VegFest Speaker Videos

VegFest 2020 Speakers

Michael Greger, MD FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, among countless other symposia and institutions; testified before Congress; has appeared on shows such as The Colbert Report and The Dr. Oz Show; and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous “meat defamation” trial. In 2017, he was honored with the ACLM Lifestyle Medicine Trailblazer Award.

Dr. Greger’s most recent scientific publications in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Critical Reviews in Microbiology, Family and Community Health, and the International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition, and Public Healthexplore the public health implications of industrialized animal agriculture.

Dr. Greger is also licensed as a general practitioner specializing in clinical nutrition and is a founding member and Fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. He was featured on the Healthy Living Channel promoting his latest nutrition DVDs and honored to teach part of Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s esteemed nutrition course at Cornell University. Dr. Greger’s nutrition work can be found at NutritionFacts.org, which is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit charity.

He is the author of Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching and Carbophobia: The Scary Truth Behind America’s Low Carb Craze. Two of his latest books, How Not to Die and the How Not to Die Cookbook, became instant New York Times Best Sellers.  On December 10, 2019, Dr. Greger released How Not to Diet, and in the summer of 2020, he published How to Survive a Pandemic.

Dr. Greger is a graduate of the Cornell University School of Agriculture and the Tufts University School of Medicine.

Wayne Dysinger, MD, is a lifestyle, preventive, and family medicine physician who currently serves as Chief Executive Officer for Lifestyle Medical, a new model primary care concept that is built around Lifestyle Medicine principles.  He is also Chair of both the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine and the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine, and Medical Director of the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP).  He is an active faculty member at Loma Linda University and consults, teaches, and participates in research on Lifestyle Medicine issues around the world.  Dr. Dysinger is a past President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, and has worked in various capacities with the American Medical Association, the American College of Preventive Medicine, and the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research. He was previously Chair, Department of Preventive Medicine, Loma Linda University, and faculty/co-founder of both the Family and the Preventive Medicine residencies at Dartmouth. He has also worked in faculty, patient care, and service capacities in Atlanta and Guam. Dr. Dysinger earned his MD degree from Loma Linda University School of Medicine (1986), and his MPH from Loma Linda University School of Public Health (1990). He is a Fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, the American College of Preventive Medicine, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is changing the way we talk about, think about, and treat other animals.

A recognized expert and thought leader on the culinary, social, ethical, and practical aspects of living vegan, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is an award-winning author of seven books, including the bestselling The Joy of Vegan Baking, The Vegan Table, Color Me Vegan, Vegan’s Daily Companion, On Being Vegan, and The 30-Day Vegan Challenge. Her newest book The Joyful Vegan, was published November 12, 2019.

Colleen is an acclaimed speaker and beloved host of the inspiring podcast, “Food for Thought,” which has been voted Favorite Podcast by VegNews magazine readers several years in a row, and her new podcast, “Animalogy,” is changing the way we talk about animals. She also co-founded the political action committee East Bay Animal PAC to work with government officials on animal issues in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Colleen shares her message of compassion and wellness on national and regional TV and radio programs, including on a monthly vegan segment on Good Day Sacramento, and as a monthly contributor to National Public Radio (KQED). She has appeared on the Food Network, CBS, PBS, and FOX; interviews with her have been featured on NPR, Huffington Post, and U.S. News and World Report; and her recipes have been featured on epicurious.com and Oprah.com.

Colleen lives in Oakland, CA, with her husband David and two cats, Charlie and Michiko.

A former career business executive and senior vice president at Ralph Lauren in New York, Jim Hicks has always focused on the “big picture” when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about the optimal diet for humans, he began a comprehensive study of what we eat from a global perspective–discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way.

He holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Auburn University and an MBA from the University of Hawaii, a degree he earned while serving as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard in Honolulu. In 2009, he earned a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has served on the board of directors since 2012.

A prolific writer and blogger, he published his first book, Healthy Eating, Healthy World, in 2011 and, four years later teamed up with a medical doctor to publish the 4Leaf Guide to Vibrant Health. Along the way, he has posted over 1200 health and sustainability articles on his website at hpjmh.com.

In 2004, he began referring to our food choices as the most important issue in the history of humanity, having concluded that our future as a species was riding on those choices. Ten years later, he realized that in order to preserve the fragile ecosystem that sustains us, we must also begin urgently addressing other aspects of humanity that now threaten our civilization and our long-term existence as a species.

Finally, in 2018, he devised an uplifting way of writing and speaking about those troubling issues, by envisioning how we can totally re-invent the way we live on this planet, such that we can co-exist indefinitely in a virtual paradise with nature. To be sure, this new vision has become a major part of his never-ending mission to promote health, hope, and harmony on planet Earth.

Douglas J. Lisle, PhD, is the founder of a new method of approaching human psychology and wellbeing. He describes this approach as Esteem Dynamics–its core insights adapted from a revolutionary biological approach to psychology. Central figures having major influence on Dr. Lisle’s thinking include Richard Dawkins, John Tooby, and Leda Cosmides, David Buss, Steven Pinker, and Geoffrey Miller. All of these individuals are considered academic A-list thinkers in evolutionary theory and human psychology. Somewhat surprisingly, insights from these trailblazers have yet to reach mainstream clinical psychology, and thus major advances stemming from some of the world’s greatest thinkers have yet to be systematically applied to problems of helping people improve their lives. Esteem Dynamics is the first such effort–born of Dr. Lisle’s 25-years of clinical experience wedded to the deep insights into human nature now available via evolutionary psychology.

Dr. Doug Lisle received his undergraduate education from the University of California, San Diego (summa cum laude). He completed his PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Virginia, where he was awarded the Presidents Fellowship and was a DuPont Scholar. He was then appointed Lecturer in Psychology at Stanford University, and worked on the research staff at the Department of Veterans Affairs at the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Palo Alto, California. His research and clinical interests have broadened to include health and wellness, self-esteem, relationship satisfaction, the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression, and optimizing achievement motivation. In addition to his work with Esteem Dynamics, he is currently the Director of Research for the TrueNorth Health Center and also serves as the psychologist for the McDougall Wellness Program, both located in Santa Rosa, California. He is author of the book The Pleasure Trap.

Kip Andersen is the co-director of the acclaimed films “Cowspiracy” and “What the Health.”

Kip Andersen’s awakening as a filmmaker came as a result of “An Inconvenient Truth.” After seeing the film, he dramatically changed his lifestyle and believed he was doing everything he could to help the planet. But his life took a different direction when he found out animal agriculture is the leading cause of environmental destruction. Together with Keegan Kuhn he co-produced his first film, “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret,” which became an overnight viral success and ignited the environmental movement. Following this success, he was invited to speak in front of the European Parliament, and a new cut, executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, was exclusively released on Netflix in September 2015.

He then co-produced his second film “What the Healthin 2017.

Andersen is the founder of A.U.M. Films and Media, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit focused on creating films and media that promote thrivability, compassion, and harmony for all life. He is also a serial entrepreneur, as well as a certified Jivamukti and Kundalini yoga teacher.

He is a graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo School of Business and has called San Francisco home for more than a decade.

Robby is co-founder of Mastering Diabetes and the founder of Mindful Diabetic. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of twelve and embraced a low-fat, whole food, plant-based diet four years after his diagnosis. To this day, he says that adopting this lifestyle has been one of the best decisions of his life, and since that fateful day his hemoglobin A1c value has never exceeded 6.6%. He graduated from the University of Florida in 2011 and worked at Forks Over Knives for six years before turning his attention to coaching people with diabetes full time.

He enjoys exercising every day, spending time with friends and sharing his lifestyle on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. Helping people with diabetes has gone from a desire to a true passion, and he loves inspiring others to achieve excellent health.

Dr. Jolene Bowers is a public health scientist, specializing in the study of microbes as pathogens and as symbionts. She studies the common “opportunistic pathogens” that plague us and that are often antibiotic resistant, and has shown that they are often part of our microbiome before they cause infection. It’s the dysbiosis, or imbalance of homeostasis and the microbiome, that results in disease and infection.

Dr.Bowers will discuss theOne Health Initiative,” which is a worldwide strategy for expanding interdisciplinary collaborations and communications in all aspects of health care for humans, animals, and the environment.

The initiative recognizes that human health (including mental health via the human-animal bond phenomenon), animal health, and ecosystem health are inextricably linked.  The initiative seeks to promote, improve, and defend the health and well-being of all species by enhancing cooperation and collaboration between physicians, veterinarians, and  other scientific health and environmental professionals and by promoting strengths in leadership and management to achieve these goals.  

When properly implemented, the One Health Initiative will help protect and save untold millions of lives in our present and future generations.

After a half-hour presentation on this topic, Dr. Bowers calls on stage other experts from human, environmental, and animal health and welfare professions to discuss this initiative and how all audience members can contribute to its success over the coming years.

Jason Wyrick is a New York Times bestselling author, Executive Chef of Casa Terra, Arizona’s first and only fine dining vegan restaurant, and founder of The Vegan Taste, the country’s longest running vegan meal delivery service.  

In 2001, he reversed Type II Diabetes by adopting a Vegan lifestyle.

 In 2004, he formed Arizona’s first vegan catering company and subsequently founded The Vegan Culinary Experience, the world’s first vegan food magazine.  He is the co-author of the New York Times bestseller 21 Day Weight Loss Kickstart and authored Vegan Tacos and Vegan Mexico.  Jason was named one of the top ten food influencers for compassionate eating in the country.

Chris Kalinich is the founder and culinary instructor of Plant 2 Platter, working with individuals, groups, and companies to promote positive life change through a variety of classes combining evidence-based nutrition education with practical life application. She is a PCRM-Certified Food for Life instructor, MSVA-Certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator, Nutrition Coach Practitioner for the Healing Consciousness Foundation, and a board member of Healthy World Sedona.  With her education and corporate training, along with her passion for cooking tasty cuisine, she inspires growth through action to tackle life with vitality.

Linda Voorhis is a Main Street Vegan Academy Master Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator.  She is the founder of Veganification, the Verde Valley Vegans Meetup group, and Veganification/Verde Valley Vegans Facebook group.  Linda earned her Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.  Veganification provides vegan holistic wellness activities and education for self-actualization, community, and environmental sustainability. Linda hosts vegan culinary demonstrations, classes, and potlucks, and she works with local restaurants to develop vegan-friendly menus and hold Vegan Nights Out. 

Jodi Paige is CCO (Chief Cheese Officer) of Virgin Cheese out of Las Vegas. She has been creating organic vegan cheeses for five years, shipping coast to coast. Jodi loves hosting “Ditching Dairy” demos and collaborated with UNLV Harrah’s Hospitality College to teach “Plant Power 101/102.”  Virgin Cheese is available in Sedona at ChocolaTree and Winery 1912,   Tantrum Wines in Cottonwood, and the Original Jerome Winery. Jodi is dedicated to living an authentic life in a compassionate way, grows much of her own produce, and is developing a five acre site for relocation in Jerome, AZ, at which to host guests and community sacred gathering circles. 

VegFest 2019 Speakers

Joel Kahn, MD, of Detroit, Michigan, is a practicing cardiologist, a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine and an Associate Professor at Oakland University/Beaumont Hospital medical schools. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Michigan Medical School and trained in interventional cardiology in Dallas and Kansas City.

Known as “America’s Holistic Heart Doc,” Dr. Kahn is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and maintains sub-specialty board certification in Cardiovascular Medicine. He was the first physician worldwide to complete the Metabolic Cardiology curriculum in conjunction with A4M/MMI and the University of South Florida.

Dr. Kahn has authored scores of publications in his field, including articles, book chapters, and monographs. He writes articles for MindBodyGreen, Thrive Global, and Reader’s Digest, and has five books in publication, including Your Whole Heart Solution, Dead Execs Don’t Get Bonuses, and The Plant Based Solution. He has made regular appearances on Dr. Phil, The Doctors Show, and Fox 2 News. He has been awarded a Health Hero award from Crain’s Detroit Business. He owns three health restaurants in Detroit and Austin, Texas. Dr. Kahn can be found at www.drjoelkahn.com.

As Co-Directors of the the Alzheimer’s Prevention Program at Loma Linda University Medical Center, Dean and Ayesha Sherzai, MDs, through research and their extensive collective medical backgrounds, work to demystify the steps to achieving long-term brain health and the prevention of devastating diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. With their Healthy Minds Initiative project, they host local workshops in community centers, churches, or other places where members of the community are known to congregate, to arm people with knowledge to improve brain health. They involve local community leaders across all industries–government, civic, business, faith–and equip them with the best strategies to approach brain health education and implementation for their communities. Learn more at teamsherzai.com.

Dean Sherzai, MD, PhD, is co-director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Program at Loma Linda University. Dean trained in Neurology at Georgetown University School of Medicine and completed fellowships in neurodegenerative diseases and dementia at the National Institutes of Health and UC San Diego. He also holds a PhD in Healthcare Leadership with a focus on community health from Andrews University.

Ayesha Sherzai, MD, is a neurologist and co-director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Program at Loma Linda University, where she leads the Lifestyle Program for the Prevention of Neurological Diseases. She completed dual training in Preventative Medicine and Neurology at Loma Linda University and a fellowship in Vascular Neurology and Epidemiology at Columbia University. She is also a trained plant-based culinary artist.

Saray Stancic, MD, is a board certified physician and the founder of Stancic Health and Wellness, LLC, where she practices Lifestyle Medicine.

She received her MD degree from New Jersey Medical School, completed an Internal Medicine residency and served an additional year as Chief Medical resident at University Hospital in Newark, NJ. She completed a fellowship in Infectious Diseases and served as Chief of Infectious Diseases at the Hudson Valley Veterans Administration Hospital in New York, treating hundreds of patients with viral hepatitis and HIV, as well as other infectious diseases, with a multidisciplinary approach to support her patients’ overall well-being. She directed the MOVE program, a federal VA initiative to encourage healthy lifestyles in veterans. She has conducted clinical studies for new, more efficacious treatments for hepatitis infections and has authored several research papers in peer-reviewed medical journals.

While a medical resident, Dr. Stancic was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. This unforeseen health challenge changed the course of her life, both professionally and personally. In 2003, after eight years of unsuccessful conventional treatment, she started incorporating plant-based nutrition into her life. In 2010, she completed a marathon.

She founded a Lifestyle Medicine practice to empower and educate others to take control of their personal health and is a producer of the documentary film “Code Blue,” which she hopes will inspire our community to demand better education of our medical professionals. And she has followed up that message with a book, What’s Missing From Medicine: Six Lifestyle Changes to Overcome Chronic Illness. Dr. Stancic envisions a world where all doctors will regularly speak of the power of plant-based nutrition and the adoption of optimal behaviors.

Nil Zacharias is the host of the popular weekly podcast,” #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias” and co-author of the book, Eat For The Planet. He is also the co-founder of One Green Planet, the largest digital media platform focused on food and sustainability. Nil started his career as a media and technology lawyer and worked for over a decade in the digital media and online advertising space in various business and operational roles prior to founding One Green Planet. He can be found on Twitter: @nilzach.

Fiona Oakes is a true animal advocate, having dedicated her entire life to the promotion of veganism and animal welfare issues from age three, when she became a self inspired vegetarian, progressing towards veganism at age six.

She holds four Guinness World Records, three of which she set in 2013, including being the fastest woman to run a marathon on every continent and the North Pole, subsequently re-breaking two of those records the following year. In June 2018 Fiona broke the GWR for the fastest half marathon dressed in an animal costume! Fiona runs purely to promote and showcase the benefits of a vegan lifestyle in a positive and proactive way and to silence the doubters, myths, and misconceptions surrounding plant based living working in harmony with sporting excellence.

Fiona is also the subject of the Documentary film “Running for Good” (produced by “Cowspiracy” and “What the Health” co-director, Keegan Kuhn), the filming of which took place during 2017. Despite all this, Fiona isn’t slowing down and is currently planning more extreme running challenges and the expansion of her animal sanctuary, Tower Hill Stables. All these projects are factored in while caring for her beloved animals at the sanctuary in conjunction with attempting to educate and illustrate the benefits of veganism to as wide and varied an audience as possible. There is a short film about Fiona and her sanctuary here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAfBoynK1j4.

Joanne Kong, PhD, has been praised as one of the most compelling advocates for plant-based nutrition today, centered ethically in raising awareness that greater compassion for animals and our planet is vitally necessary for transformative growth and positive world change.  Interviewed for the upcoming major documentary “Eating Our Way to Extinction” and recipient of the University of Richmond’s 2017 Sustainability Leadership Award, she addresses the urgency with which the world community must acknowledge the devastating impacts of animal agriculture on climate change and our environment. Her recent presentations include Oakland VegFest, the Veggie Pride Parade in New York, San Francisco’s World Veg Festival, Green Food Fest in Norway, the North American Veg Society’s Summerfest, and a three-week speaking tour in India. She is a volunteer with the Humane Party, author of If You’ve Ever Loved an Animal, Go Vegan, and her highly-praised TEDx talk, currently close to 400,000 views on YouTube, is included in Unbound Project, “a multimedia and book project that celebrates the inspiring women who have been at the forefront of animal advocacy around the globe.

WEBSITE
https://www.vegansmakeadifference.com/

Robert Cheeke, author and speaker, is a two-time natural bodybuilding champion. Robert is considered one of VegNews Magazine’s Most Influential Vegan Athletes. He is a regular contributor to Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine, is a multi-sport athlete, and has followed a plant-based diet for 20 years. See RobertCheeke.net for more information.

Will Tuttle, PhD, is the visionary author of the acclaimed best-seller The World Peace Diet (published in sixteen languages) and is a recipient of the Courage of Conscience Award and the Empty Cages Prize. He’s also the author of Your Inner Islands, on developing intuition, and is editor of Circles of Compassion: Essays Connecting Issues of Justice, on the interconnection of social justice issues. A vegan since 1980, he is a frequent radio, television, and online presenter, and has created several wellness and advocacy training programs. Featured in Cowspiracy and other documentary films, he is the co-founder of the Worldwide Prayer Circle for Animals. A former Zen monk with a PhD from UC Berkeley, Dr. Tuttle is also a noted composer and pianist, who lectures and concertizes extensively throughout the world, promoting peace and cultural healing. See www.worldpeacediet.com for more details.

Sid Garza-Hillman led the “Growing Up Vegan” panel of six young people, from ages 9-14, on their experiences growing up in whole food, plant-based families, their interactions with other members of society, etc. Three of the children are his, and are featured in the “Growing Up Vegan 3” video below.

A podcaster and YouTuber, Sid is the author of Approaching the Natural: A Health Manifesto and Raising Healthy Parents: Small Steps, Less Stress, and a Thriving Family. He graduated from UCLA with a BA in Philosophy and is a public speaker, certified nutritionist, and Small Steps Coach–teaching people around the world his unique Small Steps approach to healthy living at smallsteppers.com. He is the Wellness Programs Director at the Stanford Inn Eco-Resort, an ultra runner, Race Director of the Mendocino Coast 50K trail ultramarathon, and co-creator with Matt Frazier of the No Meat Athlete Meal Plan, Health Made Simple.

Sid lives on California’s Mendocino Coast with his wife and three children, a horse, dog, and two cats.

Websites: sidgarzahillman.com and smallsteppers.com

Approaching the Natural Podcast: iTunes, Stitcher, etc.

VegFest 2018 Speakers

Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., received his BA from Yale University and his MD from Western Reserve University. In 1956, pulling the No. 6 oar as a member of the victorious United States rowing team, he was awarded a gold medal at the Olympic Games. He was trained as a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and at St. George’s Hospital in London. In 1968, as an Army surgeon in Vietnam, he was awarded the Bronze Star.

Dr. Esselstyn has been associated with the Cleveland Clinic since 1968. During that time, 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 is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology.

His scientific publications number over 150. In 1995 he published benchmark long-term nutritional research on arresting and reversing coronary artery disease in severely ill patients. That same study was updated at twelve years and reviewed beyond twenty years in his book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, making it one of the longest longitudinal studies of its type. In July of 2014 he reported the experience of 198 participants seriously ill with cardiovascular disease. During 37 years of follow up of the 89% adherent to the program, 99.4% avoided further major cardiac events.

Dr. Esselstyn and his wife, Ann Crile Esselstyn, have followed a plant-based diet since 1984. Dr. Esselstyn presently directs the cardiovascular prevention and reversal program at The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is changing the way we talk about, think about, and treat other animals.

A recognized expert and thought leader on the culinary, social, ethical, and practical aspects of living vegan, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is an award-winning author of seven books, including the bestselling The Joy of Vegan Baking, The Vegan Table, Color Me Vegan, Vegan’s Daily Companion, On Being Vegan, and The 30-Day Vegan Challenge. Her newest book The Joyful Vegan, was published November 12, 2019.

Colleen is an acclaimed speaker and beloved host of the inspiring podcast, “Food for Thought,” which has been voted Favorite Podcast by VegNews magazine readers several years in a row, and her new podcast, “Animalogy,” is changing the way we talk about animals. She also co-founded the political action committee East Bay Animal PAC to work with government officials on animal issues in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Colleen shares her message of compassion and wellness on national and regional TV and radio programs, including on a monthly vegan segment on Good Day Sacramento, and as a monthly contributor to National Public Radio (KQED). She has appeared on the Food Network, CBS, PBS, and FOX; interviews with her have been featured on NPR, Huffington Post, and U.S. News and World Report; and her recipes have been featured on epicurious.com and Oprah.com.

Colleen lives in Oakland, CA, with her husband David and two cats, Charlie and Michiko.

Michael A. Klaper, MD, is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago and has practiced acute care medicine in Hawaii, Canada, California, Florida, and New Zealand.

Far more fulfilling to him was his practice for the past nine years at True North Health Center in Santa Rosa, California, focusing on health-promoting food and lifestyle choices to help people stay out of hospitals and off of operating tables. He has authored numerous articles on plant-based nutrition and is authoring a book on using plant-based medicine to arrest and reverse disease.

A long-time radio host and a pilot, Dr. Klaper has served as nutrition advisor to NASA’s programs for space colonists on the Moon and Mars and on the Nutrition Task Force of the American Medical Students Association. To improve the health of his patients as well as his own, and to minimize suffering of sentient beings, Dr. Klaper adopted a plant-based diet in 1981. In January 2018, he left 46 years of primary care practice to devote full-time efforts to creating courses for doctors on incorporating plant-based nutrition into their own practices, to writing a book on plant-based healing, lecturing in medical schools, teaching medical students, and producing webinars for the public on raising healthy children, optimizing athletic performance, and aging healthfully, among many other subjects.

He makes the latest information on health and nutrition available through his website, DoctorKlaper.com, where visitors can find the numerous videos and DVDs he has produced, as well subscribe to his free newsletter, “Medicine Capsule.”

Jane Velez-Mitchell is the founder and content editor of JaneUnChained, a multi-platform social media news outlet that produces original video content on animal rights and the vegan compassionate lifestyle. She has won four Genesis Awards from the Humane Society of the United States for her reporting on animal issues. VegNews named Velez-Mitchell Media Maven of the Year in 2010. In 2013 Mercy for Animals awarded her their Compassionate Leadership Award. In 2014, she was honored for fighting animal abuse by the Animal Legal Defense Fund. In 2015, she received the Nanci Alexander Award at PETA’s 35th anniversary.

For six years she hosted her own show on CNN Headline News, where she ran a weekly segment on animal issues. Previously, Velez-Mitchell reported for the nationally syndicated Warner Brothers/Telepictures show Celebrity Justice, where she did numerous stories on animal issues championed by celebrities.

Previously, Velez-Mitchell was a news anchor/reporter at KCAL-TV in Los Angeles and WCBS-TV in New York. She is the winner of a Los Angeles Emmy and a New York Emmy for her reporting. Velez-Mitchell is a graduate of New York University and began her career with reporting stints in Ft Myers, Florida, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia.

Velez-Mitchell is the author of four books. Her 2014 non-fiction New York Times bestseller, Exposed: The Secret Life of Jodi Arias, offers a detailed psychological analysis of a salacious trial that gripped the American public. Her other New York Times bestseller is her memoir, iWant: My Journey from Addiction and Overconsumption to a Simpler, Honest Life. Secrets Can Be Murder delves into the secrecy and deceit embedded in tragic scenarios. Addict Nation: An Intervention for America, with co-author Sandra Mohr, focuses on our culture’s addictive nature and our obsession with overconsumption.

Velez-Mitchell directed and produced the documentary “Anita Velez: Dancing Through Life,” which won a Gracie award in 2001. She lives with her partner, Donna Dennison, and their four companion animals in Los Angeles.

Brenda Davis, a registered dietitian, is a leader in her field and an internationally acclaimed speaker. She has worked as a public health nutritionist, clinical nutrition specialist, nutrition consultant, and academic nutrition instructor. Brenda is the lead dietitian in a diabetes research project in Majuro, Marshall Islands. She is a featured speaker at nutrition, medical, and health conferences throughout the world.

Brenda is co-author of nine award-winning, best-selling books – Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition (2014), Becoming Vegan: Express Edition (2013), Becoming Vegan (2000), The New Becoming Vegetarian (2003), Becoming Vegetarian (1994, 1995), Becoming Raw (2010), The Raw Food Revolution Diet (2008), Defeating Diabetes (2003) and Dairy-free and Delicious (2001).  She is also a contributing author to a tenth book, The Complete Vegetarian (2009). Her books are vegetarian/vegan nutrition classics, with over 750,000 copies in print in eight languages. Brenda has authored and co-authored several articles for peer-reviewed medical and nutrition journals and magazines.

Brenda is a past chair of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association. In 2007 she was inducted into the Vegetarian Hall of Fame. Brenda lives in Kelowna British Columbia with her husband, Paul Davis.  She has two grown children, Leena Markatchev and Cory Davis.

Website: brendadavisrd.com

Sid Garza-Hillman, a podcaster and YouTuber, is the author of Approaching the Natural: A Health Manifesto and Raising Healthy Parents: Small Steps, Less Stress, and a Thriving Family. He graduated from UCLA with a BA in Philosophy and is a public speaker, certified nutritionist, and Small Steps Coach–teaching people around the world his unique Small Steps approach to healthy living at smallsteppers.com. He is the Wellness Programs Director at the Stanford Inn Eco-Resort, an ultra runner, Race Director of the Mendocino Coast 50K trail ultramarathon, and co-creator with Matt Frazier of the No Meat Athlete Meal Plan, Health Made Simple.

Sid lives on California’s Mendocino Coast with his wife and three children, a horse, dog, and two cats.

Websites: sidgarzahillman.com and smallsteppers.com

Approaching the Natural Podcast: iTunes, Stitcher, etc.

Keegan Kuhn is the award-winning co-director of the highly acclaimed documentary film Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, executive produced for Netflix by Leonardo DiCaprio, and recent documentary What The Health. Keegan is the owner and operator of First Spark Media, a digital film production company tailored to creating films for social justice.

His skills as a director, producer, cinematographer, editor, animator, and composer have been utilized in film subjects as diverse as modern Alaskan homesteading, gender inequality, animal rescues, Buddhism, endurance sports, and environmental destruction. He is motivated by a deep desire to shed light on untold stories of the most downtrodden in our society, and to raise awareness through greater visibility of social justice issues.

Keegan is the owner of the camera accessory company First Spark Gear and creator of the educational music project True Nature. He lives with his partner Shani in Sedona, Arizona.

VegFest 2017 Speakers

Richard Oppenlander, DDS, author of the groundbreaking book, Food Choice and Sustainability, is a consultant and researcher whose award-winning book, Comfortably Unaware, has been endorsed as a “must read” by Ellen DeGeneres, Dr. Jane Goodall, Dr. Neal Barnard, and many others. He is a much sought after lecturer, has been a keynote speaker for several conferences and events, and has presented lectures and workshops at numerous universities and corporations. Dr. Oppenlander also serves as an advisor to municipalities in the U.S. and to world hunger projects that are designing programs from his model of multidimensional sustainability.

Since the early 1970’s, Dr. Oppenlander has studied the effect our food choices have on our health and the immense impact those choices have on our environment. He is president and founder of an organic vegan food production and education business, as well as the founder of the nonprofit organization, Inspire Awareness Now.

Matt Ruscigno, MPH, RD, is professionally credentialed as a Registered Dietitian and has two degrees in nutrition, including graduate training at Loma Linda University, one of the only accredited universities to promote a plant-based diet. He is the past Chair of the Vegetarian Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, where he educated health professionals on the science and application of vegan diets.

Matt is the co-author of No Meat Athlete with Matt Frazier and Appetite for Reduction with Isa Moskowitz. Most recently he is the lead author of the Amazon #1 Best Seller, Superfoods for Life, Cacao. Formerly a college instructor, Matt is an avid speaker, giving presentations at professional conferences, trainings, and vegetarian fests all over the world. Through his private practice, he works closely with vegan athletes and is a recreational athlete himself who competes in marathons, ironmans, ultraruns, and 24-hour mountain bike races. He is a three-time solo finisher of the Furnace Creek 508, a 500-mile non-stop bike race across Death Valley. He lives car-free in Los Angeles, California.

Sailesh Rao, PhD, is the Executive Director of the nonprofit, Climate Healers. An electrical engineer by training with a PhD from Stanford University, Sailesh’s technology career includes service with AT&T Bell Labs and Intel. Moved to action to address the global climate challenge, Sailesh founded Climate Healers in 2007. The goal of Climate Healers is to reforest one-sixth of the ice-free land area of the earth to neutralize human carbon dioxide emissions temporarily. Among its projects, Climate Healers partners with NGOs, tribal villages, and school clubs to help low-income areas in India use solar rather than wood-burning stoves. Sailesh was selected as a Karmaveer Puraskaar Noble Laureate, an award presented by iCONGO (Indian Confederation of NGOs) whose primary mission is to encourage citizen action for social justice. Sailesh is the author of Carbon Dharma: The Occupation of Butterflies; and Carbon Yoga: The Vegan Metamorphosis.

Gene Baur is currently president of Farm Sanctuary. With shelters in New York and California, Farm Sanctuary provides rescue, refuge, and adoption for hundreds of farm animals each year. He has been hailed as “the conscience of the food movement” by Time magazine. For more than 25 years, he has traveled extensively around the country, campaigning to raise awareness about the abuses of industrialized factory farming and our current food system. His efforts have been covered by top news organizations, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2008, Gene’s book, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food, became a national bestseller. 

Andrea Chilcote, Founder and CEO of Morningstar Ventures, is an accomplished author, speaker, and executive coach. She has extensive experience in assisting teams and organizations to communicate effectively to achieve desired results. She earned a BS degree from Millikin University, received her Consulting Practices Certification from the Meridian Institute, and has completed graduate studies at University of Kentucky, Lexington. Andrea resides near Phoenix.

Jason Wyrick is the executive chef of The Vegan Taste, the author of Vegan Tacos: Authentic and Inspired Recipes for Mexico’s Favorite Street Food and Vegan Mexico: Soul-Satisfying Regional Recipes from Tamales to Tostadasand he is co-author with Neal Barnard of NY Times Bestseller 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart. In 2001, Jason was diagnosed with diabetes in his mid-20s and was told he would have to be on medication for the rest of his life. Instead, Jason became vegan, reversed his diabetes in eight months, and lost over 100 pounds over the course of two years. Along the way, he learned about factory farming, cementing his decision to become vegan. He also learned that the food had to be outstanding, or no one was going to eat it! He left his job as a computer company marketing director to become a chef and help others learn how to eat healthfully, compassionately, and well. He has taught alongside Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. John McDougall, and Dr. Gabriel Cousens. Jason was the first vegan culinary instructor in the world-famous Le Cordon Bleu program through the Scottsdale Culinary Institute. He founded the world’s first vegan food magazine, The Vegan Culinary Experience, has presented for the American Dietetic Association, the American Diabetes Association, Humana, The Wellness Community, and Farm Sanctuary.  Jason is a regular guest at the Scottsdale Culinary Festival. He has catered for organizations as prestigious as Google, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Peta, and Farm Sanctuary and has been featured in the New York Times, and on both local and national television.

“Fixing the way I thought about myself and what is possible changed my life—more than plants, more than running, more than any of these things—it’s what went on inside my mind.” – Josh LaJaunie

Josh LaJaunie was born and raised in south Louisiana. To quote him: “I grew hunting, fishing, drinking, eating, playing football, and getting fat. Ultimately I found myself tipping the scales at over 400 pounds in early 2011. I have since lost 200 pounds, developed a love for running, and am now exclusively a plant-based, plant-powered, aspiring athlete at 36 years old. And I want to share the why’s and how’s.”

We are honored that Josh served as the M.C. for Sedona VegFest 2017!

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