Memphis Vegan Festival celebrates healthy eating and living

Memphis, Tenn. — Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Shelby County.

In an effort to promote a healthier lifestyle people across the Mid-South had an opportunity to enjoy the very first Memphis Vegan Festival.

“It was amazing. It’s a vegan festival and I’m used to eating meat. I got to try something new,” said festival-goer Elijah Wilson.

Hundreds of people gathered at Fourth Bluff Park to celebrate the first Memphis Vegan Festival.

“For a city that’s known for barbeque and soul food. We have a vegan community as well, " said Cynthia Daniels, event coordinator

Live music filled the air and more than 50 vendors were present offering vegan eats and more. All in an effort to showcase a healthier way of living.

“Being plant-based is not about shunning anybody from eating meat. It’s about understanding that portion of your food should be vegetables first, then meat should be the smallest size if that’s what you choose to do, " said Brandon Thomas.

Thomas, the owner of Guilt Free Pastries, a health and wellness company that specializes in keto, gluten-free, and organic pastries lost 150 pounds adopting a plant-based diet.

“I was pre-diabetic, I had very bad asthma, I took allergy shots, asthma shots, all different forms of steroids and medication. Once I lost the weight all that went away, " said Thomas.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Shelby county. As well as, the number one killer of women, causing one in three deaths each year. According to the American Heart Association, nearly 80-percent of cardiac events can be prevented through diet and exercise.

“Type two diabetic, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, those are from eating from a slave diet,” said Thomas. “Most time, they have an old school diet passed from generation to generation and that’s what’s killing them.”

While many may not adopt a 100% plant-based diet, some plan to incorporate it into their diet.

“We try to indulge in vegan cuisine as much as possible during the week, " said one festival-goer.

According to Plantbasednews.org, a recent study shows participants following plant-based diets and ‘plant-based diets or pescatarian diets’ had 73 percent and 59 percent lower odds of moderate-to-severe COVID-19 severity.

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