Colorado Veg Fest has always been known for entertainment and cultural presentations. Of course, one of the major focuses is food-tasty recipes and treats that you can eat while not harming animals in any part of the process. While preventing animal cruelty remains a key issue for vegans and vegetarians, the driving force behind this year’s Veg Fest is the medical benefits of a vegan diet.
A recent press release today Janie Gianotsos of the Colorado Animal ACTion Network, a major sponsor of Colorado Veg Fest says that a number of this year’s Veg Fest presenters are doctors who will focus on the medical benefits of meat-free diets. The distinguished presenters include Dr. Andrew Freeman, MD.
Freeman, who works at Denver’s renowned National Jewish Hospital is a cardiologist. His own work stresses exercise and diet as components of successful recovery from cardiac illnesses and for managing conditions related to them. His lecture at Veg Fest will focus on what is new in plant-based diets.
The scientific approach to touting the benefits of the vegan diet went mainstream with the publication of “Get Healthy, Go Vegan Cookbook” by another medical doctor, Dr. Neal Barnard. Barnard conducts clinical research that focuses on nutrition and the use of plant-based foods to aid in reversing illnesses and improving health.
Barnard’s cookbook has been popular since 2010, when veganism was still focused more specifically on animal rights and environmentalism, with individual health benefits often touted as an afterthought. His newest book, ”Power Foods For the Brain”, explores plant-based nutrition in depth. Barnard has long emphasized how vegan food can not only prevent the clogging of blood vessels-a leading killer among Americans of all types, but the relatively-unknown fact that plant-based diets can actually reverse such conditions.
Barnard’s cookbook weaves medical facts and explanations into his presentations of recipes, which makes the cookbook unique. In numerous cases cited by Barnard, people who went vegan as a medically-motivated act after a heart attack, were able to reverse conditions of clogged blood vessels; their bodies literally cleared out the blockages and healed themselves. Barnard is also an active collaborator with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a.k.a. PETA, but his books remain focused on medical information.
Veg Fest will undoubtedly still be a place where animal activism will be a major component, but the presence of Dr. Freeman and others focusing on nutrition and medicine reflect the widening scope of the vegan movement’s focus. Vegans only comprise about four or five percent of the US population, according to the latest Harris Polls, but vegan topics hold the attention of many in the mainstream.
Few if any cultures don’t eat meat or animal products at all, but as cooking shows and cultural foods continue to gain popularity, so does the interest in the habits of healthy people around the world. Most healthy groups of people with exceptional longevity have been found to eat meat more sparingly than in the US, where heart disease remains a leading killer.