Upcoming Events

Mon Jul 01 @12:00AM
Grenada Canada Day
Mon Jul 01 @11:30AM - 10:00PM
Guyana - Canada Day Festival
Sun Jul 21 @ 1:00PM - 06:00PM
Trinidad/Tobago Boat Cruise

BCOCCA President - Neville Thomas

Neville Thomas 200px

As President of British Columbia Organization of Caribbean Cultural Associations, I am grateful for the opportunity to work on behalf of the Caribbean Community to identify and execute Community Building initiatives which embrace BCOCCA'S mandate.



A lot of people are talking about the PALEO DIET.


I struggled with depression for a large majority of my life. In the past I used food as a means of coping with my feelings — and when I say "food" I mean processed sugary comfort type food. During  Read
A lot of people are talking about the benefits of The Paleo Diet. All diets sounds convincing at first, but before you start eating mostly meat and giving up on your carbs, I invite you to consider the following:

1. Not all carbs are your enemy.

As humans, we actually need complex carbohydrates for brain health, muscle energy and emotional health. And women in particular will feel the urge for carbs at different times throughout their cycle. These cravings don't mean you are "bad" and out of control; they mean your body needs something specific for nourishment. The carbs you don't want are the simple carbs and those in processed food. Passing on the sugar, cookies and bread to avoid the refined carbs is a healthy choice for sure — but that doesn't mean you need to stop eating all carbs.

2. Our quality of meat is questionable.

The Paleo Diet is based on our heritage of being hunter/gatherers. The problem is, the meat we eat today is very different from the meat our ancestors used to hunt. Back then, cows were not roaming the woods. Factory farm animals are high in toxins and very inflammatory to the body. Unless you have access to completely grass-fed, free-ranging meat or wild game, it's best to stick to predominately plant-based sources of protein and fish low in mercury. The philosophy to take away from the hunter/gatherer approach is to eat seasonally and locally for the best quality of nutrients.

3. Whole grains and legumes also go way back in history.

Avoiding all starch may lead to quick weight loss at first, but it's not what's best for your long-term health. Working with emotional eating for the past 10 years, I consistently see how clients struggle to omit the carbs and instead end up binging on them. Choosing starches from whole-grains and root vegetables can be very nourishing for your sweet-tooth, not just your body.

Grains, legumes and root vegetables have been sustainable dietary choices for centuries. For example, the Gladiator Diet was rich in barley and legumes.

4. The most important thing to remember is how you eat does not have to have a name.

Diets that take a rigid approach to eating don't work long-term because they are "static", and you are a living organism. They don't take into account how your daily life changes last minute or how your body needs different foods at different times.

Sometimes your body will need more complex carbs. Other times it will need more healthy fats. Sometimes it will need more protein. At least everyone agrees on eating more vegetables and avoiding processed foods.

Letting your body guide you is much healthier than letting a diet guide you. Remember, a one-size-fits-all approach does not truly fit all. It doesn't even fit you all of the time!

For your future health, it is far more important to find a sustainable way of eating based on your lifestyle and long-term health goals as a whole. If you focus on health and self-nourishment, weight loss because a natural, healthy side-effect. And it becomes sustainable weight loss!

Choose what to eat because you want to feel good, be healthy, feel vibrant, and nourish your mind and body.



Although a variety of studies seem to show that frequently eating red meat may increase your risk of heart problems, if you eat a paleo diet, you may be protected from this threat.

Medical researchers are still arguing about the effects of red meat on the body. One of the main areas of controversy surrounds its effect on cardiovascular health. Large population studies have suggested that people who indulge in red meat every day have more problems with their arteries and hearts.

But is it really the red meat that is to blame?

Well, consider the types of processed red meat many people eat but that are not included in the paleo diet: This includes processed items like hot dogs, luncheon meat, bacon and sausage.

Paleo dieters are encouraged to eat unprocessed meats – things like organic, grass-fed beef; organic pork; lamb; and free-range organic chickens. There’s a big difference in what happens to those meats before they reach your dinner plate and what is added to processed meats.

Heart difficulties and diabetes

A study at the Harvard School of Public Health shows that consuming processed meats can increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes. But the study did not find that people eating unprocessed red meat ran any kind of increased risk of problems.

The Harvard researchers reviewed and analyzed the results of about 20 studies that included more than 1,200,000 people from the United States and nine other countries in Europe, Australia and Asia.

In this research, unprocessed red meat included unprocessed meat from pork, lamb or beef but excluded chicken and other poultry. Processed meat included meats that were preserved by salting, curing, smoking or the addition of preservatives. This included salami, bacon, hot dogs, sausage and processed deli (luncheon) meats. The study did not consider the effects of vegetables or seafood.

The analysis demonstrated, on average, that every daily serving of 50 grams of processed meat (that’s about one or two slices of luncheon meat or a hot dog) increases your chances of heart disease by about 42 percent. It also lifts the risk of diabetes by 19 percent.

“Although most dietary guidelines recommend reducing meat consumption, prior individual studies have shown mixed results for relationships between meat consumption and cardiovascular diseases and diabetes,” says researcher Renata Micha. “Most prior studies also did not separately consider the health effects of eating unprocessed red versus processed meats.”

Health protection

When you eat a paleo diet, you also eat a large amount of organic fruits and vegetables – important sources of phytonutrients that protect your health with chemicals that boost the immune system. Chances are, the average hot dog eater is not consuming asparagus, broccoli and carrots with his hot dog. He’s probably having it on a white bread bun with ketchup and chips while washing it down with a beer or soft drink flavored with high fructose corn syrup – and all of those processed foods may be increasing his risk for heart disease and diabetes.

Obviously, a plain chunk of paleo grass-fed steak eaten with steamed spinach, bok choy and chard are not going to impact your cardiovascular system the same way as a hot dog with everything on it.

And just consider what’s added to processed meats in contrast to the unprocessed variety:

“When we looked at average nutrients in unprocessed red and processed meats eaten in the United States, we found that they contained similar average amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol. In contrast, processed meats contained, on average, 4 times more sodium and 50% more nitrate preservatives,” says Micha. “This suggests that differences in salt and preservatives, rather than fats, might explain the higher risk of heart disease and diabetes seen with processed meats, but not with unprocessed red meats.”

So the next time you hear about research that claims to show that red meat leads to heart problems, look closely to see exactly what kind of meat the study has examined. Not all meat is created equal when it comes to health effects.

Monthly Meeting of BCOCCA Directors

7:00 PM, 3rd Tuesday, each month

Metrotown Community Meeting Room

4650 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC


Our Vision

"British Columbia Organization of Caribbean Cultural Associations (BCOCCA) is a Leading Advocacy Linkage Community Awareness Umbrella Organization consistently providing reliable and dependable Programs and Initiatives for its Members."