Category Archives: Food

How to get more fruit into your diet without eating it.

How to get more fruit into your diet without eating it

How to get more fruit into your diet without eating it

I’m going to tell you a little secret about me, I don’t like to eat fruit. And it sucks because it’s so good for you. But I figured if I’m going to be a holistic nutritionist and get people to eat fruit, I better find a way to start eating it first.

So I turned to smoothies; a fantastic way to start the day because you can load it up with superfoods, throw a ton of fruit in there and still get the antioxidants you need.

Here’s my recipe: Continue reading

The state of GM foods in Canada & USA

Lucy Sharratt from CBAN speaking about genetically modified foods

Chances are, your shelves are full of genetically modified foods, but you probably don’t even know it because these “products” do not require labeling. Top GM foods are canola, sugar, soy and corn and these foods find their way into everything from chocolate bars and ketchup, to canola oil, yogurt and non-fat ice cream. The latest threat is now meat, as genetically engineered pork and salmon might be hitting grocery shelves shortly if we can’t stop Health Canada and the FDA from approving them.

Loaded with questions on this subject, I attended a seminar held by Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) for a lecture on the state of genetically engineered foods in both Canada and United States.  This is what I learned from them. Continue reading

Why we should avoid cooking with olive oil!

Why we should avoid olive and cook with butter

Avoid cooking with unsaturated fats like olive, canola and grapeseed oil

You’ve probably heard that you should fry with grapeseed oil and sauté with olive oil because they have the highest smoke points, right? Well although those smoke points are correct, this has nothing to do with the actual safety of cooking with these oils. You see, heating unsaturated fats like olive, canola and grapeseed damages their omega fatty acids by changing their molecular structure to a point where they become bad for our health.

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How I got the Khyber Pass restaurant to start recycling

Khyber Pass restaurant in Montreal

How I got the Khyber Pass restaurant in Montreal to start recycling

Last summer during a visit from my sister and brother-in-law, we decided to go to the Khyber Pass, a bring-your-own-wine Afghan restaurant, in Montreal. It’s a charming restaurant with great food (great vegetarian options too) and a cozy terrace in the back. One of the great aspects of dining-out in Montreal is that some restaurants have a bring-your-own-wine licence which encourages people to eat out more since you’re not spending a fortune on wine.

ANTI-CLIMAX

Thus, on this occasion, we did just that. We brought 2 bottles of wine and enjoyed a great meal. While discussing with the friendly waiter who had also lived in Victoria, BC (where my sister lived) we got got into great conversation about food and wine. At the end, he asked if I had finished eating and I made a comment like “Yah, you don’t compost leftovers do you?” to which he replied “No, we don’t even recycle wine bottles”.

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Top 10 must see documentaries about food, animals and the environment!

  1. Food Inc.How industrial farming is making us sicker, fatter and poorer – and what you can do about it

If you eat food, you need to watch this film. This is a fantastic film about food issues with something in it for everyone.  It covers the drastic changes in the food industry since modern industrial farming began and how it affects our health and the environment but finishes with a positive look on companies doing things right. It will suck you in, shock you, disgust you, anger you, but most importantly, it will make you a better-informed consumer and allow you to have more control over what you put into your body. I can’t stress how important it is for people to watch this film.

Take-away: You can reduce 80% of e-coli in cows by switching their diet from corn to grass

Where to find: In videostores, on Netflix in the US or purchase it on Amazon.ca

 

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5 tips to host a green cocktail party

Elements for a green cocktail party

This past weekend, I celebrated another birthday and in preparing for a cocktail party, I wanted it to be as green as possible, and by green, I mean produce as little waste as possible.

Planning is key – the longer you plan, the more time you have to find recipes for appetizers, buy food & alcohol and make ice.

Here is what you can do within 48 hrs to put on a successful yet eco-friendly cocktail party. Continue reading

Celebrate Earth Day 2011 by hosting “Picnic for the Planet” in your city

The Nature Conservancy

Celebrate Earth Day 2011 by hosting a public picnic in your city

Earth hour, Earth day, Earth week if you’re confused on what they are and what you’re supposed to do, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

This Friday, April 22nd (aka Good Friday), is Earth Day which according to wikipedia, was started by Gaylord Nelson, a US senator  in 1970 to inspire awareness and appreciation for the earth’s natural environment. It is now celebrated throughout the world thanks to Earth Day Network and many worldwide organizations like The Nature Conservancy who organize annual events.

This year, The Nature Conservancy has organized Picnic for the Planet 2011 as a way for people to celebrate the planet by hosting a public picnic in their city. Over 445 picnics have been registered so far worldwide thanks to the meetup site. You too can join one of the already registered picnics or create your own for April 22nd by signing up on on Picnic for the Planet – Meetup.

The Nature Conservancy would like to remind you that there are 5 easy things you can do to help the planet: Continue reading

Why I chose to be vegetarian – An intimate look at my life

Lisa_pondering_vegetarianism

After a 52 comment debate on Facebook, I decided it was time to write about my favourite topic; vegetarianism.

Twelve years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting someone during a break in Spanish class that would come to have the most influence on my life ever, yet he will never know it. I wish I could remember more of what happened or who he was.

He mentioned he was vegetarian and me not understanding why anyone would be that, I asked why. He told me about A Diet for a New America and how this book changed his life. Curious, I asked my parents to get me it for Christmas.  My dad having owned several health food stores in Vancouver and knowing about it, concurred that it was indeed a must-read.

It was written by John Robbins, the son of one of the part-owners of the Baskin Robbins ice cream chain. It was the first book in the ’80’s I believe to expose factory farming to the public and the demise of the family farm.

Diet For A New America

Diet For A New America

I read it in between calls while working in a call centre and during nights after school. I wasn’t even half way through before I quit eating meat. I literally quit cold turkey; pun intended!

The book opened my eyes incredibly. I couldn’t believe the things they did to animals which were considered standard practice, like castrating piglets with scissors and docking their tails without any anesthesia. We wouldn’t dare do such things to dogs, so why is it ok for pigs? In the new age of farming, or rather factory farming, animals are nothing more than dollars signs, and treated like discarded broccoli.

It was the perfect book to read while going through business school. It taught me about how businesses try to keep sensitive information (like this) behind closed doors so the public never questions it.

When I started being a vegetarian, it was for animal rights reasons. I didn’t know there were health or environmental benefits at the time.

As a kid, I had always been curious about where our meat came from. My mom always reassured me that food animals were humanely killed and never suffered.  I never really bought that that though.  I mean, we are talking about killing here, how could that happen so peacefully in a dirty slaughterhouse? It’s not like the pigs and cows are jumping for joy on their way to be stabbed at the slaughterhouse.

I grew up with pets. They know damn well when something frightening is coming, like pulling the vacuum out of the closet or taking them to the vet. They react, whether by putting their tails between their legs or running away and hiding. Chickens, pigs and cows are no different. They are living beings after all.

Piglet tail docking without pain killers

Piglet tail docking without pain killers

About a year or two later, I had the pleasure of meeting Ingrid Newkirk, the founder of PETA who spoke at Concordia University in Montreal.

I remember walking into the theatre, passing some tables with vegan literature on them and saying to myself, “Pfff I’ll never become a vegan“. On my way out, I remember saying “F* now I have to be a vegan”.

Mother cow seperated from calf

I had never realized the link between milk and veal. Of course, it all makes sense now. The only reason cows produce milk is because they’re impregnated. How do you keep a cow lactating? Well, she has to give birth of course, and thus, the veal industry was created.

I’m proud to say I’ve never eaten veal in my life. My mom forbid it in our house saying that is where she drew the line at animal cruelty. Baby calves stolen away from their moms minutes after birth, chained to live in darkness and fed a diet to purposely make them anemic so their flesh would be tender. Ugh, the thought just disgusts me. Maybe it’s because I’m female and one day, I’ll have children, but I can’t imagine the pain and suffering the female cow goes through, losing her baby after she gives birth. So technically, if I continued to drink milk, I was being a hypocrite as that is what keeps the veal industry in business.

Welcome organic soy, rice and almond milk. And in case you thought dairy was necessary for calcium intake, dairy actually has little to no benefit preventing osteoporosis yet comes with a wealth of potential health concerns.

Several years later, I learned about the health and environmental benefits of a vegetarian diet. I also noticed the sharp increase in my immune system and the decrease in the number of colds I got.  To be honest, even if vegetarianism was harmful for the environment, I’d still do it for the animal factor, but the fact that it’s not only better for my health but also for the environment, just reinforces that I’m making the right decision.

Keleigh and I reunited in Phoenix both as vegetarians

Keleigh and I reunited in Phoenix both as vegetarians 10 years later

What’s funny is that most of my closest friends in life, when I met them 10 years later at my high school reunion in Vancouver or my college reunion in Phoenix, had also turned vegetarian, not to mention my sisters’ friends and my mom’s best friend. It seems so common to be vegetarian these days. I know so many and they’re normal people who wear make-up, party and work hard. The days of  vegetarianism being for the unshaven hippies are long gone.

Have I gone through awkward social moments? Absolutely! I’ve spent a lot of time in France and at fancy business dinners where you get the proverbial eyes being rolled at you or the ignorant questions like “But how do you get your protein” or what I like to call the caveman debate to which I like to reply, “Ever heard of evolution?“.

But these days, no matter what circle I’m in, I’m rarely the only vegetarian and most people are fairly educated on the topic, quick to ask questions like “Are you lacto-ovo?“, or  “Can you eat eggs?“. Now I get comments like “Ok, cool, have you tried “X” vegetarian restaurant” or “We love seitan” or “We really don’t eat that much meat!

Vegetarian food; just feels so right, so good for you, pure happiness

Vegetarian food; just feels so right, so good for you, pure happiness

To me it’s simple, if you don’t need meat to survive, can spare animal suffering and leave less of an ecological footprint on the planet, then why the hell wouldn’t you be vegetarian? Not to mention, you are so much healthier, sparing yourself from heart disease, high-cholesterol, certain cancers, (most notably colon and breast), high-blood pressure, kidney problems, antibiotics from dairy (makes you antibiotic resistant), growth hormones from meat (loads of side effects here like children going into puberty at 5), and pesticide residues (which lodge in your fat cells).

Then there are what I like to call the sexy side-effects. Since you no longer have meat rotting in you, you smell better and well, taste better!

For more info on vegetarianism, including recipes, visit goveg.org, watch The New York Times best-selling author Kelly Freston discuss vegan health benefits on Oprah or for a fun read by two ex-models, read The New York Times Best-seller Skinny Bitch.

How to reduce your eco-footprint, air pollution and waste by composting

Urban Green Girl with her compost bin

Me with my compost bin after the first week of composting

Happiness has arrived, I can finally compost at home. Since I started blogging back in 2008, I have wanted to start composting but since I didn’t have access to a garden, my options were limited.

I later discovered the Nature Mill indoor composter which composts the material automatically without having to stir it. But, I was still left not knowing what to do with it once it turned into actual compost, ready for the outdoors.

A few areas in my neighbourhood were able to participate in a test project, run in partnership with the city, but I lived two streets out of the test area.

Well, to my surprise, I found out that there is actually a local, private company called Compost Montreal (the first of it’s kind in North America) that actually picks up compost from residences and businesses in Montreal for $5 a week (cost for residences). Continue reading

How to get rid of pantry and flour moths

Cupboard and pantries are homes to moths

Cupboard and pantries are homes to pantry moths, flour weevils and maggots

If you’re like me, it’s seems that every time you dare to cook a meal from scratch, you end up having to throw one of the ingredients (i.e. brown rice or flour) out and run back to the corner store to buy a new bag because those damn, pesky pantry moths were living in them. We’ve all seem them in our cupboards. Continue reading