Zoe Scheltema: How to eat like an Instagram star

Instagrammers can get a lot of stick for portraying their lives in an unattainable way. Whether it be someone’s physical attributes, the holidays they take or the food they eat it is, for most, a glimpse in to how the other half live.

Instagram is also a looking glass into the culinary world, and whether you know it or not, people all around you are snapping their sarnies in a bid to generate some Insta love.

Want to get on the filtered food snaps bandwagon? I’m here to tell you that eating like an Instagrammer needn’t be so hard – if you follow these suggestions. Most importantly, make sure to follow the first rule: don’t eat the food until you’ve taken the photo. It’s easier said than done.

Take a trip to the newest cafe in town

This one requires you to go to a vegan, raw, dairy free, refined sugar, gluten free, organic cafe and order anything green. Just anything green.

Extra points if what you’re ordering have the words “matcha”, “acai” or “goddess” in it.

You’ll almost definitely get some avocado with it so make sure you hashtag that to get the likes streaming in.

Get a greasy burger, but from a cool restaurant

Nothing says Instagram like the occasional burger photo to remind everyone that you’re just like everyone else and you love to hoon a greasy fry. It brings you back to your roots and makes your followers believe you are JUST LIKE THEM.

Get all fancy on a “Parisian” balcony

I don’t have a balcony and I don’t live in Paris but I do have access to a supermarket that has plenty of pastries and cute little strawbs (Insta-speak for strawberries). All you need to do for this particular Gram is buy approximately the amount of food you would need for four people and lay it all out in front of you. Then put on a bathrobe and look off in to the distance while someone takes a photo of you.

You will also need a stainless steel cafetiere and a vase of flowers. Voila, you could be in Paris.

Pop some bottles

This one’s a tricky one because if it’s not Veuve, Mumm or any of those other ones that people pretend they know how to pronounce, then your pic may as well go straight in the bin.

The other option here is to get yourself some cocktails. This works well on two-for-ones because then you can caption the photo: “When they send too many drinks to the table #blessed”. No one ever has to know that you frantically bought as many as you could carry before happy hour was over.

Obviously coffee is life and life is coffee. You need to grab that flat white, but only if it has good coffee art. Lay some of your makeup, keys and other miscellaneous items from your bag around it to give off the vibe of a casual and carefree morning coffee.

Only drink your drinks in cool alleyways

If you drink a smoothie in front of a wall without street art on it, did you even drink a smoothie at all?

Scour your neighbourhood for a pop-up

Go find a pop-up, just any pop-up, it doesn’t really matter. The weirder the better. Order one of everything from said pop-up and make sure you get some good photos of the food being held against some sort of natural back drop – the sea, a park, or the blazing sun.

Stay in bed

No, I don’t mean with McDonalds after a night out – although some would argue that that is worthy of a million photos. We’re talking about making some epic pancakes (bacon, berries, the lot) then setting them down on your white waffle sheets with a coffee in hand.

The post-workout snack

You’re not a real Instagrammer if you haven’t taken a photo of your post-workout snack and/or drink. If you’re stuck for ideas, charcoal water’s having a bit of a moment and would look great against your galaxy print leggings.

NZ Herald

Inside Story: Organics in the Bay

Kiwis are eating and growing more organic produce than ever. The 2016 New Zealand organic market report shows a 127 percent rise in sales through supermarkets since 2012. Here in the Bay of Plenty, more growers are becoming certified organic or starting the process as consumer demand increases. The products often come with premium prices. Is organic healthier? How do you know you’re getting value for money? Bay of Plenty Times Weekend reporter Dawn Picken investigates the buzz surrounding organic.

Growers
Something smells fishy on Chris Coney’s Te Puna orchard as he scatters fertiliser beneath avocado trees.

“You have to spread it while it’s raining,” he says.

It’s pouring, as white clouds of fish meal drift upwards. Chris and wife, Judy, have been farming organically – without using non-organic pesticides, herbicides or additives – for about 25 years.

“You’re always adding to the soil … you’re feeding the soil and building up healthy microbes rather than depleting them with synthetic fertilisers,” says Judy.

She says concern for people got the couple into organics.

“You can’t produce a perfect-looking crop, but you can produce a perfect-tasting crop … and there’s nothing on the fruit that’s going to harm me while I’m packing them … Avocados, with conventional orchard spraying, they spray straight into the atmosphere.”

The Coneys sell their avos at the Tauranga Farmer’s Market on Saturdays when their crop’s in season. They get $5 per bag for four large; five medium or six small avos.

They also grow garlic and say organic horticulture – cultivating crops without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers or genetically modified organisms – takes more time and labour than conventional farming.

The Coneys (he’s 71, she’s 70 years old) supported a family while farming organically and used to have four children helping in the orchard.

Now, they often rely on WOOFFers (volunteers from World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). Over morning tea of avocado and tomato on rice cakes, Chris explains while ‘God’s ways’ may be slow, hand-weeding and using non-toxic fertiliser helps the Earth long-term.

“The fertilisers and your sprays, we’re now seeing the results of the last 100 years where all the things that we’ve been using, acid for fertilisers … are now coming into our waterways.”

John Cotterell, a non-organic orchardist who owns five hectares of avocados in Katikati says growers are very aware of chemicals being sprayed on orchards and are using more targeted sprays than in the past. “Under an industry programme called AvoGreen we don’t spray unless there is a pest found, and we record all sprays in an electronic spray diary. This allows the packer to know the fruit will be free of chemical residues before they are harvested and exported.”

In Whakamarama, Silvio Maffra is tending tomatoes and other plants in a plastic-covered grow house. “I’ve got eight different varieties of tomatoes here. Four of them are cherry- red ones, yellow ones, if you’d like to try …”

I eat one of each.They’re sweet and bear the unmistakable taste and aroma of home-grown.

Maffra completed an organic horticulture course at Toi Ohomai, has volunteered on a half-dozen organic farms in Central America and has an agreement to farm land at his current site, operating under the name Abundant Backyard.

His crop also includes lettuces, spinach, herbs, strawberries, carrots and courgettes, some of which he sells to local restaurants and shops.

“On the same rows, I plant some herbs, because they are companion plants. Basil goes well with tomatoes.”

The 34-year-old native of Brazil is not yet certified organic. He says the process takes three years.

“Now I know what I’m gonna grow, what works well. Once the season is finished, I’ll look at getting certification.”

He says he uses no chemicals or non-naturally occurring pesticides.

“A lot of my time I spend weeding.”

Steven and Jenny Erickson farm 80ha near Waihi. Steven says they’ve been producing organically 32 years, and have had their current operation since 2001.

We bought a run-down farm and applied for certification right away.

Steven Erickson

He says farmers can still sell items produced organically during the transition, “… but maybe you’re not getting the premium that you will eventually”.

The Ericksons sell citrus and other fruits and graze another farmer’s dairy herd. They mostly supply Auckland and Wellington retailers, because that’s where Steven’s best contacts are.

He says organic farmers can command higher prices for many items, but it varies – a lot.

“There’s no percentage increase in some things. For grazing land we’re getting a 30 per cent premium over the conventional guys. Lemons, a 20 to 30 per cent premium.”

He says his costs are lower, too.

“Some will argue that, but there’s no question we have lower costs of production than a conventional farm because we’re not buying pesticides and herbicides.”

Steven says the couple’s last two years have been busier than the previous 10.

“Especially in the animal sector, there’s a lot more interest in organic pasture management.”

CONFIDENT SHOPPER: Jo Dey of Matua says she's been buying organic foods ever since they became available in Tauranga. Photo/Dawn Picken
CONFIDENT SHOPPER: Jo Dey of Matua says she’s been buying organic foods ever since they became available in Tauranga. Photo/Dawn PickenShoppers and Sellers
It’s a wet Wednesday afternoon at the Wild Earth Organic Store on Cameron Road when I visit.

Shopper Jo Dey is loading a trolley with produce: broccoli, bananas, blueberries, pumpkin, microgreens … and she’s just getting started.

The 48-year-old Matua resident says she’s been buying organic even since it’s become available in Tauranga.

“It’s healthier. No chemicals. That’s probably the biggest thing, there are no pesticides. I guess it’s just a gradual awareness of how many chemicals are in our food. I buy organic as much as I can.”

Wild Earth manager Rachel Miller sold the store in December to Huckleberry Farms.

She and her family started the business 25 years ago. She says the past five years, especially, have seen massive growth.

“There’s a lot of consciousness about what people are feeding their children that wasn’t there before.”

I spot two families with babes in arms and Ben Cowman of Otumoetai, who’s come in with nine-year-old daughter, Poppy to buy an organic apple.

“She had problems with eczema. And that’s a gut-related issue. So we had to really watch what she was eating. Buying organic seemed like the right thing to do.”

Mount Maunganui New World owner Allan Rudkin tells me he’s seeing an interest in organics, but shoppers expect high quality at a reasonable price.

“Organics can’t fit that at the moment. Volumes are not substantial enough.”

He says a frequent customer recently bought a $10 punnet of organic grapes and asked him to try them.

Conventional is still miles and miles apart. A lot of hormones and sprays are used – fungicides, herbicides, insecticides … You can’t even compare the two.

Jim Bennett, Certification manager with Organic Farm NZ

“They were divine … some people are adamant that’s all they want [organic] and maybe they can afford it, but people on a tight budget might say, ‘I wouldn’t mind organic,’ but I can’t afford that.”

Gate Pa Fresh Market owner David Stewart (who also writes a produce column for the Bay of Plenty Times) doesn’t carry organic produce because he says his customers won’t pay higher prices.

He says most growers don’t use a fraction of the sprays they used to.

“If you’re concerned about the environment … buy quality food, know where you’re buying it from, wash it. I don’t buy product from people I don’t like or think they don’t do a good job. I buy good product from good growers.”

Stewart says he’s appalled when he sees organic price sheets.

“Apples, five dollars a kilo – I’ve got bins of Fuji apples straight from the orchard at one dollar per kilo. If the retailer’s paying five dollars they should be charging $8.99 per kilo – no one’s gonna do that.”

Value or Hype? Academic Perspective
Ruth McLean, who teaches organic horticulture at Toi Ohomai says consumers don’t always have to pay premiums for organics.

She suggests visiting farmer’s markets and tapping into community gardens to learn to grow your own pesticide-free food.

McLean says also consider long-term costs associated with chemically-raised food.

“Look at your future health bills. If you are paying a little bit more at the moment, you might be saving on your doctor’s bills in the future … most of these chemicals are manufactured by huge corporations and certainly my parents’ generation was told they could mix stuff up by using their bare hands and it was perfectly safe.”

She says be wary of the label ‘spray-free,’ as even pesticide that doesn’t touch the plant could still get into the soil. And, she says organic growers often spray seaweed or approved liquid fertiliser on crops.

Organic Food growers. Chris Coney spreads organic fertilizer in the rain. Photo/George Novak
Organic Food growers. Chris Coney spreads organic fertilizer in the rain. Photo/George Novak

Group leader of Hospitality and Tourism at Toi Ohomai Rose Wood says organic can be useful to growers as a marketing tool.

While she says farmers are allowed to call products organic even if they’re not certified, someone using that label without adhering to organic practices could be in violation of the Fair Trading Act.

She says much of the attraction of organics is perception.

“It’s about your ethical decisions, as well. Environmentally-conscious consumption of food is a social, cultural trend. It’s a real growth area. They’ve just started a farmer’s market in Rotorua. They’re looking to grow because the demand is there.”

A daily artisan market also started several months ago in Waihi.

Jim Bennett, the certification manager with Organic Farm New Zealand, helps Bay of Plenty growers through the organic compliance process.

You don’t have to join the organic movement. It’s all in books. You can read it up if you want to.

Chris Coney

He says New Zealand has lagged behind the rest of the world in regulating organics, but things are picking up. OFNZ has 22 local members and another five or six in the pipeline.

Other organic certification bodies include BioGro, AsureQuality, Demeter and one administered by Te Waka Kai Ora.

Bennett says despite the fact conventional growers are using fewer chemicals, those that are used build up in the environment.

“Conventional is still miles and miles apart. A lot of hormones and sprays are used – fungicides, herbicides, insecticides … You can’t even compare the two.”

After 25 years in the industry, Bennett says he has yet to meet a rich organic farmer.

“I’ve seen many growers fold and have to go back to normal jobs, even on minimum wage.”

University of Waikato School of Management professor Frank Scrimgeour says the food situation here is much different than in a place like China.

“In New Zealand, if your food is not grown organically, it will still be grown in such a way that has to comply with certain kinds of standards.” Scrimgeour believes neither consumers who buy from conventional farms nor those who buy organic really know what’s on and in their food.

“I suggest there’s room for a middle ground…one extreme is organic and the other extreme is a rule there are no regulations about the use of chemicals in agriculture. The middle ground is a state-regulated apparatus applied through the Ministry of Primary Industries and associated regulations which limit what they [growers] can do.”

Avocado orchardist Chris Coney says his family is fortunate – they’ve owned their Te Puna property for decades.

He worries how future organic farmers will survive.

“A person coming now on to the land to go organic on a small block and carry all the loans these farmers are carrying – it would be impossible.

To earn $100,000 on 4ha, you’d be joking.”

He suggests families who want to eat healthy apply the principle of Kiwi DIY.

“You don’t have to join the organic movement. It’s all in books. You can read it up if you want to.”

In New Zealand, if your food is not grown organically, it will still be grown in such a way that is has to comply with certain kinds of standards.

Frank Scrimgeour, University of Waikato School of Management professor.

Organics Sector Fastest Grower
The total value of the organics industry is estimated between $457-467 million, according to the 2016 New Zealand organic market report.

That’s an increase of 30 percent from 2012 when the value of organics was $350 million. In an editorial on the Organics Aotearoa New Zealand earlier this year, board member Barbara Harford wrote organics are the fastest-growing multi-food sector in the world. She argued organic growers push towards more sustainable practices produces innovation which is often adopted more widely.

“Take the role the organic sector played in introducing safer, lower drift spraying regimes in kiwifruit orchards. The organic sector showed that traditional spraying practices weren’t essential, and this was part of a move to significantly tighter rules and penalties nationwide.”

Harford says organics are a big part of the move towards sustainable production. Te Puke-based Trevelyan’s Pack & Cool managing director James Trevelyan agrees, though most of the kiwifruit growers his operation services farm conventionally.

“The organic guys are the ones that have paved the way in providing solutions for conventional guys.” He says thanks to organic lead initiatives, Hi-Cane (Hydrogen Cyanamide) could someday be replaced with an organic option such a copper oil mixed spray.

Meanwhile, Trevelyan says organic produce comes with a lot of compliance standards, and his own organic home orchard undergoes a three-hour annual audit that includes residue testing. “As a consumer, if you want absolute confidence in what you’re eating that complies with a standard go buy something that’s certified [organic].”

What's on your store bought tomatoes? Photo/file
What’s on your store bought tomatoes? Photo/file

Tomato Trail
What’s on your store-bought tomatoes? I tried to find out after watching my 13-year-old daughter eat Pam’s brand cherry tomatoes (non-organic) without washing them. Calling the 0800 number proved fruitless.

When I asked for the name of the grower, a customer service representative said, “We aren’t allowed to give out supplier information.” Foodstuffs communications department also declined to provide specifics. Head of external relations Antoinette Laird said in a statement,

“These tomatoes have come from one of our large commercial growers, whose Integrated Pest Management Systems are top class. These days, the monitoring systems that growers use are so good that they barely have to spray at all.”

NZherald

10 foods you think are healthy but aren’t

Because of the “health food” craze that’s swept the US in the last decade, our shelves are littered with products supposedly loaded with nutritional benefits.

Jars and bags of food are emblazoned with “organic’, “low-fat”, “no sugar” and “all natural”.

In reality, many of the options you view as healthy are actually loaded with calories, fats and sugar – and could be doing far more harm to your health than good.

Surveys show most Americans see granola, sushi, fruit juice, snack bars and frozen yoghurt as “guilt-free”.

But nutritionists would disagree.

Indeed, a telling study by the New York Times last year revealed a huge discrepancy between science and public opinion when it comes to nutrition.

Granola was deemed healthy by 71 per cent of the public, but only 28 percent of nutritionists agreed.

Nutritionist Tammy Lakatos Shames, of the Nutrition Twins, gives Daily Mail Online the scoop on 10 foods that are not so great for you – and what you could be having instead.

1. CEREAL

Cereals are often branded as being part of a healthy, balanced breakfast.

But in reality, many of the most popular brands are actually full of unhealthy ingredients.

“Unless you’re choosing the whole grain option, cereal can cause a surge of blood sugar, which releases insulin and that being repeated every day is not good for your body,” said Shames.

“The calories add up really quickly and you’re hungry before you know it. You can have one portion of cereal and be adding 400 calories to your day.”

2. FRUIT JUICE

Shames says you can still get a dose of antioxidants from drinking a glass of fruit juice but, unlike when you eat whole fruit, the calories are more concentrated.

“The brain doesn’t compensate for the calories because they’re so concentrated like with whole fruit and so your blood sugar levels skyrocket,” she said.

Eating whole fruits and vegetables is preferred, with juicing primarily reserved for situations when daily intake of vegetables and fruits is inadequate.

And if you do juice, avoid adding extra sugar by putting in honey, to minimise calories.

3. SUSHI

Just as with the fruit juice, Shames says sushi can be great if you’re choosing healthier options such as with lean protein and vegetables.

But some of the “fancier” types end up covered in sauces loaded with fats and sodium or refined white rice.

“Typically, it’s hard to get a lot of fibre or to get vitamins and minerals out of sushi,” she said.

“Plus you need to be careful with raw fish because you can get really sick.”

4. GRANOLA

It can be a nice oatmeal topper, but most of the granola options that you pick up at the grocery store are loaded with hydrogenated oils and added sugars.

A serving size of granola is actually a one-quarter cup, but most people are eating far more than that amount.

“If you’re pouring a bowl, you can be eating upwards of 200 calories or more, and sometimes get your calories for the entire day,” Shames said.

“So it’s much better to stick to options that have whole grains and limited amounts of sugar.”

5. FROZEN YOGURT

The treat is often seen as a healthier alternative to ice cream – and it can be a real hit or miss.

Many self-serve shops have frozen yoghurt options that have high amounts of sugar and fat.

Shames even admits that it’s her guilty pleasure and something she needs to be wary of.

“If you pick the low-fat, or fat-free option, you have a much less chance of eating something that’s going to clog your arteries,” she says.

And be wary when it comes to the toppings bar. If you fill your cup with candy and chocolates, it’s almost as bad starting with a sugary flavour of frozen yoghurt.

6. MEAL REPLACEMENT BARS

Shames says the problem with bars meant to replace a daily meal is the ingredients.

She said: “They’re high in calories and don’t fill you up that much.

“Many times, you’re no better off than if you ate a candy bar.”

And the nutritionist says that many of her clients have eaten the bars for years and up developing toxicity symptoms.

“Many of these bars are high in hydrogenated oils, which load up on cholesterol. I’ve even had clients that have their hair falling out from it.”

7. SMOOTHIES

Smoothies can be a healthy option if you make them yourself, Shames says.

But many of the drinks that you get at juice bars and restaurants are rather unhealthy.

“They’re high in calories, they blend in a lot of fruit which concentrates the calories and then add in sugar,” she said.

“Pretty soon you have a drink in front of you that’s 700 or 800 calories.”

Shames recommends making a smoothie at home, adding Greek yoghurt for protein, and frozen fruit for both flavour and texture.

She added: “This way you know what you’re getting and you don’t even need to add sugar because they’re sweet to begin with.”

8. COCONUT OIL

Coconut oil has been part of a huge craze, but it’s actually only beneficial in small quantities.

“If you look at the research, it shows that the fatty acids can clog your arteries and really place a lot of pressure on the heart,” Shames said.

To save on calories, she recommends putting the oil in a spray bottle when you’re coating a pan for cooking.

And if you’re looking for a replacement, she says better alternatives include avocado oil or olive oil.

9. TRAIL MIX

Just as with the smoothies, Shames says trail mix can be a healthy snack if you make it yourself.

“The trail mix you buy at the store often has a lot of items that add up the calories really quickly,” she said.

“And many options have dried fruits that are full of sulphites, food preservatives which we know to be carcinogenic.”

To make a healthy version, she says to have pre-portioned containers ready and measure by adding some unsalted nuts, a bit of dark chocolate or candy M&Ms, and sulphite-free dried fruit.

10. MARGARINE

In the 1960s, when the US was waging its war on fat, margarine took off in popularity over butter.

But many kinds of margarine are actually unhealthy due to their hydrogenated oils.

“They’re full of trans fats, which we know is bad for cholesterol and for the heart,” Shames said.

“At the end of the day, a tablespoon of butter is better for you than a tablespoon of margarine.”

But if you’re very concerned about both options, Shames says you can buy a brand like Smart Balance which is low in fat and oils.

NZherald