Tag Archives: Food

UPDATE: Vegging Out?*

When I was growing up my family lived in a small farm town in northern Saskatchewan. I was constantly surrounded my animal livestock, in particular, cattle. Because of this I became very disturbed by the ethical concerns with eating the animals that I saw every day. So when I was sixteen I decided to become a vegetarian.

ashley_and_me

It was hard at first, even though I felt it was the right thing to do. I had to get used to the taste and texture of tofu, which for anyone who eats tofu knows it can take some getting used to. My family was thoroughly annoyed with having to cook two meals, one with meat and one without. But after awhile I adjusted and enjoyed my new lifestyle.

I had joined PETA when I became a vegetarian, and with PETA’s influence I decided to become a vegan after about four months. But that didn’t last very long. I was very malnourished and began to get really sick. I was tired and fatigued all the time and I started to get migraines and back pain. My doctor told me that I could either eat some meat again or else.

I decided that I would start to eat chicken and fish again, but I still did not want to eat beef. Partly because I still felt bad for the cows and partly because after not eating it for awhile I didn’t really like it anymore. I actually didn’t eat red meat again for 2 years after that.

I understand that there are millions of people who practice vegetarianism and veganism everyday (about 4% of North America via) and do not have the problems that I did. I went into it unprepared and uninformed. So if you are thinking about starting a vegetarian or vegan diet then it’s important to learn for my mistakes and educate yourself before you start.

 

 

1. Start the easy way. Take your favorite dishes that you used to cook before you became a vegetarian and try cooking it in a veggie friendly way. Try using tofu or a soy meat alternative instead of the meat that used to be in it and add in extra veggies for more flavor and texture.

2. Buy a Vegan Recipe CookBook. Most likely being a vegetarian means that you’ll have to cook for yourself more often then not. Look for a cookbook that fits your taste and lifestyle, or search for great recipes online.

3. Don’t Push Yourself. You may feel really tired and hungry when you first start off eating this kind of diet. Remember that a lot of vegan/vegetarian food will have less calories then what you would have eaten before if it had meat in it. So you may have to eat a little extra to feel full or get all the nutrients you’re used to.

4. Get support from your friends. Try to get your friends to understand your choice. It will be harder to keep it up, especially if it’s hard at first, if your friends aren’t going to be willing to try your food too or eat at a veggie friendly restaurant.

5. Do not compare yourself with other vegetarians. If you are looking for inspiration from people who have been vegetarians forever then you may feel like a failure. People who have been eating this way for a long time are used to it so of course it’s easy. If this is something you really want then it will get easy for you too. Take their advice if it fits your lifestyle, and if it doesn’t then find someone else to help you that you mesh with.

6. Timing matters. Your ability to stick to the diet may completely depend on when you start it. Starting in the summer is good because of the variety of fruit and vegetables that are available. However, in the summer people tend to be traveling a lot and so it can make it hard if you are not going to be somewhere where you will have access to veggie friendly food. Winter is good because of this reason, that likely you will be home a lot and could cook for yourself. On the other hand you may not be able to get all the fruits and vegetables that you want. Figure out what will work for your lifestyle before you start. (via)

 

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Being a vegetarian or vegan can be a very rewarding lifestyle with many benefits. There are many celebrities that use the diet as a way to maintain their hot bodies, including Brad Pitt, Carrie Underwood, and Alicia Silverstone. Regardless of what reason you are going veg always consult your doctor or a nutritionist before starting to make sure that they inform you of the right supplements to take. That way you won’t end up sick like me.

 

UPDATE: When I wrote this blog I had to think back on my own personal experiences about being a vegetarian/vegan. Even though it may seem like I didn’t have a very good experience because I got sick, I really loved being a vegan.

Since we’ve been doing this blog I heard about a book called Skinny Bitch, which is actually a book about veganism. It is a really informative book and explained me a lot about how veganism helps the environment and your health. That book combined with reliving my experiences through this blog helped me make the decision to become a vegan again. It hasn’t been very long, but so far I’m loving my new lifestyle and feeling healthier then ever.

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Harvest Haven

Over the past couple of years, my family and I, have been making the switch over to organic products. However, I do agree with the argument made in the post, Organic my A$$, you do need to be careful in where you are buying the products from. However, I have found that Harvest Haven, a locally owned and operated store just outside of Lethbridge, Alberta has a wide variety of organic products. Also, what they can’t grow on their farm, they will purchase from other local farmers in the area or within Canada and if necessary they will buy from abroad.

The livestock that are raised right on the farm are done so in a low stress environment and they slaughter only one animal. They do not do mass production, so the only downside they will not always have full stock of the meats. However, this is also a positive because you know the animals are not being mass produced. They sell, beef, buffalo, lamb, chicken and turkey. They also sell, fruits and vegetables, dairy and grain products and dried fruits, nuts and seeds. My favorite thing to buy, is the strawberries in the summer and also their steaks.

One thing, I really enjoy about buying from this store, is that I know that I am getting excellent quality foods, the staff are really helpful and willing to answer any questions that you have and also I like to support the local farmers.

Harvest Haven is opened Sunday through to Friday from 9am to 6pm. They are located at  RR 8 – Site 22 – Comp 1, Station Main, Lethbridge, AB, T1J 4P4.

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Food of the West Indies

Growing up in an inter-racial family, I got to experience a different culture first hand. This Christmas, I am going to go and visit my relatives down in Trinidad and Tobago, and experience how they celebrate Christmas. While I am down in Trinidad, I will get to eat some of my favorite West Indian foods. They are, Doubles, Pelau, Roti and Sweet bread.

  • Doubles – this food is a common Street Food. It is made with  2  slices of bara  (fried flat bread), which is why it is called Doubles. It is filled with chick peas or garbonzo beans, which is known as channa and with different types of spices, which are called chutney. Some commonly used spices are mango, cucumber or coconut. Doubles are a very popular late night snack.

 

  • Pelau – which is also know as “Cook up” where it’s ingredients vary with each family. It usually consists of a type of meat – chicken, beef or pigtail, vegetables, rice and pigeon peas. My family loves to eat this any time, this dish is really fast and easy to make. We usually like to eat this at lunch or when we are at the beach.

 

 

  • Roti – means bread in Hindu. It is basically made with wheat flour, baking soda, salt and water. It resembles a tortilla. It is cooked on a large concave griddle. There are many kinds of roti and they are eaten with vegetables, curry chicken or on it’s own.  I enjoy eating my roti plain or the Dhalpuri roti. This roti has ground yellow split peas, cumin, garlic and pepper.
  • Sweet bread – is a dessert mainly eaten at christmas or at special occasions. It contains coconut and a variety of different fruits.

Just thinking about all of these foods have made me very hungry!

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Are allergies taking over?

Growing up, I can’t remember allergies being such a huge topic. I lucked out and so far have not developed any allergies. However, Today almost everyone you talk to has an allergy. Even the schools have developed guidelines for allergies.  So since this has become a “hot topic”, it has made me ask – What exactly is an allergy? How does one develop a allergy? Are allergies preventable?

1 _ What is an allergy? it is a reaction of the immune system fighting a foreign substance within our body. The immune system develops antibodies – which attack the foreign substance. An allergic reaction is the fight between the foreign substance and the immune system. During this fight, symptoms such as hives, swelling or breathing difficulties arise.

2 – How do food allergies develop? When food is eaten, sometimes the immune system detects a substance as being harmful. Therefore, the antibody is produced to attack this once innocent substance. This antibody then travels to the bloodstream and attach’s to cells closest to the surface to help prevent a further invasion. The next time this specific food product is eaten, an antibody attaches to the foriegn subtance and sends it to the skins cells where it causes a powerful chemical reaction. This causes the release of a chemical called – histamine. Histamine is responsible for fighting against foriegn substances and cause inflammation. When people are talking about their allergic reactions – hives, breathing difficulties, etc. they are talking about histamine. Therefore, this is why we are told to take an anti-histamine (claritin or reactine) to help lessen the allergic reaction. Or in more severe cases, use an epi-pen.

3 – Can food allergies be prevented? research is showing, yes allergies can be prevented and it is not hard to do. To prevent allergies in children all one has to do is avoid specific foods until further development has occured. Mostly, research is saying to avoid the solid foods at a young age. Here are some food to avoid until a certain age:

  • cows milk’s, dairy products and egg products (avoid between 12 and 24 months of age)
  • tree nuts, peanuts and fish  (avoid before 36 months)

Health Canada is always a great site to check for the latest developments on allergies.

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Eating for Free

yes thats right – you can eat almost for free!

Since eating is an essential part of everyday life, and you have a limited budget to spend on groceries and paying bills. Have no fear, you can still get those nice big meals you used to get at home – but now for almost free!

Now you may be asking, “How can this be done?” Well it is done by the process of Dumpster Diving. It falls under the philosphy of “freegans“. From what I know, this concept is slowing catching on in Canada, but is huge in the United States. Where not only are student out dumpster diving, but also people with families, careers, etc.  too.

 What you do is go to the dumpster located behind your favorite grocery stores (Safeways), bakeries or your local supermarket and look through the bags of “garbage”. You may be surprised as to what you will find. Within these bags you will find fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products, but also boxed and canned goods. Majority of the items are usually in good condition, while you will also find ones that are not.

Once you have collected all your groceries for the week and bring them home – don’t forget to properly wash and inspect everything.

Now when Oprah starts talking about something – you have to know it is a big deal. Find below a video below from Oprah’s correspondent – Lisa Ling on Dumpster Diving in New York.

http://www.oprah.com/media/20080601_tows_196016001OCOMTRASH_O_VIDEO_1

Dumpster diving is most enjoyed in groups – so if you have no plans this coming Friday night, grab some of your closest friends and get out and dumpster dive!

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