Tag Archives: vegan

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!

Update on Petition Calling on Canadian Government to Provide A Vegan Option at Public Canteens

By Carolyn Harris

Recently I received an e-mail from the House of Commons Electronic Petitions website notifying me that on February 7th, 2018, petition e-1205 was presented in the House of Commons. The e-mail goes on to say, “You will be notified once a government response has been tabled.”

This is a petition that I mentioned on this blog previously—it was calling on the federal 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.” You can see the full text of the petition here, although it is no longer open to signatures.

On the House of Commons website, it is mentioned that this topic was brought up as well, but it doesn’t say if or how anyone responded to it. You can see what I am talking about here.

I am looking forward to seeing how the government responds. I will post on this blog again to let you know how they responded once I receive further information on the subject!

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!

This week, enter to win a copy of The Rawsome Vegan Cookbook by Emily von Euw!

In celebration of World Vegan Month this November, the NCVA is giving away one copy of The Rawsome Vegan Cookbook by Emily von Euw.

The Rawsome Vegan Cookbook

Here is the description of the cookbook:

Be Happy and Healthy with Scrumptious, Wholesome Plant-Based Meals

Emily von Euw is back and better than ever, this time with mouthwatering raw and lightly-cooked savory recipes to delight any palate, whether you’re vegetarian, a raw vegan or just looking for something healthy, interesting and delicious to add to your dining. The wide selection of stunning main dishes are easy to make and so tasty, you’ll be celebrating veggies instead of missing meat and dairy.

With her spectacular photography and witty banter, Emily envelops all of your senses with this collection of over 80 enticing recipes, each paired with a beautiful photo. Choose the raw chapter for light, hydrating and colorful meals including Rawsome Pizza, Epic Portobello Yam Burgers and Zucchini Noodle Lasagna. Or choose the lightly-cooked chapter for hearty, nourishing and grounding dishes like Mac + Cheeze, Freedom Falafel and Pumpkin Soup. Emily’s comforting, creative and phenomenal eats will wow your taste buds, and make you feel energized and nourished from the inside out.

The giveaway is open to anyone who lives in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, and it will be open until the end of the day on Saturday, November 26, 2017. To enter for a chance to win the cookbook, please head on over to the Rafflecopter page.

However, comments can be made below this blog post; thanks!

“Eating You Alive” Documentary Screening and Q&A on November 21, 2017

On November 21, 2017 from 6-10pm at St. Paul’s University, the NCVA will be hosting a screening of Eating You Alive, a documentary about the link between chronic disease and nutrition, and how a plant-based diet can help to prevent and reverse certain chronic diseases. The event will include a talk and a Q&A with Dr. Jennifer Purdy, MD, and Susan Macfarlane, RD.

Tickets are $5 each and can be bought through the Eventbrite Page.

Here is the schedule for the evening, as I found it on the Eventbrite Page:

Featuring leading medical experts and researchers, Eating You Alive takes a scientific look at the reasons we’re so sick, who’s responsible for feeding us the wrong information and how we can use whole-food, plant-based nutrition to take control of our health—one bite at a time. Trailer: https://goo.gl/8JLL7B

6pm – Dr. Jennifer Purdy GP and Susan Macfarlane RD will open the evening with a short talk. Dr Purdy will speak to the link between chronic pain and diet.

Dr. Purdy is a family medicine doctor in Ottawa. She has a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell, and she is a member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.

Susan Macfarlane is a Registered Dietitian who specializes in plant-based nutrition, eating disorders, weight management, and sports nutrition.

6:30pm – Screening of EATING YOU ALIVE (1hr 50mins).

8:30pm – Q&A / Dr Purdy and Susan will address concerns and questions until 10pm

Please bring your own bottled water. The Green Door is across the street, on Main St, if you’d like to eat before arriving. It offers plenty of vegan options.

November 1st is World Vegan Day!

By Carolyn Harris

(A similar version of this post was originally posted
on Carolyn’s vegan advocacy blog.)

World Vegan Day takes place every year on November 1st, and the entire month of November is World Vegan Month.

The annual celebration started in 1994 on the 50-year anniversary of the first meeting of the Vegan Society in the UK, which took place some time in early November 1944.

According to the Vegan Society’s website, “In a natural progression, World Vegan Day evolved into World Vegan Week and now, what we celebrate as World Vegan Month, where vegans and veganism is celebrated in workplaces, shops, restaurants and in homes all over the world.”

In November 2017, to commemorate World Vegan Month, the Vegan Society will be releasing a new app called VNutrition, which helps people achieve their nutrition goals on a vegan diet. They also will be launching a new campaign called “Vegans on the Go”, which will aim to get more retailers to serve on-to-go vegan lunches, and it sounds like they will be doing some other exciting things during the month, as well. You can check out the World Vegan Month webpage here; here is their Facebook Page.

Of course, every day is a good day to advocate for a vegan lifestyle, but this special day is an especially useful opportunity to raise awareness about the “why’s” and “how’s” of going vegan, as well as to celebrate the lifestyle and those who follow it!

Here are some ideas of ways we can make a difference on World Vegan Day and throughout the month of November:

  1. Obviously, if you aren’t already vegan, please go vegan. You can take The Vegan Society’s 30-day Vegan Pledge to help you go vegan as quickly as possible!
  2. Share the Vegan Pledge with your friends and family, on your blog, and/or on social media.
  3. On November 1st, why not wish the people in your life a happy World Vegan Day? It may help spark conversations that could lead them to consider going vegan.
  4. On social media and/or your blog, share something related to veganism and/or World Vegan Day. For example, you could share your own story of why you went vegan; a picture of a vegan meal you made; a link to the Vegan Society’s website; a vegan recipe; or even just a quick post saying “Happy World Vegan Day!”
  5. Host a vegan meal or potluck for family, friends, your workplace, and/or your local community. If it’s a potluck and not everyone attending is already vegan, make sure that everyone knows to avoid using any animal-derived ingredients in the food they bring; it can be helpful to ask people to bring an ingredients list.
  6. Perhaps you could go leafleting, and wish passersby a happy World Vegan Day!
  7. You could even help organize a talk from a vegan speaker or a vegan-related movie screening.
  8. Bring vegan food to work or school, and share it with your peers.  You could just casually share it with them, or you could set up a table in a busy place where people can take the free vegan food and literature on veganism.
  9. Try to get World Vegan Day or World Vegan Month recognized by your school or workplace. They could introduce a vegan menu in the cafeteria starting in November, for example (if there isn’t enough time for them to plan out a complete vegan menu in time for World Vegan Day, they can still start working on it by November).
  10. If you’re a writer, write a letter to the editor, Op-Ed, or vegan recipe and submit it to a newspaper or magazine.

Have a great World Vegan Day and Month!

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.

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.

 

Join us at our screening of “What the Health” on May 24, 2017!

On May 24, 2017, the NCVA (in partnership with Strawberry Blonde Bakery) will be screening the documentary What the Health!

You may have heard about this documentary before– it’s by the creators of the well-known documentary Cowspiracy. What the Health is about “the collusion and corruption in government and big business that is costing us trillions of healthcare dollars, and keeping us sick”, according to the documentary’s website.

After the documentary screening, there will be a panel discussing the issue further.

For more information on the event and to get your tickets (admission by donation), please see the Eventbrite Page. Additionally, you may wish to share the event through the event page on Facebook.

Interview with Kyle den Bak from PlantKind!

By Carolyn Harris

Kyle den Bak is a vegan athlete, personal trainer, and vegan nutritional consultant based in Ottawa. And what an inspiring athlete he is! Kyle has run over 5000 kilometres in a single year, has run the Boston Marathon on several occasions, has run marathons in less than 3 hours, and has achieved highly in ultra-endurance competitions.kyle-plantkind

Along with his personal athletic accomplishments, Kyle and his wife, Jane Kearnan den Bak, are the owners of PlantKind, a business through which Kyle offers personal training and nutrition coaching to his clients. Jane is creative director of PlantKind.the-plantkind-life

In this interview, Kyle explains how being vegan has helped him with his running, and he gives advice for athletes who are thinking about going vegan.

CH: How long have you been vegan? Why did you decide to make the switch?

Kyle den Bak: I have been vegan for 13.5 years. I decided to become vegan in my third year of university.

I read Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation in one of my first-year courses. Until then, I had not given much thought to the animals we use for food, clothing, research and entertainment.

Singer introduced me to “speciesism”. This is the unjustified belief that humans have more value than other species simply because we are more intelligent.

It took me until third-year university to take the leap. One night with my roommates I watched the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The movie alludes frequently to the slaughter of food animals.

It’s an awful film. Leatherface treats his victims like cattle. To see human victims being treated the same way we treat other sentient beings had a strong effect on me. I went vegan the same day, and never looked back.vegan-pizza-pkl

CH: How has your vegan diet helped you with your running?

Kyle: It took me two years after reading Singer to go vegan. At the time, I was into heavy weight training. I thought I would lose all my size and strength giving up meat and whey protein.

I finally did it because I thought it was the right thing. I was prepared to sacrifice. But the real beauty of doing the right thing is that it’s not a sacrifice at all. It’s a joy.

And you know what? My health and fitness has benefited from all the amazing plant foods. My training and recovery have improved, not declined!

I am now a long distance runner and ultra-athlete who runs up to 5000 kilometers a year. I am competitive in my age group.  There is no way I could have done this on a meat-centered diet!

Everyone I know gets injured if they run as much as I do. Carbohydrate-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes give me endless energy. Nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich and anti-inflammatory vegetables, berries and spices keep me injury free and speed up recovery.

rice-pkl

CH: What is PlantKind, and why did you decide to start offering these services?

Kyle: PlantKind is built on our inclusive philosophy. My wife Jane and I know that the world is on the verge of change. The vegan diet is growing exponentially. We want to be a source of inspiration and knowledge to everyone from the full-time vegan to the Meatless Monday dabbler.

We see any embrace of a more plant-centered lifestyle as a fertile seed for watering. We want to meet you wherever you are, and help you every step of the way with no judgement. This is where we got the name Plant “Kind”. We strive for kindness in our advocacy.

Everything we offer is geared to making the lifestyle fun and sustainable in a supportive way.

Our site www.theplantkindlife.com and Instagram page  revolve around lifestyle, fitness and nutrition.

As a fitness professional for over a decade, it’s only natural for me to offer personal training, nutrition and lifestyle services. I’m humbled by the success of my training and nutrition services, PlantFIT and PlantFUELLED, have been so far.pkl-food

CH: What are your favourite foods to have before or after a workout?

Kyle: The best food for athletic performance is fruit. Particularly sweet fruits like bananas, dates and mangoes are great before a workout to provide carbohydrates to working muscles. They digest quickly, and won’t sit in your stomach.

After a workout, fruit provides anti-inflammatory effects, helps to fight free-radical damage to speed recovery. Sweet fruit tops up muscle glycogen, keeping your immune system strong and fueling you for tomorrow’s workout.

berries-from-pkl

CH: What advice would you give to a fellow runner/athlete who is thinking about going vegan?

Learn what your energy needs are and discover creative ways to meet the demand! Plant foods are not as calorically dense as animal foods. The working body needs lots of energy to fuel and recover. A typical male runner of my size will need 3000-4000 calories a day or more. That’s a lot of plants!

Don’t try to get by on salads!

Always base your meals on healthy starches like potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, whole grain pastas, legumes or oats. Fruit can also be an important caloric staple if eaten in large quantities. Athletes can’t afford to be modest with their portions on a vegan diet.food-from-plantkind

CH: What have you learned from your experiences with running a vegan business so far?

Kyle: First, be patient. PlantKind has been my side-hustle for over two years. It is just starting to pick up steam. You’ve got to just love what you do and keep nurturing it. As of April, PlantKind is going to be my full-time job! I’ll be doing what I love every single day.

Secondly, we are on the verge of a vegan revolution. When I went vegan 13.5 years ago, it was extremely rare. Everyone and their mother knows that a sustainable and compassionate future is plant-based.

Every single one of these people needs help and guidance. We need thought leaders, role models and experts in the local community. If you are thinking of running a vegan business, you can help give the revolution momentum. You can make a living while living your truth!

kyles-chickpeas

CH: What are your plans for the future?

Kyle: If you asked me a year ago, I’d tell you to make PlantKind a viable business. My belief in PlantKind is growing. I think it can be something even bigger.

I’d like to reach a wider audience. This would likely mean building a YouTube channel as well as offering more seminars and workshops to the wider public and publishing books. As one of the few experts in the field of vegan fitness, I want to have the biggest impact I can.

It’s those “aha” moments that people get when I talk to them that keeps me going. It’s like, I know I’ve planted a seed and it’s off to a good start. I just want to plant more of those seeds. Veganism is almost at its tipping point; we all just need to keep working and reaching more people.kyles-pancakes

All photos are courtesy of PlantKind. Best of luck as you turn PlantKind into your full-time business, Kyle!