"Every month we’ll be sharing with you our health and wellness focused professionals that make up our team here at The Centre for Health as well as other experts in the industry, services and products that are based here in the Bay of Plenty or further afield. This month we’d like to extend a warm welcome to Argentinian and now Tauranga resident, Mila from V on Wheels, who could be delivering her mouthwatering and nutritious vegan friendly meals to your door very soon..."
Mila, can you tell us about V on Wheels and how you came up with the idea to provide this service here in Tauranga?
‘V on wheels’ came in to life in 2016 in my own little kitchen, cooking just for friends and neighbours. It took just a few weeks until I started getting orders from outside my social group on my Facebook page. After that I decided to create an online store where everybody could have access to the weekly menu, check the meals photos, ingredients, ask questions, and order.
I’m happy to say that ‘V on wheels’ is the first fully vegan meal delivery in NZ. Every week I create a different menu with healthy plant based meals and I deliver them to people’s houses. All meals are fresh frozen, ready to heat straight from the freezer with no cooking required.
What does health and wellness mean to you?
For me health and wellness means EVERYTHING. Health gives quality to our lives and to the ones around us.
As soon as we lose our health, we do EVERYTHING to get it back… When people we love get sick, we do EVERYTHING to help them to heal. Health is about how we want to live.
There is a reason that in Argentina we say “Salud, amor y dinero” when toasting. It means: ‘to health, to love and money’. Priorities :)
What influence does your home country of Argentina have on your meals and where do you source your meal inspiration from?
Argentina is all about family and friends. And when it comes about getting together, food is the protagonist. We love homemade food. I’ve always cooked for my friends (and their friends!) And I even had an underground ‘just for fun’ restaurant in my house before I came to New Zealand. We used to get together to cook, play live music, eat and have a glass or two. Cooking for others was always my thing.
Nowadays, social media is the biggest inspiration source for cooking. Sometimes I see a good photo of a meal and I just play with the ingredients and adding different colours to the plate. Lots of colour. Food needs to be beautiful, not just delicious. Other days, inspiration comes from “Oh, What can I make with this and that?.”
Does your menu change every week and if so, what types of dishes can we expect to be tasting heading into summer?
I’m adding new dishes constantly. When one dish sells out, a new one comes in. Rarely do I make the same dish twice, it’s always something different. I like the excitement of the menu changing, improvising and the overall challenge in the kitchen - plus, I keep my regular customers very happy!
Summer is going to be great! My partner Tim and our friend Paul are helping me to build a ‘V on wheels’ take away shop in our garage. This way we will be able to offer freshly made meals… But actually that’s a surprise, so don’t tell anybody!
What do you believe to be the health benefits of vegan friendly food?
Thank you for asking this. Going vegan is definitely helping people to improve their health. It is also helping the environment and overall it has the most beautiful philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude all forms of cruelty to animals. A well-balanced vegan diet provides lots of fibre, is beneficial for weight management, cardiac health and promotes regular digestion.
That’s all great, but, like Doctor Campbell said (from ‘Forks over knives'): “You can base your diet on chips and sodas everyday and be vegan” therefore eating vegan doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthy.
I’m constantly reading posts on Vegan groups on Facebook and some people know how to make up for what they don’t get in animal products, but that’s often not the case in the people becoming vegans today on the basis of pictures they see on Instagram. We need to be aware. Knowledge is power and freedom. Before taking any decision: learn. I strongly believe that health means balance and moderation too. It would be hard to be happy and enjoy life eating like a bird. I think it's alright to enjoy junk food every now and then, but definitely not basing our diet on it.
Is your food suitable for those suffering from other food intolerances/allergies/health issues and if so, how?
100%. I like calling it: food for everybody. All dishes are dairy free, most of them are gluten free, and some with minimal salt added too. The menu always has light meals like soup or veggie salads, and other richer meals like pasta or stews. All the spices, herbs, nut milk, veggie stock, are organic. I’m little by little shifting to an organic vegan menu.
How do we order and how far do you deliver to in the Bay of Plenty region?
You can order at www.vonwheels.com or on the Facebook page as well www.facebook.com/vonwheels/ . We deliver up to a 25 Km radius from Tauranga CBD on a daily basis, and once a month we deliver to Auckland.
And lastly, what is your favourite go-to weeknight dish after a long day at work and how can we make it at home?
‘V on wheels’ feeds us pretty much every day! Now that the weather is getting warmer we love making huuuuge cooked and raw salads which are super easy and quick to make after a long day. We cook some root veggies, mixed with lots of avo, tomato, olives, spinach, lemon, coriander, parsley. Maybe with some chickpeas or with some roasted nuts for crunchiness. It’s filling, fresh, flavourful and delicious!