Monday, September 2, 2013

First Annual Fort Lauderdale Health Food Expo



As a vegan have you ever attended a food event, a fair, or a festival and wish that you could have something that you could actually eat?  I find myself constantly having to plan ahead whenever I attend non-vegan events.  This is why the Fort Lauderdale Health Food Expo is so awesome!  This non-vegan event truly caters to vegetarians and vegans with a long list of South Florida raw restaurants, juice companies, vegan restaurants, and organic and natural alcoholic companies.  This may not have been a full-blown VegFest but it was certainly vegan and vegetarian heaven with all of the booths of local vegan and health and wellness companies! 

Prior to the event I had gotten to know Noy, the founder of the Health Food Expo.  Noy provided me with insight of his passion for health foods, and his purpose for launching an event that would include a group of vendors dedicated to health and wellness.  A few years ago he was educated about our food system, and became distraught with learning how most of our foods are sourced.  Noy had made the personal decision to stop eating out when he was home in South Florida, but he realized that traveling posed a problem to this "no eating out policy!"  One day by chance he discovered a completely plant based restaurant and was enlightened with the idea that there were healthy restaurant options across the country, (and especially in South Florida).  Thus, the concept of the Health Food Expo was birthed with the motto " Nutrition need not be compromised by lack of convenience." Health conscious individuals can find healthy options are out there - and the mission of the Health Food Expo is to bring most of these options from South Florida all together in one event!

Noy introduced me to several local restaurants that cater to those that adhere to an organic and healthy lifestyle.  A good example of a local restaurant with quite a few health options is the Royal Pig in downtown Fort Lauderdale.  The Royal Pig boasts menu items that cater to both vegans and health conscious meat eaters alike.  The reason I was excited to learn about the Royal Pig is because I have plenty of non-vegan, health conscious friends in the area, and this is great restaurant that provides a happy medium for both vegans and omnivores.

Now on to all of the amazing vegan food at the Expo!

Most vegans in South Florida will be familiar with Juicera, iConnect Café, Green Bar Kitchen, the Green Wave Café, and Veggie Xpress.  These were all on the vendor list including others such as CoCo Zia, Tower Garden, Amy's Lil' Chunks of Love, Naked Food Magazine, Make Raw Not War, Eat the Tea, Pop Lab, Healthy Xpress, and Organic Brewery.  Some of these are local companies, and others are nationwide.  I hate to admit this but considering I recently relocated to South Florida I have yet to eat at Green Bar Kitchen.  I finally got to taste their food and I was so impressed that I purchased a gift card on the spot!  Check out the picture below of vegan BBQ seitan with vegan coleslaw.  I can predict that GBK will soon become one of my favorite local restaurants! 



I wish that I could provide pictures and a description of all of the food and drink that I sampled at the event, however, the day was quite chaotic for me and I had a hard time keeping track of all of the booths I was able to sample from.  I brought two friends with me who are both enjoy health foods and who are vegetarian friendly.  We were excited to explore what our local restaurants had to offer but unfortunately the weather was not on our side, and when there was a break from the heavy downpour, the lines were very long.  We had to cherry pick and select only several booths to visit as there just was not enough time to try everything.  What was so great about this expo was that just about every vendor catered to vegans, and no one looked at me funny when I asked for vegan options.  Below you can find a few more pictures of some of the booths at the Health Food Expo. 






One of my favorite booths was of a local company in Boynton Beach called "Make Raw Not War."  I did not have a chance to take any pictures of this booth, however, they provided samples of raw energy balls.  I was able to try both the Chocolate Protini and Healthy Chia-ter flavors and they both tasted great!  Considering I have been focused on including more raw foods in my diet this is a snack I will definitely be purchasing in the near future.  This morning I actually received an email from the company with a discount code for attending the event!  I will probably end up purchasing all 4 yummy flavors that they offer, and writing up a review on this blog. 

I am very grateful that Noy put this event together and that I can enjoy a day out with liked-minded friends.  As a vegan foodie I am excited for what is to come next year for the 2nd annual Health Food Expo! 

- Kerry



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