September 02, 2011

Vida Vegan Con day 2

Why are these people smiling? They just made their way through the stunning breakfast buffet at Vida Vegan Con, that's why. I didn't even know I was hungry until I'd hit up the over-burdened tables of fab vegan food.

First came bowls of chia pudding, cut-up, fresh fruit (my favorite), and cartons of So Delicious coconut milk yogurt, including Greek-style yogurt.

Then roasted potatoes (my favorite — uh, wait, did I already pick a favorite?), bagels, tofu scramble, biscuits and perfect white bean gravy, gluten free pancakes with a vat of maple syrup. And of course there was peach crisp. Why wouldn't there be? I'm probably leaving things out, but how can I possibly remember so many choices?

After breakfast and a welcome address by the VVC organizers, I attended a vegan travel panel, then hopped on the free Portland trolley to Whole Foods.

At Whole Foods, Fran Costigan, the queen of vegan desserts, did a presentation called Dark Chocolate Bliss. She made chocolate cake with chocolate ganache, gold-dusted bittersweet and ginger truffles, and demonstrated how to work with chocolate transfer sheets. Of course it was all informative and luscious. Note that Fran doesn't normally work with such a large whisk, but when in someone else's kitchen, making do with a smile is sometimes required!
(Find my review of Fran's dessert book here:

This being VVC, after inhaling chocolate cake and truffles, it was time to scuttle back to the conference center for lunch. By now, I was getting used to eating dessert both before and after a meal (see day 1), so no problem. Once again, the meal was planned to be inclusive of everyone's needs; raw, cooked, glutenous, gluten-free — it was on the table. Fresh, raw veggies, massaged kale salad, purple cauliflower hummus, roasted veggies, and another round of peach cobbler.

And just behold the magnificent golden beet salad.

Here's my plate piled with pesto potato salad, BBQ tempeh, kale salad, roasted veggies, and golden beets. Fab.

For some (you know who you are), the lure of Portland's food carts proved greater than the conference food, and above you see a box of batter-fried oreo cookies from Home Grown Smoker. It came with chocolate dipping sauce. I didn't taste it but others were moaning with pleasure at every bite.

In the afternoon, I attended an inspiring talk by Colleen Patrick Goudreau called, Planting the Seeds of Compassion: Communication as Activism. She spoke about how important our word choices are when communicating about veganism. She cautioned us against using words like "fake," "faux," and "mock" when naming foods since what we are eating is real, not fake, food. For example, we eat nut meat or wheat meat, not fake meat. She urged us to speak to people about compassion, not factory farming, so as to not lose their interest. I'm over-simplifying here, but I suggest looking at Colleen's writing, and especially her new book, The 30 Day Vegan Challenge, for inspiration on sharing and spreading vegan compassion.

By now you're probably wishing the day would end, and frankly, so am I. It's almost as exhausting to write about it as it was to live it. (It was exhausting but exhilarating to live it.) Saturday evening, we attended the Vida Vegan Galarama and silent auction for Woodstock Animal Sanctuary. It was a fancy dress affair for those who chose to get their fancy on, or come as you are for those for whom fancy dress is jeans and tees. The little black dress was everywhere, but some, like Vegan Backpacker Jill (also from Vegan Cuts) looked gorgeous in a smashing red dress. I wish I had a photo to share.

Naturally, there was food. My plate contained gf pizza from Sizzle Pie, Gardein strips and a yummy fresh spring roll. For dessert? A mile-long Coconut Bliss sundae bar. And I just realized I failed to use my coupon for a beer, cocktail, mocktail or wine. Darn.

I'll leave you with a video of vegan body builder Robert Cheek hoofing it on the dance

I'd like to thank for sponsoring my ticket.


  1. It looks as if it was a wonderful time! I'm hoping I can go next year!

  2. All of that delicious food is making me hungry! I can't believe they actually batter & deep fry oreos. Oye!

    That video of Robert is hilarious. He looks like he was having a blast! lol

  3. OK, I am really peckish now after your post. Doesn't fruit look so appealing when it is heaped up like that?

  4. Jackie,
    It was wonderful and I hope you can go, too. I hope I can go again!

    I saw the oreos in person and I still can't believe it. Next time I may taste a bite. :)

    Robert Cheek on the dance floor was something to behold.

    Yes it does. There's something about piles of fresh fruit that just makes me feel happy.

  5. Oh Andrea, I am so jealous, lol! It looks like such a wonderful conference with so many great sessions/seminars and lots of delicious food! I hope you had a fabulous time :-)


  6. It looks like it was so much fun! Judging from all of the re-caps I'm reading of the events, it sounds like it was incredibly inspiring and rejuvenating. Plus, it would just be great to be around that many positive, hyped-up vegans in one place! I was disappointed I couldn't go this time around. Hopefully next time I'll be there!

  7. Dessert before and after each meal! LOL. Good way to put it. I don't know whether I'd be able to handle so much tempting and delicious food all in one day: I think I would definitely end up in a lateral position at some stage.

    That golden beet salad is stunning. It looks like yellow rice almost; it just screams: "I'm delicious!"

    Deep fried Oreos w/ choc sauce???? I'm not a sweet tooth, but I'd have to have a taste of that...surely that would be the final straw before the lateral position ensued. :)

    Colleen's observation that mindfulness in word choice and how we communicate with others is so well taken. I must check into her writings and read more.

  8. Courtney,
    You should consider coming next time, or even offering a nutrition workshop. The conference was for blog readers as well as writers and you would have loved it. Plus, I would have had a chance to meet you.

    It was! I hope we'll both be at the next one.

    It was more food than I'm used to eating, and I didn't eat at half the places others managed to fit in.

    I was too full to taste the oreos and too surprised. :)

    I think Colleen's talk was one of the conference highlights for me.

  9. How lucky are you to have been there! Thanks for the great recap and all the yummy photos. And love the dance moves!

  10. I loved everything about this post & that video makes me want to be a bodybuilder more than any posed muscle shot ever could!

  11. Ricky,
    I'd say there's a good chance VVC will be held on the East Coast in 2013. Whether or not we're still blogging, we should go!

    Why thank you! I hadn't thought about being a body builder, but as I watched Robert Cheek gyrating on the dance floor, it made me wish I were less inhibited and could just go out there with him. :)

  12. Hi Tanya,
    I always enjoy it to see that we vegan people become more and more.

    Thanks for joining my yoga blog.

    Cordially greetings.

  13. They really treated you vegans right! And I love how you just hop on the trolley to Whole Foods for more wonderful food and info.

  14. How great was the Gala?! I just about died when I was standing on the dance floor and it turned into this circle of people just having the greatest time!

  15. Ursala,
    Are you sure you have the right person? :)

    The whole event was great, but I missed the circle dance. :( Next time ...

    We were treated like vegan royalty. You have to come in 2013 — you'll have a great time. And, yes, the trolley was very cool — tightly crowded, but cool.


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