On Saturday 21st April, the Oxford Academy opened its doors to FitFest, Oxfordshire’s largest fitness and wellness festival. The event featured a range of fitness classes, talks from wellbeing and motivational experts, and a range of cooking demos for healthy eating. Naturally, as a foodie, I was at the front of the audience for everything food-related.
The first cooking session was on vegan meal prep. I admit that the thought of a lentil, cauliflower and broccoli salad didn’t fill me with excitement, but it was probably one of the tastiest and most filling salads I’d ever eaten: the lentils, cooked in vegetable broth, were meaty and hearty; the cauliflower and broccoli, seasoned with Baharat spice mix and roasted in the oven, was a revelation; and the lemon, garlic, and olive oil dressing, as delicious as it was simple, tied it all together.
Naturally, as a foodie, I was at the front of the audience for everything food-related.
On the sweet side of things there were demonstrations on how to make delicious chocolate protein pancakes, with bananas or sweet potatoes as a base, in what was essentially a cocktail shaker; fudgy blondies, which were sweet and decadent, and you couldn’t even tell that they were made mostly from chickpeas; and healthy, refined sugar-free chocolate chip cookies, which tasted just like something you’d get from Millie’s cookies!
The turmeric demo, meanwhile, was the biggest education. While I’m still not convinced I’ll ever find turmeric lattes tasty, the turmeric vinaigrette and pesto were delicious. If you’re thinking of including more of the anti-inflammatory spice into your life, but don’t really fancy having a curry every day, then these two savoury options are definitely the way to go.
There was also a range of food stalls with various options available to event-goers. Having spent all day snacking at the demos, it wasn’t until the end of the event that I was feeling peckish enough to redeem my meal ticket. The gentlemen at The Green Box Company stall insisted that the tickets were only valid until 3pm, information which was only conveyed to me when I turned up at their stall at 5pm. They weren’t sympathetic or apologetic, and the experience left me with a bitter taste. My afternoon was redeemed, however, by the gentlemen from White Rabbit Pizza. They not only sympathised with my peckish plight and offered me a vegan pizza, but did so with smiles, great banter, and all round wonderful service.
And that was just the food during the day. I still have a whole heap of goodies from the event that I’m slowly getting through, including protein balls, popcorn, tea, sweet potato wraps, protein powder, almond butter – and even some jelly beans! With such a good haul this year, I can’t wait to see what food FitFest will come up with next year.