Why Go Veg

Discover the benefits of the vegetarian lifestyle by visiting the Why Go Veg Tent. Our team of presenters includes lifelong vegetarians who have thrived on a vegetarian diet, as well as some who have become vegetarians as adults.

Veggie Fest vegetarian challenge

Benefits of a Vegetarian Lifestyle

The many benefits of the veg lifestyle range from:

  1. improved physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health;
  2. a positive environmental impact;
  3. compassion for animals.  

You will get

  1. nutritional nuggets and tips to help you begin your vegetarian journey;
  2. delicious vegetarian recipes for salads, entrées, and desserts;
  3. additional sources and access to the Veggie Fest website.  

Presentations

Simran Bhatia BS

Keeping Physically Fit as a Lifelong Vegetarian

Simran Bhatia BS

About the speaker

Simran is a tech professional and a life-long vegetarian. Her favorite way to learn a new recipe is to make it 10 different ways: Ask her about her high protein sourdough toast recipes! Simran is deeply passionate about holistic health and is excited about the continuing research surrounding whole food plant-based diets.

Talk title: Keeping Physically Fit as a Lifelong Vegetarian

Anna “Bindu” Dauksa 

Veggie Reset: Clean Eating Transformed My Busy Life 

Anna “Bindu” Dauksa 

About the speaker

Although Bindu wasn’t always plant-based, growing up vegetarian sparked a lifelong love for exploring the delicious world of veggie cuisine. After witnessing the positive impact that a vegetarian diet had on her health and well-being, she embraced a plant-forward and GF lifestyle that’s both nourishing and exciting. Bindu believes vegetarianism shouldn’t be complicated. Her passion lies in showing how easy and accessible it can be. Whether throwing together some quick tacos or incorporating local produce into your travels, there’s always a plant-based option waiting to be discovered. With over 25 countries explored, her favorite souvenir isn’t a trinket, but the inspiration to recreate the vibrant vegetarian dishes she encounters. Bindu is eager to share her experiences and ignite your own culinary adventures at Veggie Fest!

Talk title: Veggie Reset: Clean Eating Transformed My Busy Life 

Annette Henn, R.N., B.S.N., O.C.N.

Nutritional Tips for Cancer Prevention 

Annette Henn, R.N., B.S.N., O.C.N.

About the speaker

Annette is an oncology infusion nurse at Northwestern Memorial’s Warrenville Cancer Center.  She is passionate about empowering her patients to take wholistic charge of their health during treatment through healthy diet, exercise, and meditation. She received her Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate through T. Colin Campbell’s Center for Nutrition Studies in 2018 and continues ongoing study through the readings of Michael Gregor’s How Not to Die, William Li’s Eat to Beat Disease, and David Servan-Schreiber’s Anti-Cancer, A New Way of Life (to name a few).  She has been a vegetarian for almost 10 years and credits meditation as the catalyst that has connected her to her life’s purpose. She is grateful for the opportunity to support others in their health journey.

Talk title: Nutritional Tips for Cancer Prevention 

David Martinez

Whole Food Plant-based Diet for Type 2 Diabetes Prevention 

David Martinez

About the speaker

David Martinez has a Master’s degree in Special Education and Educational Administration as well as clinical administration with an emphasis on visual impairments. He is currently employed as an Orientation & Mobility Instructor for the Los Angeles Unified School District, working with blind students. He has helped edit and contribute to professional publications for the American Foundation for the Blind. While working on his degree, David founded a meditation club and co-facilitated workshops on the benefits of meditation and the vegetarian diet.

Talk title: Whole Food Plant-based Diet for Type 2 Diabetes Prevention 

Anna-Dawn Maynard

Taking the Next Step to Becoming a Vegetarian

Anna-Dawn Maynard

About the speaker

Anna-Dawn works as a User Experience Designer and has been a vegetarian her whole life. Growing up in the 1980’s, she remembers driving with her mom after school to buy organic produce and whole wheat bread– which could only be found in small, natural food stores at the time. She is excited to see healthy vegetarian diets and lifestyles continue to grow in popularity every year, and has a passion for helping others discover the world of vegetarian foods and the holistic health and wellness benefits they can offer.

Talk title: Taking the Next Step to Becoming a Vegetarian

Ben Miller

Eat Vegetarian & Feel Great

Ben Miller

About the speaker

Talk title: Eat Vegetarian & Feel Great

Mary Pomerantz

My Adventures as a Vegetarian

Mary Pomerantz

About the speaker

Mary has been a vegetarian for over 50 years, raising 3 children who all inherited her love of cooking. She became a vegetarian as part of a non-violent lifestyle that included meditation. Mary loves to share her ideas, cooking tips, and recipes at cooking classes, food demos, in blogs, and on recipe sites. For at least 10 years, she coordinated all the food demos at Veggie Fest, before retiring in 2019. She also creates and reviews recipes for the year-round Veggie Fest Chicago website.

Talk title: My Adventures as a Vegetarian

Anna Jonesi MS, MDiv

Vegetarian Meal Prep Tips

Anna Jonesi MS, MDiv

About the speaker

Talk title: Vegetarian Meal Prep Tips

Karla Levin

Raising Vegetarian Children

Karla Levin

About the speaker

Talk title: Raising Vegetarian Children

Renee Waldron-Kesepalli, R.N., M.S.N., L.M.

Reversing Type 2 Diabetes with WFPB Nutrition

Renee Waldron-Kesepalli, R.N., M.S.N., L.M.

About the speaker

Renee is a highly skilled and experienced Registered Nurse (R.N.) with a Master’s degree in Nursing Education (M.S.N.-ed) and a passion for promoting a healthy lifestyle. With 25 years of experience in various clinical roles, Renee is an active member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (L.M.-c). In addition to her nursing career, Renee has developed a keen interest in growing micro-greens and sprouts in her kitchen. She finds great joy in nurturing these plants and incorporating them into her healthy lifestyle. Renee also enjoys taking long walks in the forest preserve and dog park with her beloved golden retriever, Lucy. One of Renee’s greatest accomplishments is successfully reversing her husband’s type II diabetes within just three months through food and lifestyle changes. This personal experience has fueled her passion for reading and learning about how food and lifestyle choices can have a significant impact on disease reversal. Overall, Renee is a dedicated healthcare professional who is committed to helping others achieve optimal health through education, lifestyle changes, and a holistic approach to wellness.

Talk title: Reversing Type 2 Diabetes with WFPB Nutrition

Simran Bhatia BS

Keeping Physically Fit as a Lifelong Vegetarian

About the speaker

Anna “Bindu” Dauksa 

Veggie Reset: Clean Eating Transformed My Busy Life 

About the speaker

Annette Henn, R.N., B.S.N., O.C.N. 

Nutritional Tips for Cancer Prevention  

About the speaker

David Martinez

Whole Food Plant-based Diet for Type 2 Diabetes Prevention 

About the speaker

Anna-Dawn Maynard 

Taking the Next Step to Becoming a Vegetarian 

About the speaker

Ben Miller 

Eat Vegetarian & Feel Great 

About the speaker

Mary Pomerantz

My Adventures as a Vegetarian 

About the speaker

Anna Jonesi MS, MDiv

Vegetarian Meal Prep Tips 

About the speaker

Karla Levin

Raising Vegetarian Children 

About the speaker

Renee Waldron-Kesepalli, R.N., M.S.N., L.M.

Reversing Type 2 Diabetes with WFPB Nutrition

About the speaker

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