Tag Archives: Food

Moving Towards a Vegan Option in Canada

By Carolyn Harris

Hello everyone!

I wanted to give you all a quick update. You may remember two of my previous blog posts, letting you know about a petition calling on the Canadian government “to require public canteens under federal jurisdiction to provide a vegan option, and to raise this issue and work with provincial and territorial counterparts to require the same at all levels of government.” In practice, this means that a vegan option would be required to be served in all public schools, hospitals, prisons, and other public institutions. This is an important step that our country can take towards animal rights and vegan rights. A similar law is already in place in Portugal.

I didn’t start the petition, but I signed it and mentioned it on my blogs because this issue matters a lot to me.

In total, the petition received 3106 signatures from the public, and it was presented to the House of Commons on February 7, 2018. The government’s response was disappointing—basically, they implied that they don’t plan on taking action on this issue.

Fortunately, however, the dedicated vegan advocates who are working on this issue are not giving up! A new organization, Vegan Option Canada, has been founded to advocate for this new law. Vegan Option Canada is currently running two versions of their petition: an official paper petition and an unofficial, supplementary online petition. You can sign both, as the signatures for each petition are counted separately. You can access the online petition directly by clicking here. Check out Vegan Option Canada’s website to learn more about this issue and to find a paper petition near you. Alternatively, you can order sheets of the paper petition so that you can collect signatures yourself!

I feel quite confident that this initiative can succeed. Let’s work together and make it happen!

A Guide for Local Restaurants to Offer Vegan Foods

Did you know that the NCVA has its own e-book developed to help restaurant owners offer vegan items on their menus? The e-book, written by the NCVA’s past president Pamela Tourigny, is called “Beyond Veggies: A Guide for Introducing Plant-Based Meals at Your Food Establishment”.

Restaurant owners looking to serve vegan foods at their restaurants can download the guide for FREE from our website (see below). Additionally, individuals hoping to encourage more of their local eateries to serve vegan food can print off the guide and present it to their local restaurant owners. Basically, anyone who wants the guide can have it, free of charge!

Beyond Veggies Cover

It would be great to know who is downloading the guide and why, so we ask that interested people answer a few quick questions using the form below before getting access to the download links. Thanks!

Note: If you are interested in volunteering with the NCVA to help us reach out to restaurants and discuss the guide with restaurant owners, feel free to contact us for more information!

Petition to the Government of Canada Regarding Food Policy

Recently I found out about a new petition that was posted on the Parliament of Canada’s E-petitions website. The petition, which is being sponsored by Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, is calling for all public canteens under federal jurisdiction to serve a vegan option (and for the federal government to work with the provinces and territories to implement this law at their levels, as well).

The main part of the petition reads, “We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to require public canteens under federal jurisdiction to provide a vegan option, and to raise this issue and work with provincial and territorial counterparts to require the same at all levels of government.”

Judging by the way that the petition is worded, it sounds like, if the petition becomes law, this could lead to hospitals, schools, universities, colleges, prisons, and other public institutions to be required to serve a vegan option. This would be a win for people who live a vegan lifestyle, for, as a matter of human rights, it is essential that vegans have access to vegan food.

Furthermore, this would help encourage more people to eat a vegan diet, and it could help to indirectly raise awareness about veganism and to help people realize what vegan food actually is.

In March 2017, Portugal passed a law requiring all public canteens (at hospitals, schools, prisons, etc.) to serve a vegan option. Canada needs a law like this, too!

Canadian citizens are able to sign the petition and read more about it here. The petition is open until November 29, 2017, at 2:32 p.m. EDT.

Front-of-Package Nutrition Labelling: Stakeholder Meeting

The Canadian government is developing new regulations that would require front-of-package labelling for foods high in sugar, saturated fat, and sodium.

This image, from the consultation document (by the Food Directorate) found on the Government of Canada’s website, is titled “Figure 1: Examples of FOP “high in” symbol under consideration by Health Canada“.

Canada Front-of-Package Labelling

 

Front-of-package labelling is an issue that may be of interest to many health-concerned people. It is specifically relevant to vegans because most of the foods that are high in saturated fats are animal-derived; however, foods that are high in sugars may or may not be vegan, so more research would need to be done to determine if these new labelling requirements would actually benefit animals.

The consultation is now closed, but if this is a topic that interests you, you might want to check out the live-streaming of an upcoming meeting with stakeholders on the subject. You can get your free tickets on Eventbrite.

Have a nice day!

The NCVA’s Vegan Potluck for August!

Please join the National Capital Vegetarian Association at our next vegan potluck on August 12, 2017! The potluck runs from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Just like the last couple of times, the potluck will be held at the new location— the party room at 101 Richmond Rd in Ottawa. Please note that the room capacity is 30 people. It costs $2 for NCVA members, $3 for non-members, and $1 for children to attend. All are welcome!

Please bring a vegan dish (that is, containing no meat, eggs, dairy/cheese, honey, or any other animal product) that serves 5 people, along with a serving utensil and a list of the ingredients in your dish. And don’t forget to bring your own plate, cutlery, and beverage!

Hope you can make it!

You can find Facebook event page by clicking here.

 

Next NCVA Potluck on June 24th, 2017

Please join the National Capital Vegetarian Association at our next vegan potluck on June 24, 2017! The potluck runs from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Just like last time, the potluck will be held at the new location— the party room at 101 Richmond Rd in Ottawa. Please note that the room capacity is 30 people. It costs $2 for NCVA members, $3 for non-members, and $1 for children to attend. All are welcome!

Please bring a vegan dish (that is, containing no meat, eggs, dairy/cheese, honey, or any other animal product) that serves 5 people, along with a serving utensil and a list of the ingredients in your dish. And don’t forget to bring your own plate, cutlery, and beverage!

Hope you can make it!

You can find Facebook event page by clicking here.

 

Interview with Jo from Little Jo Berry’s!

By Carolyn Harris
This post is the first in a series of interviews with owners of local vegan businesses. To receive updates every time there is a new blog post, you can follow the NCVA blog by entering your e-mail in the sidebar to the right.
Jo is the owner of Little Jo Berry’s, a vegan café that serves treats, lunches, and coffee on Wellington St. West in Ottawa. When she was 17, she made the switch to a vegan lifestyle. Trained in specialty baking and having had experience working at Auntie Loo’s Treats, she opened Little Jo Berry’s in 2016. Here’s what she had to say about her experience being a vegan business owner…
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1) When and why did you decide to go vegan?

When I was 17 I was living with my mother, and one day she came home and decided she wanted to start living a vegan lifestyle. In solidarity, I joined her. For the first year it was a lot of learning and experimenting. But once I became fully vegan there was no going back, I was so excited about it. The amount of new things to try with different ingredients, playing around in the kitchen, keeping animals safe and happy.

2) Have you always enjoyed baking? When did you decide you wanted to start your café?

In high school I actually hated foods class. I was explicit that all I wanted to do was sweep the floors and choose the music. But at home my dad was quite a chef, most of our bonding time was spent in the kitchen. I think it slowly and unintentionally made being in the kitchen very comfortable and familiar for me. However, I never imagined it as a career. Not until I got a part time baking gig at Auntie Loo’s. That was where I really started to grow as a baker. I started to dream of having a bakery in a sleepy little town by the sea one day. Sadly, Loo’s closed and that prompted me to put my goals and dream into motion. Slowly things began to unfold.

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3) What do you enjoy most about running Little Jo Berry’s?

There are two things I enjoy absolutely the most:

1) my customers. Best people in the world. So many good, kind people support us and fuel us on a daily basis.

2) the few hours I take to myself in the kitchen every morning. Having time alone to create and try new recipes. Being able to practice what I am passionate about brings me so much joy.

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4) What have you learned from your experiences with your bakery so far?

The most important thing I have learned is to be nice, always and to everyone. Especially when it is hard. Making the right decision and being respectful every time. We have so much luck and good things come our way at the shop and I like to think it has everything to do with our outlook and how we treat others.

little-jo-berrys

5) What advice would you give to someone who wants to turn their passion for vegan food into a career?

Get ready to work very hard. To feel exhausted and burnt out and run down. Get ready for all the feelings and pressures and to be overwhelmed. Know that that will come for you and to be prepared. Surround yourself with loved ones and treats and puppies. Take the appropriate steps to find support and self care. Taking time for yourself will make you so much stronger and ready for the next steps.

6) What are your plans for the future?

Our plans are simple, to continue to grow and nourish our ties with our community. To give back all the love we have received. Whether that be with new treats or different events, we want to create a home for our patrons.

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Please join me in wishing Jo all the best for 2017!

Carolyn

NCVA Cupcake Challenge – Meet Our Judges – Part 1 – Auntie Loo

Hey everyone,

We’ve had such an AMAZING response to the Cupcake Challenge and we’re really looking forward to seeing and of course TASTING all your creations!

For those of you that haven’t signed up for a chance to have your cupcake named Ottawa’s best vegan cupcake, please click here

We kick off the Meet Our Judges series with none other than Ottawa’s own queen of vegan cupcakes….Auntie Loo!

Auntie Loo’s is a small vegan bakery here in Ottawa. Ms. Loo learned to cook at the knees of her family members, and the majority of what she produces are these very recipes- veganized! Auntie Loo firmly believes that if you want a dessert, it had better taste like one. Auntie Loo’s uses organic products whenever possible, and works with and purchases from small local businesses.

Most people want to know the story, so here it is: Put up to having a vegan treat table at the 2004 Ladyfest Ottawa Craft Sale by her sweet-toothed roommates, Ms. Loo had never even considered baking as a career. Overwhelmed by the response, Auntie Loo’s was born.

Nowadays, Auntie Loo’s Treats can be found in several locations around Ottawa, including her storefront at 507 Bronson Avenue.

Pub night was truly revived!

 

NCVA folks sharing a drink at the Clock Tower Brew Pub
A social event, par excellence

The numbers said it all. If anyone was skeptical before about a bunch of vegetarians invading a local pub and bonding over beer, they no longer are now! We had a good crowd at the Clock Tower Brew Pub in the Glebe last Thursday evening. For those who came with an appetite, the menu options were modest, but delicious. A veggie burger (hold the cheese, please!) and a tofu green bean stir-fry were the options on the menu for our clan, and they received wide acclaim. Many a veghead enjoyed a locally brewed beer and even a seat around the table, as the space was quite cozy. It was a laid back and chatty sort of evening with lots of laughs and interesting conversations. It would be daft to not have another similar get-together in February. So don’t fret if you missed it and stay posted for info for the next event!

(What I loved most about the night was that everyone seemed to just gel immediately. Maybe it’s a veg thing.)

Being veg over the holidays

Just say No!Politely declining a slice of Auntie Bertha’s fruitcake over the holiday season is to be expected. But how do you “politely” justify turning down your mother-in-law’s pot roast or her home-made butter cookies?

Let’s be honest, it’s all about food for the holidays. It’s that time of year more than any that you find being veg is not so easy. And I’m not talking about cravings for the unsavoury foodstuffs. I am addressing the bewildered faces and sighs of incomprehension when you make clear that you will not be eating any animals or animal products for the season (much in line with your eating habits every other day of the year). Some people believe that just because it is the holidays, you should try to at least fit in and relax your anti-social eating tendencies just to make others happy. The question is, do we relax any of our other ethics during the holiday season? Why should you consume animal products only to appease a group of people whom–though you probably love–don’t understand you fully? You need not be a militant activist vegan to just say no to the bombardment of animal food options. We’re all pressured either by others or our own traditional upbringing or tastes to indulge on something we normally wouldn’t, but perhaps from experience you’ll learn that you don’t ever feel better after doing it. The problem is how to not come across as the weird one who has joined some hippie cult and is only at the party to make others feel bad about themselves. So what do you do?

My advice? Just say no, thank you. Be polite, but firm when you are presented with food you don’t eat. If you were allergic, it might be easier to say no, but as it stands, allergies generally are treated with more respect and understanding than not eating certain food items for the sake of veganism. I can’t recommend whether or not you should elaborate on your reasons behind saying no. You may be prompted or questioned in some way which gives you no choice, but nothing is stopping you from putting a smile on your face and saying, “Let’s just leave it there. I’m happy that I am able to eat what I want without feeling scrutinised by others”. People need to learn to let you live your life without feeling threatened. If you are comfortable enough going to a holiday dinner where they serve meat and where many people will be eating it in front of you, then you should be confident that others should also feel comfortable with you declining those options at the dinner table.

For those of you who are surrounded by vegans and vegetarians for the holidays, count yourselves among the lucky few. But if you’re like me and find it hard to resist the disapproval of your family and friends during this time of the year just because you won’t eat their food, keep in mind that you’re not alone. Stick to your morals, avoid confrontation and debate, and remind your family/friends that in the spirit of the season, you are thankful that you can be together, sharing this moment, and respecting everyone’s personal wishes wholly.

Happy Holidays!

saladinasteakhouse.wordpress.com (for more posts by joe vegan)