Green day . . .
Northeast Ohio's best-connected vegan, U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich, will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Nutritional Foods Association this summer in Las Vegas. The congressman, who embraced a vegan lifestyle more than seven years ago, was nominated for the award by Medeana Hobar, the organization's Midwest-region veep and owner of Westlake's Web of Life Natural Foods Market (25923 Detroit Road, 440-899-2882), where Kucinich is a regular shopper. Among his accomplishments, Kucinich has introduced bills to regulate genetically engineered foods and is co-sponsoring the Fisheries Recovery Act of 2001. As a vegan, the 56-year-old shuns all animal products, including eggs, milk, and cheese, and relies on grains, vegetables, and big bowls of miso soup for vim and vigor. He says the change of diet has not only improved his stamina and mental clarity, but has been a way for him to make a positive impact on the environment. "People are beginning to look at the world holistically and to see the importance of developing a sustainable ecology," he says. Yeah, yeah . . . but what we really want to know is how he feels about sharing the stage with legendary chef and conservationist Alice Waters, of Berkeley's Chez Panisse, who will be receiving the association's Rachel Carson Environmental Award. "She's going to be there, too?" Kucinich asks. "Cool."