The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Vegan Options at SaladWorks

Posted on July 10, 2015 by The VRG

By Anne Custer

SaladWorks prides themselves in claiming to be the first and largest fresh-tossed salad franchise. Eat it in store or take it to go, all items are made-to-order right in front of you. Eating vegan there is particularly easy, especially with their helpful website. Go to www.saladworks.com, click “Allergens,” then select your allergens or dietary restrictions and you have yourself a list of all menu items that are safe for you to eat. They even have a section where they offer modifications for menu items that can be made vegan or allergen free. If you don’t want to go to the website yourself, here is a list of items considered to be vegan. I did discover that three of the dressings listed honey as an ingredient, so those will not be included on this list. There are a few items listed as containing enzymes and natural ingredients. I have reached out to SaladWorks to verify that these are from vegan sources, but have not heard a response.

I’ve eaten at SaladWorks a few times and thoroughly enjoyed my fresh, customizable meal. I will advise you to not be overwhelmed with all your options and put them all on one salad. It will still be a hearty meal, but some of the flavor combinations will not compliment each other. I was caught in this trap the first time I went, but I figured my way out and now know how to order a delicious salad.

Here is my order:

·Spinach
·Chickpeas
·Cucumbers
·Green Peppers
·Edamame
·Onions
·Sunflower Seeds
·Balsamic Vinaigrette

Another great thing about the website is you can plug in your order to get the nutrition information! My salad is 230 calories with 12 grams of plant protein. Customize yours at: http://www.saladworks.com/salad/create-your-own-salad

As for vegan menu items:

Salads:

Garden Deluxe

Bases:

Baby Fresh Mix
Fresh Spinach
Romaine/Iceberg Blend

Toppings:

Tofu
Apple Chips
Chow Mein Noodles
Craisins
Glazed Pecans (Made with brown sugar)
Sunflower Seeds
Tortilla Chips
Walnuts
All Vegetables

Dressings:

Balsamic Vinaigrette
Classic French
Italian Vinaigrette
Lite Raspberry Vinaigrette
Oriental Sesame

Soups:

Spring Vegetable
Three Bean Chili

Spreads:

Spicy Brown Mustard

Breads (contain enzymes except focaccia breads):

Sourdough
Wheat Focaccia
Wheat Rolls
White Flour Tortilla
White Focaccia
White Rolls
Whole Wheat Tortillas

Carvery Dressings (Select Locations):

Nutty Sesame
Balsamic Dijon

Modifications:

Greek Salad, No feta
Caprese Panini, No garlic spread or cheese

For more information about dining at chain restaurants, visit: http://www.vrg.org/fastfoodinfo.php.

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.

How Do I Transition into Veganism?

Posted on July 09, 2015 by The VRG

By Anne Custer

Once you’ve made a successful transition to vegetarianism, you might start to wonder about veganism. Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or poultry. Vegans, in addition to being vegetarian, do not use other animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products. There are many reasons why people decide to transition. For me, it was a deep conviction that I did not want to contribute to any type of suffering. Being a dietetics student, I was also interested in the nutrition benefits of a plant based diet and the healing and restorative power it can have. Those were the main reasons why I chose veganism, but everyone has their own. A few others are environmental or social justice reasons.

When you decide to become a vegan, it may be tempting to quit cold Tofurky. This works for some people. For others, this way may not be sustainable long term. To slowly wean yourself off of animal products, I suggest making a list of everything you eat in one day. Then, identify the animal products on your list. Each day after that, omit one item you’ve identified from your diet. It may take a few days for you to completely omit one product, but this is an adjustment; take the time you need to solidify your choices.

When I made the decision to become vegan, I stopped eating animal products immediately. I never really enjoyed cheese and I knew I could find a substitute for my Greek yogurt fix. I went to my local grocery store and searched around the natural foods section. Most stores I’ve been to have this type of section and this is where I find most of the packaged foods I buy. This is also where I found substitutes for yogurt, ice cream, and pizza. I enjoy So Delicious brand products such as their dairy-free blueberry yogurt and salted caramel cashew milk ice cream. For breakfast, I would take a container of yogurt and mix it with granola and fresh berries. Amy’s is also a great brand for a quick and delicious meal alternative. They have the best pizza too!

If you are concerned about vegan baking, eggs are surprisingly easy to replace in recipes. Mash a banana, use some oil, or make a flax egg. Take 1 Tablespoon of flax meal and mix it with 3 Tablespoons of water. Let it sit for a few minutes until a gelatinous mixture is formed. You can also do the same with chia seeds. As for eating eggs, tofu is a great substitute for scrambled style. Crumble the tofu and stir-fry it with veggies and any seasoning you usually use on eggs. Tofu crumbles and soaks up flavor easily making it one of the most versatile vegan foods. I’ve used it in smoothies, baked goods, stir-fries, and most commonly as a meat substitute.

As my friend once said, “Not all vegan cheese is created equal.” Some can be way too gooey or slimy and others get the taste all wrong. Field Roast’s Chao Creamy Original is my personal favorite. As you can see, the market has inspired companies to make a plethora of vegan substitutes for anything you may want. I’ve found that after eating vegan for over two years, I simply don’t crave animal products and desire the taste of wholesome, plant based foods instead.

After you’ve weaned off of animal products, people are going to start to notice and ask you all kinds of questions. Where do you get your protein? What about calcium or iron? Do you miss cheese? Wouldn’t the world be overpopulated with animals if we didn’t eat them? Here is a great resource for responses to common questions vegans are asked: http://www.vrg.org/teen/#responses. My best advice is to be prepared and do all the research you can. At the end of the day, all you can do is stand firm in your beliefs and if people can’t accept that, then that is their prerogative. Explain to people, in a non- defensive manner, your stance and reasoning behind going vegan. Most people are genuinely interested and will respect your choice. But for that judgmental friend or overly concerned uncle, you may have to just smile and nod. Some people will never understand our choices, but as long as you have a reason, that’s all that matters.

Visit the VRG site for more resources and answered questions: http://www.vrg.org/

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

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.

Reminder: VRG’s Veggie Video Contest Deadline is July 15, 2015

Posted on July 09, 2015 by The VRG

The Vegetarian Resource Group is once again holding a video contest and we will be awarding monetary prizes. Create and submit a video relating what you want to tell others about veganism. Some possible topics: food, nutrition, your feelings about veganism, water usage and vegetarianism, vegetarianism and animal rights, or other vegetarian topics which appeal to you. Humor and feelings are appreciated. All videos should be positive, not be critical of anyone, and not include any footage of animal cruelty. You may submit a video you have already made.

Aspects of judging include accuracy and judges wanting to share the video with others.

Entrants give permission to The Vegetarian Resource Group to post and share the video, to link to and from the video, and share the video with the media.

For details and to see previous winning videos see: http://www.vrg.org/videoscholarship.php

Eating Vegan While Abroad In A Secluded Area — From refugee camps to big cities

Posted on July 08, 2015 by The VRG

By Anne Custer

When I was in Spain, I was just a vegetarian, but looking back I realize I ate mainly vegan food while there, besides all the ice cream. The family we stayed with was very accommodating and even made authentic paella without the meat just for me! I ate different fruits I’d never tried before, pasta with veggies, delicious breads, and gazpacho. My host family was understanding about my diet and I wasn’t secluded in an area that didn’t have a store or market to buy food I could eat. But what if you were visiting a secluded region?

Yasmin Radbod has lived in Egypt, China, Nepal, and Thailand. Traveling to a different country as a vegan may be hard to fathom, but Yasmin has lived it. From refugee camps to big cities, she has maintained her vegan lifestyle no matter where she’s been.

She’s been vegan since she was fifteen, so she has had some practice finding food to eat. It was first put to the test when she studied abroad in China at Nanjing University. Since then, she has discovered it’s possible to be vegan anywhere. “It is essential to find the word or phrase in the local language to express what vegan means. That is what saved me in every country,” Yasmin explains.

As for items that may help you abroad, Yasmin brings fiber pills, nuts, and high energy biscuits. Fiber pills are used when you aren’t getting enough fiber in your diet. Not enough fiber can lead to constipation. When finding food was at its worst, she relied mainly on starchy food such as potatoes, rice, and bread. She also used high energy biscuits, which are typically used to provide nutrition to disaster victims worldwide, but when you are in a secluded area with limited options, these biscuits can provide you with the nourishment you need. When times weren’t as bad, in some areas, her diet mainly consisted of white rice, potatoes, curried vegetables, fruit, and beans. In her experience, African and Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt were the worst at providing vegan options. South and East Asia, specifically Bangkok were places where it was easier to find vegan food. However, finding vegan options varies greatly from country to country and even within a country. Yasmin explains that even though finding food in Bangkok was easy, she still returned to a refugee camp in Thailand where it wasn’t as easy.

The biggest obstacle of eating vegan while abroad? “Your own willpower,” says Yasmin explaining that it is completely viable to maintain a vegan lifestyle as long as you are committed and resourceful. “I’ve heard plenty of nonsense from people who have lived in the same places as me who said being vegan was impossible, and that certainly was not true–I’m proof.”

For more resources on traveling while vegan, visit: http://www.vrg.org/teen/#travel and www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php

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.

“The Surprising Power of Food to Prevent and Reverse Disease”

Posted on July 08, 2015 by The VRG

Presentation by Joe Adams, M.D.
Baltimore, MD, July 19, 2015

A presentation will be given in Baltimore, Maryland by Joe Adams, M.D.,
Internist, Addiction Medicine physician, amateur chef, and expert in
counseling for lifestyle change.

Visit the event page at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1448771405425492/

Has the healthcare industry missed the target? Because of exploding
disease rates, healthcare spending is growing unsustainably. Recent
evidence suggests another future is possible for the planet and for each
of us.

Dr. Adams will summarize the scientific evidence behind a whole food
diet, address controversies, share practical tips, and answer questions
in a talk that may inspire you toward vibrant health (or at least
provide some great recipes).

Please RSVP and join us if you can!

Please also visit a new plant-based potluck & support group at:
http://www.meetup.com/Baltimore-Nutrition-As-Medicine-Potluck

The talk will be held Sunday, July 19, 2015 at 10:30 am
Location: the Baltimore Ethical Society, 306 W Franklin St., Baltimore.
The even is free of charge and open to the public.
At 10:30 am there will be brief announcements, followed by the 50 minute
presentation, followed by Q & A and an opportunity to socialize with
snacks and coffee.

My Opinion about Activism Through Social Media

Posted on July 07, 2015 by The VRG

by Navaal Mahdi

Ever since the widespread use of social media began a few years ago, varying online communities have formed on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and reddit, to name a few. One of these emerging communities is that of the social activists, who have made it their duty to spread awareness about the different injustices around the world. Posts on the aforementioned websites have allowed for young people especially to have more of a general sense of knowledge about the world they live in.
Moreover, websites like petition.org have enabled those who feel passionately about certain causes to petition either for or against them. Because these websites can pretty much be used by anyone with uncontrolled Internet access regardless of where they are in the world, change can be made by anyone who wants to facilitate it just by signing their name. However, though signing petitions and spreading awareness seem like an easy solution to the problem of ignorance, sometimes these forms of communication are not enough to generate real, tangible change.

In his essay “Small Change” that was published in The New Yorker, author Malcolm Gladwell explains that “social networks are effective at increasing participation—by lessening the level of motivation that participation requires.” This means that people are so quick to supposedly “help” a cause by signing petitions and instantaneously sharing videos and blog posts on Facebook because of the lack of energy and time required to do so. Gladwell highlights that in order to use social media effectively to get a group of people to do something, you need to “not ask much of them.”

The fact is, people really do want to make a change, but with the dozens of posts that they come across on these social media sites per day, they don’t have the means to genuinely support each one with their full attention. Thus, if you’re trying to get someone to help you pass out pamphlets or organize an informational booth about your cause at a festival, you probably won’t have much luck finding them on crowded Facebook pages or under heavily tweeted hashtags. These are the places where you can spread information about the topics you are most passionate about, but if you want to people to double-take and really notice the work you are doing, you’re going to need a physical movement that you can create with the people in your schools, workplaces, or community centers.

This year in Baltimore, people used social media to teach the world about what happened to Freddie Gray. In order to make the media, and thus, the country, really care for more than a few minutes though–and larger than that, in order to get what they believed was real justice for him and for his family–people knew they would have to get together to protest in real life, not just virtually. Using social media is helpful, but it is essential to also create a physical movement if you really want to help a cause that you’re passionate about.

See Malcolm Gladwell’s essay: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/10/04/small-change-malcolm-gladwell

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: Working for change both virtually online and in person, does involve complexities with many opinions, and can result in both positive and negative results, as can be seen in Baltimore and around the world. Thank you to all those that care, that struggle to see all sides of an issue, go beyond simple answers, respect those that disagree with you, and work for a better world for all in a positive way using methods appropriate to your circumstances.

IGIVE

Posted on July 07, 2015 by The VRG

Print
Everybody who joins IGIVE shopping to support VRG and tries the iGive Button through 10/15/15 means a $5 donation for The Vegetarian Resource Group. Go to:
http://www.iGive.com/VegetarianResourceGroup

Vegan Restaurants Added to The Vegetarian Resource Group’s Online Guide to Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants in the USA

Posted on July 03, 2015 by The VRG

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

Allie’s Vegan Pizzeria and Café
4803 N Nevada St.
Spokane, WA 99207

An all vegan pizzeria with several unique and interesting pizza varieties to choose from such as Spinach Artichoke or Buffalo “Chicken”. Also available are organic juices, tea, desserts, and an extensive selection of vegan beer and wine.

Apiecalypse Now – Pizza & Snack Bar
735 Bloor St.
Toronto, ON M6G 1L5 Canada

Apiecalypse Now, an award winning bakery located in West Toronto, has opened this vegan pizzeria and snack bar. In addition to pizza they offer vegan fast food, junk food, and comfort food such as corn dogs and doughnuts.

Cafe Venosa
4433 Rue St. Denis
Montreal, QC H2J 2L2 Canada

Cafe Venosa is a combination art gallery, cat shelter, and vegan cafe. A variety of light café-fare is available including muffins, parfaits, quiches, salad and sandwiches. Try the vegan Caprese with tofu mozzarella and finish with one of their amazing cupcakes.

Choice Juicery
430 Carlsbad Village Dr.
Carlsbad, CA 92008

This juice bar offers many varieties of fresh juice, smoothies, and organic healthy food. The café features handmade wooden tables and an outdoor seating area. Try the “Coffee Buzz”, a smoothie with Almond milk, Cold Pressed Coffee, date, banana, and Cinnamon. All menu items are gluten-free, dairy-free, and plant based.

Daily Juice
205 W. 3rd St., Austin, TX 78701
3300 Bee Cave Rd. Ste. 245, Austin, TX 78746
6401 Woodway Dr., Ste. 175, Houston, TX 77057
700 Old Hickory Blvd., Ste. 203, Brentwood, TN 37027

Daily Juice specializes in fresh juices, smoothies, and salads. Their ingredients are organic and local, when possible. Try the Green Party Juice with pressed kale, spinach, parsley, cilantro, celery and cucumber, or a customer favorite; the Subliminator smoothie with apple, banana, blueberry, cherry, flax seed oil, rice protein, spirulina, and peanut butter.

Farm Spirit
1414 SE Morrison St.
Portland, OR 97202

Dinner is by reservation only! This restaurant is one of a kind. Tickets for seats must be purchased months in advance in order to dine at their once an evening meals, 4/7 days a week. This exclusive kind of restaurant supports wild kinds of produce that even the most plant savvy vegan will be awed by. The foods are beautifully plated and interestingly concocted. The decor is light and semi rustic, donned with a huge bar. All of their products are locally purchased and thoughtfully used. It’s located on the corner of SE Morrison St. and SE 14th Ave.

Glory Doughnuts
244 E. Church St.
Frederick, MD 21701

Head over to Glory Doughnuts for a vegan confection heaven located in downtown Frederick. All doughnuts are hand forged in small batches and all menu items are made-to-order. The variety of doughnuts changes daily and is first come, first served, so call in advance for inquiries of selection. Pair a savory BBQ Tofu Club with a doughnut and a coffee for a complete breakfast experience.

ionie Raw Food Café
1241 Fruitville Rd.
Sarasota, FL 34236

ionie Raw Food Cafe features an organic menu including juices, smoothies, shakes and raw food entrées and desserts.

Be sure to let us know if any new veggie restaurants open in your neighborhood!

UNSUNG VEGAN HEROES AWARD

Posted on July 03, 2015 by The VRG

the-pollination-project-logo-661x173

Announcing the Lisa Shapiro Award for Unsung Vegan Heroes. This is your chance to recognize all those amazing behind-the-scenes superstars who are dedicating their lives to animals. The Award from @thepollinationproject includes a cash prize and other vegan surprises. Nominations open on July 12.

Read more: https://thepollinationproject.org/announcing-lisa-shapiro-award/

Summer Recipes

Posted on July 02, 2015 by The VRG

By Lily Donofrio

Summer is in full swing and may I say, it is scorching. Living in Florida, I wake up to 80 degree heat, with it reaching high 90′s by lunch time. I love the heat and am ready to enjoy the rest of this summer. Although I’m all for vegan chili and hot cocoa any time of year, it’s good to pair the season with awesome, appropriate foods. Here are a couple heat-friendly recipes, all good for trips to the beach, lake, camp, or wherever this summer takes you:

Cool Cucumber Salad

6 cucumbers
5 Tomatoes
1 onion
Vegan Italian dressing

Wash all of the veggies. Skin cucumber, if preferred. Cut cucumbers, tomatoes, and onion into chunks. Put all of the veggies into a bowl, and mix around with spoon. Drizzle veggies with vegan Italian dressing. Serve cold.

Watermelon Gazpacho

5 cups of cubed watermelon
1½ cups of peeled and chopped cucumber
1/3 cup diced red onion
½ cup chopped celery
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon grated jalapeño
Juice of one lime
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Purée watermelon in blender. Pour into serving bowl. Mix in other ingredients with a spoon. Serve chilled.

Spinach and Artichoke Flatbread

Flatbread:
1 cup flour
½ cup full fat coconut milk

Topping:
¼ cup olive oil
3 diced artichoke hearts
1 cup spinach
Garlic
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees, Mix flatbread ingredients thoroughly. Pour about ½ cup of batter into a greased or non-stick frying pan and cook until the batter is fluffy. Mix topping ingredients, and sprinkle onto your flatbread. Bake flatbread for 5-10 minutes, until your flatbread is golden brown. Cut and serve.

Fruity Coconut Water

Can be any frozen fruit of your choice. Frozen fruit works better, because it produces more juice. I prefer a few:

Strawberries
Blueberries
Blackberries
Raspberries
11-ounce carton coconut water

Cut strawberries. Pour coconut water into a pitcher and mix in fruit. Serve iced.

Mexican Bean Burgers

1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
½ cup salsa
1 cup vegan bread crumbs
½ onion, chopped
¼ cup vegetable oil or preferred frying oil.

Optional toppings: avocado, ketchup, vegan mayonnaise, mustard, vegan cheese

Mash beans in a bowl, mix in salsa and bread crumbs. Add onion to mixture. Form batter into patties. Fry patties in vegetable oil over medium heat. Serve on a vegan bun with preferred toppings.

Fruit Kabobs

Carton of strawberries
Cantaloupe
Kiwi
Honeydew
Bananas
Watermelon
Wooden skewers

Cut as much fruit as wanted into disks measuring 1/3-inch in height. Place in preferred pattern on wooden skewers. Serve cold.

Apple Bake

Filling:
6 large, honey crisp apples
¼ cup water
2 Tablespoons orange juice
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1½ teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger powder
2 Tablespoons maple syrup

Topping:
2 cups oats
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
¼ cup melted vegan margarine
¼ cup sunflower seeds
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel apples, if preferred, and chop into chunks. Mix water, orange juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and 2 Tablespoons maple syrup in with the chopped apples. Place in an 8×8 baking pan. Mix together topping ingredients; sprinkle evenly over filling. Bake for 20 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.

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