Hello friends!

Wayne and I just returned from a wonderful week in Portland, Oregon!  Portland is known to be one of the world’s most vegan friendly cities, which is what drew me to it.  For Wayne, it was the phenomenal windsurfing.  Portland is often recognized as one of the most environmentally conscious cities in the world, and indeed, in addition to offering a huge array of delicious plant based eating options (including vegan food trucks!), the city is very walkable, there are oodles of well used, decent bike lanes and many parks.  So great to experience it – I know that slowly but surely all cities will head in this direction.  And if you didn’t see it in the news, check out below the vision for one particular major Italian city!

Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is the 6th leading cause of death in Canada – an estimated 3.4 million people (9.4%) have diabetes. And the incidence is rising at an alarming rate.  About 90% of these diabetics are type 2.

The complications of diabetes are serious and include:

  • Blindness
  • Kidney failure
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Poor circulation leading to possible poor healing of injuries and possible amputation

So what can be done to stem the tide?  Carrying excess body fat is the #1 risk factor for type 2 diabetes.  Up to 90% of those who develop the disease are overweight.

I previously mentioned that vegans have the lowest BMI compared to people following other diets, and is the only group to have, on average, a BMI in the “ideal” range.  You will see below that an analysis* of 89,000 Californians shows that vegans also have 78% risk reduction for diabetes compared to omnivores.  Quite remarkable!  The risk reduction may not only be related to the lower BMI.  The difference between animal and plant fats may also factor in.

* Am J Clin Nutr. 2009; 89(5):1607S-1612S

Italian City Makes Headlines

The new mayor of Turin, Italy, made headlines last week for her plans to make the metropolitan capital a meat-free city.  Mayor Chiara Appendino vowed to make the production of meat- and dairy-free diets a priority of her administration – a first-ever inclusion in the goals of local Italian government. Her party’s manifesto states, “The promotion of vegan and vegetarian diets is a fundamental act in safeguarding our environment, the health of our citizens, and the welfare of our animals.”  Bravo!

Summer Festivals Near You

I attended Plantstock in upstate New York in 2013 and loved every minute of it.  If you are veg-curious and like the idea of spending a weekend attending talks given by plant-based greats (think Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn, Michael Greger) and food demos in a beautiful outdoor venue with all meals provided, consider attending this event August 20-21.

And another fun way to explore plant-based eating is to check out your local VegFest.  Click here for a VegFest listing to get you started.  Most are free and include vendors selling food, as well as engaging speakers and workshops.  Toronto’s VegFest (September 9-11) is North America’s largest.

Next year we hope to make it to Vegetarian Summerfest held on the University of Pittsburgh Campus in Johnstown, PA.  The ticket gets us in for 3 or 5 days and includes accommodations on campus (a 650-acre mountaintop wildlife preserve with 40 acres of hiking trails) and all meals.  I have heard it is amazing!

Holiday weekend deliciousness ahead…

My family is coming to our cottage for the upcoming long weekend.  We’ll be feasting  on corn on the cob, green beans, cherries and anything else we can get our hands on from the surrounding farms, including the ingredients for these barbecued veggie kabobs:
Preheat the BBQ over medium-low heat. Chop bell peppers, red onion, zucchini and mushrooms into desired sizes and place on vegetable skewers. Brush oil on veggies to coat all sides and season with salt and pepper. Grill the kabobs for around 15 minutes, rotating every 5 minutes. You may want to grill for the first 10 minutes on the top rack, then move them to the bottom rack for the last 3-5 minutes. I like mine with a side of hummus and/or rice.

Alongside, we’ll grill some Field Roast grain based sausages, available at Whole Foods and most health-food stores.

Judith and her family recently raved about campfire baked apples so I plan to give those a try.  But what about the beloved campfire staple, the S’more? We’ve impressed many a cottage guest with our vegan version.  We use dairy free chocolate bars, which are not hard to find.  My favourite is Camino dark chocolate with only 55% cacao, so is not bitter.  I buy them cheaply at Bulk Barn, but they are also sold at some health food stores.  Dandies brand marshmallows are gelatin free and sold at Goodness Me and some health food stores.  While this doesn’t qualify as a “whole food”, but rather a special indulgence, give it a try at your next gathering around the campfire!