The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

New and improved version of The Vegetarian Journal’s Food Service Update

Posted on April 16, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

The Vegetarian Resource Group has just released a new and improved version of The Vegetarian Journal’s Food Service Update and made it available to the public online. This Food Service Update includes the “names and addresses of over 85 companies offering vegetarian food items in institutional sizes listed alphabetically and by subject.” This is undoubtedly an indispensable resource for food service providers who wish to include more vegetarian and/or vegan options for their patrons and for advocates of increased availability of vegetarian dishes everywhere! This guide includes basic foods like beans, breads and grains as well as specialty items such as faux meats and vegan cheeses. If you’ve ever wondered how to make providing vegetarian/vegan options easier for food providers at your job, church, university, retirement community or hospital or your children’s school, camp, or sports activity, this guide can provide them with resources that are going to make this change seem like a realistic and mutually beneficial one!

The Vegetarian Journal’s Food Service Update can be found both in HTML and PDF format at http://www.vrg.org/fsupdate/FSUProducts2014.php

Calcium Chloride

Posted on April 16, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Jeanne Yacoubou
The Vegetarian Resource Group Research Director

Alternate names: calcium dichloride, E509
Commercial source: mineral
Used in: canned fruits and vegetables, canned beans, pickles,
confections, tofu, sports drinks, soft drinks, beer, certain dairy cheeses
Used for: firming, coagulating, sequestering (in foods); replacing
electrolytes (in beverages)
Definition: Besides several major industrial uses (deicing roads,
oil/gas well drilling) calcium chloride is most often used in foods to
keep them firm or in beverages to establish mineral balance.
Manufacturers:
Occidental Chemical Corporation told us by email that no “animal
products or animal by-products” are in their calcium chloride.
http://www.oxy.com/OurBusinesses/Chemicals/Products/Pages/CalciumChloride.aspx
TETRA Technologies, Inc. wrote to us that their calcium chloride is
“…not derived from animal content.”
http://www.tetrachemicals.com/Products/Calcium_Chloride/Liquid_Calcium_Chloride/FCC_Food_Grade.aqf
FBC Industries, Inc. wrote that their calcium chloride is not
animal-derived but from a “natural brine source.”
http://www.fbcindustries.com/Calcium_Chloride.aspx
Coalescentrum Inc. states that there is “…no animal ingredient in the
product itself nor in the manufacturing process.”
http://www.coalescentrum.com/index_files/Page604.htm
Classification: Vegan
Entry added: April 2014

The contents of this article, our website, and our other publications,
including The Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal
medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified
health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient
information from company employees or company statements. Information
does change and mistakes are always possible. Please use your own best
judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. Further research
or confirmation may be warranted.

For additional ingredient information, visit
http://www.vrg.org/ingredients/index.php

Vegetarian Food in Sydney Australia

Posted on April 14, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Yasmin Radbod
a former VRG Intern

Recently I spent eight lovely days in Sydney, Australia, mainly in Ultimo. I had no time to look up vegan options and did not know what to expect. When I first arrived I was bombarded with fast food chains, pubs, and endless coffee shops. My friend lives on Goold Street right off George Street in the heart of the city. University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has a giant campus in the area that makes for a young and lively feel alongside Darling Harbour, just a fifteen minute walk from the campus. George Street also has a free bus that goes from Sydney Harbour to UTS.

The harbours have many upscale dining options that have your average vegan items such as hummus, salads, fried vegetables, nuts and chips, and salsa at pubs. The best vegan options are found along the downtown area near UTS and Central Station train stop. Sydney has a large Chinese population and also many Chinese restaurants. As someone who lived in China for a year and has traveled since all over China, I can confidently say that Sydney has the most authentic Chinese food outside of China. The Chinese cuisine is more reasonably priced, too, and there are little restaurants specializing in different Chinese cuisine serving hot pot, dumplings, cold dishes, fried dishes, etc. I love hot pot and frequently ordered a large bowl of mixed vegetables with dried tofu for $11.50 AUD. It comes with rice and there is delicious hot chili sauce made fresh with vinegar and soy sauce available just like in China. The mixed vegetables include what you would find in China: different types of mushrooms, bean sprouts, various lettuces, and more. There was one small restaurant that had a sign advertising vegan braised eggplant dumplings, which I ended up eating four times in those eight days! One dumpling cost one dollar, which is cheaper than dumplings found in the actual Chinatown strip in Sydney. This place even served free oolong tea and authentic sauces.

Vegan braised eggplant dumplings

Walking down George Street towards The Notre Dame campus there is a small restaurant called Hari’s Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant (157 Broadway, Ultimo). I spoke to one if the owners several times. He said although he thought there are few vegans in Sydney, there are many vegetarians. Australia does not have the name brand vegan options we have in The States like vegan cheese and mock meat companies. However, Hari’s makes their own vegan cheese from soy and their personal size vegan pizza is delicious.

Sydney has a lot of potential for more vegan options. It is a beautiful, safe and welcoming city with so many things to do.

Thanks to Yasmin Radbod (a former VRG intern) for contributing this information.

RABBI JOSEPH SOLOVEITCHIK

Posted on April 14, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Jay Lavine, MD

Based on manuscripts published as a book after his death (*The Emergence
of Ethical Man*, 2005), it turns out that the preeminent 20th century
Jewish scholar, the late Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, known to be a
rationalist and independent thinker, was a strong proponent of ethical
vegetarianism. He points out that the first rule in the Bible was that
“man, like animal,” should “live solely upon vegetables and fruits.” He
describes the Biblical attitude toward meat eating as being very
negative: “There is a distinct reluctance, almost an unwillingness, on
the part of Torah to grant man the privilege to consume meat. Man as an
animal-eater is looked at askance by the Torah. There are definitive
vegetarian tendencies in the Bible.”

He goes on to say that, when humans became corrupted before the Flood,
man “overreached himself, created a new demand, a sinful insistence upon
something which by right does not belong to him, namely, on life that is
equal to his, on flesh that is not different from his own…” A
concession was made to allow man to eat meat, at which time “the Torah
began to regulate the ‘murder’ of other lives, to restrict its
practice…” He points out that the Bible later describes the craving for
meat as a “lust, illicit demand.” He continues, “Animal hunters and
flesh-eaters are people that lust. Of course it is legalized,
approved. Yet it is classified as “ta’avah,” lust, repulsive and brutish.”

Unlike many religious leaders, he does not place humans in a separate
category from that of the other animals: “Particularly man and animals
are almost identical in their organic dynamics that is equated with
life, and there is no justifiable reason why one life should fall prey
to another.” He adds, “Not only human life, but life in general is
divine…” While not equating humans with non-human animals, he
nevertheless places all life, from plants to humans, on a continuum, and
he talks about the similarities among all of the higher animals,
including humans. For him, vegetarianism is not merely an unattainable
ideal but rather a goal that all should pursue.

More of Jay Lavine’s writings are at jewish-medicine.org

Vegan Easter Candy

Posted on April 11, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

This time of year, sometimes nothing beats biting into a solid chocolate bunny or some other sugary confection. If this seems like something you’d enjoy, then join us for the run down of vegan friendly Easter candies and chocolates!

Amanda’s Own Confections
According to their website, every chocolate and candy Amanda’s Own Confections makes is vegan besides their jelly beans and marshmallow clusters, so pick out your favorite chocolate bunny or adorable Easter themed chocolate medallion and go to town!

Chocolate Decadence
All of Chocolate Decadence’s chocolates are dairy-free and vegan. Feeling fancy? Check out their “Gourmet Easter Basket” which includes a Pure Dark Chocolate Easter basket filled with 2 Chocolate-Covered Caramel Eggs, 2 Double-Chocolate Eggs, 1 Chocolate-Covered Coconut Ball, and 1 Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Ball.

Premium Chocolatiers
Premium Choclatiers offers a variety of Easter themed vegan candy including truffles and peanut butter filled rabbits but perhaps their most unique item is the white chocolate bunny rabbit lollipop.

Vegan White Chocolate Bunny Lollipop from Premium Chocolatiers

Sjaak’s Organic Chocolate
Among other Easter themed treats, Sjaak’s Organic Chocolate offers a giant tub of solid dark chocolate eggs wrapped prettily in spring colored foil. If that wasn’t enough, they also have a “peanut butter crunch” chocolate egg.

Vegan Essentials
Vegan Essentials not only offers the fleeting pleasure that comes with eating chocolate, they also offer adorable keepsakes. Booja Booja Hand-Painted Easter Egg Truffle Boxes come with 3 truffles in flavors such as Hazelnut Crunch, Toffee, Champagne, Espresso and Ginger as well as a beautiful hand painted wooden gift box.

Booja Booja Hand-Painted Easter Egg Truffle Boxes

Pangea
Pangea keeps it classic with vegan chocolate bunnies. You can choose either the “Divine Treasures” which include 5 miniature dark chocolate bunnies or the tried and true Tall Solid Dark Chocolate Easter Bunny.

Rose City Chocolatier
Rock City Chocolatier has a number of vegan offerings including fruit jellies, cordial cherries, chocolate peanut butter candies, chocolate bark and chocolate covered pretzels all clearly marked vegan!

Vegan Chocolate Sampler from Rose City Chocolates. Includes Vegan Dark Chocolate Nut Clusters and Barks, and Vegan Dark Chocolate covered pretzels

Interested in making your own homemade Easter “Eggs”? Check out this article from The Vegetarian Resource Group: https://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2010issue1/2010_issue1_matzo.php

Vegetarian Almega PL™: Microalgal-Sourced Omega-3 Fatty Acid EPA in Polar-Lipid Form

Posted on April 11, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

Expected to be available for retail sale “in the first half of 2014”
according to David Hart Vice President of Marketing at Qualitas Health,
Ltd., manufacturer of Almega PL™, this microalgal-derived omega-3 fatty
acid is a pure form of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) without either of two
other omega-3 fatty acids important in human health present: alpha-linolenic
(ALA) or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Flaxseed and chia seed are abundant
sources of ALA. EPA and DHA are most abundant in certain fish, krill or
algal oils.

Currently Almega PL™ is available as a bulk ingredient to the dietary
supplement industry.

Almega PL™ comes from the micro-algae Nannochloropsis oculata. A study
conducted by Qualitas Health and published in the journal Lipids in Health
and Disease, concluded that Almega PLTM is a good source of EPA in humans (1).
Dr. Isaac Berzin, founder and CTO of Qualitas Health, observed that
Almega PLTM is an alternative to fish and krill for vegetarians.
The VRG asked the Vice President of Marketing at Qualitas Health the
following questions about Almega PL™ in March 2014. This is excerpted
from that exchange:

Q: How is your product different from other algal-derived omega-3s in
terms of the relative amounts of DHA and EPA?
A: Almega PL™ contains only EPA… The most common algal omega-3 on the
market contains only DHA in a triglyceride form.
Q: Do you have a comparison table of other algal omega-3s showing how
their DHA:EPA ratios compare to yours? If not, can you make a
qualitative comparison?

A: There are not too many vegetarian omega-3s on the market. Almega PL™
contains EPA; Life’s DHA™ (from DSM/Martek) contains only DHA; and there
is a new product from DSM containing both EPA and DHA, in general a 1:2
ratio, also in triglyceride form. There are a handful of other companies
looking to manufacture and market algal omega-3s, but to the best of our
knowledge, these are not at commercial scale.

Q: On your website it states that “Algae are fed carbon in order to
grow.” Is the carbon derived from cane sugar or corn?
A: Almega PL™ is grown in open ponds in the desert of West Texas. The
main energy input is sunlight and the carbon source for Almega PL™ is
[carbon dioxide] CO2. This CO2, a greenhouse gas, otherwise would be
released into the atmosphere. Instead, the algae perform photosynthesis
and turn the CO2 into oxygen. Other processes, like those used to
manufacture algal DHA, use sugar as the carbon source, and external
energy to maintain temperatures.

Qualitas Health also notes on its website:

Qualitas Health’s omega-3 supplements are extracted from a natural (not
genetically modified) strain of microalgae…Algae omega-3 oil does not in
any way deplete marine animal populations or threaten the delicate
eco-balance in our oceans. Our farm-grown algae grow in ponds on
non-arable lands, using local aquifer salt water only…The major energy
required to grow our algae is naturally available sunlight…Harvesting of
the algae is performed in a low-energy process without the use of toxic
chemicals, and the output harvest water is recycled back into the farm
activities…Our production process does not generate any harmful waste
products, and co-products are used in animal feed and biofuels
production for minimum waste.

Readers interested in finding out more about upcoming retail
availability of omega-3 products containing Almega PL™ can visit
www.almegapl.com.
Those interested in learning more about DSM’s vegetarian algal omega-3
products may visit:
http://www.dsm.com/markets/foodandbeverages/en_US/products/nutritional-lipids/life-dha.html
http://www.dsm.com/markets/foodandbeverages/en_US/products/nutritional-lipids/life-omega.html

1. Kagan ML, West AL, Zante C, Calder PC. Acute appearance of fatty
acids in human plasma–a comparative study between polar-lipid rich oil from the microalgae
Nannochloropsis oculata and krill oil in healthy young males.
Lipids Health Dis. 2013 Jul 15;12:102. . doi: 10.1186/1476-511X-12-102.

The contents of this article, our website, and our other publications,
including The Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal
medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified
health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient
information from company employees or company statements. Information
does change and mistakes are always possible. Please use your own best
judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. Further research
or confirmation may be warranted.

For additional ingredient information, visit
http://www.vrg.org/ingredients/index.php

Researched by Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director

There are many ways to stay connected to The Vegetarian Resource Group!

Click here to get our blog delivered right to your inbox.
For updates on all kinds of vegetarian- and vegan-related topics subscribe to our free enewsletter.
To support The Vegetarian Resource Group research, donate at
givedirect.org/give.
To join The Vegetarian Resource Group and receive Vegetarian Journal, go
to vrg.org/member/2013sv.php.

Vegan Passover Recipes

Posted on April 09, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

The Vegetarian Resource Group offers No Cholesterol Passover Recipes, by Debra Wasserman. This book features 100 vegan dishes following Ashkenazi Jewish traditions suitable for Passover. Among the recipes you’ll find in this book are Passover Muffins, Carrot Cream Soup, Eggplant Caviar, Chopped “Liver” Spread, Sweet Potato Kugel, Layered Vegetable Casserole, Stuffed Cabbage, Fruit-Nut Chews, and Festive Macaroons.


Vegans celebrating Passover might want to try out these recipes:

Romanian Kohlrabi Soup – From The Lowfat Jewish Vegetarian Cookbook

(Serves 8)

2 kohlrabi, peeled and diced
Small head of cauliflower, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
Small onion, peeled and finely chopped
½ cup fresh dill, finely chopped
½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 teaspoons oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon potato starch
11 cups water
½ cup lemon juice or sauerkraut juice
15-ounce can tomato sauce

Stir-fry kohlrabi, cauliflower, carrots, onion, dill, and parsley in oil over medium heat in a large pot for 5 minutes. Add seasonings. Dissolve cornstarch in 1 cup water then add to the pot along with remaining 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil then simmer covered for 30 minutes. Add lemon juice and tomato sauce and simmer another 15 minutes. Serve soup hot or chilled.

Sweet Potato Kugel – from No Cholesterol Passover Recipes
(Serves 12)

6 small sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
3 apples, peeled and grated
1 cup raisins
1 cup matzo meal
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 cup fruit juice or water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix ingredients together. Press into large flat baking dish. Bake 45 minutes at 375 degrees until crisp on top. Serve warm.

The Lowfat Jewish Vegetarian Cookbook and No Cholesterol Passover Recipes are both vegan cookbooks published by The Vegetarian Resource Group and can be ordered by calling (410) 366-8343 (9am to 5pm Mon-Fri) or online at http://www.vrg.org/catalog/

Where is the best place to find other vegetarians in my middle/high school?

Posted on April 09, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Cyril Gittens

Basic psychology tells us that we prefer to be friends with people who
have similar characteristics. This may be part of the reason why some
vegetarians want to meet other vegetarians. Depending on your school, it
could be hard to find other students that follow this lifestyle. If you
just observe the food that is on most plates at your high school or
middle school cafeteria, you’ll notice that vegetables are scarce, for
the most part. However, there are a few people in most schools that
think differently. These students have made a leap of faith and have
decided to discontinue eating animal-based products. Maybe they are
vegetarian for health reasons, or have certain moral/ethical beliefs, or
maybe they just want to be different.

When I was in high school and wanted to socialize and connect with other
like-minded people, I used some creative techniques to accomplish my
goal. Even though I only met a small handful of vegetarians, they turned
out to be good friends and are still my friends today. In high school, I
asked people if they were vegetarian when I noticed that they always
brought their homemade lunch with large plates of salad or tofu with
other vegetarian goods to the cafeteria. I started with a question to
see if they were vegetarian or not and then I just continued the
conversation if they were a veggie head. I would ask, “What do you eat
for snacks?” or “Does your family eat similar to you?” After we
had a solid conversation, I would continue to socialize and connect
with them.

The bottom line is to just ask people if they are vegetarian if you
sense that they follow similar lifestyle choices as you. You could also
talk with your school principal or representative about starting an
ethics/animal rights club. This would be another way to meet vegetarian
students.

Papa John’s: Dough Enzyme, Stearic Acid, and Cookie Ingredients Are Vegetarian

Posted on April 07, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director

Recently a Papa John’s patron relayed to The Vegetarian Resource Group some
information she had received in an email response from Papa John’s about a
few of their ingredients in the pizza dough and the desserts. This brought up
questions concerning whether the items were vegetarian. In March 2014 we asked
the Research & Development Department at Papa John’s about these ingredients.

Here is the Papa John’s ingredient statement for the Original Dough:

Pizza Dough: unbleached enriched wheat flour (wheat flour, malted barley
flour, wheat starch, ascorbic acid, enzyme, niacin, iron as ferrous
sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, sugar,
soybean oil, salt, yeast [fungal or bacterial derivatives – NO animal
derivatives]. No trans fat.

This is the prompt response we received by email from Papa John’s:

The enzyme in the unbleached enriched wheat flour (per the enzyme
supplier) contains neither animal components nor animal-derived
ingredients… There are no egg or milk products in our [Original] Dough
formula.

Papa John’s supplied more information regarding the “fungal- or
bacterial-derived” yeast used in the Original Dough:
The yeast supplier lists the yeast status as “acceptable for vegan
diets.” The supplier further states “No animal products used in the
manufacturing process for the yeast or the raw materials.”

Here are Papa John’s ingredients statements for their icing and
chocolate chip cookie:

Icing (White): sugar, water, corn syrup, stearic acid, artificial color
(titanium dioxide), agar, salt, potassium sorbate (preservative), guar
gum, pectin, dextrose, citric acid, sodium hexametaphosphate, natural
and artificial flavor. (NO animal products)

Chocolate Chip Cookie: chocolate chips (sugar, unsweetened chocolate,
cocoa butter, milkfat, soy lecithin [an emulsifier], vanillin [an
artificial flavor], enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley
flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, and folic acid),
margarine (palm oil, water, soybean oil, salt, whey solids, vegetable
mono- and diglycerides, soy lecithin, artificial flavor, beta carotene
[color], vitamin A palmitate added), sugar, brown sugar, pasteurized
whole eggs, leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate,
monocalcium phosphate), salt, artificial flavor, caramel color.

When The VRG asked Papa John’s to confirm that the stearic acid and
cookie ingredients were vegetarian because the ingredient statements
suggest that they are, we were told:

The stearic acid (per the icing supplier) has no animal products in it.
The stearic acid is kosher. In addition, the white drizzle icing has no
animal products in any of the ingredients and it is also kosher. There
is no egg, milk or honey in the icing.

Concerning the chocolate chip cookie served at Papa John’s, The VRG was
informed:

The cookie contains pasteurized whole eggs in the dough, as well as
white and brown sugar. It does not contain honey or milk. However, the
margarine used contains whey powder. The cookie dough supplier has
confirmed the cookie is acceptable for a vegetarian diet but not a vegan
diet.

Click here for our most recent update on Papa John’s.
For more information about Papa John’s, readers may visit www.papajohns.com
For more information on fast food and quick casual restaurant chains
visit: The VRG website.

The contents of this article, our website, and our other publications,
including The Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal
medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified
health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient
information from company employees or company statements. Information
does change and mistakes are always possible. Please use your own best
judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. Further research
or confirmation may be warranted.

There are many ways to stay connected to The Vegetarian Resource Group!

Click here to get our blog delivered right to your inbox.
For updates on all kinds of vegetarian- and vegan-related topics subscribe to our free enewsletter.
To support The Vegetarian Resource Group research, donate at
givedirect.org/give.
To join The Vegetarian Resource Group and receive Vegetarian Journal, go
to vrg.org/member/2013sv.php.

“Bring the World In” By Hosting a Vegetarian Exchange Student in Baltimore, MD!

Posted on April 07, 2014 by The VRG Blog Editor

PAX is a non-profit educational foundation dedicated to providing exchange opportunities to teenagers around the world by matching them with placement in a U.S. high school and host family. Host families come in all shapes and sizes and include: single parents, retirees, ‘empty nesters’, young couples with small children, as well as two parent families with teenagers. As the Baltimore/Baltimore County Community Coordinator for PAX, I am presently seeking host families for two Vegetarian female students from Spain and Germany for the 2014-2015 school year. To accommodate school placement, I am looking for host families that live in Northern Baltimore City or in Baltimore County, areas North and Northwest of Baltimore City. To find out more about this wonderful opportunity, please contact: Meredith Safford at 410-382-5359 or email at merrysafford@yahoo.com. For more information on PAX, visit: http://www.pax.org/ More placements for vegetarian students are needed throughout the country.

  • Donate

  • Subscribe to the blog by RSS

  • VRG-NEWS

    Sign up for our newsletter to receive recipes, ingredient information, reviews of new products, announcements of new books, free samples of products, and other VRG materials.

    Your E-mail address:
    Your Name (optional):



↑ Top