From Paleo diets to raw food, and a vegan lifestyle to organic living, eating healthier and reading labels has become important. While many are boycotting Monsanto and GMO (genetically modified organism) foods, others are adopting eating habits to change their appearance and feel better about what they put into their bodies. To educate and celebrate all that is good for the body, the Conscious Eating and Lifestyle Fair came to the Santa Clara Convention Center June 14-15.
“This event is all about healthy eating and health living,” said Event Manager Naomi Forkash. “So, we’re covering what we’re calling VVOGG – vegan, vegetarian, organic, gluten-free and non-GMO. It’s about 75 percent food and then we do have a small section dedicated to green and healthy living. So we have some holistic chiropractors and even a couple green home vendors.”
With lectures and demonstrations focused on health and home or vegan cooking, the fair had 42 vendors and saw hundreds of people come through its doors during the free two-day event.
Pacific Northwest-based vegan chef Deb Kay made a raw apple pie tart with simple ingredients: nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans), dates, cinnamon, nutmeg, dried apples and vanilla. “This is a raw dessert,” said Kay. “There’s no processed sugar. There’s no added salt and no fat in this.”
After using a food processor to chop and blend the ingredients, Kay placed the “sticky” mixture into heart-shaped ice cube trays, and brought out samples for the audience. And while the treat wasn’t as sweet as a slice of apple pie, it could easily curb the craving of anyone interested in a subtly sweet bite of apple tart – and by being fat-free, cholesterol-free, diabetic-friendly, each dessert bite was something that could be enjoyed by all.
“Vegan cooking is very, very forgiving,” said Kay. “If the cake doesn’t rise, we call it mousse. If the spices burn, we say they’re toasted. One of the beauties in vegan cooking is that you can eat the ingredients all along the way.”
In another demonstration, Kay made sweet potato and quinoa salad, and Chef Al, who turned Kay on to vegan cooking, gave demonstrations on creating food from leftovers, using cacao, and knife skills. The final demonstrator was Sher Kopman, who made a raw, vegan, organic, kale “sea-zar” salad with “garlic Zen Budda” croutons and raw, vegan, organic, spaghetti with “cheesauce.”
“You’re probably not vegans, and you may not be vegetarians,” said Kay. “It doesn’t matter where you are on your journey. We all need to get back to eating healthy foods. We know that diabetes and heart disease are killing us. So, make a small change – Meatless Mondays or something like that; just being here is a step in the right direction.”