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Is It Difficult to Go Vegan in Toronto?

Anything is possible once people find out what is more important to them. As more and more people become vegan, a trend will start and more people will be educated in this direction. And their lifestyle will be change accordingly as well.
—Vinh, Loving Hut

Vegan yummies by Sean and Lauren
Vegan yummies by Sean and Lauren

In this article, I don't want to convince anyone to go vegan. It's a decision of us has to make because it's not just about a diet but also about lifestyle. Lately I've noticed how many Toronto citizens don't know anything about veganism and about vegan diets. There are still many people who consider vegans to be freaks who just eat soy all the time. But the reality is very different. There are plenty of food choices anyone can make. Indian food, Chinese food, and typical American hamburgers are available for vegans too. So why do not try some?

What Are The Benefits of Being Vegan?

First of all, eating meat and animal protein can be harmful to the body. Many diseases are directly connected with the fats, carbohydrates, and sugars that are present in typical foods. Vegan food is plant-based and usually more eco-friendly than mainstream diets. Being vegan also means being compassionate about non-dietary animal products. Vegans never wear leather or fur or use shampoo that was tested on animals. If we put together a list of what vegans shouldn't do, we realize it's complex and often quite restrictive.

Our Wilted Kale Pesto Salad in Belmonte Raw
 Wilted Kale Pesto Salad in Belmonte Raw

Opinions that challenge veganism are very common, but there are many investigations that have proven meat and dairy products negatively affect our health. If you have any doubts, or if you still believe eating meat is healthy or even necessary, I would recommend you the publication called The China Study. This book provides a very coherent and empirical analysis of medical data collected by scientists in China and Taiwan on more than 6,500 individuals. If you don't want to spend your time reading the whole book, there is a list of 57 health benefits of going vegan.

If you ask yourself now whether veganism can be dangerous for your body, I would say no. But in the end, everything depends on your lifestyle and nutrition. Eating junk food made of vegetables can be as harmful as eating fried chicken. As a vegan, it's extremely important to eat as many different types of vegetables, fruit, pulses, and nuts as possible. In some cases, it's recommended to also use special vegan supplements, which contain high levels of the following vitamins: B12, B2, B6, folic acid, vitamin D, iodine, and selenium. These are the ones that you can occasionally miss.

Does it make sense to become a vegan when society continues to eat meat? Yes, I think it does. Even becoming a part-time vegan is a considerable success, because it reduces the consumption of dairy and meat. I agree with other vegans whom I contacted that an important change in the Canadian lifestyle is possible in the near future.

Vegan Community in Toronto

First of all, let's talk about the vegan and vegetarian community. The Toronto Vegetarian Association is probably the best place to start your search. This organization was founded in 1945 and became well known promoter of vegan diets over time. With a list of volunteers, it offers many interesting activities, ranging from festivals to workshops and practical seminars. If anyone is interested in becoming vegan, this would probably be the best place to start. You can visit them on Wednesdays from 6:00 to 9:00 P.M. or Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:00 P.M. at their office and resource centre at 17 Baldwin Street. Their centre has a constantly updated library with vegan cookbooks and other literature connected to the vegan lifestyle. The Toronto Vegetarian Association also offers a special card, called the Toronto Veg Card, which for a very moderate price of $25 offers a discount up to 15 per cent in vegan shops, restaurants, and bakeries.

Toronto Vegetarian Association

Another example of a working vegan community is the Hot Yam!, which is the University of Toronto's all-volunteer lunch party. Every Wednesday, you can go to the Centre for International Experience and eat a delicious and well prepared vegan food for a very reasonable price.

Buying Vegan Products in Toronto

Finding a high-quality grocery shop with vegan products is not as difficult as it seems. The overall trend of bio and fresh food was beneficiary for the vegan market too. Nowadays, many fresh food stores offer vegan products and the competition has a positive impact on the quality and prices. There are many goods that can grab your attention. And I'm sure every starting vegan would be surprised by how creative food producers are. You can buy all types of cosmetics, cat and dog food, and even vegan wine. Every time you go into organic, vegan stores, there's something new you can buy. Are you for example seeking a particular cuisine? Don't worry: there are Indian, Chinese, Italian, and every other cuisine available!

An example of a quality grocery store is the Bloorcourt Village Market, located on 952 Bloor Street, Dovercourt Park. To get there, use the Bloor-Danforth line. This independent grocery has an amazing list of products for vegans and is frequently supplied with fresh and tasty fruits and vegetables.

Vegan Coffees and Restaurants

Vegan restaurants in Toronto are the best representatives of the plant-based diet. Their number is growing fast, as vegan the lifestyle becomes more popular in Toronto. We can be glad we have such a great opportunity to try out many delicious, vegan restaurants and cafés. They range from small, family restaurants to bigger, international chains, offering a wide range of flavours from all around the world.

Loving Hut

One of the most important restaurants with an international background is Loving Hut. Their motto 'Be Vegan, Make Peace' speaks for itself. As a chain of restaurants, they feel responsible for promoting veganism as much as possible. As Vinh from the Loving Hut staff says, the main goal is to promote a healthy lifestyle and also to protect our environment. Vinh adds that Loving Hut also supports various non-profit organizations, such as animal farm sanctuaries and TARVE (Voice of the Farmed Animals).

Belmonte Raw

Raw Nacos at Belmonde Raw
Raw Nacos in Belmonde Raw

Another perfect example is Belmonte Raw. This place is focused on promoting raw food and focuses on spreading the message of the veggie kitchen. The main philosophy is to offer food that's local, raw, locally produced, and gluten-, dairy-, and sugar-free. Belmonte Raw's menu promises lots of energy, great nutrition, and great taste. Among their products, you can find vegan chocolates, special cleansing packages, and organic juices. And if you're interested in preparing your own meals through raw cuisine, you can join their cooking classes.

As you can see, being vegan in Toronto is easy. There are also plenty of shops and retailers offering diverse vegan products. Writing a complete list of them would be exhausting, so I would just suggest you go check online and find what's the best suited to you. But I'm convinced that once you try out vegan food, you'll fall in love. And who knows? Maybe it's you who'll go vegan next.

4 Comments

  • Barbi

    Thanks SO much for this great article and for letting people know about the Toronto Vegetarian Association and the Toronto Veg Card! :)

    P.S Our name is Toronto Vegetarian Association, not society, but no big deal. :)

  • Julie

    Hi Barbi,

    Thanks for stopping by. Sorry for the mistake, I’ve already fixed that.

    Keep up the great work!

  • Kaitlyn

    Do you know of any good vegan grocery stores by Ryerson university?

  • Kris

    The Richetree has a store with a lot of vegan stuff like Yogurts, Cheese, Milk,etc. Not just soy stuff either.

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