Gabriola Vegeteers

Vegeteers’ Corner

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by Sigrid Bjarnason, originally printed in The Flying Shingle, Monday, August 25, 2014
(note this article appeared in the final edition of The Flying Shingle)

It seems to me that every time I turn around there is information popping up in the media about food and diet: gluten intolerance, localism, free range this or that, GMO crops, raw food, and of particular interest to me, veganism.

Recently, I was in Vancouver for a weekend, and in that one weekend I attended a presentation by Dr. Michael Greger, a physician and researcher convinced of the health benefits of a plant-based diet, went to Vegfest – a street festival dedicated to all things vegetarian, watched Cowspiracy, a powerful new documentary about the negative effects of modern animal agriculture, and spent a few hours with calves and pigs at a farm sanctuary.

When I returned to Gabriola and picked up this summer’s Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Monitor from the mailbox, I was surprised to see an article entitled “The Tipping Point” that deals not with that organisation’s usual economic, political, or legal issues, but food as well.

Cym Gomery, author of the article, is of the opinion that meat eating is about to go the way of cigarette smoking. And she hopes it happens before the other tipping point ¬– climate change – wreaks its full havoc.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation identifies animal agriculture as a key contributor to climate change, water pollution, and water use. Our collective investment in eating factory-farmed animals is the only thing that keeps that inhumane, polluting industry afloat – we have a choice to participate in it or not.

If you are someone who is interested in eating plants rather than animals for whatever reason – concern for the environment, your health, or animal welfare – there is a veg group on Gabriola to help with the transition. We are motivated by our compassion for animals but we are happy to help people stop participating in the horrific factory-farming system, whatever the reason.

We have advice, recipes, and nutrition information for whole foods, plant-based eating, as well as information about animal welfare. Go to to check out the website or to contact us directly. You can even subscribe to our blog.

I found it relatively easy to make the change from omnivore to vegan. First of all, I care deeply about animals so I was highly motivated to eat plants instead. Secondly, I had someone to call every few days who was experimenting with the same change. We talked about cookbooks, best recipes, nutrition, and we gave each other moral and practical support. We still do. Support can make all the difference.

Since this is the last article I’ll write for The Flying Shingle I have to ask on behalf of Ernie the turkey (pictured above) and the billions of non-human animals who will be slaughtered this year for North American plates: “Why not eat something else?”

Our veg group will be presenting a series of documentaries starting this fall. The first cake and coffee doc, Blackfish – which we will co-present with Gabriola Rescue of Wildlife Society – will be at 2 on Sept. 14 at the Rollo Centre. It’s free, but if you’d like a piece of chocolate cake and a coffee, bring $5.

Blackfish has triggered debate all around the globe about the ethics of keeping cetaceans in captivity. If you haven’t had a chance to see it yet, come and find out what the fuss is about on Sept. 14.

We also plan to show Cowspiracy, The Ghosts in Our Machine and several other documentaries in the near future. Stay tuned to

Finally, on behalf of the Vegeteers, I want to thank you, Chris Bowers, for including us in The Flying Shingle.

Also, a big thank you for everything you have done for this community. By all means, enjoy the luxury of having some extra time. You certainly deserve it!

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