2015 Boston Veg Food Fest Speakers

Organized and presented by

All presentations are free!  The Speaker Room is on the 2nd floor.
New this year: We have added a supplementary room where the speaker presentation will be shown live on screen. This room is located next to the stairwell, across the hall from the Speaker Room.

Authors will do book signings just outside the speaker room following their presentations.

Saturday Speakers              Sunday Speakers


Saturday Speakers

Join us to celebrate our 20th Anniversary with this all-star lineup of superb presenters!

12:00 Dairy: It's not your mother's milk. Truths and myths about a nation's favorite food
Mona Sigal, MD

Mona SigalMona Sigal, MD, is a Board Certified Emergency Physician. Born in Romania, she graduated from Sackler Medical School at Tel Aviv University in Israel, and did her Residency in Emergency Medicine at Boston Medical Center. She is currently working on a Masters in Public Health in Nutrition at University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Dr. Sigal was Chief of Emergency Services at North Shore Medical Center, Salem Hospital, Medical Director at North Shore EMS in Salem MA, and Staff Lecturer at Northeastern University. She earned a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University, and is Certified in Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine by the Wellness Forum Institute in Ohio. She is a Certified Food for Life Instructor by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. She was a visiting physician with the John McDougall MD Residential Patient Program.

As Founder and Medical Director of Nourish Health with Food For Life in Peabody MA, Dr. Sigal practices office based nutrition and lifestyle medicine. She also teaches the Food For Life curricula in the community, and lectures throughout the North Shore on plant based nutrition, disease prevention, arrest and reversal, and the connection between nutrition and disease evolution. Dr. Sigal testified in front of the USDA 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee in Washington DC.


1:00 Unlocking Your Best Self Through Plant-Based Nutrition
Rich Roll

Rich RollA graduate of Stanford University and Cornell Law School, Rich Roll is a world-renowned plant-powered ultra-endurance athlete, named one of the “25 Fittest Men in the World” by Men’s Fitness Magazine.

A former entertainment attorney, Rich found himself at age 40 unfit and struggling to get up a flight of stairs. He then transformed his life, becoming a dedicated vegan. Fueled exclusively by plants and ambition, Rich soon became the first person to accomplish a staggering endurance feat--completing five ironman-distance triathlons on five islands of Hawaii in less than a week.

Achieving many extraordinary feats of athleticism, Rich Roll also became a best-selling author with the publication in 2012 of his memoir Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself. This year Rich and his wife, vegan chef Julie Piatt, published a book of 120 delicious recipes to guide families to long-term wellness, The Plantpower Way: Whole Food Plant-Based Recipes and Guidance for The Whole Family.






2:15 Cooking Demo: Recipes from the Heart of Red Lentil
Chef Pankaj Pradhan

Chef Pankaj PradhanChef Pankaj Pradhan is the owner and chef of Red Lentil, a vegan and vegetarian restaurant in the Boston suburb of Watertown. He also works with Harvard University Dining Services in recipe development, staff training, and community engagement for vegan and vegetarian cuisine.

Chef Pankaj went to culinary school in his home country of India, then landed jobs working for Hyatt Hotels and Carnival Cruise Lines. While a chef at Carnival, he visited over 40 countries, being exposed to many different cultures and cuisines. He completed his higher training at Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Paris. This time in Paris and his travels inspired his love for French and other world cuisines, which are reflected in his menus.


3:15 Combating Disabling Diseases with Food
Michael Greger, MD

Dr Michael GregerA perennial hit speaker at our Festival, Dr. Greger scours the world's scholarly literature on clinical nutrition. In this talk, he will go through the list of the leading causes of disability, exploring the role diet may play in preventing, arresting, and even reversing our top disabling diseases. Focusing on studies published just over the last year in peer-reviewed scientific medical journals, Dr. Greger offers practical advice on how best to feed ourselves and our families to prevent, treat, and even reverse disabling disease.

Bird Flu and Carbophobia

Known as one of the most entertaining medical speakers of our time, Michael Greger, MD, is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. He has been published in numerous esteemed scientific journals, and he has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the Bird Flu Summit, the National Institutes of Health, and universities, medical schools, and conferences around the world. He is a graduate of Cornell University School of Agriculture and Tufts University School of Medicine and is Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States.

Dr. Greger's presentations are described by audiences as "riveting," "spellbinding," and "brilliant," and you can always count on great wit and humor. He is author of the books BIRD FLU: A Virus of Our Own Hatching, CARBOPHOBIA: The Scary Truth Behind America's Low Carb Craze, and the upcoming How Not To Die. His nutrition DVDs highlight the hottest topics in nutrition science. Dr. Greger's current nutrition work can be found at NutritionFacts.org, a free service that brings short, informative nutrition videos and articles to your Inbox daily.







4:30 Will Travel For Vegan Food: Why I Tried to Eat at Every Single Vegan Restaurant in the U.S.
Kristin Lajeunesse

Kristin LajeunesseIn the fall of 2011 Kristin Lajeunesse quit her job, purchased, renovated, and moved into a Chevy van (dubbed Gerty), and set out with the intention of eating at and writing about every single vegan restaurant in the United States. Three years, 50 states, and more than 600 restaurants later, Kristin shares her journey about the food she ate, the people she met, and how living out of a vehicle and traveling full-time led to incredible life changing adventures and new career opportunities. Hear about this inspiring adventure, fun stories, lessons learned, and how it relates to activism and stepping out to share your message with the world.

Kristin is the author of Will Travel for Vegan Food: A Young Woman's Solo Van-Dwelling Mission to Break Free, Find Food, and Make Love, and is the founder of the award winning website, Will Travel for Vegan Food.




5:30 Helping Farm Animals

CFAPCome learn more about efforts to help farm animals, what the issues are, and how people can make a difference for farm animals. Representative from Citizens for Farm Animal Protection, a coalition of animal protection groups, will speak and lead discussion. How would passing a ballot initiative to ban intensive confinement in Massachusetts impact farm animals nationwide? Join us to find out!



Sunday Speakers

11:00 Cooking Demo: Whole Food Cooking For Busy People.
Shayna Ashton

Shayna Ashton Shayna Ashton has been a vegetarian since birth, and a vegan for for most of her life. She has over 25 years of cooking experience, including working as a cook at the legendary Country Life Restaurant in Boston. Shayna now shares her love of wholesome plant-based food by teaching group cooking classes, vegan pantry makeovers, private classes in your kitchen, personal chef services, catering, and vegan special occasion cakes. In this class, Shayna will teach her recipes for:

Easy Chickpeasy No Cheesy Breakfast Quiche
Make ahead and eat on the run, savory chickpea-based breakfast quiches

Creamy Mushroom Casserole
Cashew cream and lots of veggies, tofu and rice make this a rich and tasty one dish meal.


12:00 Diet and Cardio Vascular Disease: What is the Evidence?
Kim Allan Williams, MD, FACC, FASNC, FAHA, President of the American College of Cardiology

Kim Allen Williams Kim Allan Williams, MD, is the chief of cardiology and James B. Herrick Professor at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He has published numerous peer reviewed articles, editorials, book chapters, and review articles in the field of nuclear cardiology and minority health issues, with emphasis on education and innovations in perfusion imaging and quantitation of ventricular function. His more recent research interests include prevention of heart disease, health care disparities and payment policy, and appropriate use of cardiac imaging.

Born and raised in inner-city Chicago, Williams attended the College of The University of Chicago and the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine. He completed his internal medicine residency at Emory University and then had overlapping fellowships in Cardiology, Clinical Pharmacology and Nuclear Medicine at the University of Chicago. He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Diseases, Nuclear Medicine, Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiovascular Computed Tomography.

Dr. Williams is President of The American College of Cardiology, a 49,000-member medical society that is the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team. The ACC leads in the formation of health policy, standards and guidelines.

Dr. Williams became a vegan in 2003 and recommends a plant-based diet to his patients.



1:15pm We are at the tipping point. Let's tip it!
Jane Velez-Mitchell

Jane Velez-MitchellNationally known TV journalist and best-selling author Jane Velez-Mitchell is editor of Jane UnChained.com - Video for the Voiceless, where she covers crimes against people, animals, and the environment. Velez-Mitchell is known for speaking up for the voiceless.

Jane UnChainedWith an accomplished background in broadcast journalism, Jane Velez-Mitchell worked for more than a decade as an anchor and reporter for Los Angeles TV station KCAL, then for eight years as a reporter for WCBS in New York City, and stints with other major-market stations and on syndicated shows. She gained national fame with an HLN show bearing her name which ran for six years, and for giving comment on CNN on high-profile cases. She is the winner of several awards and of four Genesis awards from the Humane Society of the United States.



2:30 Cooking Demo: Recipes from a Plantpower Kitchen
Rich Roll and Julie Piatt

Rich Roll and Julie PiattWorld-renowned plant-powered ultra-endurance athlete Rich Roll joins talents with his wife, artist and chef Julie Piatt, to demonstrate three ultra-delicious recipes. Julie and Rich are parents to four children, and will share practical advice and wisdom from their new book which, beyond offering 120 recipes, is a family lifestyle guide on the power of plant-based eating.

Learn to make, and take home the recipes for this delicious meal the whole family will love:

Almond Cheddar Cheese with sliced pears
King Mushroom Scallops over buckwheat soba noodles
Blackberry crumble tarte







2014 Speakers List