Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Takin' a Bite Outa The BIG Apple at the 2nd Annual NYC Vegetarian Festival

This past Saturday, I braved the rain and donned my snazzy rainboots to hit up the second annual NYC Vegetarian Food Festival, founded by co-founders, Nira Paliwoda and Sarah Gross, and produced by the U.S. Veg Corp. The line was literally wrapping around the block, so I was pleased to have my press pass to by-pass the line. Although, I would have waited. It was my very first time at the festival, so I was psyched to sample delicious new veggie treats, listen to experts, watch cooking demos, listen to live music, and meet other fellow foodies, vegetarians, vegans, locavores, flexitarians. 

The delicious smells wafting from the food vendors entered my nose beckoned me to sample their goods. Daiya, a dairy-free cheese made with tapioca and/or arrowroot flour, was the first to hit my tongue. The yummy flavors include: Jalapeño Garlic Havarti, Jack, and Cheddar, but they must be melted to enjoy.

Eager to listen to Gena Hamshaw's lecture on how raw diets and plant-based nutrition improves health, I sped past the other vendors and grabbed a seat just in the nick o' time. Gena shared some helpful tips and recipes for those in the raw. I especially loved her tips for better digestion:

What are your top tips for better digestion?

  1. Adopt a vegan diet.
  2. Focus on getting a high portion of raw vegetables and fruits.
  3. Try to strike a balance between soluble and insoluble fiber.
  4. Don’t chug water with your meals; sip water with meals, and drink more plentiful amounts 30 minutes before and after.
  5. Chew your food thoroughly.
  6. Explore an acidophilus+bifidus supplement (vegan, of course).
You can read more about her lecture on her blog: Choosing Raw.

Next up, I listened to Ironman triathlete, and author of The Thrive Diet, Brendan Brazier, share his secrets to achieving goals on a plant-based diet. For the athletes out there, here's a rule of thumb to follow for your workouts:

Brendan Brazier's Exercise Tip: Before a workout, eat carbs = fuel. After a workout, eat protein = building blocks. Carbs burn clean, protein burns dirty, before a workout. 

Needless to say, my tummy was gurgling for some grub after two back to back lectures, so I ventured onto the expo floor to try some more treats. BAM! I hit The V-Spot, (a vegan restaurant located in Park Slope, Brooklyn), without much searching... I was immediately sold on a vegan empanada.

Dr. Fred Bisci AKA
The Godfather of Nutrition.
Last up on my lecture circuit for the day was Dr. Fred Bisci, "The Godfather of Nutrition," an internationally known lifestyle nutritionist and food scientist and founder of the website: Any Doubt Leave It Out. This guy is an inspiration to us ALL! At almost 90 years young, he was bounding around the stage with the energy of someone a third his age, oozing pearls of wisdom. He raved about improving longevity, enhancing the quality of life, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes etc. through a plant based diet. A man after my own heart, he factored in matters of the mind, stating that the power of positive thinking can do wonders for healing.

Me rockin' my new
Vaute Couture tee! 

Afterwards, I took the time to travel around to the vegan vendors, sampling more food and drinks and purchasing the super cool eco-vegan-ethically produced tee to the left. The proceeds will fund the documentary, Vegucated. Turns out Einstein was ahead of his time when he said: "Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." While I'm not a Vegetarian, I will proudly rock this tee as I believe that eating lots o' veggies does a body good. (And Einstein and I have the whole lefty thang in common. Just sayin'.)

Blissfully Yours,

Tatiana Ridley, CHHC, AADP