Categories
Media Release

Thought-provoking billboard urges Vancouverites to “Go Veg”

New Vancouver Humane Society ad campaign promotes kindness to all animals

Media release
July 23, 2020

Vancouver – A striking new billboard in downtown Vancouver is encouraging Vancouverites to treat farmed animals with the same compassion as other animals by transitioning to a plant-based diet. The billboard is part of The Vancouver Humane Society’s (VHS) new Go Veg campaign.

The billboard, which shows the faces of a cow and a dog with near-identical markings, states: “Animals are the same in all the ways that matter” and urges people to “Be kind to every kind.”

“Farmed animals are thinking, feeling beings, with complex emotional lives – just like the pets we open our homes and hearts to,” said VHS campaign director Emily Pickett. “They suffer greatly under today’s industrial animal agriculture system. Our Go Veg billboard calls on society to recognize that animals, regardless of the label they are given – farmed or companion – are the same in all the ways that matter.”

Pickett said that, in 2019, more than 830 million land animals were raised and slaughtered for food in Canada. “Our overconsumption of animal products has led to the rise of the industrial animal agriculture system, characterized by large numbers of animals confined in cramped, barren and unnatural environments and subject to painful procedures, lengthy transport journeys and frightening slaughter conditions.”

The billboard ad will run in select locations in Vancouver throughout the summer. In addition, VHS is running ads in 24 Vancouver condo buildings, also promoting a plant-based diet.

-ends-

Vancouver Humane Society billboard near the intersection of Georgia & Richards in Vancouver.
Categories
Food and Drink News/Blog plant-based diet Promoted Recipes Uncategorized vegan vegetarianism

Earth Day: Go plant-based for the planet

Today marks the 48th annual Earth Day celebration and around the world events and efforts will be taking place to draw attention to the need for stronger environmental protections.

As the global community reflects today on the increasingly sensitive state of the planet and what role we as individuals can play in tackling what can sometimes feel like an overwhelming issue, it’s important to remember that every time we sit down to eat, we have an opportunity to stand up for a better world.

Animal agriculture has been identified as a leading contributor not only to climate change, but to air and water pollution, water use, land degradation, deforestation and biodiversity decline.

In fact, animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire global transportation sector. This is because animal-based foods are incredibly inefficient to produce and are very resource-intensive. The processes involved when it comes to raising, transporting and slaughtering animals for food are responsible for potent greenhouse gas emissions including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. To put this in perspective, beef production requires 20 times more land and emits 20 times more greenhouse gas emissions per unit of edible protein than common plant-based protein sources such as beans, peas and lentils.[1]

The production of animal-based foods also requires and pollutes large amounts of water. Agriculture accounts for 92% of our global freshwater footprint; approximately one third relates to animal products.[2] The water footprint per gram of protein for milk, eggs and chicken is approximately 1.5 times larger than for pulses (beans, lentils, peas). For beef, it is six times larger than for pulses.[3] The sheer volume of animal waste, along with fertilizers and pesticides used for feed crops, as well as hormones and antibiotics used on livestock create major water pollution issues. These pollutants seep into waterways, threatening water quality, ecosystems and animal and human health.[4]

Meanwhile, animal agriculture is a key contributor to land degradation and deforestation, with one-quarter of the earth’s land surface (excluding Antarctica) being used as pastureland. [5] The conversion of natural habitat to accommodate livestock and feed crops puts immense pressure on wildlife that struggle to survive in increasingly fragmented and degraded environments. Ineffective and ill-informed cull programs put additional pressure on predator populations, due to the perceived threat they pose to livestock profits.

While our diet can be a major part of the problem when it comes to protecting the planet, that also means it is a crucial part of the solution. A 2016 Oxford Martin School study found that the adoption of global dietary guidelines would cut food-related emissions by 29%, vegetarian diets by 63%, and vegan diets by 70%.[6] By reducing and eliminating resource-intensive animal products from our diet and supporting efforts to make more sustainable plant-based foods widely accessible, we can drastically decrease our individual and societal environmental footprints.

This Earth Day, join the growing number of people around the world who are recognizing the power behind what we put on our plate. Take our Meatless Monday pledge for recipe ideas and download our Live Well booklet to learn more about a plant-based diet. You can also support VHS’s efforts to introduce more healthy, humane and sustainable plant-based menu options in schools and other institutions.

[1] http://www.wri.org/blog/2016/04/sustainable-diets-what-you-need-know-12-charts

[2] http://waterfootprint.org/media/downloads/Gerbens-et-al-2013-waterfootprint-poultry-pork-beef_1.pdf

[3] http://waterfootprint.org/en/water-footprint/product-water-footprint/water-footprint-crop-and-animal-products/

[4] http://www.fao.org/3/a-i7754e.pdf

[5] http://www.wri.org/blog/2016/04/sustainable-diets-what-you-need-know-12-charts

[6] https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/news/201603_Plant_based_diets

Categories
animal welfare compassion Food and Drink News/Blog plant-based diet Promoted vegan vegetarianism

Blue Heron Creamery – Vancouver’s first plant-based cheese shop

 

Blue Heron Creamery launched in 2016 as a vegan cheese-making and event catering company, but recently Chef Karen McAthy and her business partner Colin Medhurst announced that they will shortly be opening Vancouver’s first standalone vegan-cheese shop. We talked to Karen about the new storefront operation and about the growing appeal of plant-based cheese.

 

How did Blue Heron Creamery start?

I had been the executive chef of Graze Vegetarian (a vegan restaurant that closed in 2015). During my time there, I had wanted to offer a vegan charcuterie or antipasto board, but I didn’t really love what was available in the stores with respect to dairy-free, vegan cheese options. I have a background in fermentation, and such, so I began searching for ways to make something I would want to eat and to offer. So began what is essentially the first stage of Blue Heron r & d. I was very fortunate during that time, in that I had a young cook/chef from another restaurant who knew I was doing fermentation and culturing and reached out to ‘stage’ and Katie became an integral part of that early research. 

In late 2015, I moved to another vegan restaurant, but the interest and demand for the cheeses and other foods didn’t stop, so I began thinking about what I wanted to do with this process. In 2014, I had been approached by New Society Publishers to write a book about vegan cheese-making, and since I was doing ongoing research for the book, I was making cheeses and sharing them. By the spring of 2016, I knew that Blue Heron was the name I wanted (I have an abiding respect, admiration and appreciation for herons) Then I had the great fortune to reconnect with Colin Medhurst at an Erin Ireland event, Mindful Movie night. Colin had been a regular guest at Graze along with his wife at the time, and I had done some recipes for one of their e-books for Feed Life, their nutrition and wellness company. 

Reconnecting with Colin, put the whole project into a new motion, and we were so incredibly blessed to have the help, support and effort from Eden Chan and Zoe Peled in our first effort to get the company into a more formal place, and since then it has been a constant sense of growth and demand, and a multi-faceted learning curve!

 

What was the response from Vancouver consumers?

I would say we’ve been so fortunate to have support from so many people. I never assume everyone will like everything, so I am always happy when our products are well received. We have some products coming, such as our blue cheeses, that we know won’t be everyone’s preference, but that is okay too. 

It’s an interesting time to be producing a product that we know will make some people very happy, invite some skeptics, and, well, all the usual things that come with being in the food industry. 

 

How difficult is it to create cheeses that have the same appeal as their dairy equivalents?

Well, this may seem surprising to say, but that hasn’t necessarily been my overt goal. I am more interested in understanding what the microbes want to do with the plant-based mediums and what flavours and textures will be the result. My goal has been more to create cheeses, free from animal products, that can stand on their own. Some will occasionally feel familiar or taste a little similar, and some of that is because the microbes doing the culturing produce those same kinds of flavour and texture in dairy cheeses. I work primarily with cultured cheeses and that is the focus of the cheeses Blue Heron will be offering. So, it is a bit of an invitation to not compare and contrast (though this will be a little inevitable), but to taste something for its own characteristics.

This is a little different than some of the other vegan cheese producers out there, who are doing the work of trying to capture some nostalgia and familiarity of things that folks miss or think they will miss.

 

What made you decide to open a storefront operation in Vancouver?

We weren’t actually seeking to open a storefront in Vancouver, or anywhere really (at least not at this stage). We were looking for a larger, non-shared space to produce, and this opportunity just came up and it seemed like we should just go for it. We are right beside Friendly Snackbar, another vegan (and gluten-free) spot with amazing treats, and we really enjoy working with the folks attached to that project and the Wallflower Modern Diner, where owner Lisa Skelton has been incredibly supportive and encouraging among many other things. And, the neighbourhood, Mt. Pleasant, has been my home for more than 10 years, so it has a lot of appeal. 

 

Will you be expanding your product range?  (Some examples? – What’s most popular now?)

I have developed more than 20 styles of cheese that we will be releasing gradually. Some take a long time to age and will not be ready for release until the fall. Others, like our Cumulus (a coconut milk based cheese, presented in several flavours), along with our Smoke’n’Spice (sort of like a young smoked gouda), Forest (earthy and mild smoky notes), our coconut yogurt, cashew/coconut sour cream, cultured and non-cultured butters, and some other products of the non-cheese variety. 

Later in the year, we will be releasing some of our more ’boutique’ cheeses, the ones that take longer to age and develop, like our Beachwood (an almond-based cheese), our Ardea Blue (an ashed and wine washed blue cheese), and a couple of varieties of  bloomy-rinded camembert. 

 

What has been the biggest challenge In launching a plant-based business?

How do I communicate hysterical laughter in writing? First, there is never just one big challenge in this kind of enterprise, and sometimes they overlap and can be overwhelming. Vancouver is an expensive city. So, finding affordable, suitable space is immensely difficult. Food costs are an ongoing challenge for anyone working in the food industry, and trying to be mindful of things like wanting to minimize waste, and remain attendant to Fair Trade issues, and meet all regulatory requirements requires constant attention. 

The growing nature of a business partnership is a challenge and pleasure all at the same time, and good partnerships require as much attention and care as good friendships or other human relations, and are essential to the core of the business, but this isn’t a ‘bad’ challenge, just the reality. 

And, we make cultured food products, so if inventory is getting low, we can’t just ‘make more’ and have it be ready the next day… so we have the challenge of trying to keep all the layers of production moving so that we can meet a constantly increasing demand. 

Also, I am not sure that these challenges are any different than any other food business, the only one that I haven’t mentioned yet, that is different than some of the others, is that we need to be ready to inform, educate, and speak to what we are doing much more often and at much more length than some other food businesses. At tasting events we have participated in (some of the Gala’s that we’ve been at), we are often asked many more questions and need to be prepared for that… but this is actually a pleasure and worth it. 

 

Who buys plant-based cheeses?  (Just vegans or is the appeal wider?)

Since I was at Graze and through until now, our client base has been fairly wide ranging. We have many vegans, of course, and quite a lot of vegetarians who are transitioning to vegan. But we have a number of clients who are lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy proteins, and we have a growing number of food interested, food curious people who are spending more time thinking about where their food comes from, how it is prepared, and who like trying new things. 

 

Do you think the market for plant-based food will continue to grow?

I think the numbers speak for themselves. I don’t think the increase in plant-based, vegan products or lifestyle choices will be a trend, such as cupcakes (peaked then dropped a bit). With the UN posting reports about the impact of animal agriculture, increasing water insecurity due to human engagement and politics, and ever mainstreaming of some of the animal ethics concerns, I think the growth will continue. The Plant-based Foods Association identifies the dairy free sector to be selling several billion dollars globally by 2020, and vegan cheese is looking at global sales of $3.5 billion by 2024. I think other issues will arise, as they always do with rapid shifts in consumer changes. Commodity prices for the ingredients used in these products, and for the products coming from sensitive political and developing nations will pose some challenging questions around extraction and ensuring human rights and wellness of those related communities will become larger topics I am sure. 

 

What do think is driving the interest in plant-based products? – Animal welfare, health concerns, environmental concerns?)

I think there is more than one factor. For many years, it could have been said to be the primary influence was personal health and wellness, then environmental, and then animal welfare and rights, but the hard, diligent, difficult and tireless effort of so many activists and researchers and lawyers on the ground have been steadily having deeper reach, (my opinion) within larger parts of mainstream society. Animal Justice (Anna Pippus as a rep for them), The Furbearers Association, Van Chicken Save (all here in Vancouver), do constant work in this area, and folks like David Isbister of Plantbase Food and Products, aligns his business with animal activism, and while there is ongoing exercised dialogue between this realm and detractors, this dialogue also creates the opportunity for shifts in perception. 

No major changes, or perhaps very few, didn’t come without a number of different forces at play.  

 

Where do you see Blue Heron Creamery in five years?

We hope to be widely distributing across Canada and the U.S., and have licensing of our method to other companies in other countries, and develop our food education and innovation components. The course I teach in conjunction with my first book, The Art of Plant-based Cheesemaking is routinely full, and we are looking to develop an online course, along with several other courses… and Colin, co-author of the Juice Truck book and a certified health coach, and I want to develop some other ideas. 

We also want to be in a place to mentor and develop other vegan cheesemongers, and help develop the methods and practices of craft vegan cheese-making evolve and be understood as an evolution of cheese-making craft itself. 

I have a personal goal that I have had for much longer than Blue Heron, Soil (I won’t say much more here right now), but I am hoping that somehow Blue Heron will allow that project to sprout and grow. 

Blue Heron will open at 2410 Main Street in February.

Categories
Cruelty-free Food and Drink News/Blog plant-based diet Promoted vegan vegetarianism

Chickpea: plant-based comfort food with a Mediterranean twist

Photo: Hanna McLean

 

The Chickpea food truck has been a big hit with Vancouverites, who have been lining up for its Mediterranean-inspired vegetarian food since it opened for business in 2016.  Now, owners Rotem Tal and Itamar Shani have opened a restaurant on on Main Street that’s attracting diners with its popular plant-based comfort food.  VHS asked Rotem and Tal about their new venture and about their thoughts on plant-based dining in Vancouver.

 

The Chickpea food truck has obviously been popular and successful.  What made you decide to open a restaurant?

Having a brick and mortar shop was always our dream. We decided to start with a food truck so we could try out our recipes and gauge the public’s response. We were blown away and really excited by the immediate positive reactions to our food and the Chickpea culture. So moving to a restaurant happened sooner than expected. 

 

You recently announced on your website that the restaurant had “gone vegan” and removed all eggs from the menu. What prompted the change?

We both grew up in households where meat was a main ingredient. Individually, through our own personal experiences we each became vegetarian, however. As our business began to grow, so did our research into ethical and sustainable practices. Months ago we removed dairy from our truck’s menu, so it seemed only natural to remove all animal products and by-products from Chickpea before opening the restaurant. We care very much about how our business impacts our community and the world as a whole.

 

You describe Chickpea’s cuisine as “delicious vegetarian comfort food with a Mediterranean twist.” How have Vancouver diners reacted to your menu?

Now we’re vegan comfort food 😉 

The responses have always been positive. There was a bit of an uproar when we removed eggs from our Shakshuka (a dish that traditionally is made with eggs). But overall, people like our food regardless of their dietary restrictions, preferences or practices. In fact we hear a lot of meat-eaters telling us that they didn’t even notice that our meals are all plant-based. 

 

Are there any dishes that have proven to be particularly popular?

Our Falafel Pita is a truck and restaurant favourite, and our chickpea fries seem to be taking Vancouver by storm. If you’re at the restaurant we’re currently obsessed with the Shakshuka Chickpea fries. 

 

How would you describe the typical Chickpea customer?  Is there a predominant demographic?

One thing we love about Chickpea is that both our truck and restaurant see customers of all different walks of life. We feed adorable children, serious business people, colourful hippies, cute old couples, proud vegans, and everyone in-between. Our customers are united by their desire for delicious food and good vibes. 

 

Do you think vegan and vegetarian food is becoming more mainstream in Vancouver?  If so, why?

Globally, we are becoming more aware of our impact on the world and how we’ve lost touch with our roots. As we move together as a community to reduce our carbon footprint, our eating habits play an important role. Vancouver is constantly working towards becoming more environmentally conscious, so it makes sense that more people are reducing or eliminating their animal product/by-product consumption.

 

What have you enjoyed most about launching and building Chickpea as a business?

Chickpea is more than just food. We’ve worked hard to create a business that reflects our desire to promote love, joy and creative inspiration. As a result, it’s been an absolute pleasure meeting new people who also care deeply about our planet and connecting with one another. Also, through the truck we’ve been exposed to some really cool local initiatives and events. In addition, we continue to love creating a family with our staff, customers and community members.

 

What have the biggest challenges been?

Anyone who’s started a business knows how all encompassing it is. Before Chickpea, we were both really good at taking time for ourselves and spending time with our family and friends. We’re working hard to regain that balance. 

 

Do you have plans to expand Chickpea further?  What are your goals for the future? 

We are always discussing Chickpea’s future and new goals for the business. However, going back to our biggest challenges, for now we’re quite focused on having more quality time spent in nature with family and friends. 

 

What would you say to skeptical carnivores to convince them to try Chickpea?

Carnivores regularly eat at Chickpea. So instead of trying to convince them, we’re happy that we can show how accessible and delicious meat-less meals are. 

 

Chickpea is located at 4298 Main Street, Vancouver.
(604) 620-0602
info@ilovechickpea.ca

Photo: Hanna McLean

 

 

Categories
animal welfare Food and Drink News/Blog plant-based diet Promoted Recipes school Uncategorized vegan vegetarianism

Chartwells & Langara College Lead Lower Mainland Meatless Monday Effort

 

langara-blog-post3

It’s been over a year and a half since Vancouver’s Langara College became the first campus in Western Canada to join the globally popular Meatless Monday movement. The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) first introduced the initiative in March 2015 to Langara’s Environmental Club and food service provider, Chartwells. Both groups eagerly supported bringing it to the school’s cafeteria after learning about the impact of our society’s overconsumption of meat on animal welfare, the environment and public health.

“We felt this was a great opportunity to take a small, but powerful, step by raising awareness of the impact of our food choices and offering options to reduce that impact,” said Rizwan Bandali of Chartwells/Compass Group.

And seize that opportunity is exactly what Chartwells and Langara College did, with the introduction of delicious meatless menu items! The cafeteria kicks off each week with a wide variety of options, from roasted veggie paninis and mouth-watering curries to meatless meatballs, veg lasagna and creative tofu dishes.

langara-blog-post7Meatless Monday specials have been paired with eye-catching, educational posters aimed at raising awareness and boosting participation in the initiative. Statistics outlining water use and greenhouse gas emissions from meat production are another way the campaign extends education into the cafeteria and inspires individual action.

Chartwells reports sales have been steadily increasing and feedback regarding the meatless items has been very positive. So much so that the cafeteria recently began offering an additional daily hot vegetarian bar, adding even more meatless options to the menu.

Langara’s campaign has effectively blazed a trail for other Lower Mainland schools interested in taking similar steps to help protect animals, our health, and the planet. To date, the British Columbia Institute of Technology, Eric Hamber Secondary and Winston Churchill Secondary have implemented similar initiatives and others are set to join as well.langara-blog-post1

“We’re thrilled to see Meatless Monday catching on here in the Lower Mainland and we commend Chartwells Langara for helping make that possible. Factory farming, climate change and public health are major issues facing us today. They can seem overwhelming from an individual perspective, but when we realize that we can have a significant impact simply by what we choose to put on our plate, we can take steps to support a kinder, cleaner and healthier world,” said VHS Program Coordinator, Emily Pickett.

Follow Chartwells Langara’s lead by taking our online Meatless Monday pledge. We’ll share a weekly recipe to help you keep your commitment! You can also support our effort to bring Meatless Monday to more classrooms, cafeterias and communities by making a donation today. Interested in bringing Meatless Monday to your school, workplace, business or community? Get in touch with Program Coordinator, Emily Pickett, to learn more!

Categories
Cruelty-free Food and Drink News/Blog plant-based diet Promoted Uncategorized vegan vegetarianism

Where To Eat Vegan In Vancouver

VHS volunteer and blogger Patricia Charis is a huge lover of nature and animals, which ultimately led her to embrace a vegan lifestyle in an effort to protect animals, the planet and her health. She wrote this fantastic blog post, Where To Eat Vegan In Vancouver, about her cruelty-free adventures around the city and we just had to share it:


Since going vegan around 8 months ago (on September 1, 2015) it has been one food adventure after another. I have to say I am extremely blessed to be living in a city like Vancouver where vegan options abound, with a ton of vegetarian/vegan restaurants all over the city, and even non-veg places have been including more and more vegetarian/vegan options on their menus. And we aren’t even in the Happy Cow list of top 5 vegan-friendly cities in the world!

Today I would like to share with you some of these aforementioned food adventures, and some of my favourite places to eat Vegan in Vancouver! Enjoy:)

1. MeeT on Main (& MeeT in Gastown)

Safe to say that MeeT on Main and MeeT in Gastown have become two of my absolute favourite vegan places in Vancouver! In the past their menu included both vegetarian and vegan food, but recently they have updated (or shall I say, upgraded) their menu so that all of their items default to vegan (they do still carry dairy cheese, but it has to be specifically requested by a customer to be substituted in their meal, and even this is being phased out I believe). I am very impressed by this business for making such positive changes. Not to mention their Taco Tuesday ‘Ish Tacos (pictured below) are pretty friggin fantastic!

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 9.00.07 PM.png

2. Heirloom Vegetarian

Another amazing restaurant, located on 12th and Granville, is Heirloom Vegetarian. The atmosphere at this restaurant is the perfect combination of casual and classy, and the food is just the right mixture of delicious and super healthy (as long as you order from the vegan half of their menu). This picture here is of the very first meal I had in 2016 and it did not disappoint. I absolutely LOVE avocado toast, and this dish was elegant and delicious and I have been dreaming about it ever since. I have to say that so far Heirloom has been my favourite place for vegan brunch in Vancouver.

Heirloom - Avocado Toast.png

3. The Naam

The Naam, on 4th and Stephens St., is a favourite for vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. I have taken several non-vegan friends to this restaurant and it hasn’t disappointed anyone I know thus far. They are opened 24/7 and are often packed full with a line going out the door. Their Thai Noodles, pictured below, is my all-time favourite of their dishes, followed by the California Burger, as well as their Blueberry Soy Shake. The portion sizes at the Naam are quite large as you can see and I always leave super full and satisfied!

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 9.03.30 PM.png

4. Tera V Burger

My favourite place for vegan burgers in Vancouver? Tera V on West Broadway, hands down. The Smokey No Bull Burger with Daiya Cheese is SO legit, I can’t even tell you, you have to try it yourself. The burger patty is not like many veggie burgers I’ve encountered which, although still very yummy, tend to be a bit mushy and fall apart easily. The No Bull Burger patty has the perfect texture, and when covered in smokey BBQ sauce, it is just heavenly. Add to that a side of yam fries and I am a very happy vegan.

Tera V - Smokey No Bull and Yam Fries.png

6. Vegan Pizza House 

Think that vegans can’t eat pizza? Think again. We like our junk food too, and I can’t explain my delight when I found Vegan Pizza House, a cute little pizza place on Kingsway and Victoria. This place has been my absolute go-to when in need of an easy, convenient, and affordable meal to bring to parties or to just pig out on at home. There are 15 different pizza options, and I haven’t tried them all, but this picture is of the Mediterranean Special which is topped with artichoke, olives, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and onions, and covered in daiya cheese. When my mother first tried this pizza she didn’t even believe it was vegan and has asked for it on several occasions since!

Vegan Pizza House - Gourmet Special .png

6. Fairy Cakes 

I have a bit of a sentimental attachment to this little cafe on Fraser Street because my first experience with it was when I had vegan cupcakes sent to me on Valentine’s Day from my now fiancé (then long-distance boyfriend) two Valentine’s Days ago in 2015. I was vegetarian at the time but I was getting more and more into veganism, and was happily surprised with a delivery of a dozen super cute and delicious cupcakes (pretty much my favourite thing ever) on Valentine’s morning. Now that we are getting married in a few months we have ended up ordering our cupcake cake from Fairy Cakes as well. In addition to cupcakes, Fairy Cakes also makes cookies, cakes, cheesecakes, etc. They are 100% vegan, with gluten free options! Basically heaven on earth.

Fairy Cakes - Cupcakes.png

7. Nice Vice Creamery

Last but not least on this list of favourite vegan food spots in Vancouver is Nice Vice Creamery in Yaletown! This little ice cream shop opened up just this year and I have already been there on multiple occasions for their deliciously cruelty free ice cream. All of their ice creams are dairy, soy and gluten free, made with organic ingredients and are sooo good. Now you can enjoy your ice cream completely guilt free knowing that it is not only way healthier for you, but far kinder to the animals and the planet as well. The picture below is of the matcha avocado ice cream and was taken by my fiancé (stolen off of his Instagram account @echan037😛 ).

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 9.04.21 PM.png

So there you go, some of my favourite places to eat vegan food in Vancouver! A couple of honourable mentions which are also pretty fantastic:

3G Vegetarian on Cambie St. (super legit vegan Chinese food)

Chau Veggie Express on Victoria Dr. (Vietnamese pho and vermicelli, need I say more?)

Panz Veggie on Victoria Dr. (vegan hot pot!!)

Zend Conscious Lounge in Yaletown (amazing food, 100% of profits go to charity!)

Lotus Seed Vegetarian on Kingsway (sushi, burgers, burritos, pasta, curry, smoothies !!!)

Eternal Abundance on Commercial Dr. (super healthy raw & cooked vegan food)

Dharma Kitchen on West Broadway (Asian inspired burgers and curry bowls)

Categories
News/Blog Promoted Uncategorized vegetarianism

Almost 12 Million Canadians Now Vegetarian Or Trying To Eat Less Meat!

 

Canadians eating less meat

Action update: Check out our new Go Veg campaign

 

A new poll commissioned by the Vancouver Humane Society shows that 33 percent of Canadians, or almost 12 million, are either already vegetarian or are eating less meat.

That figure includes eight percent who identify as vegetarian or mostly vegetarian, as well as 25 percent who state that they are trying to eat less meat.

British Columbia is the most vegetarian-friendly province, with 13 percent of respondents identifying as vegetarian or mostly vegetarian and a further 26 percent trying to eat less meat.

Quebec and Ontario are not far behind. In Quebec, seven percent identify as vegetarian or mostly vegetarian, while a further 30 percent are trying to eat less meat. In Ontario, eight percent are vegetarian or mostly vegetarian and 23 percent are trying to eat less meat.

While younger Canadians are more likely to identify as vegetarian or mostly vegetarian, older Canadians are more likely to say that they are eating less meat. Of 18 to 34 year olds across the country, 12 percent are vegetarian or mostly vegetarian. For those 55 and up, 33 percent are trying to eat less meat, in addition to the five percent who identify as vegetarian or mostly vegetarian.

The poll, commissioned by VHS, was conducted online by Environics earlier this year, and surveyed 1507 Canadian adults.

There are so many reasons to reduce or eliminate animal products from our diets. With delicious and varied veg options increasingly available in supermarkets and restaurants, it has never been easier to explore compassionate food choices. For mouthwatering recipes and veg tips, please sign our Meatless Monday pledge!

Categories
News/Blog Promoted Uncategorized

From margins to mainstream: meat-free eating is on the rise

According to a recent Globe & Mail article, vegan cuisine has moved into the mainstream.  Certainly, no one can fail to notice the emergence of vegan and vegetarian restaurants (along with more meat-free options in conventional restaurants) and the availability of meat and dairy substitutes in supermarkets.  While the overwhelming majority of people are still carnivores, adopting a plant-based diet is no longer on the freakish fringe of lifestyle choices.

Using Google books Ngram Viewer, a digital tool that can track the historical frequency of words in a database of about six million books, it’s possible to see how the concept of meatless diets has advanced in our culture in recent decades. The charts below are roughly indicative, tracking several relevant terms:

 

 

Ngram veg track

 

Although “vegetarian” appears to dip after 2000:

 

 

 

 

Ngram Vegetarian to 2008

Rising concerns about the impact of meat consumption on animal welfare, the environment and health have no doubt played a role in increased public interest in plant-based diets. But despite this trend, global consumption of meat is accelerating because of increased demand in Asia.

Animal activists, environmentalists and health advocates promoting lower meat consumption have their work cut out for them.

VHS is committed to encouraging a plant-based diet and lower meat consumption to help end factory farm cruelty and reduce animal suffering and slaughter.

Check out our Eat Less Meat program.

.

 

Categories
animal welfare compassion Food and Drink News/Blog

Gardein: A pioneer in meat-free products

Gardein-pic-300x167

Gardein founder Yves Potvin talks to VHS about the popularity of meat alternatives.

VHS encourages people to transition to a plant-based diet because reducing or eliminating meat consumption ensures fewer animals will suffer on cruel factory farms or be killed in slaughterhouses.

But many people who have always had meat at the centre of their meals find making that transition difficult.  Sure, there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks and lots of resources online, but for those who don’t like cooking or are pressed for time it can still be a challenge.

This is where meat-free convenience foods have a role to play.  The market for these products is currently booming, with new producers emerging and established ones growing fast.  One of the most successful is B.C.’s own Gardein, which produces a wide range of plant-based foods (everything from Chick’n Scallopini to Stuffed Turk’y to Meatless Meatballs).  With most of its sales in the U.S., Gardein is now in more than 18,000 stores and sales are almost doubling every two years.

Gardein’s founder and president Yves Potvin met with VHS staff recently to discuss the growth in plant-based products and Gardein’s place in the market.  Potvin, who pioneered the first veggie dog with his previous company, says the meat alternatives industry, with about $1 billion in sales, is still relatively small but has great potential.  “The cattle meat business is over $100 billion, so we’re not even touching one per cent,” he says.  “It’s a young industry.” Nevertheless, Potvin sees encouraging precedents such as dairy alternatives (e.g. soy, almond milk), which he says is about eight per cent of the dairy market.

The growing demand for alternative sources of protein is being driven by several factors, says Potvin.  One is the unsustainability of meat production, which is environmentally damaging and resource intensive; another is the health risk associated with overconsumption of meat (obesity, heart disease, diabetes); and, of course, ethical concerns about eating animals, especially those raised on factory farms.

Potvin believes his customers, who are mostly between 18 and 40, understand these issues and are open to change.  “The young consumer gets it,” he says, adding that younger women are especially attracted to Gardein products’ low calorie count.  There’s no doubt that Gardein’s brand emphasizes healthy ingredients (such as non-GMO soy protein, organic ancient grain flour, wheat and pea proteins, vegetables) and health benefits (cholesterol free as well as trans and saturated fat free), but convenience is a major selling point.

“We are in the convenient food business,” says Potvin.  “We’re really into healthy, convenient food made from plant-based protein.”  But convenient, processed food has its critics – and Potvin takes them head on:

“There are the Michael Pollans of this world that say well, it’s processed food. Okay. Bread is processed. Pasta is processed. Our process is very similar to bread or pasta. If you eat bread or pasta, yes its processed food. And other arguments are ‘well why do you have to do it like a McDonald’s nugget?’. Well, one of the biggest things that I heard from consumers in their letters is ‘my son plays baseball and after the game we all end up at my house and if we have your nuggets the kids don’t know the difference.’ He’s happy. He fits in. It’s inclusive. “

“And let’s face it. When you finish a game of baseball you’re not going to go and eat kale!”

Gardein works to make its products fit into familiar, mainstream patterns of eating, avoiding the negative stereotyping of vegan and vegetarian foods.  “There’s a perception that you have to be wearing Birkenstocks or be a hippy to eat this kind of food,” says Potvin, explaining why it’s important to make people feel comfortable and at home with Gardein meals, right down to every detail of production.  “We use similar shapes and forms that people are accustomed to.”

But Potvin, a trained chef, is no enemy of traditional cooking from scratch. He simply acknowledges the reality of today’s culture, in which convenience food is a major element.  If people are going to eat it anyway, why not make it healthier, cruelty-free and environmentally friendly?

From VHS’s point of view, anything that reduces meat consumption and helps people transition to a plant-based diet is welcome.  For the billions of animals suffering on factory farms, the transition can’t come soon enough.

This article is from the current edition of VHS’s newsletter.

For more information on Gardein products visit www.gardein.com

For information on VHS’s Eat Less Meat project visit: https://vancouverhumanesociety.bc.ca/campaigns/eat-less-meat/

Categories
animal welfare compassion cruelty Food and Drink News/Blog

VHS bus ad now on Metro Vancouver routes

087Our ad “Food, Friend, Why?” is now on Translink diesel buses throughout Metro Vancouver.  The ad raises an important and provocative moral question: why do we eat one animal and befriend another? Most of us wouldn’t dream of eating a cat or a dog, but when one considers the intelligence and sentience of farmed animals, it doesn’t make sense to consider cows or pigs or chickens as somehow so different.

VHS-bus-ad-295x300

Thank you to the generous donors who made this ad possible.