Would you support a corner store in Garibaldi Highlands?

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The Wilder Snail at 799 Keefer St in Strathcona

Gordon Price, from SFU  is hosting a conversation on Sept 5th about corner stores in Vancouver. I really like the idea of the corner store. I think this is another one of those concepts that will return as society re-evaluates itself like it is with the local food movements and the return of organic food that used to just be called “food” before the advent of the “modern day” agriculture industry.

“Before the 1950′s, Mom & Pop grocery stores were common features of Vancouver’s single-family residential neighbourhoods. Then car culture, supermarkets and rigid zoning rules that relegated commerce to main streets changed how communities functioned. A handful of “grandfathered” locations survived, and now their successors are transforming their neighbourhoods’ social life. Is it time to legalize new corner stores, or would they create noise and activity problems?”

I think it is time to bring this concept back.  The definition of the corner store I think needs updating but these corner stores could become micro hubs in some communities.

There’s a lot of discussion going on about this subject. Frances Bula recently published an article in the Globe and Mail about corner stores and there’s a good discussion happening on her blog as well.

I like the idea and would love to see a corner store in my neighborhood that had a general store and coffee shop/cafe. Not quite sure if the density allows or what the exact business model would have to be but it’s an interesting idea.

What do you think?

6 Vegan Dudes

Going vegan is not just for the ladies. Check out these vegan dudes. The vegan lifestyle is more common than you think.

Mac Danzig

UFC fighter Mac Danzing pairs his intense workout routines with a vegan diet. He’s living proof that a plant based diet can cut body fat while providing you with enough protein to build substantial muscle.

Mac Danzig

Ben Stiller

Staying slim and camera ready gets tougher as you get older. Recently the 47-year-old actor switched to a vegan diet and kicked coffee to get healthier.

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Bob Harper

The “Biggest Loser” fitness guru doesn’t focus on cutting calories. Instead, he switched to a vegan diet which gives him plenty of energy to workout while keeping his body fat down.

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Mike Tyson

Yes, you read that right. The famous boxer switched to veganism when his wife adopted it to lose weight. Says Tyson, “(I feel) incredible. I wish I was born this way. When you find out about the processed stuff you have been eating. I wonder why I was crazy all those years.”

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Bill Clinton

Remember Bill Clinton’s dramatic weight loss after his heart attack? It’s all thanks to his new vegan diet. He’s lost around 30 pounds and he’s much healthier.

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Woody Harrelson

Woody told Esquire that he became vegan while living in New York when he was first trying to become an actor: “I was on a bus and some girl sees me blowing my nose. I had acne all over my face, which I’d had for years and years.

And she’s like: ‘Hey, you’re lactose intolerant. If you quit dairy, all these symptoms you got will be gone in three days.’ I was like twenty-four. And I was like, No way. But three days later: gone.”

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Going Vegan

My wife was a vegetarian for over 13 years. She started eating meat again when she was pregnant with our first child based on our Dr saying she should. That was about 2 years ago. Nearing the end of the second pregnancy, we decide we were going to stop eating meat and begin living as vegetarians and working towards being vegan.

I’ve been a meat eater almost all of my life. Red meat, pork, chicken, fish; I’ve tried all kinds of other animal based foods and for the most part, I liked the taste of most of them and never really thought twice about what I was eating.

Everyone eats meat right? So what’s the big deal?

Having kids makes you think differently. It’s almost instantaneous once they are born. You ask yourself all kinds of questions about yourself and your life with this new parental lens on the subject. The question is usually along the lines of “Is this good for my kids?”

In regards to eating animal based products, we simply couldn’t answer that question with a “Yes”.

Over the past 6 months or so, my wife and I have watched several documentaries like Food Inc., Food Matters, Hungry for Change and read several articles about the food we eat. Where it comes from, what it’s made of, what’s in it and is it even good for us.  What we’ve learned has changed us and our complete perspective on food and life.

veganThere are three main reasons why we are going vegan.

1) It’s a healthy choice – A properly balanced vegan diet is rich in vitamins, antioxidants and fiber and can decrease the chances of suffering from diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers. It’s also easier to maintain a healthy weight on a vegan diet.

As the old saying goes, “You are what you eat” can be quite a scary thought when you really learn about the food you put into your body.

2) Animals are beautiful creatures  – Killing animals is still killing. Honestly, if we can thrive on plant based diets, why do we need to raise animals to kill them. The way some farmed animals are treated is disgusting, sad and simply just unnecessary.

3) Environmental – Global warming is real. The population is growing and our need for sustainable food practices is imperative. Switching to a plant-based diet is an effective way for an individual to reduce their eco-footprint. Vegan diets produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than meat-based diets.

“A University of Chicago study found that the ‘typical’ US diet generates the equivalent of nearly 1.5 tonnes more carbon dioxide per person per year than a vegan diet. The livestock industry is responsible for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than the entire transport sector (which produces 13.5%), including aviation.”

Plant-based diets require less than one third of the land and water needed to produce a typical animal based Western diet. Farmed animals consume much more protein, water and calories than they produce, so far greater quantities of crops and water are needed to produce animal ‘products’ to feed humans than are needed to feed people direct on a plant-based diet. With water and land becoming scarcer globally, world hunger increasing and the planet’s population rising, it is much more sustainable for us humans to just eat the plant based foods directly than use up precious resources feeding farmed animals.

So, when our daughter was born 3 months ago, my wife and I decided we would work towards being vegan. Since then it’s been a great change and I would say that we are 90% vegan and 100% vegetarian and have reduced our gluten intake as well.  We don’t eat any meat, fish, chicken, cheese and very little dairy and eggs. The only place we get dairy and eggs is when we are out and end up buying a snack like banana bread or something.

We are not perfect and we’re not trying to be. Every little change counts and makes a difference. The change is going well and frankly it hasn’t been that hard.

We’ve eliminated processed foods cause we simply don’t consider them foods anymore. In our mind, these processed foods are products, not food. Their primary goal was and is to make money, not provide the most nutrients to the body regardless of what their marketing message says.

The foods that provide the most nutrients to the body are called fruits, vegetables, legumes, spices, nuts and seeds and the human body can thrive on these and these alone. It’s all about going back to basics. Eat what people would have eaten before the industrial agriculture revolution and you will notice your health change in a matter of weeks. Garbage in, garbage out.

So What do we eat?

Here is a diagram of the primary plant based foods we eat. When you add the many spices out there, the flavor combinations are limitless.

baeta_vegetarian_food_pyramid

The results so far

I’ve lost 15 pounds in the 3 months and my wife over 50 including her pregnancy weight. We feel amazing, don’t have the cravings we used. We have also pretty much eliminated the sugar spikes and crashes that come from crappy foods which feels amazing. As for exercise, we try and get out and go for a 30 to 60 min walk 5 times a week in addition to chasing around our toddler.

One thing to note is that our food choice options have been dramatically reduced which in our opinion is a good thing. Less options makes choosing much easier, less stressful and like the saying goes, less is more.

Going Vegan is a journey of self discovery and one that both my wife and I are excited about.