Rich's Corner

Your Story! Your Voice! Your Health!

NYC Veg Food Festival... A Great Time With Awesome Speakers!

This past weekend, New York City hosted a Vegetable Food Festival and the proceeds went to the Humane League. I attended a good part of the event on both Saturday and Sunday.

Being plant based for 8 and a half months now, I was really excited when I heard about the NYC veg food fest! I really wanted to hear the vegan bodybuilders speak, as I am focusing on muscle building. To me, they are like rock stars and to hear their stories, it was an awesome experience!

But there was so much more to the veg fest than the bodybuilders. There was so much to do there, I didn't have time to see everything. There were a lot of health lectures and a ton of free sample vegan foods!

I arrived a little late on Saturday but still had a chance to hear part of Dr. Michelle McMacken's lecture about "The 7 Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Meat". Most of what she said I already knew from all the research I've done, but still it was great to hear.

Christine Vardaros spoke after Dr. McMacken. I wanted to hear Christine's story as I am athletic and she was discussing about how to eat like a pro athlete. She is a professional cyclist and has been vegan for 17 years, with 10 years as a vegetarian prior to being vegan. Her advice to vegans... eat plentiful as too many vegans don't eat enough calories, especially if they are active.

I also enjoyed Dr. Robert Graham's "Food as Medicine: A Doctor Dishes the Truth, Not “Alternative Facts”. It really is eye opening to see how plant based foods can improve and in some cases completely reverse heart disease. He believes in telling his patients to change their diets when they have heart disease and only resorts to medication as a last result. I wish other doctors would follow his model! Looking back to my own experience with pre-hypertension, I'm lucky my doctor let me lose the weight instead of taking pills... but I came up with the idea, not my doctor. Dr. Graham is revolutionary as not many doctors out there talk about the health benefits of plant based foods.

On Sunday, I went to Dr. Robert Ostfeld's lecture "Confessions of a Reformed Cardiologist: A Plant-Based Diet and Your Heart". He was really informative and I learned so much from him. He offered a hopeful message about times are changing and doctors will start learning about nutrition when they are in schools. He showed an old ad from the 1960s of doctors advertising cigarettes and compared that to where modern medicine is today with animal products. He hopes that more doctors will talk about the benefits of eating plant based foods.

I was eagerly waiting to see the vegan bodybuilders as I strive to build muscle. Will Tucker made a few videos with Robert Cheeke (author of "Shred It!) and I especially wanted to hear what he had to say. They didn't disappoint as they talked about their experiences as vegans in the bodybuilding community. They also talked about what iit was like to be African American and vegan. It was an awesome lecture and everyone did a great job!

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