Thanks for sticking about to celebrate the opening of our retail location- has been a long 9 years, but, it just keeps going.
I wanted to take this opportunity of your undivided attention, to provide a bit of insight as to our adjusted approach at Zimt. Some things are not going to change- vegan everything (always), organic always, compostable packaging (even-when-it-is-difficult/expensive) and trying to produce as little waste as possible in our day-to-day activities.
These things will always stay, because they have profound ethical implications. Lives, quite literally, depend upon them. No matter what.
Some things that are out.
Restrictions without an ethical basis are out.
When I started Zimt, approximately 3,000 years ago, I was in a pretty different place in life. (Can you believe I am over 3,000 years old? Don't look a day over 50.) Like many specialty food manufacturers I've gotten the pleasure of knowing, food was a weird, restrictive, hyper-focused area of life. I was high into the raw food scene, and gluten was a confusing enemy. I have no gluten sensitivities. At all. And while I enjoy many well prepared raw dishes (as I do non-raw dishes), I'm so happy to rely on cooked foods.
Fortunately, I was catapulted into a very different space, that really made me expand my horizons. I distinctly remember taking a few days to go to Portland, back when I could afford to go on a vacation here and there, and over indulging in all the 'bad' foods. Donuts, fried everything, so much gluten. So much. And I thought to myself- I am going to feel like garbage tomorrow.
Tomorrow happened and shocked me. I felt awesome. Gluten and fried in my system, included.
But I'm not a doctor, or a registered dietician, which is not a doctor, but is a registered specialization. So I really cannot comment on what anyone's medical needs are, but, what I can say, is that, it is really unlikely that I am the only person on the planet with preconceived biases about my health.
So here's the thing- for me, the moral necessities are non negotiable. And they are philosophically also non negotiable- there may be some grey areas in there, but there are some very black or white spots, too.
We are going to focus on the black and white.
Goal: make veganism attractive.
Here's the thing- we in the vegan scene live in a little bubble. It is getting a lot more attention, some people are starting to understand what the bubble is about but, essentially, there's a long way to go.
Example- I was visiting with my grandpa and mum at a deli (who now carries Zimt. Shoutout to Finest at Sea.). They implored me to go get something to eat from the case offerings, and so up I went.
'Hi There. Looking for something vegan- what are your options?'
'That means no peanuts right?'
'... vegan means no animals nor animal by products, so no animal flesh from any animal, and none of their secretions, so milk ingredients, egg ingredients etc. How about that beet salad?'
'Oh yeah sure let me get the ingredient list'
'Yeah here's the list see what you think'
'This looks great, thanks- will get the beet salad. But not that much. Sure medium.'
We live in a world, where people think that veganism is a peanut allergy. This concerns me greatly- why?
a) Clarity: Peanut consumption does not cause the intended death of living beings (unless someone gave someone with a peanut allergy a peanut containing item with the intention of their being harmed by the peanuts. Disgusting, that would be. So we are getting confused with those decisions made on the basis of moral implications and personal-health-preference implications. When we are talking about life or death situations here, it would be best to have things be clear.
b) Attractiveness: You know what people like? Simplicity. Not trying to be patronizing in the least here, but, there is a lot of information out there (much of it garbage. Did you know anybody can write things, put them on the internet, get a stylized photoshoot done up, post photos, and gain way too much credibility? It's like listening to 17 year olds about anti-aging skincare tips they've tried. No.). Here's some simplicity that can help in decision making: vegan foods are foods that do not contain animal flesh nor their secretions. Peanuts- unlikely that any animals were intentionally killed in their production. (There's always that 'innocent bystander' situation. Maybe the transport truck carrying the peanuts ran over a mouse or an ant. But it wasn't intentional, and it would have run over those beings, all things being equal, regardless of what was being transported).
People like peanut butter cups. They like pretzels, and pasta that is quick and easy to make, that they've been eating for years. Not having to change is attractive, because, changing is challenging.
So if I go saying, everything in the shop is peanut free, sesame free, gluten free, coconut free, soy free etc etc. For folks new to veganism- that gets confusing. Does eating mean I can't eat a PB+J? No. So we don't make an effort to restrict- we want to keep things as simple as possible, because even changing up life a little is challenging enough for most! The focus, for Zimt, is on ethics. Not on health-perceived (or real) restrictions. That's it.
If you have a food allergy or sensitivity- obviously, we want you to honour that and stay safe.
If, you think that all of life's problems are caused by gluten, we would love it if you challenged that perspective.
We're here for you- with all sorts of vegan, organic treats- have you tried the Double Chocolate Caramel Pecan Brownie? Happens to be gluten free ;) *
*made with rolled oats not certified as being gluten free, in our non-gluten free facility.
PS- the video to accompany this post can be found here - enjoy!