Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The Age of Love & Sadie's Letter

I recently wrote an entry on my other blog, DylanInTheCity, addressing the evolution and necessity of androgyny in Fashion, specifically male-centric. Even though the expansion of the issue and all that it holds (genderism, gender-identity, social roles, inclusion) is extremely dear and quite personal to me, I wanted to include it on my Fashion blog because it reaches a Fashion audience. It isn't just about humanism, it's Fashion and humanism, so to speak. I would absolutely love if you guys checked that entry out; give it a read if you haven't already. I might come off a little passionate, but I try to be concise and clear when I talk about something that's really important to me.

Following that wave; today on my usual scour of the interwebz, I came across a touching letter from a transgender girl named Sadie. Posted by the fantastic team at, an organization that fights the mistreatment and manipulation of LGBT rights worldwide with uninhibited passion; Sadie's letter is a candid reflection of the steps we have yet to take to work towards becoming an inclusive society. I could elaborate, but it's best that 11 year-old Sadie speak for herself; she has a lot to say.

This is Sadie's dream for the world. A fantastic, colourful world that embraces the diversity of humanism with open arms and graceful love. Does it seem unattainable?  Because I don't think that it is. There were many, many times in the past when we were faced with same issues, just under a different light; a different mask. At the end of it all, humanism is still humanism; and it crosses all borders, countries, ages, and eras, at a rate we cannot even fully comprehend without comprehending the expanse of diversity itself. Transgender youth are as real as any other youth, and it is only through conscious inclusion can we encourage the proper integration and acceptance of true sexual diversity. The Age of Love is something that I believe in, something that drives me. It's amazing how powerful love can be, how much we all yearn for it, and yet how hard it can be to come by in a world that holds strong much of it's unconscious rigidity.

The only way to encourage love is to spread love. Remembering that humanity is a word that includes all of us is the first part of that. Living, breathing, and embodying the change you wish to see creates that change; just like living with love creates love. Darkness, hate, and negativity will yield to hearts of light if we carry it with us every hour of every day. Speak for those who aren't as fortunate as you, and remember their humanism as you would your own. Sadie's letter is just one, small example of the incredible effect a simple act of inclusion can have on one, brave child with a bold, brave dream. I ask you again, what would you do if you knew you could change the world?


Stay Healthy,


Friday, 18 January 2013

Living With A Light Heart / Dining In The City with Canteen

Feels like I've been away for much too long! It's amazing how fast days pass you by when there is so much to do. Many things are happening right now that are exciting for me, both personally and professionally, that much of the Blogosphere has yet to hear about! But I assure you, all will be revealed when the time is right!

I was wondering how everyone has been doing on their first month of the year? January can often be a time of slow energy and mild depression; not just because the majority of people tend to dislike the bitter cold, but because it comes immediately after a time of heightened excitement and holiday parties. I for one never quite understood the ailment. I love Winter, I adore Winter style, and January is almost the perfect time to take extra time away from work to enjoy Winter spoils without the financial worry of the Holiday Season; not to mention the time crunch for most. There are many wonderful things Winter can give you, and it's a beautiful time to explore the city and find those hidden food gems. There's nothing quite like a fantastic, warm meal during Winter in downtown Toronto.

Photo Courtesy alexanight

In fact, just last night I headed out for a modest but wonderful meal with two awesome friends of mine. We dined casually at Canteen, a rustic but cheery bistro-esque staple that sits underneath the acclaimed LUMA (which we love!) at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Nestled snuggly at the ever-evolving corner of King and John in the heart of the Entertainment District, Canteen seems to pride itself on the ability to host casual fare with pristine service to a diverse crowd of inner-city professionals and theatre-goers.  

I opted for one of the more rustic dishes on the menu, which the waitress assured me was almost completely Vegan (and that she would make it totally, for my sake). The Vegetable Tagine was a sweet, playful, and texturally magnificent dish that was almost a mix between a salad and an entrée. The dish was served ice cold with a mixture of dried fruit, quinoa, cilantro, root vegetables, and an herbed sauce; all topped with fluffy and warm chickpea fritters that added a richness and depth to the light fare. It was so yummy, so totally Vegan, and a lovely treat!

Though it's a modest example, Canteen reminded me of why being a Vegan in Toronto is such a great gift. We, I, am lucky enough to have the opportunity to live in one of the most progressive cities in the world. We are dense, liberal, extremely diverse, and house some of the best Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, and Vegan restaurants in the country. There are so many wonderful options to explore healthier eating in the city that offer incredible flavour, quality, and presentation - a little something for everyone, even if Vegan isn't to your taste.

It's my belief that Vegan fare should be regarded as a different type of food, as opposed to a limited food. Many omnivores and avid meat-eaters will steer far and clear from Vegan restaurants or Vegan food just from the notion that if it lacks certain ingredients it can't be good. But that simply isn't true! Quite often Vegan food is prepared with utmost care into every ingredient; manipulating vegetables, grains, and seeds in new ways to create new flavours. As a result, the end product is usually incredibly flavourful, full of nutrients, and more than satisfactory to almost anyone's taste regardless of diet. In other words, add Vegan to that list of ethnic options! One day you might feel like Japanese, one night Indian, another Italian; why not view Vegan in the same vein? I guarantee that you'll end up finding a culinary niche you never quite knew existed - and it's fabulous!

Stay Healthy!


Thursday, 10 January 2013

Hungry For Change & The Vegan Misconception

It's been 10 days since I started this path to embrace Veganism as my new nutritional lifestyle. I've been gorging on an abundance of the freshest vegetable produce I could find at a price I can afford; starting with some basics like tomatoes, kale, spinach, mushrooms, squash, and carrots. On a week where I'd normally dive into store-bought, prepared food, take-out, pastas, sandwiches, and carb-rich breads; I've instead replaced with home-made salads, roasted vegetables, fruits, and grains. And I can say this, perhaps expectantly so; though the transition is never a simple one, the rewards are immense.

I recently watched a great documentary on Netflix called Hungry For Change; a passionate film about the significance of healthy produce. Hungry For Change puts together individuals from very different walks of life to share their stories about how vegetables changed their lives. Although the film doesn't quite dive into specific diet-lifestyles, like Veganism or Vegetarianism, it points out that the best possible thing you could do for your body is eating the best food possible; and claims that many of our modern ailments are because of a lack of proper nutrition as a result of our hectic, consumerist lives. It's a great watch for anyone who simply wants to be more educated and made more aware of the positive effects a great eating regimen can have on their lives. I'm afraid to use the word "diet" here, because I don't want people to get the wrong idea. It's not a diet in the sense of reducing the amount of food you take in, or depraving yourself of things that you love so that you can reach a certain size; it's simply about making more aware choices of what you consume, and realizing the incredible value of being a conscious eater. When you actively choose to live a healthy lifestyle that involves the right food, the notion of a diet becomes obsolete, because it isn't required anymore. If everything you put in your body is beneficial, you don't have to worry about extra fat, because there simply won't be any. If that means being a Vegan for you, then that's fantastic. If it means being only mostly Vegan, or being a Pescetarian, or even a selective-Vegetarian, then that's great too! What matters is how much you care.

That being said, I feel like there's much misconception about becoming a Vegan, or rather just diving into a lifestyle devoid of animal products. A lot of Vegans tend to embrace their subculture and can sometimes use it to provoke separatism; criminalizing those who choose to eat or use animal-based products. On the other hand, many meat-eaters by nature, based on their cultural and social upbringings, can sometimes view Vegans or Vegetarians as anti-culture abnormalities; as unnatural or the odd minority. None of these are actually true to what the lifestyle represents; they are only true to the few extremists that exploit it. Veganism is also about your spirit and your body; it's about nourishment. When you nourish your body properly, you also nourish your mind. Becoming a Vegan, for me, is like telling your body "I'm ready for you to be the best you can be". It very quickly for me became an act of self-respect, whether with permanence in mind or not. It is about understanding that our natural food sources are the best available to us.

I just wanted to say that, as an add-on to what Veganism is consistently associated with. I do not in any way denounce the importance of the ethical messages that are also behind it. I just want people to be aware that being a Vegan doesn't just mean one thing; everyone has their own reasons for leading the lives that they do. Animal treatment and the deplorable condition of North America's food industry is undoubtedly the birth-mother of the Vegan movement; but I wanted to outline the actual nutritional and physical benefits of such a change, just in case the ethical movement isn't your cup of tea. Veganism can be so much more than just that; from what I've seen, it can change your life as well.

Anyways, sorry for writing so much about food and vegetables! I don't mean for this blog to be Vegan-centric, but I do mean for it to be a little bit of an anthology of my journey. Being a new Vegan, I am consistently faced with social situations that question what I've chosen to do; and I have the pleasure of learning a lot about people who both understand and don't understand my choices. As I progress down this road, whether I stumble or not, or whether I choose to break away or not; I hope this blog will act as a guidepost and a reflection of where I've been and where I've come to. My new embrace of Veganism is just a small part of my journey, and I'm excited to see where it'll take me.

Stay healthy!

★ Dylan.

Monday, 7 January 2013

The World is Yours, The World is Ours

I'm so excited and thrilled to have finally started this new blog. Many of you will know me as an avid contributor to the Fashion Industry in Toronto; both as a creative and as a media source from my blog DylanInTheCity. Despite the fact that Fashion and Beauty consume my life in many, many ways; I wanted to create an outlet that served a different purpose. 

There are so many more avenues and elements that drive my creative inspiration and social growth that go much further than Fashion; though in essence, I suppose, they are somewhat all related - Art, Food, Poetry, City Life, Travel, and Activism. DylanInTheWorld will represent that which is my world to yours; whether that means a brilliant lecture that moved me, a cause I believe we should fight for, a great book, or even just a fantastic recipe! I want this blog to represent lifestyle beyond the industry I work with so closely, and rather on the humans we are; the human I am.

I've recently adopted a lifestyle change that I hope more people will become braver to try; that is, Veganism. The people who know me closely know that I've been a Pescetarian for the last year and a Vegetarian for the previous 9. I slowly began adding more food into my diet because, to be humbly honest, I absolutely love food! But I've been making the effort recently to re-balance my system. Busy shifts at work and a busy schedule of freelance work has lead me to poor food choices in the not-so-recent past. I adopted Veganism in an attempt to start eating healthier, more colourful food options once more - nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts. It began as a choice to become a healthier person and raise my quality of life consciously in a temporary manner; but now I feel I have an obligation to make it more than just that and have been considering the permanence of such a change.

I should note however, before other people may bring it up - I am aware of the challenges I face between the relationship I have with Fashion and the new relationship I am building with food. I am fully aware that adopting Veganism implies that I also should adopt it's practices in terms of what I celebrate in clothing on my blog. But, before going into too much detail, I want to specify that Fashion for me is a creative freedom the runs through my veins. Although I do not support the acquiring practices of fur, leather, and other animal fabrics - I do sometimes celebrate the designers who create pieces that may use them. I am still in the beginning stages of this great change, and I hope to become stronger in the future - but for now my sole focus remains on the nutritional level of being a Vegan. That is, changing the way that I eat.

Being a Vegetarian for most of my adolescence, I studied and was aware of the state of our food industry, both ethically and nutritionally, for quite some time. However, it's easy to let that information slip by you, and it's even easier to indulge in choices that are not only harmful to you, but to the environment, and to the social fabric of our culture. I was reminded of the seriousness of much of this while watching a fantastic and charming documentary, Vegucated, which outlines very simply how significant food production truly is, and how deplorable it actually is. There is a lot of social stigma behind a movement like this; but I implore you, it isn't about cutting out the things we love, it's simply about caring about what we're putting in. I've only just started, and believe me I am as much aware of the challenges I face as anyone. But I'm hoping this blog will act as a guiding tool; so that people can see my struggles and my accomplishments, and also how adopting this lifestyle has affected who I am.

I could elaborate for ages, but I suggest everyone instead simply have a quick watch. It isn't as heavy and difficult to watch as many other food documentaries, and will therefore appeal to that percentage of people who believe change is important but refuse to see why. It is easy, whimsical, and outlines the seriousness of our problems with a great, little challenge for regular, meat-loving New Yorkers not unlike many of us. At the very least, you will walk away with a greater understanding of where your food comes from and perhaps an enlightened, new responsibility to yourself to make more aware choices. And, if I could be so wishful, it will instill in you the potential for positive change. 

The world truly is ours, so we need to take care of it - to ensure a great life for ourselves and an even brighter one for our future; it's imperative that we care. We are, after all, as much a part of Earth as every other life form and inhabitant on this graceful planet. What would you do if you knew you could change the world?

★ Dylan