Monday, March 30, 2009


Raw foodism is a choice to eat whole foods that are unprocessed, unrefined and in their original and natural form. You may have guessed that this is a vegan or at least a vegetarian lifestyle choice since one can't really mow down on uncooked meat! So yes, by raw food I mean chomping on a celery stick or biting into a tomato. Though having its own health and eco-minded culture, raw menus are as diverse and elaborate as you can imagine!

I knew about and was intrigued as a vegetarian with the raw diet craze that had erupted out West, the most so in California from what I understand. But not anything about the hows or exactly whys. I visited these sites and found out alot of unbelieveable information. It always amazes me how little so many people know about how food choices affect our lives and lifestyles! I'm really exited about this raw food revolution and I definetely want to make at least some effort to try and contribute to it. It's better for our bodies and the environment, and promotes a veg diet which as I wrote about in a previous post about how it is crucial to ecological health.

The Best of Raw answers the question of "why not eat cooked food?" By cooking food it terminates the enzymes that promote health towards metabolic and digestive functions. Here I also found out the specifics to what exactly constitutes a food as raw. "Raw food" is:

a) uncooked - never heated above 42C/118F

b) unprocessed - as fresh (and wild) as possible

c) organic - no irradiation, preservatives, pesticides

Raw Food, Right Now! is an extremely helpful blog that contextualizes pretty much everything you need to know about Raw Food. I learned that people also turn to raw diets for health reasons and weight loss as well as the vegan and vegetarian aspect. It examines a plethora of issues including that going raw encompasses not just a food diet but everything you put into your body which of course includes beverages. Think of "raw beverages" as liquids that do not contain additives or extensive processes such as pop. In terms of alcohol, if any at all wine is usually preferred among raw foodies. The least desirable is hard liquor as it is distilled. I really learned alot about raw foodism from this blog including a new term:

Raw-ish: the act of eating something as raw as possible in a cooked food environment

To me this is a concept that also best describes the sentiment of striving towards a raw diet and lifestyle without necessarily being a strict vegan raw foodie. I have decided to make the effort so wish me luck! I got many ideas from the Oregon blog Big Raw Vegan which you should visit for more info and for a window into the dynamic menu and recipe options of raw foodism! One great idea is using lettuce leafs as a bread replacement which is way yummier and filling than it may appear. Already I have experienced the benefits of eating whole, raw foods and I haven't even come close to making it the majority of my diet. Delve in and discover fruits, vegetables, seeds and other edible items that you did not know existed!

What do you think about the raw-volution?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Taloola's: Not Just A Vegetarian's Paradise

Taloola's is an anomaly - it offers what no other cafe or venue does in Windsor! It's a whimsical escape: you are enveloped with a warm feeling as you creak on the weathered hard wood floors and take in the eclectic and enigmatic decor that literally covers every inch of the place. Then you are met with an oversized map of the world taking up most of the north wall, surrounded by artistic and mismatched chairs, cups and nickknacks. From the feminist art in the washrooms to the shelf of books and games, Taloola's participates in and celebrates in the Do-It-Yourself ethic and DIY subculture.

As I sit and read with a matcha beverage or have a tea and some good conversation with a friend, the afternoon sun shines through the West-facing window wall and creates a nice warm temperature. Cozy in the winter, airy in the summer and perfect for a spring or fall cafe retreat, Taloola's is a place that is an open space in multiple senses. As a vegetarian, feminist and supported of vintage and DIY culture, this place is a goldmine of welcomeness.

But it doesn't matter who you are, anyone can enjoy! Whether its over a soy late or the usual unexpected recipe for the soup of the day, sitting at Taloola's you are likely to realize that this cafe is to be taken advantage of as an all-seasons-must! The experience of eating, socializing, listening to music or studying there and meeting for tea are a few examples of how I enjoy loads of time there. Follow the trail with your bike and chill on the patio in the summertime or relax inside for a lowkey atmosphere. The small and friendly staff maintains excellent though casual service - remember to grab your own cutlery and napkins!

Drink Favourites:
As for coffee, Organic Fair Trade Dark Roast please! The Cairo Cocoa (with clove, ginger or cinnamon) for $3.25 is a wonderful warming winter treat. I also love the Masala Smoothie with almond milk. They also make what I've heard described as the best macciato's in the city for $2.25. Oh and the White Peach loose-leaf tea in the summertime should definitely be be sampled!
Food Favourites:
The Veggie Loola (a signature item that is all its cracked up to be) is a sure staple while I also really enjoy the Organic Peanut Butter and Organic Carrot "Toastie" sandwich with added organic hemp seeds for only $0.50. Any of the salads and other sandwiches are experiences in themselves and for meat eaters, a popular choice seems to be the deli-meat Roberto Panini! A variety of fresh desert and loose leaf teas are always available. The menu is extensive and diverse including probably the best selection of vegan/vegetarian, gluten and sugar free options available in Windsor.

Special features include Tea Rituals on Tuesdays from 4-7pm and weekly indie-folk-music that makes for an enjoyable Saturday evening. Aswell as charity initiatives, various seasonal treats and activites keep the venue fresh. For example, right now there are DIY creations for sale - arts and crafty flowers decorate the cafe front while hand made mini windmills dance lazily in the breeze. Come utilize this venue you may not have known was available to you in Windsor. Come back again and again and again as most customers do!

Taloola Cafe 396 Devonshire Road
Olde Walkerville, Windsor

519 - 254 - 6652

Tues - Fri Open 7:30 - 10 pm

Sat - 8:30 - 11pm

Sun - 10 - 4pm

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Indian Cuisine 101

I always enjoyed almost any food I tried from various cultures around the world. It wasn't until I discovered India Palace on Ottawa St. in Windsor that I found my new favourite indulgence and dietary addition! Dining at restaurants offering cuisine that is foreign to you can often be intimidating and overwhelming. But not if you know what to order and are not afraid to try new things! For those who are interested in international cuisine and world food culture I hope you nod your head along with me.

The Indian palate offers some of the most tasty vegetarian friendly dishes in the world. A mosaic of vibrant colours and potent, flavourful spices, the extensively diverse cuisine map of India makes up a menu of quality and quantity. The Indian food I eat in Windsor at India Palace and House of India comes from the Northern region. Dishes that were recommended to me that are frequently ordered and that you should order too are Saag Aloo and Mutter Paneer. Other staples consist of Basmati Rice and Naan (a pita-like bread that can be used in the place of utensils).
Saag Aloo
Ordering a medium spice level or above is not for those with shy palattes and stomachs sensitive to hot spices. Although it is important to understand that Indian spicy is different than North Amerian hot sauce spicy. But if spicy food is not for you then no worries - if this is the case then just make sure you communicate to your waiter that you want a low spice level! I personally find it an envigorating experience to eat this food - it is not one that your taste buds will forget soon. One of my favoutite spices used alot in Indian cooking is coriander - this can be used to amplify the spice level of a dish especially in the form of coriander-naan and spicy coriander chutney. Don't forget to ask for a pitcher of water! Or you could even expand your internatioanl cuisine experience to include beverage with India's Kingfisher Lager.
Mutter Paneer
I encourage you to write these dishes down and take an adventerous trip to eat some of this amazing food. My friends who are often "picky" or reluctant to try new foods became huge fans of this cuisine. I have not met anyone who didn't like it after they tried it. An open mind and the savoury tastes helped them get over the appearance and aroma of this food that was unusual to them and they now have learned about it and to love it! Just last night we all went out for an Indian food feast and ordered these plates along with Veg Samosas which often crosses over into Western menus. The Curry Chicken is also a popular choice amongst my carnivourous companions!
A necessary selection comes after the meal is over when its time for desert. Ladoo and Gulab Jamon are hands down my favourite sweet treats of all. They are similiar in shape and size but differ in consistency and taste. Both very sweet, Gulab Jamon is served hot in a pool of syrup and Ladoo is served hot or cold as it is. The most accurate emphasis on the delishiousness of these deserts is in the 2007 International film Water. Deepha Metha has also made the less physically accessible films "Earth" and "Fire". In Water, an elderly widow's last dying wish is to eat a ladoo - a succulent treat in comparison with the bland and meager diets that the widows are restricted to. So join the desire to have a ladoo waiting for you aside your death bed which of course will happen as soon as you taste one-a these babies!


Go to these places with an attitude that respects and is eager to understand or try out the foreign. The unknown is often accompanied by fear so throw out any illogical squeamishness, challenge yourself if need be and dive in! This is another veg challenge directed at YOU.

India Palace
1167 Ottawa St. (519) 256-4104
Open Tues-Sun 10am-10pm
House of India
325 Ouelette St. (519) 256 - 1122

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fur is Bullshit

I cringe even to visit the Fur Council's website - they have really outdone themselves. Anyone see that billboard on Riverside Drive? Some Windsor animal rights activists were protesting there recently so at least some people have reacted in the right direction. The ass-backward-ness of their latest campaign has left myself and many others mentally dumbfounded and viscerally disturbed. Unfortunately, this is not a hoax and the Fur Is Green campaign is for reals.

"Respect for Animals: Nothing is Wasted!"
When was the last time you skinned something you respected? As far as "not wasting" parts of an animal goes I think it is a justified choice in traditional cultures or for necessity in areas of the world on the remote side. However in a industrial and modernized nation or world, finding ways to use up all the parts only propagates the demand for animal products. Using animal byproducts only encourages and supports companies who use them. The argument that the meat is being eaten anyways and to not use the rest of the animal would be a waste undermines a central issue: it is not only the purchasing of meat that contributes to the demand for animal products!

"Fur, A Renewable Resource"
This is one of the most transparent lies used in the campaign. Why is fur still being considered a resource? A resource for what, warmth? Maybe in Nunavut. A resource for "eco-fashion"? Obviously according to the Fur Council of Canada. The sense that it is being called renewable is from the standard and perspective of those who are taking recent eco-minded buzz and manipulating it. The Fur Council has tried to make it seem like killing animals for fur has no consequences - like these animals don't mind they are being hunted, trapped or farmed. Just because a species is not endangered does not mean that anyone has the right to go ahead and make that happen, let alone call a species or living beings sustainable.

"Environmental Activism"
The language used in this campaign is interesting because the truth is literally the inverse of the words and phrases used. The focus is explicitly put on the use of animals so that the extrapolation of their methods and goals is of course manifested in advertising. It doesn't take an in-depth look to see the immoral constructedness of the language: Earth-friendly, durable, recyclable, a gift of nature? Skinned animals have nothing to do with these things. I am intellectually insulted at the level of stupidity which this company has assumed of their potential customers. I thought at first this has to be a joke. Then reality sunk in that "A New Vision of Fur for an Eco-Conscious World" is being presented as that it is positive, respecting land, animals, cultures and people. The list of unacceptable advertising tactics and the twisting of eco-jargon goes on to include "Beautifully Canadian" and "Because fur is a part of our heritage". They've gone as far to call on our nationalism! Mine certainly has nothing to do with the Fur Council of Canada's nation-wide-fur-pride.

Also featured in the campaign is a counter attack on Peta - their slogans such as "Fur is Dead" obviously conflict with the Council's fiscal goals. One example of the methods being used which blatantly expose ulterior motives is in the rhetorical question "Do 'so-called' animal rights groups really help animals?". Well, yes actually they do Fur Council. Followed by "Judge for yourself...PETA KILLS ANIMALS".


If the Fur Council was asking us to make up our own minds and "judge for ourselves" than we would not be bombarded with their extreme and ludicrous advertising strategies. Is this an attempt to be subversive? Because it's not working. Maybe this will sway some of those who straddle the fence on the issue of fur, especially for the people who do not question what is being fed to them as well as their own beliefs. There are many ways to do your part in saving the environment, being eco-conscious and making a "green" choice: buying fur is not one of them.