Poster art provided by Claudia Hartley

Archive – Sedona VegFest 2017
January 14 & 15, 2017

Sedona, Arizona

See Select Speaker Videos from 2017 VegFest at Program Button Above

Archived VegFest 2017 Program

See Speaker Videos Below:

Download the Official Sedona VegFest 2017 Program Here (click on image): 

Program Schedule

January 14:

8:00  – 9:00 a.m. Registration & Exhibits Open
9:00  – 9:30 a.m. Welcome – Josh LaJaunie, Don Fries and Bev Bow
9:30 – 11:00 a.m. Richard Oppenlander, DDS – Food Choice and Sustainability–Tipping Point Realities
11:00- 11:15.m. Break
11:15 – 12:00 noon Cooking Demo: Authentic Mexican Street Tacos – Chef Jason Wyrick and “Plant-Based Dietitian” Julieanna Hever.  Enjoy this same dish for lunch!
12:00 – 1:30 p.m. Lunch: Choice of: Authentic Mexican Street Tacos – or ChocolaTree menu from concession stand.  Separate Charge.  See descriptions below.
1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Craig McDougall, MD – Creating A Path Towards Health: Making the Transition to Plant Based Eating
2:30 – 2:45 p.m. Break
2:45 – 3:45 p.m. Victoria Moran – One Woman Show: The Making of a Main Street Vegan
3:45 – 4:00 p.m. Break
4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Matt Ruscigno, MPH, RD – The Vegan Athlete
6:00 p.m. Exhibits Close

Sunday, January 15:

8:00 a.m. Doors and Exhibits Open
8:30  – 9:30 a.m. Ted Crawford, DO – A Better Way
9:30 – 9:45 a.m. Break
9:45- 10:45 a.m. Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT – Let the Myths Stop Here
10:45 – 11:00 am Break
11:00 – 11:45 p.m. Cooking Demo – Time for Thai – Chef Jason Wyrick.  Enjoy this same dish for lunch!  See description below.
11:45 – 1:00 p.m. Lunch: Time for Thai – or ChocolaTree menu from concession stand.  Separate Charge.  See descriptions below.
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Joel Fuhrman, MD – Scientific Principles of Superior Nutrition 
2:00 – 2:15 p.m. Break
2:15 – 3:00 p.m. Sailesh Rao, PhD – Carbon Yoga: The Vegan Metamorphosis
3:00 – 3:15 p.m. Break
3:15 – 4:00 p.m. Gene Baur
4:00 – 5:30 p.m. Renee King-Sonnen, Ken Beller, Susan & Richard Pitcairn, Kari Neinstedt, Hugh Dorigo, Gene Baur – Panel/audience dialogue on The Relationship Between Human and Non-Human Animals.  Moderator: Andrea Chilcote.
6:00 p.m. Exhibits Close

Speaker Program for Sedona VegFest 2017


Joel Fuhrman, MD, Board-certified family physician with over 25 years experience in nutritional medicine Author of: The End of Heart Disease; The End of Dieting; Eat to Live; The End of Diabetes; and Super Immunity. Through his medical practice, as well as his New York Times best-selling books and PBS specials, Dr. Fuhrman has helped thousands of people lose weight permanently and reverse chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and chronic pain syndromes, including migraines, using a nutrient-dense, plant-rich eating style that he calls the Nutritarian diet. Dr. Fuhrman is the President of the Nutritional Research Foundation, and is a frequent guest on The Dr. Oz Show, for which he serves on the medical advisory board. See more at


Richard Oppenlander, DDS  (Video for “Food Choice and Sustainability: Tipping Point Realities” – now uploaded!)
Author of the groundbreaking book, Food Choice and Sustainability, Dr. Oppenlander is a consultant and researcher whose award-winning book, Comfortably Unaware, has been endorsed as a “must read” by Ellen DeGeneres, Dr. Jane Goodall, and Dr. Neal Barnard, among many others. Dr. Oppenlander is a much sought after lecturer and has been a keynote speaker for several conferences and events and has presented lectures and workshops at numerous universities and corporations. Dr. Oppenlander also serves as an advisor to municipalities in the U.S. and to world hunger projects that are designing programs from his model of multidimensional sustainability.
Since the early 1970’s, Dr. Oppenlander has studied the effect our food choices have on our health and the immense impact those choices have on our environment. He is president and founder of an organic vegan food production and education business, as well as the founder of the non-profit organization, Inspire Awareness Now.


Craig McDougall, MD, Portland, OR
Dr. McDougall places a strong emphasis on prevention and treating problems at their cause and reserves prescribing medications and surgeries as a last resort. He believes diet is the cause of most common diseases, including overweight, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes. He recommends that his patients eat a starch-centered diet, supplemented with fruits and vegetables. Dr. McDougall also encourages his patients to eat less meat, dairy foods, and limit refined oils.

Dr. McDougall was instrumental in developing ZOOM Prime, a primary care model in Portland, Oregon featuring personalized health coaching to help patients get off medications for conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol. ZOOM Prime prevents and reverses chronic disease using food, movement and relationships as medicine. It includes health coaching and classes at a Health Training Center, and in addition to in-person care, provides medical care via video and email.

McDougall is a board-certified internist and formerly worked as a primary care doctor at Kaiser Permanente in Portland, where he developed a Healthy Living Program.

Julieanna HeverMSRDCPTphoto2

Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT
Author of The Vegiterranean Diet and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based NutritionNutrition columnist for VegNews Magazine and co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gluten-Free Vegan CookingHost of Z Living Network’s What would Julieanna Do?

From her private practice in Los Angeles, Julieanna counsels clients throughout the world with various nutritional and/or medical concerns. She has authored articles published in prominent journals, magazines, blogs, and newsletters. Julieanna served as a consultant for the Forks Over Knives documentary and some of her recipes are included in both Forks Over Knives books. As the Executive Director of EarthSave, International, she brought whole food, plant-based nutrition to the forefront of efforts to improve the current global health crisis.

Julieanna received her Bachelor’s degree from UCLA and Masters of Science in Nutrition at California State University, Northridge, where she also completed her Dietetic Internship. She has taught as part of Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s eCornell Plant-Based Nutrition Certification Program, worked as a clinical dietitian at Century City Doctors Hospital, and has consulted for numerous businesses.
See more at:


Ted Crawford, DO, Tucson, AZ

The #1 Killer of Americans is the Food they elect to consume! (See Ted’s Video under the Health and Nutrition Conference Tab)
“The medicine should be on your plate.” Ted Crawford, D.O.

Ted Crawford is a board certified family practice physician who believes that most of our health problems are caused by what we choose to put into our bodies. He also believes that even if you have been treating your body horribly for years, you can reverse most, if not all, of the deleterious effects you have caused by poor lifestyle choices. Dr. Crawford practices family medicine in Tucson, AZ. He is featured in the film Eating You Alive which is about to be released nationwide. See more at


Victoria Moran ( is a vegan of over three decades, an obesity survivor, and the new new winner of the “Peta’s Sexiest Vegan Over 50” competition. Listed by VegNews among the Top 10 Living Vegetarian Authors, she has written twelve books, including The Love-Powered Diet, The Good Karma Diet, Creating a Charmed Life, and Main Street Vegan, with fans ranging from Bill Clinton to Ellen Degeneres. Victoria was featured twice on Oprah; she hosts the award-winning Main Street Vegan podcast; and directs Main Street Vegan Academy, the exciting in-person program in NYC that trains and certifies Vegan Lifestyle Coaches and Educators. She is also producer of the upcoming documentary film, The Compassion Project, introducing veganism to people of faith.


Matt Ruscigno, MPH, RD is professionally credentialed as a Registered Dietitian and has two degrees in nutrition, including graduate training at Loma Linda University, one of the only accredited universities to promote a plant-based diet. He is the past-Chair of the Vegetarian Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, where he educated health professionals on the science and application of vegan diets.

Matt is the co-author of No Meat Athlete with Matt Frazier and Appetite for Reduction with Isa Moskowitz. Most recently he is the lead author of the Amazon #1 Best Seller, Superfoods for Life, Cacao.   Formerly a college instructor, Matt is an avid speaker giving presentations at professional conferences, trainings and vegetarian fests all over the world. Through his private practice he works closely with vegan athletes and is a recreational athlete himself who competes in marathons, ironmans, ultraruns and 24-hour mountain bike races. He is a 3-time solo finisher of the Furnace Creek 508, a 500-mile non-stop bike race across Death Valley.  He lives car-free in Los Angeles, California.


Sailesh Rao, PhD, is the Executive Director of the non-profit, Climate Healers. An electrical engineer by training with a Ph.D. from Stanford University, Sailesh’s technology career includes service with AT&T Bell Labs and Intel. Moved to action to address the global climate challenge, Sailesh founded Climate Healers ( in 2007. The goal of Climate Healers is to reforest one-sixth of the ice-free land area of the earth to neutralize human carbon dioxide emissions temporarily. Among its projects, Climate Healers partners with NGOs, tribal villages, and school clubs to help low-income areas in India use solar rather than wood-burning stoves. Sailesh was selected as a Karmaveer Puraskaar Noble Laureate, an award presented by iCONGO (Indian Confederation of NGOs) whose primary mission is to encourage citizen action for social justice. Sailesh is the author of Carbon Dharma: The Occupation of Butterflies; and Carbon Yoga: The Vegan Metamorphosis. 


Gene Baur is currently Farm Sanctuary’s president. With shelters in New York and California, Farm Sanctuary provides rescue, refuge, and adoption for hundreds of farm animals each year. He has been hailed as “the conscience of the food movement” by Time magazine. For more than 25 years he has traveled extensively around the country, campaigning to raise awareness about the abuses of industrialized factory farming and our current food system. His efforts have been covered by top news organizations, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2008, Gene’s book, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food, became a national bestseller. See more at

Andrea Chilcote, Founder and CEO of Morningstar Ventures, is an accomplished author, speaker and executive coach. She has extensive experience in assisting teams and organizations to communicate effectively to achieve desired results. She received a BS degree from Millikin University, her Consulting Practices Certification from the Meridian Institute, and has completed graduate studies at University of Kentucky, Lexington. Andrea resides near Phoenix.


headshot-reneeRenee King-Sonnen, a native Houstonian, is the Executive Director and Founder of Rowdy Girl Sanctuary in Angleton, Texas. She remarried her husband Tommy Sonnen, a multi-generational cattle rancher in 2009 and moved to the ranch. She fell in love with farm animals, having no idea her life was about to transform. After witnessing time and again the baby calves going to the sale barn she became extremely depressed. In October 2014, she went vegan as a result and began researching factory farming and the compassionate alternative, farm sanctuaries. She desperately consulted with leaders in the vegan movement, determined to do whatever she could to create sanctuary out of what was once a beef cattle operation in the heart of cattle country.


Richard H. Pitcairn, DVM, PhD, Sedona, AZ
Author, with Susan Pitcairn, of: Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, now in 4th edition.
Dr. Pitcairn has been active in the veterinary field since graduating from UC Davis in 1965. His experience has spanned large animal medicine, small animal medicine, exotic animal medicine, research in immunology, and a faculty position at Washington State Veterinary School. As experience was gained, the focus in
practice became nutrition and use of homeopathy as primary modalities. In 1985, a practice was established in Eugene, Oregon that used only these two treatment methods for a wide range of physical and emotional problems. The success in this approach was recognized leading to the establishment of a year-long training program for veterinarians wishing to learn this work. To date, 500 veterinarians have gone through this training. In 1995, Dr. Pitcairn co-founded The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy, the first professional organization of practicing veterinary homeopaths in the United States.
In 2013 Dr. Pitcairn, in association with Wendy Jensen DVM, developed a repertory, the major reference work in homeopathic practice, and the first of its kind focusing specifically on veterinary practice. Now retired from active practice, Dr. Pitcairn consults with homeopathic veterinarians and continues to be active in teaching and writing in the area of nutrition, homeopathic medicine and the ethical treatment of animals.


Susan Pitcairn, MS is passionate about the emerging vegan vision for our world, to which she is currently dedicating her life. Co-author with her husband Dr. Richard Pitcairn of “Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats,”a classic in its field since 1981, Susan has been responsible for the careful formulation and analysis of the book’s popular fresh food recipe since 1981. For the book’s 2017 major update, she presents a strong argument that dogs and cats can and should join their people in a more healthy, humane and sustainable plant-based diet, creating a variety of complete, balanced recipes based on decades of successful reports, collaborations with vegan pet professionals, and careful nutrient analyses.

Since 2014 she has presented this new approach at several national veterinary meetings, inspiring many to recommend it to clients.
Susan is also an accomplished award-winning artist and will illustrate the book’s update. Since 2014, she has hosted Sedona’s ” Conscious Living Potluck” since 2014, a popular monthly vegan educational and social gathering. Earlier in her life, she taught sociology and psychology at the University of California, Montery Peninsula College and John Woolman High School (Quaker) and long explored many frontiers of the emerging new culture of our times. Her 2013 volume of paintings and poetry, “Spirit of the Earth,” is the fruit of a rich and varied life of meaning and purpose.


Ken Beller is an award-winning author, speaker, and workshop facilitator. From a cattle ranching family (Ken’s grandfather homesteaded a cattle ranch in Northeastern New Mexico), he grew up as an avid hunter, fisherman, and meat eater—who turned enthusiastic vegan and animal rights advocate over 15 years ago. Ken is CEO of Near Bridge, Inc., which specializes in helping people get along better, and is lead author of The Consistent Consumer and Great Peacemakers (winner of more than 30 awards and endorsed by 3 presidents and 3 Nobel Peace Prize winners.)


Kari Nienstedt was born and raised in Arizona and has been working on animal issues since 1993. Her volunteer experience includes more than ten years of grassroots outreach and fundraising for Farm Sanctuary through annual walk-a-thon benefits and silent auctions. In 2006, Kari served as the campaign manager for a statewide ballot initiative. Proposition 204, The Humane Treatment of Farm Animals Act, successfully banned the use of veal crates and gestation crates in Arizona. From 2007 – 2014, she acted as the Arizona State Director for The Humane Society of the United States, where she worked to help animals through legislation, citizen advocacy, coalition building, hands-on care, and other projects. Kari is currently the Senior Director of Council Engagement for The HSUS. Council members serve as volunteer ambassadors and help to expand the reach of The HSUS’s programs and sphere of influence, assisting through fundraising and advocacy work. Throughout her professional career, Kari has served in leadership positions on the boards of other independent, non-profit organizations including her current volunteer role with Wildlife Impact which works to advance international wildlife conservation and welfare in developing countries through evidence-based evaluation of programs, capacity development for local organizations and advocacy efforts.


Hugh Dorigo became a documentary filmmaker in 2005 while exploring the subject of farmed animal welfare. His family’s involvement in pig farming in New Jersey since the mid-1900’s contributed to the impetus to investigate modern animal agriculture. This synthesis of his research became the documentary film Beyond Closed Doors, which was released in 2007.  It went on to receive a number of accolades, including Best Film in Animal Advocacy at the 2007 Artivist Film Festival. His next film, entitled Dogs, Cats and Scapegoats, aims to explore the often ignored root causes of companion animal homelessness. Both films, while differing in subject matter, draw from the principle that solutions to the problems that affect animals are not simply a result of inadequate protections but originate from our collective attitudes about animals. He has interviewed dozens of experts for his films from the fields of animal welfare, animal science, veterinary medicine, animal ethics and animal behavior.


Jason Wyrick is the executive chef of The Vegan Taste, the author of Vegan Tacos: Authentic and Inspired Recipes for Mexico’s Favorite Street Food, and co-author with Neil Barnard of NY Times Bestseller 21 Day Weight Loss Kickstart. In 2001, Jason was diagnosed with diabetes in his mid-20s and was told he would have to be on medication for the rest of his life. Instead, Jason became vegan, reversed his diabetes in eight months, and lost over 100 pounds over the course of two years. Along the way, he learned about factory farming, cementing his decision to become vegan. He also learned that the food had to be outstanding, or no one was going to eat it! He left his job as a computer company marketing director to become a chef and help others learn how to eat healthfully, compassionately, and well. He has taught alongside Dr. Neil Barnard, Dr. John McDougall, and Dr. Gabriel Cousens.  Jason was the first vegan culinary instructor in the world-famous Le Cordon Bleu program through the Scottsdale Culinary Institute.  He founded the world’s first vegan food magazine, The Vegan Culinary Experience, has presented for the American Dietetic Association, the American Diabetes Association, Humana, The Wellness Community, and Farm Sanctuary.  Jason is a regular guest at the Scottsdale Culinary Festival. He has catered for organizations as prestigious as Google, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Peta, and Farm Sanctuary and has been featured in the NY Times, and on both local and national television.


“Fixing the way I thought about myself and what is possible changed my life—more than plants, more than running, more than any of these things—it’s what went on inside my mind.”  Josh LaJaunie

Josh LaJaunie was born and raised in south Louisiana. To quote him: “I grew hunting, fishing, drinking, eating, playing football, and getting fat. Ultimately I found myself tipping the scales at over 400 pounds in early 2011. I have since lost 200 pounds, developed a love for running, and am now exclusively a plant-based, plant-powered, aspiring athlete at 36 years old. And I want to share the why’s and how’s.”

We are honored that Josh served as the M.C. for Sedona VegFest 2017!

See the video links above for presentations of most of the speakers at this Healthy World Sedona VegFest, and the prior day’s Health and Nutrition Conference..

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).

Plan now to attend next year’s conferences Friday-Sunday, January 19-21, 2018 !

Lunch at VegFest

When you come to Sedona VegFest, we want you to not only learn about the joys of whole food plant-based eating.  We want you to experience these joys firsthand each year!  In 2017, we had two great options for you to choose from for lunch:

  •  Option 1: Our Executive Chef, Jason Wyrick,  demonstrated two delicious and intriguing meals that you can make at home.  And immediately following the cooking demonstrations each day, participants enjoyed that same meal for lunch!

Chef Jason Wyrick’s Lunch Menus

Saturday Lunch:  Authentic Mexican Street Tacos

Participants experienced the exciting flavor explosion of authentic Mexican street tacos, vegan style! The lunch plate included Tacos Veracruz, a taco made from potatoes and pinto beans in a tangy tomato caper sauce topped with wilted greens in an orange garlic sauce, and Tacos with Pintos and Rajas, a taco made from stewed pinto beans, peanuts, and roasted pasilla chile strips. Tacos come fully garnished, including avocado, pickled onions, radish, cabbage, salsa, and limes and are served with a side of smoked paprika rice. The meal was gluten-free, soy-free, and whole food plant-based.

Sunday Lunch:  Time for Thai

A taste of Thai. The lunch featured a perfectly balanced Thai stew of red lentils in a coconut, lime, and lemongrass sauce with a hint of Thai red curry, and a side of roasted sweet potatoes with Thai basil, shallots, peanuts, and a Chiang Mai salsa on the side. Spicy and non-spicy options for the salsa available. The meal was gluten-free, soy-free, and whole food plant-based.

  • Option 2:  Our Concessions partner, ChocolaTree Organic Oasis, created a healthy and tasty lunch menu just for VegFest.

ChocolaTree Lunch Menu

From Their 100% Organic Kitchens
Free of Gluten, Dairy or Processed Sugars. Gratefully Serving Real Food to Genuinely Nourish Our Guests

Sautéed crimini mushrooms in garlic almond crème sauce served over wild rice, topped with fresh parsley

Southwestern corn chowder made ChocolaTree style, blended with Yukon gold potatoes in our homemade vegan creamed corn sauce

AVOCADO HERB SANDWICH  – Their famous live onion flat bread filled with creamy herbed pate, avocado, red onion, clover sprouts & seasonal greens

Thick Indian pancake cooked with a curried spinach filling. Served with side of seasonal chutney for dipping. A light & delicious ayurvedic entrée

Romaine lettuce, garlic lover’s Caesar dressing topped with house-made vegan parmesan crumble

Massaged kale, shredded carrots & cabbage, sautéed onion, red bell pepper & our almond Thai sauce all tossed with hearty quinoa

From The Beverage Bar

Fresh lemon & ginger juiced fresh then blended with local raw Arizona honey. An all time favorite!

Slow roasted traditional spices, no caffeine! Blended with maple sweetened sprouted almond milk

“The healthiest tea on Earth!” Chinese tonic tea, no caffeine Light & naturally sweet

Cold brewed, rich & bold locally roasted coffee served hot
Side maple sweet sprouted almond milk

Fresh mango blended with rich & creamy house made coconut kefir, cinnamon, star anise & clove, sweetened with grade C maple syrup.

Sedona VegFest
January 14 & 15, 2017
Sedona, Arizona