Supporting Portland's Vegan, Vegetarian, and Veg-curious Community

Northwest VEG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Portland, OR that works to educate and encourage people to make vegan choices for a healthy, sustainable, and compassionate world.
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Volunteer Spotlight: Trista Cornelius

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November 28, 2012

Q. How long have you been veg and why?
A. Iíve been veg for almost seven years. I tried being vegetarian rather ignorantly in college and then haphazardly off and on again for years. In 2006, I decided to be vegan for ten days just to give myself a challenge. I didnít expect it to make me feel light and energized and positive.

Q. How has being veg impacted your life?
A. Better quality of life, more mindful, and more adventurous: I strongly believe that what we eat shapes our quality of life profoundly. I am happier, healthier, less tired, and feel better than I did ten years younger. It has also made me more mindful. I pay attention to what I eat, how I eat it, and how I feel as a result. Finally, Iíve become a much more adventurous eater, and fitting a more diverse and satisfying range of food into my life than ever before.

Q. How did you get involved with volunteering for NW VEG?
A. My husband and I attended one of the first VegFests, packed into the basement of a church. I didnít quite get what it meant to be a member, so it was a few years before I started paying for a family membership to support NW VEG events. Then I volunteered to write for the newsletter, which I love doing, and I was inspired by a Volunteer Spotlight on Eric Day to volunteer at Veg Fest because he made it sound so fun.

Q. What has been your favorite or most memorable NW VEG volunteer experience?
A. I love writing for the newsletter and getting to research, email, and occasionally meet or talk with veg business owners and leaders. For example, this month, I talked with David Lee, the creator and owner of Field Roast. He was so energized, enthusiastic, creatively inspired, and genuine about his company and products. Itís really inspiring to see this positive side of the business world. The owner of Dr. Kracker was the same way -- so excited about what his company is doing to be ďgreenĒ and sell healthy and satisfying plant-based foods. Finally, at VegFest, I got to meet Dr. Esselstyn and chat with him about the schedule; he was totally down-to-earth, calm, and present, even though about ten people hovered nearby waiting to talk with him hours before VegFest even started!

Q. What advice would you give to individuals considering volunteering for NW VEG?
A. Itís easy to show up to volunteer even if you donít know anyone (and if youíre shy like I am) because you all have a diet and lifestyle in common, which sparks instant conversation. It doesnít have to be overwhelming to volunteer. I probably spend about four hours a month writing for the newsletter, and volunteering the days of VegFest has become an annual tradition for me.

Q. What is your favorite veg meal, either homemade or from a restaurant?
A. I might literally be addicted to kale. I love it roasted as ďchips.Ē I love it tossed into boiling pasta for the last few seconds and then laced with a bit of sea salt and nutritional yeast. I love it raw in a wheat tortilla with mustard, some nuts, and maybe some leftover veggies from the night before. I havenít yet tried it in my morning oatmeal, but donít be surprised if I end up loving that too.

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