Veg-feasting in the Northwest

by Stewart Rose

This article was originally published in March 2004

(March 2004) — Walk down the aisles of any PCC store and just about any shopper — old or new — will see new, unfamiliar products in the aisles. What are they and what do they taste like? Wouldn’t you love to taste them all before you buy?

Imagine sampling your way through foods from more than 75 different companies. Well, a dream taste adventure is coming to town. Vegfest will be at the Seattle Center on March 27 and 28, the third annual healthy vegetarian food festival.

For two days, a sampling room will surround you with some of the tastiest vegetarian food in the world — American, Mexican, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Italian, Indian, Chinese, Thai and more. Try Italian Baked Tofu, a Garbanzo Bean Curry, some Chocolate Silk soy milk and … you get the idea. If you find something you really like, you can buy it on the spot — with proceeds going to benefit Vegetarians of Washington.

PCC is a major sponsor of Vegfest and will participate with a table offering delicious vegan food samples from PCC delis. In addition to sponsoring Vegfest, PCC has an ongoing partnership with Vegetarians of Washington under PCC’s Community Connections program.

PCC members can join Vegetarians of Washington for 10 percent off the initial fee and receive benefits including Vegetarian Journal and special pricing at events. Vegetarians of Washington also is partnering with PCC’s FoodWorks program to teach a class this spring, “Going Vegetarian 101.”

Vegetarians of Washington understands that people’s food choices evolve over time — that our tastes and preferences may change gradually. Shifting to a vegetarian diet, or one where plant-based foods take center stage, isn’t something that happens overnight. In fact, Vegetarians of Washington is carefully non-judgmental about a person’s food choices and instead promotes an attitude of exploring and learning.

The benefits of a vegetarian diet include both personal health and environmental benefits. The risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension and even food poisoning may be mitigated with a vegetarian or plant-based diet. By eating lower on the food chain, we also reduce our impact on the Earth — by using less water and energy and by saving habitat and topsoil. People from various spiritual traditions also consider a vegetarian diet an important part of their overall beliefs and practices.

Some Vegfest speakers and chefs
  • Dr. Ray Foster, M.D., NEWSTART Healthcare Clinic, Maple Valley.
  • Susan Gins, certified nutritionist, M.S. Bastyr University.
  • Marilyn Joyce, R.D., Ph.D., official dietitian for the Original Hollywood Celebrity Diet and author of “5 Minutes to Health.”
  • Karen Lamphere, R.D., M.S, internationally recognized leader in natural healing and PCC FoodWorks instructor.
  • Robin Robertson, teacher, former chef and author of cookbooks “Vegan Planet,” “The Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes Cookbook.”
  • Cynthia Lair, nutrition faculty at Bastyr University, PCC FoodWorks instructor and author of “Feeding the Whole Family” and “Feeding the Young Athlete.”
  • Barb Bloomfield, acclaimed cook from The Farm, an intentional community in Tennessee. Author of “Soup’s On” and “Flax:The Super Food,” she’s currently revising her first book, “Fabulous Beans.”
  • Ken Charney, a Seattle celebrity in the vegetarian community, is also author of “The Bold Vegetarian,” a PCC FoodWorks instructor and PCC deli staff at West Seattle.

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