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Food...some eat to live (not me!)...Part I

8 January 2014 5:41:17 PM AEDT

Food…some eat to live, whereas others like me, live to eat. My love of eating is common knowledge among all who know me. For me, food evokes and creates memories.


Seemingly so, many a fond memory from my childhood has food interwoven into it - gagging on my first oyster off the rocks down at Wilson’s Promontory, the sheer pleasure of gorging on homemade sausage rolls and lank shank and vegie soup on a wintery Saturday after netball and my love of coffee perhaps stemming from my mum allowing us a percolated coffee as a treat when my parents were entertaining, from a fairly young age (not to mention the after dinner mints that my sister and I scavenged for on the table the following morning).


My partner Marty and I were only recently talking about the simple things we loved doing as children that have seemingly become lost over time.  For me, it was a big deal to go and pick up fried rice with my dad on a Saturday night with our saucepan in tow (showing my age here – before the days of takeaway containers – really not such a bad idea) and Marty loved going to the fish and chip shop on a Sunday night in his pj’s with his dad before settling in to watch Walt Disney. Take a moment to recall a fond memory of your childhood – perhaps food is consciously or sub-consciously etched in your memory?


So it is fair to say, I had high hopes for my children, on the food front. Prior to having children of my own, many a friend had complained about their children being fussy eaters. I have to admit; I secretly thought to myself that this would never happen to me (naive, I know!). So one can only imagine my disappointment (understatement) when my daughter turned up her nose at my lovingly prepared fish, lamb and chicken casseroles, instead opting for the tub of yoghurt or meal in a squeezie pack I offered her post casserole, in my delusional paranoia she was going to starve.


In one of my many food epiphanies I have experienced in the past two years, I decided to put my foot down, and ...

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0 Comments | Posted in 0 By Sally Dunn

My Christmas tree dilemma

24 December 2013 3:37:32 PM AEDT

I find there are so many considerations over the festive season besides just surviving the hectic period. My sense of community is at its greatest at this time of year, as I take stock of just how fortunate we are to have a roof over our head and a family to share this special time with. It also highlights some of the challenges I face as a consumer trying to be environmentally minded.

In our rush to complete our Christmas shopping (well at least mine anyway!) it can be easy to overlook considerations such as where the gifts we are buying are sourced from and how they are manufactured. Furthermore, simple details such as where the gift wrapping is derived from or what can be reused or re-purposed as gift wrapping are also considerations.  I also find myself questioning whether my choices of gifts are useful, needed and made to last. There are so many aspects of Christmas and the resulting environmental impacts I could discuss but today I’m going to focus on Christmas trees.

As each Christmas passes, I increasingly wrestle with the long held family tradition of buying a real Christmas tree vs. my environmental conscience. For the last four years over the Christmas period I have either had a newborn baby or we have been doing some sort of home renovation.  We haven’t planned it this way; it’s just how things have worked out.  Needless to say it always seems to be beyond hectic at this time of year and I could use that as an excuse for my decision to take the traditional option of purchasing real Christmas trees, but if I’m honest I do struggle to part with a beautiful smelling fresh Christmas tree.

Knowing that I wrestle with this decision my husband has tried to talk me into a plastic tree a couple of times. However, I’m not a big fan of all things plastic and I have my doubts (albeit subjective) of the environmental credentials of a plastic tree. So I decided to put this to the test and do some reading on the subject to determine which is the more sustainable option – ...

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1 Comments | Posted in 0 By Shannon Clipperton


So… I am in my last week of my pregnancy. I am expecting, all going well, that this is us done – a family of five. Being a late bloomer in the starting a family domain, I have spent a fair chunk of the past four years pregnant or breastfeeding (thankfully never both at the same time – not sure my body would have coped so well with it).


Fortunately this time around, I have felt the best I have for all three pregnancies. Not really sure why this is the case? My mother in-law is of the belief that your body becomes better attuned with subsequent pregnancies. It may be this coupled with the fact that this was the first pregnancy I have not moved interstate (1st pregnancy I returned home from Sydney at 36 weeks and 2nd pregnancy I moved to hot and humid Brisbane when I was 32 weeks pregnant). Or simply, life just goes on when you have two young children.


A couple of things dawned on me that I am sure you would never read about in books (not that I read all that much about being pregnant). I have slept on my left side fairly religiously for all three pregnancies, and you know what has always bothered me the most? A really sore left ear most nights. Has anyone ever experienced this – or do I have an odd ear? Perhaps the cartilage softens in my ear when pregnant?


With my first two pregnancies, I deemed pillow support in bed for my burgeoning stomach to be critical. This time around, I have not given an additional pillow a second thought, not once, and instead have mastered the art of sleeping on my stomach – and still can at 38 weeks (I got the green light from my ob. to do this). This is pure bliss for a tummy sleeper, particularly when I believed this to have been impossible with my previous pregnancies.


Of the different homes I have lived in while pregnant, my current temporary residence is the first without a butler sink in the kitchen (for those among us unfamiliar with butler sinks, these are extremely deep – and feel even deeper to a short person like myself!). So n...

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2 Comments | Posted in 0 By Sally Dunn

The fishier side of fish farms

25 November 2013 9:16:41 PM AEDT


The fishier side of fish farms

I uncovered some pretty interesting information about fish farming while researching content for my most recent radio show. Much of this was not in circulation when I have previously researched the topic and thought it was worthy of sharing, in addition to my personal perspective, having travelled through Cambodia and Vietnam.


For the salmon-lovers in particular among us, the following may change the way you feel about it (or perhaps not), so for this I do apologise. However, I am a big believer that knowledge is power. So here goes!!


Up to 75 percent of fish species globally are currently being overfished or fished at their biological limits. The most pressing concern of this is the inability of individual fish species to replenish stock numbers through natural reproduction.


Enter fish and shellfish farming…


Otherwise referred to as aquaculture, this has become one of the fastest growing food production sectors in the world, providing almost 40 percent of the world’s current fish supply.


Top five farmed species in Australia

Tuna, pearl oysters, salmon, edible oysters and prawns are the current top five.


What makes a fish a good farmed species?

 • Happy to consume an artificial diet;

• have a good conversion rate (amount of food required in return for weight);

• Ability to live in small spaces;

• Non aggressive and

• Cause minimal environmental impacts if it was to escape into the wild.


Current concerns about fish farming include:

• Competition or predation with local species / fauna;

• Breeding with wild species, if to escape, with unforeseen changes in genetic make-up;

• Introduction of disease into surrounding wild populations;

• Degradation of marine environment, with the release of solids and nutrients inevidentably into the surrounding waterways.


Some fast fishy facts about Tasmanian farmed salmon

• Some 18 tonne of antibiotics were fed to farmed salmon 2006-08, including amoxicillin, which is routinely prescribed to humans;

• Tassal Brand,...

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2 Comments | Posted in 0 By Sally Dunn

Challenging mainstream building products

11 November 2013 10:18:54 PM AEDT

We have just started a small renovation at home, which has exposed the finer details of building that I hadn’t before considered. Let me begin this post by saying I am fully aware that I may be overthinking things!

We renovated our bathroom a year ago and it happened really quickly, from a quote to demolition one week later.  I didn’t get the opportunity to think through how I wanted the process to go from both an environmental and healthy product perspective.  I remember walking in to see cans of foam that were being sprayed under the bath to hold it in place and wondering what is that made of??? It was a real eye opener for me and I was determined this time around to be involved in product selection.

The laboratory work I did when study environmental science has increased my awareness of the hazards attached to even the most common chemicals you would see in your house.  This along with a lengthy bout of ill health in my 20s, which increased my systems sensitivity to products, influences the choices I make when purchasing and using products.

This project has several challenges; a small budget, a desire to be as environmentally minded as we can, in addition to a focus on using products I was comfortable with my children being exposed to. 

Given the small scale and budget of the project we are restricted to what we can do environmentally, it is our intention to install solar panels at a later date. Our main focus has been utilising as many recycled products as possible, particularly in the kitchen.  I am getting the sense that our kitchen is going to be a massive fail or win and at this stage I have no idea which it will be.  We wanted to maintain the integrity of the house, which is a cottage, so instead of ripping out the old woodstove fireplace which would have made much more sense we decided to open it up.  This is financially risky for us as it would mean an additional expense of re plastering if the fireplace was a flop.

We have listed useable items on eBay not as ...

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Comments | Posted in 0 By Shannon Clipperton
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