Vegfest: delicious, healthy and sustainable

by Stewart Rose, Vegetarians of Washington

This article was originally published in March 2005

(March 2005) — The land, the air and the water are so much a part of our lives. There’s a good feeling that comes from helping to sustain the environment.

The satisfaction of eating in a way that protects the environment makes the food taste even better! Vegetarians of Washington would like to offer this scenario: enjoy the most delicious food imaginable, help sustain the environment and improve your health all at the same time. How? It turns out the most environmentally sound diet is also one of the healthiest.

Let’s look at how food choices affect our environment. Environmental advantages of producing vegetarian food include consuming 50 percent less water and 40 times less fossil fuel. Using farmland to produce vegetarian food also is more efficient, producing food that can feed 12 times more people. And, choosing a vegetarian diet helps save the Central American and Amazon rainforests, which are not needed to produce vegetarian foods. While many people think of recycling as a way to help sustain the environment, we think of a veggie burger!

It turns out that what’s good for the health of the earth is also good for the health of our bodies. People who follow a vegetarian diet experience a much lower rate of many diseases including heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and several forms of cancer. Support for the many health benefits comes from Nobel Prize-winning doctors such as Dean Ornish, MD, as well as many doctors and dieticians in the local medical community.

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 vegetarian 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.

When you visit the fourth-annual Vegfest, which will be held Saturday, March 12 and Sunday, March 13 at Seattle Center, you’ll discover that sustainable and healthy eating never tasted so good.

Vegfest is an easy way to sample more than 400 different foods from more than 100 companies, including those that you may have seen at PCC stores, but haven’t tried yet. What are those unfamiliar products and what do they taste like? Wouldn’t you love to taste them all before you buy?

For two days, a sampling room will surround you with the sights and aromas of some of the tastiest vegetarian food in the world — American, Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Italian, Indian and more. Try the Italian baked tofu, a garbanzo bean curry, some chocolate Silk soymilk and more. If you find something you really like, you can buy it on the spot to bring home at better than bargain prices — 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 and a fun PCC Kid Picks taste-testing event. In addition to sponsoring Vegfest, PCC has an ongoing partnership with Vegetarians of Washington.

A sampling of Vegfest speakers and chefs include:

  • Dr. Keith Hanson, MD, director of the Coronary Health Improvement Program
  • Dr. Michael Orlich, MD, Family Medicine, Wiemar Institute of Health
  • Dr. Florence Gross, MD, MPH, Family and Preventative Medicine
  • Susan Gins, certified nutritionist, MS, Faculty Bastyr University
  • Bryanna Grogan, author of eight cookbooks
  • Omid Roustaei, PCC Cooks instructor
  • Heather Reseck, RD, author of “Fix It Fast”
  • Joanne Saltzman, author and director of the School of Natural Cookery

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