2020 Central Coast VegFest speakers

Why the H.E.C.K. are we so excited? Health, Environment, Conscience and Kindness are the featured topics with our trained and excellent speakers–all day long!

Renee King-Sonnen

“From Cattle Rancher to Texas Vegan—past and future”

1:15 p.m. (keynote speaker)

After marrying a multi-generational Texas cattle rancher, Renee King-Sonnen left suburbia and moved to her husband’s 96 acre cattle ranch in 2009.

The experience of loading up for sale and watching their cattle’s offspring leave each year, with their “mamas wailing for a week–the absence of their souls in the pasture haunted me,” Renee says.

Renee went vegan on Oct. 31, 2014 and soon after started her Vegan Journal of A Rancher’s Wife as a way to express through writing and songs her newfound loving feelings about the cows they used to raise and sell for profit.  In early 2015, Renee initiated an online fundraiser that would eventually succeed in raising $36,000, enough money to buy her husband’s herd and donate them to the new non-profit now known as Rowdy Girl Sanctuary – the first beef cattle ranch vegan conversion in the history of Texas, the United States and most likely the world.  Her husband, Tommy is now vegan and supports her at the sanctuary as the number one contributor and volunteer for Rowdy Girl.  Their Rancher Advocacy Program helps ranchers convert their land from animal agriculture to alternate productive incomes.

Daniela Lais

“Vegan Baking with Eggs and Butter”

11:30 a.m.

Daniela Lais is an Austrian journalist, baker and award-winning cookbook author. She has been vegan for 18 years, organized the first Vegfests in the western part of Austria and is involved in vegan education and animal rights for the Austrian Vegan Society for over 15 years. Daniela has done cooking demos and book presentations in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, England and all over the United States, highlighting her two very popular books “Vegan on the Go” and “Easy Vegan Baking.” Daniela tells you everything that you need to know about vegan baking, egg replacements and we will sample a delicious egg salad (without eggs, of course)!

Bruce Mylrea

“Transitioning to a Plant-Based Diet—how and why I did it for my health.”

2:15 P.M.

Bruce is a former 9-5 businessman, an avid surfer, and the husband of fitness-pro wife Mindy for over 32 years, with three grown boys. In 2011, in an attempt to treat Bruce’s high cholesterol numbers, both Bruce and Mindy transitioned to a whole food, plant based diet. This was a pivotal point in both Bruce’s and Mindy’s life. A game changer for sure. Bruce successfully lowered his total cholesterol by over 100 points and lost over 25 pounds. However, just one year later, Bruce was blindsided by being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Since first overhauling his diet 5 years ago, Bruce has been on a mission to uncover the latest research in unbiased scientific nutrition. For the last 3 years Bruce and Mindy have been lecturing at fitness conferences around the country on the truth about nutrition without any of the financial industry bias that comes along with most nutrition education.

Elisabeth DeSwart

“Whole Food Plant-Based Meats and Proteins”

10:30 a.m.

Elisabeth DeSwart is a Registered Dietitian (RD) with a Master of Science degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University, a Cuesta College Nutrition professor, Nutrition Club advisor, and Culinary Arts lead for adults and children.  DeSwart provides nutrition counseling for clients in her private practice, including grocery tours and meal preparation.  As a Registered Dietitian, she has worked in hospitals and CMC prison providing nutrition and culinary education, facilitating committees, managing food service, and creating therapeutic menus. 




4:15 p.m.

Watch with us this humorous and information-packed short (25 minute) film about the myths and truths of protein consumption for human beings.  Screening will take place next to the Main Stage in the Hall of Veg.  Prepare to be blown away!