Monthly Archives: August 2013

Style-Diet Shot – Chetan

“On matters of style, swim with the current. On matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

– Thomas Jefferson

Happy that more and more men eschew the inelegant baseball hat (which is great for playing baseball) for the fedora.  Here is Chetan, wearing a repurposed fedora he bought in Arizona.20130813-154747.jpg

The Style-Diet Shot celebrates individuals with unique style, wearing at least one article of clothing acquired via the Stephens’ Sisters Shopping Diet. It must be local, sustainable, second-hand/re-purposed, inherited or ethically produced. If you can’t find clothing fitting that criteria then it must be from a country with stellar human rights records.

Pear shaped

“A pear tree cannot bear an apple”

– proverb

Interestingly enough, apple trees through grafting can bear different varieties of apples on the same trunk.  Was that too much for you?  I didn’t believe it until dad showed me his espaliered apple trees.  One trunk: different apples. I’ve seen that in viticulture, same deal – one hearty variety is for the stem and root while another varietal is grafted on for the grapes.  These are not GMOs but methods passed down from farmers and agriculturalists.  GMOs do not occur in nature.  They happen in laboratories where scientists mix genes from unrelated species.  Such as a bacterium gene into a corn plant.  Making the corn we are to eat, a technical pesticide.

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On the ferry the other day I bumped into an Italian couple on summer holiday.  We spoke about what every Italian can speak volumes about….   Can you guess where this is heading?  Si Mamma mia! We spoke abouta foodah.  They were complaining about the food here.  I couldn’t blame them, there were chronically hungry or gastrically dissatisfied.  They had just scarfed down a sandwich with GMO wheat and eggs from chickens raised eating GMOs, pumped with antibiotics, and treated inhumanely.  Their  coffee was so bad they had to put milk and lots of sugar in it.  This is food that cannot be found in Italy.  They brandished 5 packs of sugar to make their Canadian coffee palatable reinforcing their point.  Italy requires mandatory labelling of GMOs.  Recently Italy decided to ban GMO corn, citing loss of biodiversity by GMOs.  Each region has its speciality; you cannot go 20 kilometers in any direction without encountering a different regional speciality.

The Italian tourists were weirded out by the vegetables in N. American supermarkets.  They said, “It is not real this fruit and these vegetables.  They just look so perfect.  It’s not normal.  Non e naturale.”

Later munching on a slice of (organic) pear from my uncle’s tree in Vancouver, I thought about this.  If diversity is the spice of life, supermarkets in N. America are dull indeed.  Bland.  Blah.  Even though they are vibrantly coloured, squeaky clean and blemish free, the vast majority of fruits are not natural.  Even if not GMO, they are grown with toxic pesticides and herbicides and fungicides which leave residues in and on the food we are to it.  Natural is the most misused label out there in the supermarkets today.  A food can be called “Natural” and have GMOs and toxins.  I’ve heard tell of a class-action lawsuit going after these corporations looking to unduly profit from the word Natural.  Good. This deception must end.

Natural is the pear I was eating.  It was a little grainy, had a bunch of discolouration and dark remnants of some kind of pest that had burrowed into the core partway.  I just cut that all off and enjoyed the unique flavour.  It wasn’t the most exciting pear I’d ever eaten.  Nor the most delicious.  But it was sweet.  And it was different.  I can only eat a pear like this every year or when this tree bears fruit.

It’s special.  The ordinary miracle of real food.  Grown without toxins.  It made my day.

Style-Diet Shot – Gurdeep in Castle

“On matters of style, swim with the current. On matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

– Thomas Jefferson

I’m wearing a cotton dress bought in Barcelona a few years ago.  I stopped at a stall at an artisan’s market near Placa Catalunya when I was visiting friends in that great city of art and design.  A lovely young Spanish designer made this dress http://www.novedadesdorins.com.  The sunglasses are from a vintage store in Knightsbridge in London.  The pendant was handmade by my sister Shanti, out of hammered gold. My bracelet also handmade in Vancouver by Lulu Jewelery.  The flipflops I’m ashamed to admit, were found in my flat when I lived in Italy.  I think a friend left them there but I’m not so sure.  Nobody ever asked for them and due to the high traffic volume in our flat, I never noticed them until I moved back to Canada.  I suppose I’m outing myself, but if you came to visit me in Florence and left behind a pair of plain black Havanianas, they are still in great condition.

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Photo is from a recent visit to the famous Loire castle Azay-le-Rideau in France.  I’m standing in the attic which used to be the servants quarters.  It is now a home for grand murin bats that the authorities encourage to stay at the very top of the attic with boards that protect their space.  We didn’t see any of those cute mammals but I thought I heard a squeak or two.  It was either bats, or mice, or ghosts of long ago.

The Style-Diet Shot celebrates individuals with unique style, wearing at least one article of clothing acquired via the Stephens’ Sisters Shopping Diet. It must be local, sustainable, second-hand/re-purposed, inherited or ethically produced. If you can’t find clothing fitting that criteria then it must be from a country with stellar human rights records.

BC Ferries Composting Kudo

“Earth knows no desolation.
She smells regeneration in the moist breath of decay.”

– George Meredith

On the BC Ferries from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo, I greeted this welcome sight with a delighted whoop and whipped out my phone to snap a photo.

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Yay BC Ferries!

May you inspire all the other millions of travellers to think about composting.

This is something that my sister Jyoti and sustainability advocate did for Nature’s Path Foods many years ago. Nature’s Path has been named one of the top Green companies in Canada over and over again. When large corporations get behind solid earth-enhancing principles, then real change can occur. I dream of every company composting their paper towels, every company going Carbon Neutral, the Big Oil Companies investing in Sustainable Technology and the end to Canada’s Billion-dollar give-away to big oil.

I envision everyone recycling everything, returning to the Earth that which can be returned. I see more and more folks recycling soft plastics, from Saran Wrap to straws, bags our bread comes it to random bits of soiled plastic.

I dream of every person feeling personally responsible for the actions in the complex, and hefty consumer chain from clothes we wear to the food we buy to the air we breathe.

Style-Diet Shot – Manuela

“On matters of style, swim with the current. On matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

 – Thomas Jefferson

Manuela, from Italy and in Italy is wearing a beautiful blue dress with yellow accents.  The dress is Moschino (Made in Italy) which Manuela has had ‘da anni’  for years. Doesn’t look like it! I forgot to ask her about her bag, and shoes….  Maybe if she comes across this post, she can let us know?

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The Style-Diet Shot celebrates individuals with unique style, wearing at least one article of clothing acquired via the Stephens’ Sisters Shopping Diet. It must be local, sustainable, second-hand/re-purposed, inherited or ethically produced. If you can’t find clothing fitting that criteria then it must be from a country with stellar human rights records.

Mood Indigo

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“Do as much as your want or as little as you want, let the food be your medicine, let your body be your guide and have a great time on the road to intoxicating health.”

 – Lovena B Galyide

Above is the sign at Indigo Cafe on 16th and Trafalgar.  I literally grew up working at Woodlands Natural Food Restaurant only a few blocks away.  So much has changed since I was a kid.  Now every restaurant in BC offers a vegetarian option.  There is a gluten-free bakery next door to Cafe Indigo and local cafes offer local food.  Choices is a fine independent grocer across the street with a great selection of organic foods. Funny that I never really sparked upon Indigo which is run by Lovena Galyide, a superb vegan and raw food chef.   Originally from the Ukraine, Lovena has settled into Kitsilano to give guilt-free indulgences to our taste-buds.  Indigo Cafe is relatively new (as in around 2 years old) which may be why I hadn’t heard of it.  Indigo specialises in vegan, gluten-free, organic and raw foods.

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I first heard about raw food back when my parents ran Woodlands and I was a wee one.  So many visionaries came through the Woodlands, several amazing folks at the cusp of the natural, ecological and organic food movements.  Now things are so much better for people wanting to eat consciously – and so much worse.  Why?  Since GMOs have silently infiltrated our food supply, organic is the only way to eat free of pesticides and GMOs (many of which are pesticides, wrap your head around that).  If food doesn’t have the Non GMO project label or isn’t certified organic how can we trust it to be healthy for us, to not cause harm? If given a choice of what to eat or feed your children and babies wouldn’t you pick food that does most good?

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Indigo was guilt-free eating and I thoroughly enjoyed the vegan high tea.  90% of Indigo’s food is organic.  Vegan means dairy and lactose free.  It was all gluten free.  On top of it, low sugar.  It was healthy for sure.  But more than that, it was deelish, comparable with the Peninsula Hotel’s famous vegan high tea.  Here are some highlights: Champignon mushrooms stuffed with a creamy nutritional yeast dressing, “pizza”, coconut cream pie, goji-berry bar, chocolate ganache with cocoa nibs, kale chips….

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Singer Dasha, a lovely Russian soprano serenaded us with her angelic voice while we picked up delicate treats and popped them in our mouth oohing.

Ah, if only I could have high tea at Indigo every day!

Style-Diet Shot – Gurdeep

“On matters of style, swim with the current. On matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

– Thomas Jefferson

Back on terra firma, I’m proud to wear my BC Ferries Color Me Cotton top purchased on board.  http://www.cmcclick.com/about The short blue pants made in Barcelona were bought in Barcelona over 10 years ago.  Shoes made and bought in Italy over 6 years ago.  Glasses from an antique shop on Fort St in Victoria.  From the 1960s.

20130725-204044.jpgA frequent traveller on the ferry, I have been delighted with the buyers for the shops on board lately.  Made in Canada creams and cosmetics, great BC books and fantastic clothes made in the USA.  I encountered Cathy, a lovely, friendly and knowledgeable lady on board.  We spoke at length about the provenance of goods for sale at the Passages Gift Shop, as I commended her buyers for their thoughtful choices.  She posed for a photo below – to the right of a new collection of first Nations designs not only designed by also made in Canada.  You need to watch out for the Designed in Canada and made elsewhere, which is a common misleading label.

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The Style-Diet Shot celebrates individuals with unique style, wearing at least one article of clothing acquired via the Stephens’ Sisters Shopping Diet. It must be local, sustainable, second-hand/re-purposed, inherited or ethically produced. If you can’t find clothing fitting that criteria then it must be from a country with stellar human rights records.