The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Visit The Vegetarian Resource Group Booth at Upcoming Events!

Posted on August 31, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

DC VegFest

If you’re attending any of the events below, be sure to stop by The Vegetarian Resource Group’s booth at the following events and say hello:

DC VegFest
Lot H/I at Yards Park
355 Water Street SE
Washington DC 20003
September 2nd from 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Asheville VegFest
Pack Square Park
121 College Street
Asheville NC 28801
Sunday, September 3rd from 10 AM — 6 PM

Charlottesville Vegan Roots Festival
Booker T. Washington Park
1001 Preston Avenue
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Saturday, September 30th
from 12:00 PM — 8:00 PM

World Veg Festival
San Francisco County Fair Building
in Golden Gate Park
1199 9th Avenue
San Francisco CA, 94122
Sunday, October 1st, 10 AM-6:30 PM

New Jersey VegFest
Meadowlands Expo Center
355 Plaza Dr
Secaucus, NJ 07094
Saturday, October 7th
and Sunday, October 8th
(The festival schedule is TBA
so be sure to check the website for

Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
McCormick West Building
2301 S King Dr
Chicago, IL 60616
October 21-24, 2017

The Vegetarian Resource Group’s Dinner
LYFE Kitchen
270 E Ontario St
Chicago, IL 60610
(Corner of N Fairbanks Ct. and Ontario)
Sunday, October 22nd at 6 PM

To support our outreach efforts, please donate:

The Shamayim V’Aretz Campus Fellowship

Posted on August 30, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

The Shamayim V’Aretz Campus Fellowship is a program that trains Jewish college students on how to articulate the relationship between Judaism and veganism and how to make animal welfare a talking point on their campuses. They also organize events to promote veganism in collaboration with Jewish Student organizations such as campus Hillels. In addition, the fellows participate in a phone conference with experts on animal advocacy once a month. Here is the webpage with the fellowship information with a link to apply:

Veggie Classes are Being Offered at the Community College of Baltimore County in Maryland this Fall

Posted on August 29, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

Some terrific classes with a veggie focus are being offered this semester at the Community College of Baltimore County in Maryland. Here’s the details:

Artisan Vegan Cheese Making –

Meatless Dinners for Carnivores –

Vegan Cooking for the Holidays –

Veggie Power: Plant Based Cuisine for Energy and Vitality –

Civico 1845 in San Diego, California

Posted on August 28, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

Civico 1845

By Rebekah Campbell, VRG intern

Civico 1845 is located in San Diego, California, and is located in a part of town called Little Italy that brings many Italian cultures and food into San Diego. I had the privilege of going to Civico 1845. Civico offers many different authentic Italian food menus, one of which is vegan. They make sure to only use fresh, locally grown ingredients in all their dishes. I ordered the Melanzana Alla Parmigiana, which is made with eggplant and smoked vegan mozzarella. Drinks such as wine and beer are offered.

Surprisingly, Civico offers a vegan dessert menu as well, which I ordered the Gelato Tartufo from. The Gelato Tartufo was extremely rich with Italian Dark Chocolate and was stuffed with gooey caramel chocolate.

Reservations should be made for Civico 1845, for it is hard to get a walk-in seat. Overall, the experience was restful, and great.

Check out the menu or make reservations at

Click on vegan at

For information on other veggie restaurants in the USA and Canada, see:

Papa John’s® Enzymes: 2017 Update

Posted on August 25, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

Papa John's

By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS

An email forwarded to The VRG in August 2017 from online reader Ben had been delivered to his inbox from a “Nutrition Analyst” at Papa John’s in response to his Papa John’s online inquiry.

This is how Ben introduced the following Papa John’s information to us:

“I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian who has frequently visited your site, reading about information such as disambiguated food ingredients and specific food content from name-brand restaurants. I wish to donate information in the hopes of helping to update such regarding the Papa John’s pizza chain.”

Here in its entirety is the forwarded email from Papa John’s addressed to Ben in response to his “…inquiring whether or not their Garlic Parmesan Breadsticks were vegetarian (lacto-ovo).” Papa John’s responded to Ben within 12 hours of his inquiry.

Papa John’s email:

“The majority of our products contain bio-synthesized and/or vegetable-derived enzymes, including our mozzarella cheese.

However, the cheese blend used on our Tuscan Six Cheese Pizza does contain animal-derived enzymes.

Our pizza dough contains fungal or bacterial derivatives.

Our garlic sauce contains lactic acid, which is not classified as an animal derivative because it has been fermented.

Blue cheese and ranch DO contain animal-derived rennet.

The rennet that is used in the Papa John’s Parmesan cheese is a GMO-free microbial rennet. It is not animal-derived. It would be suitable for vegetarian consumption.”

The VRG appreciates Ben taking the time to forward this email.

It appears from the website that the breadsticks are made with pizza dough that does not contain L-cysteine (most often derived from poultry feathers). L-cysteine is not listed on the website menu nor on the allergen page.

Unlike many restaurant chains, Papa John’s includes “vegetable” as the source for their mono- and diglycerides in the ingredients list for the Garlic Parmesan Sauce. However, this chain does not specify if the “natural flavors” in this sauce are vegetable-derived. (They may or may not be.)

There is sugar in menu components which appear otherwise vegan (the original and pan doughs and the pizza and pan sauces but not the Garlic Parmesan Sauce).

Concerned readers may wish to contact Papa John’s for more information on whether the natural flavors are vegetable-derived and if the sugar had been processed using cow bone char.

See our previous reports on cheese enzymes and sugar for more information:

Here are a couple of our past reports on Papa John’s:

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 judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

For additional information about quick service chains, see:

For information about vegetarian and vegan restaurants and where you might be able to order vegan pizza, see:

Support The Vegetarian Resource Group Year-Round – Become a Monthly or Quarterly Donor!

Posted on August 24, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

The Vegetarian Resource Group is an activist non-profit organization that does outreach all-year-long. For example, earlier this month VRG exhibited at the Animal Rights Conference in Alexandria, VA and the Western New York VegFest in Buffalo, NY. VRG also sends veggie literature free of charge to other groups/individuals doing educational activities in schools, hospitals, camps, restaurants, libraries, etc. Our ability to continue doing this depends on people like you! Your donations allow us to promote the vegan message whenever we’re called upon for assistance. Please consider becoming a monthly or quarterly donor to The Vegetarian Resource Group.

Thanks so much for your support. You can become a monthly or quarterly donor online here:

Looking for workers in the Baltimore area to assist veg manufacturers in their booths at the Natural Products Expo East at the Baltimore Convention Center on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, September 14, 15, 16, 2017

Posted on August 23, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor


Reliable, responsible workers in the Baltimore area needed to assist veg manufacturers in their booths at the Natural Products Expo East at the Baltimore Convention Center on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, September 14, 15, 16. Must be available to work all 3 days from @9 a.m. – @6 p.m. Paid positions. If interested, please email

My Once in a Lifetime Experience as an Intern for The Vegetarian Resource Group

Posted on August 23, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

Davin photo
By Davin Cheyenne

I had no idea what to expect this summer when I applied to be a summer intern for The Vegetarian Resource Group. I knew very little about the intricate details involved in supporting the vegan movement on such a wide scale. However, I have met so many fascinating and hardworking people, people who work day in and day out fighting for things most people have no idea are happening. Two of these people are my bosses. The impact these two have and continue to make for the vegan movement is beyond incredible, and their guidance has allowed me to exceed further with this internship. I was given many projects to complete, and one of them was to interview an influential person in the vegan community.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Naijha Wright-Brown, the co-owner of vegan soul restaurant Land of Kush in Baltimore City. It was taking part in this that allowed me to see the beauty in being an intern for this non-profit such as allowing me the ability to network and meet so many amazing people who are just as passionate concerning veganism as I am. While interviewing Naijha I was able to tour the restaurant, try the incredible food, and write an article about my experience that many will read in a future issue of Vegetarian Journal.

Writing this piece was part of another component of my internship, along with writing restaurant reviews for The Vegetarian Resource Group website. It was through writing articles that I could see my writing skills improving. I just want you to know that for anyone who wants to have work in any field with some degree of writing, grammar is super important. However, it was with writing these articles that I was happiest. I was able to write about topics that touched my heart, and knew it would be touching others as well. I was able to increase the amount of depth with each new piece I wrote and for once I felt as though I was a part of something big.

I had a lot of experiences with visiting other locations and volunteering, which was my favorite part of this internship. Networking allowed me to connect with Marvin, who at the age of 90 and vegetarian most of his life, still kept his 23-acres of land and all the wild animals that live there protected from poachers. It was here that I saw him feed deer dried corn, learn the importance milkweed has on the environment, and find out about the passage of butterflies from his farm to Mexico. He explained how the vegan movement is bigger than any one person and that by simply putting the needs of others above your own you gain so much back. This way of life he talks about I have found to be true.

I was able to volunteer at The Vegetarian Resource Booth at Waverly Farmer’s Market in Baltimore, where I met a lot of amazing residents from the community who expressed some of their experiences with veganism. These conversations allowed me to connect personally with people from all walks of life and make lifelong connections. I even friended some visitors on Facebook. Finally, I visited TuTTies Place, a non-profit community-based group foster care model, which works with young men amid the environment in which they currently live. Every summer TuTTies place opens a camp for all children ages 5-18 to have a safe and fun place to come to every day. It was while visiting from The Vegetarian Resource Group that I was able to teach children about veganism. However, what I found was the lesson was mutual. I had explored so much about the importance of family, education, and the impact children have to the world that I left feeling more whole than I came.

As my experience as an intern comes to a close I am writing product reviews about vegan products that I really enjoy, along with traveling to nearby vegan restaurants to write about my experience. I can honestly say that having the experience as an intern here at The Vegetarian Resource Group has filled my summer with amazing opportunities, lifelong connections, and an extensive amount of skills I will be able to use for my future. I would like to thank every single person who is a part of The Vegetarian Resource Group for this once in a lifetime experience.

For information about The Vegetarian Resource Group internships, see:

To support The Vegetarian Resource Group outreach, donate at:

Join at:

The Maple Guild® Invents a Vegan Steam-Crafting® Process

Posted on August 22, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

Maple guild

By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS

The Maple Guild of Island Pond, VT has developed a steam-crafting process to transform maple sap into syrup making 55 gallons of syrup in less than three minutes. Find out more here:

Unlike traditional maple syrup production which involves boiling sap at high, direct heat for a long period yielding a dark, caramel-tasting syrup, the steam-crafting process uses indirect heat and less energy converting sap to syrup more quickly and producing a syrup that is lighter in both color and taste.

The Maple Guild also innovates a host of food and beverage products including infused syrups, maple water, maple-sweetened iced teas, maple vinegar, and maple cream.

Different from some maple companies which purchase syrup from multiple small producers combining it into one large batch and selling it under their own label, The Maple Guild produces all of its maple syrup from start to finish on its own property. As the company states on its website: “We can even tell you what tree your syrup came from.”

The Vegetarian Resource Group asked The Maple Guild if their steam-crafting method involves an anti-foaming agent (also called a defoamer). Artisanal maple syrup producers traditionally used pig-derived lard although it is not too common today. Butter, milk or cream were also used in the past but are not typically used today.

The Maple Guild’s John Campbell, VP of Sales and Marketing, responded to us by email in June 2017 when we asked if they use an anti-foaming agent:
“We do not use any animal-derived anti-foaming agents. In fact we simply use the permeate that remains as we process sap into syrup as our anti-foaming agent . . . so it is all sap all the time!”

The VRG followed up with John by asking him to further explain what “permeate” is. He replied:
“As sap is processed into syrup utilizing our steam-crafting process, the water that is left over is known as permeate. We use this separated permeate water as our anti-foaming agent. Waste not!”

For more information on The Maple Guild see:

Common Defoamers in Maple Syrup Production
Today on a commercial scale, a plant-based product is most often used as a maple syrup defoamer.

Some farmers operate their own farms and sell only what they produce while other operations purchase syrup from small producers and resell. The VRG asked both types of businesses about their defoamers. Here is what we learned.

• Arnold Coombs of Coombs Family Farms® told us “We use an organic sunflower oil as a defoamer.”

• Ray Lewis of Square Deal Farms® stated that “We use organic, GMO-free canola oil.”

• We asked Highland Sugar Works® owned by L.B. Maple Treat® if they accept maple syrup defoamed by lard from any producers. They responded with: “No. We do not accept any maple syrup from any producers that use animal products as anti-foaming agents.”

When we followed up by asking: “Is Atmos® 300K (see below) permissible as a defoamer?” we learned “Yes, that is what everyone uses.”

• We also asked Leader Evaporator Company® about defoamers and received a reply from Nola Gilbert who stated:
“We sell the Atmos 300K Defoamer. The Atmos is not approved for organic producers. Most organic producers use organic sunflower or organic safflower oil as a defoamer. There may be producers who still use lard, butter, milk or cream as defoamers, but most of the industry has moved towards commercially-produced defoaming agents or organic oil.”

Nola suggested that we contact Maple Specialists at the University of Vermont for more information about this topic.

Here is what we learned from UVM Maple Specialist Extension Agent George Cook in July 2017:
“No animal-based defoamers are recommended. All recommended defoamers are vegetable oil-based. Organic producers do not use Atmos. They use organic safflower oil. Years ago, animal fat products were used…milk, cream, butter, etc. We do not recommend these today.”

Atmos 300K
Available commercially, Atmos 300K is an anti-foaming agent commonly used by many maple syrup producers. For example:
Sam Bascom of Bascom Maple Farms® told us that he uses Atmos® 300K:

Sam sent us the MSDS sheet on Atmos 300K but he did not know if Atmos 300K’s mono- and diglycerides were vegetable-derived or not so we searched further.

The VRG contacted Vantage Specialty Ingredients®, a distributor of Atmos 300K, to find out if the mono- and diglycerides in their formula are vegetable-derived. Robert Dowd of Vantage Specialty Ingredients sent us a Product Source Statement dated September 2016 about Atmos 300K from the manufacturer Corbion Caravan® (see page 15 for listing

“Please be informed that the above-referenced product, manufactured by Corbion Caravan, is a mono- and diglyceride prepared from hydrogenated edible vegetable oils sourced from tall, palm and/or palm kernel.”

We followed up with Robert asking about the source of the tall oil which is listed in the Product Source Statement. Here is our question and his response:
Q: The Statement mentions tall oil as a mono- and diglyceride source. Tall oil is a byproduct of paper production. Is this what Corbion Caravan uses as its source? Or some other source?
A: Yes it is. It is the oil from trees.

For more information on tall oil:

Petrochemical-based propylene glycol is also an ingredient in Atmos 300K.

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.

To support The Vegetarian Resource Group research, donate at:

For information on other ingredients, see:

Introducing Vegan Foods into a College Foodservice and Tips for Students Who Want to Do the Same at Their College

Posted on August 21, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor


By Davin Cheyenne

Most teenagers already have a preconceived notion about college and all of its many splendors. College is a fantasy for most high schoolers: dreaming of food halls stocked with fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy alternatives, and desserts sometimes unavailable is now within reach.

Before college, I became vegan my junior year of high school. It was very hard to be vegan in a public high school where the lunches provided were for meat eaters, but I made it work. I was ecstatic to hear that in most colleges there were vegan options beginning to be provided.

When I was accepted to my previous college, I was excited to see a station in the cafeteria dedicated to vegan options. However, the next year when I actually attended the college the station was gone, and the plant-based options were few. Because of this I was discouraged and my health began to degrade. I wasn’t eating like I used to: plentiful fruits and veggies every day. Thankfully I was chosen to become a part of a diversity program. I had to create a campus wide project to demonstrate leadership skills. So, I chose veganism as the central topic. I wanted to create a week of vegan meals for my school’s campus to taste test. The student population would provide feedback for vegan meal options on campus they would like. Before starting, I needed a name for it; I chose “Chicks Dig Vegans.”

In order to be successful, I had to contact my college’s food service. First, I scheduled a meeting with my school’s cafeteria chef. I provided the chef with a list of my goals for the project, a list of vegan menu options, and required paperwork from the cafeteria. The vision for my project was to raise awareness throughout my campus community and help incorporate delicious vegan entrees in the cafeteria. Some menu options included chia seed muffins, fruit with granola parfaits, vegetable lo mein, chili, casseroles, vegan pot-roast, imitation “tuna” sandwiches, etc.

To pull this off, I needed some assistance so I reached out to two friends for help. Throughout the week my friends created flyers to post around campus, and sent all students notifications and emails. Their help allowed the event to run smoothly. I had three vegan options served outside our cafeteria for all students, staff, and faculty to taste and provide feedback for what they wanted in the cafeteria. Some crowd pleasing menu options were a Mediterranean salad, sweet potato casserole, and chili. Some unwelcome choices were an “egg” salad and chia seed pudding.


My project was awarded the most attended. Due to the amount of participation and positive feedback my project received, the cafeteria within my college incorporated a vegan station, vegan meats, cheeses, spreads, and ice creams. We built a bigger community at my college: 200 out of the 1000 people who tested the meals gave us their emails to learn more about veganism and animal rights.

Some of the options served (that were incorporated into the cafeteria) were the chili, vegetable lo mein, and an Indian curry. As the leader of this project I was overwhelmed with the amount of positivity and success I gained at my institution by simply providing information about veganism. Of course the tasty samples helped gain more followers as well.

Now for those entering or already attending college and wondering about introducing more vegan options or vegan options at all and don’t know where to begin, keep reading:

First, contact your college’s food service chef by email or walk in to discuss your diet and some options you would like. For instance my cafeteria did not have any vegan ice-cream: something on campus many vegans wanted. By simply mentioning this to the chef and showing there was a high demand many vegans at my college were now able to eat cruelty free dessert with their peers. Another challenge was my cafeteria did not have any vegetables that were not cooked with some type of animal product. Since my health involved vegetables, I asked the chef to serve the vegetables without animal products. Remember, you need to be very specific about what you want because many college chefs are not skilled in vegan or vegetarian food preparation practices!


Second, start gaining a group of people at your school from the environmental, animal rights, and conservationist interests by participating in similar clubs on campus that also uphold your morals. Upon arriving at my university, it was very hard finding people to connect with who also shared my passion for veganism. So, I searched for clubs to get involved with. One club that I joined was Animals for Advocates, a group of students passionate about animal rights and a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle. After I joined this club, I gained more volunteers for my event. You will need many followers in order for your meal plan to be long term at your institution.

Third, stick with your mission. If you do not get what you’re looking for, be an example of it; sooner than later, more people will take notice. The passion and determination I have to cater to the needs of the vegan community, especially on my campus allowed me to make a huge impact not only at my cafeteria but throughout my campus. In the beginning I received little positive feedback for my idea. However, I kept advertising my event and asked people I connected with through campus clubs to sample the meals. These people brought along more students to try the food and make a conscious decision on what they liked. Finally, I recommend expressing your passion for a vegan lifestyle, and rouse a revolution!

I hope this helps you on your journey to a more humane and animal friendly meal plan on campus.

For more information, see

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