Plant-based meals competition exhibits wholesome residing

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The fourth annual Healthy Taste of Knoxville festival returned Sunday at the Knoxville Expo Center.

The festival celebrated and promoted plant-based diets such as vegetarianism and veganism, which, according to the Mayo Clinic, may offer health benefits such as a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

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“Our goal with this event is to provide access to helpful resources and support to anyone considering a plant-based lifestyle, for whatever reason,” said Healthy Taste of Knoxville organizer Stan Wolcott. “We have noticed an increasing interest in plant life in our community and would like to connect these people with like-minded providers and companies across the region.”

Janice Church, the volunteer coordinator for Healthy Taste of Knoxville, grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin but never knew she had a milk intolerance.

When she was 49, Church said she weighed 275 pounds and was extremely depressed. But that changed when she became a vegan.

“It completely changed my life, but I never knew I was sick until I changed,” Church said. “And as soon as I change, I look back and people say, ‘Oh, how can you live like this’ and I think why do you want to choose food that kills you every day?”

Church, now aged 73, says she enjoys an active lifestyle that includes hiking and biking with her granddaughter.

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