Red Carpet Inspiration

The Zen Nights Red Carpet Gala and Block Party was a great success and left me feeling nothing but an affirmation that life is on the right track. Not only did I walk away with a renewed belief in myself and my ability to help others by serving them plant based, whole foods but I found a new voice within me that screamed, “don’t hold back!”.

Sometimes, especially with family members, I hold my tongue and try to let the food do the speaking. But why? People may love to eat our food but it isn’t always enough to truly believe in the power of food to heal the body. How does that saying go? Knowledge is power. Yes. Knowledge is POWER!

We showed up to the Red Carpet Gala dressed to the nines. I wore my prom dress from high school (yes it still fits!) which gave me a chance to give it a good night. Compared to the night 14 years ago in high school – I’ll spare you the details details. The dress was the only thing special about that night and I think you get the point.

Jason Wyrick, Author of the Vegan Mexico Cookbook and Owner of The Vegan Taste Food Delivery Service company, was serving up some really yummy smelling food and I couldn’t wait to eat it!

We met Jason for the first time when we did our Cauliflower Buffalo Wings food demo at the Arizona Vegetarian Food Festival this year; a man with an inspiring story, tasty food and a friendly staff. We sat in our chairs enjoying a Mushroom Ceviche and Walnut Pate with tortilla chips, a Spicy Jackfruit Taco and a heavenly peanut butter ball of some sort (so good I had to go back and ask for seconds). Green was also there but ran out of food before I could get to them. Even though I was super bummed, I did get to try their delicious Chocolate Chocolate Mini Cupcake that they were passing out right before the movie.

Will Tucker, Vegan Body Builder, Personal Trainer and Owner of Will Tucker Fitness took the stage to kick off the event. Introducing his lovely wife Nadia Khalighi, coordinator of the Zen Nights events and owner of Zen Comfort. There were many familular faces in the audience. Most of them our customers and dedicated members of the community and I was so honored to be sitting next to everyone one of them taking part in this event.

Eating You Alive was an amazing documentary. It didn’t focus on extensive facts like most food documentaries do, instead it was an array of amazing and tear jerking stories from all over the nation that all had one thing in common: a plant based vegan diet healed them. Every story – from Lupas to Cancer to people told their inherited genes were to blame – were all met with a new beginning. Every person was off their medication within three months of radically changing what they were putting into their bodies and within a year, they were on their way to reversing the diseases they thought they would have to live with for the rest of their life. Everyone one of them survived when they were told they would die. And so many of them, just like me, wanted to spread the message about the injustas we are all living and the unexplainable wonders that plants can do for you.

The lights flickered on and we were then introduced to three of the amazing people in the movie who had so much more to say about where their paths were leading them. Among them were Husband and Wife team Brook Goldner, MD and Thomas Tadlock who founded Smoothie SHRED,  a 28-day free smoothie and workout challenge to get you on track to loosing weight and healing the body with a Plant Based lifestyle. We were also introduced to Milan Ross of Full Flavor Vegan, a company dedicated to educating the public about the wonders of a Plant Based, Vegan Lifestyle.

To wrap up the event, the newly founded Just Start Here Team consisting of Will Tucker, Jason Wyrick and Dr. Amish  Shah, a local doctor certified in emergency and sports medicine, talked of their coming together to form a team where people could go to start transitioning to a Whole Foods, Plant Based Vegan Lifestyle. It was the perfect combination of support; body builder, chef and Dr. I felt so privileged to be there to see the start of something wonderful being put together and I just can’t wait to see where it will take Arizona’s expanding Vegan community.

We topped off the night with some conversation and a free sample hummus bowl from the Hummus Express Food Truck. Their “sample” was very generous; the size of a meal and so delicious! Perfect end to the night because I was still hungry!

The next was the Zen Nights Block Party and it seemed to be a hit event as well, despite soaring desert temperatures. I did brave the heat and venture downtown with the kids.

I call six o’clock witching hour because if the kids’ aren’t in the bath and on their way to story time, it could easily be a disaster. Of course my first stop was The Cutting Board’s tent to make sure everyone had what they needed and check out the food and setup. Sean was cooking away in his cast iron skillet and serving up a mini version of our delicious Enchiladas and Homestead Cinnamon Rolls which went within the hour! They were the hit of the night!

We browsed the rest of the tents, my son scouting for samples and of course and landed at Fluffy Vegans tent to try their amazing new dried pineapple. I absolutely love their dried fruit. I have tried to so hard to get my fruit crunchy like owners Kimberly and Casey do but they have it figured out! Of course we bought a bag (oil free, sugar free snacks? yes, please!). Next we found ourselves standing in front of some sort of wonderful fan-blowing-water contraption and in the company of Roman, the young boy who founded Paws’itively Tasty Treats and made all of the Whole Food, Vegan dog treats that were handed out in the VIP bags at the Red Carpet gala. He was a smart, young boy who seemed to be growing in popularity and trying to balance his new business adventure with his busy school life. I loved that my son was standing by my side and listening to me talk to this boy who was just a little older than him and already so motivated and devoted to a good cause.

We got another Hummus Bowl at the Hummus Express Food truck and some Sweet Potato Fries at a tent, who’s business I’d never seen before and can’t remember. Usually I’m collecting everyone’s business cards but with one starving kid (mad that his sweet potato fry order still wasn’t ready after 30 minuets) and the other who didn’t want to stay in my arms but couldn’t walk yet, it was proving difficult to stay. So I quickly grabbed an ice cold Chai Latte at Volstead and a kiss from my husband, who was cheffn’ it up and looking so handsome in his black button up chef coat. Then I headed home to do the quickest bedtime routine I could muster.

The Zen Nights events were a success and so much fun. I now have a number of new resources to add to my website (let’s see how fast I get that done, ha!) and I can’t wait to see what is in store for future Zen Nights events!

A HUGE thank you to all of our staff at The Cutting Board! Without your love and passion for what we do (and your willingness to brave the heat to sell our food) we would never be so successful. And to Nadia Khalighi for making this whole thing happen! If you missed The Cutting Board last month at the Zen Nights event, no worries! Come see us on Friday, July 29th for the more of our Homestead Cinnamon Rolls!


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