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June 2017

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Raw Vegan Mock Tuna Salad from Love Wild Live Free

Eating a fresh and raw salad in the summertime is one of the healthiest and easiest ways to stay cool from the gut-wrenching heat. One of my favourites is a refreshing raw vegan mock tuna salad.

Love Wild Live Free, a vegan food and lifestyle blog by Avra Epstein, offers a yummy raw mock tuna salad recipe that uses affordable, fresh ingredients to make a light (but filling) meal that will leave you vying for more. This raw recipe uses organic ingredients and also includes kosher dill relish with live probiotics, an easy way to get additional bacteria that keep the gut healthy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw sunflower seeds
  • 5 tablespoons RawFoodz French Onion Dip
  • 2 celery stocks, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 2 tbsp Kosher dill relish (with live probiotics)
  • 2 tsp Dulse Flakes, or Nori Flakes
  • 1 tbsp finely minced onion (red or sweet white)
  • Pink Himalayan Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • (use organic ingredients)

Directions

  1. Rinse sunflower seeds and place in to a medium size bowl. Fill with filtered water, leaving a few inches of space above. Cover with a clean towel, secured with an elastic band. Allow to soak 6-8 hours.
  2. After the soaking time is up, rise sunflower seeds again. Add to food processor and pulse to chop into an even consistency, scraping down with a spatula as necessary. You do not want to over process otherwise you will end up with a creamy consistency. Instead, you’re going for a crumbled consistency that resembles flaked tuna.
  3. In a large mixing bowl add chopped sunflower seeds and the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine.
  4. Serve chilled and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Enjoy this delicious salad and experience the rejuvenating feeling of eating raw and healthy foods.

How rejection has humbled me

So get this. During your lifetime, you will come across people that won’t exactly love you. Heck, they won’t even like you. The very thought of you doing well in life will cause anguish in theirs. And while some people have come to terms with this very early on, realizing it’s just a part of life, I, myself, am just learning this. And dear Lord, it’s quite the humbling experience.

I try to be a good person. Plus, I’m cute. So my first wave of rejection came as a shock. What’s there not to love about me? I carry myself with poise, demonstrate kindness and sincerity, and have just the right amount of confidence. I bring this confidence to all my relationships. I made sure he saw it. I wanted him to. I had feelings for him after all. But after a couple of months, we decided a romantic relationship wasn’t going to work out due to a number of uncontrollable reasons, including distance. Despite the circumstances, we continued speaking anyways. I was hooked. He was my drug. I told myself he was hooked on me too. He had to be.

Then, fate took over. I came across his profile on a dating app my friend had recently signed up for. I read his bio. I read his willingness to move abroad. I read he was looking for a confident, ambitious, smart, funny, and crazy woman. Confident. Ambitious. Smart. Funny. Crazy. I read it over and over again, never feeling smaller then I did at that moment. The confidence I brought to that relationship wasn’t enough. Neither was the ambition. Nothing was. He didn’t find anything he was looking for in me.

It was humbling.

The problem is, I’m a people pleaser. I will bend over backwards to get people to like me, sometimes putting my own priorities at jeopardy. I’ll let my own deadlines slide, or sacrifice that one thing I was saving up for to do something for someone else. It’s the norm I’ve grown up knowing. So after putting in 110% to a relationship that was never really a relationship to begin with, I realized how much I cared for him. What I didn’t realize, was that I was expecting something in return. What I didn’t realize, was that, instead, I was being used as a scapegoat to fill the emotional needs of this person while he was searching for something better.

It was humbling.

I wasn’t as selfless as I thought I was. As I heard in a movie once (because romantic comedies are always credible), unrequited love is actually an immensely powerful feeling. Because unlike other relationships, it doesn’t need to be shared by two people. You have sole proprietorship over it. I gained a little strength from this, but I quickly concluded it was complete bull sh*t. Love feels better to share. Love feels better when its reciprocated. There’s something about it that makes you glow. Inside and out.

Unfortunately, its human nature to want what you can’t have. Even if you were blessed with anything you’ve ever wanted and more, you’ll still want that one thing you weren’t meant to obtain. Your heart will tell you he’s the only one for you, and you’ll genuinely start to internalize this. But then you’ll come to realize….maybe you’re not the one for them.

And its humbling.

What’s the deal with the giant rubber duck?

Everyone is talking about the giant rubber duck.

*Insert duck-related humour here*.

Apparently, this international phenomenon — which I and many other people have never heard of before — is making its way across Ontario as part of the 150 Canada celebrations.

This six-story-tall, 13,600 kilogram duck is travelling North America and will be stopping in Toronto on July 1-3, Sault Ste. Marie on July 13-15, and Brockville on Aug. 10-13. It costs about $200,000 to rent it, transport it, and inflate it. The price tag is being partly funded by an Ontario grant, up to $120,000.

As a history major, I’m all for spending money on attractions for Canada’s 150th birthday — but if we are going to spend close to $200,000, can we not find something a symbol of Canada to inflate and place in our Great Lake? Why not a blow-up loon, Canadian goose, beaver, or even  a moose head? Anything would be better than a yellow rubber duck, the symbol of bath time. What’s worse is that Ontario had to import this giant disaster from the United States. Although, I guess if you do want to be representative of Canada, importing something we can do ourselves from the United States does fit the bill.

But wait — it gets even better. The rubber duck is being called a copy-cat of an original public art installation by a the original artist, a Dutch man by the name of Florentijn Hogman. It’s unclear whether or not the Canadian government was aware of the different ducks.

Yes — this is how quacking ridiculous this debate has become.

Duelling ducks: one is free art, the other costs $200,000. Which will YOU choose!!!

The price tag, the American connection to this project, and the absurd idea that a rubber duck should be a tourist attraction, is nonsensical. There are much better ways Canada could be spending this money, even if it is earmarked for the 150th anniversary celebrations.

What do you think? Would you go see a giant rubber duck on Lake Ontario? Let us know in the comments below!

Woman of the Week: Karen Farbridge

Karen Farbridge is a straight-forward, confident, and extremely successful woman in Ontario’s sustainability community.  As a previous leader in municipal government, she is charismatic and focused on making the world a better place.

When the former Mayor of Guelph is asked about her proudest accomplishments from her 11 years on council, she is quick to bring it back to the importance of community engagement. “Advancing our practice around engagement and rethinking how local government is involved with sustainability is what I feel the most proud of,” Farbridge says. “People are looking for connections to place and community and they find them in different ways in their lives, and I found it in this way in my own life.”

Farbridge has been involved in the environmental and government non-profit and public sectors for over 20 years. Most recently, she established her consulting agency, Karen Farbridge and Associates after her final term as mayor in 2014.  “The key focus is to implement projects that accelerate growth to create low-carbon and resilient communities,” Farbridge says. “That can entail work with the public sector, [for example] with Natural Resources Canada and Municipal Affairs Ontario, and also in the private sector. It also includes work with Research institutions, such as University of Guelph and York University and the Columbia Institute out of B.C.”

Farbridge has several projects on the go and uses her extensive experience in the political realm to help various organizations with sustainability initiatives. She helped the Columbia Institute in B.C. write a report, Top Asks for Climate Change: Ramping up Low-Carbon Communities, that included a report card assessing climate change initiatives, labelling the successes and which areas needed improvements. The report was released on June 1 and focuses on how the federal government is progressing towards goals pertaining to the Paris Agreement.

Farbridge is also contributing to a collaborative project with the Ontario Climate Consortium and the University of Guelph via the Community Energy Knowledge Action Partnership. This project studies net zero and low-carbon developments across five different Ontario municipalities, taking into account testimonies from a number of urban planners, economic development officers, and community management officers.

Long before becoming mayor, Farbridge was involved in municipal politics. She became a city councillor in 1994 while also working for the Ontario Public Interest Research Group Guelph at the same time. She obtained a PhD in biology and spent 10 years in academics at University of Guelph. Farbridge encouraged council to develop a group plan on climate change that focused on the Kyoto protocol. As her career progressed, she served her first term as mayor of Guelph in 2000-2003 and her second and third terms from 2006-2014.

In between her terms as mayor, Farbridge worked with the University of Guelph to develop a community energy plan that was later implemented. “I ran again for Mayor in 2006. That community energy plan was brought forward to the new council and it was adopted,” Farbridge says. “Since that time, I put a lot of time into promoting the community energy plan.”

Farbridge has received several awards including the City Builder Award from the Canadian Urban Institute in 2014 for her leadership in sustainability and community energy. She also received the Clean 50/Clean16 Award from Delta Management Group in 2014, which is awarded annually to 50 individual leaders who are advancing clean and sustainable development in Canada. In 2012, Farbridge was the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Governor General of Canada for her contributions and achievements to Canada. Farbridge was elected Guelph’s first female mayor in 1999.

Farbridge is passionate about mentoring women and plays an integral role in environmental charity Nature Canada’s Women for Nature initiative, which promotes women leaders involved in nature. The organization is currently creating a mentorship program where Farbridge and other notable women in the environmental sector help younger women forward their careers. She is also a part of a mentoring project to help women who have a start-up businesses in Guelph, and has a relationship with a woman in the city to help her build up her start-up.

When Farbridge is taking a break from combatting climate change, she enjoys gardening, hiking, and is looking forward to a canoeing trip in Algonquin Park this summer. She is clearly a nature lover and has made a considerable impact within the sustainable community in Ontario.

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John Tory calls for provincial funding for relief line

Toronto Mayor John Tory did his best not to grimace at Friday’s joint federal-provincial-municipal press conference on the Yonge Relief Line.

For what seemed the millionth time, three levels of government “re-affirmed their commitment” to this important transit project without actually promising dedicating funding. In fact, in what was an awkward turn of events, Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca took his time at the podium to outline the province’s previous transit commitments and gush about the government’s contributions to Toronto.

Afterwards, Tory took the podium and said “investing in transit is not work that can ever be considered complete.” He called on the province and the federal governments to each contribute 40 per cent of the funding needed to build the relief line. With federal and provincial representatives standing at his side, he said this commitment was necessary and Toronto wasn’t going to take no for an answer.

The federal representative, Ahmed Hussen, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenships, who was there on behalf of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, pledged his support for the relief line. Hussen talked about the $27 million the federal government has already promised to this project and said more is on the way as part of an 11-year, $81 billion infrastructure plan.

“This investment will not have a real and lasting impact for Canadians unless the province is involved,” Tory said in a statement. “While the Province of Ontario has invested $150 million to help plan the Relief Line, and we thank them for that, we need them to commit to partnership on the construction of this transit project and the continued expansion of our network across Toronto.”

“I’m asking for a steadfast commitment from the Province that they will be financial partners in the building of the Relief Line.”

It seems like even after all of this discussion — Toronto is in the same place it was before. The mayor is fighting for funding after being refused the right to raise it on his own with tolls. The province is in denial, saying they have already provided enough money. And the federal government is saying they will help, but won’t give an exact number just yet.

It looks like Toronto’s Mayor has a bit more fighting to do.

Speak up parents and stop being passive-aggressive!

One of the more difficult aspects of having school-age children is making friends with other parents. If you are the right age, with the right job and the right haircut, perhaps it is fairly easy, but if you live by the beat of your own drum, it can be difficult to mesh with other ‘more traditional’ and occasionally passive-aggressive parents.

There is nothing like bonding with other parents or watching as your children make friends and attend play dates. The test is what happens when your children’s relationships go sideways. For example, how do parents react when one child gets into a fight with another? What if you have a different parenting style?

As a mom, I’ve noticed that instead of confronting parents directly, they opt to avoid speaking with one another and try to avoid the awkwardness of confrontation. This ultimately leads to a lot of confusion and frustration.

I don’t think that mothers are aggressively protective over their children, and therefore will be prone to violent behaviour if another parent brings an issue to their attention. And yet, what I am seeing first-hand is parents shying away from confrontation all together and opting for a more passive-aggressive approach. Have you ever tried to plan a playdate and the other parent is suddenly ‘too busy’? Or the other child is sick all the time out of the blue? Don’t kid yourself, you and your child are being ditched. It appears we haven’t left high school after all.

As mature adults, it is no longer heart-breaking to learn someone doesn’t want to be your friend. Over the years, we all learn to accept that some people like us and some don’t. The issue with the passive-aggressive approach in dealing with other parents is what it is teaching our kids. In school, children are traditionally taught to confront their issues and solve problems in a fair and respectful manner. When parents don’t treat each other the same way, this causes confusion for children and can even extend to bullying on the playground between the two children whose parents don’t get along.

Canadians are known for being polite almost to a fault. We simply don’t thrive off unnecessary confrontation and will go lengths to avoid it. There are certain times though, when a discussion is absolutely necessary and avoiding confrontation is more disrespectful than dealing with a problem. When it comes to our kids, we need to speak up in a courteous and controlled way and teach kids to manage their issues instead of avoiding them.

Another potential factor for avoiding issues between parents could be the pressure of trying to be a part of a community in a large city. It is difficult to connect with others when living in a large metropolis and thriving in a school community becomes a lifeline for many parents. That’s where they find family friends. Perhaps there is a ‘cool’ factor to not being confrontational, but the reality is avoiding issues altogether will have more long-term damaging effects on kids and parents in tight-knit urban communities.

It is time to SPEAK UP PARENTS! By breaking through the false glass ceiling of fake compliments and passive-aggressive avoidance, perhaps issues will actually be solved and children will really learn how to treat one another. Being polite only goes so far, and telling the truth is almost always better than the alternative. As parents, we need to practice what we preach and treat each other as kids are expected to be with each other.

It is time to be truthful and ditch being ditched. As a mom I’m ready for this change, are you?

B.C Green and NDP come to an environment-focused agreement

The B.C. Greens and NDP parties have reached an agreement that will allow them to create a minority government and remove Premier Christy Clark from her seat as head of the province. Both parties have made it clear the new agreement is not a coalition — the Green Party will still be able to support their own platforms, but will guarantee any support of an NDP budget or confidence motion.

Both parties signed a confidence agreement that set out specific requirements for both parties to work together in B.C. It is a dream come true for Green supporters across the country as the environment and climate change goals are put at the forefront for the first time in Canadian history. An entire section of the agreement focuses on reducing greenhouse emissions and calls for an increase in the carbon tax and a revitalization of the environmental assessment process in the province. The Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon will most likely cast a vote of no confidence to remove Christy Clark as Premier, though she has confirmed she will remain leader of the opposition.

The agreement takes a hard stance against the pipeline expansion of the Kinder Morgan project and promises to “immediately employ every tool available” to stop the project. The Site C hydro dam, another controversial environmental project, will also be sent to the B.C. Utilities Commission for review of its economic viability. Kinder Morgan’s shares fell on Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange due to the uncertainty of the Kinder Morgan project and the recent coalition government.

The electoral results and vote recount has cast doubt onto the ‘first-past-the-post’ electoral system and is bringing up the issue of reform. The first-past-the-post system allows people to elect representatives for their ward, and the political party with the most representative becomes the leader of the province. The agreement between the NDP and the Green includes the discussion of changing to proportional representation, which would cast a popular vote for the premier or prime minister in addition to a vote for the candidate in each riding. The plan is to have a referendum in 2018. The Federal Liberal government pushed for electoral reform in their campaign and once Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was elected, they dropped the issue. The new government in B.C desires to bring that issue to the forefront.

The NDP-Green agreement marks a new relationship between two parties that have traditionally both been in disagreement. If the no confidence vote dethrones Clark and NDP leader John Horgan becomes Premier, it will be interesting to witness the environment become an issue of focus on a level never-before-seen in the province and across Canada.