Category Archives: vegan

Vegan Artist Chantal Poulin Durocher

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Dear Readers,

I have long been a huge fan of Chantal Poulin Durocher’s Amazing artwork of farm animals and since we know each other on social media, I decided to ask her to share her story with you. Some of you may know Chantal from her portrait of Esther the Wonder Pig. Seen here below!

Esther

Like my previous interviews you’re definitely in for a treat:

N: Chantal, I have long been an admirer of your amazing artwork. Please tell me about who or what inspired you to start doing artwork. Have you always drawn animals? What made you decide to go in that direction?

C: I am a professional artist for almost 40 years now. I did my first solo show in 1978. I painted mostly landscape at that time but few years later, I started painting children, mostly little girls with animals.

At that time, my artist name was Chantal Poulin.

When I look back at my career, I realized that I always painted the vulnerable ones, children and animals. It is only 5 years ago, when I became Vegan, that I really became an activist and decided to use my talent as a tribute for animals we exploit. I realized that I had a small mission on this earth, to paint the beauty, the sensibility, the intelligence, and the vulnerability of those animals we exploit for our pleasure…hoping that it might open the eyes of some people.

Pig in transport

N: Many vegans know of your amazing work, including your drawing of Esther the Wonder Pig. I would imagine that non-vegans buy your work as well. Do you have any stories related to your work of either someone deciding to go vegan or conversations you have had as a result of your artwork?

C: People who buy my original artworks are mostly vegan. My pieces are huge and a bit pricey. Some members of my family or old friends think I am crazy. They say things like, “ Who in the world would buy a huge painting of a pig or a calf to put in their living room?” I am glad to answer them, “ Well, the co-founder of Twitter for example, just bought one.” People who come in my studio that are not vegan, are surprisingly saying thing like, “OMG, this is so beautiful!” And I answer, “ Yes, this is why I’m vegan!” Usually they do not answer anything…But it’s like they have a flash…that there’s link! Hopefully, it makes people think. But honestly, I don’t think my paintings make people go vegan just like that. I have had many people go vegan from following my Facebook and my art on the long term though!

I want to be part of that historic movement of veganism, and my way to do it is to paint animals with all my talent, skill and love. I think my art plays a role in changing people’s perception of animals and their place in our society.

N: Well, Chantal you definitely are a part of this historic movement!

Kiss a Cow

N: How long have you been a vegan? Who or what inspired you to go vegan?

C: My husband and I are went vegetarian 25 years ago when I read Diet for a New America by John Robbins (btw, I prefer the French title they translated it into : Se Nourrir Sans Faire Souffrir / literally: to feed ourselves without creating suffering.)

N: That’s a great title!

C: We went vegan about 5 years ago. I read a Facebook post saying that there was more animal suffering in a glass of milk than in a steak. We did some research, watched the film Earthlings, and the day after, that was it! We are both happy vegans!

Talking to Dogs

Chantal says, “We live with 12 abandoned dogs that we rescued, that is why there are often a few dogs in the pictures!”

N: Do you have a favorite vegan dish? Product?

C: Where we live here, in Panama, there are not a lot of vegan products, like plant-based meat or faux cheese. Eating for me is not so much about taste at all costs anymore, my happiness of eating in a way that does not harm any animals is greater than the pleasure I could experience eating a delicious meal. Eating is now more like a spiritual experience. It brings me a profound happiness in my soul and heart more than in my palate. I love all vegetables and fruits and nuts and cereals! I prepare a lot of Indian, Middle Eastern and Thai food. It’s easy and very tasty…and, of course, we eat a lot of the Latin American classic …Rice & Beans!

Sweet Pig

N: Is it easy or difficult to be vegan in Panama? How has your family or friends reacted to you going vegan?

C: It is very easy to be vegan here because you can find rice and beans everywhere! At any little restaurant, and it is very cheap. However, there are no product like plant-based meats or non-dairy cheese or even vegan prepared food.

Some of my friends turned vegan as a result of spending a bit of time with me, or on social medias or in real life. But I also lost some friends and some member of my family because of my beliefs. They are very upset by the fact that we are vegan.

N: Yes, that unfortunately happens to many people, but some are also very fortunate to me met with understanding! I think the people who are supposed to stay stays…and those who are not, leave!

Sheep

N: Which person or non-human animal has inspired you the most on your vegan journey? Why?

C: I would say Pigs, fish and cows. 35 years ago, I had a friend who raised a pig with the intention to eat it when he would be adult. We all discover at that time, how smart and sensitive a pig was. I never ate pigs after that. Then, when we moved here, in Panama, every day I see fisherman with dead fishes in their nets…sometimes I see them suffering, asphyxiated…make me sad and realize how much fishes suffer before dying. Also, along the roads here, hundreds and thousands of baby calves every year in the fields. They come and go rapidly… no females, only little males that will be turned into meat very rapidly. It is very sad to see.

N: Yes, I completely agree.

Kiss a Pig

Chantal, Thank you so much for sharing your story and AMAZING artwork with me and my readers. If someone wants to go and look/buy your work online what is the address?

They can visit my little web-site www.chantalpoulindurocher.com and they can contact me directly, or they can go visit the art gallery I work with in Canada http://www.thompsonlandry.com/artists/a_durocher.html

They can go on my artist Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Chantal-Poulin-Durocher-artiste-103394076414851/

And if they want to buy prints etc, they can go here: https://society6.com/chantalpoulindurocherv

Vegan Salt Lake City

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Happy Vegalicious Summer!

Greetings Earthlings from Utah!

Greetings Earthlings from Utah!

It has been a while! I’ve been on a few trips and am getting ready for a couple more. No matter what your views or opinions are about Salt Lake City, Utah, I can tell you that the city has undergone some major transformations in the last five – six years! Not only has the city expanded and grown, but so has veganism. If you’re a vegan or just into food looking for a new city to visit for it’s exciting, competitive culinary explorations, I’d highly recommend a trip to Utah, besides it’s just such a gorgeous and fun place!

SLC article

My aunt and uncle lives there. They have lived there most of their lives since moving over from Denmark in their teens. I love visiting them and seeing my dear friends who live there! My aunt and uncle used to live in a major mansion up in the Avenues with an incredible view of the whole valley, but are now residing in a beautiful condominium overlooking “Mormon Central”, as I call it! It’s all good! I feel quite comfortable sleeping on their couch, in their wall to wall covered with book shelves office when I’m visiting. They even took me out to eat vegan while I was there and were open to hearing all about the importance of eating organic fruits and vegetables, why dairy is not a health food, and why I no longer eat meat. They’ve even watched Forks Over Knives!

All Chay Outside View

My family were not the only ones who wanted to make sure I got the full vegan restaurant experience of Salt Lake City. First, my friend Steve picked me up and said, “Hey Baby, let me take you to a few popular places that I’ve been wanting to try!” So off we went to All Chay – a popular Vietnamese Vegan restaurant over on the West Side of town!

All Chay 1

The place looks small from the outside, but it’s actually quite spacious! Seeing their menu made my vegan heart leap! Vietnamese & Vegan!!!

All Chay Menu I All Chay Menu

Look at all these different options…and here you’re just seeing two pages of an entire booklet! Steve and I decided together what looked good…it was hard to choose, I must admit, because it ALL looked so good! Here’s what we ordered to share…

All Chay 4

We got a salad that came with fried spring rolls, but also got the fresh spring rolls and “shrimp”. The “shrimp” not only looked like battered shrimp, but also tasted a bit like them. YUM! Did we have room for dessert? You betcha!

All Chay 5

Steve could not believe that this was Vegan Flan and neither could I. It was such a tasty treat! Don’t forgo dessert if you visit! We enjoyed it immensely! After the amazing meal I got to chat with the owner, who has been a vegan for seven years, and give her a hug, thanking her for the amazing meal we had just had. She’s a sweetheart and I’ll definitely be back during my next visit!

Me & All Chay Owner

The next day, I met friends for brunch at Sage’s Cafe. My aunt and uncle had even heard great things about this place, so that made me even more excited to go and truly it didn’t disappoint. Here’s a view of the restaurant, borrowed from another blogger since I was too much of in a rush to get inside!

Sages Outside

Listen, you just know it’s going to be good when you see this inside the door…

Sages 4

Inside Sages - Photo taken by me!

   Inside Sages – Photos by me!

…and trust me the dishes did not disappoint. Here are some photos of what my friends ordered:

Asian Lettuce Wraps
Asian Lettuce Wraps
Salad
Chef’s Salad
Breakfast Casserole - Tofu scramble,seasonal vegetables, portabello mushrooms, olives, artichoke hearts, capers, tomato, fresh  herbs, rice mozarela, almond parmesan and hashbrowns.
Breakfast Casserole – Tofu  scramble, seasonal vegetables, portabello mushrooms, olives, artichoke hearts, capers, tomato, fresh herbs, rice mozzarela, almond parmesan and hashbrowns.

I chose the Jackfruit and Kimchi tacos, although they were out of kimchi, this dish did not disappoint to say the least. I’d been wanting to try jackfruit for a while and trust me, I could eat this every day…

Jackfruit and Kimchi Tacos

               Jackfruit and Kimchi Tacos

…and I’m still dreaming of it! Almost everyone at the table got a bite from my dish and agreed that this was incredibly tasty! I’ll be back!!!

Zest I

Another place, you don’t want to miss is Zest Kitchen & Bar. It is located in the heart of downtown. My friend David took me there one evening. We got so wrapped up in our conversation and started eating our delicious food that I never got to snap any pictures…I promise to do it on my next trip, but here’s a view of my handsome friend David – one of my besties of twenty five years!

David Zest

They also have an amazing drink menu…Yep, even in the heart of Salt Lake City, Utah you can get a tasty drink! This is definitely a restaurant I plan to explore further when I visit later this month!

Green Bike

On a final note, besides all the amazing food and renewal of downtown, I was also pleased to see a “Green” aspect! You can rent these lovelies to work off some of the calories that you might inhale while you’re eating your way through town!

Green Bike I

Here’s a list of Vegan Recommendations for Salt Lake City, Utah via Happy Cow:

https://www.happycow.net/north_america/usa/utah/salt_lake_city/

Enjoy and Happy Safe Vegalicious Summer!

Myths and Misconceptions about Plant-Based Diets

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Good morning and Happy Saturday, Vegalicious Ones!

The following article is written by Shauna Schultz, RD. I’ve gotten her permission to share it with you all. Next week, I’m working as a substitute for Shauna as she is moving to California – so I will be speaking and doing a cooking demo promoting a plant-based diet!

Enjoy!

Vegan-Pizza

Plant-based diets are gaining momentum and for good reason: they’re easy on the environment, kind to animals and help prevent and manage chronic disease. According to the most recent Harris Interactive survey through the Vegetarian Resource Group, 5% (16 million) Americans are vegetarian, with half identifying as vegan. This number has nearly doubled since their last poll in 2009, and 33% state they are eating vegetarian and vegan meals more often. However, even with the increase in plant-based diets and meals, myths still persist over nutritional adequacy (or inadequacy). Below are five common concerns and how you can meet your needs through whole, plant-based foods.

How do you get enough protein?

Gone are the days of protein combining to make “complete” proteins. Eating adequately with a variety of protein-rich plant foods throughout the day will ensure you meet your needs. Protein is abundant in plant foods and most people are surprised to learn they are getting much more protein than required (a 150 pound person needs 61 grams/day). This is equivalent to one cup cooked oatmeal, one cup soymilk, one cup lentils, three ounces tempeh and two tablespoons peanut butter. Include at least three servings of legumes (beans, peas, lentils, soy, peanuts) as part of your daily protein intake to ensure adequate lysine.

Surely you aren’t getting enough calcium!

Dairy isn’t the only source of calcium. In fact, plants provide plenty of calcium and promote good bone health overall. Plant-based milks provide a convenient 300 mg or more per cup and plenty of whole foods provide calcium as well. You’ll find 179 mg in one cup cooked kale, 111 mg in two tablespoons almond butter, 88 mg in one tablespoon unhulled sesame seeds, 126 mg in one cup navy beans and 200-400 mg in four ounces of calcium-set tofu.

Don’t you worry about iron?

Iron deficiency isn’t more common among vegans and vegetarians than non-vegetarians. However, the Institute of Medicine has set the recommended intake almost two times higher for vegetarians and vegans because the iron in plant foods isn’t as readily absorbed. Don’t let this deter you though–iron is easily found in plants and consuming vitamin C-rich foods at the same time can enhance absorption by up to four times! Sprouting and fermenting also increase bioavailability. Excellent sources of iron include: pumpkin seeds (5.2 mg per ¼ cup); chickpeas (4.7 mg per one cup); blackstrap molasses (3.6 mg per one tablespoon); and iron-fortified cereal can have up to 18 mg per serving.

What about heart healthy Omega-3s?

Adequate intake is easy with concentrated sources of Omega- 3s like chia seeds (four grams per two tablespoons), ground flaxseeds (3.2 grams per two tablespoons), hempseeds (1.7g per two tablespoons) and walnuts (2.6 grams per ¼ cup). Add them to smoothies, cereals, muffins or salads. Vegan supplements with DHA and EPA are also available.

Plant-based eating is too expensive!

Any type of eating plan can be expensive! Pound for pound, plant proteins are far less expensive than animal protein and provide more nutrient-density. Beyond protein, there are many ways to save money, such as buying foods that are local and in-season, meal planning and cooking at home, buying in bulk (dry beans, grains, oats), reducing the use of convenience and processed foods and growing your own food.

Shauna Schultz is a registered dietitian and owner of Catch Your Veggies, where she currently offers nutrition counseling, consulting and plant-based cooking classes. She can be reached at rdshauna@gmail.com.

Thank you, Shauna and Happy Moving! 

Vegalicious Sacramento

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Last weekend I headed to Sacramento, California, to visit with my vegalicious friend Bethany and her husband Scott. Bethany and I met over two years ago in Washington, D.C. when we were going through our Food for Life training thru PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine). So, when I knew I was going to Sacramento we arranged to get together with two other vegalicious gal pals (for dinner), whom I’ve only spoken to by phone or online, but who are friends of Bethany’s as well. As I’m sure many of you already know, when you go vegan, you get this whole new tribe of friends and “family” members and it’s just WONDERFUL! Four or five years ago, I could never have imagined just how blessed I’d become just by simply switching my diet and lifestyle to a healthier and more compassionate way of living! 
Bethany & meBethany & Me

Sacramento Sign

After Bethany picked me up from the airport we headed to one of her favorite vegan restaurants in Sacramento for lunch called Baagan. Bethany ordered up some yummy dishes from her friend, the owner. Check out this sweet little place and the lunch dishes we ordered!
Baagan Baagan Inside 2 Here’s what we had for lunch. We split the Veggie Quesadilla and…

Vege Quesadilla

…Curry Panini. YUM!!!
  Curry Panini  You would think we’d be full after all of that, but we decided to split one of their amazing raw desserts.

Baagan Dessert

Raw carrot cake dessert with a coconut topping and a sauce that was simply out of this world! 
This was a quick trip, so later that evening we drove to meet up with our two amazing friends Linda and Kayle. Linda is also a PCRM Certified Food for Life Instructor…she’s 71 and looks to be in her fifties. Unbelievable! This IS what a vegan diet can do! Our gorgeous friend, Kayle, whom I’ve interviewed about being a two-time cancer survivor (found under Cow Girl Kicks Cancer Twice) is getting rollin’ with giving paid talks and she also has her own awesome vegan t-shirt and accessory line (link is at the end). For dinner we all met up at Nectar Cafe in Auburn, California.

Nectar Cafe INectar Cafe

Here’s Linda & Bethany…Can you believe she’s 71? 

Linda & Bethany

Kayle & Me

Kayle & me

And the four of us…

Four of us

We had a blast laughing and talking…and listening to some great music, but you really want to see what we ate, don’t you? I had the Thai Green Curry and it was so delicious!

Thai Green Curry

Kayle had the Tacos

Tacos

Linda and Bethany split the Jamaican Burger and Pad Thai dish.

Nectar Burger

Pad Thai Dr. Neal Barnard’s phrase runs through my head when I get served vegan food like this. He’ll say, “This sure isn’t suffering!” Isn’t that the truth? With so much amazing vegan food out there, why would anyone not consider this more compassionate, healthier diet? Well, the best part of it all wasn’t the food, but connecting with these amazing women that I’ve known now for over two years.  (No, that is not a man growing out of Linda’s neck…LOL!)

Linda & me

The next morning, we all got up early. Ate a delicious oatmeal breakfast with blueberries and other goodies. Then Bethany and I drove downtown Sacramento to join about two hundred other people for free yoga in the park. It was awesome!
Yoga in Park Yoga In Park I     Yoga & Me More vegalicious weekends like this, please! 
Afterwards, we checked out the art market that was going on in the park. I bought a few things and then we ran a few other errands and later met up with Bethany’s son for lunch. We were going to go to…
Classy Hippie Cafe  …but unfortunately Bethany hadn’t gotten his message earlier. You have to call ahead to order if you’re going to go there for lunch. Call at least the day before! I thought this was a great name for a cafe! Well, instead we headed over to Shine. Their menu and food did definitely not disappoint! YUM! 

Shine IShine       Thai Salad

Thai Salad with Grilled Tofu
Veg Samosa Veggie Samosa
This was such a great weekend! The weather was perfect and I got to visit with some of the sweetest people I know, plus check out the cool t-shirt that Kayle gave me. I wore it on Vegan T-shirt day! Yes, there is such a day!
What did you wear?
Giddy UP  And then…SIGH…it was time to say goodbye to all of these lovely, lovely humans and head back home. I hope you enjoyed taking this little trip with me!
What about you? Have you taken any vegalicious trips lately or are you planning to?
Please feel free to share or recommend your favorite place to travel to! Who knows, we may just run into each other one day!

Palms

 **Link to Kayle’s “Cowgirls and Collard Greens” shop**:
http://www.cowgirlsandcollardgreens.com/shop/
 Check out this Vegan pin! I bought one from Kayle. I love a bit of vegan bling! 

pin

Enjoy and Eat More Veggies!
Much Health & Happiness,
Nina