You are encouraged to go vegan for a week along with rabble.ca staff and contributors to help protect the environment, show compassion for animals and enjoy some wholesome, nutritious and yummy food!
Going vegan is one of the strongest ways most of us can contribute to Earth Week and make every day Earth Day!
Consider taking the Vegan Challenge and getting your co-workers and workplace involved so you can all take the VC together. It’ll make it more fun and also gives you an opportunity to share your nutritious and delicious recipes!
We've put together tips and resources for you, in collaboration with the Toronto Vegetarian Association and Toronto Pig Save. We have everything you need: the menus, the shopping list, the nutritional tips, and the information about how participation helps the Earth, animals, and your health.
10 tips on taking the vegan challenge at your workplace
(1) Register with us for the Earth Week Vegan Challenge on our FB site and sign up with the Toronto Vegetarian Association’s Veggie Challenge (there you’ll find a list of vegetarian restaurants and they’ll send you daily emails with simple and tasty recipes and other helpful information and tips).
(2) Veganize your meals. One of the first questions you may get asked: “But what do you eat?” The Toronto Vegetarian Association (TVA) lists recipes with healthy, fresh and whole foods that are fast and easy. See their vegan lunch ideas and sign up for TVA's Veggie Challenge and receive tips every day.
You can use fake meats like veggie dogs and veggie burgers to veganize traditional meat-based meals. Or try substituting beans or lentils for a healthier approach. Try recipes with whole foods that are tasty and healthy, such as whole food smoothies (green smoothies), vegan ice creams, nuts, or chocolate. You can eat more healthy, raw food by eating more fresh fruit and veggies.
If you suspect that you are sensitive to wheat or gluten look for gluten-free products such as Ezecial Bread 4:9 "sesame" (green label) -- even though it has some wheat in it, it's sprouted so it's easier to digest and usually fine for a lot of people. Ezecial Bread 4:9 also has Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins, Hot Dog Buns, and Hamburger Buns -- as alternatives to regular wheat bread. You can find it in the freezer section of health food stores as well as the health sections of some big chains such as Loblaws, also in the freezer section. And because you keep it in the freezer, you end up using it all up and not eating too much bread all at once because it's going to go bad.
(3) Bring vegan lunches to work or have a vegan potluck at your workplace. Different people could be encouraged to bring in something for the office on different days. Sharing the food preparation makes it less daunting for everyone during the busy workweek.
(4) Hold a vegan potluck at your work and at your home.
(5) Take your co-workers out to a vegan restaurant. The Toronto Vegetarian Association Veggielicious campaign has an interactive map highlighting participating restaurants and vegan specials. Check out their interactive map of veg restaurants.
(6) Invite your co-workers to volunteer to take the vegan pledge during Earth Week. Circulate a sign-up sheet for those potentially interested, set up a meeting, and create a Facebook group or blog (e.g. a free Wordpress blog) to discuss ideas, recipes, get-togethers and events
(7) Hold a Vegan Challenge kick-off day at lunchtime. The kick-off can include leaflets with environmental, health and fitness information, easy recipes, a Toronto Vegetarian Association (TVA) vegetarian directory, and desserts provided by the host.
(8) Resources and a study circle: Consider setting up a study circle where people can talk about the ethics, health and environmental issues related to animal versus vegan diets. Join an activist group like Toronto Pig Save which holds vigils three times a week at Toronto’s five pig, cow and chicken slaughterhouses.
Videos showing farmed animals entering Toronto’s slaughterhouses can be seen on Toronto Pig Save’s YouTube and Vimeo channels. There are some great resources and films you can watch. See Paul McCartney's Glass Walls video at the Peta website. The film Making the Connection highlights the impact of an animal-based diet on climate change and water, air and land pollution. PETA also has a campaign which addresses the links between climate change and diet.
There are many useful books to guide you on your journey. The classic book Diet For a New America by John Robbins (of Baskin + Robbins Ice Cream fame), first published in 1987, led the way in making the connections between a meat and diary-based diet and environmental destruction. John Robbins founded the EarthSave Foundation to promote a vegan diet. See Kathy Freston’s The Veganist for recipes and nutrition and Becoming Vegan: the complete guide to adopting a healthful plant-based diet by Registered Dietitians (RD) Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina. Another book of interest is The vegan diet as chronic disease prevention: evidence supporting the new four food groups by Kerrie Saunders. The Vegan Society has a useful section on nutrition. The Engine 2 Diet by firefighter Rip Esselstyn discusses introducing the VC at your workplace.
(9) Hold a final day celebration with prizes. The celebration can include different literature so people can learn more and go further. You can award prizes and hold a draw for a prize as well.
(10) Try a month-long Vegan Challenge. If the one-week Vegan Challenge inspired you, consider continuing with week two, three, and four! PCRM has a 21-day Vegan Kick-Start program.
The Toronto Vegetarian Association has a phase 2 Veggie Plan with four weeks' worth of menu plans and recipes, giving you a choice of menus to start with.