NCVA at the Go Green Expo

NCVA volunteers Michelle and Pamela get a taste of Pea in a Pod.

It took close to 20 volunteers and nearly 1,000 vegan cookies, but the NCVA recently participated in the Go Green Expo at Lansdowne Park with some pretty fabulous results.

Aside from Veg Fest, the Go Green Expo was one of the biggest outreach events that the NCVA has ever participated in.  It was a two day event, and it attracted thousands of visitors.  During most parts of the event, the NCVA table had at least several visitors at any given time.  And, Ottawa was introduced to the NCVA’s friendly helper, Pea in a Pod.

NCVA volunteer Madeleine.

We sold quite a few of our “Eat like you give a damn” t-shirts, and added a number of new members.  But the best part was having the opportunity to tak to dozens, if not hundreds of people about the NCVA and living the veg lifestyle in Ottawa.  Our volunteers came away totally enthused.

WOOHOO! It was fun!” wrote one of the NCVA’s newest volunteers, Madeleine.

Had so much fun and met such great people at Go Green today! Everyone loves vegan cookies!” wrote Julia on Facebook.

Had a great time with the NCVA at the Go Green Expo- and met some nice new volunteers,” opined President Josh.

NCVA dynamo Erin giving her demo at the Go Green Expo.

NCVA volunteers Erin and Deb also put on fabulous afternoon food demos, a lovely and cruelty-free contrast to the meat and dairy demos given in the morning. On Saturday Deb Gleason demoed Veganize Your Brunch: Learn How to Prepare French Toast, Omelets & Tofu Chocolate Cheesecake and on Sunday Erin O’Sullivan was going to demo A Vegan Dinner: Spicy Peanut Soup, Curried Vegetable Pie & Orange Sweet Potato Cake With Raspberry Sauce, but ultimately modified to better fit the half hour time frame.

NCVA volunteers also handed out lots of 1/4 page leaflets encouraging people to come to Veg Fest on May 1.

NCVA Cupcake Challenge – Meet Our Judges – Part 1 – Auntie Loo

Hey everyone,

We’ve had such an AMAZING response to the Cupcake Challenge and we’re really looking forward to seeing and of course TASTING all your creations!

For those of you that haven’t signed up for a chance to have your cupcake named Ottawa’s best vegan cupcake, please click here

We kick off the Meet Our Judges series with none other than Ottawa’s own queen of vegan cupcakes….Auntie Loo!

Auntie Loo’s is a small vegan bakery here in Ottawa. Ms. Loo learned to cook at the knees of her family members, and the majority of what she produces are these very recipes- veganized! Auntie Loo firmly believes that if you want a dessert, it had better taste like one. Auntie Loo’s uses organic products whenever possible, and works with and purchases from small local businesses.

Most people want to know the story, so here it is: Put up to having a vegan treat table at the 2004 Ladyfest Ottawa Craft Sale by her sweet-toothed roommates, Ms. Loo had never even considered baking as a career. Overwhelmed by the response, Auntie Loo’s was born.

Nowadays, Auntie Loo’s Treats can be found in several locations around Ottawa, including her storefront at 507 Bronson Avenue.

Can vegans drink beer?

Well, the short answer is yes, they have the capacity to drink beer, and yes, they do drink beer, but I guess the real question is:

Is beer vegan?

And more generally…

Does my liquor have animal in it?

It may be somewhat painful for the vegan beer-drinking enthusiast to ask the question, but most vegans are in essence truth-seekers, and as such we like to know what exactly is impacted by the choices we make, particularly the food and drink choices. For example, some vegans do not eat cane sugar (of your standard white variety), since it may have been processed with charcoal made from animal bones (a.k.a. “bone char”). It would be logical to assume then that these vegans would also not be ok with drinking beer that contains dairy or honey, or is filtered using fish or eggs. Here are two examples of animal-derived products that are used to filter beers:

  • Isinglass is a common additive to beer used for filtering the yeast from certain beer so that it doesn’t look cloudy. It is made from fish bladders.
  • Glycerol monostearate (animal-derived) may be used by brewers to form foam (“head”) on a beer after being poured.

The good news is, there are veg alternatives to using many of the animal-unfriendly filtering methods, and there is a wide selection of beers that do not add honey or dairy or use animal products in their filtering methods. Not surprisingly however, finding out whether your beer has beast is not straightforward. Most companies do not advertise the animal or animal-derived products on their ingredients label and even if a beer is vegetarian, it is rare that it is touted as such. So avoiding animal products at bars and pubs becomes even more tricky. Thankfully, there are websites dedicated to helping you determine if your drink is truly vegan (e.g., Barnivore). If this concerns you, you may want to consider learning a sublist of vegan beers before a night out on the town with friends. It is highly not recommended to ask your bartender or server if the beer on tap is vegetarian. You will get blank stares from the staff and perhaps some mocking remark from a companion. (We haven’t gotten to that level of understanding just yet!)

In anticipation of our very exciting pub night coming up this Thursday, March 24 from 6:30pm-9:30pm at the Lieutenant’s Pump (361 Elgin St.)–dont you dare miss it–I have provided a selection below of beers offered at the Pump that are claimed to be vegan and others that clearly are not. This way, we will all feel comfortable on Thursday (and any future day) to drink, be merry, and most importantly, be veg!

Veg*n:

  • Heineken
  • Tankhouse
  • Mill St. Organic
  • Alexander Keith’s
  • Coors Light
  • Creemore
  • St. Ambroise
  • Molson Canadian
  • Labatt Blue
  • Corona
  • Carlsberg (Canada)
  • Stella Artois
  • Steam Whistle

NOT Veg*n:

  • Guiness
  • Smithwicks
  • Strongbow

I think if you get a domestic beer, you’re probably safe. It’s the imported beers (especially from Britain) that tend to be iffy.

Similar to the beer-making process, wine is clarified sometimes using animal products (like isinglass, gelatin, or egg albumen). Likewise, some liquors may have animal ingredients in them or be produced by using animal products for processing or filtration. Thankfully for liquor, it seems to be less common (e.g., compared to wine or beer).

NCVA Pub Night at The Lieutenant’s Pump

Mark your calendars and ensure your presence at the next NCVA pub night!

The Lieutenant’s Pump venue has various veg*n options on their menu for those who come with an appetite.

PLEASE RSVP if you are coming to the event since we must reserve a spot for you in advance! Email us at ncva.avcn (at) gmail.com (don’t forget to replace the @ symbol where needed) to confirm or join the Facebook event.

(You can’t go wrong with veg*ns and beer.)

Thursday, March 24 from 6:30pm-9:30pm at 361 Elgin St.

Don’t miss the NCVA at the Go Green Expo

By Pamela

The third annual Go Green Expo is this coming weekend (March 19 and 20) at Lansdowne Park, and for the first time the NCVA will be participating as an exhibitor.

This interactive two-day show is dedicated to providing consumers with the latest information, environmentally friendly products and services, and alternatives that are available for going green and helping the planet one step at a time. The NCVA will be there to promote the many benefits of plant-based diets, including the environmental ones. Even the United Nations is calling on people to adopt plant based diets to avoid environmental catastrophe (read this article for additional information.)

It’s a fabulous opportunity for us to reacher a wider audience, and benefit from the publicity leading up to the show. We are hoping to do our traditional vegan cookie outreach, so if you’re able to help us out swing by the table with your contribution so that we can show as many people as possible that vegan = delicious. Or, just come by to say hello, talk to NCVA volunteers, or become a member.

Erin
Erin O'Sullivan

In addition to exhibiting, the NCVA has two volunteers giving food demonstrations at the Taste of Green Cooking Theatre. On Saturday at 2:15 the NCVA’s Deb Gleason will demo Veganize Your Brunch: Learn How to Prepare French Toast, Omelets & Tofu Chocolate Cheesecake and on Sunday also at 2:15, Erin O’Sullivan will demo A Vegan Dinner: Spicy Peanut Soup, Curried Vegetable Pie & Orange Sweet Potato Cake With Raspberry Sauce.

Deb Gleason

Vegans will have a strong presence at the Taste of Green Cooking Theatre; Ottawa’s beloved Auntie Loo will also be presenting on both Saturday and Sunday at 1:30, and SimplyRaw’s Natasha Kyssa will be presenting on Saturday at 3:30. Auntie Loo’s demo is called Gluten Free Vanilla Lemon Cake: Cooking Without Dairy, Eggs or Wheat Products and Natasha’s is SimplyRaw, Simply Delicious…Finally Real Foods!

Admission is free, but donations to WaterCan in celebration of World Water Day are encouraged.

Introducing the NCVA’s new Prez and Board

Hard at work, making important decisions

The NCVA held its Annual General Meeting last night at Green Earth Vegetarian Restaurant. Part of that included electing a new board of directors.  With long-time president Pamela Eadie resigning, Josh Flower became the new president (see more on Josh below.)

The new board is as follows:

Josh Flower: President
Corrie Rabbe: Vice President
Kim Marston: Secretary
Neil Harvey: Treasurer
Pamela Eadie: Communications
Erin O’Sullivan: Restaurant Outreach
Nadia Walcott: Business Development
David Fournier: Events/Translation

Introducing the new Prez: Josh Flower

Who is this guy? Oh right, the NCVA's new president, Josh Flower.

Josh Flower is the NCVA’s new volunteer president, taking the helm in March 2011. He is a committed vegan of nine years who became involved with the NCVA in early 2010.

“I first became aware of the NCVA in 2009 when I attended the inaugural Veg Fest,” Josh says. “You can imagine my surprise as I walked into the Glebe Community Centre which was filled to capacity with businesses, revelers and volunteers! I couldn’t believe my eyes. The festival had an extremely professional feel, and the energy was incredible. I walked around, stopping at each exhibitor, taking it all in. After one loop I walked around again to have another look. I couldn’t get enough.”

It inspired him to become a volunteer, and he quickly became an integral part of the NCVA. When the existing president wanted to “retire,” with his enthusiasm and can-do attitude, Josh was an obvious successor. “I feel fortunate to take on this role when the NCVA has never been stronger. In the past year we have welcomed some exceptional volunteers, and our collective commitment to the cause is at an all-time high,” Josh says. He is looking forward to continuing the NCVA’s good work, while also ensuring the organization has a broad-based approach going forward.

He is currently the president of Canadian operations with JobServe, a UK-based job board, where he is responsible for growing their business in Canada. He has previously held positions in the recruitment and banking industries.

Josh was born in London England and grew up in the Ottawa area. He is a graduate of Algonquin College and lived in Calgary and Toronto before returning to Ottawa to raise his family. He lives in the West end with his wife Jenny, their two children, and their cat and dog.

In his spare time Josh enjoys spending time with family and friends, meeting interesting people, listening to music and exercising.

The NCVA's board of directors. Back, from left to right: David Fournier, Kim Marston, Neil Harvey, Pamela Eadie and Josh Flower. Front left to right: Erin O'Sullivan, Corrie Rabbie and Nadia Walcott.

Meet Dr. Kerrie at Ottawa Veg Fest

The NCVA is very happy to have secured VegNews columnist Dr. Kerrie Saunders, MS, LLP, PhD as our third Veg Fest speaker.

Dr. Kerrie Saunders MS, LLP, PhD is the author of “The Vegan Diet as Chronic Disease Prevention” (Lantern Books), a must-have resource for anyone serious about health. This physician-patient resource book was published in 2003 and is currently in its third printing.

She began her career in 1987 as a Master’s level clinical psychologist. After post-graduate work in research at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, she earned her Doctoral degree in Natural Health.

Dr. Saunders is one of four Global Diabetes Moderators for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. She is an internationally known presenter and author with work featured in numerous newspapers, magazines, e-zines, and on radio. She has presented to audiences from Hawaii to Toronto, and her popular advice column “Dear Dr. Kerrie” has been regularly featured in the award-winning vegan lifestyle magazine, VegNews.

While working as the Food and Fitness Consultant at the McIntyre Health Center for Integrated Medicine, she earned the nickname, “Dr. Food.” Dr. Saunders teaches clients and medical professionals to use controllable lifestyle factors like food and fitness to help prevent or reverse food cravings and many chronic disease processes like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, IBS and obesity.

At Veg Fest, Dr. Saunders’ presentation will be about using diet as a method of disease prevention. For more on her visit www.drfood.citymax.com/

Another Veg Fest speaker to announce

The NCVA is pleased to announce that Deb Gleason will be one of our Veg Fest speakers.

Deb Gleason

Deb is a certified holistic nutritionist, vegan triathlete and yoga teacher as well as co-founder of Wellness Warrior, a wellness and multisport performance coaching business. She has significant experience working for environmental and animal welfare non-profit organizations.

Deb is a non-profit leader, former Homicide Detective, and International Animal Rescue Technician. She believes that when we choose to eat what truly nourishes our bodies, and what causes the least harm to our planet and the animals we share it with – we truly thrive.

Deb will be delivering a presentation on everything you need to know to start cooking delicious, easy vegan meals that will truly nourish you, make you feel fantastic and reduce your impact on the planet. “The time has never been better to embrace this clean, holistic and conscientious way to eat,” she says.

A Mexican pub night… con muchos amigos.

Ahora restaurant
NCVA Pub Night at Ahora

Although we had to change venues last minute and we arrived to half the number of tables we had reserved at Ahora restaurant for the pub night, it was, as expected, a huge success. Clearly, little will deter veg*ns from social drinking and Mexican food. The atmosphere was cozy. The restaurant was packed. And we dominated the booth section, to the extent that we had to ask some omnis to move to another table to accommodate our significant numbers.

Some expressed disappointment that Burrito Borracho hadn’t finished its renovations in time to host us, but hopefully the knowledge that they will be ready soon and that I plan to have an upcoming pub night there once they are should alleviate any long term symptoms of related sadness.

In any event, we made up for it easily at Ahora restaurant with plenty of conversation and good times, even if you may have had to sit on the lap of another veg*n stranger in the beginning. The initial forced intimacy of the event only helped develop the ongoing relaxed atmosphere later. Well, that and the beer.

If you sadly missed out on this pub night, stay tuned for the next one. I can’t imagine coping with missing two in a row.

Vegetarian….haggis?

By Kim

Vegetarian Haggis. You read correctly. Now, how can one make a vegetarian version of a sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs, cooked with oats, suet, onion, and spices in a sheep’s stomach?

I really would like to know so I can make some and eat it next Robbie Burns Day. Although, why would I even try to make it when I can buy it in a can at the Scottish and Irish Store for only $7.99!? Seriously guys, this stuff exists. And yes, I have tried it. Yesterday.

There is not much I can write about. I was hoping that this can of haggis would blow my mind and I would be able to write a thesis-length blog post about it. Nope.

On the can, it said to eat it with mashed turnip or mashed potatoes (Neeps or Tatties). I wasn’t about to be having two piles of mush for dinner, so I made home fries to accompany my brown mush haggis. It also said, on the can, that you can add mustard to the haggis for flavour. I put a dollop of fine Dijon mustard on top. Lovely. And, since I don’t like scotch, Kyle drank some for me. A nice glass of Smokehead, straight up.

Haggis with neeps and tatties.

That’s it. Nothing much to say. It tasted like refried beans with a different seasoning. Maybe if you are Scottish you might like it.

If you want, you can make it at home. Here is a recipe I found:

Vegan Haggis

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Finely chop ½ of one small onion, ½ of one carrot and ¼ cup of mushrooms.

Heat 1 TB of sunflower oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, carrots and mushrooms. Sauté gently for 5 to 10 minutes or until the onion is clear and the carrots are tender.

Add ¼ cup of red lentils and 1 ½ cups of vegetable stock to the skillet. Combine 1/8 cup of red kidney beans to ½ cup of vegetable stock and mash the mixture to form a thick paste in a small mixing bowl.

Add the bean paste, ¼ cup of ground peanuts, 1/8 cup of ground hazelnuts, 2 TB of soy sauce, 1 TB of lemon juice, 2 TB of dried thyme, 1 TB of dried rosemary and a pinch of cayenne pepper to the skillet. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add 1 cup of ground oatmeal to the skillet. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Add a few tablespoons of water if the mixture becomes too thick.

Spray a one-pound loaf pan with cooking spray to coat. Transfer the vegetarian haggis mixture to the pan and place it in the pre-heated oven. Bake for 30 minutes.

Serve with Neeps and Tatties and a glass of scotch.