Vegan beware

Just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it is sustainable.

Credit: iStock / nano

Just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it is sustainable

Many vegan “meats” and substitutes can be: highly processed, involving tremendous amounts of energy and fresh water to produce; non-local, requiring huge volumes fuel to transport and emitting tons of CO2; sodium-rich, putting pressure on your heart, arteries and kidneys; and often contain genetically modified (GM) soy, which not only has been linked to long-term health problems but has a negative impact on the integrity of crop species and diversity, not to mention the marginalization of small farms.

Also, I made the mistake the first time around as a vegetarian of not complementing my proteins with a grain. Meat is a complete protein on its own, beans are not. In order for vegans to get the sufficient number of amino acids in their diet, a dish of beans, legumes, lentils or nuts should be paired with whole grain bread, barley, rice, quinoa (my favourite!), couscous or whatever other grain you can think of.

Learn more about veganism

VEGAN-FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS – Vancouver offers so many choices!

GOING VEGAN – The Vancouver way…

THE FACTS – Why go vegan?

RECIPES & RESOURCES – Get creative!

VIDEO + RADIO – Meet Vancouver’s vegan diners and restaurateurs.

VEGAN WINE? – Ask for a glass sans meat.

It doesn’t need to be simultaneous though; as long as you have both at some point during the same day, your body can do the math to come up with the nine essential amino acids it needs.

A great resource for going meatless is Frances Moore Lappe’s Diet for a Small Planet, which offers a complete guide to vegetarian and vegan eating, with meal plans, recipes and interesting commentary on why eating meat-free is better for the planet.

Another great way to learn more about veganism is through Twitter. Find like-minded tweeps by searching Twitter for “#vegan” and/or follow these vegans and vegetarians in British Columbia: @mojaveband@bettieboudoir, @tothewestside, @liberationbc, @kdot, @stephenhui. Tweet @granvillemag to add yourself name to this list, or leave a comment below with your Twitter handle.

Also, here’s a handy reference I found on for making sure your vegan diet is well-balanced.

Vegan Food Pyramid