Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tommy's Restaurant in Cleveland Heights

On my third day in Cleveland, I finally made it to the famous ”Tommy’s” restaurant in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. The menu was amazing and full of great vegan dishes as well as ‘normal’ food for my boys. The pricing was quite reasonable with hardly an item over $10.

I had an A.J. Wrap and a Not Dog. An A.J. Wrap is a wheat wrap filled with black bean chili, pickles, brown rice, veggies & lettuce. A Not Dog is a veggie hotdog made with tofu and spices and served on a whole wheat bun. It comes with a great garlicy sauce but I didn’t ask exactly what it was. Both were great.

It was also one of the only places in Cleveland where I didn’t get a strange look when asking for Green Tea.

It was a great restaurant and it lived up to all my expectations. The little neighbourhood it was located in kind of reminded me of Kensington Market in Toronto. They have a little give shop with clothing items. I was hoping they would have had a recipe book, but it wasn’t to be.

Check out their website for a detailed menu and history of the restaurant.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Nasty Post Comments - Love It!

It was a proud moment for me today when I checked Being A Vegan Athlete and I'd received a malicious, negative comment to the last post. Unfortunately, I decided to delete the two-word expletive (FU, it was...) because the person who left it didn't leave a name.

I'm a huge proponent of freedom of speech, but if your only reply to something you feel strongly against is 'FU' and then you refuse to put your name behind it, you don't deserve to have your words heard. I don't moderate my comments initially because I think it's pompous. However...

I thought about it for a while, and I would have let the comment stand as is, if only the person who'd left it had left a name. It didn't even have to be a real name. God knows, the internet is anonymous even when it doesn't seem to be.

So, if you left the comment and have come back to see my reaction to it, leave it again with your name and maybe add an intelligent reason why. Habs fan? Creepy figure skater guy fan? Maybe, it was Johnny Weir himself!

Anyway, not offended here. On the contrary, actually. I, like any blogger, am like a dog and consider any attention good attention. So, keep smacking my nose and making me stay out in the cold back yard too long!


I'm sitting at the Skyline Hotel in Independence, Ohio. Actually, I'm by the indoor pool just kicking back and having a couple Millers. The thing I love about the USA is the fact that they are mature enough to not bother with someone having a few beers outside the 'designated drinking area' - are you listening Tight Ass Canadian Government? Oh, and 30 beers here still costs $15 when we're paying close to $50 for 24, if not more in some cases in Canada. Can you say tax overkill?

I had my first real Boca Burger today at, of all places, Denny's. Not bad stuff, however, I could tell which one was mine before it hit the table due to the perfectly flat shape.

Ciao for now! Habs, you suck! Weir, you suck! Anonymous, FU too! Vegans, keep on keepin' on!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Figure Skater Needs Dead Animal Fur To Win Gold

I was going to write a nasty post about American figure skater, Johnny Weir. Earlier in the day, Johnny basically said that a little animal fur here and there didn't matter when there were so many humans dying in the world.

He has changed his mind after receiving international media pressure. Read the latest story here. He will wear 'faux fur' on his costume. But, he admits that he made the change so that 'some silly costume' wouldn't affect his training for the Olympic games. He stresses that animal rights activists have not won and that he still would rather be wearing his pretty fur outfit.

Long a target of PETA and other animal rights groups for his fashion sense, Mr. Weir just won't back down from what he believes in. You know, Johnny, it is a sport that you're competing in and not a fashion show. Just be a great figure skater and you won't have to worry about how much of a circus act you're being.

Well, Johnny Weir, you've made my burn-in-hell list and you're right next to the Montreal Canadiens (click on the team name to find out why they've made the list). May you fall on your pretty face.

Also in the news...

Dog fighting has made a comeback in Afghanistan. Hurray! The human killing is down so the bloodshed must come from another source. Why not the age-old pastime of dog fighting? Read all the good news here.

I've been pretty cranky lately and this activist alter-ego seems to be slipping out. I'm off to Cleveland, Ohio for a four day weekend and plan to visit some of the city's finer vegan restaurants. I promise not to be such a grump for the next post!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Turtle Jacks and Other Stuff

Turtle Jacks is a restaurant chain in the Greater Toronto Area that currently has 15 locations and claims to be expanding. They serve typical roadhouse food and if you didn’t see the sign on the way in, you wouldn’t know if you were at a Montana’s, Boston Pizza, Shoeless Joes, etc. Etc. Etc.

Typical of that style restaurant, Turtle Jacks has little to offer the vegan. However, if you find yourself there with a group of carnivores, there are some alternatives to get you through. The most highly recommended item on the menu for vegans is the Veggie Great Noodle Bowl.

Sautéed chow mein noodles tossed with Napa cabbage, bok choy, red pepper & julienne vegetables, finished with green onions & sesame seeds. Choice of Red Thai Chili or Sweet Teriyaki sauce. This dish is pretty darn good and quite filling.

Unlike a lot of roadhouse style restaurants, Turtle Jacks does offer the substitution of a veggie burger for any of their regular burgers. There is an additional cost of 99 cents which is bullshit because the cost of the actual paddy is most likely no more expensive for them to buy. Welcome to the world of veganism.

Do not try the deep fried dill pickles. It is one of the only appetizers that can be considered vegan (not sure what might be in the batter, though). For $9, you basically get one and a half pickles in a bland batter.

Am I from Mexico?

I get this often. No, I am from Canada. My e-mail address is from Yahoo Mexico and has the .mx extension on it. The reason for this stems back to my interest in learning foreign languages. A few years back, I kept sending for travel information from Spanish speaking countries and would ask for the material to be sent in Spanish. No matter what, I was always sent the English versions.

I got the bright idea to get an e-mail address from within a Spanish speaking country. It worked. Everything I received was in Spanish. Plus, I had the added learning opportunity from having to navigate Yahoo and the e-mail page in Spanish. When I started this blog, I decided to use that e-mail account as my contact e-mail because it was the least used of my e-mail collection. That e-mail, by the way, is if you feel inclined to get in touch.

Finally, a recipe...

This is a little something out of Southern Spain called Wrinkled Potatoes with Red Sauce.

· 2 lb of walnut sized new potatoes
· 2 TBSP of salt
· 4 garlic cloves peeled
· 1 TSP cumin
· 1 TSP paprika
· Pinch of dried thyme
· ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
· 2 TSP red wine vinegar

· Make the sauce first as it has to cool thoroughly before use. Mince the garlic. Add the cumin, paprika and thyme to the garlic.
· Slowly add the oil to the garlic, drop by drop, stirring all the time and adding the vinegar at intervals. When all the oil and vinegar is used up, transfer the sauce to a serving bowl and add about ¼ cup of warm water to make a thin sauce. Stir well and set aside until required.
· Wash the potatoes thoroughly but leave the skin on. Put them on to boil with just enough water to cover them, leaving the lid off so that the water evaporates.
· When the water has almost gone, throw in the salt, which will form a crust on the skins. Let the water boil away over low heat, watching carefully. When is has all evaporated, leave the heat on for about 30 seconds or so to dry the potatoes thoroughly and to get a wrinkled effect. Shake the pan a little if they threaten to burn.
· Serve the potatoes in individual dishes. Spear the potatoes with a fork and dip in the sauce.

Check out these previous posts:

Some Long Lost Far East Recipes
How To Peel An Avocado
Avatar: Why Aren’t The Na’vi Vegan?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Club Seals, Get Pie In Face

Gail Shea is a mother of 5 and a grandmother of 7. She is from the tiny island province of Prince Edward Island in Canada. She managed her small family business for 15 years before becoming an elected government official in 2000. She is Canada’s Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. Oh, and she’s all for clubbing to death a few thousand seals.

To top it off, she was the victim of a PETA pie in the face. Click here for the full news article. Should the person who performed the pie in the face be charged? Of course. That’s the cost of being an activist – you disturb the peace, you get your cause heard, you pay the price. Should that person be considered a terrorist? Not on your life.

Standing up for what you believe in is not terrorism. However, there are those in the communist government of Canada that believe that this was indeed an act of terrorism and the person who sacrificed the tasty tofu cream pie in the name of defenceless baby seals should be charged as such.

Wow! The Marx brothers and the Three Stooges would be screwed! If this is the case, though, aren’t soldiers from the west imposing their beliefs on the people of Iraq and Afganistan terrorists? They are not necessarily invited into those countries by the majority of the people and they are imposing beliefs that aren’t shared by the majority of the people.

Come on. Give it a break. A pie in the face is just a pie in the face. It’s not like a shoe was thrown in someone’s general direction. Would you rather gunfire? No, you would rather people stifle what they believe in and sit in a corner and with their mouths shut.

Gail Shea, take a taste of the pie and enjoy it then think about why the person did what they did. There has to be a pretty good reason why someone would feel so strongly about an issue to come from another country and risk incarceration to try and get their point across. See the world through other people’s eyes before judging them.

By the way, I’ve never tried Tofu Cream Pie. If anyone has a good recipe, let me know. And, I hope my ‘radical views’ on this subject won’t affect my upcoming trip across the border to the USA this weekend...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Some Long Lost Far East Recipes

Probably 15 years ago, I bought this series of small cook books for peanuts at a dollar store. International Cuisine: A tasty trip around the world was the name of the series and each book featured recipes from a different part of the world.

The books were actually pretty decent, especially for the price. Each different culture would have a really informative write-up followed by several recipes. I started going through these again recently after not seeing them for many years. The book based on recipes from Vietnam, Japan, Thailand, Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia actually has some good vegan recipes. I’m going to share those with you today, assuming that something I bought in a dollar store 15 years ago won’t bring on copyright lawyers.

Korean Pickled Cucumber


· 3 large cucumbers
· 1 ½ TBSP salt
· 1 green onion
· ½ garlic clove, finely chopped
· TSP of hot pepper sauce


· Wash the cucumbers but do not peel them. Cut them into 4cm long pieces. Cut each piece in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Sprinkle 1 TBSP of salt over the cut surface of the cucumbers. Leave to stand for 15 minutes.
· Cut the green onion into 4cm lengths and slice each piece finely. Wash the salt off the cucumber and put them in an earthware bowl. Add the green onion, garlic, hot pepper sauce and the remaining salt and 150ml of water. Mix well and leave to mature. This will take about 2 days in a warm room or about a week in a cold room. Once mature, store in the refrigerator.

Yellow Rice in Coconut Milk


· 350g long-grain rice
· 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
· 1 TSP Turmeric
· 2 ½ cups thick coconut milk
· 1 TSP salt
· 1 bay leaf


· Soak the rice in cold water for 1 hour, the rinse and drain.
· Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add the rice and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
· Stir in the turmeric and sauté the rice for a further 1 minute.
· Add the coconut milk, salt and bay leaf and boil over medium heat until the rice has absorbed all the liquid, about 10 minutes. Lower the heat, cover the pan tightly, and cook for a further 10 minutes. Or, if you are worried about the rice sticking, put it into a steamer and steam for 10 minutes.
· When the rice is cooked, discard the bay leaf, pile the rice into a serving dish and serve hot.

Seoul Spinach Soup (beef strips eliminated)


· 2 green onions, chopped
· 1 clove garlic, chopped
· 5 TBSP soy sauce
· 1 TSP salt
· 1 TSP black pepper
· 1 TBSP sesame seed
· 1 LB spinach, washed, trimmed and shredded


· Put green onion, garlic, soy sauce, salt and pepper into a large saucepan and mix well. Cook over medium high heat for a few minutes until the onion is cooked but not burned.
· Add 9 cups of water and simmer gently for a few minutes. Add the sesame seeds and continue cooking for 35 minutes.
· Just before serving, add the shredded spinach. Simmer until tender, 2-5 minutes.

Hopefully, you find these to be tasty...

On a side note...

My NHL hockey views have changed and the Montreal Canadiens are on my ‘burn-in-hell’ list. Fellow vegan, Georges Laraque has been released from the team. The team did it with absolutely no class and were basically insulting to him at the press conference. To make matters much, much worse, despite being born in Canada, Georges’ family is from Haiti. There are still several members of his family in Haiti unaccounted for. Visit Georges’ blog for more information on the great charity work he does and what you can do to help Haiti.

Good vibes go out to those who are still missing, not just relatives of Georges – may they be still found alive and go on to rebuild that beautiful country.

Montreal Canadiens – sorry you get no good vibes. Burn in hell and here’s hoping that you don’t win another game this season.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How To Peel An Avocado

I know I rave, maybe too much, about avocados. However, today I learned something new about the incredible green fruit. I had a couple perfectly ripe avocados at work today. Of course, because I slept in as usual, I didn’t have time to pit them and scoop out the flesh at home. Instead, I took the whole fruits to work with me along with a paring knife.

I also forgot a spoon to scoop out the goods when it came time for my avocado break. I was just about to go find a disposable plastic spoon when my co-worker told me there was no need. My co-worker is educated in the culinary arts and spent several years in the kitchens of resorts in Italy and Western Canada and is still a disappointment to me that she decided to give up her dream to work at a boring car dealership.

Anyway, all I needed was my paring knife to get the job done. I simply had to slice the avocado in half, length-wise as usual. She even had an easier way of popping out the pit but she felt I needed a ‘real’ knife for that. I had to pop out the pit the old fashioned way.

Now, I just needed to lay the halves on the counter, on a sheet of paper towel, and cut the flesh length-wise around 4 times using the tip of the knife. It wasn’t necessary to cut through the skin, however, I found it even easier to peel if the cut did go through.

Once the flesh was cut in lengths, all I had to do was take the avocado and fold it backwards. The skin just peeled away from the flesh – kind of in the manner than orange skin peels away from an orange when it’s cut in slices.

The great thing was that there was no bent spoon handle and not much of a mess on the fingers. This may not be a new concept to many people out there but it was to me and with my love of avocado, this technique is invaluable. For those who already knew, why have you kept it a secret?

Other avocado related posts you may enjoy:

Easy Hot Lunch For Vegans On The Go
Meet Ricardo!
Peeing Red And Other Great Things About Beets

Raw Fruit Fast - Final Update

My raw fruit fast came to a premature end at noon on Monday, less than 24 hours from the original completion time. I was fine Sunday after my 10.4km run but when I got on the ice an hour later for hockey, I just wasn't right.

I had nothing in the tank and my heart was pounding. Not only that, my head was pretty spacy. It reminded me too much of the feeling I get when I donate blood. We only had one sub per side and got a good hour and half of hockey in - dreamlike conditions for me - but I was going off more than my share of the time. By this morning, I was getting light-headed from just standing up and my resting pulse was higher than normal.

I still received very positive results as far as weight loss, dropping four pounds in two days. This has put me in second place for the biggest loser contest at work... Also gone is the stomach bloat that I was living with for the past little while. I forgot to mention yesterday that on my run last night, my pace was the fastest since November despite the fact that I thought I was dogging it.

However, the lesson learned is that this might be a great fast to take on when you know you're going to be fairly inactive for a few days. I do see the benefit of even going just one day raw. In fact, I think it would be a good plan to do this once per week.

I must mention that what I had for lunch today was spectacular. Quiznos pulls off a great veggie sub. Most restaurants think that what will satisfy a veg custumer is sliced veggies on a bun. Quiznos steps it up a notch by putting guacamole on it. They also 'get it' when you ask for 'no cheese'. Those at Subway look at you like you're the strangest being when you exclude the cheese.

So what did I learn out of all this? Going raw is good. However, for me, going raw is not a full-time gig. I remember reading a bit of Tony Robbins' wisdom that you should start your day off with fresh fruit and try and go as long as you can before breaking. Not a bad idea. If you can eat just fruit until lunch, I think the health benefits will kick ass.

One other thing which is certainly worth noting. I wrote yesterday that I kept hydrated for pretty much 36 hours on fruit alone. This came severely to and end this morning. I just couldn't catch up by eating fruit alone and found myself quite dehydrated.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Raw Fruit Fast - Halfway Update

Well, I’m halfway through raw fruit 3-day fast. My weight was down 2 pounds today. I’ve been eating a variety of fruits and don’t really feel any hunger or weakness. What I have noticed, and had read that it would happen, is that have hardly drank any water. I had, in total, one glass of water since yesterday and most of that was before my 10km run tonight.

I still have hockey and will be, obviously, taking a water bottle on the bench. I have shown zero signs of dehydration, so far. The only thing that seems to be negative is a dull headache that seems to be following me around. I read that that would be one of the symptoms of raw fruit fasting, as well.

I do believe on Tuesday, after 10am, I will revert back to a plain old vegan diet with cooked veggies for at least one day. It’s more of an economic situation than anything else. I have a fridge full of veggies that will be past the point of eating raw and will need to be cooked or wasted.

I have a completely new fascination with raw avocado. I love the stuff cooked or raw and mixed with umpteen other veggies. On its own, avocado is just damn delicious.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Raw Fruit Fasting - First Attempt

At 10:00am, Saturday morning, January 16, I ate my final cooked meal for a few days. I ate a hardy mix of beans, rice, potato and tomato sauce. My last drink of green tea went down the hatch as well and by 10:30, my raw fruit fast had begun.

I was originally going to just do it for the day on Sunday. I changed my mind and decided to start today and end Monday morning. After doing some more reading on the subject this morning, I decided to extend the fast until Tuesday morning. Three days is the recommended length of time for someone trying this for the first time.

I woke up this morning weighing 178 pounds. At 4:00pm, that weight had been maintained. What has amounted to a beans, rice and potato diet over the last few weeks has left my stomach feeling like a beach ball and sounding like a bongo. I’m hoping that this is one other thing that will change over the next few days.

I stopped at the grocery store after work and an arena visit. I stocked up on Granny Smith apples, Red Delicious apples, Red pears, Bosc pears, Avocados, Pineapple, Cantaloupe, Coconut and Navel oranges. It only cost $23 including tax and I was pretty much able to fill the fridge. It still amazes me how relatively inexpensive a vegan diet is. Yet, I still get the comment all the time that it must cost so much to have a diet like mine.

Looking ahead to Tuesday, if all goes well (and I know it will) I plan to continue on raw but with veggies added in. I would like to go right around and back to Saturday morning. I’m so curious of what the physical and mental effects will be. There are so many conflicting opinions of a raw diet and I guess you only really know if you try it how it’s going to work for you.

On Tuesday, I do plan on re-starting my green tea habit, so I won’t be totally raw! I will continue to run and play hockey as usual. Actually, I hope to run a lot more than I have been. The running gods have finally blessed Orangeville with a prolonged winter warm spell with temps hovering just above the freezing mark. This has allowed for the roads and sidewalks to rid themselves of most of the snow and ice.

On a totally unrelated note...

Can you believe that a grown woman gave my 13 year old son the finger today at hockey?! This woman does have a history in town of being quite a bitch. It was at the hockey rink and her son’s team was playing against my son’s. Apparently my son looked through the glass along the boards to see this lovely lady giving him the middle finger!

Even less related...

If anyone out there is interested in OHL hockey or hockey in general, I’ve launched a new blog that follows graduates of the world’s greatest junior league as they make their way through the professional ranks around the world. It’s long been an obsession of mine and partly due to my horoscope in a cheesy movie magazine, the site was born January 11. OHL Alumni Central will hopefully be a hit but hopefully will never take me away from writing on this lovely blog. After all, what would the 3 or so readers do???

You may want to check out these earlier posts:

August 2009 Personal Challenges
Follow My Running At
Associated Content Article – Weight Loss Strategy That Works

Friday, January 15, 2010

Water Intoxication - Yikes!

In the midst of the winter blahs and with 5-10 pounds of holiday weight to get rid of, I had a crazy scheme of drinking nothing but water this coming Sunday – and a lot of it. I thought that I would try and see just how many litres of water I could ingest over an 8 hour period while fasting from food. It would purely be in the name of science to see how much I could take in and what would be the effects on my overall mental and physical self.

I started looking around at what sort of achievements had been reached when it came to power water drinking. Hell, I might even be looking at a world record!

Thankfully, I did do some research. It seems that people die from drinking too much water. A little known condition called water intoxication can result in death if too much water is ingested too fast. Now, that is strange indeed.

It turns out that the kidneys can only process about 1 litre of fluid per hour. Consuming too much water too fast can force your blood to become more dilute with low sodium concentrations. The sodium concentration in your blood becomes lower than the concentration in your cells. The water moves from the blood to the cells causing them to swell.

The killer is that your brain swells with the resulting pressure causing headaches and loss of functions such as breathing. Without breathing, we are quite challenged to survive! Thus, possibly resulting in death.

This is more apt to affect the elderly, babies, those having an operation and those participating in extreme physical challenges (marathon running on a hot day). Apparently, water intoxication is a risk for those on the drug ecstasy. The drug makes the user incredibly thirsty and they literally drink themselves to death.

Andy Warhol is perhaps the most famous person to die of apparent water intoxication. He was in for a routine procedure and was fed too much water intravenously.

After putting the fear into everyone, it is quite unlikely that this will ever be a problem for you. It is said that the fear of water intoxication will probably kill more people by driving them to dehydration!

The plan now for Saturday evening until Monday morning is a fruit only fast. I still do not see myself joining the Fruitarians, but I have a huge curiosity about what the short term effects of a fruit only diet will be. I’m even going to give up my coveted green tea for the duration. Supposedly, I won’t even need to drink any water because I will get sufficient amounts from all the raw fruit I’ll be eating. However, I will have a water bottle on the bench when I play hockey on Sunday night.

I’ve been feeling the winter blahs pretty bad this year and I need to get out of the funk I’m in and take off a few of the X-mas pounds. My goal is to do something drastic to kick start a change and bring back the energy. I’ll let you know how it goes in as much detail as possible.

Other posts you may enjoy:

Fruitarians, Canadian Communists and the Biggest Loser
24-Hour Fasting

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Eating Still Living Animals Is Funny And Cool

I don’t believe I’m racist and I try to see each citizen of our world as a unique individual. However, I am constantly reminded of all the terrible things the people of China do to animals and I can’t help but condemn a people as a whole.

I’m sure that not all people from China believe that killing an animal for just its fin, or paw, or internal organs is a justified act that will make them more viral, strong and powerful. But, the numbers are there. The world focuses on the human rights issues in the most populous country in the world. Why do the world’s mega-powers seem to cover their eyes and plug their ears whenever the eating of live monkey brains or skinning animals live for their furs is mentioned?

The film that has been making its rounds among the animal lovers and vegans throughout the world is a short video of people from China enjoying a lovely meal of still living fish. This is quite simply disgusting. Yet, just like the over-hunting of sharks simply for a small fraction of their body that will make a Chinese man’s penis larger, or something to that effect, the world ignores the atrocities.

It’s all about money. The west wants China’s money and they’ll throw morals and beliefs out the door to get it. Isn’t that what the world is all about, though? Isn’t that why North Americans are dying, fighting a war in the middle east that doesn’t really exist while people in Africa are killed off in masses and left to starve to death on their own?

What would you do if you walked in on people feeding on a living, breathing being? Would you pretend it wasn’t happening? Would you walk away believing ‘out of sight, out of mind’? Would you resort to violence against the ones committing the crime? Would you speak your mind, knowing that your opinion will be met with ridicule?

The way I see it, there are two viable options out of those I gave. You need to take action. You have a responsibility as a human being and as a vegan. You could resort to violence and give the human monsters a taste of their own medicine. You would be no better off than those people by doing this, though.

Ghandi promoted non-violence. This doesn’t mean that Ghandi was a pussy. He fought for everything he believed in, in every possible way except for resorting to violence. Which leaves the only choice being to walk right up to anyway committing atrocities to innocent animals and boldly tell them that what they are doing is flat out wrong.

The video is attached. It is your choice to watch it or not. I believe people need to see that the human race still has a long way to go before becoming civilized.

Check out these other great posts:

Meatless Chicken Breast - Vegan Sellout?
Peta Is Too Darn Extreme
Humans Were Meant To Eat Meat

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Avatar: Why Aren't The Na'vi Vegan?

I went to see ‘Avatar’ tonight and thought it was an amazing movie. However... does anyone else find it kind of bizarre that the Na’vi hunt, kill and eat animals to survive? This is a race of beings so in touch with the nature around them that they can literally plug in to other animals, plants and even the earth beneath them and become one.

How could a species be so in touch with the nature around them, yet construct weapons that are not meant for self defence but to kill those other beings that they share the land with? Just like human beings, they cannot kill without the aid of constructed weapons. Therefore, like humans, they are not meant to kill animals for food.

Just like humans, they lack claws or talons and have undeveloped canine teeth. Just like humans, they cannot kill with just their bodies alone. So, it seems that the Na’vi may not be so in touch with nature as it seems. They have to ‘break’ their animal ‘friends’ before they can use them as beasts of burden. Just like humans, they believe that killing is okay as long as it is quick and humane and they feel a token amount of remorse after the deed is done.

James Cameron, you are indeed a savage. Providing all that fish food in ‘Titanic’ does not justify all the savagery in ‘Avatar’.

But, you did get some good points across, such as it is wrong to take from defenceless civilizations to satisfy your greed and overindulgence. Sorry to all of us in North America, but the stab is at us. We ‘relocated’ the natives for the ‘greater good’ and pretty much destroyed a beautiful and harmonious people. We pick and choose who we’re going to defend from bullies in this world simply by what natural resources that country has to offer. No oil? Sorry, can’t help. You’re going to have to fight for yourself. Got oil? We’re on our way – but you have to let us move in and you have to adopt our beliefs and religions.

Am I going a little ‘PETA’ here? Ya. There was only one scene where an animal was hunted and killed. It was an incredible movie, especially in 3D. Everyone should see it. The computer generated effects and scenery are amazing.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Peeing Red And Other Great Things About Beets

Despite the fact that they make you pee red, beets are awesome for many other reasons as well!

Beets are full of betaine which promotes a healthy liver. A healthy liver breaks down fats in a more efficient manner therefore aiding weight loss and preventing fatigue and nausea. A healthy liver also is more capable of ridding the body of alcohol – possibly why beets are so popular in Eastern Europe (zing!).

Beets are chock full of antioxidants that rid the body of nasty free radicals. Beets are especially thought to be quite useful in the prevention of lung and skin cancer.

Speaking of lungs, beets are exceptionally helpful when it comes to cardio-vascular health. Therefore, all of us runners should be on the beets at least once per week, if not more.

Beets are also a great source of calcium, magnesium and potassium with a spot of vitamin C added in for good measure. When you use the greens, as well, the calcium amount goes through the roof. Boiled beet root and beet greens are great on their own and make a great compliment to any meal.

Now, to the fun part. Beeturia. Some may find it gross. But, peeing red is pretty darn cool! It sometimes can take overnight for the effects of the beet dye to reach the bladder. Don’t forget in the morning that you had beets the night before! The red urine could be quite a scare if you think it really is blood and not the natural dye of the food you ate for dinner.

Beeturia doesn’t affect everyone the same, but eat enough beets and you’ll be seeing red. It’s a great party joke and probably a really good prank to pull in the dressing room shower after the hockey or football game (not that I would ever do this or condone doing this...).

In other news...

Ricardo has not sprouted yet. My avocado project that I mentioned in this earlier post, is still waiting to spread its wings. Ricardo is looking a little shrivelled and possibly water-logged. I hope this is a good sign.


I’m very disappointed in myself. I missed a chance to trip down to Toronto and run around on the subway in my gitch. This last Saturday was apparently ‘ride the subway in your underwear day’ or something like that. I’m not even sure what the cause was if any, but missing a chance to walk around half naked in one of the largest cities in the world is a major letdown. There’s always next year...

Check out these other great posts:

In The Beginning...
Book Review: The Man Who Swam The Amazon
Uh Oh! Does The Beer You Drink Contain Animal Products?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Seasonal Affective Disorder: It's Really SAD

So, what is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and what does it have to do with vegans? SAD is a form of depression that occurs in many people during the autumn and winter months from the lack of sunlight. A lighter version of the disorder is simply dubbed ‘The Winter Blues’.

The symptoms include tiredness, weight gain, difficulty getting out of bed and a craving for sweets. Is a vegan more or less likely to be affected by SAD? No. In fact, with a more nutritional diet and a more active lifestyle, vegans would tend to be affected less. However, if one is affected, the symptoms might lead one to believe that something is wrong with the diet itself.

Being lethargic, having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, wanting to sleep early at night and having cravings of any kind would at times suggest that there is a lack of nutrition in the system and/or an imbalanced diet. This could lead someone to come to the conclusion that just maybe the missing key to the puzzle is meat.

Stick to your guns. This could be no further from the truth. SAD has really nothing to do with diet and all to do with the amount of sunlight and how it affects the chemicals in the brain. The best thing to do with the winter blues is keep up your great vegan diet and get outside as much as possible.

Artificial therapy is based on using light treatment. A light box can be had for $250 - $500 that can simulate much needed sunlight. Interestingly enough, studies have shown that light might not need to enter through the retina to be effective. In one study, the light was isolated to the back of the knee which is the dark side of the moon that is the human body, and positive results were attained.

St. Johns wort has been suggested as an herbal remedy but is still in the research stage. One of the problems with the herb is that it increases sensitivity to light so would counteract the benefits someone is receiving from a light box.

What does it all mean? There is a logical reason why you feel crappy in December and January. You are not alone when you have to forcibly drag yourself out of bed each and every morning during the winter months regardless of how much sleep you’ve had. And, my favourite... it is normal to want to skip that run or workout when it’s dark at five in the afternoon and the temperature is hovering around -10.

Just remember, February follows January and March follows February and spring and summer always, always, always come around each and every year.

Here are some other posts you may enjoy:

Importance of Zinc in the Diet and Other Updates
Coconut in Your Diet
The Many Benefits of Hot Peppers

Friday, January 8, 2010

2009-10 NHL Prediction Update - Halftime

The NHL has reached the halfway point of the season and it’s time for an update on my predictions made before the beginning of the season. At the quarter, I had 10 teams in their correct positions. I’ve picked up two on that as the season falls into place. Once the Olympic break is over, the rest of the pieces should fall in line.

12 out of 30 teams is pretty darn close to 50%. I believe at the three quarters point, I will be at 50% and by the season finale, I will be at 67%. In today’s NHL, there is hardly any room between first and last. Things can change overnight and those teams that were flying high can falter and the bottom feeders can pick up steam like a runaway locomotive.

Here’s how the picture looks, so far. The teams are listed in their current position with my predicted position in brackets.

Atlantic Division

1. New Jersey Devils (3)
2. Pittsburgh Penguins (2)
3. New York Rangers (5)
4. New York Islanders (4)
5. Philadelphia Flyers (1)

The Flyers have shown signs of getting out of the funk they’ve been in and are only mere points from third place. The Devils are running away with it right now but once Marty Brodeur gets tired out from playing for Canada in the Olympics, they should drop back down to Earth. Rangers suck! Not sure how they’re doing it.

Southeast Division

1. Washington Capitals (1)
2. Atlanta Thrashers (5)
3. Tampa Bay Lightning (3)
4. Florida Panthers (4)
5. Carolina Hurricanes (2)

Washington will have to completely collapse to lose their position in first. The Hurricanes seem to be a lost cause. With the other three basically in a dead heat, Tampa and Florida just have to slip ahead of Atlanta to make me look good.

Northeast Division

1. Buffalo Sabres (4)
2. Boston Bruins (2)
3. Ottawa Senators (3)
4. Montreal Canadiens (1)
5. Toronto Maple Leafs (5)

Buffalo just might be for real. Montreal just can’t get it together, as usual. When will I ever learn to not have faith in anything out of Montreal? Toronto has no hope of leaving the basement, which is good. Ottawa just needs to stay the course.

Central Division

1. Chicago Blackhawks (1)
2. Nashville Predators (5)
3. Detroit Red Wings (4)
4. St. Louis Blues (3)
5. Columbus Blue Jackets (2)

Chicago has 10 points on the Preds which should be somewhat insurmountable considering the talent the team has. Nashville is a team full of misfits that couldn’t make it anywhere else. The lack of spotlight might be just what’s making that team click. Columbus is such a huge disappointment for me again this season.

Pacific Division

1. San Jose Sharks (2)
2. Phoenix Coyotes (5)
3. Los Angeles Kings (3)
4. Dallas Stars (4)
5. Anaheim Ducks (1)

It appears that Wayne Gretzky is not the hockey coach, GM and owner that his incredible playing ability would make him. Once Wayne was railroaded out of the desert, the team started playing hockey. 3 out of 5 is pretty good and I might just have to settle for that since the Ducks moving from 5th to 1st might shake up the division so bad that they’d be the only team in the right position in the end.

Northwest Division

1. Calgary Flames (1)
2. Colorado Avalanche (5)
3. Vancouver Canucks (2)
4. Minnesota Wild (4)
5. Edmonton Oilers (3)

Add Edmonton to Columbus and Montreal as the biggest losers of the season. All three are so darn good at hiding behind excuses when they disappoint season after season. Colorado, Calgary and Vancouver are separated by a total of two points – this one can be won by anyone.

That’s it for Pro hockey for a month or two. Back to being a vegan athlete. As with last January, I’m struggling with constant tiredness, difficulty getting out of bed and a tad bit of obsession with the sweets. It turns out these are prime symptoms of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Next post, I’m going to dwell into the research I’ve been doing on the topic and what can be done to get rid of it.

In the meantime, here are some of my previous posts on hockey that you might want to check out:

My NHL Predictions For 2009-10

Ten Commandments Of Shinny Hockey

2009-10 NHL Prediction Update

Bravo Georges Laraque!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fruitarians, Canadian Communists and the Biggest Loser

A little bit of an odds and ends post, here. First off, I’ve found something a little more extreme than even a raw-foodist (which, I am not). The Fruitarians are people that only eat fruit and nuts and only raw. Obviously, no meat either but no vegetables or roots, neither. Those fruits that we sometimes consider to be vegetables, like tomatoes and cukes are included in their diet.

Bravo, if they feel this is the diet and lifestyle for them. I think it would work. I think the nutrition would be there. Living in a cold weather climate, I just don’t think it would be the diet for me. I need cooked food on a cold winter’s night. I don’t think this makes me weak – it’s just the way I am.

However, I get a sense that the Fruitarians are a little militant towards the rest of us savage vegans. They feel that eating vegetables is a form of killing because you kill the plant to harvest it and need to re-plant from seed to see the next harvest. Whereas, a fruit tree just keeps on giving – despite the fact that it is their ‘unborn fetus’ that’s being eaten. In some parts, this is also considered murder...


Because of the communist government of Ontario/Canada, I am no longer able to drink my green tea from an open mug while in the workplace. I must have a covered cup at all times just in case a flying drop of automotive chemical comes flying from the garage and into the parts department and drops right in my mug and then I drink it and die. As you can tell, the company I work for was audited by the Ministry of Labour this week.

I must also drag out the steel toe shoes – tolerable. They will be removing the vending machines that are located in the garage area. Apparently, despite the fact that all products in the machines are sealed and the machines themselves are sealed, there is still a possibility that the products could become contaminated – possibly by cancer-causing brake dust that could infiltrate the tightly secured machine. Brake dust that we’re breathing in every minute of the day anyway.

I understand the government’s intentions and for the most part they are good intentions. However, I don’t know if a world where we all live to be 120 years old is that great if we have so many regulations that we can’t truly live. Besides, is a government that makes most of its money through selling alcohol, tobacco and gambling products back to its own people, really that concerned with health and safety??

Every day, Fidel and Cuba look more and more like the ideal society. Don’t back down, Cuba.

And then...

I was sort of duped into signing up for a ‘Biggest Loser’ contest at work. I thought it was a one-time shot over a short period of time. That would have been perfect for me as I’ve got a few X-mas pounds I need to shed in addition to the extra 10 or so pounds I’d like to get rid of before the running season is full swing.

Turns out, it’s $20 per month to enter over the next 6 months with only one grand prize winner in the end. There are a few other participants with a lot more available potential than myself. However, there aren’t many with an equal diet and will power. It turns out to be $1200 if everyone keeps playing. Man, I could use $1200! I’d definitely be going to visit Fidel in Cuba on that kind of coin – that’s $1199.99 more than I make writing this blog...

Coming up very soon is my halfway NHL prediction report. I don’t think I’m doing that great but I haven’t really been following the standings much. The NHL is just about to go into a hiatus as the Winter Olympics begin. On that note, I’d like to piss off my fellow countrymen by saying that it will be Russia – Sweden – Canada getting the gold, silver and bronze in Men’s Ice Hockey. Sorry Canada, you’ve picked a questionable team and will not win. However, the women will win gold...

Check out these previous posts:

The Nine Benefits Of Green Tea
Kensington Market – The Vegan Mecca
Bravo, Georges Laraque!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Easy Hot Lunch For Vegans On The Go

Want a quick, healthy and hot lunch? Try this one on for size. I'll almost guarantee you'll love it. It's called Toasted Fried Guac Sandwich. The ingredients are readily available at your local grocer, if not already hanging out in your fridge. All you need is a no-stick frying pan and you're all set.

  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 celery stick, diced
  • 2-3 heaping TBSP of diced onion (preferably red onion)
  • 3 mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • bread, toasted
  • 3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • mustard (optional)

Your avocado should have skin that's going brown and is a little soft to the touch. However, we're not making a raw guacamole, so it can be a little less ripe. As long as it's easy to remove the pit and scoop the flesh from the skin, we're all set.

In a small mixing bowl, dice up the avocado flesh as small as you can. Dice up the tomato, celery, onion and add to the mix as well as the chopped mushroom. Using a good garlic mincer, crush the clove on top of the rest of the mix. No need to mix everything together - the frying process will take care of that.

Put your frying pan on medium heat. When it has heated up sufficiently, add the olive oil then the vegetable mix. Even with a non-stick pan and olive oil, the avocado will have a tendency to stick to the pan. Be sure to mix often to reduce the sticking.

In the meantime, prepare your toast. There is enough in the pan to make two very thick sandwiches or four thinner ones.

When the mix starts to show signs of charring and the avocado is mushy, the cooking is done. Spoon the mix onto the toast. I add mustard but you can add (or not add) any condiment you want. I'm sure a nice hummus would make a great spread for the sandwich.

This would make a great filling for a pita pocket or wrap. In fact, try it as filler next time you have vegan taco night.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 Running Race Schedule

The dreaded holiday season is over and it’s time to get down to business and make 2010 the best damn year ever. I’ve been really taking it easy physically for the past 6 weeks. Daily exercise just didn’t happen over the two weeks in Panama because it was just too damn hot – plus recovering from the initial 44 hour day and all the stress that came with it took longer than I would have ever thought (maybe I am getting old...).

Despite the brutally cold temperatures outside (-15 celcius during the day, not counting the windchill) which are low enough to warrant a cold weather alert in Toronto, I must begin my running training for the upcoming season. I’m completely off the pavement this year. I’m planning on entering all 8 Ontario Trail Series races as well as 4 of 5 of the 5 Peaks Trail series. There is one conflict where there are two races on the same day. I may change plans and go in all 5 of the 5 Peaks races and 7 of 8 of the Ontario Trail Series.

I’m also planning to apply to the lottery for entry into the 2010 New York City Marathon. It occurs on November 7, 2010 and is quite expensive, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime runner’s opportunity. It’s rare to get in on the first try but on the 4th try, you’re guaranteed. Might as well start now and plan on being in the 2014 race.

There is still an outside chance that I will go in the Round The Bay 30k in Hamilton, Ontario at the end of March. It’ll depend on my conditioning. The first race of the Ontario Trail Series is just a couple weeks after...

Here’s the planned sched as it stands now (all races fall on a Saturday):

April 17 – Seaton Trail 26k in Pickering – OTS
April 24 – Dundas Valley – distance tbd – 5 Peaks
May 1 – Pick Your Poison 25k in Orillia – OTS
May 29 – Sulphur Springs 25k in Dundas – OTS
June 12 – Durham Regional Forest 12.3k – 5 Peaks
July 3 – Creemore Vertical Challenge 25k – OTS
July 10 – Rattlesnake Point 12.7k – 5 Peaks
August 7 – Dirty Girls 30k in Mansfield – OTS
August 21 – Terra Cotta Conservation Area – distance tbd – 5 Peaks
August 21 – Iroquoia Trail Test 32k in Kilbride – OTS
September 11 – Haliburton Forest 25k in West Guilford – OTS
October 9 – Albion Hills Conservation Area 21k – 5 Peaks
October 16 – Vulture Bait 25k in London – OTS