HONOLULU (KITV) - Did you know, you can improve your health just by switching up your personal menu? This weekend is the perfect time -- it's VegFest.

KITV's Tesia Worley sat down with Sisi Kong, Community Outreach Team Leader, and Carmela Wolf, Wellness Manager, both from Down to Earth.

Q: What is the significance of the 2018 VegFest Oahu?

A: In Hawaii where so many residents suffer from diet-related illnesses, VegFest Oahu provides a valuable service by calling attention to how people improve their health by transitioning over to a plant-based diet. 

Q: What can visitors expect to see at 2018 VegFest Oahu? 

A: Over 50 booths offering education, a wide variety of health and lifestyle products and services, and, of course, plenty of vegan food!

  • Inspirational health talks from various plant-based industry professionals. Down to Earth's very own Carmela Wolf will be speaking on "Eating the Rainbow: Vibrant Foods for a Vibrant Life." 
  • Down to Earth will have its own booth where we'll be providing some of our delicious recipes for visitors to taste! Stop by our booth as we'll be offering plates of: 
    • Spicy Tofu Poke with Hapa Rice 
    • Earth and Sea Salad 
    • Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce 
    • White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies 
    • Herbal Tea 
  • We'll also have a special cooking demo with our very own Madeline Kammerer, who will be teaching others to make some of our popular recipes like Spicy Tofu Poke and Spinach Luau, in their very own home. 
  • Continuous live music from popular local musicians such as Paul Izak, Tavana and Quadraphonix. 

Q: What are the benefits of a plant-based diet? 

A: There are a multitude:

  • Health
    • The American Dietetic Association states that vegetarians have 
      • Lower blood cholesterol levels
      • Lower blood pressure
      • Lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer
  • Vegetarians are less likely than meat-eaters to be obese
  • Well-planned vegetarian diets provide us with all the nutrients that we need, minus all the saturated fat, cholesterol, and contaminants found in animal flesh and eggs.
  • Research has shown that vegetarians are:
    • 50 percent less likely to develop heart disease, and they have 40 percent of the cancer rate of meat-eaters
    • Meat-eaters are nine times more likely to be obese than are vegans.
  • Environment
    • By going vegetarian you will help to:
      • Avoid excessive CO2 production
      • Reduce methane/nitrous oxide production
      • Save large amounts of water
      • Avoid further pollution of our streams/rivers/oceans
      • Reduce destruction of topsoil & tropical rainforest
      • Reduce destruction of wildlife habitats & endangered species
      • Reduce the use of antibiotics, growth promoters and chemicals

Q: How does Down to Earth's mission align with that of VegFest Oahu? 

A: Ever since Down to Earth started on Maui in 1977, we've always been an all-vegetarian store. The single most important thing an individual can do for their health, for the environment, and for the sake of the innocent animals is to adopt a vegetarian diet.

The 2018 VegFest on O'ahu happens Saturday from noon to 5:30 p.m. at the Frank Fasi Civic Grounds.