Tag Archives: food

Vancouver’s Zero Waste Market

Zero Waste Market

Here’s a new business that I’m really excited about – Vancouver’s Zero Waste Market. The idea is a grocery store that completely avoids packaging. You have to bring your own containers and fill them from their bulk bins.

They don’t have a store front yet (they said they’re considering locations in Kitsilano, Olympic Village, and Main). In the meantime, they’ve been operating monthly pop-up shops in the Patagonia store on 4th Avenue and advertising on it Facebook.

I didn’t know what to expect, so I grabbed a bunch of empty jars from our cupboards and a few cloth bags.
Empty Jars

I was able to fill them with quinoa, dried mango, dried pineapple, walnuts, chocolate, cranberries, hemp seeds, mushrooms, and a red onion.
Zero Waste Market Purchases

Most of the waste we generate at home is food packaging. If we were able to eliminate that, we would be close to a zero-waste family.

Eating Vegan in Newfoundland

Only Good Vegan Food in Western Newfoundland
Before leaving on our trip, Emily loaded up our suitcases with vegan staples – almond milk, chia seeds, trail mix, Lara bars, dehydrated camping meals, and vitamin B12 supplements. I made fun of her for worrying more about food in Newfoundland than she did when we travelled to Peru or Vietnam. Turns out she was right to worry. Vegetarian cuisine, never mind vegan, is almost non-existent in Western Newfoundland.

Vegetarian Chili?We survived by choosing accommodations with kitchens and cooking our own meals. We tried to eat out as much as we could, but only found vegan food twice. Java Jacks in Rocky Harbour had vegan cakes, pictured above, that were amazing. All the food was fresh and flavourful. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for our meal at the Lighkeepers Restaurant. They served us reheated frozen vegetables that were soggy and tasteless and a vegetarian chili that was mostly rice with 5 kidney beans, tomato sauce, and only a few vegetables.

We had a bit more luck shopping at grocery stores. The Foodlands in Deer Lake and St. Anthony are well stocked with basics. We bought vegetables, almond milk, granola, chickpeas, coconut milk, rice pasta, peanut butter, and bread. Inside Gros Morne Park there is only convenience stores, but you can still get some fresh vegetables, pasta, cereal, and canned beans.
Berry Hill Campground CookingRoasted Yams on the Fire

Vegan, Soy-Free Cooking

Lasagna
I was cooking up a storm today. I made a vegan, soy-free, gluten-free lasagna and apple strudel. I made the lasagna with gluten-free noodles, loads of veggies (eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini, peppers, carrots, and tomatoes), fake vegan ricotta I made with cashews and nutritional yeast, and Daiya cheese on top. I’m testing the lasagna out on non-vegan friends tomorrow night.

Apple Strudel
Cooking InjuriesFor dessert, I made a sugar-free, vegan apple and quince strudel that turned out really nice. The only downside to all the cooking is I had a few mishaps with knives and sliced up my fingers pretty good. Occupational hazard I guess.

And in other exciting food news, I found I found vegan sausages at Whole Foods that are soy-free! They use wheat gluten, aka seitan. Most seitan products also have soy, so I was excited to find these. The sausages are made by Field Roast Grain Meat Co. based in Seattle. We fried some up for dinner, and they’re really good.

Elimination Diet Recap

Captain ColanderLast fall, Emily and I went on an elimination diet. The results were surprising, and I’ve discovered a few foods that bother me. I still have a few questions, but here’s what I’ve learned.

When Emily and I embarked on our dietary adventure, we spent 2 weeks eating a bland diet of mostly rice, beans, and vegetables. Then we started reintroducing foods, starting with tofu and then adding in eggs, gluten, dairy, nightshades, corn, citric fruits, peanuts, and sugar – with 3 days in between each new food. Throughout the whole process, we kept a detailed log of everything we ate, the hours we spent sleeping and exercising, how we felt, bowel habits, skin rashes, you name it.

Before we started, I expected to have problems with lactose and Emily was avoiding wheat and gluten. After 6 weeks on our elimination diet, Emily was able to reintroduce everything, including gluten, without any negative reactions but I had problems with soy, dairy, and eggs. My reactions included skin rashes and problems with my digestive system.

The elimination diet is setup to isolate the affect of each potential allergen, but when I started having digestive problems or skin rashes, my immediate reaction was to blame it on something other than the new food. The skin rashes only showed up on my hands, so I figured the cause was more likely environmental than food related. The digestive problems were obviously food related, but soy is such a huge part of a vegetarian diet that I didn’t want to believe it was the cause of my problems.

(Warning: gross details to follow.)
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Vancouver Farmer’s Market Raffle

Farmer's Market Raffle

We won this month’s raffle! I’m so excited and overwhelmed. We already bought everything we wanted from this week’s farmer’s market in the morning, and then they called to let us know we won the raffle. Now we have more food and goodies then we know what to do with.

To celebrate (and use the food) we’re having friends over for dinner tonight and brunch tomorrow morning. Who’s hungry?

Dinner tonight included some of the beets and leeks, and we had the Bean Boy dip as an appetizer. We’re going to make quiche and omelettes for breakfast.

Included in the basket:
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Gluten-Free, Vegan Ukrainian Christmas Eve Dinner

Main Course
I didn’t go home to Manitoba for Christmas this year, which meant I missed the traditional Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner and the time spent playing board games in Baba’s basement. In an attempt to reproduce that in Vancouver, Emily and I hosted her family for a Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner. Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner is traditionally a 12-course “vegetarian” meal (which includes fish), but we had the additional complication of making it vegan and gluten-free.

Our menu for the evening included:

  1. Borscht
  2. Perogies
  3. Holubtsi (cabbage rolls)
  4. Mushroom Gravy
  5. Sauerkraut
  6. Pickled Garlic Scapes
  7. Maple Glazed Salmon
  8. White Beans
  9. Salad
  10. Baked Apples

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Radha’s Cooking Classes – Alternative Baking

Radha is one of my favourite vegetarian restaurants in Vancouver. The chefs at Radha push the boundaries of vegan baking, offer raw food options, and get the most out of seasonally available local foods.

On Sunday mornings, Radha offers cooking classes on a wide variety of topics – upcoming classes include “Seasonal Soups”, “Lentils and Beans”, and “Hors d’Oeuvres & Canapés”. A few weeks ago Emily and I attended a course on “Alternative Baking” instructed by Andrea Potter, which focused on baking without using the normal ingredients – sugar, white flour, eggs, and milk.

It is probably worth noting that the cooking classes offered at Radha are more instructional then hands-on. Most of time was spent discussion ingredients and watching Adrea bake. The only interactive parts were eating (they feed you lunch plus we got to try all of the deserts that were made during the course), and decorating cupcakes.

At the beginning of our class, Andrea asked us each to talk about why were there and what we were hoping to learn. Most of the attendees were interested in gluten-free baking because they either had wheat sensitivities, were celiac, or often baked for someone who couldn’t eat gluten. It really seems that gluten-free baking has taken off in the last few years (people are even raising their kids wheat-free), but people are still trying to figure out how to do it successfully.
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