Sunday, March 29, 2015

The 5th Annual NYC Vegetarian Food Festival

     Apparently, as I was informed by my friend and fellow RD, Ms. Melissa Mirota, there is an annual Vegetarian conference in NYC and she thought we might as well check it out.  Of course I joined her in  attending  part of the 2 day event which was held on March 14th and 15th.  If you can imagine a hippie FNCE conference with only vegetarian/vegan food products, that promoted animal rights and spirituality, had a kiddie play area, psychics, an actual blow out bar and some canine friends roaming around, that’s basically what it was.  They also had a myriad of speakers with interesting topics.  I did sit in on two lectures, one by Rich Roll a top notch lawyer turned vegan Ultra Marathoner/author/motivational speaker and Johnathan Balcombe who spoke about animals and their feelings.  They were interesting, not what I expected, but still worthwhile nonetheless.  There were some physicians, nutrition scientists and public policy speakers my friend and I thought would be interesting to hear but our time limitations prevented us from doing so.  Anyways, back to the exhibitors….

    Harlem Grown was there promoting their inner city projects to help encourage  healthy eating among the youth of the area.  They teach hydroponic gardening techniques to the kids and were looking for volunteers to help out and learn as well.  Some of the vegan deserts were fantastic!  From ice cream to pies, I was quite impressed with the taste and texture of many of the products on display.  I especially enjoyed the pie samples by, “This Pie is Nuts.”  There were stands that advertised brands of olive oil, like Kastania olive oil, which were imported from Greece.  Many of them had strong delicious flavors that kept you begging for more.  OM botanical’s were also on hand giving demonstrations of their skin care line.  Their products are said to be gluten free, vegan and eco friendly.  Jyoti natural foods had a tasty sampling of some of their Indian style recipe’s made with their products.  I could go on forever telling you about my taste adventures but I won’t as I am sure you want to also hear about  these lectures I attended. 

       As disappointed as I was in not hearing more about his vegan adventures as he was pursuing his athletic endeavors and improving his life, I still enjoyed his highly motivational talk about how he overcame so many obstacles in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.  In the process he was also promoting his book, “Finding Ultra.”  As I mentioned earlier, I heard Rich Roll speak about his experiences going from a coach potato lawyer and turning his life and health around by not only going vegan but participating in these Ultra Man Marathon’s that are run in Hawaii.The other speaker, Mr. Johnathan Balcombe, discussed various animals and illustrated how they had feelings that we should be cognizant of.  What really struck me during that session was that fish, yes, actual fish like to be touched and massaged, much like dogs.  Who knew!  And then he showed a photograph of this perfectly shaped mandala that was  made by a puffer fish in the sands of the deep ocean to attract a mate.  Another astonishing fact that he dispensed was that sharks actually like humans, even more so when you massage them.  No offense to our fish friends, not trying to sound awful, but this knowledge did not deter me from consuming fish, or encourage me to get cozy with sharks.