Plant Based Eating

Nearly 30 years ago, Denise Swanson and the Environment Committee began to promote plant based eating to respect animals, protect the environment and support healthy eating

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Left: Plant based Sunday brunch 2008
Right: Photo by Keith Wilkinson — Apple tree in community garden at UCV

By Denise Swanson

One of my strongest lifelong interests has been the protection and promotion of respect for animals. In 2007, there wasn’t any committee at UCV with that particular mandate, and the Environment Committee seemed a good choice to work with on this pursuit. Especially so, given that animal agriculture is one of the top industries responsible for environmental destruction.

One of my strongest lifelong interests has been the protection and promotion of respect for animals

Most people have goodwill toward other species and the individual members of them. The overwhelmingly largest number of animals in need of protection are those on factory farms. Many are aware of the routine horrors behind factory farming (quite apart from their link to zoonotic diseases). An obvious way to protect them is to refrain from supporting their abuse by not buying – by boycotting – their ‘products’. Thus, I turned my attention to what is fast gaining momentum as an environmental as well as animal protection movement: plant-based eating.

I learned from reliable sources that balanced plant-based diets are nutritionally sound for all life stages. Not only that, they are significantly protective against some of our society’s most significant chronic health problems: heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and various cancers.

I saw the UCV committee lunch fundraisers as an opportunity to raise awareness of the issue and show that entirely plant-based meals were not only possible but delicious . For the next several years, the Environment Committee collaborated to produce dozens of lunches for the congregation. I also worked on smaller-scale plant-based food service projects for other UCV events, such as workshops at the farmers market, a Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale in Hewett Hall, and put on cooking classes to show that preparing these foods is easy and fun.

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The warm and energetic support of the UCV Environment Committee is a fond memory!

Another project I worked on with the Environment Committee involved developing some new church policies: using coffee that is organic and fair-trade, and providing plant-based milk options at coffee times.

During this time, I had been involved in several film festivals, and decided to host one at UCV focused on food and the environment. This was another great learning experience for all of us.

The warm and energetic support of the UCV Environment Committee is a fond memory!

image of fruits and veggies

Denise Swanson and David Steele led a forum, in 2019, on plant based eating. … Feel free to explore the links below they provided, for in-depth information and delicious recipes

Brenda Davis
Plant Based Health and Nutrition

Ginny Messina
The Vegan Registered Dietician

Jack Norris
Vegan Health

Vesanto Melina
Nutrispeak

Michael and Masa Ofei
w/ 50 + High-Quality
Vegan Blogs Worth Following
The Minimalist Vegan

Bryanna Clark Grogan
Vegan Feast Kitchen

Susan Voisin
Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

Nada
One Arab Vegan

Miriam Sorrell
Mouth Watering Vegan

Michelle Blackwood
lots of gluten-free recipes here
Healthier Steps

Isa Chandra
Post Punk Kitchen

Alissa Saenz
Connoisseurus Veg

Mary Lin
Mary’s Test Kitchen

Earthsave Canada
Vegetarian and Vegan Dining Directory

Canadian Nutrient File
Government of Canada Nutrient Search Engine

Dieticians of Canada

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Categories:

Environment • Ethical Eating • Stories from the Past