Announcing VegFest 2019 Speakers and Program Schedule!   

Joel Kahn, M.D.

Joel Kahn, MD of Detroit, Michigan, is a practicing cardiologist, a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine and an Associate Professor Oakland University/Beaumont Hospital medical schools. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Michigan Medical School and trained in interventional cardiology in Dallas and Kansas City.

Known as “America’s Holistic Heart Doc”, Dr. Kahn is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and maintains sub-specialty board certification in Cardiovascular Medicine. He was the first physician worldwide to complete the Metabolic Cardiology curriculum in conjunction with and the University of South Florida.

Dr. Kahn has authored scores of publications in his field including articles, book chapters and monographs. He writes articles for MindBodyGreen, Thrive Global, and Reader’s Digest, and has five books in publication including Your Whole Heart Solution, Dead Execs Don’t Get Bonuses, and The Plant Based Solution. He has regular appearances on Dr. Phil, The Doctors Show and Fox 2 News. He has been awarded a Health Hero award from Detroit Crain’s Business. He owns 3 health restaurants in Detroit and Austin, Texas.Dr. Kahn can be found at

Dean Sherzai, M.D.

Ayesha Sherzai, M.D.

Dean & Ayesha Sherzai, MDs – As Co-Directors of the the Alzheimer’s Prevention Program at Loma Linda University Medical Center, the Sherzais, through research and their extensive collective medical backgrounds, work to demystify the steps to achieving long-term brain health and the prevention of devastating diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. With their Healthy Minds Initiative project, they host local workshops in community centers, churches — places where members of the community are known to congregate — to arm people with knowledge to improve brain health.  They involve local community leaders across all industries – government, civic, business, faith – and equip them with the best strategies to approach brain health education and implementation for their communities. Learn more at

Dean Sherzai, MD, PhD, is co-director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Program at Loma Linda University.  Dean trained in Neurology at Georgetown University School of Medicine, and completed fellowships in neurodegenerative diseases and dementia at the National Institutes of Health and UC San Diego. He also holds a PhD in Healthcare Leadership with a focus on community health from Andrews University.

Ayesha Sherzai, MD is a neurologist and co-director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Program at Loma Linda University, where she leads the Lifestyle Program for the Prevention of Neurological Diseases. She completed a dual training in Preventative Medicine and Neurology at Loma Linda University, and a fellowship in Vascular Neurology and Epidemiology at Columbia University. She is also a trained plant-based culinary artist.

Saray Stancic, M.D.

Saray Stancic, MD is a board certified physician and the founder of Stancic Health and Wellness, LLC where she practices Lifestyle Medicine.

She received her M.D. degree from New Jersey Medical School, completed an Internal Medicine residency and serving an additional year as Chief Medical resident at University Hospital in Newark, NJ.  She completed a fellowship in Infectious Diseases and served as Chief of Infectious Diseases at the Hudson Valley Veterans Administration Hospital in New York, treating hundreds of patients with viral hepatitis and HIV, as well as other infectious diseases, with a multidisciplinary approach to support her patients’ overall well-being. She directed the MOVE program, a federal VA initiative to encourage healthy lifestyles in veterans.

She has conducted clinical studies for new, more efficacious treatments for hepatitis infections and has authored several research papers in peer-reviewed medical journals.

While a medical resident, Dr. Stancic was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. This unforeseen health challenge changed the course of her life, both professionally and personally. In 2003, after eight years of unsuccessful conventional treatment, she started incorporating plant-based nutrition into her life. In 2010, she completed a marathon.

She founded a Lifestyle Medicine practice to empower and educate others to take control of their personal health. and is a producer of the film “Code Blue”, which she hopes will inspire our community to demand better education of our medical professionals.Dr. Stancic envisions a world where all doctors will regularly speak of the power of plant-based nutrition and the adoption of optimal behaviors.

Nil Zacharias


Nil Zacharias is the host of the popular weekly podcast,”#EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias” and co-author of the book, Eat For The Planet. He is also the co-founder of One Green Planet, the largest digital media platform focused on food and sustainability. Nil started his career as a media and technology lawyer and worked for over a decade in the digital media and online advertising space in various business and operational roles prior to founding One Green Planet. He can be found on Twitter@nilzach

Fiona Oakes

Fiona Oakes is a true animal advocate having dedicated her entire life to the promotion of veganism and animal welfare issues beginning age 3 when she became a self inspired vegetarian progressing towards veganism age 6 years.

She holds 4  Guinness World Records, 3 she set in 2013 including being the fastest woman to run a Marathon on every Continent and the North Pole subsequently re-breaking 2 of these records in 2014.  Most recently in June 2018 Fiona broke the GWR for the fastest half marathon dressed in an animal costume !  Fiona runs purely to promote and showcase the benefits of a vegan lifestyle in a positive and proactive way and to silence the doubters, myths and misconceptions surrounding plant based living working in harmony with sporting excellence.

Currently she is the subject of the Documentary – “Running for Good” – produced by Cowspiracy and What the Health Co-director, Keegan Kuhn.   The filming,  both at her Tower Hill Animal Sanctuary, and abroad racing, has taken up much of Fiona’s ‘spare’ time since 2017.  Despite all this, Fiona isn’t slowing down and is currently planning her next extreme running challenges for next year in conjunction with the promotion of Keegan’s film and the expansion of the Sanctuary.  All these projects are factored in whilst caring for her beloved animals at the Sanctuary in conjunction with attempting to educate and illustrate the benefits of veganism to as wide and varied audience as possible.  More information about Fiona’s work and life can be found at

There is a short film about Fiona and her Sanctuary here:

Joanne Kong, PhD

Joanne Kong has been praised as one of the most compelling advocates for plant-based nutrition today, centered ethically in raising awareness that greater compassion for animals and our planet is vitally necessary for transformative growth and positive world change.  Interviewed for the upcoming major documentary Eating Our Way to Extinction and recipient of the University of Richmond’s 2017 Sustainability Leadership Award, she addresses the urgency with which the world community must acknowledge the devastating impacts of animal agriculture on climate change and our environment.  Her recent presentations include Oakland VegFest, the Veggie Pride Parade in New York, San Francisco’s World Veg Festival, Green Food Fest in Norway, the North American Veg Society’s Summerfest, and a 3-week speaking tour in India.  She is a volunteer with the Humane Party, author of If You’ve Ever Loved an Animal, Go Vegan, and her highly-praised TEDx talk, currently close to 400,000 views on YouTube, is included in Unbound Project, “a multimedia and book project that celebrates the inspiring women who have been at the forefront of animal advocacy around the globe.


Robert Cheeke

Robert Cheeke,  Author and Speaker.

Robert grew up on a farm in Corvallis, Oregon, where he adopted a vegan lifestyle in 1995, at the age of 15.  Today, he is a best-selling author of the books Vegan Bodybuilding & Fitness: The Complete Guide to Building Your Body on a Plant-Based Diet, Shred It!: Your Complete Guide to Burning Fat and Building Muscle on a Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet, and Plant-Based Muscle.

As a two-time natural bodybuilding champion, Robert is considered one of VegNews Magazine’s Most Influential Vegan Athletes. He tours all around the world giving talks about his story of transformation from a skinny farm kid to a champion vegan bodybuilder.

He is a regular contributor to Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine, a multi-sport athlete, and has followed a plant-based diet for over 23 years.

See Website Here.

Will Tuttle, PhD

Will Tuttle is the visionary author of the acclaimed best-seller The World Peace Diet, published in 16 languages, is a recipient of the Courage of Conscience Award and the Empty Cages Prize. He’s also the author of Your Inner Islands, on developing intuition, and is editor of Circles of Compassion, on the interconnection of social justice issues. A vegan since 1980, he is a frequent radio, television, and online presenter, and has created several wellness and advocacy training programs. Featured in Cowspiracyand other documentary films, he is the co-founder of the Worldwide Prayer Circle for Animals. A former Zen monk with a Ph.D. from U. C., Berkeley, Dr. Tuttle is also a noted composer and pianist, and lectures and concertizes extensively throughout the world promoting peace and cultural healing. See for more details.

2019 Program Schedule

Sedona VegFest

                                                                             January 19 and 20, 2019

Saturday, January 19
  8:00 a.m. Registration and Exhibits Open
  8:50-9:00 Welcome and Introductions of VegFest Planning Team

– Don Fries and Bev Bow, Healthy World Sedona

  9:00-10:15 Joel Kahn, MD – Topic: Heart Healthy Living Using Lifestyle Medicine”             
10:15-10:30 Break
10:30-11:45 Nil ZachariasTopic: “Eat For The Planet: Saving The World One Bite At A Time”                                 
11:45 – 1:15 p.m.         Lunch – Note: The cafeteria will be serving today from 11:30-1:30
  1:15-2:30 Fiona OakesTopic: “Running For Good”
  2:30-2:45 Break
  2:45-4:00 Joanne Kong, PhD Topic: “How A Greener Diet Can Transform You and the Planet       
  5:00 Exhibits Close
Sunday, January 20
  8:00 a.m. Registration and Exhibits Open
  9:00–10:15 Dean and Ayesha Sherzai, MDs – Topic: “The Prevention and Reversal of the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s and other Neurodegenerative Diseases”
10:15–10:30 Break
10:30-11:45 Robert Cheeke – Topic:  “Plant-Based Muscle – Peak Performance On A Whole Food Plant-Based Diet”
11:45 – 1:15 p.m.    Lunch – Note: The cafeteria will be serving today from 11:30-1:30
1:15–2:30 Saray Stancic, MD – Topic: “Lifestyle Medicine; the Common Sense Solution to the Chronic Illness Epidemic”
  2:30–2:45 Break
  2:45–4:00 Will Tuttle, PhD – Topic: “Living In Harmony With All Life”
  4:00-4:10 Don Fries and Bev Bow – Final Remarks, Including Resources and Support Available for Your Plant-Based Journey                                               
  5:00 p.m. Exhibits Close
Parallel Track 1:

Sedona VegFest – Feature Films:

Saturday, January 19

9:15-11:30  “Cesar Chavez – Respect For All” (22 Min) 

– A Glenn Scott Lacey short film featuring Genesis Butler, Paul Chavez and others. – 15 Min. Discussion with Glenn Scott Lacey and others after film

“Running For Good” (75 Min) – A Keegan Kuhn film featuring Fiona Oakes – 15 Min. Discussion with Fiona Oakes and Keegan Kuhn after film

  12:30–2:20 “Prayer For Compassion” (94 Min) 

– A Main Street Vegan/Thomas Wade Jackson film featuring Thomas Wade Jackson, Dr. Will Tuttle and Many Others  – 15 Min Discussion with Dr. Will Tuttle and More after film        

  2:45-4:30 “Code Blue – Redefining the Practice of Medicine” (90 Min)

– A Marcia Machado film featuring Saray Stancic MD  – 15 Min Discussion with Dr. Stancic after film.                             

Sunday, January 20
  9:00-10:50 “Prayer For Compassion” (94 Min) 

– A Main Street Vegan/Thomas Wade Jackson film featuring Thomas Wade Jackson, Dr. Will Tuttle and Many Others – 15 Min Discussion with Dr. Will Tuttle and More after film        

11:00-12:45  “Code Blue – Redefining the Practice of Medicine” (90 Min)

– A Marcia Machado film featuring Saray Stancic MD  – 15 Min Discussion with Dr. Stancic after film.                                                             

  2:15-4:30 “Cesar Chavez – Respect For All” (22 Min)

– A Glenn Scott Lacey short film featuring Genesis Butler, Paul Chavez and others. – 15 Min. Discussion with Glenn Scott Lacey and others after film

 “Running For Good” (75 Min) 

– A Keegan Kuhn film featuring Fiona Oakes – 15 Min. Discussion with Fiona Oakes and Keegan Kuhn after film

Parallel Track 2:

Sedona VegFest Cooking Demos/Ask the Chef/Special Programs:

Saturday, January 19

  9:00-10:15  “Growing Up Vegan” – Presentation by Vegan Kids
10:30-11:45  “Saturday Lunch Demo – Italian – Orecchiette pasta and charred eggplant”  – Chef Jason Wyrick
  1:15-2:30 Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts” – Chef Fran Costigan
  2:45-4:00 “To Be Announced”  – Chef Madelyn Pryor
 Sunday, January 20
  9:00-10:15  “Raising Healthy Parents”  – Sid Garza-Hillman  
10:30-11:45 “Southwest Bean Stew over Mango Sticky Rice with Mango-Lime Salsa and Cashew Crema”  – Vegan Culinary Instructor Linda Voorhis
1:15-2:30 “Maximizing Nutrients and Taste With Ease”  – Vegan Culinary Instructor Chris Kalinich
  2:45-4:00 More Great Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally”  – Chef Fran Costigan
Lunch At the VegFest (served in the SHS Dining Room):

We are so excited that Chef Jason Wyrick and Culinary instructor Linda Voorhis have collaborated to design  whole food plant-based lunches for VegFest this year.

Saturday Menu:  Italian – Orecchitte pasta and charred eggplant in a preserved lemon and pistachio pesto. Gluten free pasta available. Sundried tomato fagioli.  Salad of baby arugula, roasted red peppers, shaved fennel, chopped grapefruit and vinaigrette.  Plus a dessert item.

Sunday Menu:  Southwestern – Black beans with mole sauce. Side of brown rice cooked with coconut milk and mango, with mango/tomato salsa. Salad on side. Plus a dessert item.. 

Lunch tickets will be for sale for $12.50 in the Performing Arts Center lobby both days of the VegFest.

Concessions At the VegFest (served in the SPAC lobby):

We will announce the Concessionaire Menu for refreshment and food options at this location soon. 

Healthy World Sedona is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and presents these and many other events throughout the year as a public service.

Your regular tax-deductable contributions and sponsorships are much appreciated (see the “Donations” link at the top of this page).


Healthy World Sedona: Compassionate Plant-Based Living

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