Staffers Schooled on Veganism at CVC Lunch

Posted April 22, 2013 at 4:26pm

About 200 Hill staffers were treated to a vegan lunch Monday afternoon by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and the Capitol Hill Vegetarian Caucus at a luncheon designed to spread the mantra of a plant-based diet.

Staffers munched on vegan items such as kale chips, cucumber gazpacho and grape leaves stuffed with a nut mixture, provided by the Washington, D.C., restaurant Elizabeth’s Gone Raw, and washed it all down with cupcakes provided by two-time Food Network “Cupcake Wars” champions

, and washed it all down with cupcakes provided by two-time Food Network “Cupcake Wars” champions Sticky Fingers bakery.

While eating, the staffers learned about the benefits and ways to live a plant-based lifestyle from nutrition and fitness consultant John Pierre, who counts celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres among his clients.

Pierre warned the staffers that processed foods, meats and dairy products are “breeding” obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and violence, and he provided information on how to eat vegan in order to prevent these sorts of maladies from manifesting.

HOH chuckled when Pierre coached the standing-room-only luncheon attendees about how veganism helps create a regular bowel cycle and warned that things such as bread, cheese and meat products add up to create a “constipation sandwich,” which leads to premature aging and diseases.

But Pierre’s biggest advice to the staffers, many of whom already live plant-based lifestyles, was to nix anger and hatred from their daily lives in order to live a happier and healthier life.

“The worst toxin ever known is the toxin of hatred, anger and rage,” Pierre said. “Emotional toxins will prematurely age you and destroy you. They are very, very dangerous.”

Grape leaves filled with a nut mixture and a vegan tzatziki sauce were one of the lunch items provided at the event. (Emily Cahn/CQ Roll Call)

The idea for the luncheon was spawned when Elizabeth Kucinich, director of government affairs for the PCRM, read an article in CQ Roll Call about a group of Hill staffers who were mobilizing to get better vegetarian and vegan options in Capitol Hill cafeterias.

Kucinich, a vegan who is married to former Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who was also in attendance at the event, said the number of people who attended the luncheon proves that there is a lot of interest in living a plant-based lifestyle on Capitol Hill and she hopes the event will spur more Hill staffers to join the Vegetarian Caucus staff association.

“[I hope the event] piques their interest and gives the Vegetarian Caucus more members,” Elizabeth Kucinich said. “I’d hope that the Caucus and I and others can work together to really show how vibrant this community is.”