The Boston Vegetarian Food Festival is the longest-running event of its kind in the country, and it was back this weekend for a tremendous celebration of natural living.
Hundreds of exhibitors met to promote their products or ideas for living a healthy, plant-based lifestyle. Vegan and vegetarian cookbooks were onsale next to samples of toasted hemp seeds, alongside representatives from the Humane Society of Massachusetts.
Taft Foodmasters offered bites of Vegan Seitan Gyros, with a delicious “Soytziki” sauce with dill, cucumber, and garlic. Seitan is an alternative to soy, that is commonly known as “meat of wheat.” It is a whole-gluten product, and is a great vegan meat-substitute. The Seitan Gyro came with tomato and onion, and demonstrated a creative way to make high protein meals that are high flavor and creative.
A wide variety of other meat substitutes were available for sampling and purchasing, including the Creative Chef Tofettes, which came in unique flavors, three of which were gluten-free. The May Wah Vegarian Market displayed their inventory, and Gardein’s Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n was very flavorable.
All-vegetarian diner Veggie Galaxy was serving up a variety of flatbreads, and I grabbed a slice of Butternut Squash and Carmelized Onion with Rosemary, Sage, and Daiya Soy Mozzarella. The rich, autumnal flavors were a perfect example of the many ways that vegetarian food can be tasty and satisfying.
There were a lot of buzz-words at the festival – NON-GMO, vegan, dairy-free, raw, cruelty-free, were all represented and discussed. The Boston Vegetarian Society pulled together an exciting event that drew tens of thousands in order to educate and share information on these topics. The venue was jam packed, and it was amazing to see how many people were eager to connect with others who shared the same passion for natural, green lifestyles.
The Boston Vegetarian Food Festival was a remarkable demonstration of the drive and excitement fueling the health and lifestyle reform sweeping our nation. People are excited about vegetarian foods, about natural foods, about bettering ourselves and our environment. As I sipped a Vanilla Chai VegaONE Nutrition Shake, I looked at hemp-based clothing and books printed with vegetable-based ink.
The message promoted by the festival was comprehensive, and not limited to vegetarian foods. There are so many small ways to make a difference for your personal health, your family’s health, your community and the world at large.
1. Drink Tap Water – The festival had a water fountain, to encourage the use of this free, healthy supply and minimize the waste created by bottled water.
2. Buy Local – Support your community by purchasing from local farms and vendors.
3. Try More Greens – Even if you’re not ready to go completely vegetarian or vegan, a plant-based diet is a wonderful way to support a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.
4. NON-GMO – Avoid products made with genetically modified ingredients.
5. Cruelty-Free – Adopt practices that prevent the mistreatment of animals, via animal testing or other harmful practices.
These are just a handful of tips that visitors, including myself, picked up from the festival. To learn more, head to bostonveg.org.
A huge thanks to the Boston Vegetarian Society, all of the vendors who contributed to the event, and to all the visitors who took the time to participate in this year’s incredible event.