Thanks to those of you who joined in my inaugural plant based eating seminars / food demos in May! I was thrilled to talk with you about the impact our food choices have on the environment, the animals and our health…all while enjoying some of my favorite meals and treats. Our little gatherings bring to mind the Margaret Mead quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
And as we finally shed a few layers with the increased temps, take note that the maintenance of a healthy weight is among the many benefits of a plant-based diet. Read on for how best to stay (or get) slim, plus a whole lot more…
How to Achieve Your Ideal Weight
The Adventist Health Study* collected data from 60,000 Seventh-Day Adventist church members across North America. For religious reasons, a significant number of them adhere to a vegetarian or vegan diet. The omnivores and vegetarians in the study were, on average, in the overweight category of the body mass index (BMI). It was only the vegans, on average, who were in the “ideal weight” category of the BMI.
With that, I turned to Dr. Garth Davis’ evidence based recommendations for weight loss. He’s a bariatric surgeon and author of Proteinaholic, published in 2015. He frequently lectures on the importance of a plant-based diet.
Here is what he tells his patients:
1. Any food that can be grown from the ground or in a tree or a vine is fair game.
2. Concentrate on a wide variety of fruits and veggies plus beans and whole grains.
3. Eat a serving of unsalted nuts and seeds daily.
4. Anything with a mother, or with eyes, should be eaten in a limited fashion, or avoided completely.
5. Avoid or significantly decrease dairy, as it comes from an animal and is designed specifically for the young of that animal.
6. Avoid refined or processed foods, including juices and oils.
He also notes evidence shows that most long-term successful “losers” get moderate exercise and don’t skip breakfast.
While it was sad to see the end of London’s vegan restaurant Veg Out, Glassroots has just opened in the same location on Richmond Street! Glassroots is dedicated to local, fully plant-based, innovative dishes, backed by an impressive Canada-only vegan wine list. Glassroots is a collaboration between classically trained, red seal Chef Yoda Olinyk, owner of Yoda’s Kitchen and Mike Fish, sommelier and Canadian Wine Specialist. Can’t wait to try it out!
David Suzuki on Veganism and the Environment
Acclaimed Canadian academic, science broadcaster and environmental activist David Suzuki recently shared his perspective on our diet and the environment. He stated that cutting down on or eliminating meat and other animal products from our diets is necessary for protecting humanity from runaway climate change — and from many other environmental consequences, including water scarcity, degraded ecosystems and pollution of waterways and oceans.
He pointed to a study by scientists at the U.K.’s Oxford Martin School that found global agriculture-related emissions could be cut by a third by 2050 if people followed simple health guidelines on meat consumption, by 63% with widespread adoption of a vegetarian diet and 70% with vegan. The authors found adopting healthier diets with less meat and animal products could also reduce global health-care costs by $1 billion a year by 2050.
He suggested we can do our part by at least cutting down on meat, especially red meat, or by taking the more significant step of adhering to a vegetarian or vegan diet. Click here to read his entire post. And for a comprehensive overview of all the ways our food choices impact the environment, check out Happy Happy Vegan’s post here. Hope you join us in the food revolution!
Long Weekend Grilled Salad
Thanks to Fiona for raving so much about this Oh She Glows salad that I finally gave it a go. So glad I did, because it is not only delicious but easy. The black beans make it into a meal. I’ve been broiling the veggies (and using frozen corn) instead of grilling. Either works!
- 6 ears of corn, husk removed
- Oil for brushing
- Fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 bell peppers (suggest 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 orange), quartered lengthwise
- 2 medium zucchinis, halved lengthwise
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 avocado, halved and pitted
- Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving (optional)
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 small garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
- 1 tsp maple syrup (or other sweetener like agave)
- 1/4 tsp fine-grain sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Make the grilled vegetables: Brush each ear of corn with some oil and season with salt and black pepper. Wrap each ear with foil, twisting the ends to secure.
2. Brush oil on each piece of bell pepper and zucchini and season with salt and black pepper.
3. Preheat a grill to medium for about 10 minutes. Place the corn, bell peppers, and zucchini on the grill, on the top rack, if possible. Grill for 10 to 15 minutes, rotating every 5 minutes. When the peppers and zucchini are lightly charred and tender, remove them from the grill and set aside on a platter. Continue grilling the corn for 10 to 15 minutes more, 20 to 25 minutes total. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
4. Make the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, maple syrup, salt and black pepper to taste.
5. To assemble the salad, stand each ear of corn in a shallow dish and, using a chef’s knife, remove the corn kernels from the cob by slicing downward along the length of the corn.
6. Chop the grilled bell peppers and zucchini and place them in a large bowl. Slice and add the avocado. Add the corn kernels, black beans and the dressing and toss to combine. Season with salt and black pepper. Add chopped cilantro if you wish.