• Team #meatfreeweek

Our interview with vegan chef, Steve Yzerman

Today Ruby and I went for brunch at a restaurant called Leef and Stem in Langley to celebrate the last day of Meat Free Week. We ordered the Tropical Goji smoothie bowl and it was delicious!! We also met with the owner and chef, Steve Yzerman. He was very nice and we talked all about his vegan restaurant and the benefits to eating a plant-based diet.

Steve told us that one of the main reasons he opened the restaurant was for health reasons, particularly his wife’s autoimmune disorder. He said she needed to eliminate foods from her diet and that meat was the first to go. He wanted to offer more options than just smoothies for her and other people like her, so he opened Leef and Stem. He also mentioned that he will be opening a culinary school for kids and adults to learn vegan cooking! We really hope we can go back and take a cooking class with him!!

We asked him what is one of the must-have recipe items when cooking plant-based food and he said, Nutritional Yeast! He told us that “if you’re going to be cooking you need to figure out what plant-base items have that meat like quality and make sure to incorporate them in your cooking. You’re looking for what makes meat so appealing to people, and figuring out how you can still get that same quality within the plant-based realm.”

We also asked him what are some of the positive things you can tell kids about eating a plant-based diet, and as a Dad of 4 kids ages 2, 5, 7 and 11 he had some great things to say!

“My youngest being 2 doesn’t want to eat meat at all and doesn’t have this perception that, I have to eat meat and that it’s weird not to. We try not to look at it as finding substitutes, but better options. With my two middle kids they are actually happier, healthier people now that they’ve made that switch and I’ve noticed a large attitude adjustment getting the nutrition that they need. Kids aren’t necessarily taught, hey my body has requirements that need to be fulfilled to not be grouchy. That’s the other thing it’s a more nutritionally dense diet to go in that direction, and it’s more fun and experimental."

He said for kids our age (and like his 11 year daughter), “Its actually a hopeful kind of thing to see that there are changes that can be can be made on an individual basis, not some big grand political policy change, but little individual changes everyone can make in order for yourself to feel you are contributing to the pitfalls we’ve made in the last 50, 60 years responding properly to our environment and to one another.”

Wow. What great advice for kids participating in Meat Free Week! Thank you Steve for the awesome chat and yummy eats! We highly recommend you all check out Leef and Stem in Downtown Langley (across from Value Village) !!!

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