Today was an awesome day: Mike and I spent the entire day at the Chicago-Area Veggie Fest in Naperville.
And it’s not an overstatement to say that I have been looking forward to this day for well over a year. I marked my calendar for the festival early last year, but out-of-state visitors that weekend resulted in a last -minute change of plans. I was not going to let anything stand in my way of Veggie Fest this year!
Our first stop? the Food Court! I loved that every booth had lists posted of all the ingredients in each dish. In addition, while all the food was Vegetarian, “V” symbols on the menu clearly marked the Vegan options.
It was hard to decide, so Mike and I wound up sharing 3 entrees. One of which was these Sizzlin’ Veggie Kabobs which included Marinated Paneer Cheese and Mock Chicken in addition to the veggies, along with a yummy Mint-Yogurt sauce.
I loved how these ladies were all working together to assemble the kabobs.
We also shared an order of Vegan Caribbean “Chicken” which was pleasantly crispy & chewy.
And best of all, we shared a Dosa – essentially an Indian Crepe. The batter is fermented so the crepe tasted slightly tart, reminding me of Ethiopian Inerja bread, but crispy. It came with several items for dipping: (from left to right) a spicy potato curry, coconut chutney, spiced coconut and a soup.
We enjoyed our lunch while sitting at a communal table and enjoying some awesome Reggae music from the Chicago-area band Gizzae.
Soon after, we decided we better stake out a good seat for one of the many cooking demos (they had a great schedule with a different demo starting every 30 minutes!). There was a famous Vegan Chef from Chicago that I really wanted to see. We got seats on the center aisle and before long there was a standing room only crowd, but the chef was nowhere to be seen! Although the chef did show up (20 minutes after the demo was scheduled to start), I had already moved on to the demo in the next tent over which turned out to be FABULOUS!
Before today, I had never heard of Caroline Marie Dupont, but I am so happy to know of her now. As a certified holistic nutritionist and vegetarian for 25+ years, she had so much great wisdom to share, and she came all the way from Toronto to do so. Her session, “Happy, Healthy Vegan” covered her top tips for healthful eating & common pitfalls to watch out for. She then walked us through what she eats in a typical day, including a recipe demo.
Two tips that really stuck with me were:
- Choose Cold-Pressed Oils, and drizzle them on your food after cooking. Oils are delicate. Heat (from both processing and cooking) can result in free radicals.
- Sprouting. Sprouts are so full of nutrients, and by making them in your kitchen in a Mason Jar, they’re about as locally-grown as you can get!
And here is her typical day of eating. It follows her recommendations (which are in line with many other expert opinions I’ve read) for eating about 70-80% fruits & veggies, focusing on whole foods, and eating plenty of raw foods.
- Start your day with a glass or two of purified water
- Next up – have some fruit once you feel hungry
- Her next snack would be a Green Smoothie (about 50/50 fruit and greens)
- For lunch she has a hearty salad meal
- Then, a fresh green juice
- And lastly, at least 2-3 hours before bed, she’ll enjoy one of her Go-To Grain & Vegetable Bowls