Our 2020 Speaker LINEUP:

Jessica Porter | 10am-11am

Keeping Your Inner Environment Healthy: A Life-Changing Tip for Everyone eating a Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet.

Jessica Porter is the author of The MILF Diet and The Hip Chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics. She has been practicing macrobiotics since 1991. Jessica collaborated with Alicia Silverstone on her New York Times bestseller, The Kind Diet, and has also worked with Tia Mowry, Patricia Heaton and Laura Prepon on their diet and lifestyle books. She is a hypnotherapist, actress and comedienne who makes her lectures funny, inspiring and informative. Jessica lives in Los Angeles.

Marcus Watts | 11am-Noon

Marcus has incredible knowledge that he shares about how you can achieve ultimate levels of fitness eating plant based.

Marcus currently works with all types of clients, including everyone from Professional Athletes to Local Youth Athletics and even serves as fitness liaison to the Fort Myers PD SWAT Team. Marcus is the literal definition of optimal physical shape and condition with a physique to match. However, Marcus’ tale has a twist: Back in 2013 when Marcus was in great physical shape (he played professional basketball) and had only eight (8) percent body-fat, everything about his appearance and conditioning signaled all was well. Except, Marcus had a near death experience.

Marcus took his experience in life and decided to make it the core for his mission in life and so now he strives to help as many people as he can achieve optimal health through a Plantbased – Vegan life and show them how to also maximize their fitness levels AND show them that you can do BOTH together.


Dr. Ayesha Sherzai | Noon-1pm

Ayesha Sherzai, MD, MAS leads the Lifestyle Program for the Prevention of Neurological Diseases. She completed a dual training in preventative medicine and neurology at LomaLinda University, a masters in clinical research at UCSD, and a fellowship in vascular neurology and epidemiology at Columbia University. She is also a trained plant-based culinary artist. Ayesha is currently the co-director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention program at Loma Linda University, and lead researcher at the Healthy Minds Initiative.

Dr. Michael Klaper | 1pm-2pm

Michael A. Klaper, M.D. is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago. He received postgraduate training in internal medicine, surgery, orthopedics and anesthesiology at the University of British Columbia Hospitals in Vancouver and obstetrics at the University of California at San Francisco. Dr. Klaper has practiced acute care medicine in Hawaii, Canada, California, Florida and New Zealand.

Far more fulfilling to him is his current practice, focusing on health-promoting food and lifestyle choices to help people stay out of hospitals and off of operating tables. He has authored numerous articles on plant-based nutrition and is authoring a book on using plant-based medicine in the clinical setting to arrest and reverse disease.

Dr. Neal Barnard | 2pm-3pm

Neal Barnard, MD, FACC, is an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, DC, and President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Dr. Barnard has led numerous research studies investigating the effects of diet on diabetes, body weight, and chronic pain, including a groundbreaking study of dietary interventions in type 2 diabetes, funded by the National Institutes of Health, that paved the way for viewing type 2 diabetes as a potentially reversible condition for many patients. Dr. Barnard has authored more than 90 scientific publications and 20 books for medical and lay readers, and is the editor in chief of the Nutrition Guide for Clinicians, a textbook made available to all U.S. medical students.

As president of the Physicians Committee, Dr. Barnard leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research. His research contributed to the acceptance of plant-based diets in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In 2015, he was named a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology. In 2016, he founded the Barnard Medical Center in Washington, DC, as a model for making nutrition a routine part of all medical care.

Panel Discussion: Speakers + Local Water Quality Experts | 3pm - 4pm

This last hour of SWFL Veg Fest will be dedicated to your questions relating to human health, compassion for animals, and how “what’s on your plate matters” to the health of our planet and climate change. During this panel discussion, we will again highlight the impact food choices have on the health of not only our human bodies but the health of animals and the beautiful planet we all live on. Our nationally known speakers as well as local water quality experts will participate in this panel – to answer all your questions: EAT FOR THE PLANET!! What’s on Your Plate Matters!

Dr. Sal Lacagnina | Our MC for the Panel Discussion

Dr. Salvatore Lacagnina is the System Medical Director of Wellness and Employee Health for Lee Health. In this role, his mission is to inspire, educate and empower people to improve their health and wellness. Dr. Sal, as he likes to be called, is one of Lee Health’s champions responsible for developing a comprehensive health, wellness and preventive care program for more than 19,000 employees and family members. He is the Medical Director for the LH Employee Health clinics and the Medical Director for the Healthy Life Centers in Cape Coral, Ft. Myers and Babcock Ranch, Florida. From 1994-2010 he practiced Internal Medicine with the Lee Physician Group and served as its Medical Director until 2010 before taking on his role as System Medical Director of Wellness and Employee Health. His emphasis is on the prevention and reversal of cardio metabolic diseases, diabetes, weight management, cancer risk factor reduction and overall lifestyle medicine. Dr. Sal earned his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and he is Board Certified in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine and is a Diplomat of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. Dr. Sal writes a weekly column about health and wellness in The News-Press and a monthly column for the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce Trends publication. He also speaks publicly throughout the community.


Alex Sherzai and Sophia Sherzai,
Authors of “Super Me”, experts on the environment and climate change, hosts of their own YouTube channel, the Science Kids.

Alex and Sophia will be making appearances on the main stage and the Kid Zone!