Fact: I spent eight years as a vegetarian.
Fact: Bacon and hamburgers are now two favourite foods.
If you’d like to know more about how this exactly happened, you can read about it here. Even though I love my meat now, I was still pumped for Toronto’s Vegetarian Food Fair.
There were a lot of veggies…
…and Simply Bars!
…and blogger friends!!
But first, we start at the beginning.
The fair runs all weekend and kicked off early Friday evening with an event I absolutely could not miss.
Brendan Brazier is the author of The Thrive Diet, the man behind Vega food products and one of the world’s only Ironman triathletes who follows a plant-based diet. I’ve read a couple of his books now. Even though I could never follow his diet exactly, I really love his reasoning behind why he does what he does. He mostly talked about the key ideas in The Thrive Diet. It was neat to hear it come from Brendan himself and a welcome reminder that food is so important to how our bodies function! Here some points to remember I wrote down:
- Many people look to food for energy, but it’s just as important to conserve energy as it is to consume it. Try not to eat foods that require extra energy to digest (ie highly processed foods)
- We are a generation and nation of people who are both obese and malnourished. Many people overeat because they think they feel hungry. However, oftentimes it’s a chemical in our brain that is signalling that it wants nutrients, not just any old food.
- 48% of stress is attributed to diet. Yes, our food is causing us stress. Cortisol is a hormone released when we are stressed, causing weight gain and the body to retain fat (adipose tissue).
- Reducing stress (and eating well) will help you go into the delta phase when sleeping. You will go into a deeper sleep, thus needing fewer hours of sleep as opposed to more hours of lighter sleep. This deep sleep also allows your body to repair more quickly from exercise and training.
- The increase in osteoporosis is not necessarily linked to a lack of calcium in our diets, but rather losing calcium in our bones. Today’s typical diet is high in acidic foods which take calcium from our skeleton. Dairy being one of the most acidic of foods (go figure). It’s important to get plenty of alkaline foods like green vegetables to counterbalance that.
- In terms of athletic performance, it is really important to eat foods that reduce inflammation caused by training. Processed foods, such as protein isolates, don’t actually help muscle inflammation. Better quality and whole proteins (he used hemp as an example) are better for muscle repair.
- Studies have shown that cheese triggers a chemical reaction in the brain when you eat it. So yes, it’s possible to be addicted to cheese ;)
Neat, eh? I’m particularly interested in this now both because I’m doing a nutrition course, but also because I have vegetarian/vegan/raw clients. I want to know how they can get the most out of their diets!
After seeing Brendan speak, I wandered around the fair for a bit. I got my posture checked by the network spinal analysis booth. I would best describe it as a hippie chiropractor without the cracking ;) My sister swears by this method as a means to realign your spine, so I was already interested!
They took my photo and analyzed it for me. Apparently my left shoulder droops and my hips pop out too much in the front. Verrrry interesting.
Meghan is a Toronto-based nutritionist who I know from her blog Making Love in the Kitchen. Her demo was so fun! Not to mention, we got to try some of the goodies ;)
Homemade granola (delicious).
A healthy “cookie.”
More wandering ensued. You know that saying “like a kid in a candy store?”
It should be changed to “like food bloggers at a food fair” ;)
Samples included but were not limited to…
Hemp seed butter. I was shocked by how much I liked this!
Kale chips and veggie crackers. Big thumbs up to the ketchup kale chips. Gotta love Canadian health food companies.
Best sample of both Friday and Saturday was Coconut Bliss ice cream.
Made with coconut milk instead of cow’s cream. I have an aversion to heavy creams and loved the coconut flavour in these!
After much sampling, we decided it was time for a real meal. It was off to the food tent chock full of vegetarian and vegan fare.
A lot of the food was Mexican, Indian or Chinese, which while meat-free, isn’t necessarily light on the tummy. I instead opted for a Garden Salad Roll.
Eaten on the lawn in front of the music stage.
With a side of overpriced melon.
Do not be fooled, we were not in a grassy field like the above photos suggest. But on a sprawl of fake green turf in the middle of a city.
It was somewhere around here where I said goodbye to my bloggie friends and got to work!
The next three hours consisted of me chopping up millions of little samples to hand out to the eager fair-goers.
We also sampled the new Simply Protein Oatmeal. I got a bag today and I am pumped to try it!!
As well as a peanut butter coconut pea protein bar for those who can’t eat soy. It’s good. A lot heartier than the regular soy bar, which is very light and crispy.
Overall, I had a blast hanging out at the fair and then working at one of the booths. It’s so wonderful to be surrounded by people who are as into food, and healthy food, as I am! Even if they’re…uh…a little more enthusiastic.
Just don’t tell him I came home from the veggie fair and ate a chicken sandwich ;)