“Post” Vegan Project Launch Party

Last week was the launch party of the Vegan Project. It was one of those days, I was tired, super busy and my day didn’t stop until I reached the the party. I didn’t even have time to change my clothes! I basically threw on a pair of heels with my jeans and a t-shirt and away I went. I’m sure glad I did. It was the best part of my day.

The Vegan Project is Vancouver’s new online vegan lifestyle resource. The launch party was great fun. Great DJ, Vega samples and lots of great vegan food. I walked in to smiling faces and was immediately offered a  drink, It was just what I needed! I even managed to squeeze in a quick hug from Bridgette  (1 of the 3 founders of TVP) she looked extremely busy but happy and beautiful. What made my night even better was when I found out that  I was one of the first 100 guests that got a goodie bag! Way to go ladies, was a great party. So nice to see so many familiar faces. The new site looks amazing!

Kristine, Julia and I at the Vegan Launch Party

Local Advocates SAINTS and Hearts On Noses

You can go crazy with reading about all of the cruelty that goes on towards animals, from the baby elephant that was beat to death in the Morigaon district to poor Jack the dog who was left to die outside of a shelter.  The stories are endless. It can really bum a person out. On top of all that you can add Factory Farms, Fur Farms, Dairy Production and Seal Slaughter! Good Grief! It’s a good thing that there are places out there that are here to help animals. Giving animals a place where they can feel safe and loved.

Hearts On Noses and SAINTS are a few that come to mind. Both of them are local to the lower mainland and both purley run with kind hearts and donations from others who care. No government support or grants.

Hearts on Noses is a registered non-profit society in Maple Ridge BC that rescues, rehabilitates and cares for unwanted, injured, orphaned, abused, neglected and abandoned mini-pigs. Janice is the woman who runs Hearts On Noses and she will always welcome another set of hands on the farm. If you would like to get up close and personal with the pigs why don’t you volunteer 3 hours of your time to help Janice and the pigs. You won’t want to just go once, I promise! These little pigs will steal  your heart.

Another local sanctuary will also melt your heart, when you hear the stories about these pups who at the tail end of life have no where else to go. Abused, sick and senior pups find sanctuary at SAINTS.

SAINTS is an end-of-life sanctuary for senior and special needs animals that have no where else to go. Providing a loving environment and proper medical care for all of its residents.

SAINTS was started in December 2004 after volunteers at other animal shelters saw many senior animals spending their last days in a shelter or pound. From the time doors opened, the number of animals in need has been astounding and ever-growing

SAINTS reliess heavily on donations and volunteers to keep the sanctuary going. The medical costs for these naimals can be very expensive. With the help from donations they are able to provide the proper medical treatment and even prolong the life of the animal through the proper medications and care.

SAINTS pledges to love them, to care for them, and make their dreams come true. They promise each of them that they will never be alone again. They will be by the sides of these pups making their final days comfortable full of love and known appreciation for the life they so loyally gave. In most cases the animals have lived horrible lives never seeing a kind day but the most important thing is that they know that they were loved in the end.

Want to visit? SAINTS is located in Mission and a scenic one hour drive from Vancouver. You can drive to SAINTS via Lougheed Hwy or the #1 Hwy. View Map

What does it take? The Food Connection

I often wondered why everyone wasn’t jumping on my band wagon of deciding to cut out meat and dairy and look for alternatives to leather and wool. I blog, I post articles, videos, pictures anything to get the word out. Wanting so desperately to share what I have learned, I tell all my friends. Not everyone makes the connection and not everyone is willing to learn. So what does it take? It’s different for everyone.

When we are young, someone else is making our food choices then as adults we are influenced by ad’s and commercials, sometimes it’s religion or family tradition. Whatever the reason it’s you who needs to take control of the food you eat. Make the connection. Create new traditions. Question the information that is being presented to you, even mine!

“The most important part of vegetarianism  for me was the shift in consciousness that takes place. There is a true correlation between our food choices and violence in the world. The only person who would disagree with that is a meat-eater”

I know what you’re thinking: “more vegan propaganda to make you feel guilty” How do I know? That’s how I used to react to it too. You see, without being properly educated and aware I too was using my body as a burial ground for dead meat. Even when I thought about giving it up, I made up the same excuses as many others do. I’m even a huge animal lover and I still couldn’t make the connection.

It wasn’t until I got sick and had no choice but to make a change. Then I wondered how can we be a truly compassionate and go along with the mass terror inflicted on millions of animals a year and the unnatural treatment of animals. How can you say you love animals but then separate them for food? You may turn your head from the “ugly” material that is out there proving this, but that doesn’t eliminate the ugliness.

I have experienced a much wider variety of food than I thought possible without meat. Food without chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics and who knows what else. I say get creative with your cooking. I feel as though I’ve started to learn how to eat all over again, and it’s FUN. I say enjoy the inner peace that WILL come to you as your body gets healthier and in tune with the natural world from the inside out.

Look for recipes and sites, locals who are getting involved in the food revolution. Try The Vegan Project, Liberation BC, Vegan Yum Yum, Tal Ronnen, The Thrive Diet , Diet For A New America, there are so many outlets for making the change, providing you with recipes, inspiration and informed information. You WILL feel the change, the more knowledge you gain the deeper the connection.

Plant-Based Nutrition represents a forward-looking view of nutrition, it not only contributes to your health but you will look and feel better. By going plant-based you will be taking responsibility for your self the animals and the environment.

I added this short video about and escaped slaughter cow, in this video a woman describes her awakened connection between what she eats and the cow that stands before her. It’s a beautiful video and it really touched my heart. I hope it touches yours.

Maxine’s Dash For Freedom

“When one becomes a vegetarian, it purifies the soul” – Isaac Bashevis Singer


The True Story of the Stanley Park Swans

The True Story of the Stanley Park Swans

Written by Becci of Liberation BC, on May 25th, 2010

If you’ve spent any time at the Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park, you’ve almost definitely seen the Mute Swans.  They are large, strikingly lovely birds, and certainly one of the most memorable and defining aspects of the lagoon.

Did you know, however, that they aren’t a native species to the Park or even to the continent?  Mute Swans actually come from Europe and Asia.  To prevent the birds from spreading and becoming an invasive species, their wings are clipped:

The swans are pinioned (wing tendons clipped) to keep this introduced species from spreading to other parts of the province.  Unlike clipped wings, it is a permanent surgery.  Some may find this cruel but it is the only way to ensure that a non-native species does not spread.  (Stanley Park Ecology Society)

That’s right, the swans cannot fly, and never will.  They are essentially captives–living decorations for visitors to the park to enjoy. Yes, some DO find this cruel.  In fact, I’d go so far as to say that most people would.  I know that I’ll never forget the day that I saw one of the swans desperately struggling to take off from the water.  Destroying the birds’ wings did not destroy their desire to fly.

The fact that the swans are denied their right to fly is  only one problem associated with their damaged wings, actually.  The birds are injured–or more often, killed–with surprising frequency, generally because they can only escape danger by staying on the Lagoon.  They cannot take to the air.  Despite warnings posted throughout the area, people very often unleash their dogs and allow them to run around freely.  I suspect that these are the same people who take their dogs, unleashed, for walks throughout our busy city, foolishly assuming that they know well enough how the dogs will react in every single situation.  The swans, who are very slow on land, cannot escape when a dog decides to express its natural instincts and attack.  It happens all the time.

Wild animals, like raccoons and coyotes, have also attacked the birds, and so have humans.  A few years ago, some idiot threw a large rock at a mother swan on her nest, breaking her leg.  Another swan and her babies were intentionally doused with oil.  (Two of the three cygnets died as a result.)  People who, again, ignore signs, have killed swans by riding their bikes too quickly on paths around the lagoon.

Right now there are close to 10 swans living on the lagoon, and even the park admits that this is too many:

There are also, technically, too many swans on the Lagoon.  In the wild, only one pair would inhabit a lake this size (SPES)

Let there be no misunderstanding here: I love Stanley Park, and I love the Lost Lagoon.  I think it’s one of the best places in our wonderful city.  But the swans should be considered an embarrassment to the otherwise fantastic park.  It’s not as if we’re lacking for wildlife–the park and lagoon are home to literally hundreds of species of animals, including Great Blue Herons and Bald Eagles.  With such fascinating creatures living and flourishing freely in the park, why do we need captive swans?

Learn more from Stanley Park Swans.  The author is clearly in favor of the swans being in the lagoon, but the website is otherwise a great resource.

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An Organic Lives Lunch with Preet Marwaha

Today I had the pleasure of having lunch with Preet Marwaha, owner and founder of Organic Lives. Organic Lives is located one block from the Main St. skytrain staion at 1829 Quebec; you can’t miss the old red brick building right on the corner.

Inside you will find Preet buzzing about attending to patrons and staff which he refers to as family, the happy faces vary, from the business like to the organic devotes.

The first thing I learned from one of the helpful family members, is that Preet makes and jars his own spices (YUM) with healthy being the main ingredient in all the food, and after personally reviewing the menu and enjoying my own lunch; you can see why Organic Lives has become so popular.

Preet started Organic Lives because he cares about the environment and its direct connection with the food we eat. After being forced to leave the corporate world he moved from Calgary to Vancouver to open up the first Organic Lives. With new locations on the horizon including a downtown take out window. Organic Lives is making it easy to access environmentaly healthy meals on the go.

Preet himself is a recovered colitis sufferer, he explained how he cured him self through a vegan diet. After years of failed medical advice it was the food that was able to make him healthy again.

Everything at Organic Lives is compostable, even the ink  for the labels is used from vegtable die. All the food is purchased from local farmers and homemade in house.

I look forward to my next visit at Organic Lives it was nutritious and delicious.  FYI, there are cooking classes too, every Thursday night!

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Preet, he is so passionate about what he does. When you go say hello for me, and get one of the smoothies, they are divine!

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The Vegan Project with Brigette Burns

I met with Bridgette Burns today over a soy cappuccino at JJ Bean to talk about The Vegan Project, promoting a more compassionate lifestyle with out the pressure. 3 vegetarian’s who decided to try living vegan for a month and the outcome was to inspire others to do the same. The journey continued and the Vegan Project has successfully  inspired others to join them in sharing what they have learned along the way.

The Vegan Project will give you all the necessary tools to make better choices based around food, even if you don’t want to give up your current lifestyle or you’re just curious, the Vegan Project will help you choose your food more wisely. Through shared experiences and great recipes, follow the Vegan Project at theveganproject.worpress.com

What is the Vegan Project? in their own words,

After learning about the disheartening impact of the meat and dairy industries on our health, the environment and the treatment of animals,we decided to try being vegan.  It became our Vegan Project.

Since September 2009, we’ve been documenting our experiences on this blog and sharing everything we’ve learned about living a vegan lifestyle in Vancouver, and beyond. We’ve had a lot of fun and met amazing new friends along the way.

In October, The Vegan Project began helping others try veganism by offering meal plans and shopping tips for anyone interested.

The Vegan Project would love to help you try veganism, too! Feel free to email us if you are interested at meet us [at] theveganproject [dot] ca.

The Vegan Project

for us, for them, for the planet

Bridget Burns, Jessica Grajczyk, Jen Hanover

Even if you are not planning on becoming a Vegan this blog is well worth the follow, I recommend you journey along with the Vegan Project, I know I am.

Gimme Shelter, Everyday Choices

[read time: 5 mins]

If you attended the Gimme Shelter, Everyday Choices at the Roundhouse on Sep 26, 2010, I want to say a big thank you: your  support, open minds and big hearts for it was you who allowed me to made this event possible.  We raised $2800 dollars for Farm Sanctuary and $500 for Liberation BC. I was really happy with the speakers. The event’s purpose was to raise awareness about everyday choices. You could not have attended this event without being affected in some way. Along with a silent auction, entertainment provided by Evan Kennedy and the Fera Band some yummy catered food from Radha and a selection of wine to choose from – I think I had a pretty succesful first event.

Eleanor Boyle

Our first speaker was Eleanor Boyle, on sustainable food attainable health. Eleanor’s presentations are inclusive, compassionate, and optimistic. She creates opportunities for people to share ideas and strategies for sustainable living and eating.  With her presentation on how we can develop personal food practices that nourish the earth as well as ourselves, how we can choose to move down the food chain by eating none or less meat and how we can urge governments and policy-makers to shape food systems for ecological public health.

Graham Hill

In between speakers I presented  a video called “Why I’m A Weekday Vegetarian” by Graham Hill. I chose this video because it goes with my values, if I’m going to be successful at actually changing the relationships people have with food then I need to allow people to make gradual changes at their own pace. I can not expect everyone to follow the same set of values especially my own. I can respect that change takes time. Graham Hill talks about the arguments that being vegetarian is better for the environment and for the animals — but in a carnivorous culture, it can be hard to make the change. Graham Hill has a powerful, pragmatic suggestion: Be a weekday veg. Graham Hill is the founder of TreeHugger.com; he travels the world to tell the story of sustainability. Full bio and more links

Rex Weyler

Our second speaker was Rex Weyler, Rex was one of the founders of Greenpeace and I have to say he is right up there with David Suzuki when it comes to intelligence. His presentation on how our food choices effect our environment, his approach to living simply just might be a great start to rebuilding our environmental damage.  His eye opening presentation discussed that meat consumption not only contributes to the decline of our resources but that factory farming in a whole is the biggest contributor to global warming.  Vehicles release over 1.7 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year, contributing to global climate change and each gallon of gasoline burned creates 20 pounds of CO2. That’s about 6 to 9 tons of CO2 each year.

Before you consider all the C02 we produce with transportation, Factory Farming creates even more, methane and Methane is 21 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than CO2. While atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have risen by about 31% since pre-industrial times, methane concentrations have more than doubled. Whereas human sources of CO2 amount to just 3% of natural emissions, human sources produce one and a half times as much methane as all natural sources. In fact, the effect of our methane emissions may be compounded as methane-induced warming in turn stimulates microbial decay of organic matter in wetlands—the primary natural source of methane. This is a direct cause of the demands of more meat at a faster rate, more factory run farms and a diminishing of private smaller farms. Cheaper and faster is the new demand. We have gone from seeing meat as a side dish to it becoming a staple. Our demand and high consumption has created factory farms and factory farmed meat which is inhumane and the biggest contributor of global warming.

Mark Bittman

I followed Rex Weyler presentation with a video called “Whats Wrong With What We Eat” by Mark Bittman. I chose this video because it seemed a perfect follow up to Rex’s presentation. Our demand for resources. A semi-vegetarian, Mark Bittman accurately states: “There’s no way to treat animals well when you’re killing 10 billion of them a year.” Mark Bittman weighs in on what’s wrong with the way we eat now (too much meat, too few plants; too much fast food, too little home cooking), and why it’s putting the entire planet at risk.

Gene Baur

Our  keynote speaker all the way from  California was Gene Baur co founder of Farm Sanctuary. Gene talks about the effects of Factory Farming and  presented an eye-opening discussion for many in the audience, as I later learned so many people had no idea that factory farming was going on. To most it was a shock that dairy cows are artificially inseminated and spend most of their life pregnant, while their calves become veal if they’re male and dairy cattle if they’re female, all days after birth. It is one of the cruelest forms of living and is what we know as factory farming. The environment that these animals live in is not hygienic; most suffer from respiratory problems, 90% of the antibiotics administered are given to factory farmed animals, and this is what is allowed in the food sold in supermarkets, it’s shocking that they allow this to be consumed by people. Gene explains that most of the animals that make it to Farm Sanctuary are scared and have never know any form of compassion. Gene is one of the nicest most compassionate, genuine people I have ever met. I feel very blessed to have had him visit us in Vancouver and speak at my event.

Liberation BC organized a dinner at Organic Lives restaurant after the event!

It is our responsability to learn how we can all make a difference and how we as a race can continue to support each other in making better choices and changes. For the full photo album of the event please follow me on Facebook.

Liberation, BC (Local Vancouver Organization)

Want to get involved Vancouver? This is a great place to start, meet other inspired activists and be a voice for the voiceless.

Every day, millions of animals are caged, beaten, electrocuted, transported thousands of miles without water, force-fed, mutilated without pain killers, slaughtered, skinned, trapped, and scalded. The horrors are endless and humanity seems to be infinitely imaginative in devising new methods of exploitation. Our goal is to end the suffering of animals, to be a voice speaking up for them when there are so many speaking out against them.

Make your voice count by joining one of Vancouver’s most active animal rights organizations.

Learn more about becoming a member of Liberation BC and helping us become an even more powerful voice for the animals.

Liberate Animals~ Vancouvers Animal Issues

Do you want to get involved but you don’t know how? Well here is a local Vancouver advocate that wears a big heart on their sleeve. Liberation BC offers a list of get involved Vancouver. Go ahead make a difference, the animals are waiting:

The holiday season is a great time to talk to others about how brutal and unnatural the turkey farming business is.
Foie Gras
You can convince Vancouver shops and restaurants that this cruel product is not welcome in your city.
Pappas Furs
We will continue to be at Pappas Furs until Aberdeen Centre kicks this vile furrier out of the mall! Learn more about the campaign here!
Canadian Seal Hunt
Every March, Liberation BC joins with other animal rights groups to protest Canada’s embarrassing “hunt” of baby seals.
Walk for Farm Animals
Every year since 2007, we’ve organized the Vancouver Walk for Farm Animals. All funds raised go to Farm Sanctuary!
In a real sport, all participants are willing. The rodeo is nothing but animal abuse.

BCSPCA~ Tis The Season To Care

Donate as little or as much as you can afford.  $10 per month will  help to save abused animals – the same amount as 2 lattes! $20 will make an amazing difference – the same amount as one lunch! Many animals will be left out in the cold throughout the bitter winter and will die.


Please do your part and support your local SPCA give an animal a chance.