Of all the trends sweeping the food industry, none are hotter than plant-based everything – from burgers to dairy and beverages.
With socially conscious, ready-to-tweet consumers looking to live healthier lives, support the environment, or reduce animal suffering, food companies and restaurants are increasingly aiming to meet a growing hunger for foodstuffs that didn’t start off as livestock.
But practically speaking, just how easy is it to follow a plant-based diet? If you’ve ever wanted to dip your toe into the proverbial ‘healthy eating’ waters, you’re in luck: Delaware VegFest returns to Newark on Saturday, September 21st, where you can sample healthy foods, learn nutritious recipes and cooking techniques and hear from plant-based food industry specialists. The event is free and open to the public.
Life is Delicious, a Delaware organization that provides nutritional programming for underserved communities, will host the free event at Glasgow Park from 11 am to 6 pm. The festival will feature over 50 vendors offering an array of plant-based foods and cooking demonstrations.
A sampling of the 2019 VegFest exhibitors:
Clean Juice Glen Mills
Daily Veg Healthy Kitchen – Pike Creek
2VeganGirls food truck
Fusions Taster’s Choice – premium organic olive oils
Health Challenge Delaware
Rooted Delights– vegan eats
This is VegFest’s second year of celebrating all things healthy, and the event will also include a lineup of musical performers, yoga demonstrations, a Christian comedian, artists, crafts, food trucks, activities for kids, Henna, a vegan food court, and delicious bites to taste and purchase from veg-friendly restaurants. Shelter dogs also will be onsite for adoption.
Talks by local plant-based nutrition experts
Local and national food nutrition experts will offer talks on plant-based nutrition, simple and healthy cooking techniques, and industry practices surrounding animals raised for food in factory farms.
Diane Calloway, a certified plant-based health consultant and founder of Life is Delicious, says event organizers are aiming to provide a relaxed, non-pressure environment where people can learn lots about nutrition. “Our hope is that this style of a platform will be able to demystify the confusion and bring clarity to why it is absolutely necessary to become better advocates for our individual health and wellbeing.”
Venus Williams, Woody Harrelson and Beyoncé have adopted the green food mantra
Callaway says millions of people have switched to a plant-based diet, including athletes such as Venus Williams, Hannah Teeter and Lewis Hamilton as well as celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Woody Harrelson and Beyoncé. She hopes people locally are willing to change their mindset to understand why eating healthy is so crucial.
“With healthy food manufacturers that have created foods like the beyond burger and the impossible burger which are being sold at the largest food chains in the world, the future of the average person’s diet is looking slightly brighter than it did just two years ago,” said Calloway.
Alternatives to meat products are popping up all over supermarkets, restaurants and food chains, keeping up with the trend that is seemingly here to stay.
The fast-food chain Burger King is just one of many to adopt the recent healthy eating trend that has gradually swept the nation. With its new Impossible Whopper, Burger King has incorporated an option for guests who are looking for a completely plant-based meal.
The dietitian and nutritionist Brierley Horton says plant-based diets can offer help with weight loss and lower one’s risk for cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
“A plant-based diet means eating more whole foods and plants-fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts and seeds,” said Horton.“One of the best parts about eating a plant-based diet is that you can define your strictness. It doesn’t necessarily mean plants only.”
Calloway offers advice to those who are ready to make the transition to a whole food plant-based lifestyle. Reading and learning about this specific diet is her recommended first step as well as paying attention to the ingredients in your food. “Celebrate the fact that you’re taking the slight changing step toward eating healthier. That’s a tremendous achievement,” said Calloway.