Thanks to my sister for sending this to me. Check out this video by Bowerbirds for their song “Tuck the Darkness In”. Fish — as seen through the eyes of a child. Brilliant!
Thanks to my sister for sending this to me. Check out this video by Bowerbirds for their song “Tuck the Darkness In”. Fish — as seen through the eyes of a child. Brilliant!
On Saturday February 4th, I participated in the Toronto Vegetarian Association’s Totally Fabulous Vegan Bakeoff with my gluten-free chocolate zucchini loaf. Check out my recipe below!
The event took place at 918 Bathurst Street — a cool community centre with lots of space for events, classes and whatnot. The last time I was in the main theatre space, I was auditioning for Woody Harrelson for a comedy he wrote and directed last year at Hart House Theatre. 918 Bathurst, while being a great space for auditions, was a little small for the amount of people who came out for this year’s bake-off. The turnout was amazing! Apparently the line went all the way down Bathurst and almost hit Bloor St.
I entered the competition in the gluten-free chocolate category. I didn’t win, but I’m pretty sure I came in second. However, it wasn’t about winning or losing (says the loser), it was about the experience! So many vegans, vegetarians, and non-veggies came out to sample the many fabulous treats. Local celeb vegan chef Doug McNish judged best in show and even Canadian TV and radio gem George Strombolopolous made an appearance. Apparently, Strombo is trying out the vegan lifestyle and I have to say, he looks great!
Many thanks to my parents for helping me plate my chocolate zucchini loaf and for transporting the samples and display to the venue. Also, a shout-out to my sister Sasha Arfin for making an incredibly beautiful sign for my loaf! (See below for sign and recipe!)
Check out this mini highlight video by Richard Arfin!
Preheat oven to 350° F / 176° C
Lightly grease or oil two 8-inch loaf pans OR two 12-cup muffin tins
Place flour, guar gum, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Use a wire whisk to combine.
In a large bowl, place oil, sugars, egg replacer and vanilla and mix until fluffy. Stir in applesauce and shredded zucchini. Stir flour mixture into batter until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
Divide batter between prepared loaf or muffin pans and bake for 50 minutes for loaves or 25–30 minutes for muffins or until a toothpick inserted in the center of loaf or muffin comes out clean.
Allow to cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out.
Yields about 24 muffins or 8–10 slices per loaf
It’s funny, but every time I tell people that I’m vegan they almost always ask, “Where do you get your protein?!”
So, for all of you curious people out there, here’s the answer!
First of all, there is a myth that we all need way more protein than we actually do! Below, I’m going to share some of an article that PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) put together called The Protein Myth:
With the traditional Western diet, the average American consumes about double the protein her or his body needs. Additionally, the main sources of protein consumed tend to be animal products, which are also high in fat and saturated fat. Most individuals are surprised to learn that protein needs are actually much less than what they have been consuming. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein for the average, sedentary adult is only 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. To find out your average individual need, simply perform the following calculation:
Body weight (in pounds) x 0.36 = recommended protein intake
However, even this value has a large margin of safety, and the body’s true need is even lower for most people. Protein needs are increased for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. In addition, needs are also higher for very active persons. As these groups require additional calories, increased protein needs can easily be met through larger intake of food consumed daily. Extra serving of legumes, tofu, meat substitutes, or other high protein sources can help meet needs that go beyond the current RDA.The Problems with High-Protein Diets
High-protein diets for weight loss, disease prevention, and enhanced athletic performance have been greatly publicized over recent years. However, these diets are supported by little scientific research. Studies show that the healthiest diet is one that is high in carbohydrate, low in fat, and moderate in protein. Increased intake of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables is recommended for weight control and preventing diseases such as cancer and heart disease. High-carbohydrate, low-fat, moderate-protein diets are also recommended for optimal athletic performance. Contrary to the information on fad diets currently promoted by some popular books, a diet that is high in protein can actually contribute to disease and other health problems.
- Osteoporosis. High protein intake is known to encourage urinary calcium losses and has been shown to increase risk of fracture in research studies. Plant-based diets, which provide adequate protein, can help protect against osteoporosis. Calcium-rich plant foods include leafy green vegetables, beans, and some nuts and seeds, as well as fortified fruit juices, cereals, and non-dairy milks.
- Cancer. Although fat is the dietary substance most often singled out for increasing one’s risk for cancer, animal protein also plays a role. Specifically, certain proteins present in meat, fish, and poultry, cooked at high temperatures, especially grilling and frying, have been found to produce compounds called heterocyclic amines. These substances have been linked to various cancers including those of the colon and breast. Long-term high intake of meat, particularly red meat, is associated with significantly increased risk of colorectal cancer. The 1997 report of the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research, Food, Nutrition, and the Prevention of Cancer reported that, based on available evidence, diets high in red meat were considered probable contributors to colorectal cancer risk. In addition, high-protein diets are typically low in dietary fiber. Fiber appears to be protective against cancer. A diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables is important in decreasing cancer risk, not to mention adding more healthful sources of protein in the diet.
- Impaired Kidney Function. When people eat too much protein, it releases nitrogen into the blood or is digested and metabolized. This places a strain on the kidneys, which must expel the waste through the urine. High-protein diets are associated with reduced kidney function. Over time, individuals who consume very large amounts of protein, particularly animal protein, risk permanent loss of kidney function. Harvard researchers reported recently that high-protein diets were associated with a significant decline in kidney function, based on observations in 1,624 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study. The good news is that the damage was found only in those who already had reduced kidney function at the study’s outset. The bad news is that as many as one in four adults in the United States may already have reduced kidney function, suggesting that most people who have renal problems are unaware of that fact and do not realize that high-protein diets may put them at risk for further deterioration. The kidney-damaging effect was seen only with animal protein. Plant protein had no harmful effect.
The American Academy of Family Physicians notes that high animal protein intake is largely responsible for the high prevalence of kidney stones in the United States and other developed countries and recommends protein restriction for the prevention of recurrent kidney stones.
- Heart Disease. Typical high-protein diets are extremely high in dietary cholesterol and saturated fat. The effect of such diets on blood cholesterol levels is a matter of ongoing research. However, such diets pose additional risks to the heart, including increased risk for heart problems immediately following a meal. Evidence indicates that meals high in saturated fat adversely affect the compliance of arteries, increasing the risk of heart attacks. Adequate protein can be consumed through a variety of plant products that are cholesterol-free and contain only small amounts of fat.
- Weight Loss Sabotage. Many individuals see almost immediate weight loss as a result of following a high-protein diet. In fact, the weight loss is not a result of consuming more protein, but by simply consuming fewer calories. Over the long run, consumption of this type of diet is not practical as it can result in the aforementioned health problems. As with any temporary diet, weight gain is often seen when previous eating habits are resumed. To achieve permanent weight loss while promoting optimal health, the best strategy involves lifestyle changes including a low-fat diet of grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables combined with regular physical activity.
So what are good vegan sources of protein?Protein Checklist
High-protein diets are unhealthy. However, adequate but not excess amounts of protein to maintain body tissues, including muscle, are still important and can be easily achieved on a vegetarian diet. If you are uncertain about the adequacy of protein in your diet, take inventory. Although all protein needs are individual, the following guidelines can help you to meet, but not exceed, your needs.
Healthy Protein Sources(in grams)
*A vegetarian product made from wheat gluten; protein value from manufacturer’s informationSource: J.A.T. Pennington, Bowes and Church’s Food Values of Portions Commonly Used, 17th ed. (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1998). (Source: PCRM’s The Protein Myth)
Believe it or not, there are are lots of athletes and even body builders who have gone vegan and feel it’s better for their sport and muscle gain. A lot of them claim to have increased energy as a result of adopting a plant based diet.
Professional body builder and proud vegan Robert Cheeke works out on muscle beach:
You can check out more info on him and other vegan bodybuilders at veganbodybuilding.com.
Above: Brendan Brazier
Above: Georges Laraque
The idea that vegans aren’t getting enough protein is slightly ridiculous as protein deficiency is a non-issue in North America. Here at oy vegan we call BS on the meat and dairy industry for putting this bogus myth about protein into our minds. A plant based diet can deliver not only an adequate amount of protein for a well balanced diet but a better, healthier source of protein without all the crappy saturated fat and cholesterol that meat and dairy products contain.
So here’s to Tofu, beans, spinach, grains and nuts! Not only are they tasty, they’re also great natural sources of protein for one and all.
This past Tuesday evening, a group of people met at Sadie’s Diner for a delicious dinner and some lively discussion. We talked about our veggie journeys, that is, our reasons for becoming vegan/vegetarian which lead to plenty of lively debate and discussion. We discussed health, the environment and animal welfare issues.We were even visited by Rabbi Aaron Levy of Toronto’s Makom.
On the subway on Wednesday morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the front cover of 24H newspaper featured Megan Park of The Secret Life of the American Teenager unveiling a new Peta anti-fur ad at Yonge and Dundas.
So timely considering our discussion Tuesday!
If you are interested in finding out more about veJEWtarian, join our Facebook group or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
It was a great evening and I look forward to more!
In Canada, we already celebrated our Thanksgiving in October. However, I want to take this opportunity to wish all my southern neighbours a Happy Thanksgiving… or should I say Thanksliving.
While Americans gather together with family and friends on this day of thanks and bounteous food, I think it’s important to consider just where this food came from. The first thing people associate with Thanksgiving is, in most cases, Turkey. In fact, you’ve probably heard or even said “Happy Turkey Day!” yourself at some point.
Turkeys, in my experience, are extremely friendly and intelligent birds. I happened to meet some on my visit to Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary last year. They came right up to me with warm greetings when I arrived. I was bowled over by how friendly and sociable they were. Not just with each other but with people!
After our visit, I was touched by my experience with the turkeys and disturbed that the the word turkey is almost synonymous with food on Thanksgiving. If only people knew more about turkeys then they might not be so quick to eat them on Thanksgiving.
Thankfully, every year Farm Sanctuary celebrates a turkey-free Thanksgiving feast and encourages people to Adopt-A-Turkey. Through this program people can save a turkey by sponsoring it with a one time donation of $30. Farm Sanctuary has rescued over 1,000 turkeys since 1996. This program also seeks to educate people on the situation facing turkeys today such as factory farming conditions and facts about turkeys as a species.
AWESOME TURKEY FACTS!
National shelter director of Farm Sanctuary, Susie Coston, shares her top 10 facts about turkeys:
Susie Coston’s Top 10 Fascinating Facts about Farm Sanctuary’s Rescued Turkeys
(Taken from Farm Sanctuary’s November 23, 2010 press release.)
For earth and animal-friendly turkey substitutes for your Thanksgiving table click here!
When I went to visit Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary this past October, I was saddened to find out that the turkeys that had wholeheartedly greeted me in 2010 had passed. Turkeys are bred to have large breasts as this is the part of them that is in highest demand for non-veggies. As a result, turkeys that are lucky enough to live out their lives end up having heart problems among other issues. I was told that something called the “flip” happens. The “flip” is when their breasts become too large and they flip over on to them and die. When I heard this was the fate of my beautiful friends, I was truly upset. I had really looked forward to seeing them again.
So on this day of thanks, let’s take a second and be thankful for all the creatures on this planet. Let’s instead eat some Tofurky with mushroom gravy while we honour all those we are grateful for.
Here’s to the turkeys! What an amazing bird. If you get a chance to interact or hang out with one, I would highly recommend it. Happy Thanksliving!
Here at Oy Vegan we are taking a moment to remember all those who have lost their lives and those who have survived the horrors of war.
Today, I can’t help but think about my Grandfather who fought in the battle of Britain and my great uncle Dave who liberated his fellow Jewish people from the walls of farmhouses in Holland. I can’t imagine what these young 18 year-old boys must have thought when they were liberating the camps in Europe. I think about my family who perished in the Holocaust and those who survived and were freed by the Allies.
I also can’t help but think about the wars going on right now all over Africa. In the Democratic Republic of Congo alone, war has claimed an estimated 3 million lives.
Today is a solemn day and an important one. It’s a time when I think about the past, the present and the future. I think about the bravery and heroism demonstrated by so many and I’m so thankful for their efforts.
I also think about the state of the world today. How can we stop this violence and persecution once and for all? It’s a very difficult question and it’s one that I hope we can find an answer to in our lifetime.
So here it is! Oy Vegan’s first post! This is very exciting for all of us here at oyvegan.com. This is a blog for vegans and vegetarians everywhere. Look out for recipes, restaurant reviews, mensch of the month spotlights, interviews, tikkun olam projects, and more.
Why am I embarking on this journey of blogdom? I should first say that I am a lifelong vegetarian — I was raised veg — so I’ve never eaten meat or fish/seafood in my life. People ask me if I miss meat or if I was ever curious growing up. It’s a valid question, I suppose, if you eat meat. The thing is, I never looked at it that way. I never cared to try meat because, in short, I knew what meat was.
If you think about it most kids love animals. All of our favourite cartoons growing up featured talking animals. If kids actually knew that those animals were going to be stuffed full of hormones, fed their own meat and blood in many cases, and shoved into tiny cages where they would live in torture, amid feces and disease until the day they were slaughtered for human consumption, I’m sure they would run screaming from their plates. Simply put, I wasn’t lied to. From day one I knew that meat equalled animals and that I loved animals. I was completely happy with my lifestyle and, surprisingly, most kids didn’t really care or say anything about it. The people who gave me the most crap about it were their parents! People didn’t know what to feed me when I came over to play. I was a served a whole lot of peanut butter sandwiches in my day. Oy!
Over the past month I have become vegan. I’ve made the switch for a number of reasons: health, the environment, and treatment of animals. I hope to explore all of these in upcoming posts. Luckily, I have a boyfriend who, in the beginning, was even more gung-ho about making the transition to veganism than I was. Together we have embarked on a journey towards a happier, healthier, and more peaceful life. I have to say… I feel great! I’m not bloated anymore (cheese made me bloated) and I have a lot more energy!
This blog is about making the world a better place one oy vegan at a time. We’re all connected. Every living being on this planet. If we think that we can systematically torture and kill millions of animals and it won’t have an impact on the environment and the health of those consuming the product, we are sadly mistaken.
In these days of awe, between Rosh Hashonah and Yom Kippor — we can look at our life and our world and see it as a whole. We need to start looking at the bigger picture and guess what?! That bigger picture is NOT money. It’s our health, our happiness, and our earth.
So let’s keep it real and keep it veg! Oy Vegan!
We would love to hear your feedback, so please e-mail me with any questions you might have at email@example.com.
(please note this entry was written the week of Oct 3rd 2011)
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