Monday, June 18, 2012

The Seed - MY Vegan Experience

This weekend was the first The Seed: A Vegan Experience conference. I happen to come across it on a friend’s Facebook page - thanks Nicole!
What a wonderful weekend it was, the line-up was pretty amazing.

Vegan heavy hitters all around plus tons of wonderful (tho not very healthy) food vendors. Yes I felt like a little kid each day leaving with a tummy ache from sampling chocolates, juices, raw tacos, queso etc..
On Saturday I was able to pick up a few goodies including Honee - bee free apple honey. Wow it’s great and sticky just like the real thing. I even managed to drip some on my program! I also bought a really cool t-shirt - that says Avant Gardener 
The good news is that they’re also available on online and on Etsy!
Lunch was 3 mini cupcakes from The Vakery, a spicy kale potato salad and a bahn mi from the Regal Vegan - yummy!
As for the lectures I was able to see the last few minutes of Victoria Moran’s lecture - she’s such a positive role model.
First up for me was a talk on Top 10 Tips for going Vegan with the ladies from Our Hen House Jasmin Singer and Marianne Sullivan. They gave some great tips on transitioning and making it easier to stick with your compassionate choice.

Colleen Patrick Goudreau was up next, her Food For Thought podcasts were instrumental in my choice to go vegan. She helped make my transition as seamless as possible. She’s a wonderful speaker and her passion for compassion was shining through. It was one of the many highlights of my weekend.  

Now to the food demos
I watched a whole food cooking demo from the Whole Foods Wellness Club. I’ve heard of Juan Pablo Chavez before but had never been to one of his demos. The Sweet Potato Moroccan Stew he made was simple, wholesome and smelled delicious! Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to sample it - boo!

Next on the roster was Hannah Kaminsky of My Sweet Vegan. She presented an ice cream making demo. She was a little nervous so it went a little quicker than expected. Again no sampling (have I said BOO?!) but in the 20 or so minutes it took for her to tell us about making ice cream the base was thick and ice cream-like - all she used was her base, 2 zip lock bags, ice and salt. I’m inspired to try this at home! Who knows we may have homemade vegan ice cream at our annual BBQ this summer!

After the food demos I went to see Kathy Stevens from the Catskill Animal Sanctuary. Her passion and love for the animals was very contagious. Her telling of Rambo’s last days was bittersweet. What a crusader, the world needs more people like this.

After Kathy, Gena Hamshaw of the blog Choosing Raw came on to talk about being semi raw (aka high raw with nourishing cooked foods). I'm a fan of hers and like her approach of a balance of raw and cooked foods. I’ve strayed from my raw ways but can definitely agree that I feel better when I am on a high raw diet, not as heavy or bogged down. I think raw foodists get a bit hung up on the percentage raw they are and they forget to do what feels right for them. I know I need some cooked grains and beans to feel satisfied and while I've never felt pressure to be 100% (see those percentages again) raw, I do know a few people that aspire to it and have a hard time with it then beat themselves up - turning it into a viscous cycle.

After Gena it was the event’s Keynote Speaker: Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I’ve seen Dr Fuhrman speak before at Integrative Nutrition Conferences and he never disappoints. He gave us a full 90 minutes of non-stop info. Having read Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body's Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free
I was familiar with some of what he was talking about, Though I have to admit my biggest takeaway for his talk was using oils for cooking. He pushes for healthy fats by the means of eating them (think olives, nuts, seeds and avocados). I’m going to start recommending that to my clients too. You hear that - no cooking with oil! Add your healthy fats with food!
Sunday was a bit shorter for me but just as good and maybe even better. I got there in the nick of time to see all of Dr Michael Greger’s presentation. I have to admit I have a nerd crush on him. He uses scientific literature to back up what he lectures. I love that about him. He is also a great presenter, very entertaining. So much so that I purchased 4 of his DVD lectures for my own practice. The best part, all of the proceeds go to charity. I highly recommend Dr. Greger’s site for anyone that is curious about the health effects of a plant-based diet. He gives solid information with cited sources. No magic here.

Dr Greger was followed by the very beautiful Kathy Freston. She looks great in photos but looks even better in person. The epitome of a healthy radiant vegan. She sat for a Q&A with Jasmin Singer of Our Hen House. What a great interviewer Jasmin is - I’m looking forward to tuning in to Our Hen House podcasts. Kathy spoke about leaning into veganism and weight loss. She used a couple of my favorite sayings: Progress not perfection and perfect is the enemy of good. It’s nice to see people that are so down to earth with such a powerful message. Kudos to Jasmin on her successful weightloss.
The last speaker I stuck around for was Brendan Brazier. I have his books Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life
and Thrive Foods: 200 Plant-Based Recipes for Peak Health and have always liked his style. He looks for the nutrition powerhouses for peak performance. What this translates to for those of us that aren’t athletes is a whole foods vegan diet that maximizes nutrients while minimizing energy expenditure. Eating a diet as efficiently as possible will help you feel better, have more energy and get more nutrients while eating less calories. This is a no-brainer but not something that people do. That’s probably one of the reasons we have so many overweight people. They are eating but still hungry because their bodies are craving nutrients.
Overall a great weekend of learning, eating and meeting new people. I am already looking forward to the next one!


  1. I love reading about your journey Evelyn! I could never be a vegan (vegetarian, maybe), but I love your passion for it! Wish we lived closer.

    1. Thanks Heather! I think having all these wonderful options makes my journey a lot easier.