Seattle's Vegfest 2012
With so many recent news headlines eschewing the consumption of meat, it’s no wonder the majority of visitors to Vegfest 2012 were new to the world of vegetarianism. Seattle’s popular Vegfest was held over the weekend at Seattle Center’s Exhibition Hall and was presented by the Vegetarians of Washington. Offering up free food sampling from over 500 vendors, the delightful smells wafting from Vegfest’s sample room surely enticed omnivores and vegetarians alike.
Vegetarian and vegan food vendors were present and loaded with samples galore of mouthwatering vegetarian fare. The Canadian cheese substitute company (which I loooove), Daiya was a popular booth with samples of their much anticipated cheese wedges in havarti, cheddar, and jack flavors. Vegfest visitors could sample a wide range of different tofu, spreads, crackers, chips, smoothies, teas, juice, coconut waters, and of course, plenty of vegan desserts. Seattle’s famous Mighty-O’s doughnuts was handing out samples of their exquisite vegan doughnuts and local un-baker from Greenlake, Jodee’s Desserts was handing out samples of their fresh blended vegan cheesecake in double chocolate, key lime, and mocha flavors.
For anyone looking to walk away well equipped with the knowledge to eat more vegetarian fare in their home, Vegfest had a large selection of guest speakers including the well known Neal Barnard, M.D. (The Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook) and Ellen Jaffe Jones (Eat Vegan on $4 a Day). The local Seattle based PCC Market was not only a key sponsor for the event but had organized a series of cooking demo’s for Vegfest guests. As if tasty treats and health talks weren’t enough to entice the everyday omnivore to eat more vegetables, visitors could take one of the many health checks available. You could check your cholesterol level, blood pressure, or antioxidant levels and chat with plenty of health and nutrition experts about your results. One look at my blood pressure and cholesterol and everyone knew I was vegan!
This was my first time at VegFest and it was a great event. Since it was free to the public, it really proved to be a great tool for educating non-veggies about the foods, health benefits, and ease of a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. My only critique would be that the sample floor had way to much tofu. Tofu is good for you but only if it organic, non gmo, and enjoyed in small quantities. However, there was tofu spread, tofu cheese, and about a million different brands of tofu. There were no tempeh, seitan, or even tvp (textured vegetable protein) booths. Also, there were many sweets available to taste alongside the tofu (most of them made with tofu) and I felt it didn't give a good example of a balanced vegan diet. One man came up to me and said, "I'm starting to get the feeling that vegetarians all live off of dessert!" I can see how anyone would think this when walking through a room full of cakes, ice cream, cookies, doughnuts, and chocolate. One main complaint offered up by omnivores when discussing a vegan diet is the concern that all earthly pleasures will have to be given up and leave the near monk like individual in a life of perpetual want and desire. Well, after walking through this sugar laden pleasure taste cloud of a sample room, no one could think twice about the sinful indulgences offered up for a vegan palate.