Toronto's Raw/Vegan Festival

June 10, 2012

This past weekend, Patricio, my mother and I went to the Raw/Vegan Festival held in Toronto. (We forgot our camera, forgive us.) It was quite an educational (i.e. I did not realize that dehydrated food was still considered raw) and fun first experience, with plenty of free samples and wholesale prices (no taxes!). I wasn't particularly wowed by the venue, which I felt was inadequate for the number of guests who attend, especially for the demos and workshops.

I have been experimenting with raw and no-bake snacks for the past few months, and saw many similar variations of the recipes I've been using being sold. I love to incorporate raw food into our daily lives, and believe that it has many, many health benefits! But am not about to give up cooked food entirely any time soon, not when I've just discovered so many delicious new vegan recipes!

At the festival, we went to one demo presented by Doug Mcnish, a young vegan chef with a healthy and positive attitude towards raw food. I love the motto on his website that "Good food isn't cheap, and cheap food isn't good." Reminds me of a conversation I recently had with my good friend Vivi (check out her 40s/50s inspired blog, Ring-a-Ding Dolly!) about how indifferent our society can be about what they put into their bodies as long as it's a good deal or tastes good.

Doug's cookbook Eat Raw, Eat Well offers easy, simple recipes, as well as explaining how organic, vegan and raw food can benefit your overall health (he speaks from personal experience, having struggled with weight before adapting a healthy vegan diet). Obviously we can't all afford a 100% organic diet (I know I can't), and in an ideal world there wouldn't even be a need for food to be termed "organic" to know that we aren't putting pesticides or genetically modified organisms into our bodies (such food should not exist!), but it does not mean we can't thrive on a healthy, beneficial plant-based diet.

We did not buy as much as we would have liked as we could not afford as much as we would have liked. But our modest "haul" from the event included:

CocoVie's Coconut Jam (with vanilla!), which caused such a sensory overload when I sampled it that my eyes started to tear up. "CocoVie's Coconut jam - so good, it makes you cry!" We had some with organic red delicious apple slices today - perfection.
Guests received a free sample pouch of Manitoba Harvest's Hemp Hearts. We've gotten into the habit of sprinkling these onto oatmeal, cereal, and even blending them into smoothies. Patricio ate the contents of a pouch on its own while we were downtown for a much-needed energy boost. They are delicious, and full of heart-healthy protein (containing all 10 essential amino acids!), omega-3, omega-6, and the list goes on.

Kale is so hot right now. I worked in a grocery store to support myself during my college years when kale was just gaining popularity - all the health-conscious elderly customers bought it. I didn't try it until last summer, raw, and thought it tasted like fresh black pepper (not my favourite flavour). However, since we took on a vegan diet, I love to experiment with steamed or cooked kale. I love it cooked with mashed potatoes (it has such a great texture combined with the potato skins), or served, steamed, over baked potatoes with sea salt, or mixed into stir-fry.

Anyway, the above picture is of Solar Raw Food's Ultimate Kale chips (we got a much better price than that). My mother treated us to a bag of the Hemp Cream & Chives, and Better Than Cheddar flavours, which we have yet to open because they are so precious to us.

I just got a food processor as an early birthday present that I have been coveting for months (no more trying evenly process the contents of date squares in a blender!), next on my list is a dehydrator so I can exist in a world of kale chip heaven.

1 comment :

  1. Kale chips! I have a recipe saved for them but they're baked and you have to use oil to get them crispy. I would love to try the dehydrated kind, so much healthier. I will be keeping my eyes peeled for a dehydrator to make them and for dried fruit for road snacks and homemade cereal! Yum!