Toronto Veg Blog

Meet Barbi: TVA Staff Profile

What do you do at the Toronto Vegetarian Association? Everything under the sun! Communications, donor relations, volunteer coordination, fundraising, office admin, outreach coordination, help with events and the unexpected! How did you become interested in vegetarianism? As a teenager I was listening to punk rock and reading a lot of zines which spoke about vegetarianism. A book I came across in my high school library called Old McDonald’s Factory Farm solidified my commitment. What do you like most about working for TVA? Hearing exciting news about vegetarian restaurants and events, being inspired by the dedication of our incredible volunteers and writing up blog posts like these! What is a hidden talent that people might not know about you? I do cross stitch and quilting when I can find the time. I can also tell you an awful lot about cacti and desert ecosystems. What is your favourite healthy meal or snack? I love roasted veggies, especially cauliflower or brussell sprouts. What is your favourite indulgence? Savoury would be Through Being Cool’s sandwiches (any of them!). If I had to pick JUST one favourite (impossible) sweet, it might be the famous Ronald’s Donuts in Las Vegas. Read More


Filed under: News News from the Toronto Vegetarian Association Toronto Veg Blog Uncategorised

Meet Janine: TVA Staff Profile

You may have noticed some new places popping up on the Toronto Veg Card lately (check https://veg.ca/directory/list/discount-list for an updated list). That’s in part due to the fact that it’s veg directory season! We’ve got Janine in this summer helping to update the Vegetarian Directory and get it ready to go to print in time for the Veg Food Fest. What do you do at the Toronto Vegetarian Association? I am helping prepare the 2017 Vegetarian Directory. Much of my job has to do with communicating with businesses and updating their listings in the directory database. The second phase of my job is to present workshops to various organizations and businesses to promote a plant-based diet. How did you become interested in vegetarianism? It started at a young age for me. I have always been very health conscious and as I grew older I learned more about the (various) benefits associated with with vegetarianism. As I am now pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Health, I hope to help educate more people about the importance of healthy eating. What do you like most about working for TVA? The staff here has really made my experience as a summer student something… Read More


Filed under: Front page post News News from the Toronto Vegetarian Association Toronto Veg Blog Uncategorised

Meet Alyssa: TVA Staff Profile

Earlier this week we told you all about Annie, our graphic design assistant for the Veg Food Fest. Annie works closely with our Festival & Events coordinator Alyssa. We introduced you to Alyssa a few months ago but with the 32nd Veg Food Fest less than two months away, we thought you might want to get to know her a bit better! What do you do at the Toronto Vegetarian Association? I coordinate and plan  TVA’s annual events and marketing communication campaigns. This includes our annual   Veg Food Fest and Veggielicious . I also  collaborate with TVA staff and volunteers to assist in planning  and executing our annual Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off. How did you become interested in vegetarianism? I began reducing my meat consumption in first year University due to the amazing vegetarian and vegan options at the University of Guelph campus. I was looking to stay healthy and honestly, the plant-based food offerings looked much more appetizing! I’ve never looked back since. I feel healthier and know I’m making a difference in the world. What do you like most about working for TVA? Working with the dedicated and friendly staff and volunteers motivated to make a… Read More


Filed under: News from the Toronto Vegetarian Association Toronto Veg Blog Uncategorised

Meet Annie: TVA Staff Profile

When summer rolls around at the TVA office, things pick up quite a bit. This year we’re lucky to have not one, not two but three summer assistants in the office. It’s a busy place these days! Over the next few weeks we’ll introduce you to our summer staff team so you can recognize the friendly faces you might encounter if you stop by on a weekday and at the very least, at the upcoming 32nd Veg Food Fest! This week we had a delightful Italian themed vegan potluck at our weekly staff meeting, to which Annie brought along an incredibly fresh and delicious homemade bruschetta. It turns out she’s a whiz not just at graphic design but cooking too! What do you do at the Toronto Vegetarian Association? I design all promotional graphics for the Veg Food Fest coming up this September! This includes a variety of advertisements, merch and social media banners!   How did you become interested in vegetarianism? Freshman year of university, I was thrown into an extremely fast-paced, competitive environment. The shock of it all drove me into an unhealthy lifestyle. I had no time to exercise, I barely slept and I ate terribly. So,… Read More


Filed under: News News from the Toronto Vegetarian Association Toronto Veg Blog Uncategorised

Transitioning to Veganism

By Janine Jivani, Vegetarian Directory Assistant One of the things that I love about the Toronto Vegetarian Association is that they offer a variety of ways to learn about eating a plant-based diet no matter if you’re already veg or not. I was recently hired as a summer student (to work on the 2017 Vegetarian Directory and facilitate workshops), and I’ve learned so much more in the past couple of months than I would’ve ever thought. I have been a vegetarian ever since middle school and tried going vegan quite a few times- but always found myself giving up because I didn’t have the right resources, know the right foods to eat, or what recipes I could use to help me transition (like vegan Mac & Cheese!). I decided that this summer would be a perfect opportunity to transition to a vegan diet. At TVA I’m surrounded by amazing staff members and other summer students that have helped me learn so much about being veg. On top of that, TVA has a wealth of books, pamphlets, online materials, and other great sources of information which is making my transition much easier. Through working on the directory here at TVA I’ve opened my eyes to the large number of vegan-friendly restaurants and other… Read More


Filed under: News News from the Toronto Vegetarian Association Toronto Veg Blog Uncategorised

Vegan Camping: It’s All About the Food

By Barbi Lazarus, Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator Camping season arrived weeks ago, but there’s still a couple of months to go. Perhaps for you camping is all about quiet, peaceful days and nights, swimming, sitting around a fire or taking scenic hikes. And those are all good reasons for a weekend away. But camping doesn’t mean you have to give up delicious and decadent food. With each passing year, the ideas and choices for what to bring camping continue to grow to the point that I now find myself having to cut things out because there simply aren’t enough meals and snacks available over a weekend to eat it all! Here are some of our go-to camping meals and snacks to keep you fueled for a weekend of hikes and swims, and to keep you company aside a warm fire in the evening. Note: Items in italics assume you bring along a Coleman stove and frying pan. Breakfast bread and peanut butter fruit (see fruit suggestions) tofu scramble (we bring a scramble flavour mix from a recipe already mixed up in a tupperware or ziplock bag and then the tofu is ready to be fried up) home fries (same… Read More


Filed under: Eat Veg News News from the Toronto Vegetarian Association Toronto Veg Blog Travelling Uncategorised

A Guide to Vegan Ice Cream in Toronto’s Veg Village

By Barbi Lazarus, Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator The latest Veg Out: Toronto’s Vegetarian Podcast gave a fabulous rundown of the increasing vegan options for ice cream around the GTA. With so many options to choose from, it’s hard to decide where to go when you feel like treating yourself to something cold and creamy. Imagine what it’s like for me, famous for my sweet tooth, working just around the corner from what’s been dubbed “veg village”, where there are FIVE places serving up vegan ice cream all within a couple blocks of each other. One might wonder how they can all stay in business at the same time. Isn’t the vegan ice cream market saturated in Kensington? But once you take a closer look, you’ll realize that each place offers something unique and special, making them all worth a visit this summer. I’ve recently designated Thursday as my Veg Village treat day, so that I can make sure I try them all before fall rolls around. Here’s a little guide to what distinguishes these great options from one another. Cosmic Treats: Anyone who thinks vegans are depriving themselves has clearly never stepped into this retro style diner… Read More


Filed under: Eat Veg News News from the Toronto Vegetarian Association Restaurant Guides Toronto Veg Blog Uncategorised

Five Great Post-Workout Snacks

By Barbi Lazarus, Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator   While vegetarians and vegans are a diverse bunch in many ways, there seems to be one common thread, and that’s an obsession with food. Our Toronto Veg Team at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon each year is no different and even though training and fundraising is top of mind, so is EATING! After a weekend long run or doing hill repeats, it’s important as ever for runners to re-fuel with carbohydrates and protein to keep their energy up and their muscles strong. Here are five great post-workout snacks that do just that! A giant smoothie: Smoothies aren’t just for fruit anymore. Throw in leafy greens which help fight inflammation, protein sources like peanut butter, flax or chia seeds, oats for carbs, and your favourite plant-based milk such as almond or coconut. A bagel with your favourite topping: Top a toasted bagel with peanut butter and chopped banana and you’ve quickly filled your quota for post-run carbs and protein! If you love to spread mashed avocado with chili flakes on your bagel as much as I do, just top it with hemp seeds as well to amp up the protein. Brownie smoothie:… Read More


Filed under: Eat Veg News News from the Toronto Vegetarian Association Toronto Veg Blog Uncategorised Vegetarian Meal Ideas

A Compassionate Carrot: A Tribute to Sally Grande

By Barbi Lazarus, Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator When I started working at the Toronto Vegetarian Association, it didn’t take long for me to meet Sally Grande. I quickly learned that she had been one of the rocks and foundations of the TVA for decades. She and Anne Dozell were instrumental in starting TVA’s social groups, which now number more than a dozen. They pioneered most of TVA’s early publications and resources such as Vegetarians Taste of the World, a fantastic Getting Started booklet, and Sally was also co-editor of TVA’s newsletter Lifelines for many years. While working full time as a librarian, she managed to continue into her 50s to be an extremely active volunteer, and so I got to know her quickly. During my time here, I’ve seen her lead one of TVA’s most active social groups, the Durham Veg Group (you can see photos and details of past events here for proof of just how active they are!). With help from a few, but doing an incredible amount of the work on her own, she piloted the Durham Vegetarian Festival in 2009, which in it’s first year had over 5000 attendees! It… Read More


Filed under: News News from the Toronto Vegetarian Association Toronto Veg Blog Uncategorised

Passover Desserts: Vegan Style

By Barbi Lazarus, Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator People have always found it a bit strange that I actually quite enjoy Passover food. While my family has never kept Kosher for Passover, I always take advantage of this time of year to enjoy matza bagels and whip up a batch of Isa Chandra Mokowitz’s wonderful matza ball soup or Chloe Coscarelli’s matza brie (which you can find on her website chefchloe.com if you’re interested!). A couple of years ago I even found a recipe online for vegan gefilte fish and brought that to my family Sedar! When it comes to dessert for Passover though, I actually haven’t had to think outside the bread-filled box at all. While I’m sure I would (for some strange reason) enjoy some sort of store-bought vegan dessert made with matza meal, it just so happens that several of my favourite go-to desserts are already Passover-friendly! Here’s my list of desserts I turn to when deciding what to bring to wow family at our annual Sedars. Chocolate Almond Butter Fudge from Doug McNish This recipe which appeared in the Toronto Star in 2011 literally melts in your mouth and is so decadent and… Read More


Filed under: Eat Veg News News from the Toronto Vegetarian Association Toronto Veg Blog Uncategorised Vegan & Vegetarian Recipes Vegetarian Holiday Recipes