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Use vegetable or olive oil in place of coconut oil

The New Zealand Heart Foundation is advising Kiwis to continue using unsaturated plant oils rather than switching to coconut oil as their main cooking oil.

Coconut oil has recently gained popularity as a result of heavy marketing in both the US and Australasia. There is widespread misinformation about the health benefits of coconut oil, with claims of it being a ‘superfood’.

In light of this, the NZ Heart Foundation recently commissioned Dr Laurence Eyres, New Zealand’s leading specialist in oils and fats, to prepare an academic paper called ‘Coconut Oil and the Heart’.

Dr Eyres has summarised the existing literature on coconut oil and its impact on heart health. He found nothing which disputes the fact that coconut oil raises cholesterol.

He concludes that the claims for coconut oil’s healthiness simply don’t stack up.

“Traditionally, coconut oil hasn’t been recommended because it is extremely high in saturated fat. This advice remains, despite the large number of marketing claims to the contrary.”

He says switching to coconut oil is likely to lead to less favourable lipid profiles and potential increased risk of coronary heart disease.

“Consumers who are using a lot of coconut oil due to the current fad would be well advised to either limit its use, or to blend in some unsaturated cold-pressed oil such as olive, avocado or canola oil. Although it may be a better choice than butter, coconut oil cannot be recommended as a suitable alternative to non-hydrogenated vegetable oils.”

Dr Eyres says the wide range of research often quoted to support the use of coconut oil is largely based on animal studies or interpreted from research on medium-chain triglyceride (MCTs) oils. But the triglycerides in coconut oil cannot actually be classed as MCTs, which means this research is not relevant.

Nutrition information panels now on Select a vegetable page


Most vegetables in the Select a vegetable section now have nutrition information panels. The nutrition information is from a New Zealand source – The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables 10th Edn, Plant & Food Research 2014. If no New Zealand information is available, data from Fruits & Veggies More Matters or the USDA National Nutrient Database for standard reference has been used.

These panels provide information on the average amount of energy, protein, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, sugars and sodium (a component of salt) in the food, as well as any other nutrients about which a nutrition claim is made. For example, if a food had a ‘good source of dietary fibre’ claim then the amount of dietary fibre in the food must be shown in the nutrition information panel. The nutrition information panel must be presented in a standard format which shows the average amount per serve and per 100g (or 100ml if liquid) of the food. For more information go to the Select a vegetable index page.

Source: FSANZ 2012

US First Lady says…

Sesame Street
“Imagine what it will be like to have our kids begging us to buy them fruits and vegetables instead of cookies, candy and chips. It can happen,” US First Lady Michelle Obama said recently.

Children who were given a choice between eating an apple, a cookie or both ,mostly chose the cookies, she said, referring to a study by Cornell University researchers. When they were given the same choice with apples that had Elmo [a Sesame Street character] stickers,

Children ages 3 to 5 are five times as likely to be overweight or obese as adults, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For more info read this article from the Baltimore Sun

Curious and creative

VegetablesA recent New Zealand study shows that people who ate more fruits and vegetables reported higher than average levels of curiosity, creativity, and positive emotions, as well as engagement, meaning and purpose.

New Zealand researchers have found a link between eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, and experiencing a higher level of eudaemonic well-being. In this study, recently published in the British Journal of Health Psychology, 405 university students kept a daily diary for 13 consecutive days. Each day, they recorded the number of servings they had of fruits, vegetables, desserts and various fried-potato dishes.

They also filled out a daily questionnaire intended to measure creativity, curiosity, and psychological flourishing. Specifically, they responded to statements such as “Today, I was engaged and interested in my daily activities” on a 1-7 scale (“strongly disagree” to “strongly agree”).  They also responded to additional items designed to measure their general emotional state that day.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/16/broccoli-happiness_n_5682092.html?utm_hp_ref=diet-and-nutrition

Inglorious fruit and vegetables

Intermarché, the third biggest grocer in France, launched a campaign called (in English), ‘the inglorious fruits and vegetables’. They discounted produce that didn’t look perfect, created some well-designed ads, and gave them some serious publicity.

Check out this YouTube clip.

Shoppers have come to expect standard, blemish-free fruit and vegetables, but that is not how they grow. Currently, in the EU, produce that doesn’t make the grade ends up in the bin, but a movement in France aims to change that and to get people not only buying those fruits and vegetables, but actually seeking them out. It couldn’t be more timely given that 2014 is the European year against food waste.



NSSCC 2014 winners

NSSCC winnersChakkapong Klahan, Erin Hall, Quinton Gately, Louis Clark

Congratulations to Nelson College students, Chakkapong Klahan and Louis Clark for winning the 2014 National Secondary Schools Culinary Competition.

Judge Glenn Fulcher said:
“It was an amazing event and the calibre of food was up there with Junior Chefs in the 2nd or 3rd year of training. All nine teams worked exceptionally hard to be worthy of the National final and they didn’t disappoint.

Each school had planned and executed their dish in the best way possible during a heated competition.

It makes me very proud to be part of such a fantastic event and helping unearth the future stars of the industry I love so much. I think we are in safe hands if these guys are anything to go by.”


The National Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge Final

The National Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge final is on today at the Manukau Institute of Technology.

The secondary school competitors before the final event.

Waiting to start.

In action.

Judge – Glenn Fulcher

ENTREES: Using NZ grown leek

MAINS: Chicken as the hero of the dish


Grand finale at the Manukau Institute of Technology – 12th of September

Grand finale of the National Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge at the Manukau Institute of Technology on the 12th of September.

Northland Northland Trades Academy (Whangarei) – Hayden Rodgers (Whangarei Boys) and Mataroria Rawhiti (Tauraroa Area School)
Auckland Long Bay College (North Shore) – Kiwon Lee and Minseop Kim
Waikato Sacred Heart Girls’ College (Hamilton) – Melissa Petrin and Hannah Ralph
Hawkes Bay St John’s College (Hastings) – Jake Ireland and Sam Heaven
Taranaki Spotswood College (New Plymouth) – Bree Paton-Courtney and Shardae McGoven
Wellington Heretaunga College (Upper Hutt) – Tyler Langerveld and Grace Cunningham
Nelson/Marlborough Nelson College – Chakkapong Klahan and Louis Clark
Canterbury Burnside High School (Christchurch) – Kimberly McLeod and Sharon Cao
Southern Queen’s High School (Dunedin) – Lauren Wright and Abby Johnson

The two students who win the National Title will receive a gift pack each from vegetables.co.nz, an iPad mini and a $2,000 scholarship each towards their study of a City & Guilds International Catering Qualification, in a City & Guilds approved training centre of their choice.
The winning school will receive a $1,000 voucher from Bidvest and a E32D4 Blue Seal Turbofan Oven and Stand from Moffat New Zealand worth $7,000.

The annual National Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge is made possible by strong support from the following sponsors; City & GuildsNZ ChickenSouthern HospitalityVegetables.co.nz; Potatoes New Zealand; 5+ A DAY; Bidvest; Moffatt

More memorable vegetable quotes

“Of all living things I’d be a sweet potato.” Shinkichi Takakashi




“Life is like an onion.
You peel it off one layer at a time;
And sometimes you weep.” Carl Sandburg


“Of the approximately 50,000 edible plant species in the world … the average American eats only 30.” Susan Allport

“Borsch, the centre of everything.” Ukranian proverb



“Culinary nouns, verbs and adjectives had meanings that could no more be tampered with than weights and measures could be arbitrarily changed.” [of Larousse Gastronomique] Colman Andrews

Potato power

Electrical wall made from potatoes

A food-based charging solution: an organic charging wall made from 800 potatoes and apples.

Creating an electrical current from vegetables and/or fruit has long been the stuff of science class experiments; but this part science experiment, part art installation, and part publicity stunt, took school science experiments to the extreme, with a smartphone being charged in the process.

Recently in London, Caleb Charland hand-built a wall-based circuit from 800 potatoes, apples, copper wire and galvanised nails to create an electrical current which was then used to charge a smartphone.

Read more at: http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/nokia-charges-lumia-930-800-potatoes-apples/#ixzz3Ai7qZ9Mi

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