Friday, August 20, 2010

Food! Food! Glorious Healthful, Food!

Makes me sound like a glutton, doesn't it? I swear I'm really not that bad! I just get so excited when I discover something new that connects with my veganism. In this case, a fabulous supermarket called The Big Carrot. No, it's not as phallic as the name might imply...perverts.

So what's so great about this place? Well imagine floors made out of organically grown, cruelty-free diamonds, windows made of the finest European glass and shelves made out of solid gold! Okay, that's not so much true...BUT it's almost that good. Like any supermarket you have your deli and meat section, dairy section, alternative dairy and meat section, dry foods, fruits and vegetables and other stuff (including but not limited to: cleaning supplies, toilet paper, personal hygiene products, etc.) But this place is even better! They have a macrobiotics* food section. Ever seen one of those? ... Me neither. But this place has it. Also, everything they sell (according to the Greenpeace Shopper's Guide to GMO-Free Foods, which The Big Carrot can take partial credit for assembly) is Genetically Modified Organism(GMO)-Free and they have one of the largest selections of organic foods I have ever seen. I will later be posting more about GMOs as I do more research into such an important topic (really, what's more important than something you put in your body every single day?). But moving on, if you're in Toronto, The Big Carrot located on Danforth Avenue is, one of many places, you need to see. Mere words cannot describe how wonderful this place is... did I mention there was an organic juice bar next to it? Or how about a fairly large area dedicated to personal hygiene products, homeopathic remedies and other natural remedies, make-up, shampoos, lotions, conditioners, natural deodorants, etc.? Or that there is also a hot food sit-down area? Plus if you're stumped about what the heck GMOs are or are curious about natural remedies, there's both a well-stocked (for a grocery store!) book section and a desk where you can go and ask an expert questions to your heart's content. I guess you'll know where I'll be chilling out now. Check out their website, The Big Carrot's mission statement pretty much covers what they're all about, but it's no substitute for visiting the real thing.

"The greatest strength of The Big Carrot is the accumulated knowledge and experience of its Members and Staff. Our broad based, co-operative approach to research into healthy, organic food production and the implementation of exacting standards within the store has evolved over 26 years of searching for nature’s finest. A vital element to our continued success is our commitment to education. We believe in sharing our knowledge and experience with our customers and providing them with the tools they need to make informed, healthy choices. To further these goals we direct your attention to our policies regarding these issues of concern; Genetically Engineered Organisms (please visit, Social Justice, Fair Trade, Sustainable Seafood and Animal Welfare. "

*Macrobiotics are defined as "...a practical approach to diet; it has philosophical richness; it is scientifically sound; it is socially responsible; it is humanly compassionate, environmentally sound. A diet centered around whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit benefits our personal health and the health of the environment. Planetary ecology begins in the kitchen."

From the Psychology of Health: In Pursuit of Wellness by Sean Egan
Professor at Ottawa University, Brown & Benchmark Publishers"

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Losing Faith in Humanity

Now I just watched the documentary film Food Inc. and I feel incredibly disheartened and pretty much helpless. I'm pretty sure the creators didn't intend on depressing me...or maybe they knew it would because that's the sad thing about being enlightened to the grim reality of the food business. I suggest that EVERYONE watches this film; it's extremely important because honestly, I can't see myself being able to walk down the streets of Toronto, ask a random bystander where their food comes from and get the sad but truthful answer. We just don't know. It's not our fault; the blame falls upon big business and the government as they keep us in the dark. I know the film is an American produced one but I suspect that it applies up north as well seeing as the FDA approves much of our food. Anyway, I can't really say because I don't know. So educate yourself, become more aware of where your food comes from and stay away from the things that don't make sense or don't seem right. Natural, real food makes sense. Awareness is the first step, after that maybe things won't feel so hopeless.

Sorry for the emo-ness of this entry but this very important film is a portrayal of a very grim reality that needs to change and in order to change, everyone needs to become aware of the problem.

Friday, August 13, 2010

What happens when you cross a vegan diet with an omnivore diet?

Long title much? Maybe, but it gets the point across. Partied with friends and then went on holiday with my family over the past few days (about a week actually)... and oh my goodness, holy stomach pains, erm... unpleasant smells and other gastrointestinal issues... if you know what I mean, and just overall feeling bloated, tired, sniffly and overall ick. Moral of the story? Never compromise your vegan diet for 10 seconds of flavour unless of course you don't care if you feel nasty for the rest of the night/day(s).

So now that I've gone back to eating much more normally which typically includes favourites like: tomatoes, lettuce and veggie meat on toast; baked sweet potatoes; veggie burger; tofu and veggie curry on brown rice; oatmeal; etc. Besides the fact that I really need to expand my menu, I'm so glad to be away from junk like chips and milk chocolate--which admittedly draws me like a moth to a flame but ultimately ends in my...well, not demise but it sure feels like it! The thing I really notice is the lack of sniffles at night after getting back to my normal vegan eating. I pledge to read all labels and stay away from anything that 'may contain milk products'. So dear readers (if there are any)... what has your body been telling you post-shoving-whatever-smells/looks-good into your mouth? Do you listen? If not, start; become mindful and listen carefully to what your body is responding to, both the good and the bad and then adjust accordingly. I remember in Weight Watchers we used to be told: Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels... obviously that's only a small part of it, but that's sort of the gist. Even in Alicia Silverstone's Kind Diet book promotes the idea that eating cruelty free is best because not only are you being kind to animals, you're also being kind to yourself. Your body says thank you.