Elke | Torbay

I think kindness is everywhere and it’s, it’s in every day small, tokens of kindness, and I think the last time someone did something exceptionally kind to me was when I was celebrating my birthday recently.

I am a plant-based dieter, which means that I don’t eat regular cake. I eat special cake, so one of my friends who I had invited to just come around for a cup of coffee, made me this beautiful plant-based cake, without me even having to ask her.

I do think it is very important, and I think we need a lot more of it (kindness), but I also think that people probably look for it a little bit too far, too big of gestures. It can be anything really, from helping someone cross the road, to passing on your parking ticket to someone. Just small things, everyday things.

A few years ago I had some house-sitters, a health coach from Argentina, and a chef from London, and so we connected really well. The health coach that stayed at our house, started talking to me about this doctor who did a lot of plant-based diets, and he’d written a book and it became a book that we all read at that point. The chef and I looked at each other and said, oh we could live a little bit healthier actually, and he put his hand up to put together a few simple plant-based menus, items on a menu, and in the book was a six week program that you could try. We thought, oh you know, we might try this. And, of course, the chef being in my house was a big motivation for me, and then we also started watching some documentaries; Forks over Knives, Cowspiracy. We just thought, okay yeah this might actually be something that we want to do.

We tried it out for six weeks. After the six weeks we thought, let’s keep doing it, and it just grew from there. It’s based on ethics of course, and not wanting to be part of the movement that encourages a big industry in New Zealand, meat and dairy industry. Also health, health-based basically. After reading a few more books I realised that probably being on a more plant-based diet would be healthier for me personally. I can’t say that I have noticed a huge difference. The biggest difference that I did notice was when I went from just being plant-based to being plant-based and not using any refined oils, and just getting all my oils out of nuts and seeds. My skin cleared up, and energy-wise, I’ve always been quite healthy. I used to be an athlete, so we had to be healthy, but energy-wise I can’t really notice much. People always ask me, oh where do you get your protein from? Well, from plants, and energy as well. So, I do feel that I can eat a lot more now without putting on weight, so that’s a plus for me, I guess.

I grew up overseas. I’m Belgian, and moved to New Zealand nine years ago, about nine years ago. The upbringing was very different from what it would be here. For one, we live nowhere near the sea, so that was for me a big thing coming here, living by the ocean. The upbringing was, it was very much focussed on community. Because we lived in a small village, everyone knew everyone. Everyone was almost related to everyone, it is awhile go, so I think values were slightly different back then to what they are now, and there was quite a bit more of what I would like to see a little bit more of now here, in terms of kindness and connecting with people.”


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