Saturday’s HealthFest events promote awareness

30-year vegan, lecturer, public health nutritionist and author, Tracye McQuirter, MPH, held court Saturday during HealthFest in Marshall.

McQuirter shared her story of being a ‘veteran’ vegan, as well as discussed being a vegan in the African-American culture.

Marshall Fire Chief Reggie Cooper was on hand for the sessions. Cooper had been diagnosed with diabetes, and when he was introduced to vegetarianism, he realized something. Positive changes were made. “What I couldn’t do in five years, I was able to do in 28 days on a plant-based diet. I also lost some weight and got off medicines,” Cooper told the Piney Woods News.

Of the HealthFest, Cooper said, “The HealthFest is really important because of awareness. If people don’t know, they won’t understand the complete importance of eating right.”

He continued, “Anyone wanting to do better for themselves should understand the reasons why. I’ve had many people ask me what was it that I did to lose so much weight. Just like anyone you know that gets on those roller coaster diets, people want to know what are you eating.”

For Cooper, he would like people to go a little further in finding out about eating healthy, and he believes HealthFest and GetHealthyMarshall is a good way to do that. “I want people to know the dynamics of why something works. It is an extreme privilege to have the quality speakers, doctors, dietitians, fitness professionals, chefs, etc. here in our little city speaking on healthy living,” Cooper said.

“Ed and Amanda Smith have taken the initiative in allowing themselves to be used as true life saving individuals that have shown their genuine love for the well being of people. This annual event raises awareness to the unhealthy behaviors our society has slowly taken on in showing a better way. I am so pleased to be a part of it,” he said.

The final day of activities will include a 5K Fun Run, guided meditations, exercising, learning new recipes, hearing special presenters and at the end of the day, there will be an all-star panel at the Visual Arts Center.

Tracye McQuirter, a public health nutritionist, lecturer and author, shared her story and led in informative sessions Saturday during HealthFest 2016. (Photos by Reggie Cooper)
A large crowd was very interested in hearing Tracey McQuirter speak Saturday at the HealthFest 2016 (Photos by Reggie Cooper)
Dr. Neal Barnard gave a presentation on Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention at the Visual Arts Center Saturday. He said that half of the people who make it to 85 will develop the disease. The best news that you diet is a huge factor in prevention. Reduce saturated fats and trans fats. (Photo HealthFest 2016 Facebook Page)
Marshall Fire Chief Reggie Cooper with activist and author Tracye McQuirter and Chef, Author, Actor – Ayinde Howell. during HealthFest 2016. (Photo Amanda Smith)
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