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It even has vegan beer. New festival will encourage Lexington to eat its vegetables

cware@herald-leader.com

Everybody knows by now that eating lots of fruits and vegetables is healthier; the question is, why don’t more people do it? A new Lexington event wants to help people find ways to embrace a plant-based diet and lifestyle.

LexVegFest will bring together speakers, activities such as yoga, and food vendors with tasty samples to celebrate vegetarian and vegan food, said organizer Katya Trent, a local health coach.

Proponents of vegetarian diets, which include no meat or fish, tout a lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and some cancers. A vegan diet takes it a step further, with no food from any animal source, including eggs, milk and other dairy products, or honey.

Nutrition experts say you don’t have to cut out all meat to achieve some of these results; federal nutrition guidelines say you still get results just from increasing your intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes.

Dr. Debora Tallio and Danita Hines, a Lexington dietician, will speak at the festival about plant-based dietary benefits, while Trent will demonstrate ways to make a delicious whole foods plant-based meals, with samples for tasting.

A plant-based diet is “good for many reasons,” Trent said. “We hope to touch on health benefits, the environment ... and compassion for animals is part of it.”

Trent, a vegetarian, said she is big on fruit. “I sometimes feel like I overdo on fruit,” she said. “I also like potatoes a lot, I have to say. I’m originally Russian and I guess I carry that from my culture.”

The festival will focus on adding nutritionally dense foods, rather than just eliminating meat or other restrictions. It won’t, for instance, be completely vegan “because there will be some people there with a drink with honey,” Trent said. “Vegan can be very unhealthy, so we say whole-foods plant based … which means going as far as you can to incorporate as much as you can.”

Jun Bug is bringing its probiotic honey soda, and Trent said there might even be a vegan beer on hand.

Vendors scheduled attend include The Weekly Juicery, Wild Earth Farm Sanctuary, Noodles & Company World Kitchen, Louisville Vegan Jerky Co., Nola Fare, Louisville Vegan Kitchen, Flora Vegan Treats, Country Boy Brewing, Back Porch Hot Sauce, Bluegrass Farmers Market, Masala Indian Cuisine, Centered, Village Trough, Jun Bug and more.

There also will be a kids’ area, where they can play, she said.

The festival also will include two yoga sessions and a presentation on vegan farming methods. KentuckyOne Health will be on hand to discuss the Ornish diet, which has been shown to reverse heart disease.

While this is the first year of the Veg Fest in Lexington, a similar event, Bluegrass VegFest, was held in Louisville in May. Trent said that more than 300 people have already said they are coming to the Lexington festival on Facebook. She’s already planning to do another one next year and hopes it will become an annual event.

“I feel Lexington is so progressive in so many ways – with art, and it’s beautiful to live here, and it’s a wonderful place … wellness is in the air, lots of yoga and biking,” Trent said. “But I feel like we don’t have enough emphasis on the healthy eating.”

If you go

LexVegFest

When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 1

Where: Housewarmings, 2312 Palumbo Drive.

Cost: Free, with samples of food and drink, and more available for purchase. There will be a children’s play area as well as yoga sessions, speakers and more.

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