The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

VEGAN TRAVEL GUIDE IN NEPAL

Posted on January 17, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

I am an American vegan who is writing to you concerning my friend and fellow vegan who is a travel guide in Nepal. We met him upon recommendation of a vegan travel group on Facebook. He led us through the beautiful country of Nepal for 2.5 weeks in October 2015. He is knowledgeable about the culture, and owns the only vegan restaurant in Kathmandu. He was able to help us navigate all of our food needs while in Nepal, where vegetarianism is common but they usually don’t understand what a vegan is. We remain in contact with him, and consider him our “little brother.” If you do not have a vegan guide that you are working with in Nepal,you should contact Shatki. The website for the travel company that employs him is: http://www.holidayalpinetrekking.com/our-team.html. Vegan guests should ask for Shakti Yonzon by name. -Beth

Here is Shatki’s restaurant. https://www.facebook.com/lovingheartrestaurantnepal/about/

For more info on Nepal, see http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2015issue3/2015_issue3_nepali_village.php
https://www.vrg.org/journal/vj96sep/vj969nepal.htm
Here is a photo of one vegan buffet that the restaurant put out just for us!

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“The Best Vegan Mac N Cheese According to the Kids”

Posted on January 16, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

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By Marc Bernstein 
(Marc is a 12 year old leader of www.VegKids.org, loves attending www.VeganCamp.org during vacations, and is a professional writer who can be followed at www.TheKidSays.com)  

Before you were vegan, did you love mac n cheese? Did you love those instant boxes as a quick and yummy meal? When you went vegan did you think you had to give that up? Maybe you did then, but sure don’t have to now. How amazing it is that there are so many companies making so many varieties of instant vegan mac n cheese now. Mac n cheese has always been a kid favorite, and now us vegan kids have so many options to try. But some are definitely better than others! 

During winter camp with www.VeganCamp.org, we spent a rainy afternoon in the cabin having a vegan instant kind of mac n cheese blind taste off. We compared the different types from Amys, Annies, Beyond Better, Daiya, Earth Balance, Leahey, Pastariso, Roads End, and So Delicious. We tried all the different flavors of all of these and sure got to enjoy loads of mac n cheese. Definitely a yummy afternoon! We even watched the cheesy movie “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” while we feasted and voted.  

All of these mac n cheese mixes were made in our camp cabin kitchen and put in big bowls labeled by letters. Behind each bowl was a mug. We each got to try a couple or more bites of each, and we could go back as much as we wanted to try and try until we each felt we had our own first, second, and third choice winners. We had some plain crackers, apple slices, cucumber slices, and water just to kind of clear our taste buds if we wanted between bites. 

We were allowed to vote for first, second and third choices, and we were set up for ties if needed too. We each had a total of twelve points to give. The main plan was for first choices to win six points from each of us, second choices to win four points from each of us, and third choices to win two points from each of us. If we felt there was a tie, we each had the right to take our twelve points and shift them to give say five points to two tied first places if we wanted and then two to our third choice. We could also have done other similar weighing combinations. If we even thought there was a twelve way tie (which nobody did), we could even have given one point to each of twelve types. We were also allowed to split points into half points if we wanted. But no matter what, each of us only had exactly twelve points to split out to our top choices. With this system, we each were given twelve little red prize type tickets to put in the mugs behind our choices.

We also were allowed to write comments on our tickets before we put them in the mugs. If we also wanted to make comments on some of the mac n cheeses that didn’t get our votes, then we used little white paper slips. Some of the non-winners got comments like “bitter,” “grainy,” “gross,” “needs more cheese flavor,” “too salty,” “yuck,” and “would turn off someone who wasn’t vegan.” There were some brands that got no votes at all and only got negative white slips.        

We did have a definite strong winner. Are you ready for it (if the picture didn’t give it away)?  60% of the votes showed that we liked Daiya Foods the best even if we didn’t all agree on which Daiya flavor. We loved the Daiya Cheddar and the Daiya White Cheddar much better than the Daiya Alfredo. First choice of all of the couple dozen choices was the Daiya Cheddar winning over a third of the votes with 34%. Second choice was the Daiya White Cheddar with almost a quarter at 22%. The Daiya Alfredo got only 4%. But totaled together, Daiya won 60% of the votes.  

Some of the comments for Daiya were “creamy,” “delicious,” “smooth,” “like real mac n cheese,” and in one kids really small writing “kids who aren’t vegan wouldn’t know the difference.” The only complaint about Daiya was that a couple of kids said they liked Daiya best but like shell shapes and want Daiya to make a shell shaped version. We sure had a really nice Daiya 😉   

While Daiya won first place with their Cheddar and second place with their White Cheddar, the third place winner was definitely Road’s End Cheddar Shells winning 16% of the votes. While we only said we were awarding the top three places, it is interesting that Road’s End Cheddar Elbows won fourth place with 10%, and their Cheddar Penne tied Daiya Alfredo, Earth Balance, and So Delicious for fifth place with 4%.  

As you can figure out, there were a number of brands that received no votes at all. But there were two companies that were strong winners. Road’s End Cheddar Shells was the third place of the mac n cheeses with 16%, but the Road’s End company came in as second best company with a total of 30%. Daiya Cheddar was the first place of the mac n cheeses with 34% and Daiya Cheddar was the second place with 22%, but the Daiya company came in a really strong first place with 60%.        

It was a fun cheesy way to end 2016, and now you know how you might want to start your 2017. Vegan mac n cheese for the New Year!  SEIZE THE DAIYA 🙂 

VEGAN AT CHIPOTLE

Posted on January 13, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

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Chipotle says when constructing a vegan meal, that these items are vegan:

flour tortilla
crispy corn tortilla
soft corn tortilla
sofrita
pinto beans
tomatillo green-chili salsa
tortilla chips
white rice
fajita vegetables
tomatillo red-chili salsa
brown rice
tomato salsa
guacamole
black beans
roasted chili-corn salsa
romaine lettuce

So try tacos, burritos, or a bowl.

The Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette contains:
Rice Bran Oil, Red Wine Vinegar, Honey, Kosher Salt, Water, Chipotle Chile, Cumin, Garlic, Oregano, Black Pepper
Since it has honey, it is not vegan.

See: http://chipotle.com/dietary-options

The contents of this posting, 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 statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

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

Posted on January 11, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

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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: http://www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php

To support the updating of this online restaurant guide, please donate at:
www.vrg.org/donate

Awai
2277 Bloor St. W.
Toronto, ON M6S 1P1 Canada
Awai is a vegan fine dining experience! They serve innovative dishes such as Confit Artichoke Ravioli and Truffle Paella. Gratuity is included in the menu prices.

Café Verve
115 E Beaver Ave.
State College, PA 16801
This completely vegan cafe serves a number of fun options to dine in or take on the go. The coffee and tea menu features drinks that can be made with soy, almond, or coconut milk. Savory options include the Walking Waffles or the All American Burger. Be sure to check out the selection of sweet baked goods while you’re there!

Good Rebel
1591 Dundas St. West
Toronto, ON MK6 1T9 Canada
Good Rebel is a vegan grocery store that offers plant based “meats”, “cheeses”, “fish”, and “dairy products”. You can order a sandwich at the deli counter – menu changes daily.

Sanctuary Vegan Café
151 N. Seven Oaks Dr.
Knoxville, TN 37922
Sanctuary Vegan Cafe serves appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and entrees, plus they have a kids menu. They strive to use organic products whenever possible. They have gluten free options. The owners hope to use the profits from the restaurant to open a sanctuary for rescued farm animals.

Shangri-La Vegetarian
7400 3rd Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11209
This restaurant is located in the Bay Ridge Area of Brooklyn. Shangri-La offers Asian cuisine with a modern healthy twist. Enjoy dishes including the General Tso’s Soy Protein (Breaded medallions of sautéed soy protein with steamed broccoli in a spicy brown sauce) or Pineapple Fried Rice (Brown rice sautéed with sunflower seeds, broccoli and browned tofu topped with diced avocado) with one of their many fresh iced or hot teas. Order online for a speedy delivery.

Splurge Juice Bar & Café
18505 NW 75th Pl., #119
Hialeah, FL 33015
Splurge is owned and operated by a mother and her daughter who are devoted to helping folks achieve a healthy life by eating plant based foods. They serve juices, bowls, wraps, and breakfast. There is a “Becoming Vegan” section on their website containing multiple resources for people who are thinking about making the switch to veganism.

Wild Living Foods
760 S. Main St.
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Wild Living Foods is located in Downtown LA. It is a “grab-n-go” style eatery that offers organic and raw plant based foods. The kelp pastas, Pablo burgers, and pizzas are highly recommended.

INDUSTRY INFLUENCE ON RESEARCH

Posted on January 10, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

According to The New York Times, “Scientists who cross agrochemical companies can find themselves at odds with the industry for years.”
The Times states, “The corporate use of academia has been documented in fields like soft drinks and pharmaceuticals. But it is rare for an academic to provide an insider’s view of the relationships being forged with corporations, and the expectations that accompany them.”

See this article for more information:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/31/business/scientists-loved-and-loathed-by-syngenta-an-agrochemical-giant.html?_r=0

HOW TO REPORT PRODUCT PROBLEMS AND COMPLAINTS TO THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION

Posted on January 09, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

We received a press release from the FDA concerning reporting problems.
They stated:

“If anyone has a problem or concern about any of the products that the
agency regulates, the FDA wants to hear about it. “If it’s serious to
you, we want to know,” says Anna Fine, Pharm.D., M.S., director of the
FDA’s Health Professional Liaison Program. She adds that you should
report an issue even if you’re not sure a particular product was the cause.”

“The U.S Food and Drug Administration protects the public health by
helping to ensure the safety, efficacy, and security of human and
veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, and products
that emit radiation—and by helping to ensure the safety and security of
our nation’s food supply and cosmetic products. The FDA also regulates
tobacco products.”

If you have a problem with an FDA-regulated product, you can report the
problem online, via phone, or via mail.

This is a list of products the FDA regulates.
http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/Transparency/Basics/ucm194879.htm

You can report a problem to the FDA online, via phone, or via mail. See:
http://www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/ConsumerComplaintCoordinators/default.htm

Or submit a report here:
https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/medwatch/index.cfm?action=consumer.reporting1

Sedona Health and Nutrition Conference January 13th 2017

Posted on January 09, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

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This event will offer the science and practice implications of plant-based nutrition through professional presentations for Health Care Providers and the Community.

Friday, January 13, 2017
Sedona Marriott Courtyard
4105 W. State Route 89A, Sedona, AZ 86336

For information, see http://healthyworldsedona.com/health-nutrition-conference/

Veganism in an Unlikely Place: Veganism in Vinted or Other Online Stores

Posted on January 06, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

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By Natalie Allen, VRG Intern

Veganism can be implemented everywhere, from the most unlikely places like hanging up an animal rights poster at McDonald’s, to talking about veganism on online forums like the one on the shopping website Vinted. Vinted is an online used clothing store. Anyone from the United States can list and sell, swap, or buy used clothing from people across the country.

Vinted is an inexpensive and eco-friendly way to keep up with the latest fashion trends without bursting one’s wallet. Vinted is a lot like other online services for selling used clothes; however, Vinted has some unique features that set themselves apart. Vinted has its own online forum. On this forum anything is possible. Vinted users can ask for advice or give advice, answering questions from dieting to dating. This is where the vegan (myself) comes in. If someone asks, “What is the best way to lose weight while still being healthy?” I always respond with, “Go Vegan!” However, often times I am shot down. People would write back saying, “That’s too hard” or “I love meat too much,” (all too much a recurrence of what happens offline). As an experienced vegan I know that going vegan is not hard as long as you are educated on the benefits veganism can bring to your health, the environment, and the animals. By sending reference links to the Vegetarian Resource Group’s Blog or recommending educational books and documentaries, I hope to get my point across to at least one woman in need.

However, the forums are not the only place to spread the word. By listing items as vegan on Vinted, it is a subtle way to evoke viewer’s emotions and get them thinking about the subject. For example, one of my listings reads, “Vegan Leather Handbag.” This not only intrigues fellow health-conscious buyers, but those who are curious as to why this product must be labeled as “vegan.” Recently, I have seen companies begin to label their products as “vegan” in stores. Although one can infer a twenty dollar handbag is probably not made out of leather, this appeal intrigues customers and often times makes myself and other vegans more willing to purchase a product. The sale tactic is a great way to bring attention to a product.

Vinted also allows sellers to include hashtags on the items they list. Sellers add hashtags such as, “#cute, #fashion, #blue, #dress, etc.” to bring more attention to their listings. One who is looking for a specified product can search, “#vegan, #crueltyfree, #organic, etc.” to find products they may be interested in. The hashtag feature enables me to market my items directly towards the vegan shopper. The money made on Vinted can also be extended to support veganism. Profits made may go towards new vegan-friendly products or be donated to an animal rights or vegan charity.

Overall, Vinted is a great website to sell used clothing items that you don’t want, but someone else does. The concept specifically allows veganism to be implemented, through forums, titles, and hashtags. These subtle ways in which veganism is highlighted oftentimes is the most effective. It allows people to think about it without realizing it. This proves that veganism and animal rights can be brought to attention anywhere and at any time. Don’t ever get discouraged if someone shoots down your advice because there is always going to be someone who eats it right up.
 
Visit Vinted today: https://www.vinted.com/
For more information about vegan leather click on the following links:
http://www.vrg.org/blog/2016/12/09/whats-the-deal-with-vegan-leather/
http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/leather.php
For more information about Vegetarian Resource Group internships, visit http://www.vrg.org/student/index.php

The Vegetarian Resource Group Offers Two $5,000 Scholarships plus One $10,000 Scholarship

Posted on January 06, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

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The Vegetarian Resource Group Offers Two $5,000 Scholarships plus One $10,000 Scholarship

Due to the generosity of an anonymous donor, The Vegetarian Resource Group each year will award $20,000 in college scholarship money to graduating U.S. high school students who have promoted veganism/vegetarianism in their schools and/or communities. Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or fowl. Vegans are vegetarians who do not use other animal products such as dairy or eggs.

One award of $10,000 and two awards of $5,000 will be given. Entries may only be sent by students graduating from high school in spring 2017. Deadline is February 20, 2017. We will accept applications postmarked on or before February 20, 2017. Early submission is encouraged.

Applicants will be judged on having shown compassion, courage, and a strong commitment to promoting a peaceful world through a vegan/vegetarian diet/lifestyle. Payment will be made to the student’s college (U.S. based only). Winners of the scholarships give permission to release their names to the media. Applications and essays become property of The Vegetarian Resource Group. We may ask finalists for more information. Scholarship winners are contacted by e-mail or telephone. Please look at your e-mail.

For details on the contest, see: http://www.vrg.org/student/scholar.htm

VEGAN MEALS FOR THOSE WHO CAN’T COOK

Posted on January 05, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

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By Brigette Dumais, VRG Volunteer Coordinator

I feel like I am the luckiest person in the world because my partner does all the cooking for us. When he went away for six days I had to feed myself for the first time in a while, and to my surprise I didn’t starve! Here is my advice for vegans who aren’t very talented with cooking, or are like me and aren’t always patient enough to prepare a good meal.

–         Stock up on frozen foods. Yes, I know, this is definitely not the healthiest option, but for someone like myself with “heat and eat” cooking capabilities, this is a good route. I bought Daiya Frozen Pizza, a ton of Amy’s Samosa Burritos, and vegan sausages.

–         Get some simple snacks. I ate a lot of bananas with peanut butter, hummus with crackers, coconut yogurt (mixed with nutritional yeast), vegan protein bars, chips, and cereal.

–         Ask your partner to make you frozen meals. A friend of mine has the same cooking abilities that I do, and she is also fortunate enough that her fiancé does all the cooking. Before he leaves town, he cooks her a giant lasagna and leaves it in the freezer.

–         Eat out or order in. If you can afford it, let some professional chefs do the cooking and support your local vegan restaurants.

–         Actually learn how to cook for yourself so your partner doesn’t have to do it all the time!!! I sautéed some mushrooms with garlic and rosemary and it wasn’t terrible! I overcooked the mushrooms a little bit, but I’ll do better next time.

–         Make a nice, hearty soup. All you need to do is sauté your choice of vegetables, throw them in some water or veggie broth, and let it cook on the stove top for an hour or so. The great thing about soup is you can make a lot of it at once, which will feed you for days. I recommend making a soup that contains lentils or beans. I particularly enjoy butternut squash and black bean chili. My personal favorite (and one of the only things I’m actually good at cooking) is spicy pumpkin soup. Bake a pumpkin in the oven until it is mushy (usually ~45 minutes). Peel the skin off and put it in a food processor. Put the blended pumpkin in a pot on the stove, and begin to heat it up. Mix in your choice of dairy free milk to thin the pumpkin. Add spicy peppers, ginger, and salt to taste. Let it cook for about an hour. Add rosemary and crushed black pepper as a garnish once you’ve served yourself. (Don’t cook the rosemary or black pepper in to the soup.)

–         Beans and Rice. It’s very simple to make beans and rice. Make a lot of it so you have some for a few days. Add a different vegetable on top of the beans and rice for each meal to make sure you’re getting enough food variety.

–         Tofu Scramble. Sauté onions, peppers, potatoes, garlic, and any other veggie you may want. When everything is about half way done sautéing, add crumbled tofu and turmeric. When the tofu is warmed up, it’s ready to eat.

Here are some sandwich ideas:

http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2016issue2/2016_issue2_cooking_tips.php
and quick and easy menus:

http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2003issue1/2003_issue1_quick.php

You might want to check out these recipes in our ‘One Week Vegan Menu’ also: ttp://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2005issue4/2005_issue4_lowsodium.php

Join The Vegetarian Resource Group and receive Simply Vegan, with quick and easy vegan recipes. Go to: http://www.vrg.org/member/2013sv.php

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