Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

in the news

October 26, 2009

Most choose vegetarian diet for their beliefs

Jennifer Adamson
For the News-Leader

Adam Pruett is a registered dietitian and coordinator of the Nutrition Center at St. John's Regional Medical Center.

Question: In general, what is a vegetarian?

Answer: A vegetarian is an individual who does not consume any animal-based or animal-derived foods.

Q: How many different types of vegetarian diets are there?

A: There are four main classes of vegetarians: vegan, lacto-ovo, ovo and lacto.

- Vegans consume strictly plant sources of nutrients. They eat no meat, eggs or dairy.

- Ovo-lacto-vegetarians, who consume dairy and egg products, but no meat.

- Ovo-vegetarians, who eat eggs, but not meat or dairy products.

- Lacto-vegetarians, who eat dairy products, but no meat or eggs.

Q: In your opinion, why do people choose to become vegetarians?

A: Usually, the main reason for following the dietary practice is for philosophical reasons. Many individuals feel this dietary choice allows them to be harmonious with their surroundings.

Sometimes, following the dietary parameters of vegetarianism provides optimal care for underlying health conditions. When the vegetarian diet is followed appropriately, it can provide great health benefits to the individual.

Q: What are the health benefits associated with being a vegetarian?

A: Following the diet will provide vast amounts of vitamins and minerals needed by the body. Also, intake of dietary fiber will increase exponentially compared to the typical American diet.

If portions are still controlled and the individual consumes appropriate amounts of protein, carbohydrates and plant-based fats, they can lose/maintain a healthy weight without the risk of deficiencies.

Q: Are there any health risks, especially with being on a raw food diet?

A: The major health risk associated with vegetarianism involves various vitamin/mineral deficiencies.

If the dietary plan is not followed appropriately, the individual may suffer from a lack of proper amounts of protein, vitamin B12, calcium, zinc, iron and vitamin D. Symptoms may include muscle wasting, nerve-tissue damage, tongue deformities, osteoporosis, poor wound healing, anemia and lethargy.

Any time you deal with raw food, you must be extra careful with preparation. Make sure all utensils, the preparation area and storage tools are clean prior to use. Also, wash your hands as much as possible to avoid cross-contamination.

Q: Is there an age up until which a child needs the nutrients in meat, poultry or fish to grow properly, or is being a vegetarian acceptable at any age?

A: Any age can follow the vegetarian diet if the dietary plan provides adequate nutrition to prevent deficiencies and promote appropriate growth.

Typically, children following a vegan diet if they are under 5 years of age can obtain enough nutrition to maintain growth, but it will be slower and in the low-normal category.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Resource for New Vegetarians

This past week I've been spending time pulling together some resources for a Display Board that the Veggie Group can use at various community events in and around Orillia. Specifically, we've been asked to put up a display at the Kids for Turtles Dragonfly Festival later today.

In gathering materials, I came across this great resource kit for people wanting to move to a vegetarian diet - or at least increase the amount of vegetarian food they eat & reduce their meat consumption.

I have printed one copy to put with our display, but otherwise, it's in PDF so is easy to share electronically. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

In the news

Some interesting articles were published today.

The Baltimore Examiner had a blurb in their "Health Spot" section that states the American Dietetic Association has updated its position in support of vegetarian diets claiming they can be “healthful [and] nutritionally adequate,” and citing a decreased risk of heart disease, cancer, hypertension and type 2 diabetes. Apparently we are at risk for vitamin and iron deficiencies, however, so it's recommended that we take supplements just to be safe. Give me a break. What about the possible vitamin deficiencies in omnivores? Most meat-eaters don't eat the recommended 5-10 fruits and vegetables a day....wouldn't they have some deficiencies??

And the Washington Post had a great article, written by a non-vegetarian, which explains why reducing meat consumption matters for the environment. My favourite excerpt reads "The visceral reaction against anyone questioning our God-given right to bathe in bacon has been enough to scare many in the environmental movement away from this issue." This is a good read!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Getting together in JULY

We are currently scheduled to meet up on Sunday July 12 at 4:30pm at Couchiching Beach Park (behind the greenhouse - on the lake side), same as last year.

Since it seems lots of people have trouble getting together on summer Sundays, I thought I'd suggest the CRAZY idea of getting together on a weeknight instead.

Would anyone be interested in having a potluck next Thursday (July 16) instead of this Sunday? Please email with your thoughts.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Berry Grain Salad

The Orillia Veggie group had a display table at Orillia's Arts for Peace festival this summer. We brought a sample dish for people to taste, and decided to go with a favourite - Berry Grain Salad.

Made with quinoa, which is a bit of a miracle grain (the only grain which is a complete protein), it also has walnuts and flax oil to get some Omega 3 fats as well.

This salad by the way has no dairy, honey, eggs etc - completely vegan.

Berry-Grain Salad

1 1/2 cups dry quinoa (may substitute with millet, kasha, rice, or a combination)
3 cups water
1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1/2 cups dried cranberries or cherries
2 medium stalks celery, chopped
1/4 cups sunflower seeds (roasted or raw)
1/4 cups chopped green onions
1/4 cups chopped parsley or cilantro


2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp flax or hemp oil
3/4 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup orange juice or 2 tbsp (or more to taste) lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Pour water into a pot and bring to boil over high heat. Rinse quinoa well and add to pot. Reduce heat to low, then cover and simmer without disturbing for 20 minutes. Uncover (all the water should now be absorbed) and let sit until cool - put in fridge to cool faster. Fluff with a fork and turn the quinoa into a large bowl.

Add remaining salad ingredients and toss lightly.
In a separate bowl, mix together all the dressing ingredients with a whisk. Pour over salad and toss to coat evenly.
May be served immediately or covered and refrigerated overnight.

Sunday, May 31, 2009


It's that time again! I know, it's hard to believe that May is already over....

We haven't booked a location for our June 7 potluck because we are HOPING that the weather will be nice enough to have a picnic in Couchiching Beach Park. If you weren't around last year, we gathered at a picnic table near the Greenhouse and enjoyed our potluck there.

Everyone is responsible for bringing their own plates/bowls, cups and utensils. Also, best to bring a drink for yourself. And as always, bring one potluck item (per adult if possible) and a copy of your recipe. We'll plan to meet up at 4:30.

My cell phone number is 705-238-0799 if you have trouble finding us, or if the weather is crappy and you want to find out what the rain plans are!

An RSVP is required if you are planning to come... please and thank you. You can email us at or call the cell number above.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

May on Old Muskokie

Just thought I should post some photos from our May 2009 potluck. In the summer months we usually move around and make the most of the lovely Orillia weather. This month we met at mine and Chris' place and enjoyed the day AND all the food. The theme was "What Mom used to make" so we had cabbage rolls and apple crisp and a tofu casserole and a couscous salad and some homemade pita crisps and, and, and.....

This is our table laden with goodies:

And this is my PLATE laden with goodies!



Tuesday, April 28, 2009

curry & cauliflower. yum.

what is it about curry and cauliflower together that makes such a great match? i don't really know exactly, but what i DO know is that when you add coconut milk into the mix, it becomes simply irresistable. that's why this quick and easy dish has become a standby at our house. it comes from How it All Vegan, one of my first and still most often used vegan cookbooks.

Creamy Curried Veggies (HIAV, p. 106)

1 large onion
2-6 cloves garlic, minced
1-3 large carrots, diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
1.5 cups cauliflower florets, diced
6-8 mushrooms (or some other veg), sliced
1 Tbsp curry powder
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp tumeric
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 cup coconut milk (I actually just use the whole can)
1 cup peas (frozen, but thawed a bit)
3 Tbsp soy sauce (or Braggs)

1)Fry up the onions, garlic and carrots in oil on medium-high for few minutes
2)Add the potatio, cauliflower, mushrooms (or other veg) and spices. Stir together and cook for 2-4 minutes stirring often so the spices don't stick to the pan

3)Add the milk, stir, cover and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer for 10-20 minutes, stirring occassionally.
4)Once the potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork, add the peas and the soy sauce (or braggs). Stir together and turn up the heat to medium-high. Cook for a few more minutes until the peas have had a chance to cook.
5)Serve over rice or noodles. Makes 2-4 servings.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Meeting House

The Orillia veggie club has been in operation for just over a year now, and except for a few special trips - this has been our home base for the pot-luck gatherings. It's the Friends Meeting House.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

March 20 - La Journée Sans Viande

This is a pretty good story from the Miami Herald about the March 20 Meatout day organized by F.A.R.M. (Farm Animal Rights Movement)). It includes a nice quick summary of all the reasons that vegetarianism makes sense.


How can you stretch your dollars and prop up your spirits? The folks at FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement) have the answer: ``Change Your Diet, Change the World.''

Get ready to celebrate, save money, show compassion and affect global change all in one go -- Friday marks the 25th annual Great American Meatout.

In 1985, the national nonprofit FARM set aside March 20 to promote animal compassion and veggie ways. Since then, countless Americans have celebrated spring by going meatless. The Meatout is now an annual event in 20 nations including France, where it's La Journée Sans Viande (The Day Without Meat -- everything sounds better in French).

Being vegetarian is kind to animals -- and that includes you. According to the American Dietetic Association, a meatless diet lowers risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.

Being vegetarian is kind to your palate, too. It's about abundance, not deprivation. There's no hardship in eating whole wheat pasta with vegetables, lemon and mint (see recipe). Chocolate is vegetarian. So is champagne.

Being vegetarian is kind to the planet as well. According to Environmental Defense, just one meatless meal per week per person would save as much carbon dioxide as taking half a million cars off the road.

Finally, being vegetarian is kind to your wallet. Vegetarian sources of protein -- dried beans, nuts, tofu, even cheese -- are way cheaper than their animal equivalents.

If those aren't reasons, go meatless for the next generation. Ohio State University reports that despite all the news about skyrocketing childhood obesity and the importance of eating produce for health, kids don't get their recommended daily dose of veggies. Show 'em how it's done.
--- Ellen Kanner of the Miami Herald

Friday, February 6, 2009

who said vegetables are boring?

We spiced things up last week with our "Spicy Night" potluck! Some new members joined us for the wonderful meal.

One of the spicy dishes was made by Chris.

Quick and Easy Chickpea Curry

1 med onion
2 cups veggies (mushrooms, peppers, cauliflower, whatever)
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Patak's Biryani Curry Paste (medium)
1 can of diced tomatoes (28 oz.)
1 cup water

-fry the onion in oil until golden brown
-add veggies and 4 Tbsp of curry paste
-cook and stir for a few minutes
-add chickpeas and stir to combine
-add tomatoes and water
-add about 4 Tbsp more paste
-stir to combine and let simmer on low-med heat until water significantly evaporates

And a sweet (not spicy) dessert was made by Gary. You can see a video of this dish being prepared if you click here.

Apple Crisp with Maple Syrup
5 apples - peeled, cored, and cubed (1/2” pieces)
10 strawberries (raisins - optional)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 pinch of salt (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
2. Place apples and strawberries in a glass baking dish to depth of 2”. Toss with syrup approx 1/4 cup maple syrup and 1/4 cup oil. Add cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. 3. In a separate bowl, mix together oats, sunflower seeds and sliced almonds. Add equal parts ma-ple syrup and oil until mixture is moist but not runny.
4. Cover fruit in glass pan with oat mixture 5. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, until topping is golden brown. Serve warm or at room

Friday, January 30, 2009

Veggie Quotes

Check out this video on You Tube of funny quotes about being Vegetarian.

Veggie News Online

I just found this online blog that contains "Vegetarian & Vegan News from around the world, news of vegan fashion, vegan food, vegan people, products, news on projects, vegetarian & vegan news on research providing health solutions, animals & the environment."

Check it out!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

some thoughts on vegetarianism

Click here for an interesting read.

a very veggie Christmas dinner

My husband and I celebrated Christmas with his family in Bancroft, Ontario. The two of us have been following a vegan diet, to the best of our ability, for almost 2 years now! Over that period of time, his family has become more and more accepting of this choice, and our family dinners always reflect this. When we're visiting, I usually try to add at least one dish to the planned meal for the evening. For Christmas dinner, I added THREE! We started with some "veg-nog" pictured here:

You can now purchase a commercial soy product called "Noel Nog" from major grocery stores and health food stores. I confess...I tried this product once and it was good. But I did so only AFTER making my own from scratch as per the recipe below. The commercial version certainly tastes more "authentic" but I believe it has more non-natural ingredients in it too... not to mention the fact that it's pretty costly. So it depends what you're looking for in your nog!

Vegan Egg Nog (recipe borrowed from TVA)

2 blocks very soft tofu OR 2 packages of soft silken tofu (10.5 oz)
2 cups soy milk or rice milk
4 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
¼ tsp ground turmeric
½ – 1 cup rum or brandy (optional)

Thoroughly combine all ingredients (except nutmeg) in a blender and serve, sprinkling each serving with nutmeg.

As for dinner itself...

...we feasted on tofurkey, mashed potatoes, roasted turnip and a sweet green bean dish. I was pleasantly full, but didn't have the same full to the brim sensation that I used to get from turkey dinners (with all the side effects that usually followed!)

Tofurkey (from How it all Vegan)

1 lb firm tofu, ¼ inch thick

1 ½ cups boiling water
½ Tbsp dill
½ tsp rosemary
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp marjoram
½ tsp sage
½ tsp pepper
1-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp olive oil

Whisk above ingredients together.

Slice tofu into desired shapes, about ¼ inch thick. Lay slices in a baking dish, cover with marinade and let sit for 1 hour or more (the longer the better). Bake for 60 minutes at 350F, turning slices over at halfway point. Before serving, fry the tofu in a non-stick frying pan until both side are browned. Makes about 10 slices, depending on how you slice it!

Sweet Green Beans (from a random magazine)

2 lbs green beans, trimmed and halved on the diagonal
2 tbsp honey or agave syrup (or maple?)
2 tbsp butter or substitute
1 cup chopped pecans
½ cup dried cranberries
1tsp grated orange zest
salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook beans in large pot of boiling salted water until tender crisp, about 4 minutes. Drain. Melt butter or substitute in a large pan over medium heat. Add beans, pecans, cranberries and orange zest, tossing to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 8.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

January 4th potluck is CANCELLED...

Sorry about that, but it seems like the first weekend of the year is a busy one for most people. Our next event will take place Feb 1st (see "Upcoming Meetings" section for more details).