Pensacola Magazine Celebrates Veganism in Pensacola

I adore April. By the end of May, Pensacola’s brutal summer has already begun. For me, April is the last month of perfect, comfortable weather. That delightful April weather also brings the desire to get outside—to the beach, the bay, or downtown. Luckily, a lot of other people and organizations feel the same way and schedule their festivals and events in April—making for a fun cultural event on nearly every day of the week. I’m excited about the Hot Wheels Food Truck Festival, Chocolate Fest, and, of course, Crawfish Festival. Maybe mullet tossing is more your thing? There’s a festival for that. Whatever your interest, no doubt there’s a festival or event in April to meet your needs. Check out our spring festival roundup on page 15 to plan your month.

While many people use the New Year as a time to clean up their eating habits, the spring months are more of a motivator for me. Cold weather comfort food cravings give way to warm weather fare—lighter, cleaner and greener! On that note, local health educator Jodi Brown shows us around a few local farms doing their part to provide the community with fresh, pesticide free produce and products. From the woodsy shiitakes at Coldwater Gardens to the juicy tomatoes at Crescere Farms and the nutrient-dense micro greens at Santa Rosa Place, local farmers have you covered for all of your spring clean eating plans.
Many health professionals believe that diet and exercise are the two most important factors in a healthy lifestyle. While I admit I need to do better on the exercise front, I am fortunate to truly enjoy healthy foods and a wide variety of vegetables. While I’m not vegan or vegetarian, I go meat-free about 70 percent of the time. Done properly, the vegan diet can be a real game changer in terms of health and environmental impact. But don’t worry meat eaters and cheese lovers, you don’t have to give up your burgers and cheese plates for good— switching just one or two meals a week to vegan or low-meat can be extremely beneficial. Local restaurants have seen the growth of the vegan movement and the majority of restaurants now offer at least one vegan option. We talked with three of biggest players in local vegan food market about why they choose to live and cook the lifestyle and about what products and trends they are seeing in the industry. Lucky for you, they offer up recipes, too!

All this, plus stories on the upcoming Tall Ships Pensacola event, Favor House’s White Rose Luncheon, Baptist Health Care’s Palliative Care Center, and much more. I hope you enjoy the issue and that April inspires to get out and enjoy our beautiful city! Here’s to your health!

– Kelly Oden, Editor

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