Whether you’re a vegan or not, you have to check out Vegfest 2017. Talveg hooked us all up with some amazing vendors this year, it’s going to be AMAZING and it’s completely free. Their main organizer, Natt, tells us all of the details about her personal story with veganism, the Talveg community and this year’s Vegfest.
Her Campus (HC): When and why did you become vegan?
Natt Elsamra (NE): I became vegan about 4.5 years ago after being vegetarian for 8 before that. I had never really thought about becoming vegan and didn’t make the connection between the slaughterhouses and the dairy industry until I watched the Gary Yourofsky video. Gary is such a blunt guy and yet a very eloquent speaker. The video is emotional as it is educational and I cried so hard during it. It just didn’t make sense ethically to continue supporting the dairy industry (and any other animal by product industry) because they all face the same outcome: death.
HC: What are some of your favorite meals?
NE: I love fruit so much. I eat mostly raw during the day – tons of bananas, dates, mangoes and avocados. I feel my best when I eat raw, I have so much energy! I use my Vitamix everyday for smoothies or “nicecream.” Nicecream is basically frozen bananas blended until it forms a sort of healthy ice cream. It’s amazing. Don’t get me wrong though, I love vegan comfort food too. Falafel pitas are a favorite and also vegan mac and cheese.
Courtesy: Natt Elsamra
HC: How has your life changed since being vegan?
NE: One of my favorite parts about the vegan lifestyle is all the compassionate and amazing people I’ve met through the community. I organize the vegan group in town and attending our events, you actively see how much of a difference you’re making for the animals because you’re surrounded by individuals that share the same goals you do. You know you’re not alone. I also have met some of my best friends through vegan centered social media platforms. Being vegan isn’t about perfection, but more so minimizing the amount of harm you’re contributing to the world. I try to remind myself of that everyday. I’m constantly trying to improve myself and become a more compassionate and educated person.
HC: What is your favorite part of being vegan?
NE: I love the people I’ve met. I have vegan friends from all over the world, from various backgrounds, embracing different cultures, involved in different forms of activism… I learn something from each and every one of them! We are all so different but share the same love for the earthlings of the world. HC: How did you get involved with Talveg?
NE: I went vegan and didn’t really know any others at the same. I went to google and typed in “Tallahassee vegans” and the meet-up page came up. I saw they were having a cooking demonstration meet-up that weekend and I went. I was so nervous but everyone was super friendly and welcoming. HC: What is your role with them?
NE: My first year I mainly just attended events and brought friends with me to get them involved. The part three years I’ve become a main organizer of the events we host and the co-lead of the Vegfest. I love this group so much. They’re my family. HC: Give us the details on Vegfest.
NE: Our biggest event of the year is the Annual North Florida Vegfest. We hold the event at Cascades Park – honestly the best Vegfest venue I’ve ever been to (and I go to a LOT of vegfests around the country) It’s Saturday March 18th, from 11a.-5pm. This event is free and family/pup friendly. Last year we had 5,000 vendors show up.
HC: What are your best tips for new vegans?
NE: Meet other vegans whether it be online or in real life – it seems the biggest struggle for new vegans or those interested in the lifestyle is the social aspect. No one wants to feel alone or judged or confused. Meeting others who have already been through the transition definitely helps. Also, eat a variety of foods, read ingredient labels, don’t restrict yourself! Veganism isn’t about depriving yourself of the foods you loved, it’s about replacing them with a more compassionate alternative. One of my favorite nutritional resources is http://nutritionfacts.org/. Dr. Greger is amazing and so knowledgeable.
HC: How can readers get involved?
Make sure to check out Natt on Instagram!