The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog


Posted on May 22, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

The Vegetarian Resource Group recently published some terrific recipes in Vegetarian Journal that you can prepare this holiday weekend. We have grilling recipes for Roasted Corn, Tofu and Potato Kebabs, Lime and Chili “Steaks,” and Grilled Pineapple. We also have some non-grilled options including Souped-Up Cole Slaw or Macaroni Salad, as well as Raita. And finally, the Vietnamese “Beef” Salad can be started at home and then finished on a grill.

To see the entire article see:
To subscribe to Vegetarian Journal go to:


Posted on May 22, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

The Vegetarian Resource Group recently received the following note:

I’m one of the Casting Producers for NBC’s Show, First Dates, Executive Produced by Ellen DeGeneres. The show is casting singles nationwide who are interested in going on a first date. We interview all applicants and set them up with someone who shares similar interests and tastes. We are specifically looking for SINGLE VEGANS!

Our website where applicants can apply is:


The Vegetarian Resource Group Video Contest Deadline is July 15, 2015

Posted on May 21, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Express your views on veggie diets by entering our Video Contest.
For details see:

Dietetic Interns Visit The Vegetarian Resource Group

Posted on May 21, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Myrial Holbrook

Looking back at my first few years of being vegetarian (I’ve been a vegetarian since the age of six), I definitely needed nutritional help. I found it difficult to balance my meal choices, especially at school, where I was bombarded by a surfeit of unhealthy vegetarian options: French fries, cookies, onion rings, potato chips, and processed white bread. I ate healthy meals at home under the guidance of my vegetarian mom, but at school I didn’t have much self-restraint. I was also always involved in sports, so my unhealthy choices soon began to take their toll on my athletic performance. As I grew increasingly exhausted and anemic, I finally realized that my diet had to change. I did make the necessary changes to meet my nutritional needs, but it took me years to get it right. I really could have benefited from the help of a registered dietitian. On my first day as a VRG intern in the office, 9 dietetic interns from the University of Maryland visited The Vegetarian Resource Group to learn and discuss how to counsel vegetarians and vegans. The advice came too late for me, but it was still interesting to hear the different approaches and philosophies of these future dietitians.

As part of the agenda, we created vegan meal plans for varying dietary and caloric needs. Some of the vegetarian dietetic interns mentioned a diverse range of meal options, including recipes with nutritional yeast, tempeh, seitan, exotic vegetables, and different legumes. Most of the dietetic interns’ meal plans, however, relied primarily on oatmeal and granola for breakfast and some variation of a quinoa or black bean dish for lunch and dinner. Personally, I love oatmeal, nuts, quinoa, and black beans, but I wouldn’t want to eat them for every meal. I definitely think that dietitians in general could benefit from looking into more diverse veggie options. With more people eating vegetarian and vegan, both temporarily and permanently, it’s essential to have a wide range of choices for clients. Furthermore, dietitians need to be versed in a diverse array of options to consider a full range of clientele, especially those allergic to gluten, soy, nuts, and/or dairy.

During the interns’ visit, we also discussed ethical concerns in the food industry. Charles asked the interns if they would work for Pepsi or Taco Bell if offered a position, even if they didn’t agree with the nutritional content or production methods of the company. Some of the interns immediately said that they wouldn’t accept such a position, but others said that they would, for they viewed the job as an opportunity to make healthful changes within the company. The contrast in viewpoint was interesting, especially because the interns didn’t cite money as a motivating factor, even though most people definitely include it as a practical consideration.

The potential conflict between authority and accuracy raises another concern for dietitians. Essentially, the question is: if a dietitian encounters outdated, inaccurate information that has been promoted by a higher authority in the dietitian’s company or organization, how should the dietitian react? The interns suggested a non-confrontational response involving the collection of extensive, verified research, followed by the respectful approach of the higher authority with this information. All of the dietetic interns who visited were women, so I wondered if this uniformity of approach might be associated with the stereotypical female tendency to be more non-confrontational. I would definitely be interested to hear how male dietetic interns would respond to the same question.

The dietetic interns’ visit gave me a better sense of the concerns of nutritional counsel and ethical dilemmas. No one ever suggested that I meet with a dietitian when I turned vegetarian, but I feel that a few consultations would have proved beneficial to my long-term well-being. I realized that many other people also never consult with a dietitian, even when they might really need advice. Instead, they turn to fad diets or unfounded “research,” trusting their bodies to the whims of the web. Perhaps the most important task for dietitians, therefore, is making accurate nutritional counsel more available and accessible.

For information about VRG internships, see:
To support vegetarian education, join at VRG at:


Posted on May 20, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

The Vegetarian Resource Group recently received the following note:

I’m a grad student at the University of Edinburgh studying animal
behaviour and welfare. My dissertation is looking at attitudes toward
farmed animals and their welfare by different dietary groups (meat
eaters, vegetarians and vegans). I was wondering if it would be possible
to post the link to my survey on this site?

Thank you.

Vegan Snacks for Athletes

Posted on May 20, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Myrial Holbrook

If you’ve ever been vegan or vegetarian, you’ve probably endured the following interrogation:

“Don’t you miss meat?”

“But what do you eat?”

“Do you get enough protein?”

“Aren’t you worried about an iron deficiency?”

I’ve been a vegetarian since the age of six, so I’ve come to realize that these concerns, though certainly repeated ad nauseam, really are crucial in the crafting of not only an ideal vegan or vegetarian diet, but also any balanced diet. We can all easily fall into unhealthy snacking habits, justifying unhealthy choices through exercise. No one can attain dietary perfection, but making health-conscious snack choices can be a great start for anyone. And guess what? It’s not hard to do.

From ballet to field hockey to basketball to yoga to track, I’ve endured the physical exertion and enjoyed the rewards of physical activity. Drawing from my experience, I will be sharing my favorite vegan snacks. These are the foods that help provide me with the burst of energy before workouts and the recovery essentials after exercise.

Now for the tasty part: the snacks themselves. Before workouts, I usually eat a small, whole-wheat bagel with natural peanut butter and apple slices, which definitely fills me up and leaves me ready to play. Other options include granola bars packed with protein and dried fruit. I try to stay away from most store-bought bars with processed sugars disguised as “organic cane syrup” or “brown rice syrup” or “agave nectar.” For this reason, I usually make my own granola bars by baking a mix of oats, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, nuts or nut butters, and dried fruit. For some added flavor, I keep it simple with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. This kind of granola bar is perfect for a pre-game or pre-workout snack. Here are some other pre-exercise snacks that I love:

·Banana or apple slices and peanut butter

·Oatmeal with blueberries and walnuts

·Dried, unsweetened fruit and unsalted nuts

·Slice of whole wheat toast with almond butter or sliced avocado and lemon juice

·Baked sweet potato with vegan spread and paprika

·Homemade granola and unsweetened almond, coconut, or soymilk

·Whole wheat pita with roasted red pepper hummus

·Quinoa hot cereal with apples and cinnamon

In addition to snacking before exercising, hydration is also crucial. I often sip unsweetened green tea before early-morning workouts. Before varsity field hockey or basketball games, I usually drink coconut water. If I’m ever struggling with muscle cramps, headaches, and soreness, however, drinking pure water almost always proves the best hydration option to relieve these ailments, for me, at least.

After a tiring game or a long run, I replenish with lots of water, followed by a restorative smoothie or snack. In my smoothies, I tend to blend whatever I have handy at home, which is usually bananas, berries, nut butter, and soymilk. My post-workout snack usually includes chopped veggies and a homemade dip. Here’s a list of my favorite post-workout snacks:

·Protein smoothie with soymilk, banana, peanut butter, and berries

·Green smoothie with kale, lemon, coconut water, apple, and ginger

·Quinoa crackers with guacamole and salsa

·Soy yogurt with chia seeds and berries

·Cooked lentils or chickpeas

·Whole grain tortilla with beans, brown rice, squash, and zucchini

·Hummus and red bell pepper, cucumber, carrots, or cauliflower

·Steamed edamame with a little salt

·Banana “nicecream” (to make, freeze ripe bananas in round slices for several hours, blend the slices in a food processor until smooth, then add your favorite nut butter, nut, fruit, or dark chocolate)

Myria Holbrook is a Vegetarian Resource Group intern and plays numerous sports in high school.

Manning the Booth: An Intern’s Take on What It’s Like behind the Table

Posted on May 19, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Myrial Holbrook

I’m really not a festival person. I’m not a huge fan of heat, crowds, and loud music, so I was a little worried about manning the booth at the Baltimore Veg Fest this past Saturday. I came into it completely cold—I had just arrived from Columbus, Ohio, and it was my first official day as a VRG intern. But all my anxieties soon disappeared—I actually really enjoyed the experience and wouldn’t have changed a thing about it. Equipped with an array of VRG brochures, handouts, magazines, and books, I helped Nina and the other interns reach out to an incredibly diverse range of people. I experienced the impact of VRG on the community firsthand and maybe even contributed (slightly) to this impact. I shared my personal experience as a vegetarian with interested visitors and listened to the testimonies (and struggles) of many vegans and vegetarians.

VRG Interns, Myrial Holbrook (left) and Navaal Mahdi (right) hand out copies of The Vegetarian Journal at at Baltimore VegFest 2015.

VRG Interns, Myrial Holbrook (left) and Navaal Mahdi (right) hand out copies of The Vegetarian Journal at at Baltimore VegFest 2015.

Some people had been vegetarians all their life; others were fresh converts only a week into their new diet. All readily picked up our free VRG magazines and brochures (the coloring books, however, proved most popular). People got excited to learn about healthy vegan recipes and discuss the veg life. Even if they didn’t sign up for the VRG mailing list or become a member, it was rewarding to see that the vegetarian lifestyle is alive, well, and growing. One woman talked about her initiatives in elementary schools to promote vegetarianism and animal rights with picture books and lesson plans; a man told us how thankful he was for VRG because of its credible, reliable nutrition resources; many other people approached us and asked how they could volunteer in any way, shape, or form.

The festival was definitely hot and loud, but it was worth it. I sampled vegan treats, found new recipes, watched cooking tutorials, met with other interns, and, most importantly, I experienced the growing wave of enthusiasm for the veg movement. Witnessing this eagerness from the community inspires me to keep striving for the vegetarian cause, for it is this small extra effort from each of us that will make the biggest difference in the world.

For more information about internships with The Vegetarian Resource Group, see:

Being Vegan at a Theme Park

Posted on May 19, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Lily Donofrio

Going out for a vegan can be stressful! Being dragged to your redneck uncle’s favorite BBQ place and having the waitress uncertainly declare the salad dressing “vegan” doesn’t always induce trust. I know that I almost always want to follow the waiter back to the kitchen and check for myself. Luckily, there are tons of ways to check ahead when going to popular establishments, but we have to remain skeptical and thorough when choosing our foods.

Who doesn’t love theme parks? They appeal to most types of people, including vegans. The theme park foods are iconic and sell well, because they appeal to the majority. But what about the 1% of the world that is vegan? It is up to us to do our research and get educated on the foods being served at any location we are vacationing.

Disney World

Disney World in Orlando had 18,588,000 attendees in 2013. That staggering amount of people can only mean diversity, and with diversity comes a wide variety of diets and cultures. We can only hope that a park as famous and well ranked as Disney World would be accommodating to all of these groups.

After an unsuccessful attempt to contact a member of the Disney workforce in hopes of getting the scoop on vegan foods served in the parks and restaurants, I resorted to good old-fashioned research. There is literally a website called “”! Written on the site are reviews from every place in or about Disney World that offer vegan food. Here are just a few examples: Kona Cafe in the Polynesian Resort serves vegan Mickey Mouse shaped waffles and Tonga Toast (if specially asked for), sushi, and noodle stir-fry; Coral Reef (an Epcot restaurant themed around Finding Nemo) is mostly a seafood joint, but they offer a mixed vegetable with Gardein brand Chick’n Breast, and Earth Balance butter in addition to their vegan bread; Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn (located in Magic Kingdom) serves a Gardenburger Malibu patty. The amazing thing about Disney is that they accommodate upon request, keeping tons of vegan options in store for those that ask. So the polite thing to do is to call ahead at reserved places or restaurants you plan on dining with and see what vegan options they have.

Overall, I am quite impressed with Disney’s awareness of the vegan diet and the lengths they take to make their parks enjoyable for all. Their array of delicious and well-thought-out vegan items are appreciated by the vegan culture!


I was able to get in contact with a member of the Universal Studios Orlando team. I asked about the options provided in parks and restaurants for vegan people, and she responded saying that the chefs in the full service restaurants (a list of only 4) are trained to accommodate to any diet. She also said that those with special diets are allowed to bring soft sided coolers into the park.

After doing a little research on reviews from members in our vegan community, I found that most people are not pleased with Universal Orlando’s food options. They offer the occasional veggie burger, with egg unfortunately, and most associates don’t even know what the vegan diet is!

As a regular attendee of Universal Orlando, I rarely find a vegan option at the places I go. A couple of restaurants in CityWalk have a few dishes, but the park is very limited. I like the yuca fries at Bob Marley’s, the Tree Hugger sushi roll at The Cowfish, the Beef and Blue salad at Finnegans (minus the beef and blue), and the salads at Moe’s. Hopefully Universal will step up their game in the vegan/vegetarian department.


Interested in visiting Disney? The Vegetarian Resource Group will be including 4-park hoppers to be used at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL in The Vegetarian Resource Group’s 1st Annual Online Charity Auction, starting June 1st. For more information, see:

Restaurants Added to The Vegetarian Resource Group’s Online Guide to Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants in the USA and Canada

Posted on May 15, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

The Vegetarian Resource Group maintains an online Guide to Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants in the USA and Canada. Below are some recent additions. The entire guide can be found here:

A-Live and Healthy Café
85 East Merritt Ave.
Merritt Island, FL 32953

A-live and Healthy is rock star! All of their foods are raw, which is impressive due to the large menu. I love their Lively Lemonade (Fresh Lemon Juice, Agave Nectar, Filtered H2O) and their Stuffed Avocado (1/2 an organic avocado filled with our sprouted hummus or one of their freshly made veggie pate’s). They offer options for those transitioning into the raw lifestyle, like the Chick’un Salad Sandwich and Vegetable Soup. The owners are passionate about their food and lifestyle, which makes the meal even better. They sell a lot of their raw vegan ingredients in a cooler at the front of the store which is an awesome idea. The restaurant is located between the Home Depot & Bikram Yoga.

Bean Vegan Cuisine
2145-A Hendersonville Rd.
Asheville, NC 28704

Bean Vegan Cuisine is an excellent place to go for vegan comfort food. This is their second location (the first is in Charlotte, NC). Don’t miss delicious sandwiches like their BBQ Jackfruit, Reuben, and Crabbie Patty. Ask about their daily specials and dessert selection. For classic American favorites made vegan, Bean can’t be beat!

Helio Terra Vegan Café
619 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44106

Helio Terra is a fully vegan, half raw restaurant. The owner has been a vegan for over 14 years and knows the challenges of finding a vegan restaurant. He has a passion for making people happy and shows it with his work. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the beautiful Helio Terra insignia (the earth with sun rays encircling it) painted on the wall. The cafe is currently serving smoothies, coffee, and tea. They hope to expand to wraps, flatbreads, sandwiches, and burgers, the latter of which will be raw. I ordered their Chocolate Powder smoothie (chocolate protein powder, almond milk, banana, dates, cashew butter, hemp hearts), and boy did it satiate my chocoholic tendencies.

Juice So Good
733 Marquette Ave. #227
Minneapolis, MN 55402

There are dozens of juice and smoothie options available for you to try at your convenience; if you’re a beginner, maybe test their Sweet Green juice with spinach, celery, green pepper, apple, pear and lemon. If you’re an intermediate, maybe test out The Ginger with the hearty ingredients of carrot, orange, ginger, and lemon. You can also customize your juice to fit your taste!

Muir’s Tea Room
330 South Main St.
Sebastopol, CA 95472

This picturesque Victorian-style cafe is perfect for those wanting to enjoy a great cup of tea as well as tasty food. Located in the quaint town that hosts events like the Apple Blossom Festival and Gravenstein Apple Fair, Muir’s Tea Room offers not only lunch, but a unique High Tea service that features finger sandwiches, petit fours, scones, fairy cakes, and a variety of pastries with a pot of tea. The Field Roast, Avocado, and Garlic Aioli finger sandwiches sound the most delightful to have with a steaming cup of chamomile tea.

212 Mont-Royal Ave. Est.
Montreal, Quebec, H2T 1P4 Canada

This trendy juice bar is the place to visit if you’re looking for your daily servings of fruits and vegetables. The fruits and vegetables used to make these juices are mostly locally grown and all organic. The “Chill” juice with pineapple, coconut water, spinach, kiwi, and parsley seems like the perfect mix between sweet and savory!

Shizen Vegan Sushi Bar & Izakaya
370 14th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103

Shizen features a wide variety of traditional Japanese cuisine including soups, sushi, and noodle dishes. Diners can opt to stick with simple dishes like the Avocado Nigiri or Vegetable Gyoza or try one of the many specialty rolls, with options like the Open Invitation or The Candlestick (with live fire). Be sure to check out the dessert menu as well.

Taste of Eden Bistro
1107 Lithia Pincecrest Rd.
Brandon, FL 33511

The Taste of Eden Bistro is an entirely vegan cafe with many raw options. They have a rotating soup menu featuring both hot and raw selections. Menu options include the Avocado Rueben Sandwich and the Japanese Stir-Fry. Note that they open at 9 for grab-and-go items, and the dining area opens at 11:30. Accepts reservations.

The Amazing Kale Burger
741 Howard St.
Evanston, IL 60202

Amazing Kale Burger is a great place to eat if you’re health-conscious, or even just if you’re in the mood to try a new twist on the classic American burger. The burger, which is made of the freshest ingredients, is conveniently soy free, gluten free, and completely vegan. The burger is available with one-of-a-kind tasty sounding sides, including, for example, fresh salsa or beetBQ sauce which sound like they would perfectly accompany the veggie burger!

The Brakes Coffeehouse and Provisions
227 Lark St.
Albany, NY 12210

The Brakes Coffeehouse is a small business that believes in putting the brakes on their carbon foot print, and building a more sustainable future. This coffeehouse serves the purpose to provide people with affordable vegan cuisine using locally grown ingredients. Make sure to try their appetizing Fancy Shmancy PB&J, which is made of locally roasted peanut butter and home-made strawberry jelly, served with home-made chocolate sauce on the side!

Don’t Miss The Vegetarian Resource Group’s Online Charity Auction Starting June 1st

Posted on May 15, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor


Support The Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) and get amazing vegan products from your favorite veggie-friendly brands at The VRG’s 1st Annual Online Charity Auction!

The auction will run June 1st through June 15th, 2015, via Ebay Giving Works, where 100% of each item’s final bid price will be donated to The VRG. Funds from this event will be used to help offset the costs of printing and shipping our vegan and vegetarian-based educational materials which we have provided to activists, professionals and organizations around the country, for over 33 years, free of charge!

For a full list of participating sponsors see:

The link to the auction will be posted when the site goes live at 10am on Monday, June 1st. Until then, RSVP to this event because we will be updating this page with sneak peaks of all of the amazing items that will be featured! Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on these incredible vegan goodies!

If you have any questions about this event, please contact our Outreach Coordinator, Nina, at

We thank you in advance for your support!

The Vegetarian Resource Group

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