The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

WESTERN NEW YORK VEGFEST

Posted on August 06, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Thank you to Karen Peissinger-Venhaus for tabling for The Vegetarian Resource Group at this festival. Karen said that most everyone was appreciative of the informative and science-based nutrition literature and books we made available at the event. As evidence of this, of the five boxes of handouts and books sent by VRG, only one was left. Karen reported, “I had a great time today meeting and talking with a variety of people; from raw foodists, to young vegetarians, to new and long-time vegans and vegetarians, and to folks just starting out by limiting the number of meat-based meals each week. Most everyone found some information that was pertinent to their veg journey. Some people asked for vegan and/or vegetarian gluten-free information. Two people asked if The Vegetarian Resource Group could make a presentation to their group.” Thank you again to Karen for this outreach.

If you would like to volunteer at a booth or in another way, please contact Nina at vrg@vrg.org

To support VRG outreach, go to www.vrg.org/donate. Or join at http://www.vrg.org/member/2013sv.php

The Vegetarian Resource Group Submits Comments on the Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Label

Posted on August 05, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Comments on the Proposed Nutrition Label
Submitted by:
The Vegetarian Resource Group
PO Box 1463
Baltimore, MD 21203
July 29, 2014

Reed Mangels, PhD, RD, LDN, FADA
Nutrition Advisor, The Vegetarian Resource Group

Charles Stahler
Co-Director, The Vegetarian Resource Group

Debra Wasserman
Co-Director, The Vegetarian Resource Group

Thank you for the opportunity to submit comments on the Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Label.

The Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public on vegetarianism and the interrelated issues of health, nutrition, ecology, ethics, and world hunger. In addition to publishing the Vegetarian Journal, VRG produces books, pamphlets, and article reprints. Our health professionals, activists, and educators work with businesses and individuals to bring about healthy changes in schools, workplaces, and the community. Registered dietitians and physicians aid in the development of nutrition-related publications and answer questions about the vegetarian and vegan diet. Financial support comes primarily from memberships, contributions, and book sales. We support the proposed revisions to the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Label and offer additional
comments and suggestions.

Indicate the form of vitamin D which is being added to foods.
Vitamin D used in fortification and dietary supplements may be in the form of vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol)or vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). The form of vitamin D which is added to foods is important to vegetarians. The vitamin D3 commonly used in supplements and fortified foods is derived from lanolin from sheep’s wool1 and is not considered to be vegan. Currently some foods and supplements simply list vitamin D without specifying the form. The addition of the requirement to specify the form of vitamin D would be helpful to vegans and to those who prefer to use a specific form of vitamin D.

Require that foods which are fortified with vitamin B12 indicate both the %DV and the absolute amount of vitamin B12 per serving.
Fortified foods and supplements are the only reliable way for individuals who avoid all animal products to obtain vitamin B12. Including the amount of vitamin B12 added to fortified foods and supplements would enable these individuals to monitor their intake of this essential vitamin. This labeling would also be helpful to those age 50 years and older who are advised to meet their RDA mainly by consuming foods fortified with crystalline vitamin B 12 or vitamin B 12-containing supplements.

Require that the source of ingredients that are often derived from animals be identified.
Vegetarians, those who keep kosher or Halal, and others who avoid animal products would benefit from ingredient lists that clearly indicate animal-derived ingredients. Some companies are already voluntarily identifying ingredients such as mono- and di-glycerides, L-Cysteine, and natural flavors as “vegetable” or “from non-meat sources” due to consumer demand. Requiring this type of labeling allows consumers to make informed choices. Our polls indicate that 47% of adults in the United States are eating one or more vegetarian meals each week.2

Consider overall nutrition value.
As advocates for health-promoting plant-based diets, we agree with former FDA head David Kessler, MD that “Whatever form those regulations ultimately take, their goal should be to encourage the sale and consumption of products full of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, rather than those loaded with little more than fat, sugar, and salt.”3 This could be accomplished by the development of some sort of overall rating system for foods which would give highest ratings for foods based on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and give markedly lower ratings for nutrient-poor foods which have been fortified with vitamins and minerals. Additionally, foods which are high in added sugars should not be able to make nutrition and health claims.

Keep the requirement that calcium and iron be included on the nutrition facts label.
Calcium and iron are essential nutrients which are of especial interest to vegans (vegetarians who do not use any animal products). The requirement to include both the %DV and the absolute amount of these nutrients in foods will help consumers (including vegans) to choose foods which are good sources of these nutrients.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments.

References
1. Yacoubou J. Vegetarian Journal’s Guide to Food Ingredients.
http://www.vrg.org/ingredients/index.php#vitamin_d. Partially updated 2010.
2. Stahler C. How often do Americans eat vegetarian meals? And how many adults in the U.S. are
vegetarian? The Vegetarian Resource Group blog. May 18, 2012;

http://www.vrg.org/blog/2012/05/18/how-often-do-americans-eat-vegetarian-meals-and-how-manyadults-in-the-u-s-are-vegetarian/

3. Kessler DA. Toward more comprehensive food labeling. N Engl J Med 2014; 371:193-195.

VEGGIE FEST, ONE OF THE LARGEST VEGETARIAN FOOD FESTIVAL IN NORTH AMERICA, RETURNS TO NAPERVILLE, IL AUGUST 9-10

Posted on August 05, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Unfortunately, VRG is not available to exhibit at Veggie Fest this year but this shouldn’t stop you from attending this wonderful veg event!

(Naperville, IL) It’s almost time to fill up your car with your friends and family and head to the 9th Annual Veggie Fest, the largest vegetarian food and lifestyle festival in North America! With a huge international food court; health professionals speaking on diet, lifestyle, and environmental issues; engaging food demos by restaurant owners, chefs, and authors; an incredible children’s tent with face painting, clowns, and crafts; live music from some of Chicago’s best bands; and over 100 vendor booths to explore, it’s easy to see why over 25,000 people from around the world attended the two-day Veggie Fest last year.

And there’s even more you can do at Veggie Fest! If you’ve been curious about the vegetarian diet, you can sign up for the Vegetarian Challenge to receive free support, recipes, and tips for going vegetarian for 14 days. Thousands of people have felt the benefits of taking the Vegetarian Challenge, and you can, too! And while you’re having a great time at the festival, you also can give back to the community by donating blood or bringing non-perishable vegetarian items for our food drive benefiting People’s Resource Center in Wheaton.

Veg Challenge

Join us August 9-10 in Naperville, IL and you’ll see why the vegetarian way of life is sweeping the globe! Veggie Fest isn’t just for vegetarians — it’s for everyone! It’s a weekend of fun for the whole family, and we can’t wait to see you there!

For the full schedule and more information about Veggie Fest on August 9-10 in Naperville, IL visit: www.veggiefestchicago.org

Vegan Restaurants in USA & Canada Recently Added to VRG’s Restaurant Guide

Posted on August 01, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

These vegan restaurants were recently added to our online restaurant guide. To find restaurants in your area, please visit: http://www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php.

Choices Kitchen
711 NW 27th Ave.
Miami, FL 33125
This restaurant uses all organic and flavorful ingredients. Customers eat together at long communal tables. Try the homemade chickpea tuna salad, creamy cashew rice, vegan mac and cheese, and pesto butter toast. They also offer desserts like biscottis, peanut chocolate espresso cake, and raw brownies. Check their website for the organic plate of the day. Located near Miami Airport.

Foodoo
3605 Broadway Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64111
Featuring beautiful, colorful salad with fresh ingredients like shredded root vegetables, plantains, cactus relish, Daikon radishes, and basil oil. They offer an assortment of quesadillas and wraps with ingredients like smoked tofu, soy chorizo, and wild mushrooms. Also offers pizzas, sandwiches, pastas, and desserts including vegan chocolate cake, blackberry crumble, and apple pie tamale pie.

Goji Café
2330 Royal Ln., Ste. 900
Dallas, TX 75229
Features a variety of soy meats and seafood like salt and pepper soy pork ribs, orange glazed soy beef, and sweet and sour soy chicken. They offer fresh options too like spinach-cashew-avocado noodles, braised eggplants, fresh spring rolls, assorted vegetable dishes, and Chinese radish cake. Check out the lunch buffet. Goji is closed between lunch and dinner, so please call ahead for hours.

Holy Cow
110 2nd St NW
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Try the “Banger n’-a-Bun” vegan sausage sandwich, BBQ sandwich made with jack fruit in place of pork, pot pie with vegan cheddar and corn salsa, or rice and beans. Add toppings like black bean chili, chow slaw, braised peppers and onions, and vegan cheddar. Finish off the meal with vegan cookies! Look for the green door and take-out window. Holy Cow also prides itself in being a “no plastic zone”! Cash only.

Kupfert & Kim
First Canadian Place
100 King St. W.
Toronto, ON M5X 1A9
Canada
Located at First Canadian Place, this quick-service vegan and gluten free restaurant serves a wide variety of dishes including house-made granola for breakfast and different box meals featuring organic ingredients for lunch and dinner. They also have smoothies and raw desserts.

Nucleus Raw Foods

63 Main St.
Luzerne, PA 18709
Offers raw smoothies and main dishes. Smoothies are customizable with unique ingredients like date caramel sauce, maca powder, and cacao nibs, along with staples like berries, greens, and nuts. Try any of the open face sandwiches made with carrot-buckwheat-flax bread, drizzled with cashew cheddar cheesze. They also offer salads, pizza, and spaghetti made of spiralized zucchini. Check their Facebook for featured items.

1st Annual National Plant-based Prevention Of Disease (P-POD) Conference

Posted on August 01, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

We are happy to announce that the 1st Annual National Plant-based Prevention Of Disease (P-POD) Conference will take place in Asheville NC, November 14-16, 2014.

This is a 16 hour continuing education conference for health professionals. The public is invited. See: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-1URS1w4YwwdnhuYURqLWY3OU0/edit?usp=sharing

NUTRITION INTERNSHIP

Posted on July 30, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Karen Leibowitz
VRG Intern

VRG Interns, Karen and Devlyn, helping a visitor at Richmond Vegfest.

My internship with The Vegetarian Resource Group this summer was educational and an important experience for my future. As a vegetarian dietetics student, it was great to work on several projects with a registered dietitian (RD), as well as meet other professionals in the field of dietetics. I got to staff The Vegetarian Resource Group booth at the Richmond Vegetarian Festival with a volunteer who has a PhD in Nutrition, interview and write an article about an RD from Texas, and hear a local RD’s thoughts on veganism and dietetics over a meal. The projects I worked on helped me gain knowledge on different fields within dietetics relating to vegetarianism.

I also contributed parts to a chapter about school lunch guidelines, and drafted a nutrition evaluation from a week-long vegan meal plan. I learned about obtaining unbiased sources for write-ups, and making sure the wording of sentences don’t include false claims. Through volunteering at booths in farmer’s markets and conferences, it was very encouraging to be able to speak with new vegetarians, curious omnivores, and long-time vegans. I was able to see how vegetarianism impacted people’s lives, and provide helpful resources, thanks to the VRG.

If you are interested in a Vegetarian Resource Group internship, visit: http://www.vrg.org/student/
To support Vegetarian Resource Group outreach, donate at http://www.vrg.org/donate

During the Month of July 2014 The Vegetarian Site will give 10% of Their Sales to The Vegetarian Resource Group

Posted on July 29, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

During the month of July 2014 The Vegetarian Site will give 10% of Their Sales to The Vegetarian Resource Group

The Vegetarian Site (www.thevegetariansite.com) supports a different non-profit organization each month. This month they have selected The Vegetarian Resource Group. The Vegetarian Site sells vegan footwear for men and women, belts, wallets, bags, and other accessories, food products, books, personal care items, plus much more.

Support VRG by shopping online at:
http://www.thevegetariansite.com/cgi-bin/miva?Merchant2/merchant.mv+

“Fast Food Oppression: Are You Loving It?” Music Video Debut

Posted on July 29, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Young Oakland artists address issues of food justice, health and well being in this original song and music video, “Food Justice Oppression: Are you Loving It?”. The video debuted on musevideo.net on July 22, 2014.



The following is an excerpt from musevideo.net:

“Are You Loving It?” has arrived! Are we really loving fast food oppression?

Young Oakland artists L.L.D.B., Pamela Arriera, and Taiwo Murray collaborated with AshEL SeaSunZ (of the green hip-hop group Earth Amplified) to write the track, using a beat created for the project by FX at Youth Uprising. Oakland video students at KDOL-TV helped produce the video, which was shot at People’s Grocery in West Oakland.

Four teens wake up from another evening’s sugar bender to find themselves transformed into fast food icons, sugar and burger addicts under the thumb of their nefarious gang leader, Ronald McDonald. Ronald forces them out to the street to sling sugar and chips to the neighborhood kids, sucking them dry of their money and their health. The kids are trapped– addicted to the fake “I’m Loving It” lifestyle. But when they finally have had enough of Ronald’s controlling ways, the kids leave him behind, and find themselves learning a whole new way of life in the community garden. “Are You Loving It?” is about the real love that’s found by going back to the land and leaving fake food behind.

Groups for Veggie Families with Kids to Meet One Another

Posted on July 25, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

The Vegetarian Resource Group is compiling a list of veggie groups in the USA that cater specifically to families with veggie kids. Below is a list of groups we already know about. If you are familiar with any other similar organizations, we’d greatly appreciate it if you would email the information to us at vrg@vrg.org

The Chicago Vegan Family Network!
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/cvfn/info

Chicago VegKids in Illinois
www.meetup.com/ChicagoVegKids

Los Angeles Area Conscious Parents (Vegan) Group in California
http://www.meetup.com/KidsMakeADifference/

Los Angeles Area Veg Kids Group in California
http://www.VegKids.org/

Our Little Vegan Sandbox – Los Angeles
https://www.facebook.com/groups/188723494653630/

New York City Vegetarian and Vegan Families
www.meetup.com/NYC-Vegetarian-and-Vegan-Families

The Vegan Mob in Philadelphia, PA organize get togethers and camping trips. The group is strictly for vegans.
https://groups.google.com/forum/m/#!forum/vegan-mob

Triangle Veg Family Meetup Group in North Carolina
www.meetup.com/trianglevegparent

VSDC Children’s Playgroup (Vegetarian Society of Washington, DC Children’s Playgroup)
family@vsdc.org
http://www.meetup.com/Vegan-DC-MD-VA/

My Vegetarian Resource Group Internship

Posted on July 25, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Devlyn Perugini

During my senior year in high school I applied for The Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship. I was one of eight finalists. I wasn’t awarded the scholarship but a year later was offered a two month internship at The Vegetarian Resource Group in Baltimore, Maryland! I thought what an amazing opportunity this would be and arranged to get to the mainland from Hawai’i. Leading up to the internship I was very nervous. I had never done an internship before and didn’t know what to expect. Eventually my nervousness subsided and I was able to enjoy working in the office, running booths, and having great experiences.

Working in the office was nice because I followed a schedule that helped me organize all of my projects including writing a Teen FAQ, Veggie Product Reviews, and a Vegetarian Action article! I also had side projects such as writing summaries of VRG outreach booths and events, and working on restoring the Vegetarian Game for the VRG website. I never worked in an office before but I was able to adapt quickly. Everyone in the VRG office is very friendly and encouraging. Their support helped tremendously.

What I loved doing the most was staffing the VRG booths. That’s where I felt like I made the most positive impact. I really enjoyed talking to people about their vegetarianism, veganism, or interest in learning more. I was happy to be able to help people. We had booths at The Charles Village Festival in Baltimore, The Richmond VegFest in Virginia, Taking Action for Animals Conference in Washington, DC, and The Waverly Farmer’s Market in Baltimore. All of these booths were unique and taught me something new. On top of all of the work, making connections that ultimately led to friendships was amazing.

Throughout this internship I have learned so much, for which I’m thankful. I have a new found confidence in my veganism and feel completely capable of continuing to spread this good work. I realize that promoting vegetarianism and veganism is my passion. It’s what I do best. I also have a deeper understanding for animals and how truly important it is to help and love them. Admittedly, this internship has taught me how to be a better college student as well. That has always been a goal of mine and now I know what to do. This includes planning ahead, staying on task with a schedule, and organizing my time wisely. I am very excited to apply what I’ve learned to this coming school year and my life. I am so happy to have done an internship with The Vegetarian Resource Group.

For information about VRG internships, see: http://www.vrg.org/student/index.php

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