Toronto Vegetarian Food Fest 2016: Meeting My Idol!

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Sept 10, 2016 – I had a chance to attend the 32nd Annual Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival over the weekend and man did I have had fun!

My original plans were to get there early so I could see one of my favorite people in the world – Dr. Michael Greger of NutritionFacts.org.

I’ve been a fan of has for many years, and he puts out some of the best information on nutrition I’ve ever come across.  I’ve even referenced his site and/or videos in several of my articles.

Well, my day didn’t go as planned and we were slightly delayed getting to the underground parking – I insist that it’s all the GPS’ fault :)

When my daughter and I arrived, we rushed to get in line before his presentation started. I should have known better, but we came across hundreds and hundreds of people who also had it in mind to see him present.

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Over 40,000 people attended this weekend!

Needless to say, we weren’t able to see him in the morning, but I knew he’d be on a panel later that day.

Instead, we went to see another presentation being given by someone who’ve I’ve followed on YouTube for some time – Candice Hutchings, The Edge Veg.

Candice is absolutely amazing at making “vegan junk food”, and she did not disappoint as she showed us how to make deep-fried cauliflower “chicken”!

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Candice made her plant-based “KFC Nashville Hot Fried Chicken Recipe” live on stage!

As my daughter headed over the get samples after her presentation, I waited in line to meet Candice.

She’s such a positive and wonderful person to be around, and I’m so glad to have had a chance to meet her.

selfie-with-candice-the-edge-veg-toronto-veg-fest-2016
Thanks for the selfie, Candice!

After snapping a selfie with Candice, my daughter and I went on the hunt for samples at all the different booths.

There were so many delicious foods there: plant-based ice cream, mock meats, soups, energy bars, dips, and more!

I don’t usually include many of these processed foods in my own meals, but if anyone is on the fence about going vegan these foods are wonderful for transitioning.

But if I had to pick my favorite, it would have to be this burger that we sampled from Field Roast. It had their plant-based patty along with a slice of their plant-based cheese, and my god was it ever good! It didn’t taste like a beef burger, but so much better.

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Named “Fieldburger”, this was so incredibly good!

I will say that one vendor that I did not see at the event this year was Gardein. It’s surprising because they have an amazing selection of vegan products and they are available in just about every grocery store in the area (compared to only health food stores).

After stuffing our face, we were off to catch the panel discussion with Dr. Greger and company.

We were not late this time, but it was definitely getting full under our outdoor tent. Not that it surprised me considering the amazing panel of experts!

Dr. Greger was joined by Dr. Reed Mangels (a Registered Dietitian and author), Dr. Tushar Mehta (a local MD who’s been working in ER rooms), and fitness expert John Lewis of Bad Ass Vegan.

toronto-veg-fest-2016-dr-greger-and-panel-discussion
What a great panel!

The panel was asked questions by the moderator, and then questions were taken from the audience.

What surprised me most was when the moderator asked how many people in the audience were “veg-curious” quite a few people clapped or raised their arm! It’s so, so nice to see that many people interested in living a plant-based lifestyle, and I hope they found inspiration at the festival.

toronto-veg-fest-2016-audience
Full house (and some!).

I really enjoyed listening to what everyone had to say, but the highlight for me came after the Q&A where Dr. Greger would be giving a book signing.

I was able to personally thank Dr. Greger for all the amazing work he does to help people.  What blows me away is that he took the time to talk to each and every person who came to him.

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I finally got to meet him!

Even nearly two hours after the presentation, my daughter and I came back to the tent to get ready for another panel discussion when we noticed Dr. Greger was still there, talking and signing books! Incredible!

To end our day we listened to the “Unbound & Unstoppable: Women in Animal Advocacy” discussion, which featured one of my daughter’s heroes (who just happens to be one of the nicest people around!) – Jo-Anne McArthur or We Animals.

Jo-Anne was on a panel with some other incredible women:  Professor Keri Cronin of Brock University, Dr. Aysha Akhtar (who is a neurologist(!) and public health specialist), lawyer Camille Labchuk of Animal Justice, and Susie Coston (the National Shelter Director for Farm Sanctuary).

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Jo-Anne speaking on the panel for the “Unbound & Unstoppable: Women in Animal Advocacy” discussion.

It was such an amazing day, and I even came home with a few new shirts (which you’ll most definitely see in future videos)!

I can’t wait to attend again next year!

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