On Vegan Bashing and Why I am what I am ....

A friend  of mine pointed me to this column from The Guardian newspaper - one of England's better, left-leaning broadsheets. Looks like it's time to rip the scabs off the festering vegetarian wound.

Those who think we should not eat meat because all life is sacred are naive. Would they be happy allowing mosquitoes to spread malaria, or having rats run loose in their home? Not all creatures are equal. There are natural hierarchies in the food chain.

No, I do not want to infect everyone with malaria because I dont like to kill mosquitoes. There are different degrees along the bloodthirst continuum from the strict carnivores, to vegetarians and vegans, all the way through to the Jains, who brush the ground they walk in front of them to avoid accidentally stepping on insects, and wear muslin cloth over their nose and mouth to avoid accidentally inhaling them. Admitedly, you occupy a somewhat ambivalent position when you're a vegetarian and these are issues I have to struggle with almost daily. But I try to work out a fairly consistent, coherent philosophy given my circumstances. Better to try than abandon the issue entirely as contradictory and doomed to failure.

I'm not a vegetarian because of what I hope to accomplish through being a vegetarian - it's more a principled stand against something I disagree with. It's the same as not shopping at Gap because you might disagee with their child labor policies, or not voting for a certain candidate because of their position on taxes. I don't recall so much vehement opposition to the idea of someone sticking up for their principles on these other subjects - why insist on putting vegetarians down for sticking up for theirs?

I suppose I take issue most with this point because probably my strongest reason for being vegetarian is the life angle. I like the  Buddhist  philosophy and one of the central tenets is indeed that all life is sacred. I don't think this makes me naive. Buddhist philosophy is based upon acting rationally based on what you see and observe in the world around you. I know from observation that most of the meat that ends up on our plates didn't want to be there and that a tremendous degree of suffering is involved in the process. It actually stumps me how anyone with an ounce of compassion could condone this sort of treatment, unless you're in the habit of naively turning a blind eye. Which leads me to the writer's next point:

People should be allowed to make their own choices and not be bullied or frightened into giving up meat. In the US recently, children in a secondary school were taken by their teachers to a slaughterhouse to show them how animals are killed for food. This tactic is a form of mind control, as unethical as discouraging young girls from having sex by making them watch a difficult childbirth.
You have every right to make your own choices, but only if those choices are well-informed. What took place isn't mind control. Mind control would imply that you're attempting to pervert the mind to believe in something that has little correlation with reality. To try to pretend there is no suffering, cruelty or bloodshed involved in eating meat is the height of naivety. Admitedly, we want to protect our children from some realities until they are old enough to understand the implications, but if you eat meat, at any time in your life, you should understand where it comes from because of the tremendous debt invovled. It doesn't just show up in shiny pink cubes at the supermarket - something had to suffer and then die for you to enjoy that filet mignon. And death is never pretty, no matter which way you dress it, or try to hide it out of view, no matter how old you are when you realize it. I've always said that if you can't raise and kill a cow yourself, you have no right eating it. In modern society where we have division of labor and butchers to carry out the killing for us, this doesn't make it right. 

 Many would take issue with putting pigs and people on a par. But finally this difference in outlook is behind most of the argument. I'm not suggesting that a pig's life is worth a human's life and strongly condemn animals activists who harm human beings in their struggles, after all, it goes against my principle of preventing suffering. However, where I might think that animals deserve to be treated with some measure of equality, dignity and respect, you might be pretty indifferent to their fate, as long as you can eat bacon. Which is fine by me - no amount of back and forth can change that because it's pretty fundamental. I'm not looking to convert, merely justify, while not coming across as one of those holier-than-thou, moral high ground hogging preachy types. 


Un superbe film sur les horreurs et les espoirs de notre alimentation moderne

«Solutions locales pour un désordre global», est un film documentaire sur l’environnement et l’écologie , réalisé par Coline  Serreau
La cinéaste nous fait partager via son documentaire les expériences de gens simples qui, dans le monde entier, ont décidé de refuser malbouffe, pesticides et méfaits de compagnies agroalimentaires. Des gens qui ont mis en place des initiatives locales et s’échange du savoir-faire sans s’inquiéter des réglementations.

Sans jouer la donneuse de leçons, Coline Serreau signe un film optimiste : «Je montre les dégâts que subit la terre, mais j’insiste sur le fait que ces dommages sont réparables…..C’est grâce à des gestes de ce genre que les choses évolueront de manière positive, insiste-t-elle. Il faut que, tant que faire se peut, les gens parviennent à une certaine autonomie grâce à la solidarité… » Et Coline Serreau de rajouter : «Je sais que la nourriture bio n’est pas accessible à tous et que l’hiver prochain, certains auront à choisir entre manger et se chauffer. Mais les débats lors des avant-premières de mon film prouvent que tout le monde a envie de se bouger!»


The Joys of Homemade Vegetable Broth !!!

Making your own vegetable broth is wonderfully easy and blissfully imprecise.
There is only 20 minutes of active time, it doesn't really require a recipe, it uses up those veggies in your fridge you've been meaning to eat, it tastes great, it stores easily, and is highly customizable.
Still haven't convinced you?

Well let's talk for a moment about broths you find in the store.  Cook's Illustrated did a taste test of 10 veggie broths for their May/June 2008 issue and I found the results surprising. Only one brand was remotely acceptable. Five of their broths were certified organic; not one of those was the winner. Here's a quote that might get you thinking about making your own broth at home:
If the vegetables you start with are not top notch, or if you're using scraps and peels*, extended cooking can enhance and concentrate any undesirable flavors in the vegetables…. Sure enough, our testers noticed sour, bitter, even "rotten" notes in each of our so-called stocks in our lineup.
And the organic broths?
…moderate sodium content and the lack of flavor-enhancing additives helped land nearly all of the organic brands at the bottom of the rankings.  These broths shared lack-luster–even off-putting–flavours , that tasters likened variously to "weak V8," "musky socks," and "brackish celery water."

The winner of the taste test has the highest salt content, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, disodium inosinate, and other additives you probably don't want in your broth.   The lowest ranking broth, an organic brand, only has salt as a flavor enhancer, but was described as "terrible tasting," "tastes like dirt," "like musky socks in a patch of mushrooms," and "rotten."
How does making your own broth sound now?   Pretty good, huh?


As I said earlier, making vegetable broth is blissfully imprecise. I'll provide the recipe I made up, but please use it as just a guideline to get you started.  If you're part of a CSA and the fall harvest of veggies has you overwhelmed, simply put the veggies you can't figure out how to eat in your broth.  I would say there are only three required vegetables for your stock: onions, carrots, and celery.


Onions, carrots, and celery are known collectively as mirepoix, a classic part of french cuisine.  All of these vegetables are aromatics, and you'll realize that as soon as you start cooking them together; suddenly your kitchen smells like thanksgiving.
You can fancy it up a bit if you feel like it by using parsnips instead of carrots, leeks instead of onions, or celeriac instead of celery.
Mirepoix is a great culinary trick to keep up your sleeve; it's a great starting point for many many recipes, especially soups and sauces.  It's not called the holy trinity of French cuisine for nothing.


*Scraps and peels are fine to use when they're your own, fresh scraps and peels.  I think the article is referring to leftover vegetable reject pieces from other food manufacturing processes that aren't the best quality, or the freshest.  I think it's worthwhile to invest in fresh onions, carrots, and celery (none of which are all that expensive) for the broth, but other additions can be scraps from other meals you've prepared, or veggies that you don't have any better plans for.




Vegetable Broth
Makes about 10 Cups of Broth

Minimalist Broth 
2-3 Tbs Olive Oil
1-2 Large Onions, chopped
1 lb Celery, Chopped
1 lb Carrots, washed but unpeeled, chopped
3 Whole Cloves Garlic
1 Bay Leaf
10 Whole Black Peppercorns
2 tsp Salt
1/4 Cup Low Sodium Tamari
4 liters Water

I also added, because I could
2 Parsnips, chopped
2-3 Tbs Tomato Paste (or one or two tomatoes)
A few Sprigs Rosemary (parsley is more traditional, use a lot!)
1 Head Broccoli (a strange but decent choice)
1 Sweet Potato (another odd choice, whatever)

You might also have or want to use
Any fresh veggie scraps from other meals
Celery Root
Any Greens

You see what I mean?  If it's clean and fits in the pot, it can go in.  Minimal chopping, no peeling, just in the pot it goes!
Heat a large stock pot with some olive oil in the bottom. I chop my way through the vegetable list as I'm cooking–so once the onion is chopped, add it to the pot, then do the celery, the carrots, etc, adding each thing once it's chopped up a bit. When you're out of stuff to add, pour in the water, turn up the heat and cover.  It should only take you about 20 minutes to chop everything and get it in the pot.  From then on out it's easy street.


Cook for 1 hour, turning the heat down a bit once the whole thing starts boiling
I finish my broth by adding salt/tamari/soy sauce to taste and letting it simmer uncovered for another 20-30 minutes to concentrate the flavours

Strain the veggies out into a large pot

I further strained it through cheesecloth into a pitcher

The pitcher makes it easy to pour some of the broth into ice cube trays for easy storage. Ice cubed size chunks of broth make for easy defrosting and easy recipe additions

The broth will keep about a week in your refrigerator, and two good months in your freezer.  If you cook for the holidays, it's a good time to make some veggie stock and put it up now to use for all your upcoming holiday meals.  You'll thank yourself for being prepared, and your food will be that much more delectable!




Cours  en Alimentation Saine

François Demers, Chef Végétalien 
L'art de cuisiner la vie !
Quels que soient vos objectifs:
-Perte de Poids
- Adaptation aux Allergies et Intolérances
- Diminution de votre Consommation de Viande
- Ouvrir ses papilles à des menus colorés
- Désir de Changer vers de Meilleures Habitudes Alimentaires
- S'orienter vers l'Alimentation Vivante
etc etc !

Avec plus de vingt années d'expérience dans le monde des aliments naturels (Conseiller en Épicerie Santé et Propriétaire de resto Végétarien Biologique), je suis un passionné et désir partager cette passion.
Dynamique et terre à terre ,je serai à l'écoute de vos besoins . Que vous soyez néophyte ou avec beaucoup de connaissance , je saurai m'adapter .
Jamais ''granola '' et toujours à l'affut des nouvelles tendances culinaires!

Services Offerts:
* Accompagnement à l'épicerie santé
* Élaboration de menus variés
* Cours de cuisine végétalienne(vegan)
* Cours de cuisine vivante
* Interprétation des étiquettes ,etc etc
En groupe ou en privé


Services offerts à Montréal .

Vegan and raw food courses also available in English!!


Spicy Thai wraps - raw-

 This one takes  time to prepare , but the result is unbeleivable !!! Your tastebuds will wonder what the hell is goin' on ???  It's by far one of my top 10 recipe...
Serve it with a  raw pad thai  and you're set for success !!!

SPICY THAI WRAPS (Inspired by Sarma Melngailis)

For the wraps: Makes 12 Wraps

1/2 cup chopped raw cashews (dehydrated, if preferred)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup maple syrup or agave or yacon
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
1 tablespoon chipped red chile, seeds included
1 1/2 tablespoons nama shoyu
1 cup raw almond butter
1/2 head savoy cabbage, shredded
6 very large collard green leaves
1 large carrot, cut into matchstick-size pieces
1 large ripe mango, cut lengthwise into strips, about 1/4-inch thick
2 cups bean sprouts
1 handful cilantro leaves
1 handful torn basil leaves (thai basil is the best !)
1/2 handful mint leaves (torn or cut if leaves are large)

In a small bowl, mix the cashews, sesame oil, and salt and set aside.

In a high-speed blender, puree the maple syrup, lemon juice, ginger, red chile, and nama shoyu. Add the almond butter and blend at low speed to combine. Add water to thin if necessary, to get a thick, cake batter - like consistency.

In a medium bowl, add the shredded cabbage and the almond butter mixture and toss well to combine (this is easiest if you use your hands).

Cut out the center rib of each collard green leaf, dividing the leaf in half. Place 1 half leaf on a cutting board with the underside facing up. Arrange a few tablespoons of the cabbage mixture evenly across the bottom third of the leaf, leaving about 1 1/2 inches clear at the bottom. Sprinkle some of the chopped cashews over the cabbage. Lay a few sticks of carrot, a few strips of mango, and a few sprouts on top. Add a few leaves each of cilantro, basil, and mint. Fold the bottom of the collard leaf up and over the filling, keeping it tight, and tuck the leaf under the ingredients and roll forward. Place the roll seam side down on a serving dish. Repeat with remaining collard leaves and ingredients. Serve with the tamarind dipping sauce.

For the tamarind dipping sauce:
1 cup soaked and strained tamarind pulp
3 tablespoons maple syrup or agave or yacon
1 tablespoon nama shoyu
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of sea salt

Tamarind pulp can be found as cellophane-wrapped, sun-dried bricks in Asian, Latin, and Indian markets. Tamarind pulp is the sticky interior of pods that grow on a variety of evergreen tree originally native to Africa. Tamarind, which is very intense in flavor, lends sweet-and-sour notes to dishes. Because the pulp usually contains seeds, you should always strain it before use. Pull off an amount appropriate to your needs and soak it in warm, purified water for about 15 minutes. Then strain the pulp and liquid through a fine-mesh colander into a bowl to catch the usable diluted pulp, leaving the seeds and fibers caught in the mesh. (Discard what’s left in the strainer.)

Place the tamarind pulp, maple syrup, nama shoyu, and olive oil in a blender and puree until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add a pinch of salt if necessary. Place in a separate bowl and set aside. This sauce may be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 2 days. It can also be frozen if you have leftovers or want to make it in advance.


Easy cashew-macadamia Soba noodles

 This recipe is top-notch, easy and  low cost !!!  Blasting the japanese rockers ROBIN in the speakers  while doing this is a plus!!!

One package soba noodles
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 Teaspoon lime juice
1 Tbsp cashew -macadamia butter(peanut butter will do -wont be as good though!)
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 small clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 head broccoli or one bunch kale steamed
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
sesame seeds, chopped nuts, cilantro & chopped green onion for garnish

Prepare noodles as directed on package.

Drain noodles. In a small bowl combine soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, cashew-macadamia butter, water, grated ginger and garlic. Add to noodles and toss thoroughly to coat. If the sauce seems a little too thick, add some pasta water a tablespoon at a time until it looks like it will blend nicely with the noodles and not glop.

Top generously with chopped nuts, cilantro, scallions, sesame seeds, and steamed broccoli or kale

For a spicier version I add 1 teaspoon of thai  green curry paste !


Want Pesticides with that ??

When I (rarely) buy non-organic fruits and veggies, I'm never sure if I eat DDT or other chemical goodie ... How to know which produce is safe when not organic ...??? The average Canadian will eat about one pound of pesticide-fungicide each year!!! 'Don't know about you but, I don't feel to happy about that ... That's why I go organic when possible.

If it's not organic, I need to know what I`m feeding my kid with ... Thank god for the Environmental Working Group who created the Guide to Pesticides:

Here`s the highlight of that handy guide.


1 (worst)Peach100 (highest pesticide load)
3Sweet Bell Pepper83
10Grapes - Imported66
13Collard Greens60
16Green Beans53
17Summer Squash53
21Grapes - Domestic44
28Winter Squash34
31Honeydew Melon30
33Sweet Potato29
41Sweet Peas - Frozen10
45Sweet Corn - Frozen2
47 (best)Onion1 (lowest pesticide load)


Note: They ranked a total of 47 different fruits and vegetables but grapes are listed twice because they looked at both domestic and imported samples.