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Autumn Adventures – Orlando and Jacksonville VegFests

During my recent travels I had the honor of being a demo chef at both the Central Florida and North Florida VegFests. I have to say both events were great fun and I met some amazing people as well. I wore my new favorite shirt to both festivals (GMO, OMG, WTF are we eating?). The shirt was a hit with the crowds, receiving supportive comments and even photo ops.

As many of you know there was a huge ballot initiative in the state of California to label GMO’s; Prop 37. Even though the “informed” majority around the world would like to know what is in there food, it was the uninformed majority that won the vote by a slim margin – 47% Yes, 53% no. $45 million was spent by big business (Monsanto, Cocao-Cola, Kellog, General Mills, Dupont…) to misguide the public into voting “No on Prop 37”. This isn’t just an “informed consumer” exaggerating the facts. The “Vote No on 37” campaign was rife with fraudulent claims and outright lies to the extent that criminal complaints were filed with the FBI. Companies like monsanto are no stranger to lies and deception. It’s unfortunate that the public wasn’t able to see past those lies though. Of course there is the possibility that the vote was rigged. Consider this, with in 2 hours of the polls closing the results of voting on Prop 37 were announced with 15 million uncounted votes remaining. How does that work?

Well, enough of politics for now. I do encourage you to learn about what’s in your food and the threat that GMO’s pose to people and the planet. I’ll keep doing my part of educating and illuminating along with you spreading the information as well. Here are my Good Morning Jacksonville appearances on First Coast News from November 3rd. My GMO/OMG/WTF t-shirt ruffled some feathers at the station so the segments never made it on to their website. I was asked to change my shirt after the first segment, which I happily did. The probably didn’t care for my “Be the change you want to see in the world” shirt either. Oh well, that won’t stop me from living my truth. Enjoy the “no bake brownie” and “avocado apple gadget”. Both featured in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Raw Food Detox.

 

 

 

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VegFest in Florida 2011 and Brownie Recipe

VegFest Lineup
Uncooking Demo

The second annual Northeast Florida VegFest on Saturday November 5th brought me back to Jacksonville, Florida for a short little visit. While in town I had a chance to visit some friends, harvest reishi mushrooms, go surfing and make some brownies during my food demo at VegFest.

Saturday started out with a visit to WJXT News 4 Jax studios for a quick interview on the morning show. The morning anchor and weather lady Rebecca Barry confessed to me she was a burger and pizza kinda girl. I told her I ate that stuff too back in the day but you can’t get away with that forever… especially if you are on TV… well maybe if they don’t show you below the neck. I was impressed by how she would jog in high heels between the morning show couch and the weather set and then back all while on the air and even talking. That must be how she works off the burgers. I gave her a copy of the book and left a bag of granola with the other morning host (not sure of his name). The next morning show guest was a group of Zumba ladies. They asked me if I’d like to join them during their segment for some Zumba dancing… hey, why not? What’s a “Zumba” anyway?

WJXT4 morning show
WJXT4 Morning Show

While we were waiting between segments I watched the male morning anchor chowing down on the granola. I assumed he was enjoying it but before I could ask him he blurted out, “this stuff tastes like dirt.” That had me confused because he just kept eating it… he must like eating dirt. The old saying about “throwing pearls to swine” comes to mind. His comment didn’t bother me much because he seemed more like the the Froot Loop fan than the raw granola type.

The morning show finished up before 9am so I headed over to VegFest to catch everyone setting up. I said my “hellos” and slipped around the corner to a breakfast spot where I could warm up with some tea and eat a pomelo I had bought the day before.

pomelo breakfast
Breakfast of Champions

Pomelos are a favorite fruit of mine. For those of you not familiar with pomelos they’re the oversized grapefruit looking things you’ll find seasonally at the grocery store. Pomelos differ from grapefruits in a couple of ways:

  • Their skin is very thick and can be easily removed in one piece
  • They don’t come apart in clean slices like grapefruit and oranges. It’s best to peel the fruit, split it in half by pulling it apart from the middle and then peel each individual slice to free it of the thick skin that surrounds it
  • They taste sweeter than grapefruit
  • They don’t make as much of a juicy mess although once you’ve finished eating one there will be a pile of peels and pith

With breakfast and the surreal land of the mainstream media behind me I walked over to VegFest for my demo. Fortunately this year they had a sound system for the food demo. The year before we had to battle the amplified main stage for the attention of our audience. This year we had a microphone on a stand. Not ideal for a food demo but better than nothing. I actually liked the hand held microphone because it made me feel like I was doing stand-up comedy. My friend Natacha volunteered to assist me in my brownie making which allowed me to narrate the process. I was pleased to see a standing room only crowd gather for the no-bake brownie demo. I did a variation of the brownie recipe on page 176 of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Raw Food Detox. There’s also another variation of the brownie called the “Bomb Dot Com Brownie“. Here’s the recipe I shared on Saturday at the VegFest:

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:8]

VegFest Demo
Brownies anyone?
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North Florida Veg Fest!

Saturday Nov. 6th 10am-5pm

Greeting Health Fans,

If you haven’t heard already, Jacksonville, Florida is have its very first VegFest this Saturday at Riverside Park. I’llĀ  be doing a raw food demo on the main stage at noon and will have copies of Zen and the Art of Gadgeting available for purchase as well. The first annual North Florida VegFest is a very special event considering Jacksonville is once again without a single vegetarian restaurant. For a brief period (Oct. 2008 – Dec. 2009) Jacksonville had Shakti Life Kitchen in Atlantic Beach. Shakti cuisine can still be found at local retailers like Biomax, Native Sun and at some European Street locations, but that’s no substitute for not having a restaurant for vegetarians and vegans. The Sunday following VegFest is a 2 year anniversary celebration for Shakti being held at Skate Station in Mandarin. Click here to get more info about this tasty event.

What’s the big deal about being a vegetarian or vegan you may be asking? If you’re reading this blog most likely you are in the know about the health and environmental benefits of a plant based diet. For those of you that are just stumbling upon this site and who are new to veggie, vegan and raw foods just consider some of these factoids:

  • Reducing or eliminating your consumption of meat and dairy lowers your chances of heart disease, stroke, cancer and other degenerative diseases.
  • Reducing or eliminating meat from your diet limits your exposure to deadly food borne bacteria like Salmonella, E. Coli and Campylobacter which are responsible for thousands of yearly deaths.
  • Eating meat contributes to raised cholesterol levels, elevated cholesterol can contribute to erectile dysfunction aka, impotence.
  • Factory farming is major source of air and water pollution.
  • Factory farming uses excessive amounts of land, water, fossil fuels and pharmaceutical drugs.
  • Meat production is an inefficient use of resources; it takes 16 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of beef.

For more insights on the benefits of going vegetarian check out this article from Vegetarian Times.

Speaking of articles. Here’s a link to my latest post at Eighty Percent Raw. At the time that I’m posting this the recipe is not up, but I’m sure it will be posted soon. It’s a tasty breakfast cereal recipe that can be served warm or cold. Enjoy the video below that will walk you through how to prepare it.

Keep it Live!

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We’re Missing Eva Already

Eva Rawposa

I wanted to take the time to share this message from friend and fellow chef/instructor Eva Rawposa. She has been part of the North Florida raw food community for over a year. It came as a surprise to many of us to hear that she is moving to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. We’re gonna miss you. The good news for folks up in that area is that they going to be getting a great chef and instructor. Word has it that she’s going to be living/working at a Bed and Breakfast there – Raw B&B, super cool. Looks like I’ll have to pay a visit. A big THANK YOU to Gary Pfeffer and The Living Food Network for putting this video together.