Sunday, April 29, 2012

Meatless Monday Special Edition: 2nd Annual Baltimore VegFest 2012

According to the main website at the Humane League, the Baltimore VegFest is "an annual festival celebrating all aspects of living a plant based diet. This event will feature dozens of vegan food vendors, non profits, animal rights groups/organizations, live music, workshops, speakers and lots of freebies!" This year the event was held on Saturday, April 28th from 11 am to 3 pm.

From Martinsburg, West Virginia, where we live, it takes just over an hour and a half to drive to the UMBC Campus where the 2012 Baltimore VegFest was held. Free parking was available for the event, which was proudly presented by The Humane League and The UMBC Vegetarians.


We arrived a bit late but it was still plenty of time to explore the dozens of booths set up, sample lots of tasty vegan and vegetarian foods, and gather pamphlets of information and tons of recipes and other resources.

We also made it in time to hear some of the speakers and to see the cooking demonstration by vegan chef and animal rights activist Elena Johnson. She made Glazed Vegan Sausage with seitan and Egg-free Salad (similar to egg salad) and passed out samples of each plus samples of her Vegan Tacos. She also passed out the recipes for everyone. She answered many questions. I had a brief discussion with her after the demonstration because I was wondering what I could do to keep my zucchini cakes together better. She suggested breading them before frying in a pan with a small amount of oil. I will have to try this tip! She was so sweet she even invited me to email her anytime with questions. Her email was included on her recipe sheet that she distributed.

We walked around and pet some of the dogs and cats that were available for adoption through BARCs (Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care). They were so precious!

Some of the featured speakers for the event were Erica Meier from Compassion over Killing (COK), who I'd hoped to hear but missed. I also missed Nathan Runkle from Mercy for Animals, but I did get to hear Ben Shaberman, a writer who likes to keep things on the side of humor, read exerpts from some of his writings.

My friend, Monica, and my boyfriend, Bryan, went with me to this event. I bought us each a raffle ticket and Bryan ended up winning a gift basket with a vegan candybar (Jokerz: caramel, peanuts, nougat, and chocolate), a 16 ounce jar of organic vegan peanut butter, a 16 ounce jar of vegan organic almond butter, a sample of Dream Wash Shower Smoothie Soap from LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, a Vegenaise spatula, and a coupon for free Vegenaise.

Lots of tasty food and lots of wonderful, like-minded people. What a great day! I look forward to next year's VegFest.


Humane League: Baltimore VegFest

Facebook: 2nd Annual Baltimore VegFest 2012

personal experience

Friday, April 27, 2012

Baltimore VegFest 2012

I just arrived back from vacation in Aruba last night/this morning at 1:30 am. Still unpacking and have some cleaning and much needed exercise to catch up on. I will be attending the Baltimore VegFest tomorrow for great speakers, great vegetarian and vegan foods, animal and environmentally friendly organizations, and awesome people in general!

After all this, I will be updating my blog with vacation photos, local reviews, Baltimore VegFest info and pictures, reviews of restaurants and vegetarian foods we ate in Aruba, and much more! Lots of stuff soon to come! Please subscribe so you don't miss it. Thanks, and have a great weekend. : )

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Exercise Update

So... I must confess: the last few days I have not been doing great with my exercises, but today that all changed!

I completed Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred Level One, which I used to do everyday a couple years back and was in decent shape. After completing that workout I got on the treadmill (on full incline) for about 20 minutes and burned another 80 calories or so. I feel good!

I just wish I'd have kept up with the intensity of my workouts starting a month or two ago since I leave for Aruba in just under two weeks now! (Beautiful beach photos and vacation pictures will certainly be shared upon my return.)

Maybe I can still lose at least 5 or 6 pounds before then... Wish me luck!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Why I Cannot Donate Blood Even Though I Am Healthy

A few years back I donated blood to the American Red Cross and received a letter several weeks later claiming I may have Hepatitis B and a brochure on this disease. I was told by Red Cross employees I contacted after this that I would be able to be "reinstated" to give blood if I got a full panel blood test and came back negative.

I've gotten my blood tested and have tried contacting the Red Cross via email about half a dozen times and have never received any information or any responses back whatsoever. I have tried calling several times and never got connected to the correct department. I figured I would give it a try today and was finally connected to a Red Cross employee who could give me some information.

I want to help out and give blood. I am healthy and disease-free. My partner donates blood every few months and he is also disease-free... When I finally spoke with "Alecia" or however you spell her name, she informed me that although I came back negative for any diseases and was healthy, I would never again be able to donate my blood. There is nothing wrong with my blood, but since I came up "positive" on their tests, I am more or less banned from ever giving my blood again. She was incredibly rude to me when I was asking questions. I do not appreciate this. I was not rude to her until she became condescending and raised her voice at me. At that point I simply hung up on her.

This is no way to treat someone, whether I have Hepatitis or not! Their tests are apparently wrong and incredibly sensitive. I don't even know what the deal is, but for someone to treat me so rudely when I was trying to understand why I cannot donate my healthy blood just, well, makes my blood boil!

For an organization that reaches out to help people and is always in demand of blood, you'd think they would look into my blood tests. I understand they have their policies for a reason, but there is nothing wrong with my blood. It has been tested. I am very offended with the way this employee treated me. All I was trying to find out is if there is somewhere I can fax my test results or get re-tested by the Red Cross so they can see my blood is clean and safe.

I understand they may have their reasons and safety is their number one priority, but it is unacceptable to be nasty and condescending to people!