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Is Your Meat Really Kosher???

Last fall, I did a work­shop at the Wol­fond Cen­tre Hil­lel at the Uni­ver­sity of Toronto. My objec­tive was to get stu­dents to think about where their food comes from. There were a few veg­e­tar­i­ans in the room, but it was pri­mar­ily filled with meat eaters. When I talked about the hor­ri­ble abuses and tor­tur­ous con­di­tions of fac­tory farms, I was met with a lot of this,

Well, that’s really bad, but, I’m kosher so… the ani­mals have been killed humanely.”

If you are kosher and you think the meat on your plate has been eth­i­cally raised/ treated/ killed, think again.

Click here for more information.

You can also check out this video that my friends over at The Shamayim V’Aretz Insti­tute put together.

Also, one of my favourite authors, Jonathan Safran Foer nar­rated a doc­u­men­tary some years ago about the kosher meat indus­try. Watch the trailer below.

Peo­ple don’t like to know about or watch the suf­fer­ing of ani­mals because it’s uncom­fort­able and upset­ting. Yet, it is also the truth.

The real ques­tion is, once we open our eyes and real­ize what is tak­ing place, what are we going to do about it? Stand idly by or take action. Please con­sider shar­ing this and start­ing a dis­cus­sion with those around you.

Oy Vegan!

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10 Thousand Tastes 10 Billion Reasons

I had the plea­sure of attend­ing a totally vegan event a few week­ends ago. It was called 10,000 Tastes 10 Bil­lion Rea­sons and it took place in one of the busiest squares in down­town Toronto.

Scores of dif­fer­ent vegan food ven­dors lined Dun­das Square giv­ing away free sam­ples of their prod­ucts. Silk gave away choco­late almond milk, Daiya sam­pled their new cheese wedges, and local Toronto fire­fight­ers cooked up Gardein veg­gie burg­ers for throngs of Toron­to­ni­ans and tourists alike.

Rip Essel­styn and I

The fea­tured guest on the main stage was Rip Essel­styn, vegan celeb and son of Dr. Cald­well B. Essel­styn who con­ducted the ground­break­ing 20 year study that proves that a change in diet can cure heart dis­ease.  Rip spoke about his plant based nutri­tion pro­gram called “The Engine 2 Diet”. I  also found out from a lovely fire­fighter who was cook­ing up my veg­gie burger that Rip also spoke to the fire­fight­ers up at Downsview and suc­cess­fully got 75 of them to try a vegan diet.

Sadly, I arrived after Rip had fin­ished speak­ing but I did get to hear the vocal stylings of the tal­ented Jenn Grant as I filled my belly with vegan treats.

I espe­cially loved these signs that were fea­tured around the site!

We also bumped into a few veg­ans celebs along the way.

Us and Georges Laraque. 

This was an awe­some event for veg­ans, veg­e­tar­i­ans, and non-veggies alike. I love that it was in such a cen­tral loca­tion and that it got a great mes­sage out to all the inter­ested passersby.

Oy Vegan!

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HELP SAVE ENDANGERED BELUGAS!

Watch this one-minute video nar­rated by Pierce Brosnan

The Apache Alaska Cor­po­ra­tion is prepar­ing to launch a deaf­en­ing air­gun assault as it explores for oil and gas in Cook Inlet, Alaska—home to a strug­gling pop­u­la­tion of 284 endan­gered bel­uga whales. At close range, the intense noise from air­guns can cause injury, hear­ing loss and even death. Tell the Obama Admin­is­tra­tion to with­draw its approval for this dev­as­tat­ing onslaught before it pushes the last Cook Inlet bel­u­gas one tragic step closer to extinc­tion.
(Source National Resources Defence Coun­cil)

 

 

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Veganism and the Environment: By the Numbers

For all those who want to talk about the envi­ron­ment and their eco­log­i­cal foot­print, eat your heart out!

This is a strong case for veg­an­ism if you ask me.

Shout out to One Green Planet where I found this!

Oy Vegan!

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Happy Vegan Pizza Day!

The tra­di­tional: Organic crem­ini mush­rooms, red pep­pers, red onion, green olives, daiya ched­dar cheese, veg­gie pep­per­oni, and oregano on a thin crust brushed with gar­lic olive oil!

Sat­ur­day June 30th 2012 was Vegan Pizza Day! A day when veg­gies around the world cel­e­brated this won­der­ful lifestyle by eat­ing vegan pizza.  I made “the tra­di­tional” (pic­tured above).  Hope this inspires you to eat more vegan pizza! It has a lot less fat than cheese pizza and it’s 100% ani­mal friendly.

Happy eat­ing everyone!

Here’s an awe­some song from Aus­trail­ian come­dian and activist Vegan Smythe for Vegan Pizza Day. Very catchy, if you ask me.

oy vegan!

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Amazing Speech! Animals Should Be Off the Menu!

Philip Wollen, Aus­trail­ian phil­an­thropist and for­mer VP of Citibank in Aus­trailia makes a pas­sion­ate speech at the St. James Ethics Cen­tre and the Wheeler Cen­tre debate in Mel­bourne on May 16th, 2012. The topic: Ani­mals should be off the menu!!!

All I can say is..WOW.  I clapped, I called out and I shed a tear dur­ing this inspir­ing speech for ani­mal wel­fare. This is truly incred­i­ble. Take a look!

Here is a link to the full tran­script.

Oy Vegan!

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Sexy Summer Salads!!!

Sum­mer is com­ing and if you’re like me, you don’t want to eat really heavy lunches and din­ners. Here are some sexy sum­mer salad recipes that are nutri­tious, deli­cious, and per­fect as we greet the warm weather!

This Viet­namese Salad from chef Lan Cao from Viet Café in NYC is sim­ple and super tasty!

Chef Alan Roet­tinger, author of Speed Vegan, shows us how to make the per­fect Bal­samic Vinaigrette!

This Spicy Peanut Gin­ger Kale salad from Kathy Patalsky’s Healthy. Happy. Life blog is seri­ously out of this world! And her idea for sal­ads in a jar, pure genius!

 

Vegan Yum Yum has a num­ber of gor­geous look­ing salad recipes. Check out Lolo’s Potato Salad Two Ways and her BLT salad which uses smoky tem­peh strips and kale in a healthy, mouth water­ing vegan ver­sion of this classic.

 

As for me, I love a good salad. My secret ingre­di­ent to freshen up any salad? Cilantro!

Add some chopped cilantro to any salad to give it oomph. I’ve included a recipe below that I make all the time. The quinoa gives you a com­plete pro­tein, while the pump­kin seeds pro­vide you with iron which the bell pepper’s vit­a­min C helps you absorb.

Oy Vegan Sum­mer Salad

Ingre­di­ents:

• Let­tuce and baby spinach mixed

• One bell pep­per chopped

• 6 or 7 white but­ton mush­rooms chopped

• A few stalks of cel­ery chopped

• half of a cucum­ber sliced

• one avo­cado chopped

• a hand­ful of cilantro roughly chopped

• a half a cup of cooked quinoa

• Pump­kin seeds

Dress­ing: (Whisk the fol­low­ing ingre­di­ents together until combined)

  • 1–2 cloves gar­lic, minced
  • 1–2 table­spoons minced fresh gin­ger root
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 table­spoons Agave
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 table­spoons of fresh lime juice

 

Com­bine all the salad ingre­di­ents in a bowl, toss, and enjoy!

 

Oy Vegan!

 

 

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A falafel a day keeps the doctor away…

Eat­ing Vegan in Israel was not as chal­leng­ing as I might have thought. Blog­ging while lead­ing a Birthright trip was what proved to be impossible!

Apolo­gies for the multi-week hia­tus but I was incred­i­bly busy bus­ing around Israel, rid­ing camels, sleep­ing 3 hours a night, and eat­ing my fair share of hummus.

Shirel and I on a camel in the Negev. Photo cour­tesy of Jaclyn Adler

What a trip! Eat­ing vegan in Israel is totally doable. In the morn­ings, I usu­ally ate veg­gies and toast. For lunch, I usu­ally ate falafel. If you want the best falafel ever, you have to come to Israel! The falafel is always fresh and well sea­soned. The top­pings are also fresh and flavour­ful and the pita is light and fluffy. Best of all, it’s totally vegan. Falafel is a way of life in the holy land. Peo­ple eat it all the time, so there are places that only sell falafel.

Falafel in Zichron Ya’akov

On occa­sion, for lunch, I would spring for pasta with veg­gies or pizza with­out cheese. They’ll make it for you at Big Apple Pizza in Jerusalem if you order at least 2 slices. Din­ners usu­ally con­sisted of salad and some sort of veg­e­tar­ian main. Because I was with my birthright trip we always ate kosher. So when it was kosher meat — I didn’t have to worry about dairy in the veg dish. (Kosher law pro­hibits the mix­ing of meat and dairy.)

A few nights I had cous­cous with a veg­gie stew on top. The veg­eta­bles in Israel are super fresh and flavour­ful so it was a real treat. The only thing to watch for is egg because even though Kosher Parve excludes dairy, egg doesn’t fall under the dairy category.

What is Parve you might ask?

Def­i­n­i­tion: Parve is a Hebrew term (pareve is the Yid­dish term) that describes food with­out any meat or dairy ingre­di­ents. Jew­ish dietary laws con­sid­ers pareve food to be neu­tral; Pareve food can be eaten with both meat and milk dishes. Fish, eggs, fruits and veg­eta­bles are parve. Source

The good news is, you can find a lot of tasty ice cream and desserts that are parve! One of my favourites were the water­melon popsicles.

Eat­ing Parve Ice Cream in Tzfat

Eat­ing a water­melon pop­si­cle in the old city, Jerusalem

Luck­ily, after those beau­ti­ful 10 days of birthright fun, I was able to hang out in Israel for a few more days on my own. Dur­ing that time,  I vis­ited a few of the country’s veg­gie estab­lish­ments. One notable one was Vil­lage Green Veg­e­tar­ian Restau­rant in Jerusalem on Jaffa Road.

I came here with an old friend who I vol­un­teered with in Eilat in 2007 to grab some veg food and catch up on the past 5 years of our lives.

The food was great. They had a huge selec­tion of sal­ads, both hot and cold, which you could mix and match and pay for accord­ing to the weight of your plate.

They had a fab­u­lous baked tofu salad that was delight­ful as well as home­made sei­tan that was seri­ously tasty.

I really loaded up my plate with sal­ads at Vil­lage Green. Pic­tured here is brown rice with peanut gin­ger sauce, baked tofu, sei­tan salad, cucum­bers, roasted pota­toes, pasta, lentil salad, and more!

I was also excited to find out that there is a whole plethora of veg­gie restau­rants in Israel. Espe­cially in Tel Aviv. Unfor­tu­nately, the days I had to myself in Israel fell over Shab­bat and Shavu­out, so most places were closed. But I am def­i­nitely going to explore these restau­rants and vegan cul­ture when I return.

I had my eye on Bud­dha Burg­ers and Taam Hachaim in Tel Aviv. I actu­ally went to Bud­dha Burg­ers one day and they were closed because of Shavuot.

So, all in all, Israel is vegan friendly. You just have to know how to ask about your food. I look for­ward to try­ing out more of Israel’s vegan and veg­gie restau­rants when I return. Until then, I’m going to work on per­fect­ing my own home­made falafel. Wish me luck!

Next year in Jerusalem!

Oy Vegan!
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Vegan Israel? We’ll see!!!

This evening I will be tak­ing off to lead a C.I.E. Birthright Israel Trip. I’m extremely excited to get back to Israel and expe­ri­ence the magic that awaits! Last time I was there I was veg­e­tar­ian and there was a large selec­tion of food for me to eat. So, I’m really curi­ous to see how I’ll fare as a vegan.

Over the next few weeks, I hope to blog some of my meals and let you know just how veg­gie friendly the Holy Land will turn out to be.

Here goes!!! Wish me luck!!!

Jamie

Oy vegan!

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VeJEWtarian Celebrates Earth Day at Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary

What are you doing on Earth Day?

RSVP to jamie@oyvegan.com as space is limited!

Oy Vegan!

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