Veggie Garden and Vegeria Grand Openings

Two all-vegan restaurants will have their official grand openings today and tomorrow. Vegeria in San Antonio, which has been open since August, will have their official grand opening celebration today and tomorrow. The event will feature door prizes, music, free cupcakes on Friday, and a tamale eating contest on Saturday.

Veggie Garden in Richardson (near Dallas) is reopening under new owners. Come by on Saturday between 11:30 and 2:30 to try the revamped menu. The food is traditional Chinese-American, except everything is vegan. I have my eye on the fried ice cream! Afterwards, there will be a showing of Forks Over Knives.

Plant-Based Diet Workshop

Broccoli by Daphne Cheng. Licensed under creative commons from Vegan Stock Photo

My biggest criticism of Forks Over Knives was that it didn’t address the how of switching to a plant-based diet. Well, if you’ve got a bit of money and a spare weekend, you can get some hands on training from some of the health professionals featured in the movie.

Rip Esselstyn, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, and a whole host of other no-oil, plant-based diet folks will be hosting a weekend “immersion” with hands on information about what to eat, how to shop and cook, and how to deal with social situations. You’ll also get to taste lots of yummy foods that fit with the lifestyle at each meal.

Natala Constantine of Vegan Hope has described some of these immersions to me before, and they sound like an inspiring and informative experience. Previously, they’ve been limited to Whole Foods employees, but this one is open to the general public.

The immersion will be the weekend of August 26 to 28 in Marshall, Texas, which is just east of Louisiana in North Texas. The cost is $175 for one person or $300 for a couple. That includes meals for the weekend, but not accommodations. More details on their website.

Marshall, Texas, is mostly known for the easy drive over the border to Shreveport, Louisiana for some poker or slots. Just be warned that you’ll have to put up with lots of cigarette smoke and don’t expect to find any healthy food.

EDIT: In the comments, someone says there will be an immersion in Austin this September. I couldn’t find any details, but I’ll update if I find more information.

Forks Over Knives Showing in Texas

Only Kale Can Save Us Now t-shirt from Herbivore Clothing. WANT!
I think you might have to live under a rock (or in a mansion in Abbottabad without internet connection) not to have heard about the new documentary film Forks Over Knives. But maybe not everyone obsessively reads healthy vegan cooking blogs like I do?
In case you don’t know the deal, Forks Over Knives explores the stories of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and T. Colin Campbell. Both men grew up on farms and then later in life began to notice a pattern of unhealthy diets high in animal products and processed foods and an increase in many chronic diseases. The film posits that a lot so-called diseases of affluence (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke) can be avoided by eating an oil-free vegan diet. This theory is then tested by following the stories of real-life patients who change their diets and regain health.
Austinite Rip Esselstyn, creator of the Engine Two Diet, and honorary Texan Natala Constantine of Vegan Hope are two big proponents of an oil-free vegan diet for health. And if you’ve stepped into a Texas Whole Foods lately you’ve probably seen the explosion of Health Starts Here products, which are inspired by the oil-free vegan movement. In other words, Texas may well be the new face of healthy veganism. Who woulda thought?
Forks Over Knives will be showing in Austin, Dallas, and Houston on May 13. (Showtimes here.) Lots of tickets are being given away for free (follow me on twitter to find out about ticket give aways in Texas). Grab your friends and prepare to be inspired to eat more kale!
*As a person with a chronic disease that isn’t going to be cured by any change in diet, I have reservations about the language some people use to talk about health and vegan diets. But I think you should see this movie anyway because it still has a lot of good info to share. Just pretend I’m sitting next to you snarking about any overpromising.