First Ever Vegan Tri-State VegFest and an Interview with the Founder!

tri-state vegfest comes to the NY area

We just learned about an incredible vegan event coming to the NYC area with the first-ever Tri-State VegFest! Held at the New Jersey Convention & Exposition Center on Saturday June 17, 2017 from 12-6PM, the Tri-State VegFest is an entirely vegan festival that showcases plant-based cuisine and cruelty-free products that are part of a vegan lifestyle. This festival is all about food, community and entertainment and attendees will have the opportunity to experience over 100 national and local exhibitors.

tri-state vegfest

tri-state vegfest

Presented by Experience Expos, a multifaceted empowerment company founded by South Florida-based entrepreneur Kyle Michaud, there will literally be something for everybody at Tri-State VegFest including the best health-conscious food and beverages, children’s activities, happy hour wine sampling, live music, cooking demos and much more. The event will also be presented in a relaxed, enjoyable atmosphere where guests do not have to worry about asking about where food is from, as it’s a guarantee that everything is ethical and 100% vegan.

VegFest is a celebration of the health, environmental, and animal welfare benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. There will be vegan food to sample and purchase, engaging speakers, exciting performers, and members from the local vegan community to answer questions and showcase what inspires them. As a participant, volunteer, or attendee, your presence assists us to achieve our mission in educating as many families and individuals as possible about the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle.

National and local vendors participating at the Tri-State VegFest include:

• Harmless Harvest – Coconut water and organic tea
• Suja Juice – offers a variety of cold-pressed organic juices packed with fruits and vegetables.
• Daiya – give you the delicious joy of dairy, without any compromise.
• Rhythm Superfoods – an innovator in plant-based snacking. Rhythm’s organic, non-gmo, gluten free, vegan and vegetarian snacks are high in nutrient
• Hippocrates Health Institute – Committed to fostering a natural lifestyle complemented by enzyme-rich, living-foods vegetarian cuisine
• Nature Has Flavor – specializes in teaching flavorful whole food cooking recipes for a plant based diet lifestyle. Learn to plan beneficial vegan meals.
• Macro Vegitarian – carefully crafted vegan meals for people who are tired of boring choices such as grilled vegetables and cardboard veggie burgers.
• Vegetarian Society of New Jersey
• And others

And to learn even more about the Tri-State VegFest, we had the honor to speak with founder, Kyle Michaud to learn more about how it started and what you can expect.

Kyle Michaud: founder of tri-state veg fest

Wellness Patterns: How did the idea for the Tri-State VegFest come about?

Kyle Michaud: The Tri-State VegFest was born out of my love for food, and animals. The cruelty-free festival allows attendees to explore 100+ vendors that have made a commitment to being vegan. Unlike other events we welcome vegans and vegan wannabes to come explore the delicious and nutritionally dense entrees that are being served up!

Wellness Patterns: What about for families?

Kyle Michaud: We encourage families to attend, and we offer FREE admission to children under 12. In addition to food and education, the festival features booths promising to engage and entertain people of all ages and backgrounds.

Wellness Patterns: How did you get into wellness?

Kyle Michaud: I started a cold-pressed juice company in 2014 and soon discovered that reaching ‘green consumers’ was more difficult then I had anticipated! I become motivated to connect eco-conscious consumers with green products and services. The festival was born!

Wellness Patterns: What are your goals for the Tri-State VegFest?

Kyle Michaud: My goal in 2017 is to become the largest event of it’s kind, promoting a plant-based lifestyle to as many people as possible. We are aiming to attract over 12,000 attendees to come explore what everyone is talking about!

Tri-State VegFest Info

Saturday, June 7, 2017
12:00PM – 6:00PM
New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center
97 Sunfield Ave,
Edison, NJ 00837

Tickets are $15 for adults, children 12 and under are FREE. Tickets can be purchased at http://vegfestexpos.com/

 

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Easy, Healthy Quinoa Recipe

easy healthy quinoa recipe: vegan and simple

Our lives are moving faster where fast food has become the norm to getting dinner on the go. But we are here to tell you that you can still enjoy a quick meal, except the ones that we’re into are way healthier, cheaper and won’t make you feel like slug after. One of our go-to quick dishes is a vegan quinoa dish that’s layered with quinoa, spinach (or a veggie of your choice), beans, squash or sweet potatoes, coconut oil, salt, pepper and an avocado. And if you make a big enough batch, you just have to plop it in your fridge and heat it up again! Oh, and the beauty of this dish is that you can add in whatever ingredients you prefer for a simple, vegan dish that’s wholesome and pretty delicious. It doesn’t get any easier than that. For this specific recipe, we tested out the Carrington Farms’ Coconut Oil Paks, a really convenient single use pack of organic unrefined cold-pressed coconut oil. This packs don’t require any refrigeration and can be used in your recipes (like this one) or in tons of other on-the-go coconut oil needs like adding them to smoothies or your coffee or even as a moisturizer or hair conditioner.

Quick and Easy Quinoa Dish

2 cups of quinoa
3 cups of frozen or fresh spinach (or whatever veg you dig)
1 cup of frozen squash or 1 whole sweet potato
coconut oil
salt and pepper
1/2 avocado
1 can of organic black beans (or bean of your choice)

Directions:

Bring water to a boil as directed on your quinoa package. Add in the quinoa when the water is boiled. Rinse your beans and add them in, along with the squash. If your including a sweet potato, you’ll need to start this part at least 50 minutes prior for the baking process. Add in your coconut oil, salt and pepper, let cook and stir periodically. Once done (around 30 minutes or so), turn off your flame and top the quinoa dish with some coconut oil and some sliced avocado! Enjoy

We were provides samples of the coconut oil for review. All opinions are our own.

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5 Foods to Boost Your Immune System

5 Foods to Boost Your Immune System

This weather sucks! From the constant colds to the dreary weather, it’s no wonder that we find ourselves hibernating, counting down the days to spring. Since part of our wellbeing depends on how we treat ourselves, it’s crucial to fuel our bodies with immune boosting vitamins and minerals found in a whole food diet. To help us out, Sara Siskind, Certified Nutritional Health Counselor and founder of Hands on Healthy has come up with five of her favorite immune boosting foods you can add into your diet to help you feel your best all winter long. Read on to check out some of her favorites:

5 Foods to Boost Your Immune System

1. Eat colorful fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals. Reach for red and pink grapefruits, oranges, kiwis, and berries. Choose cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. These fruits and veggies are not only loaded with essential vitamins and phytonutrients, but they are also rich in antioxidants which give your immune system a boot and help build up your digestive track.

2. Add in pistachios as a heart healthy, protein rich snack. Pistachios are also rich in antioxidants and the heart healthy fats to help your body absorb vitamin E. Vitamin E is needed by the immune system to fight off invading bacteria. Pistachios are also rich in vitamin B6 which also helps prevent infection and create healthy red blood cells your body needs. We love the Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites that we pop into our bag when we are on-the-go.

3. Look for omega 3 fatty acids and selenium which are found in shellfish, salmon, mackerel, and herring. These foods help white blood cells produce a protein which helps clear flu viruses out of the body. Omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in the body by clearing the lungs pathways. This can help protect from colds and respiratory infections.

4. Make yogurt your go-to breakfast or snack. Yogurt contains probiotics; “healthy bacteria” that your body needs to keep your immune system strong and keeps your digestive free of disease causing germs. Yogurt is also filled with protein that keeps your body energized and strong.

5. Spice up your food with turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon. These spices are especially known to contain antioxidants that help to protect your cells and keep inflammation in the body down. I add turmeric to soups, eggs, rice, and poultry. Fresh grated ginger brings warmth to any beverage. Cinnamon can be sprinkled on oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, and easily added to anything you bake.

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Easy, Healthy Chili Recipe

Easy, Healthy Chili Recipe

Not sure about you, but we hate the cold weather! But we have to deal with multiple layers and comforting meals to warm us up. With that we’ve been trading in our everyday healthy staples: you know salads, smoothies and so on for heartier a.k.a warmer food options like a soup and a comforting bowl of chili. Typically, though, chili offers little in the healthy department so we decided to slightly alter this standard dish changing into a healthy chili. What is that really? Well, basically it includes a lot of the same elements of a traditional chili with some slight upgrades (yes, kale is involved). Read on to check out our easy, healthy chili recipe that’s sure to be a favorite this winter.

Healthy Chili Recipe for Winter

Ingredients:

1/2 red onion, cut up
1/2 clove of garlic, cut up
3-4 stalks of carrots, cut up
1/2 cup of frozen kale or spinach
1 sweet potato
1/2 cup of corn
2 cans of organic black or kidney beans
1 package organic beef (optional)
1 package of tomato sauce
1 tomato, cut up
1 lime
splash of olive oil
dash of cinnamon
dash of turmeric
dash of cumin
salt and pepper

Optional: sour cream, cheese, avocados

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. When ready, place your sweet potato inside the oven and let cook for 45 minutes to an hour. Then, cut up the onions and garlic and place them in a pot. Turn the heat on a low-setting, add some oil. Wash the beans and add them in, along with the tomato sauce. Add in your spices (turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, chili spice, salt and pepper). Add in your kale (or spinach), carrots, and corn. Stir. Add some oil and cut up garlic to a separate pan. Add the meat and let cook. When the meat is ready, add it to the chili pot. Squeeze the lime into the pot. Stir and cover. When the sweet potato is ready, get it out of the oven, cut it up and add it to the pot. Stir and let cook for another 10 minutes. Garnish with avocados, cheese and sour cream (if desired). Enjoy!

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Taco Night Rebooted with a Killer Guacamole Recipe

We never meet a taco night that we didn’t love. Really, how could you not love a tortilla-filled meal that’s filled with cheese, beans, meat, and really anything that you want stuff all up in there?! But the issue, as with many of our favorite themed-meals, is that tacos, burritos and so on can be laded with unecessary ingredients – not to mention added calories and fats (and not the good kind). But since there’s no way that we are giving up on taco night (#tacostrong), we’ve found a way to swap out some of those not-so-great ingredients for better ones. Check out our recap (below) of some of our favorite taco night essentials and a killer guacamole recipe, if we do say so ourselves. Also, be sure to share some of your insider taco night tips on how make this dish healthier.

taco night rebooted with guacamole

Killer Guacamole Recipe…in a Good Way

Serves 4 or so…depending on the hunger factor

Ingredients:

4 ripe avocados
1 tomato
1 garlic, crushed
1/2 red onion, cut up
1 lemon
1 lime
salt and pepper

Directions:

Cut open the avocados and slice them into three sections and then diagonally into another three sections. Scoop out the avocados and place them in a bowl. Cut up the garlic, onions, tomatoes, lemon and lime and place them all in a place. Mix and mash the ingredients together – don’t overthink this part, it’s just guac. Add some salt and pepper. Taste. You may need to add more salt, pepper, lemon or lime, depending on your preferences. Devour!

taco night chopping it up
New (and amazing!) Orbit Rolling Herb Cutter for guacamole chopping (not pictured).

Handy Kitchen Helper: Taco Night and Beyond

For this guacamole recipe chopping, we used our new Orbit Rolling Herb Cutter, a genius kitchen gadget that makes it easier to chop up herbs in a flash. We used it to chop up our garlic, tomatoes, and onion and were equally happy with the quick results. For the garlic, which as we all know is annoying to chop, we thought it was pretty awesome that we could hold this leverage handle as it worked its magic to roll and cut up our garlic, cutting with precision and definition as it chopped  (quite literally) our cutting time in half. Hooray! Another bonus: this handy dandy gadget is dishwasher-friendly AND folds up so you can shove it away with ease when you’re not in chopping mode. Which might be never for some of us.

taco night made healthy

Healthy Essentials for Taco Night

Organic black or pinto beans
Quinoa
Avocados
Organic shredded cheese
Organic sour cream
Whole grain torilla
Sweet potato or pumpkin
Kale or spinach
Corn
Peppers
Lime
Lemon
Garlic
Lean proteins like chicken or fish
Salt and pepper

taco night: chips we love

Bonus essential for taco night: Chips!

Another ingredient that we can’t get enough of for taco night is chips and we just discovered the very best with the Sweet Potato Chips from Way Better Snacks. These crunchtastic chips are literally the best tortilla chips we have tried in a long time! Why? Well, they are packed with good-for-you stuff like chia seeds and sprouted grains that combined with sweet potatoes tastes amazing! Seriously, you won’t be able to stop eating these healthy chips and that’s a-okay!

We were given a sample for review purposes but these are own opinions.

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Golden Milk: Does it Live Up to the Hype?

golden milk

You may have seen some pictures of golden milk floating around your Pinterest boards or circulating on Instagram. A concoction of turmeric, coconut milk, coconut oil, and ginger, this power blend is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties that’s also high in antioxidants. With all of that goodness, you can clearly see where the ‘golden’ part comes from. Since we are always looking for alternatives for our mid-day coffee, we thought it was time to try out a hearty cup of golden milk to see what it’s all about. Read on to check out our recipe and to see if we think it lives up to the hype.

golden milk prep

Golden Milk Recipe

Ingredients:

Serves 1
2 cups of coconut milk
1 tablespoon of coconut manna or coconut oil
1 tablespoon of turmeric
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
A few shavings of fresh ginger
2-3 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup

Directions:
Add the coconut milk into a medium-sized pot. Add in the chia seeds, turmeric, ginger and your sweeter. Stir and let simmer. Add your coconut oil or manna to a cup. In a few minutes, add the blend to your cup and stir. Drink right away.

So, does golden milk live up to the hype?

Well, taste-wise the drink is very earthy and slightly bitter. We didn’t want to add in that much sweeter but found that it needed a little more to balance out the turmeric. Overall, though, we found it pretty enjoyable and something we could savor as opposed to something we would mindlessly drink, like with our lattes. It was a slower, more methodical mid-day drink that also happens to be bursting with nutrients, which is a serious win-win in our book. Also, there are several alternative recipes out there where you can use black pepper, almond milk and others without ginger or chia seeds. The best part of all, it is really, really easy to make and it’s also vegan and gluten-free.

Happy healthy drinking!

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