Lose the flesh, go FRESH!

Live Organic Food Bar
Live Organic Food Bar

Live Organic Food Bar (courtesy of livefoodbar.com)

The unrefined vegan diet is sprouting in cites everywhere. Its fresh, robust, colourful appeal strikes a loud chord in the crescendo of obesity, animal cruelty and a depleting environment, and sings sweet songs of temptation in carnivorous ears.

Could it be recipes like vegan egg-nog pancakes that are stirring up  veg-less appetites for a taste of fresh? Mary Suljak, of ThisIsVegan.com thinks so, “The days of envisioning vegans as eating carrot sticks and granola and nothing else are over. I think people are realizing how incredibly delicious and satisfying vegan meals can be and it is not as limiting as once thought. I love tripping out non-vegans with delicious vegan treats!”

A trip is exactly what it is.

Foray into Fresh on Bloor and get lost in its nakedness. Small vertical green tiles, reminiscent of a bamboo field, line the wall closest to the entry. A long open-faced sink serves as a water station, where a large pitcher collects tap water that is filled into glass bottles with a slice of lemon, and placed on tables for guests to enjoy. Tightly packed cafeteria-style dining tables for optimal seating efficiency, and unobtrusive chandeliers complete the ambiance. It’s elegant and organic. The food is nothing less.

Their flavour compensation and healthy substitutes such as nuts, seeds and legumes in place of fleshy protein leaves satiate the desire for more with each passing course. By the time their curried chickpea dosas come around you soon forget that you will not be dining on any living tissue.

“I think people consider eating vegan finally as another cuisine, like perhaps going for sushi,” explains Jennifer Italiano, the owner, chef and visionary master behind Live Organic Food Bar in Toronto. About 95 per cent of Live’s menu is organic and gluten free and most of it is raw including its dessert line which features an uncooked tiramisu and a chocolate avocado cake, both of which will fool any sweet tooth and befriend the palate. “Our menu appeals to everyone, making this food inviting and not scary.”

Both restaurants emphasize the use of locally grown, organic food. Nothing is shipped over hundreds of miles, maintaining the integrity of each fruit and vegetable. Cooking temperatures do not exceed 115 degrees F, after which the nutritional value is lost to the harsh heat. According to Live’s website, “We believe that the only way food should be processed, is the human body…that flavour comes first and that vegan foods are just a different palette with which to create a gourmet dining experience.”

Luckily, with the upsurge of vegan choices in supermarkets, restaurants such as Fresh and Live and crafty vegans such as Miss Suljak, the vegan lifestyle is progressing from a trend to an option for those looking to clean up their plate and bodies.

“Trendy vegans have done a great job in making the term ‘vegan’ more of a household, recognizable name,” said Miss Suljak who became a vegetarian in March of 2007 and vegan in June of 2008. “I think people are becoming aware that it is no small coincidence that the rapid increase of obesity and other illnesses, as well as the environmental destruction plaguing us correlates with the move from family farms to mass-production factory farms with deplorable conditions for the animals that people eventually consume.”

One Response to “Lose the flesh, go FRESH!”
  1. Suneyda says:

    Great piece! I myself am slowly trying to substitue organic/vegan dishes into my daily life. Want to become a health foodie!

    Hopefully the ‘trendy vegan’ thing continues to spread, if only just to educate people on smart and healthy alternatives!

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