What to eat?
Whether dished up by local food vendors or dished out by high profile speakers, this weekend’s Sacramento VegFest offered an answer to the frustrating complexity with which we attack the seemingly simple act of feeding ourselves.
Entering VegFest attendees were met with a decadent spread from the area’s growing health food scene, including banana slices drizzled with orange infused chocolate fondue, vegan jackfruit chipotle sliders and unimaginable variations of kale. Elegantly plated raw vegan nachos from Sacramento’s Green Boheme displayed the kind of artful care that goes into these creative culinary innovations.
“Cooking is art” said Green Boheme chef Brooke Preston, “and to be creative and find solutions, I think that’s really what it’s more about when translating the cooked meals that are comfortable and bring up fond memories. To be able to make those in a raw form is so satisfying and can be a blast. My own personal happy place is to do that.”
Preston, who opened the VegFest by demonstrating the appetizing side of green juices and smoothies, summed up the direction of this year’s VegFest. “It’s not a hippy thing anymore. I think more and more people of all parts of society are now changing because they’re seeing the reality of the food they’ve been eating.”
While food was at the heart of the VegFest, it was by no means the only thing on display. Vendors liberally offered samples of essential oils and lotions promised to sooth and rejuvenate. Attendees could sign up for CSA’s delivery of fresh produce straight from local farms. Organizations like the Sacramento Vegetation Society and Plenty International provided information on how to get involved in bettering communities. There was no shortage of solutions to the myriad of obstacles modern life throws in the way of a healthier lifestyle.
And no one better embodied the day’s holistic approach to health than keynote speaker Mariel Hemingway. The Academy Award-nominated actress spoke compassionately and honestly about her long search for a life that mindfully addresses all aspects of health—physical, spiritual, and mental. And while she claims her “story is not extraordinary”, Hemingway’s life has certainly had its share of tragedy. Granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, her family’s long struggle with addiction and suicide remains an integral part of her story and search for health. And while championing morning shots of green juice and playful exercise, Hemingway’s approach is less about specific prescriptive advice and more about finding what works for you and learning to trust yourself, even if that means stumbling along the way.
“Failure is just a sure sign that you’re trying different things,” said Hemingway. “It doesn’t mean that you were wrong…you learn to trust yourself. And failure is partly more and more about the journey. Failure really isn’t failure. The outcome of certain things make you go ‘Oh my God’ but always when you look back on failure, it’s taught you something about yourself.”
Other speakers included personal trainer Ed Bauer, who explained how to lose fat and gain muscle on a vegan diet, and Dr. Doug Lisle, who appeared in the documentary Forks Over Knives and is the author of The Pleasure Trap.
Emcee, Wendy Beacock, began this year’s VegFest with a quote from poet Victor Hugo: “There’s nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”
Judging by the turnout and number of local vendors at this year’s Sacramento VegFest, there’s no doubt the idea of healthy living has come to Sacramento. Now it’s just a matter of avoiding the fads, expensive diets and strict routines, and making a healthy life one that is livable, day-to-day.
For more information on Sacramento VegFest and its sponsors visit sacvegfest.com.
Photos by Kati Garner