You know you can be vegan and still enjoy really delicious, flavour-packed, and creative dishes, right? I never really believed that until I challenged myself with Veganuary last year, a month-long vegan-only diet.
I'm totally into vegan and raw foods as of late, but nothing is a good enough substitute when it comes to that must-have 'very occasional' juicy hamburger from Burger's Priest. However there has always been something about the vegan lifestyle that continues to intrigue me. I have to admit though, I would find it too hard to get rid of my non-vegan clothing, but never say never.
People who are uneducated on this lifestyle choice automatically assume that vegans live on a diet of water, nuts, and leafy vegetables. That's what I thought too until I participated in Veganuary. By the end of the challenge though, I was totally sick and tired of beans and rice. I was back in Ireland throughout the course of the month, and the lack of vegan options at my local Tesco was shocking.
In Toronto however, Veganism (as I'm calling it from now on), is completely doable. It's not only easy, it's also totally affordable. I spent last weekend living on a vegan diet. It all started when my roommate Andrzej suggested a trip to The Hogtown Vegan for some "unchicken and waffles". I had been craving waffles since binge-watching four seasons of Parks & Recreation so I didn't really care where we went, as long as I could satisfy my craving.
The waffles & "chicken" arrive drenches in this sweet and dreamy maple syrup. Another thing I automatically assume, or actually pretend to assume, is that all vegan food is healthy. So really, this decadent maple syrup & sugar infused waffle and fake fried chicken breakfast, is super healthy. Hogtown Vegan is so good, that I try to persuade my roommate to come back with me the next day. I'm a really bad influence on him.
We finish up and take the streetcar over the Fresh on Spadina, where we stock up on our favourite cold pressed juices to get us through the rest of the weekend. I'm addicted to number 7 which is a mix of orange, turmeric, ginger, and lemon. I also grab a number 5 (The Daily Dose) and a few 13s (Green Warrior).
On Sunday morning, I start off my day in Jovian's 10:45am class at Yoga Tree (Bay & Dundas). I'm pouring sweat as I stretch into downward facing dog. It's an intense class, my second one of the week with Jovian. The Australian teacher is a great motivator and I couldn't recommend his class enough, or this studio in fact, it's great.
Post yoga, I head back over to Fresh to indulge in a clubhouse wrap with thai peanut sauce, and sweet potato fries - all vegan of course. I've had this wrap a few times and it's the perfect post-workout 'carb feast'. Before leaving, I knock back a 'Ginger Fireball' which is an intense daily kick-start for your immune & digestive system. It consists of juiced ginger, lemon, hot water, and your choice of agave or raw honey. I practically roll out of there and make my way to Kensington Market, which seems to be the home to the best vegan bakeries in Toronto.
I pop into Bunner's Bake Shop and pick up a chocolate chip cookie. This place is like heaven for vegans (or anyone) with a sweet tooth. It wasn't until I was leaving that I noticed a tray of freshly baked red velvet cupcakes and brownie squares.
The second and final stop on my vegan outing is at Cosmic Treats just down the street. I pick up some chocolate banana bread and two Oreo truffles. Of course I'm not eating it all now, I'll bring it home so my roommate and I can 'pig out' (pardon the pun) and watch Transparent, our new favourite series.
This is what relaxing weekends are made of - good food, sunshine, and gluing myself to the couch with a book and endless TV dramas on Netflix.
Until next time, peace out xo