The Joy of Soy: Inside the VeganMania Fesitval


By Jessica Castellanos  

This past weekend, I went with the NU Veg Society to Chicago’s biggest annual vegan event - VeganMania. The event took place Saturday at the Broadway Armory, near the Red Line Thorndale stop. There were 17 vegan restaurants and almost 80 exhibitions, which included vegan clothing vendors, vegan activist groups, animal shelters, and even masseuses. There were also tables of experts on fitness, nutrition, and parenting for the “Ask a Vegan Expert” exhibit. The festival was a great way to meet other vegans in the Chicago area: we even got invited to a vegan Halloween shindig . And we took a lot of photos to prove to meat-eating skeptics that vegans know how to party too!



We were those annoying broke college kids who went around to each free sample station multiple times. The best were the barbecue wings and fishsticks from Miracle Foods - soybeans have never felt more like meat!


I got the Miracle Foods vegan barbecue wings, made from soy. They were so convincing that I felt a little iffy about eating them at first!



Brooke Feinstein, a Weinberg junior who recently joined the Veg Society, got a samosa for herself and a vanilla cupcake for her roommate (which she ended up taking a bite out of to make sure it was good enough to give to her roommate, of course...)



One of the coolest things about Veganmania is the variety of cultures represented. Indian food, Mexican food, Mediterranean food, Italian food- it can all be made vegan! This station combines vegan Indian cuisine with books about meditation.



There was an acupuncture/massage/reflexology station for the brave of heart. It had nothing to do with veganism, but the demographic of Chicagoans interested in healthy food overlaps with the demographic of Chicagoans interested in new age therapies quite a bit.



There were lots of booths that focused on the ethical dimension of veganism, too. We got to spin the “Wheel of Virtues” pictured above. Brooke asked, “Is the virtue we land on supposed to be something that we have or something that we need?”


My answer: “It depends on if you feel guilty when the wheel stops spinning.”



I traded the cake part of my cupcake to Brooke for the vegan icing part of hers. #Worth


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