One of the reasons we were in Portland was to go to the Portland VegFest which we did last Saturday. And it was a sensory overload with a massive vendor and food hall!
We had to get there pretty early on Saturday to catch Treating the Cause to and Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D. I was psyched to see him live and have been wanting to ever since seeing Forks Over Knives years ago. We got there 15 minutes early to get decent seats and the presentation was absolutely packed by the time is started.
The presentation was awesome, it basically summed up the science of heart disease and reversing it. Well, very much like this presentation. The thing is his lifestyle is extreme, very extreme, of following a whole foods plant based diet without oil, sugar, and even salt. It’s so radically different from the standard American diet that it would freak most people out. He basically recommended that people following this diet just don’t go out to eat. It’s an extreme lifestyle, but also targeted towards people on the verge of death and needing to reverse heart disease rapidly. I tend to lean towards balance with a high whole foods plant based diet being easy to follow at home, but not worried about splurging a little when going out or on vacation. Hopefully it continues to get easier to follow a healthier diet when eating out, but that hasn’t been the American way for a long time.
We decided to check out the food vendors for lunch after and there wasn’t a huge selection which was probably a good thing with all the food samples and snacking in the vendor area. I decided to try the Aviv Israeli Plant-Based Food & Drink booth and got this delicious jackfruit “brisket” over humus bowl layered with flavorful sauces and fried potatoes.
The jackfruit was very convincing as brisket with great texture, even hubby liked it who is not normally a huge jackfruit fan. He got a waffle vegan sausage sandwich from another booth which wasn’t as good as it sounded, it was a bit dry and texture on the vegan sausage lacked. But still fun.
After we just explored the massive vendor area trying everything, talking to people about the vegan happenings in Sacramento and looking for inspiration for our upcoming VegFest in January. We ended up staying the entire day because I wanted to see the last presentation by Chef AJ too.
She is an entertaining chef because she’s also a comedian and has a rocky past of dealing with health problems and addiction that she’s turned to and became passionate about a whole foods plant based lifestyle to combat. She uses the term “SOS Diet” for no sugar, oil, or salt – very much like Dr. Esseltyn again to go to the extreme to reverse years of damage. She demonstrated three great recipes, one I think I’ll use for our next company potluck.
We also walked around the entire Portland Convention Center checking out other events – there was a wedding show which looked awful, haha. A martial arts competition, and the Portland Retro Gaming Expo which was right up my alley, but couldn’t justify paying admission just to look at products.
And we covered the VegFest vendor area multiple times taking everything in. I could have spent a lot of money easily, but there’s only so much I could carry back on the flight! Good Karma was sampling new flax products which I am a huge fan of their flax milk.
Biena Snacks was there sampling delicious snacks. So was The Humane League which I would love to be more involved with.
Hubby loved trying all the hot sauces since he’s a huge fan – we literally have 3 shelves in the fridge dedicated to his collection and it’s not enough. His favorite was from Secret Aardvark and it was cool to see they’re local to Portland and meet the owners. Of course Vitamix was there!
So many shirt options, but I have such a huge collection already!
I liked everything I tried from Louisville Vegan Jerky, but the dill flavor was my favorite.
And I got new vegan dog treats from Haven Hearts to try, such a great company with a great mission. V-Dog was also there and I know my pups are a fan of their treats already.
So whew, it was a great and log day! We were pretty wiped when we got back to the hotel and not hungry at all. But it was our last night in Portland, so we explored the Downtown area on foot more taking in sights like the impressive Apple store, artistic statues of nude women, bar and restaurants galore, and ended up at Jackknife because it was on the vegan friendly list from Herbivore for having great vegan options and a nice atmosphere. We had drinks and split the vegan burger plate in front of the fireplace before heading back to the hotel to crash.
The next day it was time to pack up and head to the airport and the Portland Airport is a pretty fun visit too with lots of great shops, brew pubs, wine bars, and live music. I found lots of great vegan snack options for sale and ended up having vegan tofu pho for lunch before boarding our flight.
We were sad to leave Portland and had to decompress a bit after a fun-packed few days. So worth it! Okay, to the list:
A hearty carnivore goes vegan.
Wow on this vegan ultrarunner!
This Food Carbon Emissions Calculator is fun to compare food options impact.
Another new vegan documentary!
Vegan law firm was fish bladders out of wine and so do I!
Former Ireland president setting a good example.
I’m intrigued by vegan avocado beer.
Mayim Bialik discusses becoming vegan.
Plant based diets are better that local diets for environment footprint.
15 savory vegan pumpkin recipes.
Another reason Oregon is awesome.
Interesting post! I guess I’m in line with the presenter who says basically not go out to eat. We rarely go out, I just like to know and be aware and in control at all times of what is in my food. The salt and oil at restaurants. Eeeeek. Anytime I’d eat soup out at a restaurant I’d come home feeling like a bloated cow. Not cool! So we are rebelling against the standard American diet and that is a good thing…at least for my family. Heart disease is scary and I want to live a long time and see around for my kids (and pets).
Good point on salt, so many restaurants rely on loads of it! Agreed on heart disease.
All VegFests are fantastic! I’m fresh off the heels of the SF edition, so I’m not terribly jealous this time around. ;) Otherwise, I’d be incredibly sad to have missed this… Although Portland is always an attraction all by itself. Great rundown of the event!
They are and I would go to them all if they could. I’m sad I missed the SF VegFest, went to that one a few years ago and loved it too.
Linda from Veganosity says
I understand not eating excess amounts of oil and salt, and get it if people are in dire consequences in regards to their health. However, as you well know, if you’re an athlete, you need to consume some salt. When I run marathons I take salt tablets toward the end so I don’t cramp, or pass out. We lose so much sodium when we sweat, and if we don’t replace it there can be serious repercussions. As far as oil goes, I cook with extra-virgin olive oil when it’s needed to crisp something up, but I don’t use it often, or a lot of it. Air-fryers are a game changer! :)
Very true and I think it’s about balance. Agreed on marathons, I needed that towards the end too. True on oil and air fryers do help, but I’m get a get enough eating out too. -)