The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog


Posted on September 15, 2015 by Samantha Gendler, Senior Editor

Chicago Vegan Foods makes Dandies, a vegan marshmallow (no gelatin!) in both regular size and in a mini size. This company recently released Mini Vegan Pumpkin Flavored Marshmallows that are perfect for the autumn season. Enjoy a new twist to these vegan treats during Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc.

For more information see:

You can purchase them online from Vegan Essentials:


Posted on September 15, 2015 by Samantha Gendler, Senior Editor

A member is traveling to Iceland, and was looking for information about being
vegan in that country. She read a few blogs, but they have been hit and
miss. If anyone has been to Iceland, please share your experiences about
eating vegan there. Thank you.

A Vegan in a Small Nepali Village

Posted on September 11, 2015 by Samantha Gendler, Senior Editor

Yasmin Radbod, a former Vegetarian Resource Group Intern, did an eight month Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Grant in Nepal. The first month was spent training in Kathmandu, and for seven months she lived with a Nepali family and taught English daily at a local public school. The house she lived in was about two hours outside of Kathmandu in a small village called Badikhel, near the bigger town Godavari. Yasmin shares here vegetarian experiences during this period in the recent issue of Vegetarian Journal.

The article can be found here:

To subscribe to Vegetarian Journal visit:


Posted on September 11, 2015 by Samantha Gendler, Senior Editor


Fania Lewando, the chef and owner of Vilna’s Vegetarian-Dietetic Restaurant in pre-Holocaust Poland wrote Vegetarish-Dietisher Kokhbukh (Vegetarian Cookbook), which was published by G. Kleckina in 1938. The book has been translated from Yiddish and annotated by Eve Jochnowitz.

Thank you to Vegetarian Resource Group member Barbara Lovitts for sharing this interesting article:


Posted on September 10, 2015 by Samantha Gendler, Senior Editor


My story begins in January, 2011 when I decided to become a vegetarian because I’ve always had a sensitive stomach … So I decided to eliminate all the junk food and sodas. After a while I gained not only health but life back … The reason why I’m vegetarian is because I never like to eat animals and hate factory farming. . . I started promoting vegetarianism to the community with a group of my friends.

I made two lists of students who would like to have more vegetables in the cafeteria, then I brought it to the principal asking him for a petition to have more vegetables in the lunch period. He nicely told me that it would be his pleasure and the next day there were more vegetables. Also I went with my cooking teacher to lunch to give free samples of healthy food. Since I got great results, I decided to talk at a bake sale the next day. I made fruit skewers to sell instead of unhealthy meat-based snacks. I also showed information videos in school and put quotes supporting a vegetarian lifestyle on our school’s information TV’s.

My biggest challenge was the day my friends and I went outside of the school giving out flyers and a lady came up speaking in French … So I took my IPod and I Google translated everything and I gave it to her … I apologized to her and I told her that we are sorry that we only speak mostly Spanish and some English….

I have learned to explain information about vegetarianism in my lunch period so I get to explain it in Spanish as well for the special ed students and to the bilingual that we are concerned about the treatment of animals.

When I go to college I would like to create a program for vegetarians… I would love to have the honor to give a speech in English and Spanish for all the people out there who don’t know how to feed their body with healthy food.

My biggest strength is my parents. They are the reason why I fight for education. They motivated me to give the best. They are always giving me advice to do well in life since they didn’t get to study and have an education. All of this motivates me to give my 100% in school… One of my goals is to become a nutritionist and work in a school teaching students how to eat healthy and how to live a better life … I know that in my school I’m one of the few people who is going for it and I have received a lot of pessimism from my peers, but that didn’t stop me because I want to make a difference in my school. I had to put a lot of effort in English because it’s challenging and very difficult for me because it’s not my native language, but that didn’t stop me from working hard.

The deadline for The Vegetarian Resource Group college scholarship contest is February 20 of each year. Over $20,000 is awarded annually. For details, see

To support VRG scholarships or internships, send donations to VRG, PO Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203; or donate at Indicate your donation purpose in the comments.


Posted on September 10, 2015 by Samantha Gendler, Senior Editor

We here at The Vegetarian Society of Hawaii have some sad news to share. Our own Dr. Bill Harris passed away Wednesday August 26.

This photo shows him celebrating his 84th birthday at a local Honolulu Vegan Restaurant (Greens & Vines). Bill went vegetarian at age 19. He went vegan in 1964. Dr. Harris was a hero and a mentor to many of us in the local Hawaii vegetarian community. Many of you will remember Bill from our monthly meetings in Honolulu. He manned the video camera, filmed our featured guests, edited our YouTube videos, and posted those videos on our YouTube channel where they continue to be broadcast internationally. We will miss his vegan expertise, his technical wizardry, and his sharp sense of humor.

Vegan Restaurants Gain Popularity Among Non-Vegans

Posted on September 09, 2015 by Samantha Gendler, Senior Editor

The Vegetarian Resource Group is featured in this CBS news piece:

Read online at:

Question: Should I Compromise To Accommodate My Non-Vegan/Vegetarian Family and Friends?

Posted on September 09, 2015 by Samantha Gendler, Senior Editor

By Autumn Burton, Vegetarian Resource Group Intern

Even though the number of vegetarians and vegans in the United States is increasing, vegetarians make up 3 percent of the population and vegans somewhat less. So, when living in a country where about 312 million people, 97% of the population, do not support your ethical views, it may seem as though full accommodation is nearly impossible to find. On the plus side, the amount of public vegan and vegetarian awareness has increased manyfold. A plethora of vegan restaurants are making their way into every city, most supermarkets have a section dedicated to organic and vegetarian diets, and a growing number of school lunch programs offer vegan dining options. So, despite the odds, vegetarians and vegans continue to persevere so much that now that 36% of the U.S. population eats at least one vegetarian meal per week.

If there’s so much information available and so many vegan options to choose from, why don’t more people switch to a 100% vegetarian diet? In a study conducted by Jean Kazez of the Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 2013, almost half of non-vegans said that they would like to be a vegan or vegetarian if it were easier. For some, being a vegetarian or vegan doesn’t seem easy, as we make up a minority and must be committed to maintain our lifestyles.

So, given perceived obstacles of being a vegan or vegetarian in an omnivorous society, should you accommodate your loved ones who happen to be non-vegetarian? Vegetarian Resource Group intern, Ivy Grob, says she would never serve non-vegan food under any circumstances. “I can’t stand to look at or touch raw meat,” she says. She does, however, believe that her ethical views should not prevent her from spending time with others outside her realm of thinking. “If I’m out with friends or I’m a guest in a house that is serving meat, I’m still going to participate in the event where meat is being served,” she says. “As long as I don’t have to cook it, I care less about it being served around me even though I would rather it not be served at all, of course.”

Ivy, just like many other vegans, does not live in a 100% vegan world. In fact out of the four people in her house, she is the only vegan. This can be difficult especially if you are like her and are worried about cross-contamination, she explains. But she suggests educating her non-vegan loved ones about her “beliefs in a way that is easy to digest and never condescending. I believe that if you show your argument in a constructive manner, people will listen – especially if you feed them good food.”

If you’re like Ivy and very passionate about your beliefs, don’t feel guilty or pressured to compromise if it makes you uncomfortable. Take that passion and show your non-vegan/vegetarian peers why you choose to follow a cruelty-free lifestyle through considerate talks and delicious food. This way, you don’t have to bend your beliefs and your friends are well fed.

However, vegetarians and vegans are typically very concerned with fair treatment of all living things, which doesn’t exclude humans. So, you may be asking yourself, is it unfair to refuse to compromise your beliefs when you expect others to compromise theirs and cook vegan/vegetarian meals that accommodate your needs. “Now, I understand the hypocrisy in this decision because I expect people to compromise and serve me vegan dishes out of sheer respect,” Laura McGuiness, VRG volunteer, says. “[But] vegans and vegetarians cannot eat a certain type of food, but non-vegetarians can eat whatever they choose.” As non-vegetarians are in the majority, their needs will always be accommodated, whereas vegans and vegetarians do not have the same luxury. As in dealing with an allergy, if the cook makes special adjustments, it will not harm anyone, but if it is made without the allergy friendly ingredients the allergic individual will be directly negatively affected. And of course, the cook or host wouldn’t want you to be in any pain, physically or mentally. “Eating dairy will make my throat swell (I have an allergy),” Laura says, “but eating healthy oat bars won’t hurt non-vegetarians in any way despite perhaps poking holes in their negative ideas of vegan food.” Sure, it’s a tough love, but this way no one is hurt.”

In addition to those who think like Ivy and Laura, there are vegetarians and vegans who are a bit more flexible when it comes to serving animal products. “I may be willing to cook some meat,” says Collin Hickey-Schiappa, VRG volunteer, “but I’ll serve mostly vegetarian food and I obviously won’t eat the meat myself.” I consider it payback for all the times nice meat eaters made me something they wouldn’t have had to make otherwise.” He considers it compensation for all the times that non-vegetarians went out their way to serve him vegetarian food. Since it is their choice to eat meat, they should be allowed to do so without him stopping them. “I like to take the philosophy that other people are responsible for their own decisions, that way I have more energy to devote to figuring out what I myself should do.”

VRG volunteer Emily Li says she too is willing to be a bit more flexible. “Sometimes I will have to compromise when serving non-vegetarians, usually my sister because she is still young and cannot make food for herself. For instance, I might make her a banana-milk smoothie or heat up a pop-tart, so small snacks; but I would never make from scratch a non-vegan dish (e.g. scrambled eggs, fried rice, and bacon).” When asked how she is able to prepare food that she is ethically against she explains that she is only able to do so for her sister because she is extremely respectful of her choice. “I’m not going to refuse to help her because of my ethical views. Veganism is not just about showing compassion for animals, but for other human beings as well.” And Emily’s compassion has shown to have fruitful results. “She [my little sister] has reduced her animal intake significantly. She unconsciously leans towards vegetable dishes over meaty dishes and picks out the egg from her fried rice, etc. As her older sister, I believe that being a good role model is the most important thing you can do, and I know that one day she will finally make the decision for herself to cut out all animal products.”

But when it comes to adults who have the capability to make their own meals, Emily believes they should make their own non-vegetarian meals if that is what they want. But she’s found that her friends are usually eager to try her vegan food and are surprised by how good it tastes. Though, there still are others, like her Dad, that are against veganism and believe vegan food is “unhealthy.” To deal with this she emphasizes the importance of not criticizing people who chose non-vegan/vegetarian lifestyles because, the harshness may push them away from vegetarianism before they can give it a try. She suggests taking small steps in influencing your loved ones. “Start by serving them one delicious vegan meal, or showing them a beautiful faux leather jacket. If they show interest, you can introduce them to some information about animal cruelty, “or even have a movie-night with vegan popcorn and a documentary (Earthlings, Cowspiracy, Forks over Knives, etc.).” “Find out what it is that appeals to them about veganism. Are they animal lovers? Do they care about their health? Are they passionate about saving the environment? Educate them on how just by simply changing their diet, they can hugely impact the world. Show them that veganism is a life full of abundance and compassion.”

So, all in all, whatever your view on “compromise,” at the end of the day, the important part is that you are contributing to a greater good by being a vegetarian or vegan. Along the way, you can help inspire others to learn more about the cruelty free lifestyle by being a good role model.

Have a Vegan Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)!

Posted on September 08, 2015 by Samantha Gendler, Senior Editor


Rosh Hashanah starts on the eve of September 13th, 2015. It’s a tradition to eat sweet foods during this holiday. Your family and friends will enjoy the following vegan recipes from The Jewish Lowfat Vegetarian Cookbook. This vegan cookbook can be purchased from The Vegetarian Resource Group online: or by sending $21 (including postage/handling) to Vegetarian Resource Group, PO Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203.

Polish Plum and Rhubarb Soup
(Serves 6)
1 pound plums, pitted and chopped
1 pound rhubarb, chopped
10 cups water
¼ cup plus 1 Tablespoon apple juice concentrate
¼ teaspoon clove powder
1½ teaspoons cinnamon

Place all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover pot, and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Turkish Mandarin Salad
(Serves 5)
Two 10½ ounce cans Mandarin oranges, drained
½ Spanish onion, peeled and finely chopped
¼ cup pitted black olives, chopped
¼ cup pitted green olives, chopped
½ teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Chill and serve over a bed of lettuce.

Romanian Sweet Pasta
(Serves 8)
1 pound eggless pasta
12 cups water
1 cup maple syrup
½ cup walnuts, ground or 1/3 cup poppy seeds, ground
½ teaspoon lemon rind, minced
1½ cup raisins
½ teaspoon clove powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cook pasta in boiling water until done. Drain.

Heat maple syrup and walnuts or poppy seeds in a large pot over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add lemon rind, raisins, clove powder, and cinnamon. Stir and continue cooking for 3 more minutes. Add cooked pasta. Mix well and serve warm.

Note: You can also pour the mixture into a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes before serving.


Posted on September 08, 2015 by Samantha Gendler, Senior Editor

Reflections on Animals, Religion, and the Environment

In the latest issue of Vegetarian Journal, Gene Sager writes: “After visiting a new Buddhist temple in San Francisco, I scouted the neighborhood for a restaurant. A funky sign nearby caught my eye: “Burgers for Buddhists.” I asked why all the burgers on the menu were vegetarian; the chief cook/owner explained, saying, “Buddhists don’t eat meat, period.” This sounded like an oversimplification, and I decided to revisit and expand my research on this issue. Along the way, there have been lessons to be learned about other religions as well.”

To view the entire article see:
To subscribe to Vegetarian Journal visit:

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