Category Archives: Vegetarian Living

Veg in France – progress amid resistance

ONA is the first vegan restaurant in France to earn a prestigious Michelin star/ Cécile Labonne

Lyonnaise cuisine is world renowned, with a particular emphasis on meat. When in 2019 France introduced an experiment (which ends in October 2021) to offer children a vegetarian option at all school cafeterias, there was an outcry of resistance which has recently focused Lyons. In February, Grégory Doucet, the mayor of Lyon, announced that the city’s school cafeterias would temporarily stop serving meat every day, initially to make it easier to comply with pandemic regulations, but also due to the mayor’s own environmental leanings.

The mayors edict sparked a local backlash. Farmers rolled out tractors to occupy city hall, and government ministers accused the mayor of harming children. Parents signed petitions and sued the city. The minister of the interior called the decision “an unacceptable insult to French farmers.”

Yet while meat is part of traditional French Cuisine, change is coming to France. For instance, a vegan restaurant, ONA, based in the south western town of Arès, near Bordeaux, recently made history in France by winning a coveted Michelin star. Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, one of the most famous cooking schools in France and in the world, now has a program called Cordon Vert to train chefs in vegetarian cuisine.

Brigitte Bardo in 1960s

It’s important to note that there has always been a vegetarian element in France. For instance Jean Jacques Rousseau, a political philosopher famous in French history and a vegetarian himself, advocated for a vegetarian diet for children. I think it would fair to say that if Rousseau were in Lyons today he would be siding with those enacting vegetarian meals for the school children in Lyons.

Today, the famous actress and animal rights activist, Brigitte Bardo carries a movement started long ago. Bardo has acted in 47 movies, performed in several musicals and recorded more than 60 songs. In 1986, she established the Brigitte Bardot Foundation for the Welfare and Protection of Animals and became a vegetarian. Even to this day, at the age of 86, she continues to advocate for animals.

Vegan soft serve is spreading

Dairy-free ice cream has just gone soft on us. We’ve had delicious traditional dairy-free ice cream available in many locations for some time. Many people also like what’s commonly called “soft serve.” We’re lucky to have so many brands to choose from and we’ve been able to enjoy them, pre-Covid, in many places, but we haven’t yet seen them in baseball stadiums. That’s changing!

One company making soft serve, Oatly, will now be serving their soft serve ice cream at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, and at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. What a treat for Cubs and Rangers fans! Mike Messersmith, Oatly North American President, said “More and more, people are choosing to eat more plant-based, even at the ballpark….Globe Life Field is a great place to make that choice, and we’re excited for Rangers fans to try Oatly in a whole new way with our soft serve.”

It seems that many of us will finally be able to go see baseball this summer. How about it, Mariners? Seattle has long been know as a cutting edge city so its baseball stadium should be cutting edge as well. Vegetarian and vegan food options are available at The Natural food stand at T-Mobile Park, but wouldn’t it be great if they could top that off with soft serve dairy-free ice cream!

What should vegetarians eat?

The following is an extract from our book, Say No to Meat: The 411 on Ditching Meat and Going Veg

Here’s the secret formula. Vegetarians should base their diet around five key food groups – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans) and nuts and seeds. As long as you eat a variety of different foods from these groups, you should get all the nutrition you need. The plate diagram below shows the relative importance of each group. Aim to get several portions of vegetables and at least 3 portions of whole grains, fruits, and legumes every day. Nuts and seeds are healthy foods, but it’s easy to eat too much of these – three times a week is sufficient. 

Don’t forget your nutritional insurance. Life often gets busy and we can’t always pay as much attention to our diet as we need, so we also recommend that you take a good one-a-day type multi-vitamin, for nutritional insurance. Make sure that it contains vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

Be smart with spices. Use herbs and spices to add flavor and variety to your food. Herbs are very healthy, but go easy on the salt since it can raise your blood pressure and forces your kidneys to work overtime.

Moderate amounts of vegetable oils and sweeteners such as maple syrup, rice syrup, sugar or agave nectar, rather than sugar or artificial sweeteners, are OK when called for by recipes. Don’t forget that chocolate is also a vegetarian product and dark chocolate is particularly healthy (in small doses!).

They’re not kidding when they say that our bodies are mostly made up of water. Water is an important component of a healthy diet.  Aim for at least 6-8 cups a day.

See our Frequently Asked Questions, to learn more about basic nutrition and what vegetarians and vegans eat.

Vegetarians in Brazil?

There’s a vegetarian revolution in Brazil. Vegetarians in Brazil? Yup.

While Brazil is famous for its meat and for burning down the Amazon rainforest, the number of vegetarians in Brazil is increasing rapidly. The number of vegetarians in Brazil has doubled in the past six years, which has given rise to a booming plant-based industry that is seeking to make meatpacking plants obsolete. Are you ready for this? 30 million people, or 14 percent of Brazilians, reported being vegetarian or vegan in 2018.

“We’re going through a revolution,” said Bruno Fonseca, a co-founder of New Butchers, one of several new Brazilian companies that make plant-based versions of animal-based protein, including burgers, chicken breast alternatives and even salmon.

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Paying for meat’s damage to the environment

The production of meat and dairy products are causing a fortune’s worth of damage due to their effect on global warming. While estimates vary, up to 51% of all greenhouse gases are said to be produced as a result of animal agriculture.

Here’s something to think about. What would happen to the price of meat and dairy products if we included the cost of the damage done by the greenhouse emissions generated from raising meat and dairy? It turns out that the prices would go sky high. It’s estimated that the price of meat would increase by 146% and the price of dairy would rise by 91% if we charged food production companies for their impact on climate change, while the cost of plant-based foods would increase by only 6%. As you can see there’s a big difference.

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Dinner and Discussion – Wednesday October 20, 6:30pm

People eating at a circular table
8 people sitting at rectangular dinner table

We invite you to join us online on the 3rd Wednesday of each month.  Let’s have dinner together and share our experiences and challenges in choosing a veg lifestyle, plus we’ll have our popular monthly speech on an interesting vegetarian topic by our president, Amanda.

Please join us! This is a free online event, but please register beforehand for your personal link. We’ll look forward to seeing you there!

Register for this event

Seven myths that need busting

There is plenty of misinformation and myths that cause needless confusion about vegetarian diets, as people try to justify their meat-eating habits. For some people it’s only myths that keep them from the health benefits, environmental advantages and the compassion of  a vegetarian diet. So, let’s do some myth busting!

Myth 1 – It’s unnatural to follow a plant-based diet.

We evolved as plant-eating beings. Meat eating is comparatively recent in human history. Our bodies have inherited 35 million years of plant-eating primate evolution. We only started eating meat out of desperation when living in colder climates, where there was insufficient plant-based food to get through the winter.

While the way we get our food has changed in recent years, our bodies remain the same. These days, the grocery stores are full of plenty of options and we no longer need to choose between eating meat and starvation. While we can get away with eating small quantities of meat, when we eat large quantities of meat over many years, our health suffers.

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New York state requires vegan options

A new law in New York state came into effect on December 6 that requires all hospitals in the state to make a vegan option available for every meal they serve.  All meals and snacks must include an option that is completely free from animal products and these options must be available at no extra cost. They must include the plant-based options on all written materials and menus.

This is very exciting because it gives physicians the opportunity to discuss with their patients the power of a plant-based meal to prevent and treat diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and many other chronic conditions. More than 1.5 million New Yorkers have heart disease and diabetes, and these account for 40 percent of deaths in the state. COVID-19 comorbidity figures indicate that a large proportion of those who have died from the virus have conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes, so anything that can be done to encourage plant-based eating will help reduce the risks of these comorbidities.

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1 in 5 Brits choose Vegan Christmas Dinner

Vegan is not just catching on here in America. Other countries are even more enthusiastic. According to a recent poll, 20 percent of people in Great Britain will prepare an entirely vegan Christmas dinner this year. One in five people surveyed said that they would prepare entirely vegan products this year, even if only one of their guests will be vegan.

While 2-3% of Brits are currently vegan, research shows that the number of vegans and vegetarians is growing rapidly, and they look set to make up a quarter of the British population by 2025.  Every year, hundreds of thousands of Brits sign up for the Veganuary pledge to embrace plant-based diets for a month, and the numbers are growing rapidly every year with 72% of them planning to continue with a vegan diet even after Veganuary. The environmental message has really been taken to heart, and of course the British have always been big animal lovers, leading to a lot of interest in how to save both the animals and the Earth.

The side benefit to this is that they will also benefit their health as well. Come on America, we can do this too!

Special Vegan Pre-Thanksgiving Event

Celebrating Thanksgiving together with other non-meat-eaters is an important event on our calendar. We can’t gather in person this year, but we can still celebrate Thanksgiving time together online.

Join us online, Sunday November 22, 6pm to celebrate delicious food together. We have put together an exciting program for you, which includes all your favorite parts of our regular dinners, including a choice of socializing with people at your table (in breakout rooms on Zoom) or listening to live music while you eat, followed by a speech by President of Vegetarians of Washington, Amanda.

Live music will be provided by noted guitarist, Doug Zangar. Most highly regarded, Doug Zangar has played with a wide variety of the world’s most famous musicians including Pavorotti, the Shirelles, the 5th Dimension, the Drifters and the Jazz Police. 

Register for this event

Of course, we’re not able to serve you the food this year, but we have two ways to make the food at this event special. We have put together some Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes for you to prepare, or if you don’t wish to cook, we have negotiated a special discount for a prepared “plant-forward holiday meal” that you can have delivered to your home or collect from a convenient store.

Prepare your own meal

Check out our Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes – including a special soup, salad, stuffed squash and vegan pumpkin pie. If you’d like to learn more about how to make these recipes, don’t miss Amanda’s Cooking Classes which are being held over two zoom sessions Tuesday Nov 17, 6pm and Friday Nov 20, 4:30pm. Register for cooking classes. Of course, you can also prepare Tofurky, Celebration Roast, and some other favorite dishes instead if you prefer.

Special discount for prepared meal

Performance Kitchen Crafted offers a premium, small batch, prepared fresh, frozen range of meals. These meals are prepared in small batches in their micro-craft kitchen in Burien, WA, and then flash frozen to lock in all the favor and nutrition. They use minimally processed clean ingredients, cook with healthy oils, and limit sodium and sugar. Meals are available from 6 stores in Seattle, Burien and East Side, from local grocery stores such as QFC, or by special delivery.

Performance Kitchen are offering a special 10% discount to all Vegetarians of Washington members and friends on their vegan meal options using the special coupon code: Vegofwa10 In particular, they are offering a “plant-forward holiday meal” which includes:

  • Sweet Potato and Lentil Shepherds Pie,
  • Roasted Root Vegetables
  • Butternut Squash Soup
  • Roasted Brussel Sprouts
  • Flourless Apple Crisp

This special bundle option serves 4 people and costs only $36.37, with discount. Many other vegan dishes are also available to order.

All meals are provided frozen, and can be picked up from any of their stores in Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, Mercer Island, Burien, Kirkland or Redmond. Delivery is available by courier within the cities listed above, or by 1-2 day shipping further afield. Delivery fees are waived for orders over $98.

Since they get busy around the holidays, they request that orders be placed by Tuesday Nov 17, for delivery or pickup in time for our special event on Sunday Nov 22, 6pm. The coupon will remain valid through the Thanksgiving Holiday period, if you prefer to use it on another occasion.

Orders can be placed online, called in by phone to any of the following Performance Kitchen or Eat Local stores, or by visiting the store:

Remember to Register for our Special Pre-Thanksgiving event on Sunday Nov 22, 6pm.

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