On Saturday I decided I would attend a vegan conference, my first and only vegan conference to be more specific. I had a few reasons for this. One is that I am not a very good vegan and I should learn the lay of the land. I fell into this by a surgeon’s order not by a love of baby cows on the kill floor of a local veal slaughter-house. In fact my father worked in a slaughter-house for several summers as a young man. I am hardly the one to be an animal advocate. However, it had some courses and speakers that I really wanted to hear. One on vegan blogging and another on cancer and eating vegan. The food demonstrations couldn’t hurt either!
What I found when I was there was not what I expected at all, and this was a good thing. I am not thin by any means. After being a half marathon runner turned post-surgery slug. I have gained a bit of poundage that I still am working on eliminating. I didn’t want to be in line with hundreds of skinny, yoga pant wearing ladies in cotton organic blends with vegan running shoes and vegan makeup on their glowing faces. I was a new vegan and I needed comfort in the fact I still didn’t know if my makeup was vegan nor was I caring at the moment because I am still trying to master making a decent Chik’n Parm.
What I did find through the line and the speeches and the demonstrations was a bunch of people just like me. Some unsure of how they got here others precisely sure but most not knowing if they were “doing it right”. The answer from the experts was “probably not but that’s okay because there really is no right way”. Everyone had different reasons and responses. I loved that many were like me in that they got into it for health reasons and the “vegan mafia” that tries to cut down the less vegan strict folks is not the majority. They appreciate anyone who tries because it is a step forward. Even Dr. Joel Fuhrman couldn’t totally hate the junk food vegans (ve-junk-atarians) because they were trying. He just wanted to help them become healthier. I responded to this with a whole heart. How do I become a better vegan but more importantly a healthier person?
The answer seems easy. G-BOMBS. Dr. Fuhrman says Greens-Beans-Onions-Mushrooms-Berries-Seeds are a partial answer to your anti-cancer nutritional needs. He particularly encouraged if not came close to demanding everyone make sure to integrate nuts and seeds into their everyday diet. These were very important. He also said preparation of the onions was important. You shouldnt cook them and then cut. Cut first then add to your dish. Another chef said to cut them slowly as not to release a ton of the gases because you need these. These are all things I had never learned and I am tempted to get his book “eat for Life”. But I will probably start by reading it in the library as I am forever a skeptic on speeches being marketing campaigns at these things.
The good news is I kinds follow this advice already. I made my mother and I muffins the night before for the 4.5hr drive from Boston to NYC for this conference and my muffins were made from bananas, walnuts, flaxseed, canola, flour, chocolate chips, and sugar. Now I know what the vegan mafia would say SUGAR FLOUR OIL… NOOOO! The point is I am starting. It’s a muffin for God’s Sake. But it has the seeds and the nuts so there. I will work on the rest at lunch or dinner. I made a delicious chili that is leftover in my fridge and it has some of Dr. Fuhrman’s favorites in it. Tomatoes, onions, peppers, black beans, soy meat, garlic, etc. So I have things to get back on track.
The best piece of advice I received was simple. Do not try to defend yourself. Simply say “I feel good and this makes me happy”. I found like many others that I was alone when I became vegan and some people were not only resistant but upset by my food choice. I don’t think it was that they preferred the “sick” me but I do think it makes others uncomfortable for some reason. That being said everyone I listened to, did the same thing. Found others online going through this and fought to defend themselves at home. I will never do this again. All I will say is that I am happy, I am healthy, and I feel great.
As for food at the conference let me inform you of a few places you need to go! One is the booth that had Queso. I am hesitant to eat vegan queso as I can never find an amazing cheese sauce. However, try Vegan Queso by www.food-for-lovers.com . I am officially obsessed and should have bought two containers of it instead of one. There are not a ton of ingredients and I am not sure how it is sooo delish but it is. Another suggestion is to get the Fried Chick’n from local Brooklyn food stop Foodswings (www.foodswings.net). I am in love with it and I cannot imagine how they make it so tasty but they do. It tasted to me like having fried chicken again! Lastly, I missed the MAC’N Food Truck but I heard it was to die for. So try to their Mac n’ Cheez out when you find yourself in NYC. I am going to go back in search!
That is all for today folks. I will be sure to give you those Chili and Muffin recipes later this week. Have a Happy Monday!