Atlanta Veg Fest was the festival to be for veg-heads like me and my husband. I had a whole schedule planned for every minute that we were there, starting at 10 am and ending at 5 pm. We got there right when the fest started so we were able to walk through the mayhem of veggie goodness before Victoria Moran from Main Street Vegan started her session. While we weaved in and out of the vendors, Kevin got a vegan sausage and egg biscuit from Dough Bakery. Mmm, mmm…he was in veggie heaven. We bought some Earth Biscuit crackers from my friend Leslie and then realized what time it was and rushed over to see Victoria’s talk.
She was a phenomenal speaker – my favorite of the whole day. She shares a lot of the same philosophies that I do and I just really enjoyed how she communicated her ideas. Victoria explained what the word “vegan” meant to her. I’ll do my best to explain it here:
V: Validate with information. When people ask you questions about being vegan, have the facts to convey your message.
E: Embody a healthy lifestyle. She said that she eats a plant-based, whole foods diet. When she described how big her lunch salads are, it made me laugh because my and Kevin’s salads always attract a lot of attention on their enormity and the amount of toppings. People can’t figure out how we eat so much, but when you eat the right things, you can eat quite a bit of food.
G: Get to know other vegans. Whether it’s through Meet-up or other local events, create a support network.
A: Add more to your life than you subtract. Victoria said to eat more of a variety of stuff and always explore your different options. Victoria also said that being vegan is like the letters of the alphabet. When you say one letter at a time, it’s boring, but when you “put the letters together, it’s like Shakespeare.” Basically she was saying that when you have a piece of fruit or a vegetable by itself, it’s boring and common, but when you pair different things together, it becomes this exotic and exquisite meal.
N: Never forget the animals. She told us that the animal on your dinner plate is the difference between life and death. She said that when she first moved to a city, she went to the grocery store and the grocer that was ringing up her items said she had never seen such a colorful assortment of food. I thought that was funny because Kevin and I can’t go to the grocery store without someone commenting on our cart or what we’re buying.
Victoria was walking around after her talk so I got to say hi to her and shake her hand. My husband and I explained that we really loved her talk. I told her I can’t wait to read her book. She was so sweet and kind. I’m glad there are people like her fighting compassionately for the animals.
After her talk, we walked around some more and eventually got lunch at the food truck called Healthful Essence. They served Caribbean vegan food and it was delicious. Their plantains were to die for. We had plantains in Belize a few years back, and these were even better than the ones in Belize!
After that, we volunteered for the fest and were helpers for the presenters doing cooking demos. We got to stand on the sidelines and help pass out food, clean pots and pans, and do anything else that was needed.
Isa from Post Punk Kitchen was hilarious and delightful. I loved her sense of humor!
Fran Costigan, deemed the queen of vegan desserts, lived up to her title. Her truffles were amazing. And you could tell she was a pro because the fuse blew out during her demo, but she just kept on going.
Annie and Dan Shannon from the blog “Meet the Shannons” and co-authors of “Betty Goes Vegan” were great and so knowledgeable about the different vegetables they were putting in their recipes. They were so down to earth when I met them during the book signing. I can’t wait to try some of their recipes from Betty Goes Vegan. My family traditionally does the “7 fishes” Italian dinner on Christmas Eve. and so as an alternative for Kevin and me, I’m going to make one of their faux fish dishes. Yay for people like the Shannon’s for veganizing a traditional cookbook!
There were a few speakers that I didn’t get to see and so much food that I didn’t get to try. But, it was so awesome to be in a place full of people who were either vegetarian or vegan – or open-minded to the information regarding the vegan lifestyle. It was just an all-around fun time. I cannot wait until next year!