natural beauty in this country and Angala is a quick and easy getaway for South Africans who seek a world-class destination to relax in.

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed immense pressure on the hospitality industry and local tourism is key to saving the tourism sector. I wanted to share my little staycation photo diary should you wish to visit this beautiful family owned and managed hotel.

local tourism

The chef, Maxwell, skillfully prepared and served our flavourful dishes. He has been working at Angala for 13 years and Cerene, who also took great care of us at breakfast time, was actually born in one of the guest rooms! The rooms used to be houses for workers on the farm and Cerene is so happy about working on the farm where she grew up. It was wonderful hearing her stories and knowing that Angala was able to keep on all of their staff during the coronavirus crisis.

local tourism

The scrumptious selection of warm and cold breakfast options was served on the balcony overlooking the eco pool and mesmerising mountains.

local tourism

Dinner was served in Angala’s beautiful in-house restaurant. For starters, Maxwell served his delicious cauliflower soup with freshly baked bread. He even shared the recipe with us! Angala happily caters for any specific dietary requirements or food allergies. Speak to them before you arrive and they will tailor their menus for you personally.

local tourism

I spent the first night on my own, which was amazing as a little solo escape for some proper rejuvenation. My sister-in-law joined the next day and we had a great girls’ night! This barefoot 5-star sanctuary is perfect for girls’ nights, couples, tired moms and even intimate weddings or corporate getaways.

local tourism

Sipping coffee on the balcony, watching the sunrise over mountains… what could be better? We had the property all to ourselves, so this was also the perfect spot for meditation.

local tourism

Facilities at Angala include an infrared sauna, steam room, solar heated plunge pool and an ozonated spa pool which is kept clean with activated-oxygen (ozone) instead of chemicals.

local tourism

The room’s earth-toned colours are inspired by nature. The wellness and hydro facilities along with the room’s fireplace make Angala ideal for recharging your batteries at any time of the year.

local tourism

The beautiful bathroom opens to the outdoor shower. There is something spectacular about showering outdoors. I don’t know why I still don’t have an outdoor shower at home! It’s such an amazing feeling of becoming one with mother earth when you see the sights and sounds of nature and feel the fresh air intermingled with shower steam. 

local tourism

The room’s patio and private garden were also lovely for meditation and morning coffee. The many garden birds were also beautiful to look at and listen to. Angala regularly also hosts retreats and there is an amazing weekend of yoga, mountain walks, relaxation and stillness coming up in November. Take a look here.

Angala is pure magic and it’s really hard to choose my favourite part of my stay at this luxury, eco retreat, but experiencing the beauty of their unique eco pool was absolutely wonderful! It is kept sparkling clean by circulating it through a living ecosystem of water plants. This indigenous aquatic garden’s perfectly clean water is soft on the skin and infused with healing energy and loads of grounding. No salt, no chemicals and no sterilisation equipment. I chatted to Aubrey Blignaut, Angala’s owner’s brother, about the eco pool. You can watch our live IGTV video here.

Posted on Leave a comment

Stress Relief and Finding Calm in the Chaos

stress free zone

Different cities around the world are lifting lockdowns and some people are feeling that things are slowly returning to “normal.” For those who have lost loved ones during the pandemic, or for some of those who have lost their jobs or opportunities amid the crisis, going back isn’t even an option.

Covid-19 has upended all the normal routines in our lives, but it has also given many an enormous opportunity to reflect on our lives and, potentially, to reset our lives, as well as reimagine, and reset our world.

Photo by Denise Toledo Fleetham

 

I loved reading through this collection of hopeful responses from 58 people from 24 countries about some of the new habits and new lifestyles to keep in a post-lockdown world and thought you might enjoy reading this too.

Destigmatizing, normalizing and prioritizing mental health

Because of the ongoing pandemic many people are experiencing “Covid fatigue” and feeling a lack of motivation, exhaustion, depression and loneliness. Psychologists also say that getting back to pre-pandemic routines might also be overwhelming for some.

I wanted to share some tips that might help with finding calm in the chaos. 🤍

Asking for help is strength

The Counselling Hub makes mental health care services more accessible to those in need. They offer one-on-one counselling services in Woodstock, Cape Town for R50 a session. Call them on 021 462 3902 to book a session.

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group has a Mental Health Line. Call 011 234 4837 to speak to a counsellor.
 
Miss South Africa 2020, Shudufhadzo Musida, also has a mental health initiative #MindfulMondays in partnership with SADAG where she speaks to various experts on a diverse range of topics related to the subject on Instagram on Monday evenings at 19h00. I also enjoy following the amazing mental health advocates @thesouthafricantherapist and @drjess_stanbridge on Instagram.
 
Checking in with loved ones can also be incredibly uplifting. Your support can really make a huge difference. If you don’t know how to tell someone they’re not alone, take a look here to help you get the conversation started.
 

Take deep breaths

 
Simply breathing can help with stress relief, but did you know that shallow, short breaths can actually make you feel more anxious. Deep breathing decreases stress and increases calm. Learn how to do deep breathing here. Dr Neda Gould, PhD also has some lovely videos on Youtube that teach this relaxation technique.
 
feeling stress
Photo by Kajetan Sumila
 

Getting enough sleep is a healthy way to cope with stress. If stress is keeping you from getting your z’s, try the apps Headspace or Calm for meditation, sleep sounds and music. These apps also have great bedtimes stories for adults to fall asleep to. (They also help getting my five-year-old drift into dreamland much faster!) These CBD capsules also really help me get some sleep at night.

Finally, my absolute favourite videos for finding calm and peace are Boho Beautiful’s Juliana’s guided meditations. With 2+ million Youtube subscribers, I’m sure you will also enjoy this travel, yoga and lifestyle brand.

Try creative activities to relieve stress

Studies have shown that art therapy, adult colouring and drawing in general can also be a great stress relief tool. Even if you’re not good at art, colouring mandalas or doing some art therapy is great for adding to your self-care routine. Just go with what you feel on a page. It’s not about the end product, but all about mindfully creating something beautiful that distracts us from feelings of stress and anxiety.

Eat stress-busting foods

Try to eat healthy meals and exercise regularly to help tame stress. Take a look at this list of 10 best foods to help fight stress. Below are some of my favourites:

Craving chocolate in stressful situations? Go ahead, grab some dark chocolate! Raw chocolate is a rich source of of magnesium and mood enhancing brain chemicals, including PEA (phenylethylamine), anandamide, serotonin and dopamine. Make raw chocolate smoothies and desserts of all kinds with our raw and organic cacao powder. It’s also great to sprinkle over your breakfast.

raw chocolate for stress relief

Avocados are very high in omega 3-fatty acids that are known to reduce stress and anxiety. Purchase some chia seeds here and flaxseeds here to add even more omega-3s to your plate.

Nuts are full of many nutrients that may help reduce feelings of stress. Almonds, pistachios and walnuts are heart-healthy and high in the antioxidant vitamin E and zinc. Add some almonds to your cart here.

Heal through medicinal food

Soaring Free Superfoods developed their Potent Plants range to be used for their medicinal properties, for optimal health and wellness. In essence Potent Plants are medicinal foods which act to restore and replenish your body as supplements would, but in a natural way which the body already recognises and can easily absorb. If you are deficient in vital nutrients and looking for supplements or if you want to upgrade your health to help your body to deal with the daily pressures of life and environmental stressors, then Potent Plants are for you.

I love using their Euphoria Mood Enhancer Blend when I feel emotionally drained, stressed and anxious. Their Ashwagandha capsules are also great for supporting adrenal health and treating a variety of conditions.

Quieting my busy mind

Tourism Month is celebrated annually in September and I was honoured to have been invited to Angala Boutique Hotel last month. We are truly blessed to live in beautiful South Africa and I will never tire of being a tourist in my own country. Located in the heart of the Cape Winelands, this beautiful retreat for body, mind and spirit was just what I needed to fill my cup. Between the magnificent mountains I was reminded to slow down and that every phase of my journey serves a purpose. Being a small business owner and having to juggle many roles (including wife and mom!) is VERY hard. I’m still working on improving my work-life balance, and my time alone at Angala was such a good reminder that I need to make time for myself.

Angala is a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Walking through the door you feel instantly relaxed and I love how they not only look after their guests exceptionally well, but also look after our planet. Check out their amazing eco pool here.

The month of October has been declared Mental Health Awareness Month in South Africa. Angala is currently running spring special packages (and will be hosting amazing yoga and art retreats in November). If you need a little time out to relax, that’s what you will get at this barefoot 5-star sanctuary.

stress free getaways

Thank you for reading my tips and thoughts. If you have any advice, resources and rituals for practicing self-care to share with those struggling with mental health problems, please pop them in the comments below.

Please note that I am not a doctor. This post is for educational and informational purposes only, and does not constitute any professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Stay healthy and take care of yourself!

Love and virtual hugs,
Janneke and Team Shop Zero™ Xx

Posted on 1 Comment

We Are All Wonder Women!

artist: Diana Pedott

I’m still buzzing after last week’s Women’s Day and hearing a song that highlights strong women in Vivo, the new Netflix musical animated film. ‘My Own Drum’ is a banger that has been stuck in my head for days. Get ready to discover your new anthem and watch the music video here. This awesome and wholesome song is about a girl feeling different and instead of conforming to fit in, she is true to herself. As I watched Vivo with my five-year-old son, I thought to myself it’s so amazing how girls are represented in films these days. I just love it how animated movies bust gender stereotypes and teach young girls (and boys) different lessons today. Our young girls are now idolising strong, brave and self-sufficient female characters. Hell yeah!!

strong women

Missy Elliot and Ynairaly Simo’s song ‘My Own Drum’ is all about individuality and empowering girls around the world.
 

August is Women’s Month in South Africa

South Africans celebrate Women’s Month in August and Women’s Day on 9 August every year, where we pay tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched on 9 August 1956 to protest against the carrying of pass books. August is a wonderful time to honour and celebrate the bravery and power of the women who came before us, but also the South African women in our society today. Women’s Month is also a great reminder to empower each other and that supporting another woman’s success will never dampen yours.

South Africa’s high levels of gender-based violence sometimes make it hard to remain positive, but it’s very important to stay positive and celebrate inspiring South African women. We love supporting the Restoring Dignity Project, encouraging independence, restored self-esteem and healing through soap-making. Purchase their beautiful natural products here. These women are an inspiration as to what can be achieved! 

We as women can change the world for the better and together, we are unstoppable! We are all wonder women, and we are all warriors with inspiring journeys.

I recently interviewed a few powerful women and want to share with you what they have to say. I’d also like to take the opportunity to make a shoutout to all our female customers and followers. Thank you for your support. Nothing but gratitude for you all. We love you!

Meet Ayanda Vana

power woman Ayanda Vana

Ayanda Vana is currently doing her Masters in Tech Law and is the COO of the tech-startup, Khula. She also recently started an amazing podcast ‘Equip and Elevate’  to help women progress, grow and take up space.

What does this year’s Women’s Month theme “Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future” mean to you?

Women’s Month, it is a reminder of how far we have come in the realization of gender equality. However, it is also a reminder that the path to women’s equality has been long and there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to bridge the gender gap. More so we have the responsibility to work towards breaking down the structural barrier to women’s equality as it is fundamental for progress and key for development. In order for all of us to be fully free and equal as a generation, we need all genders to work together to eradicate the disparities faced by women on a daily basis. Generation equality means that we need everyone to unite in order to eradicate systemic barriers that hold women back from equal participation and opportunity for all women. It is a demand for equal opportunities, equal pay, call to the end of violence against women’s bodies and mental health as well as policy reform and programmes by our government that are geared towards achieving this goal.

 

As a woman, what is one of the hardest things you’ve had to overcome while running your business and how did you do it?

Many women face obstacles and barriers in business and the workplace because of their gender.  Women have to work twice as hard in order to get a “sit at the table”. Even when you do have a “sit at the table”, you still need to work twice as hard in order to be heard and seen. I had to learn to be assertive and stand up for my worth and value.

What impact do you hope for your business to have on your customers and the world?

Khula is a digital ecosystem of platforms that connect & enable role players in the agricultural and food value chain to grow their businesses: through an e-commerce marketplace, trade platform and digital support service for funders & farmers. We envision a connected & inclusive food system that can support the growing need for sustainably and responsibly sourced and produced food around the world.

How do you balance professional and personal life? Have you mastered the work to play ratio yet?

It is not easy. I am still learning the art of balancing my professional and personal life especially because I have a 9-5 and some side hustles. However, if I do not get it right, I try to be kind to myself. It is important not to be hard on myself especially when I am balancing a lot of things.

As a young girl, did you think you’d be where you are now? What did you dream of becoming?

Growing up I wanted to be many things from a neurosurgeon because I loved Grey’s Anatomy to a fashion editor and then eventually an international Humans Rights Lawyer. Ultimately, I was able to arrive at a decision that whatever I did with my life should contribute to unlocking and cultivating structural changes and development in Africa through my passion for leadership, women empowerment and innovation.

If you could give female entrepreneurs any advice, what would it be?

  • Build a network.
  • Plan for raising capital- Focus on finding the right funding partners in order to scale and grow your business as there are plenty of funding opportunities.
  • Build a team that shares your vision.
  • Make sure that your idea is solving a problem as well as there is product-market fit.
  • Know and understand your customer. 

It’s so important to support small businesses during these hard times. Would you like to share the love by making a shout out to any small brands you adore?

Meet Carin Brink

Carin BrinkBusiness woman Carin Brink is busy with her Masters in Environmental Science and Sustainability, is a marketing manager and co-founder of the beautiful plant-based sushi brand, Plushi as well as Peeled Orange Agency.

What does this year’s Women’s Month theme “Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future” mean to you?

I don’t think we could confidently say that any country in the world has achieved gender equality – nevermind South Africa. If we look back in retrospect, it is apparent that some progress has been made, but it’s simply not enough, or at a fast enough pace. I think this Women’s Month speaks to the people around the world, and especially in South Africa, both men and women, who are speaking up for themselves and others who have been shamed, oppressed and stigmatized. Many of these people are from a new generation – one which is wasting no time in reimagining societies, economies and political systems which not only honours our human rights, but ensures gender equality is achieved. It means, working together, we are one step closer to equal pay, an end to GBV and improved health care that supports our needs and allows for equal decision-making in our lives.

As a woman, what is one of the hardest things you’ve had to overcome while running your business and how did you do it?

Speaking honestly, one of the biggest things I had to overcome were my own insecurities. My insecurities crippled my creativity and my own voice. As soon as I learnt my own self-worth and started seeing my value for what it was, everything changed. It took lots (read lots and lots and lots) of hard work, hours of personal reflection and trying to better understand myself, books, podcasts and an incredible support structure and business partner who held space, and still carry on holding space for these changes to occur.

What impact do you hope for your business to have on your customers and the world?

We can only hope that Plushi changes people’s perception of plant-based diets – that it doesn’t have to be bland and boring. Saving the planet can be exciting and taste good too – there’s more to being vegan than wilted spinach and crispy kale (my thoughts once upon a time). Once our customers understand that vegan alternatives can be more delicious than the non-vegan options, hopefully that inspires them to get creative in the kitchen and make some changes in their day-to-day lives, no matter how small. Further than diet, we hope that not only our customers, but other business owners too, can see that making the sustainable choice, from packaging to operations, though they offer a few obstacles, are possible and so worth it.

How do you balance professional and personal life? Have you mastered the work to play ratio yet?

Yoh, this one is tough. I’d like to believe I’m in a constant battle with getting the ratio right, and that the balancing point is constantly shifting, which doesn’t make the ratio-creating task any easier. COVID itself has made play time a little more challenging, has it not? If I don’t make sure to constantly check in with myself, I find that I go through phases of pouring myself into work and then overcompensating by over-focusing on my social life, creating an unhealthy balance. Something I’ve recently learnt that really helps to create a balance is to work with purpose, but then to rest with purpose too. That means taking conscious breaks where you don’t touch or think about work – which is way tougher than it seems.

As a young girl, did you think you’d be where you are now? What did you dream of becoming?

This question stumped me a little, because I can’t really remember having one big dream as a kid, so I asked my family WhatsApp group. The response “wrestler,” “F1 driver” and “neat and tidy” were given to me – if you knew how my brother and I used to play fight, my list of speeding fines and quite unneat and untidy childhood room – you’d understand why that was not helpful at all.

Back to dreaming. I jumped from wanting to be a marine biologist, to a doctor, a physio, a lawyer to a civil engineer. As my interests changed, so did my ‘dream job’. But one thing I always knew from a young age is that I never wanted to work for anyone else. So, perhaps I didn’t think I’d be running two businesses at this age, but I’m sure the young girl in me is beaming with pride.

Times are tough and small businesses are really feeling it the most. What inspires you to keep on going in today’s climate?

We started both businesses in 2020, so you can say that times have never really been easy, but rather, that tough times have become the norm. I think something that has really helped me remain focused when things get tough is to remember the ‘why’ – why we started. While the ‘what’ you’re selling is obviously quite important, but really understanding why you’re doing something – will help you carry on pushing when times are tough.

If you could give other female entrepreneurs any advice, what would it be?

Just start. If you have an idea, run with it. While it may be possible, finding your ‘passion’ is quite a romanticized novelty. Instead of spending years trying to find your passion, rather start something you believe in, and within it, find things which ignites your passion/s.

Look at Plushi – while my friends might say I have a passion for sushi, loving to eat something doesn’t count as a passion. But within our business, I have the opportunity to be creative, work with people, to cook and create recipes and work on our sustainability – all passions of mine.

It’s so important to support small businesses during these hard times. Would you like to share the love by making a shout out to any small brands you adore?

Hygge Hygge – a beautiful restaurant in the heart of Stellenbosch owned by two sisters, which opened its doors this year and serves the most incredible vegan curry!

Wear Your Sunnies – Owned by Steph Spowart, this sustainable business, sources old school frames and retrofits them with new lenses, giving them a new life.

Fat Freddy’s – a new half-women owned dark kitchen in its final stages before launch, which I recently had the chance to taste their vegan ice cream – the Coconut Butterscotch flavour – yoh, 10/10 would recommend.

Meet Natasha Napoli

business woman Natasha Napoli

Natasha Napoli is on a big mission to save our beautiful earth – one bamboo cup and smoothie bowl at a time! She owns Nourish’d Café in Gardens and Observatory.

What does this year’s Women’s Month theme “Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future” mean to you?

For me, having just had a baby girl, this theme really rings through. I know I was extremely lucky to grow up in a privileged area wherein I received mostly equal opportunities and treatment regarding my basic needs: education, job opportunities, medical care & food. But I know that not all women in this country, or this world, are that lucky. Being a female business owner I’m also regularly exposed to sexism, patronisation and I believe I’ve had to fight particularly hard to get to where I am today. I don’t want my daughter to have to fight this hard. I want every door held wide open for her, as wide as doors are held open for men – I want this for all women. I pray for our sisters to come together to not look out in jealousy, but rather sisterhood and unity. We must stand together and pave the right way forward for our future generations.

As a woman, what is one of the hardest things you’ve had to overcome while running your business and how did you do it?

To be honest just being taken seriously. I’ve noticed such a scary difference between how people react when I ask for something over the phone, or in a meeting, vs. when my partner, Gabe, asks for something. This lack of respect really frustrates me, and I unfortunately find that I have to take a much more masculine/intense/ approach just to get things done. I hate acting that way, and I hate that society pushes me into those spaces but if I’m not forward with what I want, I’ll never get to where I want to go.

What impact do you hope for your business to have on your customers and the world?

Shoooweeee! Soooo many! This question is broad haha!! I want to leave the world a better place in every aspect. I’ve recently been exploring what ‘sustainability’ really means in a more corporate and European context and it’s been very interesting. Within the UN for example, the SDG’s (sustainable development goals) cover everything from governance to equal pay, gender rights, ecological welfare and conditions of employment.  Nourish’d has always aimed to be a sustainable business – but rather narrowly within the framing of ‘environment’. Now I’m finding myself widening this understanding – wanting to make a positive difference in all areas of the business and be truly and holistically sustainable.

How do you balance professional and personal life? Have you mastered the work to play ratio yet?

It’s still VERY much a work in progress, I’m so involved in Nourish’d – it really is my first child and I really struggle to step away. I’m suuuper lucky that my partner, Gabriel, has just come onboard to help me with the operations and it’s been such a blessing. I love my daughter, Marion-Mae, beyond words and I have to take quality time with her every day otherwise I just feel completely off-centre and mom guilt kicks in baaaad! So what that generally looks like is breakfast together in the mornings, and then MIMI&MAMMA time from about 4pm – 8pm every day. Then dadda gets home from boxing at 6 and we all eat together as a family. MIMI sings us a food blessing song. It’s so cute! If I’m really busy I’ll have to work after we have put Mimi down, but Gabe doesn’t like it when I work late so I try to respect that and I’m off the laptop by 9pm.

As a young girl, did you think you’d be where you are now? What did you dream of becoming?

To be honest I didn’t really think about it much. My mom told me that when I had to dress up as what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would always dress as an actress or a model! Hahah! Loads of makeup, high-heels and dresses. Lol!

Times are tough and small businesses are really feeling it the most. What inspires you to keep on going in today’s climate?

I mean, honestly, I just can’t see myself doing anything else. Nourish’d is my dream come true, it’s my calling, my mission and my cause. The thought of giving in has never been an option for me, it just isn’t. If I had to think about two things that inspire me, then I would have to say my staff and my customers! The thought of them having to hit the job market now freaks me out so I’ll never give up!

If you could give other female entrepreneurs any advice, what would it be?

Be hard on the outside, but remember your softness within. Unfortunately, as I mentioned above it’s often necessary for women to take a more stern, hard approach in business to be taken seriously. And we all deserve to be taken seriously. But remember that this is a mask – a role you have to step into to survive and thrive in this harsh world. Remember to take that mask off when you get home and remember your softness, your inner child, your creativity, your heart and your feminine flow. Remember to sing, dance, laugh and play with the light of life. This is where the real magic happens!

It’s so important to support small businesses during these hard times. Would you like to share the love by making a shout out to any small brands you adore?

Hmmm there are so many but if I had to choose 3 now, I would say:

  1. @herbiraw– best vegan carrot salmxn YUM – Order some now!
  2. @metalmaidensa– my best friend who makes the most incredible jewellery and she’s an artist. (She’s the artist who writes all of our instore menus on the brown paper rolls.) She is so talented! She can make you anything.
  3. @bacinisonkloof– my incredible sister who is running my dad’s restaurant and is just killin’ it at the whole female boss babe in the same industry as me. <3

Meet Shiv Sewlal

Shiv Sewlal

Shiv Sewlal, allergy-friendly lifestyle influencer and TikToker, shares her story of living with over 40 food allergies to show others that despite her limitations, she still lives a healthy and happy life.

What does this year’s Women’s Month theme “Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future” mean to you?

In order to achieve generational equality which affects both present and future generations, both men and women need to be aware of women’s rights. It’s not only women’s problem but humanity’s problem and we all should be aware of it in order to reach gender equality.

As a woman, what is one of the hardest things you’ve had to overcome while running your business/working as a content creator and how did you do it?

Fortunately, I haven’t experienced any hardships relating to my gender. The people on social media have been welcoming and supportive of me and my journey. Everyone in my audience (TikTok and Instagram) has been very inclusive with regards to my race, gender and nationality.

What impact do you hope for your content to have on your followers and the world?

My main aim is to create a community. This is something that I never had growing up. I want to create a space where others feel comfortable to speak about their challenges and are able to relate to other people who have allergies or eczema. Growing up, there was no representation of allergies and eczema, I always felt alone and self-conscious. Showing myself embrace my skin and restrictions with a smile on my face, allows others to feel happy, hopeful and most importantly, not alone.

How do you balance professional and personal life? Have you mastered the work to play ratio yet?

I’m currently studying Computer Science at UCT. Studying, content creation, running my own business as well as maintaining a social life has been difficult. I’m still trying to balance everything but I’m just taking it one step at a time. However, I’m doing what I love and what I feel passionate about, so this makes the hustle worth it.

As a young girl, did you think you’d be where you are now? What did you dream of becoming?

When I was younger, I watched a movie about a food critic and immediately thought that was the best profession. Eating food for a living, life could not get any better. However, my older sister soon crushed my dreams by bringing to my attention my numerous allergies. Strangely enough, I am now always looking for new and exciting allergy-friendly foods to explore. Most of my days are filled with taste testing new products I find, or having different recipes shared by my followers. So, in a way I am living my childhood dream.

Times are tough and small businesses are really feeling it the most. What inspires you to keep on going in today’s climate?

Focusing on my goals and dreams pushes me every day. I have also learnt the importance of persevering. There have been times where I have felt down and really struggled to continue on this journey. However, looking back, I am so grateful that I didn’t give up. I believe that your only limitation is your mind. When it comes to both personal and professional growth, the only limits are the ones you place on yourself.

If you could give other female entrepreneurs any advice, what would it be?

The quote “If you don’t ask, you don’t get it” by Mahatma Gandhi resonates with me. More than 75% of the opportunities presented to me were a result of me putting myself out there and literally asking for it. Don’t wait for an opportunity to present itself to you, go and make it happen.

It’s so important to support small businesses during these hard times. Would you like to share the love by making a shout out to any small brands you adore?

The Allergen Baker sells the best allergy-friendly biscuits ever! I am absolutely in love. It literally has none of my allergens in it, no dairy, wheat, soy, preservatives. Nothing. During winter, I start my day with a warm cup of black tea and their chocolate biscuits.

These female leaders really inspire me and I hope you enjoyed reading their answers just as much as I did. To every girl, every woman who reads this… Please know what a work of wonder you are. Your thoughts. Your body. Your soul. Your revolutionary ideas and your creativity. Believe in yourself and light your own fire! Let your passions, your dreams and aspirations be the fuel that ignites your soul and you will shine. Remember to honour and celebrate yourself today.

All our love,

Janneke and the sisters at Shop Zero™ 💚

Posted on Leave a comment

Nourishing Beetroot Dhal and Grain Free Naan

Dhal and Grain Free Naan

South of the equator the cooler weather is coming and this nourishing beetroot dhal is the perfect comfort food. It’s a simple meal, but it is nutritious and packed with flavour!

Entrepreneur and plant-based chef, Mira Weiner, created this delicious recipe for Shop Zero™. We love Mira and her recipes and everything she does to create a better and healthier world. Follow her on Instagram to learn more about conscious living, plant-based nourishment and holistic healing.

Dhal
Styled and photographed by Samantha Lowe

 

We’re obsessed with legumes

Not only do we love Mira, we also love everything about lentils! This sustainable superfood of the future is a nitrogen-fixing plant, leaving soil even healthier after harvest. Legumes are also water-savvy and affordable! Lentils are filled with B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. They are beneficial for digestive and heart health, cholesterol, diabetes as well as blood sugar levels. Be sure to take a look-see at our Red Lentil Fusilli and Penne from Happy Earth People too.

This hearty beetroot dhal is high in protein, fibre and nutrients! It serves six, you only need 15 minutes to prep and it takes one hour to cook. This recipe freezes well and is quick to reheat. Plastic-free leftovers also always look stunning in one of our original Indian stainless steel tiffins

Ingredients for dhal

3 cups red lentils
2 cups vegetable stock
10 cups water (depending on how thick you like your dhal)
4 beetroots, grated
2 cups coconut milk
2 red onions, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, grated
1 medium piece of ginger, grated (about 1.5 tbsp)
3 tsp black mustard seeds
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground fennel seeds
1 tsp curry spice
Pink Himalayan salt and black pepper to taste
Unrefined coconut or extra virgin olive oil for cooking

Ingredients for grain free naan bread

¾ cup almond flour (blanched almond flour without the skins will give you a white naan bread, if you use almond flour with the skin of the nut you will get a brown naan bread)
¾ cup tapioca flour
1.5 cups coconut milk
⅛ tsp ground cumin
Pinch of pink Himalayan salt

To serve

Grain free naan bread
Sesame seeds
Microgreens and/ or coriander

Method

  1. Heat the coconut oil and fry the black mustard seeds. Once they start to pop add the remaining spices in. Fry for a few minutes and then add the red onions, garlic and ginger.  Cook until the onions are translucent and add the grated beetroot in. Cook the beetroot mixture for about 5-10 minutes. Add the red lentils and water to the pot. Cook for 15 minutes on medium heat. Reduce the heat and add the coconut milk. Continue to simmer for about 35 – 40 minutes. Stir through every 5 minutes to make sure the dhal is not sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add more water if needed.
  2. Combine the almond flour and tapioca flour in a bowl.  Mix together.  Slowly add the coconut milk and stir continuously until a smooth batter is formed. Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat, add ¼ cup of the batter to the hot pan allowing the mixture to spread out into a thin layer. Cook for a few minutes and once bubbles appear flip over and cook the other side.  The mixture is grain free and has a high fat content, so no oil is needed, especially when using a non-stick pan.
  3. Serve hot with grain free naan bread, toasted sesame seeds, microgreens and fresh coriander leaves. Enjoy!
Dhal
Styled and captured by Samantha Lowe

 

Stay healthy this winter season

Are you a winter lover? We are so ready for comforting porridges, creamy dhals, hearty soups, warming curries and oven bakes! Which winter foods are you ready for? Let us know by leaving a reply below. Please share some tips with the community what you include in your diet to stay healthy in winter.

Posted on 4 Comments

Reasons to Consider Having a Dairy-free Easter

avoid animal products with these dairy free Easter eggs

Ditching dairy for your health, for animal welfare or to reduce your environmental impact is all the rage these days. Before we get into the reasons one might consider giving up dairy for the sake of the climate this Easter, we wanted to share our cute, new Easter Egg Bomb Surprise with you. Easter has a healthy, sugar free option this year…

Easter eggs for stewards of the Earth

Get your little “Earth stewards” a healthier option of Easter eggs. Eggs you can plant! These little eggs are made of previously used paper and have mixed herbs and marigold seeds inside. Soak the eggs in water, keep wet above or below the soil until you see some sprouts. Cover with shallow soil and water daily. The marigold seeds attract pollinators to your garden and with the rapid decline of bee populations, attracting pollinators to your garden is a great way to help save the bees! Purchase our Easter Egg Bomb Surprise here.

dairy free Easter egg basket

We believe planting these little eggs and being able to engage in conversation with your child about climate change, might help mitigate it. Gardening also prepares young people for climate change and opens up an array of opportunities to explore nature. This Easter, take your children outside to see butterflies, bees, snails, birds, caterpillars and ladybirds and make use of this time to teach them about the species when they spot them, as well as supporting ecological balance. Gardening also encourages your child to eat healthier! By growing and engaging with food, children are more likely to try different veggies and fruit. Take a look at our My Eco Sprout growing kits and teach your child a new skill that will benefit your entire family and your child’s health for the rest of their lives.  

The problem with traditional Easter eggs

Marshmallow egg wrappers and plastic Easter egg molds are not recyclable. The good news is that Easter egg foil is recyclable! The best way to recycle Easter egg foil, is to scrape off the chocolate and scrunch the foil up into a fist-sized ball before placing it in the recycling bin. This ensures the small bits of foil don’t get lost in the recycling process. Although the foil is recyclable, we suggest staying away from sugary, dairy products that cause inflammation and will have your kids bouncing off the wall. Take a look at our delicious child-friendly recipe and make these wrapper-free, plant-based peanut butter and choc Easter eggs. 

dairy free peanut butter choc eggsMegan Gilmore’s healthier peanut butter eggs are also less trashy. This photo and easy recipe belong to her. Take a look at the recipe here.

 

Reduce your impact on Earth by avoiding dairy

Cutting back on dairy (and meat) consumption is an easy, small thing we can all do to help the situation and resolve some of the issues our world faces.

  • The methane emissions that dairy (and meat) cattle produce, contribute to climate change. A 2018 study by researchers at the University of Oxford found that the greenhouse gas emissions from the production of cow’s milk are almost three times more than any plant-based milk.
  • A staggering source of agricultural pollution in the USA is the animal waste produced by livestock and poultry in factory farms. With almost 13 times more waste than that produced by the entire US population, one has to ask where all of this waste ends up.
  • Fertilisers, pesticides, hormones given to dairy cows to increase milk production and antibiotic use in farm animals end up in our waterways and oceans. If treatment systems to handle waste produced by livestock is done incorrectly, fertiliser, pesticides and manure runoff create ocean “dead zones.” According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 335 million tons of extra nutrients from livestock’s manure flow into American lakes and the ocean each year.
  • The UK imports 1.83 million tons of soya every single year from the Amazon rainforest, which is equal to about 900 000 hectares of the Amazon, to produce soya just for animal feed in the UK alone!
  • Agriculture, which accounts for 70% of water withdrawals worldwide, plays a major role in water pollution. Farmers are the leading direct users of water in South Africa, consuming 66% of all water. This water usage is due to the animals’ hydration needs and the amount of water needed for crops grown to feed the livestock.
  • Two-thirds of the world’s chameleon species live in Madagascar, but three of those species on the island are at critical risk, losing their habitat to slash-and-burn agricultural practices, logging for construction or charcoal, and cattle grazing.
animal agriculture water pollutionPhoto taken by Rick Dove, one of the founding members of the Waterkeeper Alliance.

 

We hold an immense amount of power to create a better world

The above facts are all scary and there are also shocking photos and videos about animal abuse that have gone viral on social media. That is a topic for another day… Let us not be scared or angry, but let us be motivated to fix this. We are not asking you to go vegan, but we are asking you to start being conscious of what you eat. Try to be moderate with your meat and dairy intake. See it as a treat. Not as a necessity. Educate and empower yourself. You do not have to do it perfectly and it does not need to be overwhelming. Take a look at these amazing people on Instagram. We hope you will find some cooking inspiration from following them!

If you would like to learn a little bit more, please watch the documentaries Cowspiracy as well as Seaspiracy. And if you would like to consider going vegan, perhaps join thousands of participants for a 22-day vegan experience on www.challenge22.com. You’ll receive fabulous recipes and personal guidance from their mentors and clinical dieticians for free!

Let’s get more people to ditch dairy this Easter

Let us know by leaving a reply below if you have ditched dairy and how it’s going for you. Have you discovered any amazing health benefits? Please share this post and let’s help our climate (and animals) by reducing our dairy consumption.

Posted on Leave a comment

UCOOK Pantry Boxes by Shop Zero™ are here!

UCOOK Pantry Boxes - Savoury Box

We’re ringing in the new year with our brand new UCOOK Pantry Boxes and we couldn’t be more proud! Hello 2021 and Happy New Year to all our customers and readers!

UCOOK Pantry Boxes - Savoury Box

Back with a bang!

We are looking forward to another passionate year of supplying ethical, sustainable, cruelty-free and mindful products to you and your home.  All of our products are either 100% biodegradable or reusable and sourced to promote your health and that of our beautiful planet. Shop Zero™ supports and encourages your need for sustainable, plastic-free living every step of the way. Together we are the collective that drives change with every eco-conscious choice we make.

Mindful collaborations

We are always looking to collaborate with like-minded businesses that support our ethos. That is why Shop Zero™ has started the year with an exciting collaboration with UCOOK Market Boxes. The UCOOK Market Box concept was developed to help boost the local food system by empowering local entrepreneurs and small farmers. They aim to work together to forge a closer connection between local customers, farmers and food producers. By supplying customers with local seasonal (organic where possible) and ethical produce, UCOOK Market Boxes can directly grow the local food system.

Ethical producers

Not only are customers supplied with beautiful produce, but they are also able to make informed decisions about the food they eat. UCOOK also supplies the story behind every food producer so you know exactly how your food was grown or made.

Shop Zero™ and UCOOK Pantry Boxes Collab

Along with their current Market Boxes, UCOOK are now offering versatile Pantry Boxes as Add Ons, specially curated by Shop Zero™. Any of these UCOOK Pantry Boxes will make a welcome addition to your pantry staples. Orders for our ‘Essential Box’ are already open where you need to place your order one week prior to delivery. Please place your order from UCOOK here by 12pm Thursday 7 January 2021 to receive your Shop Zero™ ‘Essentials Box’ by Thursday 14 January 2021. 

Please note that UCOOK cannot deliver Add Ons on their own. They must accompany a Market Box order. And of course all the Shop Zero™ products are packaged plastic free.

Shop Zero™ have created four UCOOK Pantry Boxes to choose from as Add Ons to your weekly UCOOK Farmer’s Market Box:

Shop Zero™ Essentials Box (available from 31 December 2020)

UCOOK Pantry Boxes - Essentials box

We’ve curated the Essentials Box to contain a variety of plant-based pantry staples for you to decant into your own jars at home.  Celebrate by eating your goodies and feel awesome about all the plastic you’ve diverted from landfill.  Use these foods to prepare a nourishing breakfast or spice up any meal by adding the harissa paste to your dish.  By purchasing this box, you will be planting trees by simply sipping on the beautiful coffee you’ll receive.  For every 3kg Rain Forest Alliance Certified beans sold, one tree is planted by Greenpop.  Mother Nature thanks you! You will also be contributing to your local economy, supporting female entrepreneurs, sustainably sourced products and low-waste packaging. 

The Shop Zero™ Essentials Box includes:
 

Shop Zero™ Snack Box (coming soon)

UCOOK Pantry Boxes - Snack box

The Shop Zero™ Snack Box was curated to include a combination of vegan-friendly, healthy on-the-go snacks, as well as ingredients that will liven up any party or picnic you bring them to. Arrange these dairy-free gems on a platter to create a wow-worthy charcuterie snack board and treat your guests like VIPs. We’re betting you’d want to tackle the whole box solo! 

This box will go live on UCOOK’s Market Box website on 14th January.

The Shop Zero™ Snack Box includes:

Shop Zero™ Savoury Box (coming soon)

UCOOK Pantry Boxes - Savoury box

We’ve curated the Shop Zero™ Savoury Box to include a combination of pantry staples and savoury snacks to elevate your cooking while reducing your environmental impact. Glass jars are like a little black dress… everything looks good in them. Decant these ingredients into your own reusable jars and turn your pantry into a well-organised interior dream!

Enjoy Hannam and Co’s Flatwhite Toaster Bread accompanied by balsamic vinegar & olive oil and a delicious olive tapenade, or add That Foods’ Spicy All Rounder to any dish in need of a flavour injection. Enlighten your taste buds with the elevated experiences this box has to offer. Keep an eye out for this box’s order and delivery dates on the UCOOK’s Market Box website.

The Shop Zero™  Savoury Box includes:

Shop Zero™ Sweet Box (coming soon)

UCOOK Pantry Boxes - Sweet box

We’ve curated the Shop Zero™ Sweet Box for the health-conscious sweet tooth. Enjoy sweet treats whilst also being sweet to the environment! Whether you are leading a vegan lifestyle or just trying to opt for sweet treats that are better for your health, this box has everything from breakfast options to decadent cookies and spreads. Create your dream pantry by decanting them into your own glass jars.

Most commercially sold teabags melt microplastics into your cup as they contain polypropylene woven in the paper to hold their shape and seal the edges. Not only is this toxic for the body, but damaging for the environment. Go loose leaf and ditch single-use tea bags! Tea-huggers will love brewing the perfect cup and creating a morning ritual with our cute reusable hemp and cotton tea bag.

Be sure to have a look-see on the UCOOK’s Market Box website for this box’s order and delivery dates. 

Many small, local businesses rely on our platform for sales. With this exciting collaboration we continue to support the multiple small, local businesses stocked on www.shopzero.co.za. We are so happy to have our Pantry Boxes as Add Ons for those getting their UCOOK Market Boxes and very proud of being part of this.  Go ahead and order so you can be part of it all!

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact info@shopzero.co.za or support@ucook.co.za.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

It’s World Vegan Day 1 November, Let’s Celebrate

Let’s Celebrate World Vegan Day, 1 November

When I sat down to write this post, I had a moment when I thought, “is it really almost November? Where has this year gone?!” We all know the answer of course, but let’s keep ‘Rona out of this one.

In truth I’m excited, because 1 November is World Vegan Day, although many people around the world choose to mark November as World Vegan Month. It’s a time to acknowledge just how much the vegan movement has progressed, and to continue to raise awareness of the holistic benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. Not only for our own health, but for that of our Earth and the animal inhabitants too.

Rich results on Google's SERP when searching for 'try vegan'

The start of World Vegan Day

World Vegan Day was first commemorated in 1994 by UK celebrity Louise Wallis. At the time, Wallis was the chair of the Vegan Society, which was celebrating two very notable achievements: its 50th birthday, and the coinage of the terms ‘vegan’ and ‘veganism’.

As the number of active vegans worldwide increases, so too has our access to an array of different vegan edibles and products. It’s such a deeply conscious movement, and to watch the uptake of a plant-based lifestyle around the world is a triumph, and no longer reserved for ‘bare-foot hippies.’

If you haven’t yet, do yourself a favour and watch David Attenborough’s A Life on Our Planet. This is his new documentary, and in his words, his witness statement. It’s deeply moving and a real eye-opener for humanity’s urgent need to change what we’re doing, and how we’re doing it. In it, along with many other profound statements, he says, “The quickest and most effective way for us to make space for returning wilderness is to change our diet…we must change our diet. Whenever we choose a piece of meat, we too are unwittingly demanding a huge expanse of space…. the planet can’t support billions of meat-eaters.”

Click here to watch the film’s trailer.

Another brilliant, albeit hard-hitting, documentary is Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, which is hugely inspiring for the environmental movement. And lastly, if you’re looking for an informative and easy to read report, have a look at Eating Away at Climate Change with Negative Emissions. Compiled by Dr Helen Harwatt of Harvard University, it’s free to download. Find out more https://www.vegansociety.com/take-action/campaigns/grow-green here.

Make your pledge!

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re already an active vegan, or maybe you’ve started making the steps towards it. If you’re still on your journey to fully embracing a plant-based lifestyle, then perhaps we can help make it a little easier this World Vegan Day.

Challenge 22 is a FREE online pledge, where users sign up to undertake 22 days of veganism. It doesn’t end there though. Once signed up, users are fully supported with easy to follow meal plans and recipes and are encouraged to share their experiences through a dedicated Facebook group. Challenge 22 is also overseen by a team of certified dieticians, who give constant nutritional advice. Since its launch in 1994, more than 400 000 people worldwide have signed up. Are you ready? Sign up to Challenge 22 here.

Making the switch to a plant-based lifestyle can seem daunting, and while there are people who convert overnight, for many it’s a phased approach. And that’s OK. Take time to prep and ensure your nutritional needs are met, as this is where it’s easy to fall short, and fall back on old eating habits.

Nutrients are key when going vegan

Vitamins play a key role in helping you meet your nutritional needs. As much as possible though, these should come from whole food sources, rather than vitamin supplements. Key nutrients for vegans include calcium, omegas and iron, and our Shop Zero store stocks high -quality staples which are rich in these key nutrients (and more!)

How to make the most of your plant-based diet

Calcium-rich food sources include chia seeds, hemp seeds, chickpeas, red lentils, black beans, and green mung beans. Our sesame tahini and hemp seed oil are also delicious sources of calcium. And of course, don’t forget that fresh (and easy-to-grow) produce such as kale and broccoli are also excellent sources of calcium, along with organic heirloom seeds, which we stock at Shop Zero.

Omega 3-rich food sources include brown flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, and are hugely beneficial for your brain and body. Plus, they have been shown to help with everything from period pain and breakouts, to anxiety and depression.

Iron-rich food sources include white quinoa, red quinoa, brown rice, rolled oats, and sunflower seeds. Remember, iron absorbs much better when consumed alongside foods high in Vitamin C.

Tell us, how are you celebrating World Vegan Day?

Posted on 1 Comment

International Coastal Clean-up Day: Stem the Wave of Waste

Dirty Dozen Methodology

Together with the Future Kids Club and other ambassadors to the zero waste movement, Shop Zero™ co-hosted the International Coastal Clean-up Day on 19 September at Strand Beach.

This global event formed part of the Clean Up & Recycle SA week. The coastal clean-up day began 30 years ago when communities rallied with the common goal of collecting and tracking coastline litter. Today, more than 100 countries participate, and it’s the world’s biggest volunteer effort for ocean health. South Africa has participated for the past 24 years, and this is the 3rd year Shop Zero has been actively involved. Collectively, our volunteers removed more than 827 kg of waste from the beach on Saturday!

Beach Cleanup South Africa
Rocco Da Silva, in the centre, started the Future Kids Club in 2017 when he was nine years old.

It’s not just about coastal clean ups

The coastal clean-up is much more than simply creating awareness and clearing plastic waste and litter from the beach.  It’s tracked using the Marine Debris Tracker, which allows users to record their findings and note the 12 most common items. AKA ‘the Dirty Dozen.’ By tracking the amounts of litter at sea, we can tell if specific measures are working or not. It’s incredibly time-consuming to track all litter, so the Dirty Dozen focuses on the primary types of litter picked up during coastal clean-ups.

Marine Debris Tracker

Introducing the marine menaces

So, what are these marine menaces scourging our coastlines? The 12 common critters are cool drink bottles, water bottles, cool drink lids, carrier bags, chip packets, and sweet wrappers. Along with straws, earbuds, lolly pop sticks, cigarette lighters, fishing line and light sticks. To date, from 100 clean-ups, we’ve tracked tens of thousands of each of these items.

Dirty Dozen Methodology

It can be overwhelming when faced with such a behemoth issue! Our daily goal is to create awareness and find eco-friendly alternatives, particularly for single-use plastic items. At our core, that’s who we are and what we’re fighting for.

If you’re reading this, it likely means you’re already taking steps to reduce your plastic waste footprint. Or maybe you’re just getting started on your journey. Either way, we are SO happy to have you here.

Our online store has a wide range of ethically sourced zero waste products. These include plastic-free alternatives to other ocean nasties such as single use coffee cups, straws, toothbrushes, dental floss, and cotton buds. All of which are also picked up regularly during our coastal clean-ups.

Ready to start making the switch? Take a browse through our range of re-usable cups and coffee cups, re-usable straws and cutlery, and plastic free toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss. And of course, we also stock organic cotton earbuds with recycled paper stems.

See you at the next coastal clean-up!

Posted on Leave a comment

Plant-based Peanut Butter & Choc Easter Eggs

Photo credit: Megan Gilmore

The Easter Bunny is permitted to travel freely so is able to bring these eggsquisite Easter eggs to all children (plus all the “big children”) in South Africa. Staying inside is the best reason to start making your own healthy treats at home. If you have kids, it’s also a great time to get them involved and spend some quality time together in the kitchen. You probably already have these ingredients, so we hope you’ll be able to make your own Easter eggs this weekend.

This is a kid-friendly recipe with a wonderful sensory experience. Forming the peanut butter dough into little balls and then pressing them into egg shapes, feels like playing with play dough. These healthier peanut butter eggs will also help keep your kids from bouncing off the walls with processed, refined sugar treats. Nourish them with these chewy bites instead.

This recipe won’t egg-haust you as these peanut butter eggs take no longer than 20 minutes to make. They are also much healthier for you AND less trashy. These wrapper-free Easter eggs are therefore also healthier for our planet! Your sweet tooth just got a lot more sustainable…

Recipe inspo thanks to Megan Gilmore. Go check out her Instagram feed over at @detoxinista and for the most amazing vegan and gluten-free recipes be sure to check out her website here.



Ingredients for 6 servings
1/2 cup unsweetened peanut butter (creamy or crunchy, your choice)
3 TBSP Silan Date Syrup (order online here)
1 TBSP coconut flour
1/4 tsp salt (add only if your peanut butter is unsalted)
1/2 cup dark chocolate
1 tsp coconut oil

Instructions
1. In a medium bowl, combine the peanut butter, date syrup, coconut flour, and salt (if using). Mix well until batter is formed.
2. Use a spoon to scoop the batter into 6 balls then use your hands to shape the dough into egg shapes. Arrange the egg shapes on a plate lined with parchment paper, and place in the freezer to set.
3. While the peanut butter eggs are setting in the freezer, melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil together using the double boiler method.
4. Remove the the peanut butter eggs from the freezer and dip each one into the melted chocolate until completely coated.
5. Return the chocolate covered eggs to the parchment paper and spoon any additional chocolate over the top for a thicker chocolate coating.
6. Allow to set in the freezer for at least 10 more minutes then serve!