Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New York City Adventure: Main Street Vegan Academy

As part of  settingmy intentions for 2014, I chose the word expansiveness to guide me through the year.  I created a carefully curated set of classes and experiences to help me grow this year.  One of the opportunities that called to me was the Main Street Vegan Academy.  I had read Victoria Moran's book, Main Street Vegan, some time ago and became intrigued when I heard about the associated coaching certification course through a blog post of a local friend and entrepreneur, Kimberly Wilson.  It is a week-long intensive that covers everything from the history of veganism, nutrition, business start up guidance to field trips to New York City vegan businesses.  It sounded like just the thing to help me hone my efforts to promote a healthy, earth friendly and creative lifestyle - so I sent in my application and was delighted to be accepted.

Jenne Claiborne doing a food demonstration, John Joseph lecture, Dr. Fred Bisci radio interview (listen here), me with Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart of Vaute Couture

I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, but when the course outline arrived it was packed with guest speakers from a wide variety of backgrounds.  To name a few, we heard from cardiologists, a vegan personal chef (and one of my favorite food bloggers), an animal rights lawyer, a social media guru, a quirky and fun diva nutritionist and a 60-year long vegan PhD who was as fit at the age of 85 as many I know in their 30s.  A powerfully delivered, expletive laced message by a punk rocker/athlete turned author completely captured our attention.  I didn't think I was going to be able to relate to his story, but we connected through a shared birth year and somehow seemed to have arrived to be at the same place by completely different paths.

Tour stops to:  Jivamukti yoga and cafe, Vaute Couture, Dual Spice Store, High Vibe raw health food store

Our class was a group of about 15 students that came from as far away as Australia, California and Canada.  There were health care professionals, teachers, lawyers, a flight attendant, a mom wanting to help her child with a medical challenge and everything in between.  Our 10-12 hour days were packed with thought provoking lectures and discussions, demonstrations, field trips and delicious meals.  We had the opportunity to preview the newly released documentary Cowspiracy and attend The Seed Experience vegan conference to hear authors, doctors, activists and chefs speak, screen films and hear from the directors, workout with plant based body builders, sample some of the healthiest festival foods ever and discover small ecopreneurs and their vegan wares.

My home for the week - an apartment in an old brownstone in Harlem, being randomly serenaded on the subway, Tommie our walking tour guide and a few classmates waiting for the train, shenanigans with our waiter at a vegan restaurant

I learned a tremendous amount and it will take me awhile to process it all, plus I made some fantastic new like-minded friends.  Although we were inspired by various primary focuses from animal activism, concerns for our health and that of our planet, armed with our new knowledge, resources and connections, we all are setting out to effect change one step at a time.  

Amazing food during the week at the academy

I enjoyed sharing my adventures earning my certification as a Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator.  I look forward to sharing more of what I learned on my journey in upcoming posts.

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