First Annual Connecticut Vegetarian and Healthy Living Festival: A Recap

by JL Fields on April 30, 2012

Good morning!  In my Sunday review post (have you noticed the new “Mark Your Calendar” section highlighting vegan events?) I promised to recap my experience at the First Annual Connecticut Vegetarian (and healthy living) Festival.  I announced the event on the local vegan Meet-Up and eleven RSVP’d – pretty impressive since it’s a nearly two-hour drive!  It was a two-day festival; my friend Marcia, from the Meet-Up, and I drove up together Saturday and had a wonderful time!

It was the first annual event so, as you can imagine, they had a few kinks to work out. Eager vegans like Marcia and I were at the door at 10:00 a.m. – when the festival was scheduled to begin. The doors didn’t open until 10:40 a.m.  Frankly, in those 40 minutes that we waited we were able to just visit with one another, which was great, and to watch the event space fill up with anxious vegans, vegetarians and veg-curious folks.

My main objective for the day was to attend two sessions. One with Ginny Messina, The Vegan RD, and the other with Jasmin and Mariann of Our Hen House.  Walking up and down the vendor aisles was secondary, but great fun.  I got some fun stuff!

Nice haul!

Ginny gave a standing-room-only talk on “The 7 Habits of Healthy Vegans.”  With her permission, here they are:

  1. Eat legumes
  2. Eat a variety of fruits & vegetables
  3. Get enough calcium
  4. Choose whole grains
  5. Be smart about fats
  6. Don’t shun supplements
  7. Be flexible and enjoy vegan food

She shared really great information on current research and provided a Vegan Food Guide chart with recommended foods/nutrients.  You can find more about this topic in Ginny and Jack Norris’s book Vegan for Life.

Jasmin and Mariann, co-founders of Our Hen House, also gave a fantastic presentation: “Think Vegan: Ten Tips To Get You Started.”  If you listen to their podcast you already know that they are sharp, smart and wickedly funny. That’s their presentation style, too! Their talk was really targeted to the new vegan or the veg-curious. (Did you know that at events such as these there are more non-vegans than vegans?)  They gave very practical advice on what to consider when going vegan (the reasons) to how respond to annoying questions (“but what do you eat?”)  to how to order vegan at a non-vegetarian restaurant. They do such a great job of covering the range of veganism  – from the food to the environment to, quite naturally, the animals.

All in all, a great day!  Congratulations to the organizers of the First Annual Connecticut and Healthy Living Festival.  A job well done!

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  • http://twitter.com/TheBlissfulChef Christy Morgan

    Fun!! Nice swag! I love Ginny’s approach to a healthy diet. I can’t wait to be able to hear Jasmin and Mariann speak!! Just hearing Jasmin’s voice makes me want to be a better activist. ;)

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

       All three are fantastic speakers and completely inspirational!

  • http://twitter.com/therawproject Christine

    Fantastic swag, what a great event! Great info too, thanks for the recap!

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

      I <3 swag! :) 

  • Vickie

    I enjoyed the vegfest too! It was great meeting you.   

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

      Vickie, thank you so much for saying hi and introducing yourself! I was delighted to meet you! 

  • Jen

    Thanks for the review. I saw your post on HGK. Went on Sunday and didn’t get to see other speakers, but enjoyed Chef AJ’s frozen orange chocoalte mouse and peanut butter truffles!

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

       Jen, that’s great that you got some AJ treats!

  • http://bittsblog.blogspot.com bitt

    I love that blue shirt! Looks like a fun festival.

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

       The cotton is so comfie and is a good fit. I’m picky my t-shirts! :)

  • JLoS

    Hi JL! glad you enjoyed the event. We live in CT where being a vegan is considered rather eccentric thing to do (to put it mildly, I’d say!) so I was most exited about the vegfest and impressed how many people attended it after all. Shopping was the best part I thought.
    I found 2 things most disappointing – we came on Sunday with my little daughter and 15 min before the kids program started, it was announced that ALL the kids programs are cancelled.  OK, she (who’s got the sweet tooth) and I go to listen to Alissa Dejonge “Being Naturally Sweet – The Costs and Benefits of a Refined Sugar Free Diet” and Mrs.Alissa goes on explaining how delicious the sugarless treats can be when you bake them from scratch and use the “real thing” like butter etc. She was kind enough gave another great tip too – to watch out for sauces and dressings when eating out. They often contain sugar, so you’re better of pouring some olive olive and balsamic on your steak or chicken! What do you make of that? I must be one of those “passive aggressive” guys – decided to head home instead of saying anything.
    That said, I truly am overjoyed that vegfest has finally come to our remote CT too! :)

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

       Wow! I hope you write to the organizers to give them your feedback!  I agree, it’s a big deal that CT had a VegFest and it was clearly popular – here’s to next year!

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