Ethical Eats

Brought to you by Oxfam @ Queen's

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TVP Veggie Burgers

So there’s this guy that I work with called Earl. He lives in an RV called Barth, runs 18 kilometers a day, and is a raging vegetarian. He recently introduced me to an unassuming meat substitute called TVP, or textured vegetable protein. This dehydrated soy is high in protein, low in fat, and can be cooked with with delicious results. Earl has conned me and my sister into buying a $20 share of his large bag of TVP. In preparation for the arrival of several kilograms of TVP, I’ve done some research. TVP can be used in soups, curries, casseroles, baking and more. It is especially wonderful for making veggie burgers! Although Earl just adds falafel mix (you can buy it at the store) to some soaked TVP to make his tasty burgers, here for your enjoyment is a slightly more complex recipe. You can also add TVP to refried beans and chili powder to make a taco or wrap filling.

So if you haven’t tried it before, get out there and try some TVP. Earl would be proud of you!

TVP Veggie Burgers


1 1/3 cups textured vegetable protein 
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons ketchup
Worcestershire sauce
soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1/4 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
3 finely chopped garlic cloves
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup flour


Stir TVP into boiling water in a medium mixing bowl.
Add ketchup, Worcestershire, soy (appx. 2 tsp), salt, herbs and spices.
Let stand 10 minutes.
Heat carrots, celery, onion, garlic and basic in a little oil in a skillet, until JUST softened.
Mix veggies into TVP mixture, slowly adding flour until the mixture holds its own shape (like a mix between dough and ground beef).
Shape into 6 patties (1/2 inch think or so).
Cook in frying pan in a bit of oil until both sides are hardened up and darkened.
I’ve tried adding chili powder to the oil in the pan before cooking the patties, and it adds nice flavor.
Also, when shaping the final mixture, it really helps to wet your hands with a bit of water to prevent it sticking.

This recipe is from


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Blogs I Love

The week ends on a Sunday, right? 

In my post this month, I’ll be talking about some of my favourite LOFT-themed blogs and websites!

Oh She Glows

Angela Liddon is an amazing cook, baker, and photographer. She started blogging as a way to talk about her long battle with an eating disorder, but since 2008 the blog has become far more recipe-focused. And they are amazing! All of her recipes are vegetarian or vegan, and many are gluten-free as well. If you’re looking for ideas on what to do with all the LOFT goodness that’s beginning to show up at farmers’ markets this summer, this is the website to visit! Ms. Liddon is also Canadian and writes a lot about the local food scene in Southern Ontario.

Simple, Good, and Tasty

A great website to go to if you’re looking for news on LOFT food and local food movements! They’re also doing a few great “behind the scenes” series this summer on farming operations and community-supported agriculture, which are must-reads if you want to know how your food is grown. The contributors (most of whom live in the Minneapolis area) also run an online book club. Check out their reading list if you’re looking for more information about food politics!

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Certified Local Sustainable

The L in LOFT is not always easily accomplished and can get even more complicated when you add sustainability to the mix.


Local Food Plus (LFP) is a Canadian non-profit aiming to educate consumers, producers, and distributors about the benefits (and standards) of local and sustainable foods. LFP developed criteria to certify local sustainable foods so that consumers know, and understand, exactly what they’re purchasing.

The definition of local is often ambiguous ranging from 100km radius to within a province or group of provinces. Likewise, sustainable is overwhelmed with limitless conditions. LFP seeks to amalgamate the two concepts identifying local sustainable food as:

  • being grown or caught, processed, and marketed locally
  • financially viable for all stakeholders (not just chain retailers/distributors)
  • ecologically responsible
  • meat from producers who treat animals with respect and without reliance on artificial hormones or drugs
  • socially responsible workplaces (fair wages, fair treatment)
  • energy conservation (low reliance on fossil fuels)
  • water conservation (low water waste)
  • stewards of the environment (biodiversity and protecting wildlife)
  • helping to grow a resilient food system

The LFP label is subject to independent third party expert inspections. And unlike organic labelling systems, LFP does not charge farmers for the entire cost of certification but charges a minimal fee while the rest of the expenses are paid through LFP fundraising (reducing the burden on small-hold farmers).

LFP got its start on the University of Toronto campus proving that the differences students make in their community can extend to the entire food system.


– Angela

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You can have your cake and eat it too

At its current pace the world’s food and energy needs are reaching their ecological limit. With growing economic growth occurring in the Global South, more and more people are adopting historically unprecedented high levels of meat consumption. Mutton, pork, poultry and beef consumption are reaching unprecedented levels. These classic sources of meat consumption place a great strain on the environment. In fact livestock rearing is responsible for more than 51% of all annual greenhouse emissions. Additionally this increased consumption has led to a commodification of our sources of meat, which encourages inhumane factory style processing of these forms of meat that have caught the attention of the media. Food Inc. is a great documentary for understanding this phenomenon. But never fear people the United Nations thinks it’s got a solution to combat this trend while still receiving all the benefits of this extra protein and micronutrient consumption. Eh but you might not like it. Okay ready don’t cringe. Eat Insects. Yes insects like ants gram for gram provide more protein, minerals and micro nutrients than traditional sources of protein. If that’s not amazing enough their greenhouse footprint is absolutely miniscule compared to traditional sources. Okay chill I know what you’re thinking these are icky insects we are talking about. But drink this in most world cultures happily embrace insect eating, or Entomophagy if you wanna sound fancy. From Mexico to China traditionally insects like locusts and ants are eagerly sought after and eaten. They are considered a delicacy which means these must be some tasty critters. Now I’m not saying that you go find your nearest ant hill and fire up the barbeque. I’m just saying lettuce (shameless food security pun) open our minds and ask ourselves is this really all that bad. Personally I think eating insects isn’t a big deal considering how we eagerly eat fungi (mushrooms) and fish eggs (caviar). Just my 200 cents. Stay golden people.
See Simba ate insects and he got to be the freaking KING not to mention the movie deal. Whose to say that wont happen to you. Food for thought people.

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You’ve Got the Power



Lately, I have been thinking about the vastly different ways that people feed themselves. Here in Canada, many of us are fortunate to be able to choose how and what we eat, a luxury that the majority of global citizens have never experienced. What we each choose to consume is something quite personal, and many people can get defensive on this subject  – no one wants to think they need to change how they eat, or are ‘doing it wrong’. I wanted my post this week to really drive home the fact that we all have a great power, and great responsibility, to choose what we eat.

Here within Oxfam at Queen’s Food Security, we promote LOFT (Local, Organic, Fair Trade) food as a way to fix the broken food system.  When I first heard this acronym, I was daunted by the prospect of eating LOFT –Where could I find it? And mostly, how could I afford it? Happily, I have realized that eating LOFT food doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing endeavor. For example, I know that although all my food in my fridge may not be LOFT, I do my very best to eat local produce and free-range meat and eggs. We all choose what is most important to us, and focus our money and efforts there accordingly. It could be that buying organic blueberries for your smoothies is something you’re willing to spring for, while another student would invest in art classes, for example.

Eating LOFT shouldn’t be seen as some distant goal that only the well-established and wealthy can attain. It is a friendly challenge, a call to become aware of how our food gets on our plates.  When it comes down to it, food that is good for you, the planet, and those who grew it, is food that deserves to be eaten! 

~Andrea Z.

p.s. It’s true, U DO Got the Power – check out this awesome song by Swiss Lips 🙂

photo from Google Images 

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The Educated Omnivore

Food. It’s kind of a big deal. It shapes entire cultures, has to power to change the way we feel about ourselves, and has a major impact on both the economy and the environment. We are driven to make the best choices we can when it comes to food, and this leads a lot of people to vegetarianism. Eating this way is often lighter on the planet and better for you than conventional diets, so I’m all for it. But the purpose of my post is to mention an alternative that is equally positive and dare I say, more exciting- educated omnivorism. 

Being an educated omnivore involves knowing about where your food comes from and making choices based on your  values- a lot like vegetarianism, but more open minded.. This savvy breed of eater tends to consume a balanced diet, with as much local, organic, fair trade, or otherwise good produce and products as they can obtain. When it comes to eating meat, as with all other foods, they make sure that it is produced in ways that align with their values. Here are some examples of meat an educated omnivore might choose:

  • Grass fed beef from a local rancher (meeting the cow optional)
  • Trout caught by a friend when they went on a fishing trip
  • Christmas turkeys raised in your backyard
  • Pole and Line tuna (caught without drag nets)
  • Pork from farms that use permaculture methods (see first link below)

I know an educated omnivore that only eats an animal when she or someone in her family has killed it. This is her own way of making the best choices for herself and the environment, without limiting herself to a vegetarian diet. 100 Mile House, B.C., the magical land that I hail from, is an impractical place to be a vegetarian, because there is local beef raised on every corner! Educated vegetarianism is also important, as there are many social and environmental issues with with modern agriculture.. Soy, for example, is one of the most destructively produced crops in the world today. No matter what your diet is, there is still choices to be made.

Educated omnivorism is something that everyone should take to heart. All it takes is some interest and a dash of effort  to find out how the food you are eating affects the world around you, Making better choices when it comes to food is more than just eating less meat.



On eating meat the right way: 


An interesting discussion on meat vs. no meat: