Healthy Living

Milk & Children's Height: Dietitian Pamela Fergusson Responds

The idea that drinking dairy milk is essential for good nutrition has taken a hit in recent years. Canadian milk consumption declined by 18% between 1995 and 2014. Several factors may explain this shift: the changing makeup of the Canadian population, concerns about the health impact of dairy products, concerns for animal welfare, increased allergies and intolerances. Growing preference for plant-based milks is also a factor. Researchers at St. Michael’s hospital recently raised the alarm that drinking non-cow’s milk is associated with lower height in children. According to this study, published last week in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, for each daily cup of cow’s milk they drank, children were 0.2 centimetres taller than average. This begs the questions: why are those children taller, and is being taller actually healthier? The study’s lead author, Dr. Jonathon Maguire, a pediatrician at St. Michael’s Hospital – whose ties to the dairy industry are detailed below – states that “Height is an important indicator of children’s overall health and development. Cow’s milk has been a reliable source of dietary protein and fat for North American children, two essential nutrients to ensure proper growth in early childhood. But many… Read More


Filed under: Healthy Living News

Where to buy Vitamin D supplements in Toronto

Vitamin D is an important nutrient for vegetarians and vegans to supplement with. It is a fact that it is not common in vegetarian foods (and actually it is found in few non-vegetarian foods too), and getting your Vitamin D from the sun by going out in the sunshine without sporting sunscreen isn’t a great idea either! There is no shame in taking supplements to ensure you have optimal health on a plant-based diet. So here’s what you need to know about finding a good Vitamin D supplement in Toronto. Vitamin D2 is usually vegan, however some people’s bodies do not absorb it very well even in supplement form, so they require Vitamin D3. However, Vitamin D3 is often not vegan (it can be derived from sheep’s wool). The catch here is that vegan Vitamin D3 is not commonly found in Toronto (yet!). If you’d like to have an easier time purchasing in Toronto, you could give Vitamin D2 a try and have your blood levels tested after a few months. If your Vitamin D levels are not optimal, then you will want to try and find Vitamin D3 in Toronto, or order it from a vegan supplier such as… Read More


Filed under: Healthy Living News News from the Toronto Vegetarian Association Nutrition Shopping Guides Toronto Veg Blog Uncategorised

Where to find vegan winter coats in Toronto

That was certainly a wonderful tease we got last week with warm, sunny days that made us think summer might have returned for a few more weeks. But temperatures dipped again, sending us out shopping for winter coats. In case you’ve never visited the Toronto Vegetarian Association Facebook group, let me enlighten you that it is made up of an extremely knowledgeable, resourceful group of people that always seem to have answers to every and any question that is asked about where you can find “xyz” in Toronto. So from here on in, we’ll try to share the wonderful information on the Facebook group so you have it ready at your fingertips! Starting with, where to find a vegan winter coat in Toronto. Here are some of the places or brands that we learned sell parkas without down lining or fur trim. Note: This does not mean these stores do not also sell coats with animal products, so be sure to check the labels. Stores at which vegan coat options are available: Arcteryx Atmosphere Aritzia The Bay (you can search their online page using the term vegan) Costco Mark’s Work Wearhouse Mountain Equipment Co-Op The Hemp Company on Yonge… Read More


Filed under: Healthy Living News News from the Toronto Vegetarian Association Shopping Guides Toronto Veg Blog

Food of the Month: Horse Radish

Care of Amy Symington Horse radish, a member of the Brassicaceae family, is an often forgotten or snubbed root veggie.  Similar to its cruciferous cousins, radish, mustard and wasabi, horse radish packs a pungent punch not only flavour-wise but nutritionally speaking as well. When intact the small root is practically odorless, however, once broken down its strong smell and sharp, spicy taste could bring even the toughest spice eater to their knees, or rather, to their nose. It can be classified as a nutriceutical or functional food, which by definition is a food item that not only provides basic human nutrition like vitamins and minerals, but also supplies additional health benefits like reducing the risk of chronic disease.   In this case, horse radish specifically contains a number of different phytochemicals that provide specific health benefits.  For example, often horse radish contains high concentrations of glucosinolates, which are known for their fungicidal and anti-bacterial properties.  In addition, recent research concerning glucosinolates suggests that horse radish may even help with reducing cancer causing carcinogens present in the body. Vitamin C and fibre, which horse radish contains high levels of, also fall under the nutriceutical category, as they act as free radical scavengers and… Read More


Filed under: Eat Veg elifelines Food of the Month Healthy Living

Totally Delicious: Delicata Squash

  Care of Laura Wright I could not be happier at the sight of a few striped delicata squashes forming in the garden toward the end of August—and not just because it’s sometimes referred to as “Bohemian Squash.” Along with the teeny apples adorning the trees, this is one of the first waves hello from Autumn. Some sources throw it into the “summer squash” category (along with pattypans and yellow crookneck varieties), and others lump it in with winter squashes like butternut or acorn, but the time to get on these sweet vegetables is right now in early Fall. They hold their shape beautifully when roasted, making them just right for stuffing with lentils, grains or small cuts of vegetables. More often than not, I find myself roasting slices/chunks with salt, pepper, spices etc and tossing the pieces into soups or my kale/grain salads for added texture. The flavour is quite similar to sweet potatoes. On Picking & Choosing: You want to select a delicata that is creamy yellow with even dark green striping down its sides. If the hue is veering more towards light green, it isn’t ripe enough. As a general note on squash selection, you… Read More


Filed under: Eat Veg elifelines Food of the Month Healthy Living Nutrition

Walk or Run with the Toronto Vegetarian Team

Click here to see the Toronto Vegetarian Team’s page and sponsor a runner on the team! Are you a plant-powered runner? Or do you just love to go out for a long walk on a beautiful autumn morning? Want to spread the word that vegetarians are strong and healthy? Then join the Toronto Vegetarian Team at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sunday, October 20th! You can sign up to walk or run the 5k, 1/2 marathon or full marathon to raise funds to support TVA. Everyone on the team receives a special discounted charity registration rate. But that’s not all! Thanks to our generous sponsors Vega, Fresh Restaurants, Marni Wasserman, VegNews Magazine, Know Thy Food, Chef Mary Hulbert, Monarch Park Stadium and Whole Foods, team members this year will get: FREE fitness talk from Marni Wasserman at her brand new Delicious Knowledge studio FREE yoga for runners class from Vega rep and FlipSwitch Studios FREE raw cooking demonstration from chef Mary Hulbert Tree-free subscription to VegNews magazine… Read More


Filed under: Healthy Living News News from the Toronto Vegetarian Association

The Almighty Eggplant!

Care of Amy Symington Eggplant, or aubergine to our Queen loving commonwealth mates, is the king of the nightshade plant family for good reason. Although anywhere from white to green varieties are available, generally eggplants have a deep, glossy, purple skin.  They are spongy in texture and are mild, yet bitter in flavour.  They grow from vines just like their cousins the tomato and the pepper, and are native to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The antioxidant content of eggplant is tremendous, helping to fend off unwanted free radical invaders.  Specifically, a great deal of research has been found on the phytonutrient called nasunin, a member of the anthocyanins, which has been shown to protect the lipids found in our brain cell membranes. This strong antioxidant presence may also help to reduce inflammation in those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.  A link between the consumption of eggplant and reducing blood cholesterol levels and cholesterol build up in artery walls has also been made in current research. Aside from its obvious regal prosperity, eggplant is also rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium and phosphorus. It is also an excellent source of dietary fibre, folate, potassium and manganese. Read More


Filed under: elifelines Food of the Month Healthy Living

Viva La Lemons!

Care of Amy Symington Lemons are unquestionably the most versatile fruit known to human kind, used worldwide not only for eating purposes, but also for other vital household remedies as well. It is great for freshening and sanitizing any surface area, removing unwanted arm pit stains from your favourite t-shirt, and is an amazing cleaning agent for all that copper, brass or stainless steel you need looked after.  It is also there to soothe your scratchy throat while simultaneously giving you those show stopping summer highlights you have always dreamed of. In terms of health related areas, the consumption of lemons have been correlated with a variety of beneficial properties. Due to their high vitamin C content they neutralize free radicals and increase iron absorption if eaten in combination with iron rich foods. Due to their high potassium content they have been shown to help with the control of high blood pressure. Other health benefits include reducing the occurrence of kidney stones, phlegm related asthma, constipation and toxins found in the body, as well as aiding in overall digestion. However, most importantly, lemons are the king of all flavour enhancers. They boost any dish’s taste profile without adding… Read More


Filed under: Eat Veg elifelines Food of the Month Healthy Living Nutrition

Resources for Doctors and Dietitians About Veg Nutrition

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the Dietitians of Canada have both released statements affirming that vegetarian and vegan diets are healthy at all stages of life, including infancy, adolescence, adulthood, pregnancy, and old age. We encourage you as health care professionals, to support your patients’ choice to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet. In fact, given that diet is strongly related to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes (see journal articles linked below), we hope you would encourage your patients to move towards a plant-based diet. It is one of the most effective things patients can do to improve their overall health, and our resources show how easy it is. If you have any questions or concerns about the legitimacy of vegetarian and vegan diets, please consider the information contained in the references listed below. Reference List Books A great book, written by registered dietitians providing an overview of nutrient requirements for people on a vegan diet is Vegan for Life by Jack Norris and Ginny Messina. This book can be your one-stop reference guide to keep on hand to answer questions for your patients such as, should they take a B12 supplement? What nutrients do they need to… Read More


Filed under: Healthy Living Resource Centre

Fabulous Fats: Omega 3s

Care of Nimisha Raja and Karen Soper This month, we’ve got a basic reminder on the importance of Omega Fatty Acids. These are referred to as the Omega 3 and 6 fats that are healthy and good for you. Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) are not manufactured by the body – hence they must be acquired from the diet. Some of the functions of healthy fats in our bodies include: •    Transporting essential fat-soluable vitamins D,E,A, and K, •    Enhancing and maintaining normal brain development and functioning, •    Contributing to cell membrane flexibility and selective permeability (keeping healthy products in and cellular debris and toxins out), •    Improving the body’s health by increasing metabolic rate, energy production and oxygen intake. •    Contributing to the production of hormone like substances called prostaglandins (which regulate hormonal levels). A common misconception is that people need to consume fish oil to get their omega 3.  However instead of consuming the fish itself, the direct source of EPA is actually the algae that fish eat, so we can actually supplement with spirulina and microalgae products (even wakame seaweed is very high in EPA). Omega 3 is also found in flax, walnut… Read More


Filed under: elifelines Healthy Living Nutrition