A special welcome to my new subscribers from Robarts!  It was a great pleasure to share my passion for plant-based eating with you last week.  What a great time of year to consider the possibility of adding more plants to our diet.  We can enjoy local, seasonal produce to our hearts’ content, quite literally.  Wayne loves to garden and I love shopping at farmers markets.  And produce delivery services like On the Move Organics can also be a great option.  Read on for info about the power of plants!


Inflammation is our body’s response to injury or infection. While this normal immune system response is important for healing, sometimes inflammation can become chronic. Long-term inflammation plays a role in many major disease including:
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Some forms of arthritis (e.g. rheumatoid)

A literature review of the associations between dietary patterns and biomarkers of inflammation revealed that meat-based dietary patterns were associated with more inflammation, while vegetable and fruit-based diets were associated with less.

Meat may be associated with inflammation because of both the animal protein and the animal fat:

  • An interventional study evaluating the effects of vegetable and animal protein on inflammatory status in obese adults found a higher intake of animal protein was associated with higher levels of inflammatory markers.
  • Animal fats (primarily chicken and eggs) contain arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid that our body uses to produce inflammatory compounds.

Whole plant foods have anti-inflammatory effects, though some plants are better than others. In one interventional study, research subjects made to eat high antioxidant fruits and vegetables, like berries and greens, had significantly reduced systemic inflammation compared to subjects made to eat low antioxidant fruits and veggies, like bananas and lettuce.  Another study shows that eat just four servings of legumes a week—lentils, chickpeas, peas, beans—dropped C-reactive protein (a measure of inflammation) levels by 40% in two months.

So let’s focus on eating the antioxidant-rich foods, which are the colourful fruits and vegetables, such as leafy greens, avocados, beets and berries, as well as lentils and beans, nuts and seeds, whole grains, green tea, and certain spices, such as ginger and turmeric.

Eating You Alive

Great new documentaries about plant-based eating just keep coming!  We rented Eating You Alive on-line for $4 US on the weekend.  It’s an engaging mix of interviews with health experts about the benefits of plant-based eatinChecking out a VegFest is a fun way to explore the plant-based lifestyle through inspirational speakers, food demos, awesome food and much more.  The energy is always so positive.  Here are two that are coming right up.g, and motivating testimonials by those who have made the switch, including filmmaker James Cameron.  I highly recommend it.

VegFests Coming Right Up!

Checking out a VegFest is a fun way to explore the plant-based lifestyle through inspirational speakers, food demos, awesome food and much more.  The energy is always so positive.  Here are two that are coming right up.

Experience one of Canada’s premiere growing regions at Niagara VegFest.  June 3 involves wineries with vegan wine and food pairings throughout the region (purchase tickets in advance) and June 4 is the free main event at the Market Square.

This will be Sarnia VegFest’s first year!  It will be on Sat. July 9 in Canatara Park. There will be food demos, food trucks, film screenings and lots more.

Attention Londoners looking for delicious vegan food!  Join London Ontario Vegan Experience (L.O.V.E.) on Facebook “to explore the great and vast landscape of eating vegan.”  Thanks Susan for the great tip.

Big Easy

How could I have missed this?!  Our friend Su gave us the Super Fresh cookbook ages ago, but I only tried this fantastic salad recently.  It is very quick to make and it works well as a full meal because of the lentils.  This one is absolutely jam packed with those high-antioxidant award winners.
Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as an appetizer / side dish.

 Ingredients for salad

  • 1 can (19 oz/540 mL) brown lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1 cup diced English cucumber
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 2 cups mixed microgreens (arugula, sunflower sprouts, micro basil)
Combine all ingredients for salad.  Add minimal amount of dressing, since oil and sweeteners are processed foods.

Ingredients for Poppy Seed Dressing

  • 6 tbsp agave nectar (or maple syrup)
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds
Instructions for dressing:  Blend everything but oil and poppy seeds at high speed in a blender until smooth.  With the motor running, slowly add the oil – start with drops, then gradually increase to a thin stream-and blend until quite thick. Transfer to an air-tight container.  Add poppy seeds and stir well.  Keeps refrigerated for up to two weeks.