Entering the Challenge
What if I am already vegetarian?
How about trying a vegan challenge or a mostly vegan challenge?
What if I am already vegan?
That’s great! How about getting a friend, partner, or family member to try it. Inspire them to give it a shot and support them on their journey. Or maybe you could try a week eating entirely organic or locally-grown food. Tell us how it went. What foods did you discover? Which ones couldn’t you find?
What if I want to go longer than one week?
Awesome! There is an option to continue called Phase 2 that goes for three more weeks. We will send you three emails per week (11 all together) with menu plans and recipes along with tips and encouragement. There is no cost to participate.
May I enter a second time?
No problem, you can easily change your start week and get the daily emails a second time. Or come back at a later point and do the Veggie Challenge again. As far as completing the Veggie Challenge and being eligible for prizes we will count one entry per person per year. You can also do Phase 2 of the Veggie Challenge (3 more weeks).
What do you do with my email address and other contact information?
How are winners selected?
In the past everyone who completed the Veggie Challenge was entered in a contest to win prizes. There was also a prize for the best sharing of a story or photo. We are currently in the process of re-vamping and improving our prize program, and so for the time being we won’t be giving out any prizes. We’re aiming to start this process again within the next few months, and we will keep you updated on our website and social media accounts when that happens!
How do you know we really went veg or not?
We don’t… but we trust you! Besides, all the prizes are vegetarian-related, so a committed meat-eater would not likely want to win any of them.
What about fish? Do I have to give up seafood as well as meat for the week?
Yes. Our definition of vegetarian also means not eating seafood. There are many excellent reasons to forgo foods that involve killing fish. The oceans are being overfished, coral reefs are being destroyed and sensitive sea floors are getting raked with drag nets. Many species are threatened, including dolphins, seabirds and turtles that get snagged in the nets. Also fish feel pain, they just lack vocal chords to express it. You can still enjoy seaweeds (such as nori and dulse), and flax oil is an excellent source of omega-3.
What about honey?
Honey is vegetarian but not officially vegan. For the purposes of the Veggie Challenge, we aren’t too concerned if your trial vegan diet included honey or not. The focus should be on avoiding eggs and dairy as the modern production of these foods is extremely inhumane and environmentally damaging. If you would like to avoid honey, it can be substituted with maple syrup, rice syrup or agave nectar.
I am not fond of vegetables and beans
Margaret wrote us: “I am keen to try a new way of eating, especially since I’m not happy with the way we treat our feed animals. However… I am not fond of vegetables per se and don’t like the texture of whole beans very much.”
Vegetarian cuisine can be very diverse. Lentils, tofu, mock meats and tempeh make a nice protein-rich substitute for beans. Whole grains, nuts, seeds (sesame, hemp, pumpkin, etc), soy milk, eggs and dairy products are also high in protein. See veg.ca’s Nutrition page for more information.
Tip: If you live in a large city do a google search for a vegetarian buffet restaurant where there will be many vegetarian items to sample. Once you find some dishes you like, you can search the internet for recipes.
I am concerned about eating too much soy
Being vegetarian does not mean you have to eat tons of tofu and other soy products – there are lots of protein-rich plant foods – from lentils and beans to whole grains and nuts. When you sign up for the Veggie Challenge you can choose an option to avoid soy.
But soy has been getting an undeserved bad rap lately – some internet articles are linking soy to things like thyroid problems and hormone imbalances. Yet many soy foods have earned the right to be labeled “heart-healthy.” They may also make your bones stronger, and they contain cancer-fighting compounds. A balanced approach might be to limit intake and/or focus on fermented soy foods such as tempeh, miso and soy sauce.
Bottom line: Based on the bulk of the evidence soy appears to be safe for nearly all healthy individuals when it is consumed in reasonable amounts (two to three servings per day).
See www.veganhealth.org/articles/soy for more info.
How do I get enough iron, protein, calcium, etc.?
Plant-based foods are loaded with nutrients including ample protein, iron, calcium, vitamin D, iodine, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc. Vegans require a reliable source of vitamin B12, but your body stores a one to five year supply, so you will be fine for a week. The key to health is simple. Include a wide variety of different foods in your diet – no one food source is nutritionally complete by itself. See veg.ca’s Nutrition page for more information.
It is the position of Dietitians of Canada and the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.
What about wearing leather?
For the purposes of the Veggie Challenge, we don’t expect you change your wardrobe! People become vegetarian for different reasons and some draw the line at food. Some go a step further and stop wearing leather, down or wool. Others continue to wear such clothing until it wears out, then they replace it with animal-free alternatives. See our veg.ca’s Leather & Alternatives page for more information.
For more questions about vegetarian and vegan diets check out the FAQs page at Veg.ca.
Where to find support and discuss vegetarian topics
- Toronto Vegetarian Association Events
- Toronto Vegetarian Association Facebook Group
- Vegetarian and Vegan Groups and Meetups in the Greater Toronto Area
- Veggie Challenge on Facebook
You can contact us with any questions by emailing [email protected]