RICHIE HARDCORE, has been 95 BFM's quintessential punk and hard-core DJ for the past 12 years. When he's not playing tunes and giving his thoughts on air, he works for CAYAD, a Ministry of Health initiative focused on reducing the damage drugs and alcohol cause in our society. Richie also competes internationally in Muay Thai fighting (hence his black eye!) However this hard-core guy has a real soft heart when it comes to compassion and environmental responsibility.
Why did you become Veg and when?
I became a vegetarian in 1999/2000 when I was 19/20. I was listening to a lot of punk rock and hardcore at the time. The ethics of veganism and vegetarianism made up a lot of the lyrical content of bands like Earth Crisis and Good Riddance, and even The Smiths have “Meat is Murder”, so I really started exploring where the food I ate came from. To be honest, I hadn’t really considered it prior to that. Shameful, huh? With all of this going on, a vegetarian friend of mine at the time wrote me a compelling essay on vegetarianism, which was the last thing I needed to make the change.
What’s the greatest thing about being Veg?
Well, while I know it’s impossible to avoid completely harming the Earth in this modern world, I think it feels great to make a conscious decision every day to try to minimise the damage I do cause.
How did you make the change?
I phased out different meats progressively, till I eliminated them completely. Once I’d adjusted to that, I then went about making sure I didn’t consume other animal by-products that required an animal to die, like rennet, animal fats or gelatine. I think I did it sensibly.
Was it hard to make the changes?
It wasn’t too hard, and it got easier with time. It’s certainly easy now to be a vegetarian; ten years ago options at restaurants were limited, but now there is an abundance of vege friendly places to eat.
Are your family and friends Veg too?
My brother is a strict vegan. A lot of my friends are vegan, vegetarian or at the very least don’t eat red meat.
What’s your favourite food?
Man, tough question. I’d say Thai Food. Vegetarianism is well respected in Thai culture due the central role Buddhism plays in the Thai way of life, so it’s got tonnes of DELICIOUS vegetarian options. When you go to Thailand and say you’re vegetarian (the first thing I learnt to say in Thai!) people often give you a massive smile and praise; it’s nice.
What’s your favourite restaurant?
So many to choose from! If I’m going Thai, Malenee in Pt Chevalier is all vegetarian Thai Food, or else Thai House on Ponsonby Road. Otherwise I really like Coco’s Cantina on Ponsonby Road. Domain and Ayr, Federal and Wolfe and Kokako Grey Lynn are my favourite joints for café food, lots of organic all-vegetarian treats. Vinyl Coffee on Dominion Road has rad options for ethical eaters as well!
What is a typical day’s menu for you?
A standard day’s eating goes something like this: Breakfast: organic porridge with organic fruits mixed in, and a protein shake. Morning tea: a super-food shake; organic dairy or soy milk, ‘all good’ bananas (they are fair trade!), berries, cacao powder, yoghurt or protein powder, LSA. Lunch: Roast vegetable salad, smashed full of vegetables, roast kumara, hummus, tofu, skinny cottage cheese or organic free-range eggs for protein. Afternoon tea: Organic almonds, a little dried fruit, and maybe some sort of cracker with an organic nut butter. Dinner: A couple of Mountain Bread wraps stuffed with vegetables, some sort of seasoning and cottage cheese or marinated tofu, or maybe falafel.
What do you do for fun?
I like to go see good music, whether it’s hip hop, hardcore or a good DJ. Huge fan of cinema. I love training, so working out with my friends is generally fun for me. And you know, just sitting around talking with my friends like anyone else, kicking ideas big and small back and forth.
What do you do for fitness?
I’m a competitive Muay Thai fighter, so I work out tonnes. When I’m competing I work out morning and afternoon, generally twice a day, six days a week. Morning alternates between mid-distance running, sprints, and conditioning in the form of Cross fit and strength work like Olympic lifting. In the evening it’s Thai boxing and boxing work, so sparring, hitting bags and pads, and clinching. When I’m not fighting I work out a little less, from five to eight times a week. I like to run half marathons, so I’ll do a couple of those a year as well. Anyone who thinks a non-animal-based diet makes you puny is ignorant.
What is the funniest thing someone has ever said to you about being Veg?
Ha-ha – too many to count! Um, “Why are you ordering vegetarian, you’re not fat,” springs to mind. “You’re the world’s biggest vegetarian,” is also a favourite; Ethan Bfm’s breakfast host said that to me once and it’s now a running joke.
Are there any challenges in being Veg?
Constantly explaining and defending your diet to people can be a bit tiring.
Do you have advice for others about to Go Veg?
Ignore all the ill-informed comments of friends and family and go see a good dietician and learn how to eat properly. Knowledge is power. Lots of people make the great decision to remove dead animals from their diet but just don’t have the knowledge about how to replace meat with other forms of protein and mineral providing foods, and then change back to a meat-based diet. That’s a real shame and can be prevented by a little knowledge.