The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Vegan Food Being Served at New York State Fair in Syracuse, New York

Posted on August 20, 2015 by The VRG Blog Editor
Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

The New York State Fair in Syracuse, New York runs from August 27th through September 7th, 2015. This year there will be a vegan food option in the International Building. Strong Hearts Cafe fair menu will include smoothies, salads, sandwiches, wraps, side dishes, and a select few of Strong Hearts vegan milkshakes.

For info on the State Fair see:
For info on Strong Hearts Cafe see:

How to Become a Corporate Dietitian

Posted on August 19, 2015 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Anne Custer

The health field is constantly changing and expanding with new
technology, new research, and new jobs. The growth rate for dietitians
is expected to increase by 21% over the next ten years. Dietitians work
to educate patients and the public on proper nutrition for optimal
health. They work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, nursing
homes, non-profit organizations, public health clinics, government
agencies, food service settings, and the corporate world.

A person who is interested in nutrition, education, health,
helping others, and cooking may be best suited for this profession.
A dietitian’s day-to-day tasks may include, but are not limited to
assessing a patient’s nutritional needs, counseling on healthy eating
habits, developing meal plans, evaluating progress, and promoting
healthy eating.

A dietitian working in the corporate world may have different
day-to-day tasks compared to a dietitian working in a hospital.
As a corporate dietitian, Molly McBride, RD, LD works for the retail
food chain, Kroger, offering food and nutrition expertise, answering
product inquiries, creating recipes, writing blogs for the Kroger
Simple Truth blog, and acting as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for
Kroger brands.

Aspiring dietitians must complete a Bachelor of Science degree in an
accredited program. These programs can take many names such as
Nutrition; Human Nutrition, Foods, & Exercise; Dietetics; or Nutritional
Science. When researching programs, confirm that they are accredited by
the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of
the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. After completion of an
undergraduate degree in Dietetics or a related field, the next step is
supervised practice, or a dietetic internship (DI). This is usually
1,200 hours of hands-on experience that lasts about a year. These are
all over the United States and Puerto Rico and can emphasize Clinical,
Community, Food Service, Sports Nutrition, Medical Nutrition Therapy, or
be a general program that dabbles in many areas. Once this is completed,
the soon-to-be dietitian must pass a registration exam. In most states,
a license to practice is required as well. For Molly, her education
began at Eastern Kentucky University and continued at The Christ
Hospital for her DI. Once she passed the exam, she began
working for a long-term care facility. After three years, she had the
opportunity to interview for Kroger. She accepted the job and began
working at the corporate call center.

Those looking to enter the field must have significant work and/or
volunteer experience. Because the internships are extremely competitive
(only 50% match rate), it’s crucial to set yourself apart as an
applicant. A quick Google search will reveal that most resources, like
the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, recommend some type of
experience. This increases your chances of being matched and solidifies
your choice to become a dietitian. Valuable work and volunteer
experience relates to the health and nutrition field or the specific
track of dietetics you are interested in. Someone who wanted to be a
clinical dietitian may seek opportunities in hospitals or clinics.
Examples of this in my pursuit of becoming a registered dietitian (RD)
include volunteering for a hospital and a children’s fitness camp,
interning here at The Vegetarian Resource Group, shadowing an RD, and
working at my school’s gym as a fitness assistant and nutrition analyst.
It can also be helpful to have experience in food service. For example,
McBride started working at Panera Bread. While in school at Eastern
Kentucky, she worked as a student caller then manager for the school’s
alumni office and as a nutrition associate working alongside a dietitian
at a local hospital. These experiences helped her land an internship as
well as provided her with skills needed for her job at Kroger. Those
looking to work in the corporate world may seek out work in corporate
fitness and nutrition or as an associate of a retail food store.
Programs are also looking for leadership skills so if possible, try to
stick to a few activities and focus on moving up and taking on more
responsibility. There are many opportunities out there to get involved
in your community and your university to diversify your application; you
just have to find them!

The training aspiring dietitians receive is mainly through the
supervised practice in their DI. Each rotation varies greatly depending
on the program and its focus. Students will spend more time working in
say a free clinic if the focus is community or in a rehabilitation
center if the focus is medical nutrition therapy. This allows the
student to explore and learn about different aspects of nutrition in
practice. The training received after completion of supervised practice
is dependent on the employer. Registered dietitians must also complete
continuing education credits throughout their career.

Corporate dietitians work for businesses that need nutrition consulting.
This type of dietitian can work in a variety of places such as a large
drug store, a fast food chain, or like McBride, a retail food chain.
These professionals develop menus, check nutrition facts, create food
labels, and consult with the company on its products and nutrition
information. More specific tasks would be established depending on where
you decide to work. McBride says, “My day-to-day includes being a final
escalation point for our call center product team ambassadors to answer
questions for our millions of customers, managing information in a
product knowledge database, providing nutrition education, developing
nutrition-related materials, writing digital/social media content, and
of course being a resource for plant-based nutrition.” (McBride has been
a vegan for four years.) Her office is based out of Blue Ash, OH which
is a satellite location from the downtown corporate building. However,
this type of work may be flexible. McBride is getting married and will
be moving to Columbus, OH after the wedding. Her employer is allowing
her to work full-time from home and come into the office just two days
out of the month.

Hours vary from job to job and even day to day. McBride usually works
from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday to Friday and says, “Sometimes important
meetings, some community events, or continuing education retail RD
conferences, are in the evenings or weekends, so my schedule is flexible
enough to accommodate these.”

“I have learned a lot from dietitian conferences I have attended,
befriending other dietitians on LinkedIn, diving into areas of nutrition
that pique my interest, and learning about all the moving parts of my
job,” explains McBride, “For example, working in the grocery retail
setting, it’s also important to know about agriculture, manufacturing,
branding, and regulations.” Her advice for aspiring dietitians is to
network with other dietitians and areas of nutrition that inspire you.
LinkedIn can provide a great resource to do so.

Retail Dietetics
“The job of a retail grocery RD is a newer concept,” says McBride, “RDs
in this sector are a growing trend, as RDs are being recognized,
especially if they have a background in business or develop a strong
understanding of it, for their impact to [the] company’s ROI (return on
investment), health & wellness strategy, food and culinary insights,
product development ideas, food safety expertise, and
labeling/regulatory knowledge, as some examples. I work with two other
RDs at the Kroger corporate level and we have a strong working
relationship with numerous departments including pharmacy, regulatory,
corporate brands, consumer affairs, corporate food technology, digital,
and social media, amongst others. We are viewed as food and nutrition
subject matter experts for the Kroger organization.” More and more
companies are beginning to realize the benefit of having a dietitian on
staff thus creating more opportunities for corporate dietitians.

Visit for the latest news on the dietetics profession and helpful resources for your career.

Anne Custer wrote this article while interning with The Vegetarian
Resource Group.

The Vegetarian Resource Group Exhibited at the 2015 Animal Rights Conference

Posted on August 18, 2015 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Anne Custer

This year’s Animal Rights National Conference was held July 30th-August 2nd in Alexandria, VA, just outside Washington D.C. The conference sparked a diverse crowd from children to older adults, and people from all over the globe. Put on by Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) and sponsored by many of the nation’s leading animal advocacy groups, the venue was full of exhibitors and attendees all there for a common purpose.

VRG Intern, Anne Custer, hard at work at The Vegetarian Resource Group's booth at the Animal Rights National Conference 2015.

VRG Intern, Anne Custer, hard at work at The Vegetarian Resource Group’s booth at the Animal Rights National Conference 2015.

I was able to attend on Friday and Sunday, providing eager activists with resources for their vegan diet. We displayed our many guides and handouts as well as our published books, Vegetarian Journal, cookbooks, and Cowspiracy. Many people that stopped at our table were interested in our literature that we offer complimentary. One woman distributes our coloring book, “I love animals and broccoli,” to children receiving treatment at her local hospital. Another reinforced how helpful it was that we have Spanish materials while taking a few for her family. (To see a list of VRG’s guides and handouts with directions on how to receive them, visit

Walking around in the exhibitors room was thrilling and rejuvenating. It was extremely powerful to see so many organizations and their work to liberate animals from suffering. I attended a session on engaging in personal advocacy to inspire social change. It was full of helpful tips with anecdotes on how to advocate for veganism and animals in your daily life. It was almost surreal to be in a completely filled ballroom with fellow vegans. I can count how many vegans I know personally on one hand (not including my wonderful coworkers) so to laugh with them following a joke about the ridiculous questions we get asked was delightfully odd.

The session provided attendees with information on resources such as The Animal Activists Handbook and Change of Heart to help us in our activism. It was a different type of experience because it was from the perspective of, “You are already vegan, now what are you going to do about it?” It was empowering and educational and I’m thankful for the experience and the thoughtful consideration of the speakers while putting together the presentation.

The purpose of the conference was obviously to advocate for animals, learn more about their suffering, and see what is being done about it, but it also provided a great opportunity to connect with other groups. One group approached us about a mentoring program, another informed us of another outreach opportunity in our area, and one woman wanted advice on her own vegan website for teens. This type of conference was a perfect medium for groups to gain valuable advice while helping others
in their pursuit of animal rights.

To learn more about this issue, visit for more information.


Posted on August 18, 2015 by The VRG Blog Editor

A reader wrote:

“I’ve been a member of The Vegetarian Resource Group for at least 10 years, and have looked back at dozens of Vegetarian Journals in search of an Ouzi recipe. My search began after eating it at Marhaba – a Middle Eastern Restaurant in Lambertville, NJ. I did find a veggie recipe online which was good, but not quite it. Do any of the chefs at VRG have a recipe for this? Family recipes from health-conscious individuals are the best!”

If you have a vegan ouzi recipe, please send it to Thanks.


Posted on August 14, 2015 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Amanda Kerr

Nestled in-between the cornucopia of dive bars, multicultural takeout places and food marts of Allston, MA sits a vegan’s treasure trove: Root. The café has earned its stripes since its establishment in 2013, with accolades as one of Boston’s best vegan/vegetarian restaurants from The Improper Bostonian, Trip Advisor, Yelp, and the like. Yet in the face of increased praise, Root somehow retains and translates its modesty into down-to-earth food and service.

The scene is casual. A small counter divides the open kitchen from a quaint dining space with a handful of copper tables and bench seating. Recycled bicycle wheels and paintings of farmscapes adorn its two walls. A sign reminds readers that everything they are handed is either reusable or compostable. Patrons are greeted warmly by young staff that happily help navigate the extensive list of plant-based “bites.” The array of “big bites” ranges from BBQ Portobello, eggplant Caprese, and crispy cauliflower Po Boy sandwiches, to the famous Root burger, a macro quinoa bowl, and other wraps and salads. “Small bites” offers sweet corn and jalapeno hush puppies, sweet potato and kale quesadillas, and Root’s signature herbed French fries with house ketchup. A second chalkboard shows the lineup of house-made lemonades and made-to-order juices, all served in mason jars.

The sweet potato tostadas claim and exceed their spot on the list of big bites. The heap of roasted and spiced sweet potatoes, corn, black beans, red onion, and bell peppers sings on two crispy corn tortillas and a bed of fresh arugula. A cashew crema and sliced avocado nicely tame the spice, while a mango habanero sauce sits on the side for the daring. Paired with the refreshing house grapefruit and mint “mojito,” the dish conjures images of Mexico in the summer, and one almost forgets her college-town, New England bearings.

Root skillfully elevates vegetables and grains in the most unassuming and homey ways. Perhaps it’s the deep fryer. Perhaps it’s the passion that permeates the entire restaurant. Either way, it works, and leaves the most important impression upon its guests: that its door is always open.

For information on Root, see:

For information about other vegetarian restaurants in the United States and Canada, see:

How Do I Dine Out as a Vegan?

Posted on August 13, 2015 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Anne Custer

The dreaded, “Where do you want to go to eat?” question might make you
panic if you are worried about finding something to eat at a restaurant
in a carnivore’s world. Or the panic can be from being indecisive, like
me. Either way, eating out as a vegan is surprisingly easy and I’ve been
able to find something almost everywhere I’ve been.

First of all, tell your waiter you are vegan! Emily Moss has found that
being upfront with your server before ordering really helps. She
explains, “Since they know more about the menu than you do, they’re
normally willing to point out the things that are already vegan or that
can be made vegan.” Moss works at a restaurant as a host and she has
discovered that the chef is willing to prepare a whole different menu
for vegans. “I’m always worried that everyone will hate me for changing
things in a dish,” explains Moss, “but a lot of the time people are
happy to accommodate.”

When I first get a menu, I look for a vegetarian section. If I don’t see
one, I start at the beginning looking for any vegetable or hummus
platter in the appetizers. If I can’t find anything besides a fried
vegetable or if I want an actual meal, I move on. I quickly glance at
the salad section. Most salads are laced with cheese, meat, and
milk-based dressings so I’m never very hopeful. In my experience, I have
been stuck eating a lame meal of iceberg lettuce with two slices of
cucumber. If you are craving a salad, Josephine Trombadore suggests to
not be afraid to ask for menu alterations. If there is chicken on a
salad, ask them to take it off and substitute it with sliced avocado or
more veggies. After the salad portion of the menu, I make my way through
the sections of chicken, steak, and fish to the pasta section. When in
doubt, pasta is usually a safe bet. Before ordering, verify with your
waiter that the pasta is not made with eggs. If it’s not on the menu,
you can always ask for spaghetti noodles with marinara sauce and no
parmesan. To make it pasta primavera, order a side of steamed vegetables
and make your own. If I’m not in the mood for pasta, I look at the
sandwich/burger section. A surprising number of restaurants offer some
type of veggie burger or roasted vegetable sandwich. When all else
fails, there will likely be some type of vegetable side dishes or
grains. Order a few of those to make a satisfying meal.

“Finding something vegan on the menu is only half the battle,” explains
Josephine Trombadore, “It’s difficult to find healthy vegan options.
Often times, eating vegan means having to settle for a plate of fries,
which isn’t exactly a healthy option.” When finding something is at its
worst, it may be best to just eat after. It is possible to come across a
menu where there are no viable options. This happened to me traveling
down south to the beach one year. We stopped at a burger joint and I
perused the menu to find nothing I could eat. Instead of ordering fries,
I waited until my family was finished, then went to Subway and ordered a sub.

Not that I doubt my ability to find something vegan on a menu, but I
always look up the menu for wherever I am going. If I am craving a
particular dish and they don’t offer it, I like to be primed to eat
something else. I always like to be prepared and know what my options
are. If you don’t find anything at first glance, you can always eat
before you go. People mainly eat out to socialize so look at it from
that angle and not, “I’m miserable because I can’t eat anything.”

Next time, ask your friends or family if they want to try a vegetarian
or vegan restaurant, or at least a veg-friendly one. You might be
surprised how willing they are to try new things! Here is a full list of
veggie restaurants nationwide and in Canada:

Anne Custer wrote this piece while doing an internship with The Vegetarian Resource Group.

Magnesium Stearate

Posted on August 12, 2015 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Jeanne Yacoubou

Alternate Names: magnesium octadecanoate; octadecanoic acid, magnesium salt; stearic acid, magnesium salt; magnesium distearate; E470b, E572

Commercial Source: mineral-plant
Used in: dietary supplements, pharmaceuticals

Used as: lubricant, binder, flow agent, release agent, anti-caking agent

Definition: Magnesium stearate formed by the reaction of a magnesium-containing compound and either a stearate-containing compound or stearic acid is most often used as a release agent or lubricant in pharmaceuticals and supplements. There are many non-food uses of magnesium stearate including personal care products, plastics and rubber.


“Our vegetable-based… magnesium stearate is made from palm oil.”

(vegetable source listed by clicking on number to the left of chemical name under list titled “Stearate Products”)

Silver Fern told The VRG that “…the standard today is vegetable-based [stearates] especially for food use.”

Their magnesium stearate is vegetable oil-based.

Additional Information:

Spry Gems Xylitol Mints told The VRG that their magnesium stearate is derived from “coconut oil.”

Cocoavia told The VRG that the magnesium stearate in their vegetarian capsules is derived from “plant sources.”

(paragraph 12 in Description and throughout Materials and Methods)

Classification: Vegan* Although it is possible to derive magnesium stearate from animal fats, it is not standard practice today in the food industry and no examples of tallow-derived magnesium stearate in foods or pharmaceuticals are known.

Entry Updated: August 2015

For information about more ingredients, see:

To support The Vegetarian Resource Group research, donate at:

Join at:

The contents of this posting, our website and our other publications, including 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 judgement about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.


Posted on August 11, 2015 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Lily Donofrio

For each smoothie recipe, mix all the ingredients in a blender and serve.

Watermelon Cooler
½ cup chopped watermelon
1 cup ice
¾ cup coconut water
Mint sprig to garnish

Chunky Monkey
½ banana
3 Tablespoons peanut butter
¾ cup almond milk
¾ cup ice
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder

Strawberry Banana
½ cup chopped strawberries
½ banana
¼ cup silken tofu
1 cup ice
¾ cup almond milk

When Life Gives You Lemons
½ cup raspberries
¾ cup lemonade
½ banana
1 cup ice

Café Healthy
½ cup coffee
½ banana
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
3 Tablespoons peanut butter
¼ cup almond milk
1 cup ice

Be Green
½ peach
½ cup mango
1 cup spinach
½ cup orange juice
1 cup ice

Very Berry
¼ cup raspberries
¼ cup blueberries
¼ cup chopped strawberries
¾ cup soy milk
1 cup ice

Hidden Veggie
½ cup blueberries
½ frozen banana
½ cup ice
¾ cup almond milk
1 shot of wheatgrass
Sweetener if inclined

Lily wrote this article while doing an internship with The Vegetarian Resource Group.

What’s for Dessert?

Posted on August 07, 2015 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Lily Donofrio

(Serves 8)

½ cup melted vegan margarine
2 cups raw almonds thoroughly crushed

½ cup almonds
½ cup coconut milk
2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons agave nectar

Add-Ins: Cocoa powder, cherries, caramel, peanut butter, blueberries, or whatever you desire.

Blend filling ingredients together until smooth. Layer the crust in a pie pan and press down until stuck to the sides and even. Pour the filling onto the crust. Place your desired add-in on top and put in the freezer until solid. Enjoy!

Avocado Mug Cake
(Serves 1)

2 Tablespoons mashed avocado
4 Tablespoons flour
3 Tablespoons organic sugar
½ Tablespoon baking powder
2½ Tablespoons almond milk
½ Tablespoon vegetable oil

Mix ingredients together and place in large mug. Place in microwave for 1-1:30 minutes.

Pan Fried Cinnamon Bananas
(Serves 1)

Cut 1 banana into medium slices.
Coat slices in cinnamon and sugar.
Place in pan lightly coated with oil over medium heat.
Place banana pieces in pan and flip after about 1 min.
Cook other side for another minute.

Peanut Butter Cookies
(Makes about 2 dozen cookies)

1½ cups of all purpose flour
½ cups brown sugar
¾ cup chunky peanut butter
½ cup melted vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients together thoroughly into a dough. Spoon out and form into balls. Place balls on a greased baking sheet, spread out evenly. Press balls down with a fork to flatten while leaving an impression. Bake for 15 minutes or until soft and golden brown.

Cinnamon Apples
(Serves 1)

1 honey crisp apple sliced
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
½ Tablespoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon ginger powder
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Mix all the ingredients together, pour into a small pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until soft.

Mashed Sweet Potato
(Serves 1)

1 cooked sweet potato, soft enough to pierce all the way through with a fork
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon ginger powder
1 Tablespoon cinnamon

Peel the skin off of the sweet potato, mash, and then mix in all of the other ingredients. Put in a dish and sprinkle on topping (below). Eat warm.

½ cup chopped walnuts
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
3 Tablespoons melted vegan margarine

Combine all topping ingredients thoroughly, ensure that there are no clumps.

Lily wrote this article while doing an internship with The Vegetarian Resource Group.


Posted on August 06, 2015 by The VRG Blog Editor

If you are traveling to Beijing, Emily Li suggests you try these restaurants.

*Vegetarian food
**Vegan food
§ Reviewer’s choice


**Beijing Vegan Hut
Stall 0912, 2/F, Bldg 9, Jianwai Soho, 39 Dongsanhuan Zhonglu, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China 100020
Chinese/international/organic/fast food

*Buddha’s Bite
798 Road (at Art Zone, Seven Star East Street, Unit 311), Beijing, 100015

*Pure Lotus
Tongguang Bldg, 12 Nongzhanguan Nanlu, Chaoyang District (Courtyard of China Fed of Literary and Art Circles), Beijing, China
+86-10-6592-3627, 8703-6669

**ShangSu Pizza
Stall 905, Building 6, Xian, Dai Cheng, 6, Jianguo Rd, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
+86 139-1135-3903

*Tianchu Miaoxiang Vegetarian – Chaowai
Rm 0260, 2/F, Bldg D, Chaowai SOHO, 6B Chaoyangmenwai Dajie, CBD/Guomao, Beijing, 100020
59001088, 59001288
Chinese/fast food/take-out

§Tribe Organic
China View Plaza, 1/F, Bdg 3, Gongti Donglu
8587 1899

*Baihe – Lily Vegetarian
23 Caoyuan Hutong, Dong Cheng District, Beijing, China

*Fairy Su
30 Yonghegong Da Jie, Dongcheng District (next to Yonghegong Lama Temple), Beijing, China
+86 010-58444596, 58444598

**The Veggie Table
19 Wudaoying Hutong, Dong Cheng District, Beijing, China 100007

*Xu Xiang Zhai
26-1 Guozijian Dajie, Hutong (opposite Lama temple, next to Confucian temple, Dongcheng District), Beijing, China
+86-010-64046568, 64046566


**SUHU – Vegetarian Tiger
203, Southeast Huayuan Office Building, 88, Shuangqing Rd, Haidian District, Beijing, China


Avocado Tree
310 Pinnacle Plaza

North of LuoMa Roundabout, HouShaYu Town, Shunyi District, Beijing, China

Emily Li is a Vegetarian Resource Group volunteer living in China.

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