I’m going to put it all out there. Finally. All of it.
Portland Veg Fest
If you have never been to a convention for something that interests you, go! The energy in any given room at any given time is on a constant high flowing palpable frequency range. You can literally feel the buzz of excitement. People are excited, they’re connecting and they’re having joy in their hearts.
This is my fourth week living in Portland and I have loved it from day one. There is a lot to be said about living in a city and always being able to find something interesting to go to any time within reasonable price ranges.
I had a great time experiencing the the Oregon Convention Center for the first time. Very easy to get to using public transportation, a plus. Inside, there was a lot of beautiful and interesting art work to admire.
I forget exactly where I first read about Veg Fest. I think the newspaper, The Oregonian, had an article on Sara Matheny. They mentioned her newly released book, Peas and Thank You: Simple Meatless Meals the Whole Family Will Love, and her upcoming appearance doing a chef demo at the Veg Fest. By the way I stayed in that event room practically all day. Chef Demos. Love them.One of my first goals of the day was to sign up for a Northwest Veg membership. I had two motivations. One, I love supporting things I believe in (NPR & WTTW to name a couple). Two, they gave away this ridiculously beautiful bag filled with ‘free’ loot.
Included in my loot bag:
- Dave’s Killer Bread: Sprouted Wheat Bread (A whole loaf)
- A one year subscription to VegNews
- A half loaf of Happy Campers gluten free “Kiss Me Garlic Rosemary” Bread
- 2 cute mini Lara bars: PB&J and PB Cookie
- Parma! Vegan Parmesan sample
- Vega Vanilla Almondilla shake & go smoothie sample
- Kelapo Virgin Coconut Oil sample (I ? coconut oil!)
- Everyday Dish: Vegetarian and Vegan Meals for Everyone DVD (120 minutes)
- Dr. John’s Vita Crisp, Original Dill flavor
- Flamous Chips: Falafel, The Chip for Hummus Dip!
- Teeccino Herbal Coffee sample, Hazelnut (caffeine free)
- Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter sample (Nutella what?)
- Artisana’s Raw Coconut Butter sample
- Stash Peppermint Herbal Tea, (10 count teabags!)
- Manitoba Harvest Shelled Hemp Seeds (great source of omegas)
I’m still amazed. A nice mix of stuff I already love and stuff I can’t wait to try.
Part 2: My Feelings on Food
I have a hard time considering myself vegan, vegetarian, and even a raw foodist. I don’t much go for the ‘label’. I think as humans we often think in terms of all or nothing when learning about other people and whatever their habits are. We learn something about them and unintentionally a box is structured around them. I think a flexible band is more appropriate.
I am a person who likes food. Good food and whole food. If it helps people visualize, I would say I eat 98% vegetarian/vegan/raw. I admire vegan and vegetarian ideals but, as with any ideal, the pressure I feel when trying to conform makes me want to push away. It is when I let go of those firm borders that I find myself eating the best and without that self-inflicted guilt.
Here are my takes on the following:
As a whole I do better when I avoid it. From sinus to gas and bloating – these disappear when the cheese disappears. If you are familiar with these symptoms, try cutting out dairy for 6-8 weeks and see what happens. If you are not familiar with that mucus-y feeling in the back of your throat after enjoying ice cream or cheese, pay attention next time. It’s interesting and I didn’t believe the cause-effect on my body until I tried the elimination.
I do like yogurt for the benefit of the live cultures, but only plain yogurt. I don’t eat it all the time but usually I’ll get on a ‘kick’. There are other ways to get live cultures into the diet too. Supplements are readily available at most supermarkets, health stores, and online. Homemade or store-bought raw sauerkraut are also good choices. These live cultures are great for our digestive systems.
I’ll start with the things I can stand. Eggs, seafood and on even rarer occasions chicken. I like eggs and I think they have many nutritional benefits. I hated seafood until my mid-20s due to some negative aversions revolving around choking on bones and the awful smell. The first time fish ever tempted me was funny enough by the smell. It smelled good. My younger brother had cooked salmon fillets on the grill with heaps of white onions, butter, salt and pepper. It smelled fantastic and I couldn’t believe it was causing me to salivate. I tried some and fell in love. Thank you Freddy. 🙂 The rest? I can leave it. The times I do want to eat meat, I try to buy smart. Local and sustainable source preferred.
Processed Foods, Refined Flours, and Sugars:
I think these may be the most important things to reduce and eliminate out of any diet.
There are 4 types of Sugar here, only one of them is the right answer (other correct answers such as fruits, honey, agave, and maple syrup are not shown). Meet Sugar, the Bichon! She is our favorite Bichon doggie in Illinois. She even has her own facebook page.
This is the last time we had processed sugars and flour in our house – circa 2009. Why did I kick them out of our house? I have better skin, feel lighter, and have more energy without them. That’s a great reason!
When I do have something processed, say a slice of frozen pizza, I’ll top it with fresh minced garlic before throwing it in the oven. Then enjoy it for what it is, at that moment, and move on.
Veggies & Fruits:
I am obsessed!!! I love them so much. I love them in smoothies, in salads, in and on crackers, shredded, spiralized, sliced, diced, peeled, grilled, roasted and boasted. I could eat them with a fox, in a box, wearing socks and smiling all while holding rocks.That’s how much.
Part 3: What does it all mean?
So the number one question at Veg Fest was: Are you… vegan or vegetarian or raw foodist or omnivore?
Here’s the fun part. I don’t know how to answer and I don’t think we should have to. I love good whole food and want to share what I love and what brings me joy with YOU! 🙂
If you run into something on this site you don’t feel comfortable eating, let it inspire you to put your own twist on something you love!
What are your thoughts?