What’s Vegetarian Summerfest all about you ask? It’s a lot more than I thought it would be and I went there with high expectations to begin with. Summerfest is about countless sessions —from early morning boot camp and other activities to get you moving, to sessions with top medical professional from the Cleveland Clinic and Cornell University, dieticians, psycologists, ecologists, animal rights activists—, 3 meals a day with a huge selection of all vegan food, including gluten-free and raw options (just that sealed the deal for me), lots of great vibes, willingness to share knowledge (oh how much knowledge we brought back with us), and the chance to connect with so many like-minded people.
Aside from loving all the yummyness of the wonderful meals, what I learned during the three days we were there has helped me better understand my own eating habits and how to improve upon it and has inspired me to try to help others do the same.
But honeslty, my take-away from Summerfest is summed up from a pin I saw at one of the vendor’s table “Pro Life? Then you should be vegan!”. Pro life should be what it truly says it is, in a holistic sense, if one is truly concerned in saving lives then one should take on an all inclusive approach concerning all living beings on our planet, and especially the planet itself. In addition to the animal violence, the dehumanization of workers in animal processing facilities, and a disease-ridden nation (diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, etc) caused by the consumption of animal products, the planet itself is suffering a rapidly accelerating decline from all of the waste, pollution, and water contamination generated and resources required to maintain such unnecessary gastronomic luxuries. Because our actions affect everything on this planet across the board, compassion, respect, quality of life and health for all should be our chief goal.
There are countless medical and scientific studies covering the issues above. For those who are ready to take it to the next level and start saving lives and our planet, here are a few places to start:
- Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease
- The Face on Your Plate
- The China Study
- Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows
- Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes: The Scientifically Proven System for Reversing Diabetes without Drugs
- Eat for Health: Lose Weight, Keep It Off, Look Younger, Live Longer
- WHITEWASH — the Disturbing Truth About Cow’s Milk and Your Health
- Get PCRM’s (Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine) free Vegetarian Starter kit
- Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food
- Dr. Greger’s nutrition videos or buy his DVDs
- Dr. Diehl’s Health and Nutrition DVDs
- Woodstock Animal Santuary’s videos
- Mercy for Animals’ MeatVideo.com – If you’re not vegan yet, watch this or any other video on their site, you owe it to the animals you eat
- Forks Over Knives
- Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead
Promote awareness and education in your communities and schools:
- Meatless Mondays
- Host a Meatout event
- Ask local restaurants to add vegan options to their menu
- Participate in NAVS’ pledge: Encourage Your Non-Vegetarian Friends, Co-Workers and Family Members to Go Meat Free this October… and They Could Win Up to $1,000!
- Read Chris’ post on animal-friendly dissection in school
Buy vegan cookbooks and start cooking. Here are a few of my personal favorites:
- Great Chefs Cook Vegan
- Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook
- More Great Good Dairy-free Desserts
- The Artful Vegan: Fresh Flavors from the Millennium Restaurant