World’s First 24-Hour Vegan Drive-Thru Coming in June

Get ready, Canada! You’re about to make history with the world’s first 24-hour vegan drive-thru. Globally Local, a London, Ontario restaurant, is opening a second location that will feature a drive-thru open all day.

“We’ve been extremely busy at our location downtown, so much so that we really needed another location for the city,” said Globally Local owner James McInnes. “One with a bit bigger infrastructure, so we can have faster service and a drive-thru, making vegan fast food more convenient for people.”

Since the vegan fast food restaurant opened its first location they say they’ve received an overwhelmingly positive response.

“It’s definitely exceeded what our expectations were, especially for the fact that we’ve gotten a lot of global media coverage, so there’s been a lot of international attention to what we’ve been doing,” said McInnes.

Globally Local specializes in what McInnes calls “vegan comfort food. The stuff that people think you can’t have when you’re a vegan,” such as vegan versions of hamburgers, including their Famous Burger which is a play on the Big Mac, along with tacos, macaroni and cheese, and french fries.

James and Lia McInnes, the restaurateurs behind Globally Local, plan to keep growing. Their goal is to conquer the world.

“We’re not just trying to be a restaurant. We want to be a global fast-food chain,” McInnes said, adding 90 to 95% of his customers are not vegan.

“It is the start of the change of an industry. Drive-thrus are just a necessity in our fast-paced culture.”

This new location is set to open in June at Highbury Avenue and Cheapside Street and will have seating for 120 people.

While Globally Local will be the first to feature a 24-hour drive-thru, several vegan restaurants in the US, including Vege-Way and Plant Power Fast Food, serve up fast food classics vegan-style and serve them out a drive-thru.

How Going Vegan Changed My Body

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There’s no question that any change in diet will positively or negatively affect the body. After going vegan, I experienced a lot of changes, and some I wasn’t even expecting!

Some of these changes happened right away and others have taken more time. Regardless, the body I live in now is exponentially healthier than the body I lived in two years ago. Continue reading “How Going Vegan Changed My Body”

Doctors, Nurses Go Vegan to Teach Patients

As plant-based diets become more popular, there has been a shift in the acceptance of their health benefits among the medical community. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics asserts that eating vegan is “appropriate for all stages of the life-cycle” and that plant-based foods are “healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”

At the Kaiser Permanente Fresno Medical Center in California, they’re taking it one step further by providing doctors, nurses and patients with the tools they need to eat a more plant-based diet.

The medical center is offering cooking demonstrations, nutrition classes and support programs focused on getting healthy and preventing disease through a plant-based diet.

Through this program, medical staff will gain useful skills and knowledge about plant-based eating that they can pass on to their patients, encouraging the entire community to eat healthier and lower the risk of disease. The program even includes a 21-day vegan challenge to help people change their habits.

“Plant-based eating is focusing on eating whole foods, which are fruits and vegetables and beans and avoiding meat and dairy products,” dietitian Judy meadows told abc30. “And the research is showing it reduces inflammation and risks of chronic disease and helps you manage many chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure, cancer risk.”

Meadows says real results can be measured in lower numbers for cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight after people take out meat and dairy from their diets.

“As you eat healthier, and you eat real food, you get the enzymes in your body that help you digest the food and you feel better,” she explained. “You have more energy.”

Registered nurse Tammy Barigain is taking on this challenge as a way to help herself and her patients.

“If I’m trying to teach my patients how to eat, I need to be doing the same thing,” Barigian said. “First couple of days were a little challenging, but after that, I really embraced it. And I found new recipes.”

Barigain, who cares for patients with heart problems, says diet is directly related to health.

“So, if you eat a high-saturated fat diet, you’re going to have heart disease sooner or later, so you need to focus on low-saturated fat and eating as many fruits and vegetables as possible,” she said.

Since adopting the plant-based diet herself, she’s lost 14 pounds. “It’s really a choice and it’s a lifestyle,” Meadows explained. “It’s not really a diet that you’re going to end.”

Acknowledging that shifting to a plant-based diet can be challenging, Meadows has committed to helping Kaiser members and staff with their transition.

“The American diet, with all the sugar and fat, is very addicting,” she said. “We are accustomed to that flavor, and when we eat real food, plants, and fruit for dessert, when you go back to those kinds of things, they don’t taste as good.”

Staff members have already discovered one food that makes the change to a plant-based diet more exciting: jackfruit. The “meaty” texture shreds just like pulled pork and makes the perfect meat replacement in many dishes.

These aren’t the first medical personnel to go vegan. These 19 nurses did it and saw the benefits for themselves.

Politicians in Denmark are also trying out a plant-based diet.

Denmark Politicians Go Vegan for Climate Change

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With the goal of bringing attention to the environment and climate change, a group of Danish members of parliament have committed to taking a 22-day vegan challenge. Politicians from the Alternative and the Red-Green Alliance parties volunteered to take part in this challenge to highlight the destruction done to our planet by animal agriculture.

“Going vegan for 22 days is not going the save the world in itself, but it’s a great opportunity to put focus on Western consumption of animal products and the environmental and animal welfare problems it causes,” said Red-Green Alliance’s environmental secretary, Maria Gjerding.

Alternative Party leader, Uffe Elbæk said, “No doubt that this will be a huge challenge, but I expect it to be quite a lot of fun as well, and it’ll definitely be to the benefit of the environment.

“Western food production has an enormous climate footprint. Political action is needed, and I find it important that we, as politicians, take the first steps and begin to ‘walk the talk’.”

The more exposure given to the vegan diet by public figures, the more possibility there will be for others to try it out for themselves. You may remember that Beyoncé took this same 22-day vegan challenge back in 2015. We can only imagine the number of people she inspired to give it a go.

“We need to take action on both a personal and political level in order to address the serious issues of climate change,” said Gjerding.

Denmark has been seeing a push toward the reduction of meat consumption. In 2016, the Danish Council of Ethics voted 14 to 3 to implement a climate tax on beef. The proposal has been put forward for consideration by the government.

Other countries are also seeing a shift toward vegan. The Chinese government has set a goal to reduce meat consumption by 50% by 2030. Portugal is working to provide vegan options in all public institutions. Netherlands and Sweden have updated their dietary guidelines to include the environmental benefits of plant-based diets. The German Ministry of Environment has banned meat from all of its official events.

Obama Talks Climate Change & Eating Meat

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Former U.S. President Barack Obama spoke at the Global Food Innovation Summit in Milan in his first foreign appearance since leaving the White House. He addressed the unquestionable connection between animal agriculture and climate change, among other topics

“I think people naturally understand that big smokestacks have pollution in them and they understand air pollution, so they can easily make the connection between energy production and the idea of greenhouse gases,” he said. “People aren’t as familiar with the impact of cows and methane, unless you’re a farmer.”

It looks like the Obamas intend to continue actively discussing the impact food choices have on the planet as they settle into their life as private citizens.

Obama told attendees that societies around the world should find more efficient means of producing protein and explore ways to reduce meat consumption. He also discussed the importance of people being informed about the health benefits of reducing flesh consumption.

He stressed that because the globe is on track to increase meat consumption, the need to change habits will only become more important. Large populations in India, Vietnam, and China are already showing signs of eating more meat and dairy products as their income levels rise.

“That doesn’t mean that we can’t teach you and me to have a smaller steak, for our own health,” Obama said. “It doesn’t mean we can’t make progress in educating the advanced world about the need to reduce, just for dietary reasons, the amount of meat that we consume at any given meal.”

Obama also pointed out that food production is the second-largest contributor to climate change after energy production. At the same time, he said, climate change is creating shrinking agricultural yields and spiking food prices that “in some places are leading to political instability.”

Interviewer and former White House food policy czar Sam Kass noted that while he served as Obama’s personal chef, he’d cooked maybe thousands of steaks for him during his presidency.

“I don’t know about thousands,” Obama responded, smiling. “Maybe hundreds. What is true is I am not a vegetarian. I respect vegetarians, but I am not one of them.”

With climate change, improving people’s health and eliminating childhood obesity being a key focus for Barack and Michelle Obama for years, we can’t help wonder why they aren’t vegan yet.

A global shift toward a vegan diet is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change, according to the United Nations. If the Obama’s lead by example and adopt a vegan diet, they can inspire a global change that could help lower body mass index and help prevent diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer.

Image: (Reuters/Alessandro Garofalo)

CNN: Are Germans Leading a Vegan Revolution?

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CNN recently posted an in-depth article considering Germany a leader in the vegan movement. This may sound surprising considering Germany’s most traditional meals are schnitzel and bratwurst sausage.

What CNN is analyzing here is Germany’s contribution of vegan food products, including meat substitutes that would allow vegans and vegetarians to enjoy schnitzel again. CNN states that in 2016, Germany launched 18% of all global vegan products, according to research agency Mintel.

Germany also launched Europe’s first vegan supermarket chain, Veganz, in 2011. The chain now has 10 stores throughout Germany and even more across Europe.

CNN also cites a 2016 study that estimates 4.3% of Germans between 18 and 79 years old are vegetarian. The US and the UK trail behind at 3.3% and 2% respectively.

Click here to read the full CNN article.

To my German and European readers, do you agree with these stats? Is Germany a leader in the vegan revolution?