2009 Boston Vegetarian Food Festival Speakers

All presentations are free!    The Speaker Room is on the 2nd floor.
Authors will do book signings just outside the speaker room following their presentations. Their books will be available for purchase there, and throughout the day in the exhibitor room. Most tables can take cash or checks only.

Saturday Speakers              Sunday Speakers

Saturday Speakers

10:45 —Cooking Demo:  Favorites for Fall
Emilie Hardman, The Conscious Kitchen

This is a perfect season to enjoy warm, welcoming food and effortlessly elegant desserts.  Drawing from New England’s fall harvest, we will use foraged mushrooms and winter leeks to create a rich, earthy topping for baked chickpea polenta.  For dessert, we will learn to make a fruity Spanish olive oil cake served with vegan cocoa nibs and chocolate shavings.  We will also learn how to supreme oranges, which we will use to make a macedonia to complete the dessert -- a major crowd-pleaser.  In this demo we will learn about whole grain flours and healthy oils, as well as see some nifty little kitchen tricks that can get lots of use at home.

Emilie Hardman is a popular vegan baking and cooking instructor, award-winning blogger, restaurant reviewer, and a contributor to many food magazines and websites.  Emilie brings the experiences of an international childhood and a background as a researcher to her love of food and thoughtful eating.  She trained at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts and the Natural Gourmet Institute.  She is currently working on a cookbook of sophisticated, internationally inspired vegan desserts.

Tasting samples of the recipes taught will be offered.  Recipes will be in the Festival program.



12 Noon —The Latest in Human Nutrition 2009: Part I
Michael Greger, MD

Michael GregerA perennial hit speaker at our Festival, Dr. Greger will use an engaging interactive quiz show format that lets us test our nutrition knowledge with Bird Flusome surprising outcomes.  Dr. Greger has scoured the world’s scholarly literature on clinical nutrition and developed this brand-new talk of the latest in cutting-edge research.  Focusing on studies published just over the last year in peer-reviewedscientific nutrition journals,  Dr. Greger offers practical advice on how best to feedourselves and our families to prevent, treat, and even reverse chronic disease.

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 lectured at the Conferenceon World Affairs, the Bird Flu Summit, the National Institutes of Health, and universities, medical schools, and conferencesaround 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.         Carbophobia

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, and CARBOPHOBIA: The Scary Truth Behind America's Low Carb Craze, and has produced nutrition and cooking DVDs.

Dr. Greger will give Part II of this presentation on Sunday at 3 PM.  There is no overlap in his two talks and each part stands on its own.   

Following the presentation, Dr. Greger will do a book signing.  His books and new nutrition DVDs will be available all day at his table in the exhibitor room.  All proceeds go to charity.



1:15 —A New Global Warming Strategy:  How Environmentalists are Overlooking Vegetarianism as the Most Effective Tool Against Climate Change
Noam Mohr

Global warming poses one of the most serious threats to the global environment ever faced in human history. Yet by focusing entirely on carbon dioxide emissions, major environmental organizations have failed to account for published data showing that other gases are the main culprits behind the global warming we see today. As a result, they are neglecting what might be the most effective strategy for reducing global warming in our lifetimes: advocating a vegetarian diet.

Noam Mohr is a physicist at Queens College.  He holds degrees from Yale University and University of Pennsylvania. Noam has worked on global warming campaigns for the U.S. Public Interest Group, for which he published several papers on climate change and fuel economy standards.  He has also served as state legislative specialist for the Humane Society of the United States.


2:15 —Becoming Heart Attack-Proof: How to Prevent, Arrest, and Reverse Heart Disease
Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., MD

Caldwell. Esselstyn Jr., MD, is Preventive Medicine Consultant and Director of the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Reversal Program at The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute in Ohio.   He conducted a ground-breaking 20 year nutritional study that proved that a low-fat plant-based diet can not Prevent and Reverse Heart Diseaseonlyprevent and stop the progression of heart disease, but also reverse its effects, even in patients with severe coronary artery disease.  Come learn how to make yourself heart attack-proof through plant-based nutrition.  

Dr. Esselstyn has published over 150 scientific papers, and has been associated with theCleveland Clinic since 1968. He has served as President of the Staff and as a member of the Board of Governors. He chaired the Clinic’s Breast Cancer Task Force and headed its Section of Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery.  He also served as President of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, and organized the first National Conference on the Elimination of Coronary Artery Disease.  He was the first recipient of the Benjamin Spock Award for Compassion in Medicine.

Dr. Esselstyn graduated from Yale University and Western Reserve University Medical School, and was trained as a surgeon at Cleveland Clinic and St. George's Hospital in London.  He won an Olympic Gold Medal for rowing, and as an Army surgeon in Vietnam, he was awarded the Bronze Star.

Following the presentation, Dr. Esselstyn will do a book signing.


3:15  — Most Good, Least Harm: A Simple Principle for a Better World and Meaningful Life
Zoe Weil

Zoe Weil is co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education based in Surry Maine.  She is a pioneer in the comprehensive humane education movement and created the first M.Ed. and certificate programs in humane education in the U.S.  Humane education approaches human rights, environmental preservation, and animal protection as interconnected and integral dimensions of a healthy, just society.

In addition to Most Good, Least Harm (2009), Zoe is the author of The Power and Promise of Humane Education (for educators), Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times (for parents), and Claude and Medea: The Hellburn Dogs, Moonbeam gold medal award winner for juvenile fiction.  For over twenty years Zoe has inspired people to help solve global problems.  Zoe holds Masters Degrees from U. Penn and Harvard. She also blogs.

Join Zoe for a lively and interactive workshop, where you will have the chance to consider your epitaph, identify how to best use your skills and passions in service to the greatest good, explore the connections between your daily choices and the world you help create, and more deeply embody your values.  Zoe will speak about the 7 Keys to the MOGO (most good) principle through a presentation that will leave you motivated to make your life an expression of your deepest values.

Following the presentation, Zoe Weil will do a book signing.  Her books also will be available all day at her table in the exhibitor room.


4:15 —Stand-up Comedy Special
Myq Kaplan and Zach Sherwin

This is a special comedy presentation by the 2008 and 2009 winners of “Best Local Comedian” (Boston Phoenix) and you won’t want to miss it!  Is it a coincidence that they both are vegans?


Myq Kaplan is a comedian named Myq Kaplan.  The Comedians magazine calls him "a comedy machine, in the best possible way.  The way that some machines vend soda or prevent other machines from killing future revolutionaries – that’s how Myq Kaplan does comedy: relentlessly, methodically, unblinkingly.”

Myq, who will appear in his own half-hour special on Comedy Central in 2010, has already appeared on Comedy Central's "Live at Gotham," was featured at the 2009 Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, was the winner of the 2009 Caroline's March Comedy Madness tournament and the inaugural New York Comedy Contest, was voted 2008's Best Local Comic by readers of the Boston Phoenix, and has a grandmother who thinks he is gorgeous.

Now living in New York City, Myq describes himself as a Jewy-ish vegan who spells the name "Mike" weird.  He enjoys being hilarious to his demographic, which is anyone who might know the word "demographic."  Myq is a graduate of Brandeis and holds a Masters in Linguistics from Boston University, where he won BU's Funniest Student Competition.  Check out his website or blog.  

Zach Sherwin, aka MC Mr. Napkins, is a comic and rapper from Cambridge who combines his two favorite art forms into one hip-hop comedy act.

Zach was named Boston’s Best Comic of 2009 by the Boston Phoenix, and performed to much acclaim in Montreal’s prestigious Just For Laughs Comedy Festival.  He has appeared on VH1’s “(White) Rapper Show,” CNN Headline News's "News To Me," and the front pages of CollegeHumor and YouTube.  He hosts a weekly show at the Comedy Studio in Cambridge.  “MC Mr. Napkins has exploded onto the comedy scene and is now considered by fans and comedy peers to be one of Boston’s hottest must-see acts.”(Boston Phoenix) 

Zach produced a comedy show called "Tofunny" as part of the 2009 Alternative Comedy Festival with an all-vegan line-up of comics.  He is a graduate of Brandeis.  Read media praise about Zach.


5:15 — Panel Q & A — Vegetarianism 101:  Ask the Experts

Are you new to plant-based eating?  Curious how to get started?  Wondering about the social aspects of going veg and living with the meat eaters in your life?  Are you on the path to veg living but have some questions?  Bring them to the panel!

Moderator:  Michael Greger, MD (see bio at 12 Noon above)

Robert CheekeRobert Cheeke is a champion bodybuilder who became vegan at age 15, ran cross country for Oregon State University, then developed an interest in competitive bodybuilding.  He is a graduate of Utah College of Massage Therapy and had a career as a massage therapist.  He is Founder and President of Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness, and author of the forthcoming book of the same title.



Melanie Joy, PhD, EdM, is a professor of sociology and psychology and is the leading researcher on the psychology of meat consumption.  She is the author of two books, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism and Strategic Action for Animals.




Wheeler del Torro, founder and owner of Boston based vegan microcreamery Wheeler's Frozen Dessert Company, is author of The Vegan Scoop, 150 Recipes for Dairy-Free Ice Cream That Tastes Better Than the 'Real' Thing







Sunday Speakers


11:00 —Cooking Demo: Holiday Entertaining
Chef Rob Beaton

Learn how to host a holiday party with delicious dishes that are easy to put together and that everyone will like.  We will kick off the holiday season learning to prepare some appetizers that will please every palate and make your party shine.

Chef Rob Beaton is Director of the Vegan Culinary Arts Program at Atlantic Union College in Lancaster MA.  He was previously head chef for Weimar Lifestyle Institute in California, which uses a vegan lifestyle program to reverse diabetes and heart disease. 

Tasting samples of the recipes taught will be offered.



12:00 Noon — Heart Disease Need Never Exist or Progress
Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., MD

Transition to Plant-Based Nutrition with Taste
Ann Crile Esselstyn

Dr. Esselstyn and his wife, Ann Crile Esselstyn, have followed a plant-based diet for more than 20 years.  They work together to counsel patients, Dr. Esselstyn concentrating on the medical aspects, and Ann focusing on the practical aspects of implementing doctor’s advice, teaching healthy foods andhow to prepare them.

Dr. Esselstyn will open with a 15 minute overview of the medical information, and Ann will share from her 25 years of experience preparing plant based foods, guiding us through breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Come learn how to transition to a healthy plant-based diet, with taste!

Please read Dr. Esselstyn’s bio at Saturday 2:15 PM


Ann Crile Esselstyn graduated from Smith College and received a Masters in Education from Wheelock College.  She taught English and History for 27 years, receiving the Hostatler Award for Outstanding Teaching, and was a Field Hockey Coach for 15 years.  She juggled raising four children, teaching, and figuring out plant-based, oil free ways to cook that are delicious and appealing.  Since 2000 she has focused on creating the recipes to prevent and reverse heart disease and counseling patients on how to prepare and eat plant-based foods. 

Following the presentation, Dr. Esselstyn will do a book signing.




1:15 —The Challenges of China’s Encounter with Factory Farming
Stella Zhou

Stella Zhou is an associate of Brighter Green, a policy action tank working at the intersection of animals, environment and global development.  She is studying at Harvard School of Public Health in the Department of Global Health and Population.  She is a recent graduate of Beijing Foreign Studies University, a vegan, and is one of China’s youngest animal rights activists.

Stella will discuss the missing role of farm animals in the present discussion of public health and population issues, mapping out the scope of the problem and the lost association between food and its origin.

She will offer her perspective as a Chinese national and share common beliefs held by the Chinese public and government regarding factory farming, meat and dairy consumption in China.

While China is not yet a bona fide "factory farm nation" like the U.S., consumption of meat and dairy products continues to rise, and Western-style, industrial systems for farmed animals are becoming more common.  Given that every fifth person in the world is Chinese, even small increases in individual meat or dairy consumption will have broad environmental and climate impacts.  China is also experiencing rising levels of obesity and chronic disease, significant water and air pollution, and rapid changes in traditional diets.


2:00 — Diet and Bone Health
Paulette Chandler, MD, MPH


Are broken bones preventable?  Is continuous bone loss an inevitable outcome of aging?
What can you do to reduce your risk of fractures and bone loss? Although calcium and vitamin D are important for good bone health, bones need a host of other nutrients.  Along with exercise, potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, and a host of other nutrients found abundantly in fruits, vegetables and other pant foods promote bone health.  Join us to explore the lifestyle you need to build strong bones for life!

Paulette Chandler, MD, MPH is an associate physician in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a clinical instructor in the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  She is also the founder and director of Natural Healing Pathways, a nonprofit organization committed to educating about the benefits of a plant-based diet, exercise, stress management, and other lifestyle habits that unite mind, body, and spirit to prevent disease and enhance wellness. 

Dr. Chandler received her MPH at Harvard School of Public Health and her MD at Duke Medical School. She is a graduate of Princeton University. The focus of her career has been to educate the public about the power of healthy lifestyle choices for preventing disease and promoting wellness. 


3:00 — The Latest in Human Nutrition 2009: Part II
Michael Greger, MD

Michael GregerDr. Greger will give Part I of this presentation on Saturday at 12 Noon.  Each part presents new information and stands on its own, so attend either or both.Bird Flu

A perennial hit speaker at our Festival, Dr. Greger will use an engaging interactive quiz show format that lets us test our nutrition knowledge with some surprising outcomes.  Dr. Greger has scouredthe world’s scholarly literature on clinical nutrition and developed this brand-new talk of the latest in cutting-edge research.  Focusingon studies published just over the last year in peer-reviewed scientific nutrition journals,  Dr. Greger offerspractical advice on how best to feedourselves and our families to prevent, treat, and even reverse chronic disease.

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 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.         Carbophobia

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, and CARBOPHOBIA: The Scary Truth Behind America's Low Carb Craze, and has produced nutrition and cooking DVDs.

Following the presentation, Dr. Greger will do a book signing.  His books and new nutrition DVDs will be available all day at his table in the exhibitor room.  All proceeds go to charity.



2008 Speakers List