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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.

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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™ 💚

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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.

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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.

 

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Shop Zero turned 1, and they’re only getting started…

Shop Zero™ has officially celebrated their first birthday.  Those who have been following them will know that Shop Zero™ has had an online presence since August 2017.  Since then they have been ‘hustling’ hard to make Shop Zero™, and what it stands for, accessible to as many people as possible.

Shop Zero’s journey over the last 12 months:

  • In October 2017 they crowdfunded and raised R35 000 towards opening Shop Zero™ – thanks again to everyone who believed in the concept.  Your names will never be forgotten.  Literally, they are printed on Shop Zero’s shelves!
  • In September Janneke, Shop Zero’s founder, was joined by Elza and Abi as business partners.
  • From November to January, Shop Zero™ had a presence at various Western Cape markets and started selling some of their products via their Facebook Shop, while looking for their perfect shop space.
  • In February, Shop Zero™ opened their brick and mortar pop-up shop in Woodstock, Cape Town.
  • In April, Shop Zero™ also started trading permanently at the Old Biscuit Mill market on Saturdays.
  • In April, Shop Zero™ launched their online store, www.shopzero.co.za, with nationwide delivery of all their lifestyle goods.
  • During this time Shop Zero™ also hosted a few workshops in their pop-up shop ranging from Zero Waste Basics, natural DIY Body Products Workshops through to delicious & nourishing Smoothie Bowl Alchemy Workshops, with many more to follow.  They even threw in a FREE Zero Waste Workshop in celebration of their 1st birthday.
  • Shop Zero™ has also successfully started hosting corporate Zero Waste Workshops – an exciting platform to help incorporate Zero Waste into your home and business.  Please don’t hesitate to contact them if you would like to host a Zero Waste Workshop at your business or collaborate on a workshop with them.  These events are a great way to learn and interact in a fun and inspirational way.

What’s in store for the next few months?

  • We are excited to announce that Shop Zero™ will be opening its permanent Cape Town branch, just down the road from their pop-up shop.  From September 2018 you can find Shop Zero at 403 Albert Road, Woodstock (right next to the Old Biscuit Mill).   This means the pop-up shop will be closing down to make way for the new shop space.
  • Joining them on the premises in their own right is Flourish Bistro: a vegan, plant-based, gluten and refined sugar free bistro.  Being a zero waste, plastic-free lifestyle store with vegan pantry essentials and specialty foods as one of Shop Zero’s trademarks, Shop Zero™ and Flourish Bistro are a match made in vegan heaven – plus the food from Flourish Bistro is simply amazing!
  • Last but not least, Shop Zero™ will be adding Zero Waste Bulk Product Delivery (food & cleaning products) to their online store (Cape Town only) – with reusable packaging that uses a deposit system and is of course … plastic-free!  They are also eagerly awaiting the arrival of their electric scooter, which means they’ll then deliver with zero emissions.  This will be an SA first!  Watch this space, more details to follow very soon.

And there you have it.  We’ll let you digest this all for a while we get back to the business of zero waste.  Because we love this planet, and we love helping you look after it!

Until next time,

The Shop Zero™ Team