Ahimsa lights the way
AVS honors the following speakers for their ability to deliver a great vegan speech and their expertise on a specific topic. The knowledge, actions, and opinions expressed by the speakers represent individual views, not necessarily those of American Vegan Society.
Bio: Maribeth Abrams is a certified holistic health practitioner, media spokesperson for the North American Vegetarian Society, author of two vegan cookbooks, and mother of two children in their mid-20s who have been vegan since birth. Known for her lively and approachable demeanor, her presentations offer a blend of motivation and education. She has been vegan for nearly 30 years. MaribethAbrams.com
Sample Talks: Eat Better, Feel Better, Live Better: Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet; Eating for Cancer Survival; Eating for Bone Vitality and Osteoporosis Prevention; Raising Vegan Children; Eating in Alignment with Our Values; screenings and discussions on documentaries.
Bio: Star Alfriend, M.ed. works in the financial services sector. She has been vegan since 2013; her husband became vegan with her, and he lost 65 pounds. Star is also a proud mom of two girls. Becoming vegan saved her life as she was diagnosed pre-diabetic. After one year of eating vegan, her health turned around. Star’s goal is to help people obtain wealth and live a healthier lifestyle to enjoy life when older. Star has a YouTube channel called Vegan Groupie where she shows you how to cook vegan meals. She is also working on her first cookbook.
Sample Talks: Transitioning to Being Vegan and Staying Vegan; Wise Financial Decisions for People with a Healthy Lifestyle (by a financial professional who is passionate about eating plants)
Bio: Rebecca Aslam, MS, RD, LDN is a registered dietitian working to educate both patients and employees at a teaching hospital in MA. She is a nutrition advisor to the American Vegan Society, a lifelong vegan, and fourth-generation vegetarian. She loves experimenting with vegan cooking and enjoys working with individuals or speaking to groups of all sizes.
Sample Talks: Plant-Based Nutrition Basics; Plant-Based Diets for the Treatment of Chronic Diseases Such as Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular, etc.; Transitioning to a Vegan Diet; Be Healthy and Happy on a Vegan Diet
Bio: Jonathan Balcombe, PhD, is a biologist with expertise in animal behavior. He has written several books on the inner lives of animals, including the New York Times bestseller What a Fish Knows. Jonathan also performs professional editing and consultations with established and aspiring authors. He teaches an online course in Animal Sentience for the Viridis Graduate Institute. Balcombe lectures widely, having appeared on six continents (the penguins eagerly await him in Antarctica). In his spare time he enjoys biking, baking, birding, Bach, and trying to understand the neighborhood squirrels. www.jonathan-balcombe.com
Sample Talks: What a Fish Knows; The Inner Lives of Animals; The Inner Lives of Birds; Bats: Myth and Reality
Bio: Dilip Barman is a certified PCRM Food for Life instructor and has led Triangle Vegetarian Society for over twenty years, including hosting the country’s largest vegan Thanksgiving. He is the North American representative for International Vegetarian Union and is executive producer of code blue documentary. He enjoys blogging about his daily dining creations (dilipdinner.blogspot.com) and is proud to have never repeated a dinner for his wife in all the time he’s known her since 2004. He also teaches vegan cooking classes in addition to Food for Life, and classes in photography and math through area schools and colleges. Dilip is the director of nutrition education at Central Park School for Children, an affiliate of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, and is on the advisory committee of the Plant-Based Network.
Sample Talks: An Introduction to Animal Rights; Veganic Gardening; Whole-Food Plant-Based Eating
Bio: Ted Barnett, MD is board certified in diagnostic imaging as well as vascular and interventional radiology and has practiced in the Rochester area since 1986. Dr. Barnett teaches a six-week plant-based nutrition course which is accredited for twelve professional CME. He is the founder, CEO, and medical director of Rochester Lifestyle Medicine, PLLC, a medical group created to teach plant-based nutrition to thousands of people in the Rochester area and to turn back the tide of obesity and chronic disease. He, his wife, and three children have thrived on an exclusively plant-based diet since 1991. He has been the co-coordinator of Rochester Area Vegan Society since 1995. RochesterVeg.org
Sample Talks: The History of Dietary Recommendations and Multiple Diseases Including Cardiovascular, Diabetes, Cancer, etc.
Bio: Steve Blake, SCD specializes in nutritional biochemistry. He is director of nutritional neuroscience at the Maui Memory Clinic; a clinical research scientist, MH, RH, (AHG); lead advisor and author for the Macmillan Reference, 2019 Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine; and research director of the Neuroscience Nutrition Foundation. He is author of the McGraw-Hill college textbook Vitamins and Minerals Demystified. drsteveblake.com, neurosciencenutrition.org
Sample Talks: A Nutritional Approach to Alzheimer’s Disease; Arthritis, a Natural Approach; How to Overcome Diabetes; Defensive Medicine; Comparing the Nutrition in Popular Diets; Healthy Hearts: How Not to Get a Heart Attack
Bio: Hope Bohanec has been active in animal protection and environmental activism for over twenty-five years and published the book The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat? She is host of the Hope for the Animals Podcast, projects manager for United Poultry Concerns, and executive director of Compassionate Living, a vegan advocacy organization. Hope organizes UPC’s annual Conscious Eating Conference at UC Berkeley and the Sonoma County VegFest.
Sample Talks: The Humane Hoax: Labels and Lies; Sentience in the Sea: The Emotional Lives of Fish; Chickens: Exploitation of the Innocent; Eco-Eating: A Cool Diet for a Hot Planet; Vegan Living Made Easy (and Joyful!)
Bio: Harold Brown is in the documentary Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home and spent half of his life in agriculture. Growing up on a beef farm in Michigan and later working in the dairy industry, Harold has been involved in the behind-the-scenes operations of food production that uses animals. Today Harold is an activist advocating for sustainable food production, social and environmental justice, animal liberation, and peace through nonviolence.
Sample Talks: Exposing the Humane Myth; Living a Morally Consistent Life; Activism: Communicating Effectively for the Planet, the Animals, and Us; Food Justice?; All You Need Is Love; Trusting Our Hearts and Living with Joy
Bio: Genesis Butler went vegan at six years old after learning her meals were a product of animal exploitation. She founded her nonprofit organization, Genesis for Animals, which raises funds for sanctuaries around the world. Genesis has won several awards including the 2018 Lisa Shapiro Youth Animal Activist of the Year. She became the youngest TEDx speaker for her speech “A 10-Year-Old’s Vision for Healing the Planet.” She’s also been featured in several documentaries including The Invisible Vegan, Vegan: Everyday Stories, and Corky, and in Cesar Chavez Respect for All where she learns about the activism of her great uncle, Cesar Chavez.
Sample Talks: Compassion Begins on Our Plates; Living a Compassionate Lifestyle at Any Age; You are Never Too Young or Too Old to Be an Animal Rights Activist; Healing the Planet One Meal at a Time.
Bio: Chef AJ is host of the television series Healthy Living with Chef AJ airing on Foody TV. A chef and culinary instructor, she is author of The Secrets to Ultimate Weight Loss and Own Your Health. Chef AJ is the creator of the Ultimate Weight Loss Program. She is a former executive pastry chef that was famous for her sugar-, oil-, salt-, and gluten-free desserts. She also does cooking demos, iron chefs, and hosting. In 2018 she was inducted into the Vegetarian Hall of Fame. ChefAJWebsite.com, foodytv.com/chef/chef-aj/
Sample Talks: Eat Up, Slim Down, and Get Healthy; Overcoming Your Weight Obstacles; Seven C’s to Success; How to Eat Healthfully Anywhere; How to Deal with Cravings and Food Addictions.
Bio: Chef Chew has been a vegan food inventor/restaurateur for over 15 years. His mission is to change lives one chew at a time and to bring holistic solutions to urban communities. He developed and manufactures his own line of plant protein, Better Chew. Chef Chew founded The Veg Hub restaurant in Oakland CA, a social enterprise that provides affordable vegan food and free cooking classes to the San Francisco Bay Area. He has a TV Show, Chew’s Challenge.
Sample Talks: Something Better to Chew On; Democratizing Health for All People; Decolorization of Veganism; Vegan Soulful Cooking
Bio: Sherry Colb is a Professor of Law and Charles Evans Hughes Scholar at Cornell Law School. She received her A.B. from Columbia College (valedictorian) and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. She publishes a bi-weekly column on Verdict.Justia.com which often takes up issues of veganism and animal rights. She is the author of Mind If I Order the Cheeseburger? And Other Questions People Ask Vegans and coauthor of Beating Hearts: Abortion and Animal Rights.
Sample Talks: Mind If I Order the Cheeseburger? How to Respond to the Confrontational Questions People Ask Vegans; Do Vegans Experience Stereotype Threat?; Should Animal Rights Start With Dogs?
Bio: Fran Costigan is a culinary instructor, cookbook author, consultant, and director of vegan pastry at Rouxbe Culinary School. Fran is internationally recognized as the innovative pioneering pastry chef who marries healthy eating with sumptuous tastes. Professionally trained, Fran was a chef in both traditional and vegan pastry kitchens before moving into teaching over 25 years ago. Fran’s vegan desserts are appropriate for everyone who loves dessert, whether or not dietary restrictions are an issue. She developed and leads the ACFEF recognized Rouxbe Online Culinary School’s 90-Day Essential Vegan Desserts Course, mentoring students of all skill levels from beginner to professional. Fran’s cookbooks are: Vegan Chocolate, Great Good Desserts Naturally, and More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally. francostigan.com.
Sample Talks: Creating Successful Vegan Cooking Classes; Yes You Can Eat Healthfully and Eat Dessert Too; Setting up Your Vegan Pantry; The Basics and Beyond of Modern Vegan Desserts
Bio: Brenda Davis, RD is a leader in her field and an award-winning author. She has spoken at medical and nutrition conferences in over 20 countries. She is the lead clinical nutrition specialist for the diabetes intervention project in the Marshall Islands. Brenda is a past chair of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, recipient of the Plantrician Project’s Luminary Award, and inductee of the Vegetarian/Vegan Hall of Fame.
Sample Talks: Unleashing the Power of Plant-based Diets; Deconstructing Keto and Paleo Diets; Kick Diabetes: Unmasking a Metabolic Monster; Cardiovascular Counterattack; Diet and Cancer; Are Meat and Milk Nutritional Necessities?; Plant-based Nutrition during Pregnancy and Lactation; Plant-based Nutrition for Infants, Plant-based Nutrition for Children.
Bio: Anne Dinshah is vice president of American Vegan Society, a rowing coach, lifelong vegan, third-generation vegetarian, mom to vegan son Clint, and author of Dating Vegans and Healthy Hearty Helpings. She coauthored a kids’ cookbook with her mother Freya Apples, Bean Dip, and Carrot Cake and coauthored Powerful Vegan Messages, with her late father Jay. Anne credits Freya for instilling in her a love of cooking and Jay for a love of speaking to large audiences. americanvegan.org
Sample Talks: Dynamic Harmlessness for Today’s World; Four Secrets to Healthy Recipes Everyone Loves; Cross-training for Anyone Anywhere; Vegan Cuisine Activism
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