The Mad City Vegan Fest!

Saturday June 8th marked Madison’s 3rd annual vegan festival and I am more than proud to have taken part in it! Chock full of enlightening speakers, cooking demos, vegan food and kombucha samples, animal rights activists, and vegan food vendors, the Mad City Vegan Fest was the place to be last Saturday! My friend Emily and I started our day out by attending a talk by Dr. Mary Clifton: How to Joyfully Lose Weight and Supercharge Your Life. Neither Emily nor I were or are looking to lose weight, but this talk revolved more heartily around the wondrous benefits of a whole foods vegan diet, the shedding of unneeded weight is simply an outcome of the virtuous diet. I must admit that we walked into the talk about twenty minutes late, therefore missing a good portion of it, but the part we were there for served as a comfort knowing that a clinical doctor was on board with this amazing lifestyle and way of eating.

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After our short appearance in the talk, Emily and I joyfully enlightened ourselves by fleeting from station to station of volunteers and vendors alike. My backpack doubled in size with all the pamphlets and stickers I picked up- great reading material for my flight to Paris in two days, right?! Not only did we obtain glorious information, recipe booklets, and coupons for various vegan brand name products, we were able to sample mouth watering, soul warming, body nourishing foods (all vegan I assure you, I mean it was the vegan fest after all!) Our mini feast included raw, living super-food granola, roasted unhulled hemp seeds with sea salt, Madison’s own Nessalla kombucha, fresh salsa with handmade tortilla chips from a local restaurant… and the list goes on! As soon as my other friend joined us, I speedily bought a gastronomical wonder of a lunch before we broke up our day a bit by making an appearance at another friends grad party. As for my lunch, just thinking about it makes my mouth water… Bought from one of the vendors, Banzo, I completely, thoroughly, entirely enjoyed some of the best hummus I have ever had along with a warm whole wheat pita and an amazing tabbouleh salad. Accompanying this was of course a Nessalla kombucha, how could I pass that up?! Unfortunately, and I am very bummed about this, but my camera was completely out of charge when I was enjoying my delightful lunch, therefore I have no pictures to show you, but… tomorrow I am having a grad party and we will be having Banzo’s hummus, tabbouleh, and babaganoosh, so in no time at all there will be some gorgeous pictures to make up for my camera’s stubbornness.

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Madison brewed Nessalla kombucha

Upon returning to the fest, I attended what turned out to be the highlight of the entire day, a talk given by Victoria Moran– Main Street Vegan: Eating Plants and Saving Animals in the Real World. I was awed by her inspiring and knowledge filled talk, Victoria is pretty high up on my role-model list. (well, I don’t actually have one… but if I did, she would be on top!) Anyway, I was very moved by this incredibly ethical vegan, New York City inhabitant, obesity survivor, sixty-some-year-old who could easily pass as forty, author, etc. In as few words as possible, she was awesome, I bought her book that I’m currently reading and loving, Main Street Vegan, and I am counting down the days (I guess years) until I am able to attend her Main Street Vegan Academy so I can become my dream job, a Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator!

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Victoria Moran, vegan, author, inspire-er

Shortly after I learned some tips in Indian cooking at Dino Sarma’s cooking demo. Being that I wasn’t particularly hungry during the demo, I took home the delicious samples of what Dino made to thoroughly enjoy at a latter time. These included lemon quinoa, raw kale salad with chickpea dressing, and daal. I enjoyed all three, however my favorite was the kale salad, the dressing proved to be slightly tangy with the beloved flavor of chickpeas all around! The other two dishes were a tad too oily for my preference, but were delicious none the less. Dino is currently writing another cookbook (he already has one out) and he said all three of these recipes would show up in that one!

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Lemon Quinoa, Daal, and Kale Salad from veg fest cooking demo

I concluded my time at the Mad City Vegan Fest by buying myself a treat of un-hulled, toasted and sea salted hemp seeds from vendor Cousin Mary Jane. They are delicious and have somewhat of a double flavor, the initial “hempyness” and the later “nuttiness”, very intriguing I must add. If you can get your hands on these little gems, I highly suggest you do!

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unhulled, sea salted hemp seeds

All in all, my first time experience at the Mad City Vegan Fest turned out to be a great one, and I am already excited to return next year!  A great welcome home it will be to Madison for me after being away for a year at college!

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