The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Dietary Reference Intakes Calculator for Health Professionals

Posted on February 04, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

The Dietary Reference Intakes Calculator for Health Professionals is a recently released free app from the USDA. This handy calculator is available in both Apple and Android versions and as a web-based tool. While targeted at health professionals, especially registered dietitians, this calculator can be easily used by anyone. You put in height, weight, age, sex and an estimate of activity level and the calculator instantly reports BMI, calorie recommendations, and recommendations for protein, fat, carbohydrates, water, vitamins and minerals. If you have questions about any of the nutrients, you can tap the screen for additional information. Most of the vitamins and minerals are linked to the National Institutes of Health’s excellent fact sheets. The app also allows users to read about the Dietary Reference Intakes which are what daily nutrient recommendations are based on. Nutrition education resources for diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, weight management, and other conditions are easily accessed from this app. This app does not tell you whether or not your diet meets recommendations – for that you can use USDA’s SuperTracker, vegan RD Jack Norris’ Peacounter, or other software. I’ve recommended the web-based version of this calculator for several years; I’m happy to recommend this app.

Reed Mangels, PhD, RD

For more information about this app, visit:


Posted on February 03, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor


According to Acosta Sales and Marketing, the U.S.D.A. predicts that red
meat will drop one percent in per capita consumption between 2014 and
2015, with broiler chicken consumption expected to increase 1.6%.

In their survey, Acosta found that sixty-eight percent of shoppers who
are buying less meat cite cost as the primary reason, followed by health
and wellness at 39%. More than 31% of all shoppers and fifty percent of
18-34 year olds indicated that they purchased meat alternatives over the
past year. Twenty one percent of all U.S. shopper purchased tofu,
twelve percent textured vegetable protein, ten percent tempeh, eight
percent quorn, and six percent seitan.

Reasons given that influenced those to consider a vegan, vegetarian, or
flexitarian diet were:

61% personal health concerns
45% cost
41% GMO, preservatives, animal diseases, etc.
33% environmental impacts of meat products
32% curiosity
21% personal or ethical beliefs

Sixty percent of 18-34 year olds said you could achieve the necessary
daily amount of protein without meat. Fifty percent of 50-64 year olds
indicated the same.

Acosta is an outsourced sales and marketing agency serving consumer
packaged goods companies and retailers across the United States and Canada.


According to an Acosta Sales and Marketing Survey, 47% of Hispanics say
they eat healthy foods even though it’s more expensive, while 40% of
U.S. shoppers in general will buy the more expensive healthy item.
In describing their shopping habits, buying organic/natural products was
answered by 20% of total U.S. Shoppers, while this answer was given
by 26% of U.S. Hispanic shoppers.

Acosta is an outsourced sales and marketing agency serving consumer
packaged goods companies and retailers across the United States and Canada.

For more poll and survey information from The Vegetarian Resource Group,


Posted on February 03, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

The VRG College Scholarships for one $10,000 and two $5,000 awards
was mentioned in a Fastweb email sent out to students around the country
seeking scholarships. Fastweb is one of the major scholarship search
engines. In the email, we were mentioned with Veterans of
Foreign Wars, Boy Scout, and Optimist International scholarships.
It’s nice that vegetarianism is now “normal” and listed with these
“All American Apple Pie” groups.

To apply for the VRG vegetarian scholarship, go to:

To donate towards VRG college scholarships or internships,
go to:

Heinz® Australia Apple Juice Clarified with Gelatin But Not in North America

Posted on January 30, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS

A food industry newsletter reported that Heinz Australia uses beef gelatin to clarify (i.e., make clear) its apple juice:

Background on Juice Clarification
Many juices need to be clarified (fined) in order to eliminate a variety of suspended particles that make juice cloudy. Animal-derived clarifying agents include gelatin, isinglass (fish-derived), casein (a milk protein) or albumen (egg-derived).

Interested readers may learn more about the clarification process and find a list of common clarifying agents in the Introduction of the following article:

Read here about the clarifying agent classification cited in the previous article:

More information on clarification methods can be found here:

Heinz Australia Apple Juice
We emailed Heinz Australia several times to confirm the report that their apple juice was clarified with beef gelatin but received no response. The juice appeared to be the Golden Circle brand.

Then we contacted the Vegetarian/Vegan Society of Queensland to confirm that this information was accurate. Group member Maureen replied by email that it was correct and directed us to another report in an Australian newspaper:

Heinz North America: Initial Calls
The VRG wanted to know if Heinz North America also clarified their apple juice with gelatin. We first called the Heinz consumer service line in September 2014. We were told that “juice is not clarified with gelatin.” When we asked how it was clarified we were told that it was “proprietary information” and to call corporate headquarters for more information.

The VRG’s initial call to Heinz’ main office led to our leaving several voicemail messages to corporate employees. Our web searches suggested that Heinz North America manufactured juice only in Canada so we called the customer service line at Heinz Canada in an attempt to get more information.

Heinz North America: Follow Up Calls
After some conflicting information over a several month period, The VRG received a call back in a timely manner from a manager at the Heinz Canada consumer call center and was informed that “ascorbic acid is listed on the label and used to prevent the juice from turning brown.” In response The VRG agreed that ascorbic acid keeps the juice from turning brown while it is on the shelf or in the refrigerator after opening but wanted to know if some other substance was used during the manufacturing process to remove any initial cloudiness. The manager took our questions and said she’d ask another department and get back to us.

The next day we received a call from the same manager stating that she had contacted the “R&D Department” and was told that

“gelatin is not used” to clarify the juice. She said that the R&D Department had told her “there is a filtration step through a mesh screen to help clarify the juice.”

While doing follow-up, we received this information from a Heinz Canada Quality Technologist:

“Heinz Apple Juice is only distributed and sold in Canada… We only sell the 4.5 oz. Heinz Apple Juice and 1Liter Heinz Apple Juice in Canada. Heinz does not sell any other apple juices in Canada.”

The Senior Technologist mentioned that Heinz produces a 1L pear juice that is also gelatin-free. She said,

“The 1L apple and pear juices are manufactured and sold only in Canada…The 4.5 oz. apple juice is manufactured in the USA and sold only in Canada…”

We asked if the American and Canadian manufacturing processes were identical and gelatin-free. The VRG received this response:

“Our Regulatory Team has advised that the apple juice concentrate used in our apple juices uses pectinase and amylase as processing aids. These items have been reviewed against our internal Heinz Vegetarian Policy, and determined that these are vegetarian…Neither [the American nor the Canadian] plant uses pectinase and amylase. These enzymes are used in the vendor process to make the apple juice concentrate, which is an ingredient in the Heinz Apple Juice. The same apple juice concentrate is used in the Heinz Apple Juice products (4.5 oz. and 1L) made by both plants…There are in-line screens in batching at the co-packers making the finished products.”

Heinz’ Arthur’s Smoothies

After hearing some conflicting statements, we received this information from the Canadian Senior Technologist about Heinz’ Arthur Smoothies, which contain apple juice:

“I have confirmed with Marketing that Arthur’s Smoothies are NOT available in the US currently…the apple juice used in the Arthur’s Smoothies is not filtered and does not use enzymes or gelatin…Arthur’s does not sell a product called Arthur’s Apple Juice. We only sell apple juice under the Heinz brand, not the Arthur’s brand…All our Arthur’s Smoothies products contain apple juice…All Arthur’s Smoothies are Heinz products (i.e. all Arthur’s Smoothies bear the Arthur’s brand, but these are all owned by Heinz; we have no Smoothies on the market that bear a Heinz logo). We make the following smoothies in various sizes:

•Arthur’s Carrot Energizer
•Arthur’s Grape Wildberry
•Arthur’s Green Energy
•Arthur’s Mango
•Arthur’s Pineapple Coconut
•Arthur’s Strawberry Banana
•Arthur’s Strawberry Rainforest
•Arthur’s Very Berry

The apple juice used in Arthur’s Smoothies is not filtered by the vendor. The Arthur’s Smoothies do pass through an in-line screen at the co-packer during batching.”

The Heinz Canada Senior Technologist summarized all of this information for The VRG in the following table:


Heinz Vinegar Clarification
Regarding the clarification of Heinz Vinegar a Heinz Senior Manager in the United States told us that “diatomaceous earth is used for vinegar.”

For more ingredient information, see:

To support The Vegetarian Resource Group research, donate at:
or 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.

VRG Benefit at Great Sage in Clarksvillle, MD on 2/22

Posted on January 30, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

great sage bizcuts

Support The Vegetarian Resource Group while enjoying your favorite vegan dishes from Great Sage! On February 22nd, Great Sage in Clarksville, MD will be generously donating 10% of the day’s proceeds to VRG. Get Sage’s Famous Artichoke Spinach Dip or their Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes, “topped with soy whip and served with a caramel glaze,” or both! (It’s all for a good cause!)

You can check out the rest of Great Sage’s amazing all-vegan menu here:

Great Sage is located at:
5809 Clarksville Square Drive, Clarksville, MD 21029
Open from 10am-9pm on Sunday

Although this will not be a formal group gathering, our Outreach Coordinator, Nina, and other VRG volunteers will be available during brunch hours (10am-3pm) to answer any questions you may have or to just chat! We will also have copies of the Vegetarian Journal and literature available for you to take home. We look forward to seeing you and thank you in advance for your support!


Posted on January 29, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

A note from Nancy from Harp for Animals:

After becoming vegan this past July, I understand how important it is to speak up and help educate others. The Vegetarian Resource Group organization is amazing, and I am very grateful for the resource. I have included as a source for additional information, on the last page of the our vegan brochure.

The brochure is free and I encourage everyone to pass it along in any way they wish to. It’s available at

Peace. Compassion. Justice.
Harp for Animals

For a complete list of tabling materials from The Vegetarian Resource Group, see:


Posted on January 29, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Recently, The European Snack Association has criticized a European committee decision in favor of meat origin labeling, saying, “It’s meaningless for low level flavor use.”


For more information on ingredients, see:


Posted on January 28, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Eleanor Miltimore Wolff became a committed vegan late in life. Once she
learned and understood that dietary choices affected not only one’s
personal health, but also the health of the planet and the well being of
the animals, there was no looking back. Leather shoes and purses, along
with non-vegan food products went out the door. Her children and
grandchildren were showered with vegan reading material. When she
exercised she would sport a T-shirt proclaiming: “I think, therefore I
am — a vegetarian.” Eleanor was a military censor during World War II,
but there was no censoring her commitment to a plant based diet and

In her memory, the Eleanor Wolff scholarship is a $2,500 paid internship
at The Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) office in Baltimore (plus $1,000
toward housing) for a student who:

-Wants to be an effective change agent on behalf of veganism
-Is motivated to use knowledge gained from the internship to make a
significant impact within his/her world
-Could not participate in this development effort without a little
financial assistance

Currently, the Eleanor Wolff Scholarship funds one internship per year.
The Vegetarian Resource Group also has unpaid internships available.

If you would like to apply for a VRG internship, please send a resume,
writing sample, and cover letter detailing your interests, skills,
goals, and vegetarian knowledge to If you are applying for
the Eleanor Wolff scholarship internship, please say so and indicate
your financial need.

For more internship information, see:


Posted on January 28, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Vegan Cuisine Month (February) is a celebration of vegan food history, encouraging events, and creating the future. Information is now up on On February 10th, The Vegetarian Resource Group will be honored.

The American Vegan Society (AVS) will be posting about Vegan Cuisine Month on the AVS Facebook Page daily from now through Feb 28, 2015. Their aim is to make it easy for people to encourage restaurants to do vegan events and/or add vegan menu options.

To find vegan restaurants, visit The Vegetarian Resource Group’s Veggie Restaurant Guide.
There are now about 500 vegan restaurants in the United States.


Posted on January 27, 2015 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor


This all vegetable chili comes from VRG member Nanette Blanchard and is very easy to make. It stays warm no matter how long the game lasts. If you have leftovers, mix them with some whole wheat macaroni for an easy chili mac. Serve this chili with cornbread or crackers, grated vegan cheese, diced onions, and lots of hot sauce.

Slow Cooker Vegan Chili

Serves 10-12

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder, optional
1 jalapeno, minced
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
2 cups low-sodium tomato juice
Two 14-oz cans diced tomatoes
One 15-oz can pinto beans, drained
One 15-oz can kidney beans, drained
One 15-oz can black beans, drained
2 cups frozen corn
Salt, to taste

In a saute pan, saute onion and garlic in oil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until soft. Add chili powder and ancho chile and cook for another minute. Pour this mixture into 6 quart slow cooker along with the remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until the vegetables are tender.

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