The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

VEGAN IN A NUTSHELL BROCHURE – HELP US REPRINT!

Posted on July 26, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

We have sent tens of thousands of our Vegan in a Nutshell brochure to groups and educators around the country, from Virginia to Nebraska to New York to Oregon and Texas. They have been used by dietitians, by programs serving low income communities, at VegFests, by activists tabling, and with college students. We have run out and need to reprint. Please consider a donation of $25, $50, $100 or more at www.vrg.org/donate

Thank you for your support.

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KAYA’S KITCHEN IN BELMAR, NEW JERSEY

Posted on July 25, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

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By Heather Francis

The other evening, my girlfriend and I went to Kaya’s Kitchen in Belmar, New Jersey. It’s funny because she has lived close by Belmar all her life and had no idea this all-vegan restaurant existed. We tried it out, and fell in love with the place. Walking in I noticed a table to my left full of pamphlets, business cards, and magazines of events and businesses in the area related to health and fitness. Already I knew I was going to consume a great meal.

We sat down in a booth. I’d like to mention how it took us maybe twenty minutes to choose what to get because of how overwhelming the menu was and it’s COMPLETELY vegan. Stroganoff? Enchiladas? Wings? Seitan Ribs? Seitan Steak? There was so much to choose from.

My girlfriend recently became vegan and had never been to a vegan restaurant before, so for her it was an entirely new experience. We ordered a take on her favorite meal — an appetizer of Tempeh Wings. They were spicy, and the breading wasn’t too heavy. The “ranch” was my favorite part. We devoured most of them and prolonged the last two on the plate. We moved onto our second course almost immediately which was a shared plate of Hungarian Perogies.

The perogies with the creamy Hungarian sauce along with onions and spinach, created a savory and absolutely delicious sensation. I was filled almost completely just eating half the plate. We definitely took our time eating the perogies but overtime they disappeared. I was left heartbroken.

When finished, our waitress brought over the dessert menu, which was on a miniature chalkboard. There was an assortment of vegan cupcakes and a tempting chocolate cake, but my stomach was too full to handle dessert.

Probably the best part of the atmosphere of the restaurant included the live music that started before we paid our check. There was a band playing instruments and singing on a small stage in the corner in the back of the restaurant. We waited just long enough to hear a few songs. Before leaving, I noticed how the customers in the restaurant doubled in size since we got there, almost filling every seat. I wondered how many people there were vegan themselves.

The food may be a bit pricey, but it’s also a lot of food that can be shared with whoever you go with, or you can take half of it home. The service, the music, and the food is worth a trip over to Kaya’s Kitchen if you’re ever in Belmar, New Jersey. On the plus side, it’s also a few minutes from the beach. I know for a fact I’m going to return to Kaya’s Kitchen. The idea of eating vegan stroganoff still intrigues me.

If interested, please visit their website: http://www.kayaskitchenbelmar.com/

For more information on other vegetarian/vegan restaurants please visit: http://www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php

Vegan Restaurants Added to the VRG Restaurant Guide

Posted on July 22, 2016 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

Belem Café
4409 Boulevard Saint-Laurent
Montreal, QC H2W 1Z8 Canada
Located near a Yoga Studio, this café serves seasonal vegan food including Acai bowls, smoothies, granola, salads, sandwiches, and more.

Berben and Wolff’s Vegan Delicatessen
227 Lark St.
Albany, NY 12210
Making all of their proteins in house, their vegan “deli” offerings include these best sellers: Seitan Pastrami Rueben, Popcorn Mushroom Po’ Boy, Wing Burger and BBQ Pulled Jackfruit. The Wing Burger, which gets high marks from customers, is a chicken-style Seitan patty, breaded in panko and spices. They also offer a breakfast sandwich with Daiya cheese, faux ham, and sriracha hollandaise on a bun.

Fare Well
406 H St. NE
Washington, DC 20002
Fare Well is a vegan restaurant, bar, and bakery. It is the second offering from chef and owner Doron Peterson who is also the owner of the award-winning vegan bakery Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats in Columbia Heights. At Fare Well, Peterson is joined by a small, passionate team of fellow chefs who have worked to recreate classic American diner foods and Mediterranean fare with only plant-based ingredients. The restaurant also offers a kid’s menu, vegan shakes, specialty cocktails, and coffee in a sleek yet subtly retro setting.

HipCityVeg
712 7th St. NW
Washington, DC 20001
This restaurant focuses on using organic and non-GMO soy ingredients to create a fast-food inspired menu. Try their vegan-ized Philly Steak, made with pulled steak, grilled onion, mushroom, lettuce, tomato, and ketchup, all served on a wheat roll. They also offer their Bistro Bella, a burger composed of grilled portabella, herb Dijon glaze, olive tapenade, red onion, tomato, artichoke, and arugula. In addition, try their vegan “chicken” nuggets with a side of sweet potato fries. Finish off your meal with one of their chocolate, orangesicle, or vanilla-flavored soy milkshakes!

Holi Vegan Kitchen
3099 NE 163rd St.
North Miami Beach, FL 33160
Holi Vegan Kitchen provides plenty of gluten-free and oil-free options with the goal of promoting a nutritious and healing whole-foods diet. They have an entire menu dedicated to breakfast including, but not limited to a gluten-free pesto garden scramble, a raw fresh super acai bowl, and gluten-free buckwheat banana pancakes. For a main dish, try their oil-free avocado and chickpea salad wrap or a mushroom grilled cheese with homemade cashew cheese. Accompany your meal with one of their refreshing live juices, including one made with pineapple, green apple, cucumber, and mint.

Love Livin
Pilgrim Terrace, Charlotte Amalie
St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands 00802
Enjoy raw dishes including kale salad, nori rolls, bbq kale, platters, and more. They also serve smoothies. Hours sometimes vary, so call ahead.

On The Go Organics
600 S. Wolfe St.
Baltimore, MD 21231
Enjoy organic raw cuisine including juices, smoothies, nut milks, and dishes such as Zucchini Pasta with Walnut Neat Balls, Curry Collard Green Wrap, Garden Lasagna, Middle Eastern Platter, and Grande Taco Salad. Also try one of their desserts including Key Lime Pie, Blueberry Cheese Cake, or Coconut Cream Pie. For breakfast dine on Apple Blueberry Macadamia Porridge or Apple, Strawberry, Pecan, Porridge. They are located in Fells Point.

Rock Salt Creamery
16 Parker Hill Rd.
Sanbornton, NH 03269
Despite the name that implies “cream,” Tom Morrison offers these vegan dessert options, which are made from a cashew base. There are nearly 30 flavors, made from natural, almost all-organic ingredients like the more traditional strawberry, raspberry or chocolate, or something a little more out there, like carrot or lemon basil. They are located on a farm.

The Flying Falafel
1051 Market St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
and
919 Meridian Ave.
San Jose, CA 95126
The Flying Falafel serves up a wide variety of Mediterranean sides and toppings for their falafel. Simply order a pita, wrap, or plate and let them know what toppings to include. Falafel can be ordered original or spicy. Gluten free options available. Note that you can order food before arriving through their website!

The Phoenix Veg Cafe and Juice Bar
650 Castro St. #130
Mountain View, CA 94041
The Phoenix offers a vegan buffet with a full complement of food groups. Starches (couscous, basmati rice, penne pasta), Veggies (mixed veggies with coconut curry cauliflower), and Main Course (baked eggplant oregano, black beans with seaweed and tofu). There is also an a la carte menu available all day: among the popular items are the Tofu and Avocado Rice Bowl, the Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, and the Phoenix Sandwich (avocado and eggplant). Favorite signature juices include “Serious Green” (Kale, Celery, Cucumber, Apple, Lemon) and Iron Blood (Carrot, Apple, Celery, Kale, Beet, Lemon). Among the smoothies, you can try the popular Marrakech (Almond Milk, Banana, Dates, Nuts, Raw Cacao) or Forever Young (Mango, Pineapple Acai, Banana).

The Sanibel Sprout
Bailey’s Center
2463 Periwinkle Way
Sanibel, FL 33957
The Sanibel Sprout is a locally-owned restaurant located on Sanibel Island off of the West Coast of Florida. This charming spot offers a menu that is entirely vegan, organic, and gluten free in a down-to-earth and friendly environment. The Sprout prides itself on its extensive selection of hand-crafted juices which are available both pre-made and freshly squeezed. The lunch and dinner menu offers an array of ethnic fusion food from Indian-inspired soups and curries to Mexican salads to Italian pasta dishes with a healthy twist. Dessert consists of a variety of colorful vegan and gluten-free confections from their bakery. In addition to its dining options, the Sprout has a gift shop and even hosts a weekly organic farmer’s market.

Support The Vegetarian Resource Group – Become a Monthly or Quarterly Donor!

Posted on July 22, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

The Vegetarian Resource Group is an activist non-profit organization that does outreach all-year-long. We table at different events through the USA and also send literature free of charge to other groups/individuals doing educational activities in schools, hospitals, camps, restaurants, libraries, etc. around the country. Our ability to continue doing this depends on people like you! Your donations allow us to promote the vegan message whenever we’re called upon for assistance. Please consider becoming a monthly or quarterly donor to VRG.

Thanks so much for your support. You can become a monthly or quarterly donor online here: vrg.org/donate

Veggie History Section on www.vrg.org

Posted on July 21, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

The Vegetarian Resource Group has a number of interesting articles in the history section of their website www.vrg.org

For example, we have a link to the American Vegetarian Health Journal published in the mid 18oos in Philadelphia, PA. There’s another piece titled: History of Seventh-day Adventist Work with Soyfoods, Vegetarianism, Meat Alternatives, Wheat Gluten, Dietary Fiber and Peanut Butter (1863-2013). You will also find articles on individuals such as Amos Bronson Alcott, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, Benjamin Franklin, Sylvester Graham, and many others.

The history section can be found here: http://www.vrg.org/history/

Veganizing the Dining Hall — Montclair (NJ) State University

Posted on July 20, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

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By Heather Francis
Intern with the Vegetarian Resource Group

I was vegan for about nine months before starting my first year at college. When I visited the school, there were at least two vegan options available during visitations, like salad or a wrap with hummus spread. So I wasn’t worried there would be no food available for me when I moved in.

In my high school I had a friend and whenever I would go over her house she always had chocolate almond milk in her fridge. So of course, I would be the one to drink it (all of it). I never bought it for myself because I knew if I did it would disappear in the matter of three days. When I went to my dining hall for the first time, I 100% recall screaming of joy. There was a chocolate soy milk machine, and chocolate almond milk in the fridge. I was in heaven. I believed it was a sign I would be eating amazing that year.

Then a month goes by. The soy milk machine stopped producing soy milk, because the workers forget to fill it along with the almond milk in the fridge. Then the vegan options became routine. The salad bar started to look like mush. I was in a rut of feeling like I was eating garbage. I started to despise Sam’s Place. So then I turned to eating at restaurants on campus. There was a Vegan option at Which Wich, our school’s deli. There was Guacamole and chips available at Chili’s. The diner on campus had a hummus platter.

Yes there were options elsewhere. Even the sushi bar had vegetable sushi rolls. Now I couldn’t complain because some schools don’t have any vegan food available to purchase. It just came to a point where I started to become annoyed and angry with the food service on campus. I started taking bananas every time I could. I mean I would walk into the dining hall and stuff up to eight bananas in my book bag or run out with them in my hands.

Funny story: there’s a bagel place in front of campus on the ground level of College Hall, popularly known as Einstein Bagels. They have smoothies there but all of them are made with Greek yogurt. I was craving a fruit smoothie, so I decided to try to veganize it for myself. I asked them to make me one without the Greek yogurt and use soy milk. They were confused, and the person at the cash register had to ask to make sure they could change the menu item. The manager was reluctant to do it because he or anyone else who worked there had never made one vegan before. They were hesitant about making it, and the manager had me wait to try it so he could have it become available for other students. It was sugary, but delicious. This is the moment I started thinking about creating change on campus.

Second semester rolls around and I was scared going back to school because my home cooked meals were gone and I would be stuck going back to Sam’s Place to eat hummus and pita. Well during my second semester, I was taking an animal right’s class and a few of us in class were complaining about the dining hall foods.Three of us realized we had to stop complaining, so then our complaints turned into the creation of a petition to demonstrate that many people wanted more vegetarian/vegan options on campus. Justine, a student who was part of this group was able to get the Senior Director of Residential Dining’s business card. We emailed him to set up a meeting to show him our petition and our thoughts on implementing more vegan/vegetarian options. We went to the Student Center dining room to meet with him, and we were all nervous he would shoot us down along with our petitions. Instead when he met with us, he explained his ALREADY existing plan of incorporating more vegan options at Sam’s Dining hall and eventually in Freeman, which is the other Dining Hall on campus.

His list included:
· A stir-fry station
· A sushi bar
· Dried fruits
· Guacamole
· Quinoa
· More “All-Natural” cereals
· More fruit/vegetables
· A vegan station (for next semester)

And we gave him our list:
· Vegan Desserts
· Smoothies/Juices
· Vegan Station
· More fruit/vegetables
· Healthier Cereals
· Making sure the signs are correct when saying “vegan”
· Veggie Burger
· Making sure there’s a vegan option everyday

What really struck me was how open and eager he was for change. He didn’t say no when we asked to meet with him. Instead, he was pleased about doing so. He explained how no one had ever asked for change in the dining halls, which I found funny because there are a few thousand students who live on campus. These students are also students who complain the food is awful or make videos about how horrible it is to eat there.
So moving forward after the meeting, he made it clear he wanted to keep meeting with us and keep in touch because he wanted to make sure he was receiving information and ideas directly from the student body. In Freeman dining hall, there were recipe books, VEGAN recipe books, used as decoration. I mentioned this to him, and he had no idea they even existed. Justine sent him more links for recipe books for him to try to cook up meals for the next school year, along with a few of our own suggestions.
We didn’t expect there to be change right away but a week and a half later there were dried fruits by the oatmeal bar. There was avocado at the salad station along with couscous and quinoa. I had friends texting me excitedly sending me pictures of their food because there was more added to the selection of food.
On Earth day he reached out to me and asked us to have a booth at both dining halls so students had information on eating vegetarian along with information about our Animal Rights group. Then at the end of the year there was a lunch where we met with the workers of dining services, and student government. We ate lunch, talked about current and future improvement. We said goodbye for summer knowing there was going to be change in the dining hall’s foods.
Afterwards, I went to Sam’s place and found there were vegan cookies by the Gluten-Free Section. Never had I been so excited about a food item at all as my time as a freshman, not since the chocolate soy milk I had on the first day of school. I think my excitement existed because I waited all year to be able to eat dessert when all my friends were chowing down on ice cream or fudge brownies. Listen, I know it’s not healthy but eating a good cookie every once in awhile aids your body more than hurts you.
Anyhow, I hope this inspires any students on reaching out for change. Sometimes all it takes is a simple email. Change doesn’t happen overnight. We had this meeting in the beginning of April and it will take until the next school semester for there to be significant changes in food choices; it’s worth the petitions, the meetings, and the work so a positive adjustment CAN and WILL happen.

LEXVEGFEST OCTOBER 1, 2016

Posted on July 20, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

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LexVegFest (October 1, 2016 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 2312 Palumbo Dr, Lexington, KY 40509) is the first annual VegFest in Lexington and central Kentucky sponsored by GA Sanctuaries and Housewarmings. Our mission is to celebrate and promote plant-based lifestyles for health, environment, and compassion for animals. LexVegFest will feature local speakers, delicious food and drink, vendors, cooking demonstrations, informative exhibitors, children’s activities and more.

Our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lexingtonvegfest/
Contact: lexvegfest@gmail.com

FREE Ebook from Dixie Publishing, THE VEGAN COOKBOOK

Posted on July 19, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

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We’d love to give your vegan community the opportunity to have the new FREE Ebook from Dixie Publishing, THE VEGAN COOKBOOK. THE VEGAN COOKBOOK by Jack Truman has just been released on Smashwords, and will be in other online distribution channels shortly. The new Ebook is a compilation of 497 plant based family recipes compiled over Jack’s lifetime.

Here’s a link to the Free Ebook: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/644653

Below is a synopsis of the book and a brief bio of Jack as well. Feel free to share this free ebook with your vegan community.


Synopsis:
THE VEGAN COOKBOOK: 497 RECIPES is a collection of 497 healthy, mouth-watering plant based recipes free from any animal products. Author Jack Truman, a lifetime vegan and animal rights activist, has compiled a collection of his favorite family plant-based recipes over a lifetime.

Obesity is a growing problem in America. According to science, Animal Agriculture is the leading primary source to Climate Change. Millions of animals are slaughtered by the hour for human consumption. And a meat-centered diet is a major factor in Heart Disease, Cancer, Diabetes and all major diseases.

By adopting a plant-based diet and a vegan lifestyle, individuals can save the lives of animals, save their own lives from obesity and disease, and end Global warming. THE VEGAN COOKBOOK : 497 RECIPES is a healthy, nutritious resource of great recipes, free from any animal products.

Author bio: Jack Truman is an award-winning filmmaker and 30 year veteran of stage and film. A former professor at Texas A and M University, Truman has also appeared in several television series and major motion pictures. Combined, Truman’s films have screened at over 400 film festivals worldwide to date. Jack was on the Short film Jury at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. He has a Master’s degree in Communications and a Bachelor’s degree in Business.

VEG DINING CARDS

Posted on July 19, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

VegDining.com is pleased to donate 10% of all VegDining Card purchases by VRG subscribers and supporters during July and August. The VegDining Card is an international vegetarian discount card with over a hundred vegetarian restaurants and other businesses offering discounts to cardholders on their goods and services. Visit VegDining.com to order your card (be sure to mention “VRG” to ensure a donation will be made on your purchase). VegDining is a guide to vegetarian dining, promoting vegetarianism around the world since 1999.

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OUR DAILY BREAD

Posted on July 18, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor

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By Heather Francis, VRG Intern

For one of my first projects at The Vegetarian Resource Group, I made and donated vegan casseroles to Our Daily Bread in Baltimore, Maryland. Another intern, Casey Brown made three casseroles, while I made two (Brunswick Stew, and Cream Bean and Potato Casserole with Carrots). It only took me a few hours to make them, and I was even able to save a little of each to try for myself. They were delicious and super EASY to make. The ingredients were cheap; the bulk of the ingredients for the casseroles were in cans- potatoes, beans, and carrots. When it came to bringing the casseroles to Our Daily Bread, we had to make sure they were frozen and tightly sealed with foil.

Brigette, VRG’s volunteer coordinator brought us to the facility to drop off the casseroles. We were able to talk to the Volunteer Coordinator there and see inside the kitchen and facility. It was awesome because as soon as we walked in we were immediately thanked at the front desk for donating casseroles, and then even more since we brought vegan options. We went to go see the kitchen, and the first table we saw in their kitchen was a table with a ton of veggie plates. On the veggie plate was Peanut Butter and Jelly, Macaroni and Cheese, Fruit Salad, half a banana, a small salad, and a donut. We learned through talking with the Volunteer Coordinator, that out of 600 people served a day, there seemed to be about a ⅓ asking for the vegetarian option instead of an option containing meat. This shows how important it is to provide a veggie option because the option doesn’t just not contain meat but also includes more vegetables making it a healthier option.

So if you’re ever looking for something to do or you want to help with an important task, whip up some vegan casseroles and donate them to Our Daily Bread, if in Baltimore, or your local feeding facility wherever you live. It’s a great cause and I’m super confident in knowing these casseroles are going towards people who need it. There definitely needs to be more healthier options to those who are homeless and hungry. This is a great way to give back, while also offering a more sustainable way of eating.

Below is a link attached to a blog post earlier this year about Our Daily Bread, and also directing you to their website with any questions you may have about the program and if you wanted to get involved yourself.

http://www.vrg.org/blog/2016/03/10/vegan-casseroles-for-our-daily-bread/

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