Vegans are not the ones forcing their views on society

Every vegan has heard the tiresome accusation that vegans “force their views” on others.

It’s often witnessed in the comments section of online articles – even those penned by non vegan journalists,  based in science and evidence – that touch on the many benefits of the vegan lifestyle, or the down side of the status quo.

But I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve had people tell me personally that they only like those vegans who don’t “force their views on people.”  What does that even mean? They only like vegans who are silent about their beliefs and their choices?  Or are there really armies of vegans out there cruelly forcing themselves on beleaguered non-vegans who are just trying to live and let live?  As a vegan community organizer who knows hundreds of real life vegans, that just doesn’t match up with my experience.

Yet with each new scientific article, study,  newly ignited celebrity vegan champion, or mainstream uprising against a specific kind of animal cruelty, the refrain is repeated.  “Vegans are forcing their views on everyone!”  (Vegetarians sometimes experience the same accusation, but also make it against vegans.)

This is true.
This is true.

Before I get into the specifics of how vegan view forcing is a pale shadow of the overwhelming rule of the status quo, non-vegans, try to imagine something.

Imagine you have spent your life going with the flow, and eating and wearing whatever you want, whenever you want it. (Observationally, it never seems to be marginalized or impoverished people making the accusation that vegans are forcing their views.)

Then imagine you come to the realization that something you are doing each and every single day is having a tragic impact on our physical environment, results in the  deaths of billions of innocent animals, and is in fact on the whole undeniably awful for human health.

And instead of turning away from this, as most people do, you sit with it. You let it marinate in your mind, and you become conscious of not only the horror and the devastation, but also, the immense power you have to change your own behaviour. To opt out of the system of oppression and suffering that you’ve uncovered – and now cannot turn away from.

Now imagine that you also – based in a deep and abiding love for your friends and family – assume that the people you know and love can’t possibly be aware of what you’ve learned. Because surely, if they knew, they would stop participating in the actions that are causing so much needless devastation.

Wouldn’t you want to share the information to help the people you love?  To help the animals? To help the world become a kinder place?

And wouldn’t you be surprised – even distraught – if your loved ones chose to ignore or fight the information that you were providing?


This is not “forcing views” on others.  This is learning, sharing, and growing – on everyone’s part. It isn’t easy to make big changes to our diet and lifestyle.  People very often change their beliefs FIRST, but then struggle to align their actions with those.

It’s easy to understand why many people become defensive and upset when presented with information that challenges their actions, and their view of themselves.  It’s actually really hard to avoid using and abusing animals in our society. Our society is structured to make it EASY to exploit animals.

That’s something each individual needs to deal with internally – and then either move towards change, or don’t. Shooting the messenger helps no-one.

All animal advocates have is the conviction of their beliefs, and the strength of their own voices.

The “vegan views” that are being “forced” upon others are rooted in a powerful sense of justice, and the urgency to use their voices to somehow make a difference in the lives of animals. They are pleas for compassion, kindness, and consideration for the world outside of one’s own palate.

On the other hand, here are just a few fun facts about the “views” that we absorb from the animal agriculture and food industry – what I was able to find in about 20 minutes of googling:

  • The Dairy Farmers of Canada alone have an $80-million yearly marketing budget.
  • In order to increase domestic pork consumption the Canadian pork industry has implemented a  successful marketing strategy reaching consumers directly through advertising and recipe dissemination, and indirectly via programs with influences, such as the media and health professionals, the retail and the foodservice trade.
  • In America, Fast food advertising – increased by 8% between 2009 and 2012, reaching $4.63 billion including $2.3 billion targeted at children under the age of 11
  • The fast food industry spends more than $5 million every day marketing unhealthy foods to children.
  • Kids watch an average of more ten food-related ads every day (nearly 4,000/year).
  • Nearly all (98 percent) of food advertisements viewed by children are for products that are high in fat, sugar or sodium. Most (79 percent) are low in fiber.
  • Only 21% of youth age 6-19 eat the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
  • By 2030, American healthcare costs attributable to poor diet and inactivity could range from $860 billion to $956 billion, which would account for 15.8 to 17.6 percent of total healthcare costs, or one in every six dollars spent on healthcare.

In contrast, game changing start up Beyond Meat (a company putting considerable efforts into engineering fake plant-based meat products that look and taste like the real thing) announced in late 2015 that it had raised $17 million in start up investment for product development.  That’s only a few days worth of junk food advertising directed at children.

Sure, there are other vegan brands that do a bit of marketing, but it is a drop in the bucket compared to big agriculture, fast food, and grocery.  Barely even a blip.

We have all been more or less indoctrinated into terrible habits that do NOT serve us, or the world within which we live, since we were old enough to breathe. THAT is what vegans are fighting against, and what each of us is up against when we try to bring our actions into alignment with our stated values of peace and respect for all beings.

As a new vegetarian, I remember how hurt I felt when some vegans I’d met on the internet informed me about the reality of dairy and egg production during yet another thread on seeking “humane” dairy and egg options. “Those vegans are so holier than thou!! They think they’re so much better than me!” I seethed.

It wasn’t until I made the decision to become vegan that I realized the problem wasn’t them; it was ME and my emotional responses to the ethics-driven position that they’d taken. They weren’t being holier-than-thou; they were living their lives according to their values, and sharing information that I didn’t want to hear which made me feel judged. When I was honest with myself, nobody had been rude about presenting this information; my reaction was entirely due to my own feelings of guilt. The simple act of being vegan is taken as a personal judgement.

The information vegans (and for that matter, participants of any social justice movement) are sharing isn’t comfortable information. It is never an enjoyable experience to realize that actions which we undertake every single day are causing harm – to ourselves, to the environment, and to the animals.

Vegans “forcing their views” – to whatever extent that there’s a kernel of truth – comes from a sense of frustration and urgency over the horrors that animals are enduring every second of every day. They want the exploitation of animals to stop, NOW.


As a vegan who has tried to speak openly to hundreds, or maybe even thousands of non-vegans about veganism, I am truly sorry if you felt I was “forcing” it on you and if that evoked negative feelings for any of you, although I hope you can try to open yourself up to understanding the  urgency I feel about making things better for animals.

If you’re someone who feels judged by someone else’s veganism in the absence of overt condemnation, consider that  maybe you have some things to work out with your own conscience.   Remember that you – and everyone around you – have been subjected to a relentless stream of messaging and advertising, designed to normalize a treatment of animals that most of us find truly abhorrent when forced to confront its reality.  Any vegans who are talking to you about veganism are aware of what you’re subjected to, because they too had the same experience.

We live in a society in which  98% of restaurants have animal ingredients in 98% of their menu items, in which every holiday is celebrated with ritualistic dead animal eating,  in which it’s still socially acceptable to mock vegans. A society in which millions of animals are euthanized in shelters every year, most people wear animals, and events like “Rib Fests” and “Bacon Fest” are sanctioned by the government.

Think about that for a minute. Please, don’t try to tell me that it’s vegans who are forcing their views.

If you’re someone who wants to learn more about the lifestyle – there are so many resources available!  I’ve listed some below.  Or if you’re someone who has already carefully considered the ramifications of your lifestyle choices and have taken it as far as you’re currently willing, but respect and support vegans and the vegan way of living – thank you for not contributing to our marginalization.

Whatever you’ve settled on for your beliefs, own your choices and be true to your conscience.

And above all, be kind, always.

IMG_1493Get Pamela Tourigny’s Five Favourite Smoothies when you sign up for the Vegan Eats Ottawa newsletter here.  Pamela is an Ottawa-based expert on the topics of veganism and vegan advocacy, sustainability, and ethical consumerism.  She also consults with  business clients with their marketing, communications and public relations needs, and with restaurants on adapting their menus to introduce plant-based options.

A Few Resources for Vegan Information:

Ottawa Specific – Vegan Eats Ottawa

More general:

Vegucated list of links

Forks Over Knives

Oh, and a few more LOLZ








The inside scoop on Little Jo Berry’s new vegan coffee shop

By now you may have heard the news: in just two and half weeks, Ottawa will be getting its very own entirely vegan coffee shop/bakery/take out counter, operated by former Auntie Loo head baker Josephine Masterson (aka Little Jo Berry, after whom the coffee shop is named!)

Little Jo Berry’s is opening at 1305 Wellington St. W.  on March 19. I spoke to Josephine about her endeavour.

PT: Tell us what visitors can expect when they visit Little Jo Berry’s!

LJB: Our concept for decor was very minimal and clean with a few retro throwbacks, but over all we wanted to create a space that would work as a perfect canvas for our treats and coffee. We had seen so many spaces, but what we liked about 1305 Wellington was that it was an empty shell. The floors weren’t even done. My brother, a plumber and all around tradesman, immediately got to work and we completely designed and created our own space. We built the space with our own hands, it was so fun and personal to our vision.

LJB1As we built we had so many small businesses and friends reaching out to help supply us with things we may need. My business mentor and close friend Julia Graham, owner of The Quirky Carrot, reached out about equipment. Her father was about to retire, he had owned a bakery, Fred’s Bread in Kingston, for over 20 years. He wanted to know if I wanted to come up to Kingston and check out some of his showcases and work tables. So we drove up the next day.  It was so beautiful, all these gorgeous oak tables and shelves that he had built his business on. We were very luck to have access to these. We are so fortunate to have them in our shop now; when you come in, you will see these showcases. He had those commissioned over 20 years ago and they found their way to LJB’s.

PT: Tell us about your path to opening a vegan cafe. 

Jo (left) with Kate, also formerly of Auntie Loo’s Treats.

LJB:  Even when I was a kid I was starting all these ridiculous businesses. I remember being like 10 years old and starting a dog-sitting company and my parents being so proud and supportive. I hung flyers all over town and I imagined that was it, I had done it started my own business. The first call I got was a lady looking to have someone take her two huge dogs for a whole week. Obviously, I was in over my head and that business didn’t quite pan out. But after that it was a babysitting business, I was always cooking up the next idea.

When I was 20, I started doing Farmer’s Markets as Little Jo Berry’s, selling different raw, vegan treats and snacks. I grew up in the kitchen, cooking and visiting long hours with my dad. So creating recipes and learning about new ingredients came very naturally to me. As I did the Farmer’s Markets I realized I wanted to start baking as a career. That’s when I got in touch with Auntie Loo’s treats and how I landed my job there. I worked with them for four incredible years. Made my way to head baker. It’s where I learnt how to run a happy, positive kitchen.

After Auntie Loo’s shut down we were all devastated. It was shocking. My head was a mess, I imagined moving away or spending some time abroad working in some little shops. The day after it closed, I had a visit from my brother Jimmy, and he offered to help me build a kitchen and I immediately said yes. The next day I started a business plan and we began to look at spaces. It just felt right.

PT: What challenges have you run into? What have you learned through this process?

LJB2LJB:  There have been less challenges so far than I thought there would be. I think having a rich background in small business made me used to all the ups and downs, so I suppose they became a standard and I became less sensitive to them. I also think the warm welcome and all the support I receive on a daily basis makes this transition to business owner much easier for me. I can’t imagine not having so many great business relationships already formed to rely on. Any time I message anyone for advice, they are so excited to help and guide me. It’s really special so far, and I think that is a really big obstacle for most people.

I think right now, where I am, the biggest obstacle is leaving a comfortable work environment. I’m finishing out my last week at my barista job where I work with all my buds. I think it’s surreal to think about laughing and paling around one week to having my world completely flipped and owning the shop the next week. It feels like this huge step, but I can’t wait to take it!

PT:  What is special/unique about LJBs? What are its specialities?

LJB:  I think for us, what feels special is the excitement to play in the kitchen. To be able to keep a rotating menu, and try fresh treats and lunches. To be able to bake thing we would want to eat, so we can be as excited as the customers coming in for them. We think it’s really special to stay enthusiastic about your products and to be proud of your offerings. When people walk into a bakery or coffee shop they are always surrounded by wonder and excitement. We want to be able to match that feeling and validate that experience. So the unique thing for us is being able to truly get revved up about our own treats and not get stagnant. Obviously we plan to cater to as many different eating styles as we can. We have a tons of experience in alternative ways of baking including dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, etc. So we want to fill as many tummies as we can.

We also feel like our coffee is going to be very special. We want to create a positive mentality about the relationship between our customers and their baristas. We are using the slogan “Appreciate your Neighbourhood Baristas” as a narrative in our shop. Coffee culture is so important; having good coffee is literally the best thing. Trusting your barista, playing around with different brews and types of espresso is something people should feel comfortable with and engaged by. We are working on getting to know a few different roasters and suppliers for our shop who can support this concept.

PT:  What is your vision for its future?  For its role within Ottawa?

LJB6LJB:  Our vision for the shop…We have a really dreamy idea of where we see the shop going. Having my own place was always the big idea growing up. But I imagined the day to day through the relationships I would form. I envisioned it being more about my interactions with my patrons than anything else. I always worked in coffee shops, so I’ve always had that experience. Getting to know the regulars, watching kids grow up, seeing relationships form.  So naturally, it is very important for us to create that atmosphere in our space. We want our shop to grow with the community and be shaped by its regulars.  We want our space to feel like a neighbourhood space, a shop you feel warm and tender about. Having that bond with customers and that loyalty is the most important thing for us at LJB’s.

PT:  Help us get to know you!

LJB3LJB: I have the two cutest pups in the world, they take up the majority of my time. We get loads of time in cuddling.  Harris and Chugs, best boys in the world, never behaved a day in their life. I’m a homebody outside of work, I literally have the greatest group of friends. So mostly in my off time I like to spend it at home with them eating and visiting.


Little Jo Berry’s opens on March 19! Take out counter, some seating, and special orders, wholesale and catering.


Pamela Tourigny is an Ottawa-based expert on the subjects of veganism and vegan advocacy, sustainability, and ethical consumerism.  She also consults with  business clients with their marketing, communications and public relations needs, and with restaurants on adapting their menus to introduce plant-based options.  Sign up to receive her monthly e-newsletter here.

The unlikely restaurateur: Meet Michaël Gazier, ZenKitchen’s new owner

When ZenKitchen suddenly closed in May, and engineer Michaël Gazier reached out to beleaguered restaurateur David Loan to offer his assistance, the last thing he expected was that he would end up owning the much-celebrated business. Yet that’s exactly how it has turned out.

Gazier may be the new owner, but it is Loan who will continue to run the restaurant. Chef Kyle Proulx has moved on, but Loan’s former partner in business and life Chef Caroline Ishii is stepping up in a consulting capacity to help get things back on track. ZenKitchen is gearing up now for a July 31 re-open. Dinner at first, ramping up to brunch and lunch, and an eventual expansion and introduction of special weeknight features.

ZenKitchen's new owner, Michaël Gazier, an Ottawa vegan.
ZenKitchen’s new owner, Michaël Gazier, an Ottawa vegan.

While it can’t have been easy for Loan to relinquish ownership, the good working relationship they’ve developed has set him at ease. “As I’ve gotten to know Michaël better, I’ve found he’s a very quick study in whatever subject he takes on. He’s determined to learn about the restaurant business and to avoid the financial mistakes we’ve made in the past,” Loan said. “We both want ZenKitchen to succeed, and we both take immense pride in its future.”

I met up with Gazier and his partner Tania (as well as their two tabby cats) to learn more about the man behind ZenKitchen’s resurrection. He’s still getting used to the idea that he now owns his favourite restaurant, and knows that the journey of reviving and growing ZenKitchen has only just begun. He spoke with quiet confidence and thoughtfulness about his new role.

PT: You initially were just offering Dave support, but after a long period of discussions, you ended up owning the restaurant. What motivated you to stick with it, and make this work?

MG:  I have been vegan for ten years, and can’t actually remember the last time I ate meat. ZenKitchen is a special place for vegans, and a place I liked to go. It was also the best restaurant in Ottawa. It simply seemed impossible that it could close.

I reached out to Dave right away when I heard the news, and we met up to discus the situation. One thing led to another – it was very incremental, we solved one problem at a time.

Dave Loan will continue as ZenKitchen's manager and purveyor of wine.
Dave Loan will continue as ZenKitchen’s manager and purveyor of wine.

But as important as ZenKitchen is to vegans, I think it’s very important for non-vegans as well. There have been so many times when, as a vegan, the only food offered to me is salad. ZenKitchen has done a lot to change people’s perception of what is vegan food, and that it doesn’t have to mean salad. I like the idea of helping people to see things differently, and planting seeds at every opportunity.

PT: I think some of us were worried when we learned about an investor being in the picture, that they might take ZenKitchen away from its vegan roots. I’m guessing that’s not going to happen?

MG: Ha! No If anything we are returning to its roots. I know how important it is to the vegan community; afterall, I am part of it. I actually became vegan after attending some local vegan restaurant meet ups, where I learned about veganism from people, and reading books about ethics and the food industry. I’m vegan for many reasons – I don’t want to harm other creatures, but I also think there are compelling ecological considerations of which we should all be conscious.

PT: How well did you know Dave Loan when the closure occurred?

MG: I knew him as the friendly guy and great restaurateur who ran my favourite restaurant. I did not know him personally at all. Conversely, he didn’t know me. This required a leap of faith on both our parts. There have been a lot of twists and turns in the deal, but we’ve both gone out on a limb to make it work.

We are both doomed without the other, which I think motivates us to act in the best interests of the restaurant. He IS the restaurant. Dave will continue to be the face of ZenKitchen.

Former ZenKitchen chef Caroline Ishii returns to help with the re-launch.
Former ZenKitchen chef and co-owner Caroline Ishii returns on a consulting basis to help with the re-launch.

PT: How will ZenKitchen’s future look?

MG: I believe there is potential to grow the restaurant. Only 10% or so of our clientele is vegan, with potential to improve on that, and we will of course continue to cater strongly to their needs as they are the backbone of the restaurant.  The biggest growth opportunity though – which thrills me – is non-vegans, as we know that many enjoy exploring the gourmet vegan food experience.

I have looked at all the financials, with an eye towards sustainability. I’ve concluded that the business is sustainable, and that the issues that occurred were a result of some unfortunate circumstances, and following bad advice with good intentions.

I’m just really happy that ZenKitchen will continue, and get a new start. It’s exciting to be a part of it. I’ll be reaching out to the community of ZenKitchen patrons to get their feedback and thoughts on how we can make the restaurant a community hub. We already do special occasion meals really well, but it’s our intent to give people good reason to visit us any night of the week.

PT: So what do you do when you’re not at your fulltime job, or accidentally buying businesses?

MG: I really enjoy spending time outdoors – gardening, and camping and canoeing in particular. I also am learning Spanish, as well as the double bass.

ZenKitchen re-opens for dinners on Thursday, July 31. For reservations call 613-233-6404 or visit the website:

Wonderful weekend vegan meandering

I had to work during my last long weekend, so I have been looking forward to this one since then!  Now that the warm weather is finally here, it was time to visit farmer’s markets, spend time outside, and take advantage of the vegan-ness that Ottawa has on offer.

Saturday morning I hauled my butt out of bed obscenely early to visit the latest vegan sensation, Grow Your Roots, which is operating out of the Carp Farmer’s Market this season.  It’s the work of this lovely lady, Melanie.

Melanie from Grow Your Roots.
Melanie from Grow Your Roots. Not exactly a sickly vegan!

I met Melanie a few years ago when she attended an NCVA event. Now, she’s doing Grow Your Roots as a dry run for what she hopes will eventually become a restaurant venture. For now, she’s at the Carp market on Saturday between 8 am and 1 pm.

Grow Your Roots focuses on vegan comfort food. It’s not food that’s free of everything, but it’s definitely free of animal ingredients.  Melanie’s pride and joy is her deep fried avocado, and as someone who ate half an order I can vouch for it being quite spectacular. She also makes her own vegan sausages (I had one for dinner tonight and it was very good!), donuts (need I say more?) and various other delights.

Grow Your Roots menu
Grow Your Roots menu

My next stop was the Main Farmer’s Market on Main Street. It exists in its own veritable veggie kingdom, with the Green Door across the street, as well as the Green Door Grocer. This is where the Compassionate Rabbit girls are usually selling their vegan cupcakes, but I didn’t see them there this Saturday. It is also where you will find vegan farmers Jim and Gen of Notre Petite Ferme.


There’s something extra special about buying your veggies from vegan farmers. Jim and Gen wear it loud and proud, and I’ve been visiting them there for a few years now. I can always count on them to give me the low-down on what’s new and vegan at the market. On Saturday I was there to buy my seedlings for my own garden from them. They’re one of the few places I’ve been able to find kale transplants!  The prices are reasonable, and the plants (and everything they grow!) are certified organic. They’ll have those for sale for the next month or so.  They also do a home delivery box (CSA) but to be totally honest I’m too terrified of getting a box full of beets (yuck!) that I have yet to make the commitment.

Sunday’s highlight included a visit to the new Cafe My House.  I am still not totally over CMH moving from being practically in my backyard, over to Hintonburg, the land of all things vegan (that strip of Wellington also includes terra20, Strawberry Blonde, SimplyRaw Express, Flock, several Bridgeheads and Herb and Spice!)  I was so attached to CMH’s old location that I had my wedding reception there.  Here we are:

Just married!
Just married!

I still feel a bit like I’m seeing an ex-boyfriend who broke up with me when I see the new location.  I know, time to get over it!!  So Yves and I went for a visit today, to do just that.  I ate one of their amazing coconut bacon waffle sandwiches and was full all afternoon, which almost never happens for me. The highlight though, was seeing this on my receipt:

haha! Check out the NCVA discount line!

I love it! If you aren’t a NCVA member yet, what are you waiting for? There are great discounts at most of the best places in town, including Auntie Loo’s, SimplyRaw Express, The Table, ZenKitchen, Cafe My House, terra20 and more.

But the best thing about this weekend for me was meeting this dog at the Sit With Me event that we put on at terra20. She had literally been sprung from the shelter only an hour or two earlier. She licked me all over my face, and everyone else too, she was so absolutely thrilled to be alive. I feel so lucky to have been among the first people she saw during her taste of freedom.  Please adopt, don’t shop!


Smart Starts Review: Human and canine opinion

I’m really big on breakfast. I wake up  hungry every morning, so missing breakfast isn’t an option.  I have to admit though, I’m not the person who eats fruit for breakfast. I find it a bit acidic for the morning, so cereal is my go-to.  Not just any cereal of course- I have a big laundry list of requirements (must be vegan, no hydrogenated oils, preferably wheat-free (for variety), preferably maple flavoured, not too much sugar)… you get the picture.

So when my friend Kathy Smart came out with her own line of cereal, Smart Starts, and gave me a bag full to try, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to review a cereal that meets all of my criteria, AND is locally produced here in Ottawa by I Crave Foods (which is a gluten and nut-free facility, among other things). It’s the first product in Kathy’s upcoming line of gluten-free convenience foods.

Smart Starts Cereal  is  available in four flavours: Maple, Apple Pie, Mega Maca and Pumpkin Spice. It’s made from organic ingredients (although is not certified organic itself),  low glycemic, high protein  (made from quinoa flakes)  and sweetened with maple sugar.  Chia seed offers protein, Omega 3’s and antioxidants.  Smart Starts is gluten-free; I am not. It’s vegan; I am.  I received samples of the Maple, Apple and Maca flavours, but have tried only the maple.

There are a couple of reasons for that.  Firstly, I gave one of the maca ones to a colleague. Secondly, somebody got into the Smart Starts. (Hint: That’s a dog bed in the background.)

smart starts1
Freyja’s handiwork.

I’m presuming she liked it, since she ate a couple of them.  But this is a dog who also eats poop, so I’m not sure how much weight we should give her opinion. No offence, Kathy.

So what did I think?

I was a bit afraid at first that it wouldn’t be enough to eat. After all, it’s a 50 gram package.  I warmed a cup of unsweetened almond milk and stirred it in. At first it was runny, and I wondered if I’d gone overboard.  But then within a minute it had thickened up nicely and it turned out to be quite filling.  At first it wasn’t quite sweet enough for my palate, but after about three bites it was perfect.  For those who need a little more sweetness, I’d suggest using sweetened milk.

It has a texture very similar to oatmeal, but since it’s peppered with chia seeds it gives an added dimension of mouthfeel.  To be honest I’m a bit afraid of the maca flavour because I choked down maca in Vega for years and it’s not my favourite. I could never get used to the earthiness. But for anyone looking to pack a nutritional punch into their breakfast cereal it really can’t be beat.

I love that it’s made locally, and that the ingredients list is so limited. There aren’t even preservatives! It’s a great source of fibre and iron. Use almond milk, and you add in all kinds of extra goodness.

smart starts pic

I’d say the biggest downside is the single serve packaging. As a self-identified environmentalist, I do try to avoid single serve products. However, as a human being living in a fast paced world, I  think Smart Starts  has a place for those mornings where you have to be on the go, or for traveling. Currently when I travel I have to portion out cereal and carry it with me, so this is another  simpler alternative.

Smart Starts retail for $2.79 each on the Gluten Free Smart Store, and are available in Ottawa at various natural food stores.

*I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*

We don’t recommend eating 11 Auntie Loo cookies and several Strawberry Blonde fritters all at once

This is the face of someone who showed poor judgment, and did just that:

Freyja Tourigny
Freyja Tourigny


A little Public Service Announcement:  The Mindful Mavens always recommend enjoying treats in moderation.

Also, don’t leave them on the counter if you have dogs.

(Don’t worry, after a day or so of gastro distress, Freyja is feeling much better.)