VegFest Michigan 2013

Guess who went to Veg Fest…


We did!

Last Sunday, my friend Ellen and I went to Veg Fest Michigan.

The event was held in Novi, Michigan, which is about a two hour drive one-way for us, but worth it! We got there around 11:30 and spent the next few hours fighting the crowd enjoying the company of thousands of other vegans and vegan wanna-be’s as we all wandered from vendor to vendor, sampling their tasty goodies and learning about their vegan-friendly businesses.


Aside from the vendors, there were five guest speakers and three recipe demonstrations.


We were too busy sampling the goods to make it to Scott Jurek‘s talk (darn it!), but Ellen got to listen to Carol Leifer – and get her autograph- while I visited a few more vendors. Then, I joined Ellen for the John Salley presentation and the…wait for it…Dr. Barnard presentation! Woohoo!


Among the too many to mention foods we ate, Ellen noshed on a giant plant of vegan nachos. They were really, really good. I had a couple, but I made myself a giant plate of nachos the night before, so I didn’t really have a taste for them. And, I was stuffed from my sampling ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sweet Magnolia Vegan Cupcakes had a table, and Ellen and I both bought cupcakes, which were ah-mah-zing! Seriously delicious. And, they were on Cupcake Wars that same night! They didn’t win, but at least they lost to another vegan cupcake business. Sweet Magnolia ships all over the country. Check them out!

I did end up purchasing a big ol’ smoothie from Crushed Healthy Smoothies before I headed into the presentations. They were kind enough to customize one of the recipe options for me and even asked if I was allergic to the bananas I requested be left out of my smoothie. Nope, just a preference; no need to clean the blender. Wasn’t that nice? If you saw the endless line of thirsty patrons behind me, you’d agree ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ok, onto the presenters.


First up, John Salley (former NBA star for the Detroit Pistons and nearly 20 year vegetarian/vegan) entertained the crowd for about an hour by sharing an analogy relating the human body to a Ferrari car engine with the idea being you wouldn’t put junky fuel in a Ferrari, so don’t put junky fuel in your own engine/body. I thought it was a pretty decent analogy, especially for new vegans or flexitarians. John also talked about his involvement in the restaurant chain What Crepe?, which apparently has quite a few vegan options on the menu. He is also working on a line of vegan wines called The Vegan Vine. I don’t drink alcohol, but for those of you who do, you’ll definitely want to keep an eye out for this. Many traditional wines aren’t vegan because they are often clarified with fish bladder or have other non-vegan additives.

I took a few notes on what John Salley had to say:

  • There’s no need for oil to be added to food. Eat the whole food, not the oil.
  • If you’re new to the vegan way of life, or if you’re trying to help someone transition, don’t be afraid to use substitute foods like Beyond Meet and Daiya cheese.
  • You don’t have to give up your favorite family foods to become vegan. Figure out ways to veganize them. It’s easy!
  • Consider taking digestive enzymes to help with your vegan transition or if you’re having digestive issues.
  • There’s no need to salt food. John says he takes about a 1/4 tsp of Celtic sea salt as as supplement daily by letting it dissolve on his tongue. That way, his body knows it’s getting the sodium it needs without craving it throughout the day.
  • Eat raw whenever possible. John eats a high-raw, vegan diet. (High five!)

After John Salley, Dr. Barnard spoke to a packed house. He was, of course, promoting his newest book, Power Foods for the Brain, but he also spoke about plant-based diets in general. It was really interesting to see and hear Dr. Barnard in person. I’ve seen him speak on YouTube and on PBS, and, I must admit, I was surprised by how small he is; he’s not a little dude, but he certainly doesn’t have a commanding presence. (The complete opposite of John Salley!)


Both Ellen and I took some notes on what Dr. Barnard had to say. This is what we came up with:

  • As humans, we have very little need for iron. We get plenty in the foods we eat, and we should not be taking iron supplements.
  • Additionally, we should not be using cast iron pans on a regular basis to cook our food. The added iron/metal can eventually lead to swelling of the hypothalamus, which can lead to memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • If we choose to take multivitamins, we should look for a formula that does not contain minerals because we also get plenty of copper and zink in our food and (municipal) water supple.
  • Saturated fat intake has a direct correlation to memory loss. Anything over 13g a day is thought to lead to memory loss and associated afflictions. (The average person following the SAD likely consumes at least 25g of saturated fat a day.)
  • People need very little protein for optimal health. A whole-foods, plant-based diet with adequate calories will meet all of your protein needs.
  • Vitamin E, B12, B6 and Folate are great dietary additions to help thwart memory loss, but they should come from whole food sources, not supplements.
  • We should not be using aluminum. Cadaver brain exploration shows traces of aluminum in the brains of those suffer extreme memory loss. This includes cooking in aluminum pots and pans, using tin-foil, and use of aluminum storage and drinking containers.
  • The sterhols in grapes helps improve memory.
  • Lipitor may lead to memory loss. Dr. Barnard gave a statistic about a number of nursing home patients who have experienced Alzheimer’s like memory loss while taking Lipitor; the memory loss reversed itself after discontinuation of the medication.
  • Dr. Barnard suggests treating food related illness with food first and medicine second. Treat medication as the alternative treatment. (Amen!)

After the presenters, we wandered back through the vendor area whereย  I noticed John was still meeting and greeting the crowd. The line was basically non-existent, so I hung out for a few minutes and got to meet him ๐Ÿ˜€ I told him I wanted a picture for my blog, and that I, too, was a high-raw vegan. He was interested, and asked me to send him this picture, which I did!


Ellen took the picture, and she said she had trouble getting all of both of us in the same shot because John is so tall – ha ha!

Phew! That’s quite a few notes, but both speakers were just so darn entertaining! I loved the crowd’s excitement, too. The MC spoke of the increased popularity of the event, siting just a few years ago, VegMichigan could barely fill a high school auditorium, and this year, they packed a giant convention center.

Overall, VegFest was an awesome event! If we’re still living in the area, I’m hoping to make it to VegFest Cleveland on June 1. If not, I might be able to make it to VegFest Chicago. Fingers crossed I make it to at least one more VegFest this summer ๐Ÿ˜‰ And, fingers crossed, you make it to a veggie celebration near you, too!


13 responses

  1. Thanks for the great article and all the notes and details…you made me feel like I was there even though I couldn’t go. My favorite part would have been sampling all the goodies…I don’t think I could have passes up those vegan nachos! Thanks!

    • Karielyn: The samples were the best part ๐Ÿ˜‰ Although, I snagged something without asking, and got a little does of agave. I’m allergic :-/ At least I only got a sprinkling of hives on my chest *sigh* They went away during the first speaker because the air conditioning was cranked. I didn’t even have to strip down to my tank top ๐Ÿ˜‰ Ha ha.

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