We had a great VegfestUK Scotland this past weekend. There were many exciting stalls offering a wide range of products and services, and a great number of people coming through the door.
We were pleased to see people of all ages inside the Mature Zone. Some came along to find out about Vegetarian for Life’s work, some were there to hear our talks or take part in our yoga/meditation sessions, and some simply wanted a cuppa! Everyone was welcome.
We had an exciting array of speakers this year, and the topics covered everything from living healthily today to optimal ageing, and finally to dying well.
VfL’s Roving Chef, Maggie Lister, presented two talks. In her first talk, ‘Waste not want not’ she explained how you can easily reduce food waste, demonstrating this by using left-overs to make an incredibly tasty salsa, that was super simple to prepare. Her useful tips for saving food – and money – were very helpful! Her other talk, ‘creative simple meals’, focused on how to make tasty, wholesome meals without expending masses of time and energy; a handy masterclass for so many of us who live busy lives. Don’t be afraid to try something new, she advises. Black salt, for example, tastes like egg and can be used for quiche-style dishes.
Shona Barr’s talk, ‘Raising awareness of ethical investment – value as well as values’, looked at the main areas of ethical investment, our attitudes to this, and discussed some real-life scenarios. Alec Cameron’s talk ‘Estate planning – if you leave nothing to chance, you chance nothing’ highlighted some of the potential pitfalls for loved ones if your affairs are not in order, gave us plenty of food for thought, and provided some useful information about asset protection.
Linda Anderson from Age Scotland spoke about ‘optimal ageing’, advising being active each day and explaining how easy this can be; no long gym sessions are needed, just activities like walking to the shops. She explained the benefits of positive psychology, mindfulness, and the importance of friends.
VfL’s CEO, Amanda Woodvine’s, talks ‘What real vegans eat’ and ‘Cheat your way to 5 (or more) a day’ explored the types of meals we rustle up at home and looked at these from a nutritionist’s perspective. She explained where we get our good fats and what we need to eat each day. Among her great tips, we discovered how to make the humble baked potato an interesting and nutritious snack, as well as some very easy recipes for when we’re in a great rush. For others, who perhaps find their appetite has diminished, she had some
handy tips on portion size as well as how to stock your fridge.
Kim Stringer, VfL’s Director (Scotland), talked about the work that Vegetarian for Life does, as well as speaking about how VfL’s Friends support older vegans. She also looked at ways to address some of the vegan stereotypes and jokes in her talk, ‘Positively Vegan for Life’.
Anne McWhinnie’s Dementia Friends talk, ‘If I get dementia, will they serve me meat?’, was packed with information about dementia and its effects. She used an analogy of a bookcase of books tiered by each decade lived to explain how a person’s memory and perception are altered by the disease, as well as revealing how factual information is lost more quickly than emotional states, and demonstrating just why a mirror might distress a person with dementia. By engaging in her interactive workshop, we learnt much about the condition, as well as ways in which people can live well with it.
Barbara Chalmers talked about natural funerals and life planning tools in ‘Funerals and stuff’. Who knew, for example, that 97% of people don’t shop around for their funeral, even though we know it’s going to happen? How many of us involve children in the process? A funeral, as demonstrated by Barbara’s talk, can be beautiful and life-affirming.
Early starters on Sunday morning were treated to Rose Goodenough’s meditation and conscious eating session. A series of soothing slides affirming the peace and love of the soul formed the backdrop as Rose talked about the benefits of a plant-based diet and the importance of a state of peace and relaxation. Train yourself to be still and calm, she advises.
Both days concluded in the Mature Zone with relaxing yoga sessions, presented by Erin Kenny and Rachel Smith. Their Forrest yoga classes allowed Vegfest-goers to work their abs and other muscles while allowing their breathing to calm their bodies and let their minds unwind.
A big thank you to all of our speakers and yogis, to Heart Space Dundee for sponsoring our yoga sessions, and to the wonderful people at Coast Coffee for furnishing our refreshment stall with cups. Thank you also to the event organisers and the volunteers for all their hard work!