Tuesday, 30 June 2015

8 Reasons Why I'm A Vegetarian

I am a supporter of anyone who eats meat in moderation and from sustainable sources but for many reasons I am not a meat eater. I have been a vegetarian since 2002 (with a couple breaks here and there) and to me it is completely normal now and not difficult at all. Which is why I was surprised when people mentioned it would be difficult to eat locally and maintain a vegetarian diet. I only eat local, organic dairy and farm fresh free range eggs because it fits with the local side of my diet so really I am a hybrid Vega-Locavore!

Friends Not Food
Here are my reasons for being a vegetarian (they have changed a bit since I was 12):
  1. Save the planet! 
    • Vegans and vegetarians cut out emissions associated with meat production, and those are big numbers! Meat consumptions comes out to about 14.5% of total co2 emissions (that's as much as all the cars on the road!) So eat less meat, make less gas, help reduce climate change, save the planet!  
  2. I don't want to support the industrial agricultural system. 
    • That promotes meat consumption in excess and heavily processed foods. Whole foods and organics are a priority for me so a vegetarian diet makes sense. 
  3. For my health
    • Less cholesterol, less chemicals, lower in fat, less sodium, less processed....the list continues of the health benefits of plant based diets. Switching to vegetarianism can decrease your chances of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure in half. 
  4. Animals are my friends
  5. Pet or Meat? 
    • Why we love dogs, eat pigs and wear cows is a really interesting Ted talk you should check out if you are thinking about making the switch away from eating animals (or if you are just cool and like Ted talks).  I first became a vegetarian because of my love of animals and that aspect will always be in mind when considering food. 
  6. If I can't kill it I can't eat it. 
    • The only way to be really responsible for your food is by growing/raising your own. Then you can understand how it came to be and respect it. Therefore by not having the stomach to raise my own meat to slaughter I will remain vegetarian. 
  7. Vegetables are better for the environment
    •  Growing vegetables takes less energy, water and space than livestock. It takes 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 lb. of meat or 25 gallons to produce 1 lb. of wheat. On the same parcel of land you can grow 100's of times more vegetables then meat, so over all vegetable production is a better use of our precious resources.  
  8. Feed the world
    • We can consider the amount of deforestation, water and waste involved with growing crops to feed livestock, crops that could go to feed the worlds poor and hungry. We currently grow enough food to feed all of earths inhabitants if we were just more efficient  in its use. 
  9. Feel better
    • Being conscious of my food choices and and knowing where and how my food was produced gives me piece of mind so being a local vegetarian lets me rest easy. 

Have a lovely day,

Melanie XX

"Violence begins with the fork." -Mahatma Gandhi 

Saturday, 20 June 2015

6 Places Where Locavores are Normal

It may seem like the local food movement is a budding trend but in reality it is a way of living that traces back to our origins as human beings. Even 50 years ago 'local' was what was available and what you could afford and it hasn't been until modern technologies and transportation advances has led us to the global market economy we live in today, where local became a trendy thing to do. In North America we take this mostly for granted, feeding into the global economy by making things like banana's and orange juice part of our daily diets increasing our dependancy on imported foods. Though North American's eat largely global diet's there are still cultures around the world that can support themselves from the food they produce.

Here are places/cultures where local eating is the norm, even today:
Pisa, Italy 
  • Italy
    • To Italians local means fresh ingredients and campanilismo 'pride of place'. If you look at traditional Italian foods they are based on ingredients found somewhere in the boot. The Italian diet is based not only on fresh organic produce but the the seasons and the menu's fluctuate based on what is fresh and in season locally. 
  • Amish- Pennsylvania Dutch 
    • As the reigning homesteaders the Amish usually have sizeable gardens and farms to grow/raise their own food. The Amish eat only in season because of this and can large quantities of food to last through the winter. Their connection to food comes from a religious connection with God and nature so eating locally is morally right to them. 
  • Bolivia
    • Last year the Bolivian government banned McDonalds from their country. That goes a long way in saying they denounce foreign corporations and want to maintain local food cultures for their peoples. Bolivian's are proud nationalists and therefore eat in season, local produce in most meals. 
  • Singapore
    •  Full of fanciful smells and colours, Singaporean cuisine combines local and foreign flavours infusisions for true taste experiences. Selecting from hawker food stalls you can benefit from ordering directly from the chef and supporting a food economy heavily influenced by local and available ingredients. 
  • Cuba

    • Havana, Cuba
    • With the sanctions placed on Cuba in the 60's the country learned how to produce their own goods to survive. Now Cuba make's everything from Tylenol to cheese all by themselves and is a great example of a modern society that has not embraced globalization. Their cuisine reflects this with it's local spices and produce with infusions from other caribbean countries. 
It look's like I have a few places to add to my bucket list! 

Happy travels,


"Food is a central activity of mankind and one of the single most significant trademarks of a culture" - Mark Kurlansky

Friday, 12 June 2015

From Party Girl to Locavore


A wise teacher of mine sent me an article called: From Drunk Dude to Dude Making a Difference, to show I wasn't alone in my struggle to live better. And after reading I realized how far I had come from a corporate, self centred urbanite to...well a locavore. I wasn't necessarily a drunk chick and my house is way bigger than a shed but I can definitely see a bit of me in this blog. I worked in corporate sales for and airline, partied with my friends, ate crappy food, shopped all my money away (and built debt) and Toronto was my whole world. I might have still been doing that today if heart break and boredom did not push me to make a change.

I travelled (nothing new there lots of people do this everyday day), I ate meat, breaking from my decade long vegetarian diet and I had experiences. Travelling expanded my horizons and made me think more about others, made me realize possibilities and allowed me to be who I wanted to be. When I returned to Canada I had a goal of learning more and finding out what I wanted to dedicate my life to.

University has been a trans-formative experience for me. Not only have I changed most of my consumer behaviours but I am closer to finding a 'calling' then I have ever been before. Turning my interests into work and manoeuvring the student life had changed me for the better. I began to care, about something other than myself.

Ok, so I haven't changed entirely (as you can see from the photos) but how far it seems I've come from my old self. Instead of hopping on the subway I bike, instead of designer purses I thrift, instead of creating debt I am eliminating it and instead of sugary cocktails I drink local wines and beers. I care about something other than my own existence and work at making the world a better place.

This year as a Locavore has changed me too. Learning there is another way to live is the first step in changing yourself. Ten months later I know the end of my challenge is approaching but I don't feel like it will deter me from the lifestyle I have come to appreciate.

Have a lovely day,

Melanie XX

"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself" - Leo Tolstoy

Thursday, 4 June 2015

5 Things I Will Only Buy Used (and 5 I Will Not)

There are now things I have discovered are so much smarter to buy used that I will never (ever) buy them new again. Here is my top 5 list:
  1. Clothes
    • Jeans are a hard thing to find used but with enough perseverance you can find anything at a thrift store and as most fashions are revivals of previous looks you can even be more authentic! + Halloween Costumes! 
  2. Sheets
    • So much cheaper to find sheets used. I recently upgraded to a California King bed that I inherited in a move and I was a little worried about finding sheets for this gargantuan. Lucky me I got the last set at St. Vincent de Paul's! 
  3. Books
    • Why would I ever want to buy a book again? I visit the library and second hand book stores for my literary needs. Where I thought it would be difficult was in University but I've usually wound up sharing a textbook with a few other people to avoid buying my own. 
  4. Dishes
    • Vintage and antique dishware can be found for pennies compared to newer items. You can often get a full set of dish't in perfect condition for less then the cost of a plate at the retail store. And super cute too! 
  5. Designers
    • Consignment! When I lived in Toronto my friends and I would save up for our yearly trip to the outlet malls in Niagara Falls. Not any more now that I have discovered the miracle that is consignment stores.  Not only do I find beautiful pieces, they are also wayyy less expensive then even the outlet prices will ever be. Take that big industry!
We all have our lines that we just wont cross, here is a list of mine when shopping at the thrift store and how I have become creative in finding alternatives
  1. Pillows
    • I still have not been able to get over the idea of buying used pillows that someone else has drueled into at night before you. Still what is a locavore to do? I have managed to inherit the pillows I currently have but it leaves me searching for a more sustainable solution to newer ones.
  2. Shoes
    • Ok, I will buy shoes like  high heals or flats used but maybe not walking shoes or Birkenstock's that have been worn in enough to remember their previous owner's steps... 
  3. Underwear
    • I will not buy underwear second hand and as a consequence am running very low on my supply. Instead I had these beauties hand made by my dear friend at Wolfe & Hardy Co. It may cost a bit more, but totally worth it in the long run. 
  4. Makeup
    • Used makeup just dosn't seem sanitary...On a recent trip I found this local homemade makeup company and I love the stuff I picked up! Check it out if you are in Seattle- Atomic Cosmetics
  5. Hair Brush
    • Dido with hair accessories 

Happy hunting, 

Melanie XX

"Everything I buy is vintage and smells funny. Maybe that's why I don't have a boyfriend." -Lucy Liu (and probably me too)