The Mysteries of Food

by Carol Moshier on Flikr

People who know me know that I am a lazy bastard. So you can understand how the idea that a healthy vegan diet must be “planned” never flew too well with me. When I went vegan, I just decided to eat a variety of foods, light on the grains, and wait to see if I died.

It’s been sixteen years and so far, so good.

Still, I’ve always been kind of fascinated by all the myth and legend surrounding nutrition, and vegan nutrition in particular.

Chocolate is the real third food group.

Questions like:

1) Is processing food really the devil’s work, or can it be a good thing sometimes?
2) Is there any scientific evidence that people with certain blood types need to eat meat? Cause it sounds like crap to me.
3) Do we “absorb” things like calcium, iron and B12 better from animal than from vegetable products?
4) If I take vitamin supplements, is that the same thing as eating vitamin-rich foods? And should I take a multivitamin or high dose single vitamins (like B12)?
5) I heard that milk actually causes osteoporosis because it leaches calcium out of your bones. Is that true? Do other things leach calcium out of your bones?
6) What is the essential fatty acid stuff all about? I thought flax was good, but now I hear flax isn’t good. Also, people are taking spoonfuls of oils (e.g. Udo’s) and saying it is making them smarter. Have they completely lost their minds?
7) I hear that red meat is bad for colon cancer, but is white meat OK?
8 ) What makes me fat, fat or carbs?
9) Some of the things raw foodists say make me think they’ve been eating the crazy flakes. Is raw food really better for you? Is cooked food actually bad for you?
10) In the end, how much do we “really know” about nutrition?

Vesanto Melina, R.D.

If you’re likewise intrigued by the mysteries of food, this Monday’s event is for you. Vesanto Melina, registered dietician and co-author of such classics as Becoming Vegan and Becoming Raw will be giving a talk at the main branch of the Ottawa Public Library at 7pm. The talk, entitled “Veg Nutrition for Superb Health“, will answer many of your questions, and the reception afterwards will give you a chance to ask Vesanto whatever other questions you might have.

THe NCVA will be providing healthy treats for the reception. So far, we’ve lined up “burrito cornbread bites”, carrot cake, gluten free brownies and the ubiquitous veggies and dip. If you’ve got a favourite healthy and delicious finger food recipe that you’d like to bring, contact me at

Hope to see you there!

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