All about our recent experience at Muskoka's first annual VegFest! From the motivational speakers to the food, we will talk about it all!
If you haven't heard about this emerging trend in the vegan world, then you're missing out. Vegan Festivals are popping up all over Ontario, and they are a great way to introduce people to this sustainable lifestyle. Many vegans, as well as non-vegans attend these events, and all of the venders attending sell certified vegan products. Most VegFests have various activities ranging from motivational speakers and food demonstrators to games and contests.
Overall, the Muskoka coordinators did an amazing job at organizing this event! We were impressed with the number of vendors that came out, as well as the amount of visitors who stopped by to show their support.
We arrived an hour post opening. Our first impression of the fest was that it was much bigger than we expected- by a lot too.
As soon as we saw it, we made a B-line towards Rescue Dogs - a hotdog stand which originated in St. Catharines, Ontario. These dogs packed a punch, they offered a variety of unique toppings, and many traditional hotdog toppings as well! I had the Jack Russell, which was loaded with pulled jackfruit. Of course we didn't just stop at one hotdog, we decided to try another, the Rescue Dog featured homemade vegan chili and a creamy cheese sauce! If you ever happen to wander past a Rescue Dogs stand, GO GET A HOTDOG, okay?
We took our dogs and headed right to the stage, where Registered Nutritionist Amy Longard, was performing a food demonstration. She chose to create three common vegan breakfast foods; tofu scramble, chia seed pudding, and overnight oats. She was very knowledgeable and interactive with the crowd. When she finished the food demo, everyone in the crowd was able to grab a sample of the delicious meals she created. It was a total hit.
Personally, I think that one of the best ways to introduce people to this lifestyle is by allowing them to try the foods that we eat everyday, and to show them how incredibly easy it is to create nutritious vegan dishes! The crowd members were very engaged for the entire demonstration, and we could hear many non-vegans speak of how delicious the food was.
After Amy had finished, we hurried off to see some vendors who made it to the festival.
We tried a s'mores cookie, and a mint flavoured nanaimo bar - okay, we had agreed the day before that VegFest was going to be our cheat day... and this girl's got a sweet tooth alright? Unfortunately, due to the mouthwatering thought of devouring sweet treats, we didn't remember to take photos, but I assure you, they were to DIE for!
After gorging on some sweets and walking around, we headed back to the stage to listen to Josh LaJaunie preach about his journey into the plant-based fitness world. Josh explained that he was once 410 pounds. With the help of a wholesome plant-based diet, he was able to overcome severe obesity, and the threat of many diseases common to those who are overweight - heart disease, cancer and diabetes, to name a few.
Josh is now a competitive ultra-marathon runner. He has been featured on podcasts with Rich Roll! Hearing him speak was eloquent. Having people like Josh at events like this, is really helpful to open people's eyes about the incredible benefits gained by incorporating more living foods into your diet.
Next up, Mic The Vegan!
I was fangirling over the thought of meeting him in person, and hearing him live on stage. Mic has been so helpful throughout our transition to a plant-based diet. He has given us a lot of inspiration to keep on track, and everything that he says is backed by science and real data! Being a scientist myself, I'm quite impressed by his knowledge, and his ability to articulate his findings.
Mic has an incredible ability to captivate his audience. He was the lead of a vegan panel, which featured Tofu Goddess - a YouTuber, SLS Health Coaching, and Josh Lajunie.
As stated earlier, I think that the first annual Muskoka VegFest was a real success. I really hope that they continue to keep this festival around for years to come. It's incredibly important for new ideas and ways of life to be introduced to more northern communities here in Ontario. Festivals such as this one can really help to alter the mindset of those who may be uneducated about the subject, and those who might be wary about making the switch.
Being able to learn about new businesses and vendors who are vegan friendly in the area is beneficial as well. Since Northern Ontario is made up of smaller cities, sometimes it's hard to implement such a new lifestyle into everyday living. By exposing communities such as Muskoka to the simplicity of the change, it can really make a lasting impact on those willing to listen.
We will never stop peaching about the benefits of a whole foods, plant-based diet. It has really changed our lives for the better, and it has helped us make better choices in other areas of our personal lives as well.