Activity in downtown Marshall and at the Marshall Convention Center has been buzzing this week, and with good reason. It is Healthfest 2016.
With around 20 presenters and speakers on hand, like Dr. Michael Gregor, founder of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Dr. Garth Davis, a leader in the field of bariatric medicine, and Chef AJ tp name a few, this year’s Healthfest according to organizers is expected to go beyond the rest successfully.
Friday afternoon, the line reached just out the door prior shortly before time for the official registration start time. Participants were all smiles as they chatted about eating healthy, listening to various speakers and sharing vegetarian recipes. Some had traveled from out of state while others were from rural and metropolitan areas in Texas.
HealthFest 2016 is the brainchild of the Get Healthy Marshall, a non-profit organization founded by former Marshall Mayor Ed Smith and his wife, Amanda. For the Smiths, getting healthy and changing their diets began around 2008 when Mayor Smith received a diagnosis of prostate cancer.
Smith decided to make some aggressive dietary changes, under his doctor’s supervision. Wife Amanda joined him in the efforts. They focused on a diet of whole grains, vegetables, legumes, nuts and fruits.
Testing later showed that Smith’s cancerous growth had gone.
That’s how Get Healthy Marshall started, and Healthfest grew out of that.
On Friday, vendors had set up booths and tables around one side of the Convention Center area, including local businesses like Sabine’s and the Friends of the Marshall Animal Shelter. Pooh and Piglet, two puppies who had been nursed by volunteers, including Elaine Slaughter, were on hand to delight festival participants.
There were different speakers scheduled for Friday night covering topics like ways to prevent heart attacks, a new approach to diabetes, food as medicine and speakers signed autographs for books.
More activities and speakers are scheduled at various locations during the weekend, and several local restaurants will be going completely vegan during the Healthfest.
*We would like to thank Amanda and Ed Smith for allowing the Piney Woods News to report on the event.