Vegan Holiday Festival Recap

Vegan Bodybuilder and Event organizer Robert Cheeke directing the troops!The event was a huge success. No one would have guessed that Robert came up with the idea only 10 weeks ago. I would estimate a couple thousand people showed up, in what just might have been the largest Vegan-specific gathering in North America! There was plenty of food, free samples and great information.

The showcase speakers included Raw-Vegan Ironman Brendan Brazier and “The Mad Cowboy,” Howard Lyman among others. I caught both of their presentations.

Some highlights from Brendan’s Talk and Q&A session:

  • He talked a lot about the background behind Vega, his nutritional product line. I have been taking Vega products for the past 3 months, and they are outstanding. I drink the Chocolate Vega shake every day.
  • Brendan’s goal in fine tuning his own diet was to eliminate his requirement for ANY supplements. He has achieved this goal. Note: Vega is not a supplement, it is actually a whole-food product.
  • The link between stress and overall health is something most people do not understand. Stress comes in many forms, through relationships, work, exercise and your diet. A key to increasing energy and your quality of life is in lowering the amount of stress you impose on yourself, particularly through your diet.
  • Consumption vs conservation. Most people think that the key to maintaining a high level of energy and fitness is to manage their intake of calories compared with their total caloric output. If this is the case, why do so many people who eat high calorie diets feel chronically tired? Instead of focusing the consumption of food, we should keep a watchful eye on how efficiently our body is able to assimilate nutrients and conserve energy. Again, this stresses the need for a high quality diet with nutrient dense foods, not calorically dense foods.
  • Most people are used to “borrowing energy” (through caffeine, sugars, etc), instead of managing their energy levels through proper nutrition.
  • People are overfed but undernourished. Eat more nutrient dense foods (greens, fresh veggies, fruits) to satiate your energy requirements. If you aren’t eating proper foods, your body will constantly have cravings, which will results in overeating or just eating the wrong stuff. Note: Brendan is a Raw Food Vegan, and often eats 10-15 pieces of fruit a day, in addition to his Vega Meal Replacement blender drink. He also eats a big salad every evening.
  • Do you really need fish to get your Omega fatty acids? Of course not! Fish get their omega’s from algae and plankton. So just eat that stuff directly!
  • The Maca Root from Peru has many health benefits, particularly for adrenal gland function. It is included in Vega.
  • Many people have developed food allergies, particularly to corn, soy and wheat. People who think they have such issues should get allergy tests, or just go through an elimination diet (cut out specific foods for a week and see how your body reacts). Vega doesn’t include any corn or wheat.

Howard’s talk was incredible. The auditorium was packed. His message was powerful. Howard, currently in his 60′s, was a 4th generation cattle rancher. His farm was the largest dairy operation in the state of Montana. He was a 300+ pound football player, turned “cowboy” for over 40 years of his life. After nearly dying as a result of chronic high blood pressure, he did a complete about face. He sold his farm, adopted a Vegan diet, and has dedicated his life to educating others about the importance of saving our environment, the animals and their lives; through dietary change. He travels over 300 days a year to deliver his message.

In fact, he was on the Oprah show a few years ago talking about Mad Cow Disease, food production and the cattle rendering process. Sitting next to a representative from Cattle Industry, Howard explained that in today’s factory farms it was a common practice to feed cows to other cows. How knows this is the truth, because he was a cattle man for most of his life! The industry rep could not deny it. This sort of cannibalism was rampant. To that statement, Oprah, disgusted, claimed that she “he had just stopped her cold from eating another hamburger.” With over 20 million viewers, this single statement cause waves throughout the industry. A lawsuit ensued, in which Howard and Oprah won (take note: NEVER sue anyone who has 20 million daily viewers!).

“NO ANIMAL HAS TO DIE FOR ME TO LIVE.”

- Howard Lyman on being Vegan.

What is so inspiring about Howard, is the amount of change he had to go through to get to where he is today. Everything in his entire worldview growing up reinforced the fact that eating animals was not just right, but righteous. His family, friends and business partners all made their livelihood from an industry predicated on subjugation or slaughter. How could he possibly have made such a tough decision? His logic in going Vegan was simple, he understands, deep within his heart and soul that “NO ANIMAL HAS TO DIE FOR ME TO LIVE.”

No More Bull!Check out Howard’s website , subscribe to his newsletter and get his new book, “No More Bull!“. It’s full of great information and research about healthy eating and vegan diets. He also recently filmed a documentary about his life story that will be aired on public television.

So, all-in-all the Vegan Holiday festival was a raging success. Personally, I was reminded about why I went Vegan in the first place, and made me question why I decided to stop just a few years ago. I am going to give it another go.

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