The plant-based lifestyle is becoming increasingly embraced by people of all ages, races, and backgrounds in our society. As we continue forth in the 21st century, we are seeing the clear consequences of our actions to date when it comes to our personal health, and the health of our Earth. As more and more people continue to grow in conscious awareness, we are clearly seeing the consequences of our actions. We are no longer interested in burying our heads in the sand or pleading ignorance. More people are choosing a more compassionate way of life for the Earth and all living beings on it, including ourselves.

When we begin to show more compassion, love, and respect for ourselves, we begin to take a consciously active approach when it comes to everything we put into and onto our bodies. We know that we are giving our vote and support through every product we purchase. Therefore, we become more aware and discerning of what we support, and what we purchase. This is where the popularity of the plant-based lifestyle is gaining speed as we understand today that it is not just a fad, or a phase, or a religious inclination, but the most compassionate and sustainable lifestyle for our times.

Today there is no hiding the fact that we need to heal ourselves and our world. In fact, we can only heal the world, by healing ourselves. All healing involves moving towards a foundation of love—love for self, for others, and all beings. Today, more and more of us also understand the value of sustainability. As we evolve to a higher state of being, we are leaving behind the ways of the old world based on fear, violence, and separation, and instead embracing a new way of life based on love, peace, and oneness.

As people embrace these foundations, values, and paradigm shifts, they naturally gravitate towards a plant-based lifestyle, which is rooted in compassion and sustainability. More people are learning today about the inefficient and inhumane nature of consuming meat and other animal products. We are no longer choosing to ignore and look beyond these facts, or pretend they do not exist. Today we are interested in taking proactive action to improve our personal lives and life on this Earth for all species.

Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.

Albert Einstein, physicist, Nobel Prize 1921

Plant-Based Events for Raising Awareness and Eating Delicious Food

Every year, for over 3 decades the beginning of September in Toronto in Canada is marked by the Veg Food Festival. In 2009, the 25th Annual Toronto Veg Food Festival took place from September 11 to the 13. This amazing event features free admission and takes place in one of the most beautiful areas in Toronto – the Harbourfront Centre. It brings huge crowds from across the province and country each year! It is North America’s largest annual plant-based festival.

The festival has something for everyone, including delicious plant-based food, live demos, talks from famous “veggies”, over 100 different exhibitors, and much more! This was my first time to attend, as I missed it last year and I have to tell you, I attended one full day of the fair, but intend to make this the 3-day event that it is next year! It was such an enjoyable experience and as part of this article, I wish to share a few highlights from it.

Annual Toronto Veg Food Festival

The Toronto Veg Food Festival is presented each year by the Toronto Vegetarian Association. This is a highly proactive association, which I am proud to say I had a chance to volunteer for before. They are extremely supportive to inspire people to choose a healthier, greener, and more peaceful way of life.

The Veg Food Festival kicked off on Friday, September 11th at 4 pm, with opening ceremonies at 6 pm. This evening had a special treat with talks from professional triathlete and vegan champion – Brendan Brazier and fitness expert Aaron Richards.

Saturday’s features included presentations from humorist, Ben Shaberman; author of Compassionate Cooking, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau; registered dietitian and vegan nutrition expert, Brenda Davis; Brendan Brazier again, and a few others.

Sunday’s features included presentations from the author of The Dog By the Cradle, Erika Ritter; Caroline Trapp, Gene Baur, and Brenda Davis.

In the exhibitor tent and all over the grounds, there were numerous cooking demos and over 100 vegetarian, vegan, and raw foods exhibitors! On this note, who could overlook all of the amazing food that was available to try! There were various vendors who provided a selection of delectable meals that suited vegetarians, vegans, and raw foodists alike!

My Experience with the Toronto Veg Food Festival

This was a fantastic event, and the only thing I regret is that I could not have been there all three days. I was definitely not expecting the amazing variety of products and support services available for all vegetarians, vegans, and raw foodists. There was an amazing emphasis of course on the environment and how such diets work to help the environment, as well as an emphasis on compassion for animals and peace-filled lives. I was even introduced to a local, vegetarian food bank!

What really touched my heart as I was there and later reflected on this event, as if I ever had a doubt that the world is changing toward a more loving, compassionate, and conscious way of living, this event really proved that. The thousands of people who attended this event are seeking a different way, and this really showed. The smiles were abundant, the energy in the air was so positive and the variety of people of all ages and races enjoying themselves was very moving.

Another really awesome point of the festival was how well it catered to vegetarians, vegans, raw foodists, and even people who seek gluten-free options. And while there was of course some “processed” veggie food showcased, generally speaking, the products and the quality of exhibitors were exceptional I found. The focus wasn’t just on plant foods, but also on natural and organic plant foods.

To finish off I want to share with you 2 fascinating things:

First off, I was pleasantly surprised by how a plant-based way of eating can include every delicacy you can imagine. I lead a rather simple and natural kitchen, and never looked for plant-based substitutions of animal-based products, but boy are they there to suit everyone’s needs and tastes. There were vegan “meats”, vegan desserts like you wouldn’t believe, out of this world raw food options, and more. So much so, that if I was just an average person walking by (and didn’t read any signs), I would really think this is just another food fair. What I am trying to say, is that if anyone was there to “experiment” with this way of life, it definitely proved that you will be missing nothing! In fact, your diet and way of life will be enhanced in the most diverse and delicious ways!

Secondly, I walked away with an abundant selection of goodies. I was not expecting to make all these purchases, but they were too alluring. Some things which I never heard of before like raw, organic kale chips (yes, I know, I know, where have I been…) and others which I was desperately looking for like pure, raw, organic cocoa nibs (crushed cocoa beans). I also had a chance to try some new delicacies like hemp milk and rice milk (yes I have never tried these before); hemp seed butter; gluten-free, vegan, chocolate-amaranth bars; and raw, vegetable crackers, just to name a few.

As plant-based living goes mainstream, it is good to know that events like this will only increase in size and prevalence amongst more cities all over the world.