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Toronto Vegetarian Food Fest 2014 Roundup!

Happy Sep­tem­ber all!

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The Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Association’s Veg Food Fest is always a treat. This year was no dif­fer­ent. There were awe­some talks, tasty food demos, many new and cool ven­dors, and scan­dal! The scan­dal I’m refer­ring to is the Field Roast- Cana­dian Gov­ern­ment scan­dal. Please com­ment with your opin­ions and any news you’ve heard on that front. All I know is that Field Roast wasn’t allowed to bring their new prod­ucts over the boarder for the food fest this year. At their booth they left this sign:

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Why isn’t Field Roast allowed to sell their prod­uct on the Cana­dian mar­ket? Are they a threat to the sausage indus­try in some way? In what way are reg­u­lar sausages health­ier than vegan ones? It’s all very scan­dalous if you ask me. So buy your Field Roast now because they may not be restocked in your local Cana­dian retailers.

Luck­ily, there were many high­lights at the Veg Food Fest this year– so many it was hard to nar­row them down!

Nev­er­the­less, here are Oy Vegan’s top five highlights:

5. I was thrilled to see Hot­beans and Through Being Cool Vegan Bak­ing Com­pany team up as a food ven­dor in the world café this year. I noshed on the vegan Mac n’ Cheese bur­rito with home­made potato chips. It was ridicu­lous (in a good way).

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4. The open­ing night panel ‘Nutri­tion Myths Debunked’ fea­tured Dr. David Jenk­ins, Ginny Messina RD, Dr. Tushar Mehta, and Marni Wasser­man mod­er­ated by Lisa Pit­man. It was highly infor­ma­tive as the pan­elists explained many of the mis­con­cep­tions about soy cit­ing many med­ical stud­ies and explain­ing them in depth. They also explored stud­ies about gluten intol­er­ance, how much B12 we need, and oth­ers. Dr. Jenk­ins gave every­one an inside look at what the peo­ple of Oki­nawa, who have the longest life expectancy in the world, eat. Many of my mis­con­cep­tions about soy were addressed. The bot­tom line? Eat­ing soy is good for you and has many health ben­e­fits! Woo hoo!

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3. The cin­na­mon babka from Sweets from the Earth. I have to admit…I have a soft spot for Sweets from the Earth. So much so that I had them do the desserts at my vegan wed­ding. Their treats are amaz­ing and they are very nice peo­ple. All their sweets are vegan and kosher cer­ti­fied. They also have a nut-free facil­ity and a gluten-free facil­ity so they have a num­ber of very tasty nut-free and gluten-free options to offer. If you haven’t tried their desserts, def­i­nitely check them out!

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2. New prod­ucts that I’m excited about! There are a bunch of new prod­ucts show­cased at the food fest this year. Here are the ones to watch!

- Buchie & Sash and their dairy-free cream cheese was extremely tasty. Their prod­ucts are cur­rently sold in west end health food stores and are hope­fully com­ing soon to the east end!

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- The Hon­est Leaf and their line of teas for healthy liv­ing. I’ve been lov­ing the Detox tea, the Serene tea, and the Slim tea.

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- Nongshim’s Soon Veg­gie Noo­dle Soup was giv­ing away free noo­dle soup and prizes at the food fest. I’m always a fan of a quick noo­dle soup. This one has a lot less of the crap you find in most brands and it’s vegan!

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- So Deli­cious and their line of coconut milks and coconut ice cream. I love the peanut but­ter swirl!

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- Yam­Chops coconut bacon. This stuff is hella good.

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1. Veg’to’pia. An exhibit that looked at the evo­lu­tion of veg­e­tar­i­an­ism through­out his­tory and Toronto’s role in the vegetarian/vegan com­mu­nity world-wide. Made me proud to be vegan and Torontonian!

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1.5. Spe­cial shout-out to the new doc­u­men­tary Cowspiracy. Check out the trailer below.

Oy Vegan!

 

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Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival Top 5!

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Pic­tured above: Sport­ing the new Oy Vegan Tee at the Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Food Festival!

Arriv­ing at the Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Food Fes­ti­val thrown by the won­der­ful peo­ple at the Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Asso­ci­a­tion is always a treat. Row after row of booths sell­ing vegan prod­ucts, food, and rais­ing aware­ness about issues of ani­mal wel­fare adorn Toronto’s Har­bourfront. That famous Christ­mas carol comes to mind ‘It’s the most won­der­ful time of the year!’ and despite some rain on Sat­ur­day, Oy Vegan attended everyday.

There were many high­lights for us here at Oy Vegan and it was hard… but some­how we man­aged to nar­row it down to a top 5.

Here goes!

5The food from Karma ChaMEA­Leon Food truck. This vegan food truck came all the way from Hamil­ton for the fes­ti­val. Would LOVE for them to come to Toronto per­ma­nently!! Just sayin’

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Pic­tured above: Jamaican Jerk Jack­fruit Tacos from Karma ChaMEALeon

4The panel of heroes that spoke about ani­mal activism and their fab­u­lous ani­mal sanc­tu­ar­ies in New York State. Check out Kathy Stevens’ Catskill Ani­mal Sanc­tu­ary, Jenny Brown’s Wood­stock Farm Ani­mal Sanc­tu­ary, and Gene Bauer’s Farm Sanc­tu­ary. I look for­ward to read­ing all of their books!!!

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Pic­tured above from L to R: Kathy Stevens, Gene Bauer, Sonia Faruqi, Jenny Brown, and Sayara Thurston.

3. Meet­ing Chef Roberto Mar­tin. Known for being Ellen Degeneres’ chef, Roberto Mar­tin made a super tasty ceviche out of hearts of palm. A very cool down-to-earth guy I must say.

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Pic­tured above: Roberto Mar­tin and I

2. I was also hon­oured to receive Chef Taymer Mason’s St. Maarten gift bag give­away fea­tur­ing a green sea­son­ing that she made in St. Maarten! She served up a super tasty lentil patty and an egg­plant and sea­weed accra that was mouthwatering.

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Pic­tured above: Top– Taymer Mason and I, Bot­tom– Lentil Patty and Egg­plant and Sea­weed Accra

1. Strong­man Patrik Baboumian break­ing the Guin­ness World Record by lift­ing 1213 lbs (550 kilos)! This vegan hero was so pumped from his amaz­ing feat that he screamed vegan power with all his might after walk­ing over 10 metres with 1213 lbs on his back. An unbe­liev­able moment and an unbe­liev­able guy. The video I took is a lit­tle shakey but cap­tures his speech at the end which touched every­one in the crowd just as much as the actual feat of strength that he per­formed. An amaz­ing moment that will go down in food fest history!

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Pic­tured above from L to R: vegan ath­lete panel fea­tur­ing Patrik Baboumian,

UFC fighter James Wilks, Iron­man ath­lete Roch Roll,  and for­mer Hockey player Georges Laraque. 

I would also like to send a spe­cial shout-out to Sweets from the Earth for their Cin­na­mon Babka. It was unbe­liev­ably tasty!!!

As well, we want to shout-out Green Zebra Kitchen for their de-constructed Tem­peh Rueben Bowl. Yum!

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Pic­tured above: Green Zebra Kitchen’s de-constructed Tem­peh Rueben Bowl

I also want to com­mend the TVA for mak­ing this year’s event com­pletely vegan. It really made it acces­si­ble for every­one and I felt more com­fort­able and excited know­ing that I could eat any­thing I wanted! I hope this becomes the norm for the food fes­ti­val as it is a cel­e­bra­tion of a plant-based lifestyle after all!

Oy Vegan!

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Marchin into June: Veggie Events!

Feel like march­ing for ani­mals?! Here are two upcom­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties in Toronto:

Toronto Veg­gie Pride Parade.

June 1st from 12pm-4pm

Start­ing out­side the Toronto Ref­er­ence Library and head­ing south on Yonge Street. For more info, click here.

Toronto march to close down all slaughterhouses.

June 15th from 11am on

Start­ing from the south­east cor­ner of Christie Pits park and end­ing near Qual­ity Meat Pack­ers slaugh­ter­house. For more info, click here.

Happy march­ing! Feel free to com­ment with other veg­gie events com­ing up in June!

Oy Vegan!

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Earth Day: Eat Animal-Free!

Let’s face it, Earth Day really should be every­day. We need to take bet­ter care of our planet.

You may be sur­prised to find out that eat­ing meat is not earth-friendly in the least. Check out the info­graphic below to get a bet­ter idea of the impact the meat and dairy indus­tries have on CO2 emissions.

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Not to men­tion, farm­ing this many ani­mals cre­ates a lot of S&^%…

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The good news is, we can eas­ily reduce our eco­log­i­cal foot­print by reduc­ing our meat and dairy con­sump­tion. Weekly events such as Meat­less Mon­days can make a huge difference!

Here are some lovely animal-free recipes that will sat­isfy your tummy and taste­buds from Ellen’s per­sonal chef, Roberto Mar­tin and Oy Vegan fav, Chef Chloe Coscarelli.

I will say that I have made the dou­ble dou­ble drive-thru Burger and it’s REALLY tasty!

What are your favourite earth-friendly recipes? Share them with us in the com­ments sec­tion below!

Happy Earth Day!

Oy Vegan!

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VeJEWtarian Winter Meet-up

In the Toronto area?

Come nosh on Chi­nese food at King’s Café in Kens­ing­ton Mar­ket with us!

Tues­day Feb­ru­ary 26th at 7pm. RSVP jamie@oyvegan.com

See you there!!

Designed by Sasha Arfin.

Oy Vegan!

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Green Cooking — Tu B’Shvat!

Come cel­e­brate and cook a scrump­tious vegan meal with me on Tues­day at 7pm! We’ll wine, dine, and cel­e­brate the new year of the trees! Lim­ited space avail­able. Sign up now!

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Highlights from the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival

On the week­end of Sep­tem­ber 7th-9th, the 28th Annual Veg­e­tar­ian Food Fes­ti­val took place. Oy Vegan was there all three days hang­ing out and attend­ing var­i­ous events and sam­pling delec­table vegan food. Here are some of Jamie and Jared’s top picks!

Jamie:

1. Learn­ing how to make tomato olive sei­tan gyros with Terry Hope Romero. I tried mak­ing these at home after and they were amaz­ing! I have to say the coconut yoghurt dill Tzatziki sauce is super tasty.

2. Bump­ing into veJEW­tar­ian friends wan­der­ing about the booths.

Shimmy, Jan­ice, and Jamie 

3. Eat­ing the pizza with sun­dried tomato, cashew cheese, and kale from Green Zebra Kitchen! I was hon­estly blown away by how great this pizza was. Best vegan pizza I’ve ever tried!

4. Vis­it­ing the awe­some peo­ple at Toronto Pig Save. Con­grat­u­la­tions to Anita Kra­jnc for win­ning the Com­pas­sion for Ani­mals Award!

Jared, Danielle, Jamie

5. See­ing Vegan Meal­time on the Red­path Stage. These guys were full of energy and totally hilar­i­ous! Sea­weed strips & Sea­weed strips & Sea­weed strips & Sea­weed strips!

Jared:

1. Hear­ing Dr. Michael Gre­gor’s two part lec­ture on the lead­ing causes of death in Canada. Check out his web­site nutritionfacts.org where he posts daily videos on all the lat­est studies!

2. Learn­ing how to cook Caribbean style with Taymer Mason and win­ning her Bajan/ Jerk wet spice mix hand­made straight from St. Maarten. Awesome!

3. Hear­ing Ultra­man Ath­lete Rich Roll speak about chang­ing his life with a plant based diet!

4. Eat­ing the sticky mush­room rice wrapped in a banana leaf from King’s Café for break­fast. Yum!

5. Try­ing Doug McNish’s new chewy gluten free choco­late coconut almond cookie for Sweets from the Earth and try­ing to name it.

 All in all, the TVA did an amaz­ing job this year and the fes­ti­val was a ton of fun. Despite the rain on Sat­ur­day, it was packed with peo­ple! There are many other high­lights that we are leav­ing out and we encour­age every­one to check out the Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Asso­ci­a­tion and all the cool events they hold in the city.

Here’s to a healthy fall!

Oy Vegan!

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