If you’re going
to San Francisco,
you’re going to find
…some vegan people there.
This weekend is the 13th Annual World Veg Festival in San Francisco. I hadn’t attended before, and with the outrageous California gas prices punching our pocketbooks in the gut, at first I wasn’t sure if I should attend this time. San Francisco is a pretty significant drive from my home and I worried I shouldn’t use the costly gas to get there. I went back and forth all last night but in the end, my husband and I decided to go.
I’m so glad we did! We spoke with many wonderful people and I gathered so much invaluable information. I’ll be going through my three inch pile of literature for a while!
It was quite busy when we arrived, so we only took a quick tour of the gallery area before finding a corner to study the _twenty-four_ page program. Twenty-four pages of veggie goodness!
I stumbled on an internet listing for this event last week and hadn’t realized how much there was to do and see! So many opportunities were available; it was difficult to choose where to spend our time. The extensive list of speakers and topics knocked our vegan socks off!
We decided to start in the main auditorium and watch Chef Cherie Soria’s “Raw Demo ‘Forget the Cooking!’ Spectacular Soups without Cooking” presentation. I have one raw foods cookbook in my collection, but I admit (while digging my toe into the ground and blushing) that I’ve not yet used it. I’m intimidated by the idea of a raw food diet. We live in an area where we know very few vegetarians and no other vegans. I don’t think there’s a chance that we could meet raw food foodies around here. If we could, raw foods might seem less daunting. I know there are many people who enjoy the taste and benefits of a raw foods diet, but it seems so complicated to me. I do want to begin incorporating raw foods into my diet more. Cherie Soria’s demonstration provided an easy opportunity for me to see this method of food preparation.
Chef Soria and her assistants made three different raw soups during her presentation. Each member of the audience received a small sample of each one. My husband, who I am increasingly convinced is afraid of the color green, bravely sampled the Lemony Zucchini Bisque – probably because it was yellow. I tried that one as well as the samples of the Creamy Red Bell Pepper Chipotle Soup with Cashew Yogurt and the Garden Blend Soup.
The Creamy Red Pepper Chipotle Soup packed quite a punch! I was impressed. The Garden Blend was more subtle and slightly fruity, definitely something I would enjoy on a hot summer evening. The Lemony Zucchini was simple but quite tasty. My husband wasn’t positive he liked it, but my ongoing lust for a Vita-Mix was reactivated. My blender is great, but with that 3-horsepower motor, I think a Vita-Mix could eat my blender for lunch and then make me a smoothie.
After the raw foods demonstration, we went over to the Garden Club Room to listen to Rynn Berry give a presentation entitled “Vegetarian Groups That Changed the World: Pythagoreans, Jains, Buddhists, Essenes, Gnostics, Cathars, Bible Christians, SDA.” This mini vegetarian history lesson taught me so much. Mr. Berry chronicled vegetarianism and veganism’s roots beginning in ancient Greece and continuing to the present time. I took copious notes during his lecture and intend to do more research on the facts he shared. My favorite gem from his lecture was that Pythagoras was a vegetarian and an admired wrestling coach. In addition to that, I have a degree in English, but this was the first I’d heard that the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley’s diet was the “Pythagorean system,” or a plant-based diet. Cool facts for nerds, right? I’m excited to begin describing my diet as “Pythagorean.” Oh, and believe me, I will. I _am_ that nerdy – and I love it
After listening to this talk, we reentered the main room. The crowd had thinned as other people filled the lectures. We took our time and chatted with many of the individuals tabling in the gallery. It’s so much fun to attend these events and see familiar faces! A few weeks ago we attended Music in the Meadow at Animal Place, a farm animal sanctuary in Grass Valley. Touching base with the wonderful folks who work and volunteer there was an unexpected gift. We also spoke with representatives from Farm Sanctuary and discussed visiting them for a tour of their precious residents.
I dragged my husband over to the Vita-Mix display and the representative wowed him with the power of that sexy beast. He made us a green smoothie and, in a feat of immeasurable bravery, my husband actually tried some! He also made us a refreshing Lemon Sorbet, which I thought was awesome. I reeeeaaaaalllly want a Vita-Mix, but that $450 price tag is not in our family budget. I still believe that when my kitchen fairy godmother appears one day, she’ll bring me a lovely, lovely Vita-Mix. If you don’t have one, I’ll be sure to put in a good word for you, too. Those Vita-Mixes… ahh.
Our last lecture for the day was a tough choice. Dr. Michael Greger was speaking in the main auditorium. The information he so willing shares is worth everyone’s full attention. If you haven’t checked out his website, I encourage you to do so. He provides not only information about plant-based diets but also the sources that back it up. Frankly, anyone who cares about their health can benefit from reading the information he provides and watching his many free informational videos.
I recently watched a similar lecture of Dr. Greger’s online, however; and there was another topic that is very close to my heart being presented at the same time.
In the Garden Club room, Linda Riebel’s “Dangers of GMO & Your Right to Know What’s in Your Food, Prop 37,” was taking place at the same time. Proposition 37 is an important proposition on the ballot in California. In recent weeks, I’ve realized that many people don’t have the facts or misunderstand what is being proposed. I want to be sure to be able to accurately and concisely explain why a Yes on Prop. 37 is imperative. Ms. Riebel’s audience was small but concerned and eager for facts. I once again took copious notes, this time with a very different attitude. GMO labeling is imperative for our whole country and something that many countries other than the United States require. Californians have the opportunity and, in my opinion, the responsibility to be the first state to require labels that inform citizens of the presence of GMOs in their food.
After this lecture, it was getting late. We took one last spin through the gallery before heading home. The event continues tomorrow with more exciting speakers and lecture topics. I almost wish we could attend again tomorrow, but we already have another vegan adventure scheduled!
If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I encourage you to attend day two of the World Veg Festival.