‘So what does a vegan eat anyway?’ is usually the first question I get when I tell people I’m vegan. That and a blank stare… usually filled with the fear of ‘oh God, is this girl gonna go into a diatribe about how meat is murder, I will PETA-spray-paint your fur coat and go through ALL the environmental reasons you must give up meat now’. If I’ve lost you… stay with me. Just for a few sentences more. I promise you this blog is not about that.
When I first became vegan 15 years ago, I struggled with the lifestyle. Genuinely asking myself and others, so what and where do I eat now? What do I do in social situations regarding eating? What does a vegan wear, where can I shop? Can I still eat honey; but what about the honeybees? The frenzy of questions was endless.
My blog is going to attempt to help answer some of those questions. It’s really a look at the vegan lifestyle, specifically, here in Toronto. From where to eat and places to shop, to which parts of the city are vegan friendly. Ultimately it is to help those interested, and living in Toronto to easier work our city into this lifestyle, to make it an easier transition as you benefit from my years of practical experience.
Recently even Jay Z and Beyonce were curious and tried a 22-day vegan challenge. (Although likely chomping down on their tofu and beans while wearing chinchilla fur). Just kidding Jay Z and Queen Bey!
But that raises the question, what is veganism? Some people treat it as a diet, simply for the nutritional benefits. For others it’s a lifestyle, forgoing any form of animal exploitation, a la Alicia Silverstone, who would masticate her baby’s food and spit it back into his mouth for the purist form of… Ok, I’m not sure why she was doing that.
Veganism has gained increasing interest with more options becoming available in recent years, as people have become more aware of animal cruelty within the mass farming industry, the nutritional benefits of a meat free diet as well as the massive ecological footprint it leaves on the planet as our meat eating population grows. – too preachy? I dunno, I wanted to elaborate on why it’s gained interest.
It’s a great time to be a vegan. When I first became vegan back in 2000 I remember visiting a raw food place (another post for another time). I remember ordering a “carrot cake”, which was literally grated carrot with icing sugar. At the time I thought, ‘f%&*ck, if this is what I have to eat I’m not gonna be able to do this’. But the food (including dessert) has gotten better over time. Now most vegans in Toronto can enjoy a “cheese and salami” platter paired with a slice of “tiramisu” cake, while wearing haute couture fashion from Stella McCartney and the latest animal friendly beauty regiment from such places as Lush.
Whether you are considering trying the diet but don’t know where to start, or you are vegan looking for camaraderie and support or you are like super couple Jay Z and Beyonce and want to dabble in it for 5 min…err, 22 days, I hope to provide some insights into the vegan life based on my own personal experiences. And hey, if you’re wondering “but how do you know plants don’t feel?” I don’t know but assume the fact that they don’t have a central nervous system means they probably don’t… but full disclosure… I don’t have a science background.
Thoughts? Questions? Comments? All are welcome, even from meat-loving individuals!
Featured image via simpsons.wikia.com.